PNNA Rules for Collector Exhibiting and Judging

Revised December 2002 and January-November 2019. Rating sheet rev. 2023.

These rules are modified from the exhibit rules of the American Numismatic Association and set forth standard procedures for numismatic exhibit presentation and judging at PNNA conventions. Any modifications required to accommodate the next convention will be provided in writing at least one month in advance of the convention, as an attachment to the exhibit application.

Separate parts for exhibit rules and judging procedures are presented here, including a copy of the judges’ rating sheet (rev. 2022). All exhibitors, exhibit judges and staff, and the exhibit chairman and assistants will be furnished copies of these rules. All personnel concerned will adhere strictly to the provisions of these rules.


  1. Exhibits will be divided into two groups. Each of the groups will be shown in separate exhibit areas, and no exhibit entered under one group may be displayed with an exhibit of the other group. The two exhibit groups are:
  • Group A – COMPETITIVE EXHIBITS — open to any individual or club member of the Pacific Northwest Numismatic Association (see rules 3 and 5).
  • Group B – NON-COMPETITIVE EXHIBITS — open to members of the Pacific Northwest Numismatic Association and to those invited to exhibit by the PNNA president or by the general chairman or the exhibit chairman of the convention.
  1. Application to exhibit.
  • Each exhibitor must file a separate application for each exhibit, designating the group and classification in which it will be entered.
  • A member of the exhibit committee may transfer an exhibit from one class to another before the opening of the convention if it appears that the exhibit was not entered in the proper class. Similarly, when the exhibit is placed at the convention the exhibit chairman, after conference with the exhibitor if possible, may transfer an exhibit from one class to another. In the event that the exhibitor does not agree with the exhibit committee or the exhibit chairman on the proper placement of an exhibit, or if the exhibit chairman is unable to consult with the exhibitor, the chief judge will make the final decision.
  • Each competitive exhibitor is limited to four exhibits, each of which must be entered in a different classification. In addition, if exhibit space is limited, exhibitors may be restricted to a certain total number of cases, which can be used to enter up to four exhibits within the bounds of Rule 8A(1). Any such restrictions will be announced in advance.
  1. The chief judge and assistant chief judges at any convention, and members of the immediate families of those officials, may not place competitive exhibits at the same convention.
  2. Forged, spurious, or counterfeit material, and copies or replicas may not be displayed unless each such item is described as such in the exhibit and unless such items are displayed for educational purposes. No such item will be displayed in violation of United States law or government regulations. Intentional or unintentional violations of this paragraph will result in total disqualification of the exhibit.
  3. No exhibit may contain any advertising of items therein for sale, nor any statement as to price or value. The name or identity of any competitive exhibitor will not appear in the exhibit, except as an author in a bibliographic reference which will be sufficiently general that the exhibitor cannot be linked to the exhibit by that reference. All exhibited material must be the personal property of the exhibitor (which may include property owned jointly with a spouse). Exhibits placed by PNNA member clubs must be composed of material owned by the club or association itself, not by the members thereof. Competitive exhibitors will not be permitted to attend their exhibits while the exhibits are being judged.
  4. An exhibit that has won the PNNA best-of-show award may not be entered again in competition. Similarly, an exhibitor who has won two first place awards with a certain exhibit may not again enter that exhibit or a substantially similar exhibit in competition in the same division and class. A new exhibit that is completely changed in nature from the previously winning exhibit may be entered, even though it is entered in the same division and class and includes numismatic material presented in the prior winning exhibit. The change(s) in the subsequent exhibit must be explained in accordance with the requirement stated in the exhibit application. An unchanged prior-best-of-show or two-times first place exhibit may be shown in Group B (non-competitive exhibits).
  5. Applications for exhibit space must reach the address shown on the exhibit application not later than the date set forth on the application.
  6. Exhibit cases will be provided to exhibitors for use at the convention. The rules on exhibit space below pertain to competitive exhibits; space allocated to non-competitive exhibits is a matter of negotiation between the exhibit chairman and the participating exhibitors. See also rule 8A(2) below.
  • A. Cases and case limits

1) Exhibits are allowed a total display space related to the kind of material being shown, called here “large material” and “small material.” Large material exhibits are those in the paper money class and those composed of at least 25% large material in other classes. For this rule, large material includes paper money, bonds and shares, checks, philatelic-numismatic covers (PNCs), souvenir cards, casino plaques, most forms of primitive money, and other similar material. All other exhibits are defined to be small material. The sizes of non-numismatic collateral items included in an exhibit (pictures, decorations, holders, and so forth) have no bearing on the display space allowed.

