Kerry Wetterstrom is named the 2021 recipient of the American Numismatic Association’s highest honor: the Farran Zerbe Memorial Award for Distinguished Service.
According to the ANA quote announcing the award, not only has the field of numismatics greatly influenced Wetterstrom, but the collector has also greatly influenced the hobby, which is why the ANA has given it its highest honor.
The ANA quote notes that Wetterstrom has been imbued with numismatics for almost as long as he can remember, after his great-aunt Bertha offered him a Whitman dossier for pennies dated 1941-1961.
Today, numismatics is the career and vocation of Wetterstrom. Living in California, Canada and then Denver gave him access to a variety of coins. At just 14 years old, Wetterstrom bought his first old coin from former dealer Tom McKenna, and in the same year he decided to join the ANA.
âThe ANA has had the biggest impact on my numismatic life,â says Wetterstrom. “As soon as I was able to drive, I started touring the ANA headquarters.” There he met Glenn Smedley, Ken Hallenbeck and (at the time) ANA librarian Geneva Karlson, who answered his questions and helped guide him. In 1978 he attended his first ANA convention in Houston.
During his final year of high school, he founded a student club for collecting coins and stamps at John F. Kennedy High School. That summer, Wetterstrom received a Denver Area World Numismatists scholarship to attend the 1979 ANA Summer Seminar, where he met numismatist Q. David Bowers. It was Bowers’ All About Coins course that convinced Wetterstrom that he wanted to one day get into the coin business.
A few months after graduating from high school, Bob Rhue, owner of Aurora Gold & Silver Exchange in Colorado, hired Wetterstrom to work as a part-time salesperson while earning his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the Colorado School of Mines. Rhue taught him to classify coins.
He worked with Rhue until 1987, when he accepted a position as auction manager for Classical Numismatic Group, Inc. (CNG, then Classical Numismatic Auctions), a role that brought him to the coast. is and abroad. He lived in London in 1991, and after returning to the United States, he edited a book on Parthian currency.
Robert W. Hoge, curator of the ANA museum at the time, contacted Wetterstrom and his fellow collector David Vagi about teaching the Hoge alumni class at the summer seminar. They agreed, making 1993 their first year as co-instructors. To this day, Wetterstrom dispenses his encyclopedic knowledge near his home and across the country.
He traveled from the Atlantic to the Pacific, presenting numismatic lectures in 12 states; he has lectured everywhere, from classrooms to civic association meetings.
At the end of the millennium, Wetterstrom bought The Celator, a monthly magazine devoted to ancient and medieval coinage, from its founder Wayne G. Sayles, in 1999. Over the following 13 years, he edited 156 consecutive issues of the print publication. Under his leadership, he received several prizes from the Numismatic Literary Guild. He said goodbye to his labor of love in 2012, and the following year he returned to CNG as a senior numismatist, a position he still holds today.
The active collector is a member of the American Numismatic Society and the Royal Numismatic Society. He is also owned by the Pennsylvania Numismatists Association, the Red Rose Coin Club in Lancaster, Pa., And 16 other organizations, including several of which he has served as president.
Some of his accolades include the James Wagner Award from the Central Pennsylvania Numismatic Association (1994), the Numismatic Ambassador Award from Krause Publication (1998), and the Paul Haleman Award from the Red Rose Coin Club (2000). Earlier this year, the New York International Numismatic Convention awarded Wetterstrom with its Richard Margolis Medal of Merit for his 20 years of contributions as president of the education organization. He has also amassed several ANA awards.
As an ANA Club Representative, he conducts educational programs annually in central Pennsylvania and is well known on the convention circuit as he has been an ANA Show Judge since 1996. In addition to numerous newspaper articles, he wrote scripts for the ANA Money Talks. radio program and serves as editor for The numismatist. Guru of world and local history, Wetterstrom volunteers weekly for the Lancaster County Historical Society. His numismatic expertise has been recognized nationally, having testified twice before the US Department of State’s Cultural Property Advisory Committee regarding restrictions on the importation of numismatic material.
âOne of the things I like the most about the antique parts market is that it is really an international market,â says Wetterstrom. âI have been able to travel to different countries over the years, where I have met many collectors and dealers, some of whom have become good friends. All of these experiences have helped me broaden my view of the world, and I realize that a hobby like coin collecting unites people from different cultures, countries and backgrounds.
Wetterstrom will be recognized for his accomplishments at the ANA Membership and Awards Ceremony on August 12 at the Chicago World Silver Fair.