The American Numismatic Association (ANA) is recognizing several numismatists who not only lead by example, but pave new pathways within the numismatic hobby. Recognized for their dedication, hard work, passion and contributions, these recipients will be recognized at the World’s Fair of Money® in Philadelphia, Aug. 14-18.
Those being recognized are:
- Cindy Wibker for the Farran Zerbe Memorial Award for Distinguished Service
- David J. McCarthy for Numismatist of the Year
- Abigail Zechman for the Young Numismatist of the Year
- Mark Lighterman for the Lifetime Achievement Award
The Farran Zerbe Memorial Award for Distinguished Service is the highest honor conferred by the American Numismatic Association. It is given in recognition of numerous years of outstanding, dedicated service to numismatics. Cindy Wibker is the recipient of this year’s award.
For 25 years, Wibker has dedicated her career to Florida United Numismatists (FUN) as convention coordinator, organizing one of the premier shows in the country. This is no easy task, as FUN’s annual January show regularly draws an average of 10,000 attendees over four days, and its summer event, held each July, welcomes about 3,000 hobbyists.
Born in Shreveport, Louisiana, the young Wibker enjoyed filling Whitman nickel and cent folders with pocket change and acquiring specimens through mail-order businesses. However, her mind turned to other pursuits. Growing up she enjoyed spending time outside playing different sports, going to games, spending time with her family and riding her bike.
During her last year of college, she returned to numismatics. Wibker’s then-husband, Bob Grellman, who began collecting at age 7, encouraged her to once again dip her toe in the numismatic waters. She bought her first Civil War token in April 1975 and was hooked.
An Air Force wife for 13 1/2 years, Wibker took time off from her career to raise her two sons, Kevin and Andrew. During this period, she acquired more Civil War tokens, as well as Thomas Edison medals, early Mardi Gras collectibles and Louisiana tokens. Unlike her childhood self, Wibker learned to love history as an adult, mostly through the lens of Civil War tokens.
In 1988, after her husband retired from the Air Force, Wibker and her family moved to Florida. Jim Partin, a friendly face in the hobby, encouraged the busy mom to run for the FUN board. She was appointed exhibit chairman in 1990 and was on the board for three years. When the convention coordinator suddenly passed away, Wibker was asked if she would like to give the position a try. She took on the challenge, taught herself how to do the job and has been a success at it for 25 years.
Among her numerous honors are the Award of Merit (2005), Presidential Award (2007) and Polly Abbott Service Award (2011) from FUN; and Woman of the Year (2001 and 2009) from the National Silver Dollar Roundtable. She was named a Numismatic Ambassador by Numismatic News in 1994. In addition to FUN, she has served on the board of directors for the Civil War Token Society, Token and Medal Society and Women in Numismatics, of which she is a charter member.
Wibker joined the ANA in 1980. She was quickly recognized for her numismatic knowledge and people skills, and got to know many individuals in the hobby. At age 25, she tried her hand at exhibiting and was surprised when her Alabama coal-mine tokens display won best of show. She went on to become an exhibit judge in 1987.
Wibker’s steady involvement with the Association brought her many accolades, including the Glenn Smedley Memorial Award (1996) and ANA Medal of Merit (1997), Exemplary Service Award (2002), three Presidential Awards (1997, 1998 and 2009) and the Joseph E. Boling Award for Judging Excellence (2010). In 2017 she received the ANA Goodfellow Award in recognition of her work as host chair of the ANA’s National Money Show® in Orlando.
The Numismatist of the Year, first presented in 1995, was established to recognize individuals within the numismatic community who have demonstrated long-term leadership in the field and to the American Numismatic Association. This year’s recipient is David J. McCarthy.
Having a lifelong interest in numismatics, he accepted a position with Richard Nachbar Rare Coins in 2000. In 2003 he moved to Northern California to continue his career with Kagin’s, where he is currently the firm’s senior numismatist and researcher.