2) PNNA exhibit cases are same ones used by dealers, sometimes called “Allstate” cases, with internal dimensions approximately 32 3/4″ x 21″ x 2 1/2″ high.

3) Exhibits of small material, as defined in (1) above, may use up to six PNNA cases. Exhibits of large material, again as defined in (1) above, may use up to seven PNNA cases.

4) Exhibitors may provide their own cases, provided that no exhibit of small material may exceed 4800 square inches of table space and no exhibit of large material may exceed 5600 square inches of table space. If a total case limit is imposed (Rule 2C and enclosure 1), total table space for personal cases will be {the case limit} x {800 square inches}.

5) All cases must lie flat on the tables provided, viewed either horizontally (preferred) or vertically. Wall-mounted display by an exhibitor is limited by available wall space and is only permitted by prior specific arrangement with the exhibit chairman.

6) No titles, placards, or numismatic materials of any kind may be placed outside the exhibit cases. Switches or buttons intended to operate lights or educational displays in the cases, or magnifying glasses provided to assist exhibit readers, may be mounted on the table or on the cases, provided that nothing extends more than one inch above the top (glass) surface of a case.

  • B. Summary of maximum case allowances:
Type of material; rule 8A(1)PNNA casesExhibitor’s own cases
Small64800 sq in
Large75600 sq in
  • C. Additional information pertaining to exhibit equipment.

1) No electrical outlets of any kind will be provided, unless specifically announced in advance by the show and exhibit chairpersons.

2) Exhibits of material not capable of being presented in the usual cases will be permitted only upon prior and specific arrangement with the exhibit chairman, and subject to the concurrence of the exhibit committee chairman, which will not be unduly withheld.

  1. Exhibit rooms will be open for the placement and removal of exhibits according to the time schedule set forth in The Nor’wester and the convention program.
  2. A small exhibit identification label showing the number of the exhibit, the number of cases, and the group and class in which the exhibit is entered, will be affixed to each case of the exhibit, or at least to the first case of each exhibit, preferably at the upper left corner.
  3. The exhibit chairman will keep a full and complete record of all exhibits, showing the name of the exhibitor, the class, the identification number of the exhibit, the number of cases used, and the convention residence of the exhibitor. Names of the exhibitors will not be disclosed until the judges have made their reports to the chief judge, all reports have been prepared, and the best-of-show exhibits have been selected. Exhibitors who wish to remain anonymous must so inform the exhibit chairman.
  4. Each PNNA exhibit case will be locked by the exhibitor, who will keep the keys to the cases during the convention.
  5. Exhibitors are advised that the presence of security personnel or security systems does not constitute a guarantee against loss, a policy of insurance, or a promise to indemnify in the event of loss by fire, theft, or other casualty.
  6. Each competitive exhibit must be placed in the exhibit hall prior to the published deadline for placement. An exhibit may be placed and/or removed by a person (“agent”) other than the exhibitor, provided the exhibitor indicates the agent’s name on the exhibit application. An exhibit may be placed and removed by different persons, neither of whom is the exhibitor. Any exhibitor’s agent who handles the exhibit in the absence of the exhibitor must be a PNNA member and must satisfy the exhibit chairman as to his or her identity. The original of the agent’s application, naming every person who will handle the exhibit while the exhibitor is not present, must accompany the exhibit application; a copy must be carried by each agent. (Exhibitors must be sure to make copies of the agent’s application before sending it to PNNA with the exhibit application.)
  7. Classifications in which competitive exhibitors may enter are described below. If an exhibit contains items belonging to more than one classification, but at least 65% of the items (as recorded on the exhibitor’s inventory form) are from a single class, the exhibit may be entered in that class. See “New Exhibit Classes Proposal” for more information.
  8. An exhibit that could be shown in more than one class may be shown in the class of the exhibitor’s choice (example: Pacific Northwest tokens that could be shown in either class 3 or 6).

