US Coins

Two named to ANA Half of Fame

The ANA's Numismatic Hall of Fame will grow by two with the addition of the names of Ralph A. "Curley" Mitchell, left, and Byron F. Johnson Jr.

Portrait images courtesy of ANA; background image from Coin World files.

 American Numismatic Association press release announcing the latest inductees to the association's Hall of Fame:

Johnson and Mitchell Inducted into Numismatic Hall of Fame

In recognizing outstanding contributions to numismatics, the American Numismatic Association will induct Historic Era nominees Byron F. Johnson Jr. and Ralph A. Mitchell into the Numismatic Hall of Fame at the 2016 Summer Seminar banquet on Wednesday, June 22, in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Byron F. Johnson Jr.

Byron F. Johnson Jr. was a collector’s collector. A pharmacist by trade and a numismatist at heart, Johnson specialized in exonumia and world minor coinage.

Johnson took a special interest in numismatic exhibiting, and established the use of exhibit classes. He wrote the chapters on exhibiting in the ANA’s Young Numismatist and Intermediate Correspondence Courses, and encouraged novice exhibitors at every turn.

With a passion for tokens and medals, Johnson served the Token and Medal Society (TAMS) as librarian from 1964 to 1966 and president from 1972 to 1974. He also served as an officer in many of the organizations to which he belonged. He served as president of the Organization of International Numismatists (OIN), the Pacific Northwest Numismatic Association (PNNA) and the Seattle Coin Club.

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The recipient of the TAMS Distinguished Service Award (1975), and the Medal of Merit (1976), Johnson also received the Numismatic Ambassador Award (1984).

Ralph A. Mitchell

Ralph “Curly” Mitchell’s numismatic voyage began like many others; however, his involvement with the hobby is far from ordinary. He was a public relations executive for The Franklin Mint, a private Pennsylvania manufacturer of coins, medals and collectibles, and a pioneer of organized numismatics in California during the 1930s.

Mitchell was a well-known collector who had a deep interest in the emergency paper money of the Great Depression; he collaborated with famed numismatist Neil Shafer to compile the Standard Catalog of Depression Scrip of the United States, which was released by Krause Publications in 1984.

For more than 50 years, Mitchell served the coin collecting community and was a regular fixture at the ANA’s national conventions. He served as an ANA district secretary from 1939 to 1943 and as second vice president from 1943 to 1947. Mitchell was a founding member of the California State Numismatic Association (CSNA) in 1947, serving as president in 1949.

Mitchell received many awards for his contributions to the hobby, some of which include the ANA’s Medal of Merit (1964), Numismatic Association of Southern California Medal of Merit (1964), CSNA Medal of Merit (1964), and the Numismatic Ambassador Award (1969).

Numismatic Hall of Fame History

The Numismatic Hall of Fame was established in 1964 to perpetuate and enshrine the names of the most prominent numismatists of all time. Historic Era Nominees must be deceased more than 25 years prior to induction. The Numismatic Hall of Fame Plaza, which features photographs and brief biographies of those honored, is located at the ANA headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colo.

The American Numismatic Association is a congressionally chartered, nonprofit educational organization dedicated to encouraging the study and collection of coins and related items. The ANA helps its nearly 25,000 members and the public discover and explore the world of money through its vast array of educational and outreach programs, as well as its museum, library, publications and conventions. For more information, call 719-632-2646 or visit



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