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Merit Badge Fair - March 2002

In our continuing efforts to promote numismatics to the younger generations, the PNNA participated in the Boy Scouts annual Merit Badge Fair for their Cascade District. The Fair was held on Sat. March 2, 2002 at the First Presbyterian Church in Bellevue and was attended by PNNA Board members Bill McKivor and Dick Billings who took turns presenting an hourly overview of numismatics to Scouts and some adult leaders. All of the attending scouts were in their teens and working on merit badges for the senior scouting ranks of Star, Life and Eagle. A total of 41 scouts and leaders attended the presentations and entered a free drawing for hourly prizes as well as a Grand Prize awarded later that evening at a dinner given for the District and troop leaders.

Prizes were awarded hourly beginning at 11:00 AM until 1:00 PM (the Fair began at 10:00 and ended at 1:30). PNNA woods advertising the upcoming 2002 convention and Boeing woods left from their 2002 show in January were given to all participants. In addition, the scouts all were offered free "wheatie" pennies, foreign coins and foreign paper currency, all of which were donated for the Fair by PNNA member Jim Hart of Hart’s Rare Coin Gallery. Jim also donated the hourly prizes and the Grand Prize. Winners were Dave Carver of Bellevue (11:00 - BU 1964 Kennedy half dollar); Jay Crosley of Redmond (12:00 - 1923-S Peace dollar); and Sam Guyer of Bellevue (1:00 - an ancient Chinese "knife" coin). The Grand Prize (a 1965 Lyndon B. Johnson 3" bronze inaugural medal) was won by Arthur Brown of Edmonds and a U.W. student who has made arrangements to pick up his prize at the next University Coin Club meeting.

Apparently this was the first time that anyone has attended this annual Merit Badge Fair to present helpful information on coin collecting. The Cascade District has three adult coin collecting merit badge counselors, all of whom attended our presentations. We even have a potential volunteer to help with a Boy Scout merit badge seminar at the upcoming PNNA convention. We have ordered a set of slides from ANA (which will not be available until after the Jacksonville convention) but they only have one set. We’re going to talk about the possibility of having a duplicate set made.

All attendees were invited to attend our May convention and reminded that anyone age 14 and under will be admitted free. As a footnote, while most of the boys attending our presentations were clearly in the novice category, there was a handful who asked question and presented information which would clearly indicate a somewhat advanced knowledge of numismatics. For me, as a former scout, scout-master and coin collecting merit badge counselor, there was a lot of nostalgia since I have be uninvolved for about 30 years.

Richard Billings, Show Chairman