Group A – Open universal and classified awards

Universal exhibit awards

The following awards are made without regard to the category in which an exhibit is entered, and may be earned in addition to a category award.

Best-of-ShowByron F. Johnson, Jr. Memorial
Best exhibit of tokens or medalsC. E. “Hepp” Heppner Memorial
People’s ChoiceDel Cushing Memorial

Classified exhibit awards

Exhibit classes were revised by the PNNA board of directors in January 2018. Also see “New Exhibit Classes Proposal” for a listing and explanation of the new classes.

The following awards are established for exhibits that fall within the classification definitions below.

Class 1 – Coins

All coins and pattern coins from anywhere in the world, from ancient to modern times. Colonial tokens included in the old Class 1 (see below) may still optionally be shown in Class 1.

Class 2 – Paper Money

All paper money issued anywhere in the world, including military currency. Essays, proofs, and souvenir cards of paper money may also be shown in this class. Money made of substitute materials such as polymer is also included.

Class 3 – Tokens, Medals, Decorations and Exonumia

Items, including encased postage, issued unofficially as a medium of exchange for goods and services (in any nation) or for advertising purposes. Includes substances used in lieu of metal, other than paper. Also medallic items not used as a medium of exchange, or not having trade value; military medals, decorations, orders, and badges. Also items recognized as exonumia, such as elongated, encased and engraved items.

Class 4 – Common Element

Exhibits showing material linked by design such as elephants or bridges, or by theme such as World’s Fair.

Class 5 – Topical

Exhibits that use numismatics to educate the viewer about any generally accepted academic topic or discipline (including people, places and events or works within the topic). Examples: History, Geography, Economics, Politics, Arts (including Music and Literature), and any of the STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).

Class 6 – Pacific Northwest numismatic material

Any material relating to numismatics that is peculiar to or of special interest to the Pacific Northwest.

The following old exhibit classifications, in use until the end of 2018, are documented here for historical purposes.

OLD Class 1 – United States and Canadian coins

All coins and patterns of areas that are now part of the United States and Canada, and all coinage or trade tokens used in colonies that became parts of the US and Canada.

OLD Class 2 – United States and Canadian paper money

All paper money issued in areas that are now part of the United States and Canada, or issued by those nations for use in overseas territories or occupied areas, including military currency. Essays, proofs, and souvenir cards of paper money of this class may also be shown in this class.

OLD Class 3 – Tokens, medals, and decorations

Items, including encased postage, issued unofficially as a medium of exchange for goods and services (in any nation) or for advertising purposes, but excluding US or Canadian colonial items included in Class 1. Includes substances used in lieu of metal, other than paper. Also medallic items not used as a medium of exchange, or not having trade value; military medals, decorations, orders, and badges.

OLD Class 4 – World coins and paper money

Coins and paper money, including scrip, other than US or Canadian, issued in any country (including ancient coinage).

OLD Class 5 – General or specialized

Includes hobo nickels, wooden money (except tokens), political buttons and insignia, error coins and paper money, and other numismatic material not covered in other classes (such as primitive, odd, and curious money, and numismatic literature) or covered by more than one class (but see rule 15 above).

OLD Class 6 – Pacific Northwest numismatic material

Any material relating to numismatics that is peculiar to or of special interest to the Pacific Northwest. (This is the same as new Class 6.)

Group B – Non-competitive exhibits

No specific awards.


