For many years at this time of year I have written to ask readers to submit nominations for the Numismatic Ambassador Award. I do not have to do that this year because modifications made to the award program in 2008 have changed the schedule going forward.
Don’t worry, the call will come, but it will be made in the early months of 2009 after we have all gotten through the busy holiday season.
Numismatic Ambassador Awards were created by this paper in 1974 to honor the hobby’s many unsung volunteers who make the hobby function at the high level that it does. Whether these individuals serve as an educational program director at the local club level, or serve in a leadership post at a regional or national organization, this impulse to serve is something to be nurtured and we at Numismatic News figure that saying thank you is one good way of doing that.
Others seem to agree with us and it has been our collective pleasure to give many awards over the ensuing years.
What occurred to change the schedule was our decision this year to give all of the annual awards simultaneously at the Ambassador Breakfast at the American Numismatic Association summer convention in Baltimore.
Prior to that event, we used to attempt to arrange to give the awards individually to recipients during shows that were meaningful to each person so it could be done before his or her hobby peers. I had the pleasure of giving two awards in Willimantic, Conn., in March as the result of that now ended policy.
The rising cost of attendance at these shows finally forced us to put an end to the practice as a matter of policy. I can foresee that there will be special circustances that will call for individual handling in future, but that will now become the exception rather than the rule.
The year 2009 will mark the 35th annivesary of the creation of the award. The next class of Ambassadors will be recognized next summer at the Ambassador Breakfast to be held at the ANA convention in Los Angeles. An Ambassador Award holder, G. Lee Kuntz, will be general chairman of the convention He proves not only the original wisdom of his peers in giving him and his wife Joyce an award in 1996, but that the spirit of volunteerism does not end with the receipt of the award plaque.
Even with the change in the schedule, the process of selecting Ambassadors has not changed. A ballot will be compiled from the nominations we receive and it will be sent to all of the holders of the award. They vote. The top vote getters become the next class of recipients.
We will notify these new recipients in time for them to make plans to attend the ANA convention if they so choose. We cannot give them the surprise and excitement of the local angle any longer, but we can still be sure that they are recognized before their fellow award holders in August 2009 at the annual breakfast.
So by all means think about who is worthy of recognition for the next class of award winners and watch this space for the formal call early next year.
Times are changing, but the need for Ambassadors has not diminished.