by Mel Wacks
The Shekel Prize Medal is awarded annually by the American Israel Numismatic Association to the author of the best book on the subject of Judaic or Holy Land numismatics. This year’s winner, Alex Abezgauz, was announced at the NLG luncheon, held at the ANA’s World’s Fair of Money convention. The late Alex Abezgauz’s prize-winning book Jewish Banknotes Based on the Collection of A. Abezgauz, was compiled by О.V. Paramonov, with the participation of Alex’s son Daniel and Alex’s wife Ellen. Ira Rezak, member of AINA’s Board of Directors and friend of Alex, will present the award to Alex’s son Daniel later this year.
Alex Abezgauz was a physicist trained in Russia who was also a pre-eminent collector of Russian banknotes. He assembled an impressive collection of Jewish related banknotes and emergency currencies of Russia, some 400 or 500 items which is a major resource for the history of the Jews in Russia, principally during the Russian Revolutionary period.
Alex died a few years ago and his son arranged for the collection to be published in English and Russian, with every note illustrated in color, and with a certain amount of contextual historical information.
More information about the Shekel Prize and the American Israel Numismatic Association can be found on AINA’s website www.theshekel.org.