Exhibiting is an excellent way to educate and compete
Written by: John Siteman
Today, I am going to talk about exhibiting and how to make an exhibit. I am a seasoned exhibitor in both the Royal Canadian Numismatic Association and American Numismatic Association. Some of the awards that I have received for my exhibits in the past would include the James E. Charlton Junior Exhibit Award, James L. Betton Memorial Exhibit Award (YN-World Coins) and the Derek Pobjoy Award for the Best Exhibit of Modern Circulating Commemoratives. Exhibiting can be a rewarding experience for anyone, whether you want to exhibit to educate the public about a type of material that you collect or whether you want to exhibit for the competition aspect (maybe even both.).
The ANA holds a competitive exhibit competition at the World's Fair of Money in the summer and the National Money Show in the spring. Each exhibit is judged by a group of three judges who evaluate the exhibits based on many factors, including information, attractiveness, creativity and condition. There are 18 categories that are open to all exhibitors and seven categories that are only open to Young Numismatists. From all of the exhibits in the show, there are awards for Best of Show, Best Circulating Commemorative Exhibit, Peoples Choice, Best New Exhibitor as well as the Women in Numismatics Award. The YN division's first-place winners are also evaluated for the YN Best of Show Award, which comes with a scholarship to a future ANA Summer Seminar. There is always a wide variety of material in the exhibit area and there always is room for more.
When it comes to creating a Numismatic Exhibit, I can give a few
suggestions. When picking the type of material and information for
your exhibit, try not to pick something that would confuse the
general reader of your exhibit. If you do that, you will not get
very many points from the judges. The other major thing that I can
say is to put a lot of effort into making the exhibit look good. If
you don't take the time to carefully make the cards that your
information is printed on, it will make your exhibit not look as
good. It is also a good idea that when you are preparing an exhibit
and are able, try to borrow a case or make a case the same
size as the type of case that will be at your show. It will help
with staging your exhibit to see how it will look when it is put on
the table as well as help you be able to set it up easier once you
get to the show. If you look for feedback on your exhibit before
the show, it is a good idea to talk to any seasoned exhibitor. It
will help because you will see things that you may not see as
harmful to getting a good score
Before I finish my article, I want to specifically talk to any Young Numismatist who is reading this. At the World's Fair of Money this year, there were 21 possible exhibit awards for YN's, of which only four were awarded. All of those were first-place awards. That meant that any YN that would have just tried and earned more than 50 points from the judges could have won a competitive exhibit award. There are so many opportunities in the ANA that are helped through exhibiting and the ANA convention is one of the best places to try exhibiting. As I mentioned earlier, the YN Best of Show wins a scholarship to the ANA Summer Seminar, which is a reward that can really help you in your numismatic career. I would hope that more YN's would give exhibiting a try because as young people, we are able to show material that adults don't normally display.
In conclusion, I would encourage any numismatist, old or young, to try exhibiting. It gives you an opportunity to show material that we put pride in showing to others as well as giving information to educate the type of person that does not know about a certain type of material. If you want to learn more about how to create an exhibit or improve an existing exhibit, there is a course that was at the 2012 ANA Summer Seminar that could help. The course "Creating a Winning Numismatic Exhibit" was taught by 2011 Radford Sterns Award winner Lawrence Sekulich that went in depth on every aspect of how to create an exhibit including design, information, judging and materials to make the exhibit look attractive. Hopefully, this course will be offered for students when the 2013 Summer Seminar course list comes out. I hope that you will be encouraged to try exhibiting and I look forward to seeing some new exhibits at shows in the future.