Rules for World's Fair of Money exhibits

The Collector Exhbits 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 "competitive" exhibits, non‑judged "non-competitive" exhibits and marquee exhibits.


A.     Group-A. Judged Exhibits

1)     Open division - Open to any member of the American Numismatic Association, including young numismatists (YNs) and ANA member clubs (see rule 5). Judged exhibits are eligible for class awards, Best-of-Show and the People's Choice Award.  ANA elected officers, the chief judge, the assistant chief judges, the best-of-show judges and the National Exhibits Coordinator may place judged exhibits only in the emeritus class (see Class 20).

2)     Young Numismatist division - limited to members of the American Numismatic Association under eighteen years of age.  YN exhibitors will prepare, mount, and place their own exhibits subject to the rules that apply to the open division.  Young numismatist (YN) exhibitors may compete for open division awards and for the separately endowed YN awards. (See also rule 17. JUDGING FOR YN EXHIBITS.)


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 only 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. Marquee exhibits are not eligible for exhibit awards.


2. APPLICATIONS. Exhibitors must file a separate application for each exhibit, designating the group and classification in which it will be entered (when applicable). Competitive YN exhibitors must designate both an open division classification and a YN division classification on each exhibit application(s).  Each competitive exhibitor is limited to four exhibits, no more than two of which may be entered in the same open classification.   (If two exhibits are entered in the same class, they must be dissimilar in content and appearance, and if possible will not be placed adjacent to each other.)  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 exhibi­tor 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" (see Enclosure 3) 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.  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. 


8. 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 I.D. 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.


9. 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 fire, theft or other casualty.


10. 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 ("agent") other than the exhibitor, provided the exhibitor submits the required agent application and it is accepted by the ANA. Any agent who handles the exhibit in the absence of the exhibitor must be an ANA member and must have a photo I.D. 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.


11. CASES.  Exhibit cases will be provided to exhibitors for use at the convention. Competitive exhibits are allowed seven ANA cases each, except that an exhibitor may place one exhibit of up to ten cases in a given convention (one competitive exhibit with up to ten (10) cases, and three competitive exhibits of up to seven (7) cases).  See rule 11B, below for limitations on cases provided by the exhibitor.  Deviations from these limits, for material not capable of being presented in the usual cases, are allowed only with approval of the ANA National Exhibit Coordinator in advance. The number of ANA cases allocated to non-competitive exhibits is a matter of negotiation between the exhibitor and the ANA National Exhibit Coordinator in advance.


A. Case Dimensions - The ANA exhibit cases are a variation of the standard dealer display cases sometimes referred to as "Allstate" 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. Therefore, the display space inside the case measures approximately 32 ¾" x 20 ¾". Certain ANA cases can be up to ¼" longer in each internal dimension. The internal depth is 2 17/32". The exterior case dimensions are 34" x 22" x 3".  

Pictorial of Case Exhibit Dimensions


B. Exhibitor-Owned Cases -  Exhibitors may use their own cases, provided that no exhibit may exceed 5,250 square inches of table space (7,500 square inches for a "ten-case" exhibit).  In the event an exhibitor wishes to mix personal and ANA cases, the ANA case external dimensions are 34" x 22".


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, floor or table space and are permitted only by specific prior arrangement with the ANA 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 or 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 and by prior arrangement only).



12. 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.


13. 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.



14. 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, the number of cases used and the convention residence of the exhibitor. 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.


15. 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 families (immediate or extended) 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 family (immediate or extended) or any exhibit that the judge has placed or will remove on behalf of an exhibitor.  Those with questions on what constitutes immediate or extended family should contact the chief judge directly.


16. 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 and assistants will also review all classes to ensure that there are no discrepancies between the ordinal rankings of the exhibits and the numerical scores that have been given them.  Such cases will be resolved in favor of the exhibit that received the greater number of votes for first place (or second or third, as applicable.



17. JUDGING FOR YN EXHIBITS.  A single YN exhibit may win an award in each division, except that if a YN exhibit wins the Best-of-Show award, the next best YN exhibit will be awarded the YN best-of-show award.  YN exhibits will be judged with the open exhibits and those rating sheets will be returned to the exhibitors.  YN exhibits will also be separately judged as necessary within the consolidated YN classes by the assistant chief judges.  No rating sheets will be returned for this separate judging.  Judging standards used for YN exhibits are identical to those used for open exhibits, and YN exhibits will not be distinguished in any way by labeling or by placements in the collector gallery until judging is completed and ribbons are placed on the cases.  Note that several open classes can correlate with a single YN class; this means that a YN exhibitor may have multiple exhibits in the same YN class.




A.     An exhibitor or exhibitor's agent may, within the time period announced in the schedule of events and posted at the exhibit chairman's table, submit a written request for review to the chief judge, through the exhibit chairman, as to any supposed error in rating the exhibitor's exhibit.  The exhibit chairman will provide standard forms to those who desire a review and will post the deadline for review requests.  Only forms provided by the chief judge will be used. Personal presentation by an exhibitor will not be allowed.


