ANA show awards recognize eight hobby leaders
- Published: Sep 15, 2022, 11 AM
Numismatic hobby leaders were recognized in conjunction with the Aug. 16 to 20 American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money in Rosemont, Illinois, for their contributions.
Tony Bonaro, director of youth activities for the Florida United Numismatists since joining the FUN board 18 years ago, was recognized by the ANA with the Lawrence J. Gentile Sr. Award for Outstanding Adult Advisor.
A retired U.S. Marine Corps officer and former railroad employee, Bonaro, from Julington Creek, Florida, has developed FUN’s Young Numismatist program into one of the best in the nation, according to the association.
Bonaro is active in several other local and regional numismatic organizations, including the Greater Jacksonville Coin Club and St. Augustine Coin Club.
Bonaro conducts four Boy Scout Coin Collecting Merit Badge classes each year. When Girl Scouts sign up, he covers the requirements for the Fun With Money patch.
In each quarterly issue of FUNTopics, Bonaro includes an article for kids with trivia questions to encourage YNs to research more about the particular topic and send him their answers via email. Youngsters who send him their responses receive a coin in the mail. He says that dealers from all over the eastern United States stock his supply of donated inventory that he passes along to eager Young Numismatists.
Fascinated by the history behind coins, Bonaro encourages young hobbyists to investigate and learn about their pieces. He exhorts his students to “learn, read, research, and educate yourself as much as you can about the coins you like to collect” and ends his classes by telling his students, “Remember, there is a story behind every coin and piece of currency.”
His admonition to the next generation is not mere lip service. Bonaro also does his own research and enjoys writing about his findings. He has published articles in FUNTopics on a variety of subjects, including how to conduct Boy Scouts Merit Badge classes, the fascinating story behind “Short Snorter” bank notes, and Mormon gold and currency of 1837-60. He is currently working on a piece about U.S. Mint commemorative coins that relate to the history of the U.S. military.
Bonaro says he is honored to receive an award for simply doing what he loves. He serves the hobby community by sharing his knowledge because teaching others is something he truly enjoys. And because it’s fun, he adds.
According to the ANA, “The spirit of the late Glenn Smedley lives on in this year’s recipients of the ANA’s annual Glenn Smedley Memorial Award.”
There were seven recipients of the Glenn Smedley Memorial Award to honor those who embody an exceptionally positive attitude, possess strong communication skills, promote goodwill and cooperation and demonstrate dependability.
➤ Carol Bastable: From Sarasota, Florida, Bastable, an award-winning exhibitor and an ANA exhibit judge, has loaned items from her collection for display at ANA headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and provided educational material on love tokens.
Bastable serves as president of the Love Token Society and the Original Hobo Nickel Society and writes regularly about her extensive research for multiple hobby publications.
➤ V. Kurt Bellman: From Arab, Alabama, Bellman says one of his main goals is “to turn beginning collectors into intermediate collectors” by getting them to step away from the computer and attend local coin club meetings and shows so they can network and meet hobby mentors.
A careful exhibit builder and conscientious exhibit judge, Bellman became an ANA national volunteer in 2013 and has presented five “Money Talks” lectures at ANA conventions on a range of topics. He was invited to join the U.S. Mint’s program development forum in 2016 and participated in the formation of the American Innovation Dollar Coin Program introduced in 2018.
➤ George Cuhaj: A resident of Iola, Wisconsin, Cuhaj is a two-time ANA Summer Seminar instructor, has authored two publications, edited five others and written numerous numismatic articles for publication.
An active member of the American Medallic Sculpture Association for decades, Cuhaj has served as secretary, treasurer, and newsletter editor, as well as two terms as president.
An avid speaker and exhibitor, he has received five first-place awards in four classes at ANA conventions. Notably, Cuhaj organized the ANA’s participation at the Coin Collecting Merit Badge booth at the Boy Scouts’ national jamboree on numerous occasions over a 30-year period.
➤ Roderick Frechette: A resident of Corales, New Mexico, Frechette infuses the Albuquerque Coin Club with his endless energy, shaping the club’s youth activities and coordinating community outreach.
Also the recipient of the ANA Numismatist of the Year accolades for 2022, Frechette visits local schools to get kids excited about numismatics, and enthusiastically shares his expertise about ancient, medieval, and colonial Latin American coinage through a multitude of presentations.
This Vermont Law School graduate has educated numerous collectors with his award-winning exhibits, which he has displayed at the New Mexico State Fair in addition to ANA conventions.
➤ W. Mack Martin: In 1969, Hartwell, Georgia, resident W. Mack Martin began a decades-long solo journey pursuing Georgia paper money. In 2006 some friends talked him into entering an exhibit at the ANA’s National Money Show in Atlanta, and his solitary pastime blossomed into a social adventure in which he’s become an instrumental member of several organizations.
According to the association, Martin became an ANA exhibit judge the following year and has continued to curate his own displays. His towering pile of exhibit awards steadily grows taller, and he’s contributed his knowledge of Georgian issues to multiple books.
➤ Robert Mellor: A former SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) team member and program launch director for Lockheed Martin, Mellor, of Melbourne, Florida, is drawn to intensity, which is also evident in his hobby involvement.
An ANA district representative, exhibit judge, grading instructor, and Outreach Committee member, Mellor specializes in items associated with early America. He is a member of nearly a dozen organizations, including CONECA and the John Reich Collectors Society, both of which have published his articles in their respective journals
➤ Mel Wacks: Since 1968, Jewish-coin authority Mel Wacks has founded or cofounded five organizations related to biblical, Judaic, and Israel numismatics, including the American Israel Numismatic Association and the Jewish-American Hall of Fame.
The Woodland Hills, California, resident edited The Shekel for five years, authored both the original and 45th anniversary editions of The Handbook of Biblical Numismatics, and has contributed innumerable articles to hobby publications. A spirited designer, Wacks has crafted a number of counterstamped coins and medals, including the ANA 1997 convention medal, and he shared his expertise as chair of the ANA Numismatic Art Award for Excellence in Medallic Sculpture Committee for 10 years.
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