Jeff Garrett: 50 Years of the ANA World's Fair of Money Summer Seminar

Posted on 3/28/2024

ANA Summer Seminars — half a century's worth! — helped chart the course of Jeff's life. Maybe this year's could inspire yours or a young numismatist you know.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of my first Summer Seminar at the American Numismatic Association (ANA) World's Fair of Money in 1974. I won a scholarship to attend the ANA Summer Seminar, and I can attest to the fact that the experience can change lives. My instructor that year was Ken Bressett, my longtime mentor and the person I took over the editorship of the Guide Book of United States Coins (the Red Book) from. I look forward to having a party to celebrate. Bressett lives in Colorado Springs and is turning 96 this year. He is truly a living numismatic legend.

Over the years, many professional numismatists have gotten their start at the ANA Summer Seminar. Several are now instructors wishing to give back to something that was so meaningful to them. Young collectors are the future of the hobby, and numismatic education is the best way to insure continued interest. There are also scholarships available for adults of all ages.

*Photos courtesy of the ANA

The ANA Summer Seminar is one of the best programs the numismatic organization conducts. It is numismatic education at its finest. Each year, over half of those in attendance are repeat students. Many of the instructors have been teaching for decades, some of which are NGC representatives. The ANA is very grateful to the individuals and companies who donate their time and talent to this amazing program. The Summer Seminar could not happen without them.

This year, I will once again be teaching Advanced United States Grading and Problem Coins with Don Ketterling. The class is nearly sold out, and we are excited to share our decades of experience with eager students from around the country. We both plan to bring lots of interesting coins for students to test their skills and master the art of rare coin grading.

One of the most wonderful aspects of the Summer Seminar are the young numismatists who attend each year. This year, more than 50 Young Numismatists (YN) students will attend Summer Seminar. Most of these were able to attend because of full scholarships made available by the ANA and other numismatic organizations.

*Photos courtesy of the ANA
Click images to enlarge.

The Summer Seminar is an opportunity for numismatic learning and camaraderie. Many students live in the Colorado College dorms and spend time after class getting to know each other. There are also several optional tours to local attractions, evening lectures and other special events. Attending the Summer Seminar is also a great opportunity to visit ANA headquarters, the Edward C. Rochette Money Museum and the Dwight N. Manley Numismatic Library. The library is the largest lending numismatic library in the country and is fantastic to visit in person.

The featured exhibit in the museum is titled — The Medal in America. The exhibit explores the history of the United States through its extensive medal collection. The new Americana exhibit, which replaced the recently sold Bass collection, is also impressive. It should also be remembered that the incredible ANA museum collection is available for exploration on its website: Its virtual tour is an award-winning feature of the ANA money museum.

Most Summer Seminar classes last four days and are intended as a full numismatic immersion. The grading classes are the most popular and usually sell out well in advance. Grading classes are offered in three levels: beginner, intermediate and advanced. These classes are quite challenging, but they offer one of the best ways to learn the art of coin grading in a short amount of time. Many students take the classes every year, trying to improve their skills. Several students have told me that the hands-on experience of learning to grade is invaluable.

*Photos courtesy of the ANA

Dealers around the country loan the ANA hundreds of coins each year for the classes. The seminars give everyone a chance to examine coins they may never see in their local area. The instructors — such as Ben Wengel, NGC Senior Finalizer of World Coins, shown above — work closely with every student, making sure they are ready for the next level before moving on.

The counterfeit detection classes are also extremely popular. This subject has become even more relevant in recent years. Students have the opportunity to examine the large reference collection of the ANA. One of the best ways to learn about counterfeits is to examine genuine and fake coins side by side. This, along with expert instruction, gives students the best possible education on the subject. The counterfeit detection class is very popular with coin shop employees looking to sharpen their skills as well.

*Photos courtesy of the ANA

The 2024 Summer Seminar is fast approaching, and it's not too late to sign up for a class. Colorado Springs is one the most beautiful cities in the United States and now is your chance to take a numismatic vacation to learn more about the hobby you love and to explore the area. I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible at this year’s premier numismatic event. You are invited to my 50-year anniversary party!

Sign up today at

2024 ANA Summer Seminar Course Offerings

Session 1: June 16-19

  • Grading United States Coins, Part 1
  • Grading United States Coins, Part 2
  • Advanced United States Grading and Problem Coins
  • World Coin Grading
  • The Modern Mint Process
  • Digital Image Editing for Numismatics
  • Introduction to Numismatics
  • Greek Coins Part II
  • Coin Carving — Hobby Nickels
  • A Survey of African Bank Notes
  • Early Commemorative Coins
  • Early American Copper Coinage
  • Legacy of William and Charles Barber
  • Detection of Counterfeit World Paper Money

Mini Seminars

  • Auction World 101
  • Enliven Your Club
  • US Error Coins
  • Collecting Oddball Denominations

Session 2: June 22-26

  • Grading United States Coins, Part 1
  • Grading United States Coins, Part 2
  • Counterfeit and Alteration Detection
  • Advanced Paper Money Grading
  • Numismatic Digital Photography
  • The Business of Being a Coin Dealer
  • Roman Imperial Coinage
  • Creating a Numismatic Exhibit
  • Coinage of Mexico (1536-1821)
  • World War II Numismatics
  • A Survey of 20th and 21st Century World Coins
  • Advanced Early Copper Topics
  • History of US Colonial Coins, Currency and Medals
  • Making Eary US Medals

Mini Seminars

  • Detection of Artificial Toning
  • MPC Boot Camp
  • Collecting Capped Bust Half Dollars
  • Let's Get Weird — Major Error Coins

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