Rules for National Money Show exhibits

The Collector Exhibits at ANA Conventions is one of the best attended and most interesting parts of the show. There are educational displays on every area of numismatics from ancient coins and artifacts, tokens and medals, world coins, to modern United States coins and paper money. The individual creativity is rivaled only by the quality and variety of the items on display. Each display invites the viewer to Discover and Explore the World of Money.

For good advice on preparing a winning exhibit, read John R. Eshbach's "Preparing a Winning Exhibit."

The information below is a generalized version of the rules for exhibiting. For a full list of rules specific to each ANA convention, see the Collector Exhibits pages at:

Who to contact with questions

Exhibits coordinator: Emily Silver
(719) 482-9849

The official rules

1. GROUPS. Exhibits will be accepted in three groups - judged exhibits, non judged exhibits and marquee exhibits.


A. Group-A. Judged Exhibits - Open to any member of the American Numismatic Association, including young numismatists (YNs) and ANA member clubs. Judged exhibits are eligible for class awards, Best-of-Show and the People's Choice Award.  There is no separate award structure for YN or club exhibits.  ANA elected officers, the chief judge, the assistant chief judges and the National Exhibits Coordinator may not exhibit competitively at the National Money Show. Competitive YN exhibitors must be at least nine years old. Younger YNs are allowed to exhibit only non-competitively.


B. Group-B. Non Judged Exhibits - Open to members of the American Numismatic Association and to those invited to exhibit by the ANA president, the general chairman or the exhibit chairman. Non-judged exhibits are eligible for the People's Choice Award.


C. Group-C. Marquee Exhibits - By invitation or special application only, these non-competitive, non-conforming exhibits are used to promote and enhance the collector gallery and to attract visitors to the convention. This group includes exhibits from the ANA Money Museum. Marquee exhibits are not eligible for the People's Choice Award.


2. APPLICATIONS. Exhibitors must file a separate application for each exhibit, designating the group and classification in which it will be entered (when applicable). The National Exhibit Coordinator may transfer a judged exhibit from one class to another if it appears the exhibit was not entered properly.  Similarly, when exhibits are installed at the convention the exhibit chairman may transfer an exhibit from one class to another.  If at all possible, the exhibit chairman will confer with the exhibitor prior to transferring an exhibit. In the event that the exhibi¬tor does not agree on the placement of an exhibit, the chief judge will make the final decision.


3. EXHIBIT TEXT GUIDELINES. Exhibitors, in preparing their texts, may choose to lift information verbatim from one or more sources. For details judged as "basic numismatic information" such as mintage, designer, composition, etc., it is sufficient that sources for such information will be shown in a list of references. For text relating more to "special numismatic information," such as historical, biographical or economic matters, it is best for exhibitors to present information in their own words. Text lifted directly from other sources should be directly attributed to those sources. Instances where material is presented as "original" that has been copied from other sources will result in significant point deductions.


4. ADVERTISING. No exhibit may contain advertising of items therein for sale.


5.  OWNERSHIP OF ITEMS. All material contained in judged exhibits must be the personal property of the exhibitor, which may include property owned jointly with a spouse. Judged exhibits placed by ANA member clubs must be composed of material owned by the club or association itself, not by its members. Non-judged and marquee exhibits may be composed of material owned by any number of individuals or clubs.


6. DISPLAY OF COUNTERFEITS. Forged, spurious or counterfeit material and copies or replicas may not be displayed unless each item is described as such in the exhibit and unless such items are displayed for educational purposes. No such item will be displayed in violation of United States law or government regulations. In general, this means that no counterfeits of U.S. federal material may be shown under any circumstance. Violation of this paragraph, even if unintentional, will result in disqualification of the exhibit.  The exhibitor must remove the offending material upon being notified of the violation. Non-offending material may be left on display but the exhibit will not be eligible for awards. Application of this rule will be determined by the chief judge.


7. EXHIBITING PREVIOUS WINNING EXHIBITS. An exhibit that has won the Best-of-Show award at any ANA convention, or an exhibit that has won two first place awards (even in different classes), may not be entered again in competition except in the Emeritus class (not yet available at National Money Show conventions).  These exhibits may be shown as non-competitive exhibits.  A new exhibit, using the same numismatic material as was used in the above mentioned winning exhibits may be entered in competition if the exhibitor can satisfy to the ANA that the exhibit has completely changed in nature.  See Enclosure 7 of the exhibit application for more details.


8.  EXHIBITOR IDENTITY. The name or identity of a competitive exhibitor will not appear in the exhibit (including photographs of the exhibitor or of family members, through which the identity of the exhibitor can be deduced), except as an author in a bibliographic reference that is general enough that the exhibitor cannot be linked to the exhibit by that reference. Competitive exhibitors will not be permitted to attend their exhibits while they are being judged. 


