Anthony J. Swiatek Receives ANA's 2002 Farran Zerbe Award
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Anthony J. Swiatek, this year's recipient of the American Numismatic
Association's (ANA) Farran Zerbe Memorial Award for Distinguished Service,
is a teacher, a counselor, and a friend to the hobby, science and business
Coins - their collection and the study of their beauty, history and
lore - have been his passion since he was 11, when he received a United
States Mint proof set and a 1921 Pilgrim Tercentenary commemorative half
dollar for Christmas.
Four days after his 61st birthday on July 31, Swiatek, who is general
chairman of the ANA's 111th Anniversary Convention in New York City this
month, will receive the ANA's highest honor - the Farran Zerbe Memorial
Award for Distinguished Service - on Saturday evening, August 3, at the
In one of the many nominations the ANA past president received for the
Farran Zerbe Memorial Award, long-time friend and colleague Michael S.
"Stan" Turrini states, "With his famous smile, ready laugh,
twinkle in his eyes, firm handshake, openness, plus speaking a New
Yorker's way to you, 'Mr. Commem' brightens the room, places people at
ease and entices those about him, even for the first time, with the
enthusiasm and excitement of our hobby and science. He is truly an
ambassador of numismatics."
The Brooklyn-born numismatist started out his teaching career in the
New York City school system. Holding bachelor's and master's degrees from
City College of New York - earned while working days and attending classes
at night - Swiatek entered what he thought was to be his first and only
"I always enjoyed helping children and really felt I had that
sense of calling," he says. "It was a lot of work, but I liked
it; I really cared."
Swiatek was in his late 20s by the time he completed his first college
degree and began teaching science. However, after 10 years in front of the
classroom full time and extra hours with coins, he decided to give his
other love a try. Taking a leave of absence from teaching, he dove
completely into numismatics.
While attending college, Swiatek heard of a coin show at the New Yorker
Hotel in Manhattan. There he met Julius Turoff and Moe Weinschel, who gave
him copies of Coin World and Numismatic News, and began to
introduce him to the wonderful world of numismatics.
"I will never forget what they did for me," Swiatek says, his
voice filled with sincerity. "They took the time to help me, lead me,
While at a show in New York in 1971, Swiatek met noted numismatist John
Jay Pittman, who sponsored him for membership in the ANA. Two years later,
Pittman convinced him to convert to life membership (#1099). Over the
ensuing years, other collectors and dealers guided the young hobbyist,
including numismatic legends Abe Kosoff, Sol Kaplan and Lester Merkin, who
Swiatek calls his "Numismatic Father."
"He always tried to help me," Swiatek says. "And Margo
Russell (then editor of the weekly hobby publication Coin World)
took me under her wing. She was a fantastic influence on me; she
encouraged me to write for her publication and others. She was my
After becoming a full-time coin dealer in 1979, Swiatek immersed
himself in the hobby as a writer, lecturer and advocate. He pursued
commemorative coins, as well as U.S. silver dollars and gold issues. That
devotion opened many doors, including the opportunity to testify before
the House Banking, Finance and Urban Affairs Subcommittee on Consumer
Affairs and Coinage regarding commemorative coinage. Swiatek's reputation
also led him to participate in many first strike ceremonies, and he has
been an invited guest at White House ceremonies.
Today, Swiatek operates Swiatek-Minerva Coins and Jewelry, Ltd. in
Manhasset, New York, with his wife, Gloria, and produces a newsletter
about the numismatic marketplace, "The Swiatek Report." He is a
member of more than 20 coin clubs and organizations around the country and
served 10 years on the ANA Board of Governors, including terms as
president and vice president.
Ever the teacher, Swiatek frequently volunteers as a speaker and
instructor for many of the organizations to which he belongs. At ANA
conventions, he always can be found leading a Numismatic Theatre
presentation. The perpetual student, he expanded his own knowledge by
studying for the ANA's World Series of Numismatics, a mind-challenging
game of wits held at the Association's summer conventions. He captained
his team - Minerva's Conquerors - to victories in 1992, '93, '95 and '97,
and a fifth time in 1998, in "The Tournament of Past Champions."
Outside the classroom and lecture circuit, Swiatek continues his
instruction with his writings, receiving the ANA's Heath Literary Award
and Wayte and Olga Raymond Memorial Literary Award, as well as several
Numismatic Literary Guild awards. He is the author of Commemorative
Coins of the United States; co-author of Encyclopedia of United
States Silver and Gold Commemorative Coins, 1892-1954; and The
Walking Liberty Half Dollar.
Swiatek is a recipient of the ANA's Outstanding Adult Advisor Award,
Glenn Smedley Memorial Award and Medal of Merit. He also received the
Great Eastern Numismatic Association's first Frank J. Caggiano Literary
Award. In 1993 he was named a Numismatic Ambassador by Numismatic News.
Nominator Walter Ostromecki offered his own definition of this year's
Farran Zerbe Memorial Award winner. "Anthony Swiatek is the gracious
hobbyist of hobbyists; the consummate mentor of mentors; the academic
teacher of teachers; and one who never has failed to encourage others on
all levels to 'Have more fun with your hobby.'"
THE AMERICAN NUMISMATIC ASSOCIATION FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 3,
2002 CONTACT: Stephen L. Bobbitt Telephone 719/632-2646 x113 E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org