B.     After review of the challenged ratings, the review committee may correct any error in the ratings of any exhibit judge without the latter's concurrence, or replace a judge with a substitute exhibit judge for the purpose of rating all exhibits in that class.  Exhibitors who file a request for review may have points taken away as well as granted.


19. EXHIBITING PREVIOUS WINNING EXHIBITS/MATERIAL. Use the following criteria to determine how to enter previous winning exhibits or exhibits containing numismatic material from previous winning exhibits:


A.     An exhibit that has won the Howland Wood Award (best-of-show), 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.  These exhibits may also 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.


B.     The best of show exhibit from an ANA National Money Show (spring or fall convention) may be entered directly into the best-of-show competition at an ANA's World's Fair of Money once during the subsequent three World's Fair of Money conventions, at the exhibitor's option.  If the exhibitor desires to attempt to win the first place award in a category, then the exhibit will be judged against all others of the same category (class), and may not succeed in advancing to the best-of-show round.  For purposes of eligibility under rule 19A., above, an exhibit that is entered directly into best-of-show judging as a result of having won the best-of-show award at a National Money Show will not be considered to have used one of its two years of eligibility for exhibition in a class.





A.     If an exhibit contains items belonging to more than one classification, but at least 65% of the items (as recorded on the exhibitor's inventory form) are from a single class, the exhibit may be entered in that class. (Examples: an exhibit of 52 European coins, including 13 gold coins (25%), would go into class 12; and exhibit of banknotes including half from Latin America and half from Europe and Asia would go into class 18, because neither item type equals 65%.  If, however, the notes are 65% errors, or if the exhibit is based on the convention theme, then it could be placed in classes 16 or 19 respectively.) Exhibits that cannot meet the 65% test for any classification will be placed in class 18.


B.     An exhibit that could be shown in more than one class may be shown in the class of the exhibitor's choice (examples: recent medals that could be shown in either class 3 or class 4; paper money that could be shown in either class 2 or class 10.)


21. 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. A YN Award may be granted to a YN exhibit that averages as few as fifty points.  All exhibitors and judges will receive a suitable medal or certificate for their participation.


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.  Howland Wood Memorial Award for Best-of-Show -  The award will be given to the exhibit that is determined "Best-of-Show" by a panel of judges. Except for the "emeritus class," all first place award winners in the judged division classes and best-of-show winners from previous National Money Show conventions (if entered directly into the best-of-show competition-see rule 19B) will be eligible. A medal will be engraved and awarded to the winner.


B.  Radford Stearns Memorial Award for Best-of-Show runners-up -  These awards will be given to the exhibits that are determined "Best-of-Show runners-up" (first and second) by a panel of judges. Except for the "emeritus class," all first place award winners in the judged division classes and best-of-show winners from previous National Money Show conventions (if entered directly into the best-of-show competition-see rule 19B) will be eligible. Medals will be engraved and awarded to the winners.


C.  Rodger E. Hershey Memorial People's Choice Award -  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 (including the Emeritus class) are eligible for this award.  A plaque will be awarded to the winner.


D.  Thos. H. Law Memorial Award for Best New Exhibit- Awarded to the best exhibit by a person who has never exhibited competitively at an ANA anniversary or World's Fair of Money convention, and who is showing an exhibit that has never been placed by any other exhibitor.  A YN exhibitor who has never won an ANA open award will be considered a new exhibitor. A plaque will be awarded to the winner.


E.  Derek Pobjoy Award for Best Modern Circulating Commemorative Coin Exhibit -  Awarded to the best exhibit of circulating commemorative coins issued at face value within the twenty years preceding the convention (example: 1992-2012).  A plaque will be awarded to the winner.

F. Women in Numismatics Award (probationary)  - Awarded to the best exhibit demonstrating an aspect of the roles of women in numismatics; as representational images, artists, producers, scholars, collectors, etc.  This award is anonymous.



Prize and Conditions

For questions on prizes and awards, please email


Classified Exhibit Awards


Classified Exhibit Awards


First-, second, and third-place awards will be given for each competitive class.  The chief judge has the authority to withhold awards where exhibits are deemed insufficient.  The following awards are established for  judged exhibits.





Class 1 - United States coins

All United States coins and patterns and all coinage or trade tokens used in pre-federal America, except gold.



Class 2 - United States fiscal paper

All paper money and bonds issued by the United States government, including military currency; pre-U.S. colonial, Continental, and Confederate paper money and bonds; state and private banknotes and bonds; scrip; college currency; stock certificates.  Essays, proofs, and souvenir cards of such items may also be shown.



Class 3 - Medals, orders, decorations and badges

Medallic items not used as a medium of exchange, or not having trade value.  Orders and decorations, convention badges, and badges issued by fraternal orders or other organizations. Excluded are Masonic pennies and tokens included in classes 5-8.