McCarthy has been a consultant to the Smithsonian Institution, the United States Secret Service, Bank of California, Union Bank, The San Francisco Old Mint and the American Numismatic Association. He is a contributor to A Guide Book of United States Coins (the “Red Book”) and CoinWorld, and has published groundbreaking research in The Numismatist. His article “Nova Constellatio: Identifying the First American Coin” (August 2017) received a Wayte and Olga Raymond Memorial Literary Award.
An ANA life member, McCarthy also belongs to the Florida United Numismatists, Pacific Coast Numismatic Society and Central States Numismatic Society. He received the ANA’s Glenn Smedley Memorial Award in 2015.
McCarthy enjoys sharing his expertise and enthusiasm for numismatics and has taught several classes at the ANA’s Summer Seminar. He also is a sought-after speaker on the subject of pioneer gold coins, regulated gold of Early America and other specialized areas of numismatics, history and collecting. He is particularly knowledgeable about the coinage of Julius Popper, Massachusetts silver and American Confederation gold.
The American Numismatic Association recognizes that the future of the hobby depends on the recruitment and education of young numismatists. The Young Numismatist of the Year award honors young collectors for outstanding contributions to the hobby and industry. Recipients exhibit a positive attitude, strong communication skills, cooperation, dependability and avid interest in expanding their numismatic knowledge. Receiving this year’s award is Abigail Zechman.
In 2012, Zechman was moving up the ranks in Girl Scouts. That year, she entered a Florida United Numismatists (FUN) show looking to earn a coin-collecting patch and left with a passion for numismatics.
She quickly joined FUN and has since become a member of Early American Coppers, the Combined Organization of Numismatic Error Collectors of America (CONECA) and the Original Hobo Nickel Society. Coin carving came naturally to the art-minded student, who has taken numerous classes and explored a variety of media. She counts the late Archie Taylor, well known for his carved creations, among her most cherished mentors.
The 16-year-old collector attended ANA’s Summer Seminar this year and served as auction head for the YN Benefit Auction during the second week. After graduating high school, Zechman intends to pursue a career as a coin grader and welcomes the opportunity to help others.
The Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to an individual, family, firm or judicial entity that has made outstanding contributions to organized numismatics. Energetic, organized and seldom without his clipboard in hand, life member and National Exhibit Coordinator Mark Lighterman is the 2018 recipient. Lighterman will be honored during the World’s Fair of Money in Philadelphia.
An avid American Numismatic Association promoter, Lighterman has been a national volunteer since 2003, taking on his current duties as national exhibit coordinator in 2008. He chaired the ANA Exhibiting Committee from 2005 to 2009, and today also serves the ANA as parliamentarian. Lighterman is president of Combined Organizations of Numismatic Error Collectors of America (CONECA), treasurer of the Token and Medal Society (TAMS), past president of Florida United Numismatists (FUN), and a charter member of the Casino Chip and Gaming Token Collectors Club. He has written articles for The Numismatist and CONECA’s bimonthly publication, ErrorScope.
Lighterman is always looking for new Florida gaming tokens to add to his collection, and he avidly pursues error coins. Among his many major off-metal strikes are a $20 gold piece struck on a large cent, a Flying Eagle cent struck on a half dime, and a 1934 Peace dollar struck on a quarter. Although the latter is one of his favorites, he quickly notes that all his coins are important to him. Several years ago, Whitman Publishing sought him out for his expertise, and in 2010 he contributed to Nicholas P. Brown’s 100 Greatest U.S. Error Coins.
In 2009 Lighterman took his place alongside fellow hobbyists in the Casino Chip and Gaming Token Collectors Club’s Hall of Fame. He was recognized as CONECA’s Lyndon King Outstanding Member of the Year in 2012 and inducted into the organization’s Hall of Fame in 2014. The ANA presented him its Presidential Award in 1999, the Glenn Smedley Memorial Award in 2002, Medal of Merit in 2012, Adna G. Wilde Jr. Award for Excellence in 2015, and Farran Zerbe Memorial Award for Distinguished Service in 2016.