Numismatic Vacation

Posted on 4/6/2017

If you have a serious interest in numismatics, you should consider spending one or two weeks attending Summer Seminar.

The American Numismatic Association offers a tremendous amount of educational opportunities for collectors. There is a world-class museum, the only lending numismatic library in the country and amazing coin conventions. Our education department is staffed by highly qualified professionals who work year round to promote numismatic education. As a matter of fact, both the Federal Charter of the organization and its strategic plan emphasize numismatic education.

With all of the great educational opportunities the ANA offers, none, in my opinion, match the annual Summer Seminars. This annual ritual each summer is a gathering of 300-400 collectors, dealers and instructors for two weeks of solid numismatic immersion. There is no better place for numismatic scholarship and camaraderie. Your knowledge of the subject you choose to study will increase dramatically and you will probably make some friends for life.

The Summer Seminars hold a very special place in my heart. In 1974, I was awarded a scholarship to attend Summer Seminar. At the age of 16, my parents allowed me to take my first airplane flight and travel alone to Colorado Springs to attend the seminar. To say I was excited would be a massive understatement. My choice of study for the week was Colonial Coinage being taught by Ken Bressett, the editor of A Guide Book of United States Coins (the "Red Book"). I had never met a legend of numismatics, let alone spend a week under their tutelage.

Young Numismatists attending the 1974 Summer Seminar

I knew very little about Colonial coinage before that week—actually almost nothing. Ken was an amazing mentor and gave our small class a complete overview of the subject. Later, when I became a professional numismatist, this knowledge served me well. I was able to buy and sell coins in a complicated area of the market with confidence. I have remained friends with Ken Bressett and now we work together on the annual editions of the Red Book. That week in 1974 truly changed my life.

If you have a serious interest in numismatics, you should consider spending one or two weeks attending Summer Seminar. I can think of no better way to spend time this summer than taking a numismatic vacation. There are classes in a wide range of subjects covering topics to suit every collector’s interests. There are many tuition and lodging options to choose from. As mentioned above, the ANA also offers scholarship opportunities. Complete details of the Summer Seminar can be found at

The most popular classes during Summer Seminar are the Grading United States Coins, Part One, Part Two and Advanced. These classes are taught by world-class graders, including several who are full-time graders at NGC. The instructors for Summer Seminar are an amazing resource for the ANA and we all owe them a debt of gratitude for taking time to share their expertise with our students. These classes can be particularly important for anyone interested in becoming a professional numismatist. Several of the current instructors started as students many years ago and countless numismatic careers have been launched by attending these classes.

The ANA offers an amazing variety of classes for those attending Summer Seminar. This year’s classes include the following:

Session One, June 17-22
Grading United States Coins Part 1
Grading United States Coins Part 2
Detection of Counterfeit and Altered Coins
The Business of Being a Coin Dealer
Collecting and Investing in Morgan Silver Dollars
Collecting Roman Coinage
Colonial Americana
Liberty Seated Coinage
The History of Mexico through Paper Money
Medals in America
Introduction to Digital Photography
Collecting United States Type Coins
Carving Hobo Nickels
Creating Numismatic Exhibits

Session Two, June 24-29
Grading United States Coins Part 1
Grading United States Coins Part 2
Advanced Grading United States Coins
Detection of Counterfeit and Altered Coins
Counterfeit World Paper Money
Collecting Barber Coinage
Secrets of Flying Eagle and Indian Cents
Introduction to Digital Photography
British Numismatics
Modern Minting Process
Early American Coinage II
Byzantine Coinage
Making Money the Medieval Way
The Art of Engraving
Intaglio Engraving

During the two weeks there are also numerous mini-seminars, evening bull sessions, book sales, YN auctions and tours of local attractions. You can also visit ANA headquarters and see our amazing museum, meet staff and find out what the ANA is all about. I cannot recommend attending Summer Seminar enough. You may not decide to become a professional coin dealer like I did after attending, but your enjoyment and understanding of the hobby will be greatly enhanced. When someone in the family suggests Disney World, tell them you’re heading to Colorado Springs!

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Jeff Garrett bio

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