Class 4 - Modern coins and medals

Coins issued 1960 and later. Medallic (non-denominated) material issued by a private mint of any country after 1960, including philatelic numismatic covers.



Class 5 - Tokens

Items, including encased postage, issued unofficially as a medium of exchange for goods and services or for advertising purposes, but excluding American colonial items included in class 1.  Includes Masonic pennies and substances used in lieu of metal.



Class 6 - Casino chips and gaming tokens

Items of all types and materials used as gaming pieces, including traditional and non-traditional tokens and other money substitutes and including tokens used in military clubs.



Class 7 - Engraved Coins

Numismatic items that have been converted to jewelry, amulets, or decorative objects.  Examples are love tokens, hobo nickels, and "pop-out" coins.



Class 8 - Elongated coins

Souvenirs created using an elongating machine, whether the underlying piece is a coin, token, medal or blank planchet.



Class 9 - Coins issued prior to 1500 A.D.

Coins including gold, issued by any government before 1500 A.D.



Class 10 - Regional U.S. numismatics

Numismatic material of any type specific to a particular region of the United States, such as the locale where the exhibit is being presented.



Class 11 - Numismatics of the Americas

Numismatic material of any type issued or used in the Western Hemisphere outside the United States.




Class 12 - Numismatics of Europe

Numismatic material of any type issued or used in Europe, including Russia east to the Urals.



Class 13 - Numismatics of Africa and the Middle East

Numismatic material of any type issued or used on the continent of Africa and in the Middle East (from Turkey east through Iran and south to Aden).



Class 14 - Numismatics of Asia and the Pacific

All numismatic material issued or used in Asia east of the Urals and Iran, and in the southeast Asian, Australasian, and Pacific islands.  Excluded is Hawaii under the United States.



Class 15 - Gold Coins

Gold coins of any provenance or era



Class 16 - Numismatic errors and error varieties

Any numismatic material mis-struck or misprinted by the producer, including varieties caused by die or plate deterioration or damage.  Excluded are items mutilated or altered after production.



Class 17 - Numismatic literature

Printed and manuscript (published or unpublished) literature dealing with any numismatic subject.



Class 18 - General, specialized and topical

Numismatic material not covered in other classes or covered by more than one class (but see rule 20.B. above).  Includes wooden money, political buttons and insignia, and other exonumia, as well as media of exchange used in carrying

out purchases and business transactions by primitive people and later by others as they progressed from barter to coins, or other items generally accepted as primitive or odd and curious currencies.  Also includes exhibits showing

material linked by design, such as elephants or bridges, or by theme, such as

a world's fair.



Class 19 - Convention theme

Numismatic items of any type that, together with the exhibit text, illustrate the announced theme for the convention at which the exhibit is shown. 2012 ANA World's Fair of Money theme: The Birthplace of U.S. Money



Class 20 - Emeritus

Exhibits by individuals not otherwise eligible to exhibit competitively (see rule 1.A.1.), or exhibits that have won best-of-show or twice won in class competition at the World's Fair of Money (see rule 19.A.).  Any other exhibit may also be entered at the exhibitor's option.  The winner of this class does not advance to best-of-show judging.



YN Exhibit Awards   The following awards are established for (Group A) young numismatist division judged exhibits.


Charles H. Wolfe, Sr. Memorial Award for YN Best-of-Show -  The award will be given to the exhibit that is determined "YN Best-of-Show" by a panel of judges. Only first place award winners in the YN division classes will be eligible. A plaque and a full scholarship to the ANA Summer Seminar will be awarded to the winner.


Scholarship Conditions


A.  The recipient must use the award within two years of winning, unless s/he is not yet old enough to attend Summer Seminar (13 years of age). Recipients 12 and under must use the scholarship within two years of turning 13.


B.  The scholarship covers airfare, tuition, lodging and meals for one week (up to $1600). Lodging is based on the double occupancy rate in the Colorado College dorms.  Room upgrades, mini-seminars and tours are not covered by the scholarship.


C.  Membership dues must be paid up-to-date.






Class Y1 - United States coins

All United States coins and patterns and all coinage or trade tokens

used in pre-federal America.



Class Y2 - World coins

Coins issued 1500 A.D. or later in any foreign country.



Class Y3 - Paper money

Paper money and paper numismatica of all types, issued in any country.



Class Y4 - Israeli or Judaic

Israeli or Judaic numismatic material of all types.  In the event no exhibits qualify, the award may be presented to another deserving exhibit.



Class Y5 - Medals and tokens

Medals and tokens of all countries.  In the event no exhibits qualify, the award may be presented to another deserving exhibit.



Class Y6 - Medieval and ancient

All numismatic material issued prior to 1500 A.D.



Class Y7 - Errors and varieties

Any numismatic material mis-struck or misprinted by the producer, including varieties caused by die or plate deterioration or damage.  Excluded are items mutilated or altered after production.  In the event no exhibits qualify, the award may be presented to another deserving exhibit.