  1. Administration. The president of the PNNA, in consultation with the exhibit and judging committee chair (if appointed), will, at 90 days prior to the opening of each convention, select a chief judge to oversee all aspects of judging. The chief judge must be a certified judge of the American Numismatic Association and will select assistant chief judges as necessary. The chief judge and assistant chief judges should be recognized for their impartial viewpoints and fairness. At the time of serving they must not be encumbered with other significant convention duties. None may so serve if members of their immediate families are competitive exhibitors at the same convention.
  2. Selection of exhibit judges.
  • Selection of exhibit judges must be made by the chief judge at least 30 days prior to the opening day of the convention. The chief judge should use a list of exhibit judges maintained by the ANA from which to select judges for the next convention. As required, the chief judge may also select others, keeping in mind the points made in 3 below.
  • There will be a minimum of three judges for each class, except that classes in which fewer than four exhibits are entered may be judged by a single judge in close concert with the chief judge. When more than one judge is assigned to a class, one will be designated the class leader. Standby judges may also be selected. When needed or appropriate, a judge may rate exhibits in more than one class. No judge may rate exhibits in any class in which s/he or a member of her/his immediate family is exhibiting, or in any class in which the judge has placed or will remove an exhibit on behalf of a competitive exhibitor.
  • The chief judge will dispatch a letter to prospective exhibit judges preceding the convention. S/he will, at least 30 days prior to the opening date of the convention, notify those who have indicated availability as exhibit judges as to prospective class assignments and will also assign judges’ numbers. Those who cannot accept an assignment or who wish to request an alternate assignment will so notify the chief judge at the earliest practicable date.
  1. Attitudes and abilities of successful numismatic judges
  • Open-mindedness – A perspective that is unencumbered by fixed opinions—such as an idea that no exhibit should receive full rating points on any standard, or that certain kinds of numismatic material are inherently more worthy of recognition than others. Each judge should keep in mind that every exhibitor deserves the judge’s full and impartial attention.
  • Thorough knowledge of the exhibit class being judged.
  • Humility towards the task of judging, with a willingness to ask for assistance and to give due credit to the opinions of others.
  • Willingness to explain a rating and to change a rating when an error, obvious or otherwise, has been made.
  1. Instruction of judges. A meeting of all judges will be held by the chief judge. This mandatory meeting is for the purpose of making late assignment changes and for reviewing exhibiting and judging procedures.
  2. The judging process.
  • Each judge must be careful to follow judging procedures and to carry out the instructions and interpretations presented at the judges’ meeting. Judges may perform their tasks together or independently, and there may be comparison of grades or discussion between judges concerning specific items or total grades during the judging process.
  • Any questions that arise should be directed to the chief judge. If specific information on any point is needed, standard reference books or recognized experts in attendance at the convention will be consulted.
  • Judges are expected to read all the information presented in an exhibit before arriving at a conclusion about the exhibit. In the event a judge awards fewer than 75% of the available points for a given evaluation element, comments should be placed on the judging sheet for the benefit of the exhibitor.
  • In any case where it is considered necessary the judges will have the right to request the exhibitor to remove material from an exhibit case for the purpose of closer examination. The exhibitor or exhibitor’s agent (as designated on the exhibit application) must be present. Such removal must also be made in the presence of the exhibit chairman and the chief judge or their assistants.
  • Judges will, upon completion of all judging in any class, discuss among themselves the relative standings each has given the respective exhibits. Judges may at this time make such changes in ratings as they deem necessary. Upon completion of this consultation the class leader will submit all judging sheets (for all judges of the team) to the chief judge.
  • The deadline for returning judging sheets to the chief judge will be stated in the schedule of events and announced at the judges’ meeting (paragraph 4 above).
  • As each class leader turns in completed rating sheets, the chief judge or assistant will keep the ratings in each class together and check them for arithmetic accuracy. The chief judge will then enter the ratings on the master record sheet, which will show a side-by-side comparison of points awarded to each exhibit by each judge, for each exhibit standard.
