This article was originally printed in Numismatic News.
An anonymous donor has given $100,000 to the American Numismatic Association in support of the endowment in memory of Charles “Radford” Stearns and to establish Best of Show exhibit awards in his name for the ANA’s new fall National Money Show.
The funds will also allow the ANA to grant a Summer Seminar scholarship to the Best of Show exhibit winner at the fall National Money Show and pay for the design of new medals for the fall show exhibits program.
“We are deeply indebted to this generous donor whose grant increased the Radford Stearns Memorial Award endowment manifold times,” said Clifford Mishler, ANA president.
Awards will continue to be given in Stearns’ name to the first and second runners-up in the Best of Show exhibit competition at the annual summer ANA World’s Fair of Money.
“This development pulls together two of Radford’s hobby passions – education and exhibiting,” Mishler said. “He was very supportive of fostering education through exhibiting, building up Summer Seminar and extending the outreach of the ANA to new collectors and exhibitors by making our events more rewarding, appealing and accessible. I know he would be very pleased with this.”
“I am incredibly grateful to the donor for this gift and know that Rad would be thrilled to see his numismatic legacy continued in this manner,” said Mary Lu Stearns, his widow.
A life member of the ANA, Stearns was a passionate proponent of collector exhibiting and educational outreach. He exhibited at every opportunity and in 1976 received the Howland Wood Best of Show Award in New York City. About that same time he was appointed to the last United States Assay Commission by President Gerald Ford. He regularly delivered programs at ANA educational forums, local clubs, and conventions.
Stearns was elected to the ANA board of governors in 2007 and, in 2008, advanced a proposal and provided funding to establish the Radford Stearns Award for Excellence in Exhibiting. Those awards were first given at the Los Angeles World’s Fair of Money in 2009.
Stearns died Aug. 31, 2008, at the age of 67.