In another sudden announcement, the American Numismatic Association issued a press release this week announcing a name change for its top award.
During an open session meeting on January 19, 2021, the ANA Board of Governors honored the wishes of nearly 20 past Farran Zerbe Memorial Award winners by voting to remove Zerbe's name from the ANA's highest honor after the 2021 presentation (its 70th year). According to the motion, the accolade will be called the Distinguished Service Award "until such time as the name of an exemplary, deceased ANA member be brought forward to the Board, after vetting by the Awards Committee, for consideration of formal approval with proper funding arrangements for such naming rights."
A well-known figure in 20th-century numismatics, Joseph Farran Zerbe served as ANA president from 1907-1909. A retrospective look at Zerbe's professional dealings uncovered accusations that he made deceptively inflated claims about the future value of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition gold dollars he sold; complaints of hucksterism and fraud for his creation and sale of coin-like 1904 gold-plated exposition souvenirs; allegations that he unscrupulously obtained personal ownership of The Numismatist in 1908 from relatives of the ANA's late founder, Dr. George F. Heath (then ANA Vice President W.W.C. Wilson subsequently purchased the periodical and donated it to the Association in 1910); and claims of bribery involving the 1909 ANA election in which Zerbe's friend John M. Henderson was named president.
This action seems sudden and arbitrary with no prior discussion of the issues. I'm curious to know what led to this and what actual evidence for the decision was presented to the board. Why couldn't there have been discussions in the pages of The Numismatist? In his Coin Collectors Blog Scott Barman questions the evidence as well.
"What are the claims? Who made the claims? What documentation do we have of the claims?"
To read the complete article, see:
The ANA Woke Up on the Wrong Side, for a change
The American Numismatic Society
Farran Zerbe correspondence on Bryan Money and Lesher Medals, 1900, 1918-1944
New Name for ANA Distinguished Service Award
Wayne Homren, Editor
The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization
promoting numismatic literature. See our web site at coinbooks.org.
To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, write to the Editor
at this address: email@example.com
To subscribe go to: https://my.binhost.com/lists/listinfo/esylum
Copyright © 1998 - 2021 The Numismatic Bibliomania Society (NBS)
All Rights Reserved.
NBS Home Page
Contact the NBS webmaster