9. EXHIBIT SET-UP AND REMOVAL. The collector gallery will be open for the placement and removal of exhibits before and after the convention opens and closes to the public. A photo ID badge will be required for admission to the collector gallery at all times when the general public is not admitted, and no exhibit may be placed or removed during public hours. All exhibits must be placed and cases locked before the convention opens to the public and all exhibits will remain in place until after the convention closes on its final day.  Any deviation from this schedule must be approved by the Exhibit Coordinator before the start of the convention.


10. SECURITY. Security room services will be provided during the times shown on published schedules. Exhibitors are advised that the presence of security personnel or security systems does not constitute a guarantee against loss, a policy of insurance or a promise to indemnify in the event of loss by any casualty. 


11. AGENTS AND ASSISTANTS. To be considered for an award, each judged exhibit must be placed in the collector gallery prior to the published deadline for placement. An exhibit may be placed and/or removed by a person other than the exhibitor ("agent"), provided the exhibitor submits the required agent application and it is accepted by the ANA. Any agent or assistant who handles the exhibit must be an ANA member and must have a photo ID badge. The agent's application must accompany the exhibit application and a copy must be carried by each agent at any time s/he is handling the exhibit (copies must be made before sending applications to the ANA). A competitive exhibitor who has not exhibited competitively at any previous ANA convention must install his or her exhibit without the assistance of an agent. An agent may be used to remove the exhibit at the close of the convention if necessary.


12. CASES. Exhibit cases will be provided to exhibitors for use at the convention. Each competitive exhibitor is allowed up to fifteen exhibit cases, or equivalent table space, which may be used for as many individual exhibits as can be accommodated within the case limit. Deviations from these limits are allowed only with approval of the ANA National Exhibit Coordinator in advance. If exhibit space is restricted at a particular convention, exhibitors may be allowed a lesser total number of cases.


A. Case Dimensions - The ANA exhibit cases are a variation of the standard dealer display cases sometimes referred to as "All-State" cases. The variation is a ½" channel around the inside of the vertical walls of the case (where the walls meet the case floor), which somewhat reduces the available display space and which can interfere with flexible boards that an exhibitor may have used to mount portions of the exhibit. The cases measure approximately 32 ¾" x 20 ¾" x 2 ½" on the inside, and 33" x 21" x 3" on the outside.  Certain ANA cases can be up to ¼" longer in each internal dimension.

Pictorial of Case Exhibit Dimensions


B. Exhibitor-Owned Cases - Exhibitors may use their own cases, provided that the total exhibit space used does not exceed the total table space occupied by fifteen ANA cases (15 cases x 748 in2 = 11,220 in2). If a case limit is imposed, total table space for personal cases will be the case limit multiplied by 748 in2.


C. Case Placement - All cases must lie flat on the tables provided, viewed either horizontally or vertically. Wall mounted or other non-standard displays are limited by available wall or floor space and are permitted only by specific prior arrangement with the National Exhibit Coordinator.


D. Outside the Case - No titles, placards or numismatic materials of any kind may be placed outside the exhibit cases. Switches or buttons intended to operate lights, educational displays in the cases or magnifying glasses provided to assist exhibit readers may be mounted on the table or on the cases, given that nothing extends more than one inch above the top (glass) surface of a case.  Exhibit material not capable of being presented in the usual cases is permitted by prior and specific arrangement with the National Exhibit Coordinator.


E. Electricity - No electrical outlets of any kind will be provided, except for certain marquee exhibits or by prior arrangement only.



13. IDENTIFICATION LABELS. A small identification label showing the number, group and class of the exhibit (if applicable), as well as the number of cases it uses, will be affixed to each case of a judged and non-judged exhibit.


14. LOCK-DOWN. Each ANA exhibit case will be locked and sealed with a lead seal by the exhibit chairman or assistant in the presence of the exhibitor or his/her agent. The keys will be kept by the exhibit chairman until the exhibit is removed by the exhibitor/agent. Keys to cases provided by exhibitors/agents must be turned over to the exhibit chairman or assistant. These cases must also be drilled and sealed with ANA lead seals. The exhibitor must complete an inventory that will list numismatic items contained in the exhibit. The inventory form must be signed in the presence of the exhibit chairman or assistant at the time the cases are locked and sealed.


15. RECORD KEEPING. The exhibit chairman will keep a complete record of each exhibit that shows the name of the exhibitor, the group, the identification number of the exhibit and the number of cases used. Names of the winning exhibitors will not be disclosed to the public until the judges have made their reports to the chief judge, all reports have been prepared and the Best-of-Show exhibit and runners-up have been selected. Exhibitors who wish to remain anonymous must notify the ANA in writing, prior to the convention.


