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PNG honors Piret

Chicago is known for its steaks. There is good reason for this reputation as I proved last night at Gibson’s Steakhouse in Rosemont.

I attended the annual awards banquet of the Professional Numismatists Guild. While enjoying good food and each other’s company, the members honor outstanding individuals.

I could not have agreed more with the choices.

The PNG 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Diane Piret of the Industry Council for Tangible Assets.

I have know Diane for more than 30 years and I have worked with her during her time at ICTA.

She exemplifies professionalism, but she makes it fun, too. There is nothing more infectious than her laughter.

Imagine finding something funny to talk about when considering the state of law in relation to numismatic topics. But Diane can do it and it is always on target and appropriate.

She is the kind of person who makes the job of editor of Numismatic News editor enjoyable.

According to the PNG biography, Piret has been actively involved with numismatics and precious metals for more than 40 years, and has worked with ICTA since 1989 on local, state and federal legislative matters affecting the profession and hobby. She has also been a crusader for dealer education.

Congratulations to her for a job well done. In fact, she has done it so well, she almost makes it seem easy. Most participants in numismatics will never know just how much they owe to her. But PNG does. The award proves it.

Other awards were given last night as well. Thanks to help from Donn Pearlman, I can summarize them very neatly.

Sol Kaplan Award: Louis Don Gouchie, owner of Golden Isles Coins in Raleigh, N.C.

The Kaplan Award is jointly presented by PNG and the Lewis M. Reagan Foundation and is presented to someone who has helped rid the profession of fraud and thievery. In August 2013, at potentially great risk to his own life, Gouchie assisted local law enforcement officers in the successful apprehension of a man suspected of selling counterfeit American Eagle silver bullion coins at his store in Raleigh and at three other stores in the community.

Robert Friedberg Award: The Whitman Encyclopedia of Obsolete Paper Money, Volumes 1 & 2, by Q. David Bowers.

The Friedberg Award is named in honor of a publisher and author of numismatic reference books, and is presented to an author in recognition for an outstanding book or other literature. This award is not automatically given each year, and is only presented when there is deemed to be a worthy recipient or recipients.

Significant Contribution Award: Michael Fuljenz, President of Universal Coin & Bullion in Beaumont, Texas.

In recent years Fuljenz has done extensive consumer protection work to alert the public about so-called “hotel buyers” who often pay only pennies on the dollar for rare coins. He also made exceptional efforts on behalf of the profession and PNG in successful efforts with ICTA to combat onerous tax legislation that would have significantly affected retail transactions involving rare coins and bullion coins in Texas, and assisted efforts to enact industry-friendly tax legislation in Louisiana.

Abe Kosoff Founders Award: John A. Feigenbaum, president of David Lawrence Rare Coins in Virginia Beach, Va.

The Kosoff award is named after PNG’s Founding President who spearheaded the 1953 launch of the organization. It was presented this year to Feigenbaum for his steadfast dedication to the entire numismatic community.

Art Kagin Ambassador Award: Richard Montgomery, president of Numismatic Guaranty Corporation in Sarasota, Fla.

The Kagin Award is named after a former PNG President and nationally known Iowa dealer who provided distinguished service for decades as an advocate of numismatic goodwill.

Numismatic Statesman Award: Steven R. Eichenbaum, CEO of Certified Collectibles Group in Sarasota, Fla.

This is a new award category created this year by PNG to recognize continuing efforts to add integrity and confidence to the numismatic marketplace.

There were 10 PNG member-dealers honored for 25 years of PNG membership:

• Buddy Alleva of Long Island Rare Coins & Currency/Numismatics Unlimited in Massapequa, N.Y.

• Loren D. Barnett of Barnett Rarities Corporation in Birmingham, Mich.

• Brad Bohnert of Numismatic Emporium in Geneva, Switzerland and Paris, France.

• Kent E. Gulley of Sarasota Rare Coin Gallery in Sarasota, Fla.

• Jack C. Hertzberg of Jack Hertzberg Rare Coins in Seattle, Wash.

• Casey Noxon of Texas Numismatic Investments in Austin, Texas.

• Brad Rodgers of Numismatic Emporium in Woodland Hills, Calif.

• Gregory Rohan of Heritage Auctions in Dallas, Texas.

• Dean Schmidt of Dean Schmidt Rare Coins in Atchison, Kan.

• Dale Williams of Williams Gallery in Bozeman, Mont.

It was a delightful evening. Thank you, PNG.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper is winner of the 2013 Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."