  • A review committee, consisting of the chief judge and the assistant chief judges, will then review the exhibit judging record sheet for variances (or lack thereof) in the results submitted by the three judges for each class and for any errors. If a wide variance (or a substantially complete lack of variance) occurs, or if there is patent error, the chief judge will ask the exhibit judges involved for explanation and, where necessary, make any appropriate corrections. The chief judge has complete discretion to request that a class be rejudged, by either the original team of judges or by a newly appointed team of judges. The committee will also review all classes to ensure that there are no discrepancies between the ordinal rankings of the exhibits and the numerical scores that have been given them. In other words, did the consensus of the three class judges about which exhibit is first, second, and third agree with the scores? It is possible for two judges to place an exhibit “first,” yet the scores show another exhibit with higher points if the third judge is a “high marker.” Such cases will be resolved in favor of the exhibit that received the greater number of votes for first place (or second or third, as applicable).
  • Ties for first, second, and third place will be broken by the chief judge and assistant chief judges, who will rate the exhibits involved, using the standard rating sheet.
  • Upon completion of judging of exhibits the chief judge will turn over the completed rating sheets to the exhibit chairman. The results of both class judging and best-of-show judging will be reported to the exhibit chairman by the chief judge only, not by exhibit judges.
  1. Exhibitors’ rating sheets, as received from the chief judge, will be given to the individual exhibitors by the exhibit chairman upon oral request, not earlier than the time announced in the schedule of events.
  2. Review process
  • An exhibitor or exhibitor’s agent may, within the time period announced in the schedule of events and posted at the exhibit chairman’s desk, submit a written request for review to the chief judge, through the exhibit chairman, as to any supposed error in rating the exhibitor’s exhibit. The exhibit chairman will provide standard forms to those who desire review and will post the review times. Only forms provided by the chief judge will be used. Such appeals will be reviewed in the same manner as outlined in paragraph 5H above. Personal presentation by an exhibitor will not be allowed.
  • After any review pursuant to paragraphs 5H or 7A, the review committee may correct any error in the ratings of any exhibit judge without the latter’s concurrence, or replace the judge with a substitute exhibit judge for the purpose of rating all exhibits in that class. Exhibitors who file a request for review may have points taken away as well as granted.
  1. Awards
  • Awards for exhibits will be made by the PNNA in accordance with the procedures approved by its board of governors.
  • First-, second-, and third-place awards will be given for each competitive class. The chief judge, however, has the authority to withhold awards in any class where exhibits are deemed insufficient or unworthy of an award.
  • An exhibit must earn an average of at least sixty-five scoring points to merit an award in the open division.
  • Only first-place award winners in the competitive classes will be eligible for the Byron Johnson best-of-show award.
  • In addition to the trophy accompanying the Byron Johnson award, the PNNA will provide $200 to assist the best-of-show winner in taking the winning exhibit to the American Numismatic Association anniversary convention that year, where it must be entered as a competitive exhibit.
  • All exhibitors and judges will receive a suitable ribbon for their participation.
  1. Point system. The point system to be used for judging competitive exhibits is summarized and further explained on the rating sheet for numismatic exhibits (rev. 2022), which is periodically updated for consistency with the ANA standards.
  2. Selection of competitive best-of-show award winners. If separate teams have rated individual classes, selection of the best-of-show exhibit will be made by another separate group of judges. No such judge may have been a competitive exhibitor, nor have placed or be scheduled to remove an exhibit on behalf of a competitive exhibitor. These judges, as a group, must be knowledgeable as to all classes, and will look for special qualities in the exhibits, such as those below. If a single team judged all classes, they may also be asked to select the best-of-show award winner. (These standards may be updated for consistency with current ANA standards.)
Best-of-show standardsMaximum points
(A) How consistently has the exhibit followed the announced title or theme for the exhibit?10
(B) Does the display give a striking or exceptional effect, or is it merely average in its overall appearance?10
(C) Does the exhibit present information above what is known to the average collector of this type of material?10
(D) To what extent has careful research been done as evidenced by the numismatic information imparted to the viewer?10
(E) Has credit been given to numismatic written sources?5
(F) Would a non-collector understand the exhibit?5
Total points50

In the event of a tie in the selection of this award winner, the chief judge and the assistant chief judges will break the tie.

  1. Custody of records and reports. The chief judge, promptly following the conclusion of the convention, will deliver to the PNNA president and The Nor’wester editor a suitable report. He will deliver all completed judging record sheets and requests for review that were received to the exhibit chairman, who will retain all completed exhibit applications, unused forms, and rating sheets not returned to the exhibitors.