16. JUDGE SELECTION. The chief judge will select assistant chief judges as necessary. The chief judge and assistant chief judges should be recognized for their impartial viewpoints and fairness. None may serve if members of their immediate families are competitive exhibitors at the same convention. There will be a minimum of three judges for each class, though classes in which fewer than four exhibits are entered may be judged by a single judge and an assistant chief judge. If necessary, a judge may rate exhibits in more than one class. No judge may rate exhibits placed by her/himself or by a member of her/his immediate family or any exhibit that the judge has placed or will remove on behalf of an exhibitor.


17. JUDGING PROCEDURE. There may be comparison of scores or discussion between judges concerning specific items or total scores during the judging process. Any questions that arise should be directed to the chief judge. If specific information on any point is needed, standard reference books or recognized experts in attendance at the convention will be consulted. Judges are expected to read all of the information presented in an exhibit before arriving at a conclusion about the exhibit. In the event a judge awards fewer than 75% of the available points for a given evaluation element, comments should be placed on the judging sheet for the benefit of the exhibitor. In any case where it is considered necessary, the judges will have the right to remove material from an exhibit case for the purpose of closer examination. The exhibitor/agent must be present, but may not participate in any discussion of the material being inspected. Such removal must also be made in the presence of the exhibit chairman and the chief judge or their assistants. In the event of a tie, the chief judge and the assistant chief judges will break the tie. The chief judge has complete discre¬tion to request that a class be re-judged, by either the original team of judges or by a newly appointed team of judges.


18. AWARDS. Awards for exhibits will be made by the American Numismatic Association in accordance with the procedures approved by its board of governors. An exhibit must earn an average of at least sixty scoring points to merit an award as a judged exhibit.


Universal Exhibit Awards


The following awards are made without regard to the class in which an exhibit is entered, and may be earned in addition to a class award.


A. National Money Show Best of Show - The award will be given to the exhibit that is determined "Best-of-Show" by a panel of judges. Only first place award winners in the judged division classes will be eligible. A medal will be engraved and awarded to the winner.


Note: The exhibit that wins the Best-of-Show award may be carried forward to one of the next three ANA World's Fair of Money conventions and be placed directly into competition for the Howland Wood award without undergoing class judging.  If, however, the exhibitor wishes to attempt to obtain a class award, the exhibit must be entered in normal class judging and will only be considered for the Howland Wood award if it succeeds in winning first place in its class.  In order to exercise either option, the exhibit must comply with the anniversary convention case limits (ten cases).  If the exhibit exceeds ten cases, it may be reduced as long as the general theme of the exhibit remains unchanged.


B. People's Choice - The People's Choice Award is given to the public's favorite exhibit, as determined by votes cast by convention attendees.  The exhibit receiving the most votes wins. Both competitive and non-competitive exhibits (excluding marquee exhibits) are eligible for this award.  A plaque will be awarded to the winner.



C. National Coin Week (Spring National Money Show only) - The winning exhibit will be the one that best publicizes National Coin Week or numismatics in general, suitable for installation in public spaces. It is awarded only at the ANA's National Money Show conventions held in the spring.  An exhibit entered in the NCW competition may also be entered in one of the classified exhibit categories, and may win awards in both competitions.  It is also eligible for Best-of-Show. The total market value of the numismatic contents of an exhibit in the NCW category may not exceed $250.

The objective of the NCW category is to encourage and recognize exhibits that are designed to be placed in non-secure locations, such as bank and post office lobbies, libraries, retail stores, schools or other locations where full-time security is not provided and where there is risk of loss due to public access.  Such exhibits should be oriented toward the general public, rather than toward numismatists, and should provide a general and specific education in numismatics that is understandable to the lay viewer.  Ideally, such exhibits should be oriented toward the current year's theme for National Coin Week.  There is no requirement that an exhibit entered in this category actually be shown publicly, but all entrants in this category are encouraged to arrange a location for display of their exhibits so that the public and the hobby gain the benefits of such exposure.


Prize and Conditions


The National Coin Week award includes a full scholarship to the ANA Summer Seminar. For more information, contact Emily Silver at


Classified Exhibit Awards


The following awards are established for exhibits that fall within the classification definitions below. Because of the nature of the classification system (based on an exhibit's theme, rather than the type of numismatic material that is being displayed), there are no restrictions on the mix of material. An exhibit that can be shown in more than one class may be shown in the class of the exhibitor's choice. First place receives a numismatic item and a certificate, second and third place each receives a certificate.  Even with a single entry in a class, the chief judge may elect to withhold all awards.


Class 1: History & Politics -Exhibits dealing with historical or political events.

Class 2: Economics -Exhibits dealing with monetary and financial systems or economic events such as panics and inflations.

Class 3: Geography -Exhibits that describe natural or cultural assets, the distribution of populations or exploration.

Class 4: Common Element -Exhibits showing material linked by design such as elephants or bridges, or by theme such as World's Fair.

Class 5: The Arts -Exhibits that explore any aspect of fine or applied arts.

Class 6: Science -Exhibits dealing with theoretical or applied science, including the technology of manufacturing numismatic items.