Skip to main content

Cindy Wibker receives Zerbe Award

 Cindy Wibker (Image courtesy

Cindy Wibker (Image courtesy

Florida United Numismatists’ Cindy Wibker was given the American Numismatic Association’s top award Aug. 17 at the World’s Fair of Money banquet in Philadelphia.

The Farran Zerbe Memorial Award for Distinguished Service was given to her for her many years of service to organized numismatics.

Three other major awards were given.

David J. McCarthy was recognized as Numismatist of the Year.

Abigail Zechman was named Young Numismatist of the Year.

Mark Lighterman gained the Lifetime Achievement Award.

According to the ANA, the Zerbe Award is given in recognition of numerous years of outstanding, dedicated service to the hobby.

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, La., Wibker took the path of filling Whitman nickel and cent folders with pocket change and acquiring specimens through mail-order businesses.

As was the case with many childhood collectors, her mind turned to other pursuits.

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 get back in. She bought her first Civil War token in April 1975 and has never looked back.

An Air Force wife for 13-1/2 years, Wibker took time off from her career to raise 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. A love of history then bloomed amid her love of numismatics with 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 her 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.

Wibker 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. 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 ANA 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 was first presented in 1995. The recognition was established for those who have demonstrated long-term leadership in the field and to the American Numismatic Association.

As this year’s winner, ANA notes that David J. McCarthy has a lifelong interest in numismatics. He went to work for 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 Coin World, and he has published ground-breaking 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 has taught several classes at the ANA’s annual 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 Young Numismatist of the Year award goes to Abigail Zechman. Recipients are honored as young collectors who have made outstanding contributions to the hobby and industry.

Recipients are supposed to exhibit a positive attitude, strong communication skills, cooperation, dependability, and avid interest in expanding their numismatic knowledge.

In 2012, Zechman was moving up the ranks in Girl Scouts. That year, she entered a FUN show looking to earn a coin collecting patch. She left with an enduring 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.

Mark Lighterman is the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award recipient.

The annual award is give to an individual, family, firm, or judicial entity that has made outstanding contributions to organized numismatics.

ANA notes that he is always energetic, organized, and seldom without his clipboard in hand. He is a life member and national exhibit coordinator.

An avid ANA 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, treasurer of the Token and Medal Society, past president of Florida United Numismatists, 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.

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 entered 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.

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News Express. >> Subscribe today

More Collecting Resources

• With over 25,000 listings and 15,500 illustrations, the Standard Catalog of World Paper Money, Modern Issues is your go-to guide for modern bank notes.

• When it comes to specialized world paper money issues, nothing can top the Standard Catalog of World Paper Money, Specialized Issues eBook.