David Vagi, NGC Ancients Director and Finalizer, Selected 2021 Numismatist of the Year

Posted on 8/9/2021

The ANA’s Numismatist of the Year award is one of the hobby’s most distinguished honors.

Numismatic Guaranty Corporation® (NGC®) congratulates David Vagi, NGC Ancients Director and Finalizer, on being selected the 2021 Numismatist of the Year by the American Numismatic Association (ANA). Vagi is the third member of the expert NGC grading team to receive the highly regarded Numismatist of the Year award, joining Mark Salzberg, Senior Grading Finalizer, and David W. Lange, Research Director.

David Vagi

Vagi is a lifelong numismatist who has studied ancient Greek and Roman coins since 1985. After entering the field professionally as a staff writer for Coin World, he later worked as a numismatist for the auction houses Christie’s, Superior Stamp and Coin, Spink America and R.M. Smythe before establishing Delphi International Ancient Arts, which he ran from 1996 to 2008, when he joined NGC.

For more than 25 years, Vagi has penned a column every month for a major numismatic publication, including Coin World, The Celator, Numismatic News, World Coin News and The Numismatist. He also writes the monthly NGC eNewsletter column, NGC Ancients, which has won multiple Numismatic Literary Guild (NLG) awards, including one this year. Other accolades based on his research and writing contributions to the hobby include two ANA Presidential Awards and an ANA Heath Literary Award.

Vagi’s 1,294-page book, Coinage and History of the Roman Empire, received “book of the year” awards from the NLG, the International Association of Professional Numismatists (IAPN) and the Professional Numismatists Guild (PNG). Published in two volumes, the work is considered by many to be the starting reference book for collectors of ancient Roman coins. Vagi is also contributing author to six other numismatic books.

A life member of the ANA, Vagi has taught more than 20 weeklong courses on ancient coinage at Summer Seminars. He is also a life member and fellow of the American Numismatic Society (ANS). Given his meaningful participation in and service to the hobby, it is no surprise that Vagi was named one of Coin World’s 100 Most Influential People in Numismatics, 1960-2020.

“It is a great honor to receive such a distinguished award from the ANA, an organization that I’ve long admired for its tireless service to the hobby,” commented Vagi. “Not only is receiving the award this year an incredible honor, I believe that it reflects the rising profile of ancient coins within the numismatic community.”

As Director of NGC Ancients, Vagi has been part of many incredible discoveries, asserting his authentication and evaluation expertise to affirm the legitimacy of numismatic wonders from the ancient world. He led the evaluation of the record-setting EID MAR aureus of Brutus that sold for nearly $4.2 million, the highest price ever paid for an ancient coin at auction.

“Working with Dave has been one of the highlights of my career,” commented Mark Salzberg, NGC Senior Grading Finalizer. “Through his passion, knowledge and eloquent way of sharing both, he has inspired me and countless others to take an interest in ancient coinage. Congratulations, Dave, on being selected Numismatist of the Year. It is a well-deserved honor.”

Vagi will receive his award during the 130th Anniversary ANA World’s Fair of Money at the Member & Awards Celebration, being held August 13 at 3:00 p.m.

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