AMERICAN NUMISMATIC ASSOCIATION
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 9, 1999
CONTACT: Stephen L. Bobbitt
KENNETH L. HALLENBECK RECEIVES ANA's 1999 FARRAN
Kenneth L. Hallenbeck, a professional numismatist and this
year's Farran Zerbe Memorial Award recipient, is purely, plainly,
absolutely a collector.
"I like neat stuff, and I just love collecting," Hallenbeck
says in the cover story in the August issue of The Numismatist.
Nearly six decades after he first took an interest in numismatics
and despite his many successes, the 67-year-old coin dealer is
humbled by his selection as the 1999 recipient of the Farran Zerbe
Memorial Award for Distinguished Service_the highest honor the
American Numismatic Association (ANA) bestows.
"I never thought I would receive this award," Hallenbeck
says. "All my work for the ANA and for numismatics was done not
to receive awards, but because I love this hobby." Hallenbeck will
be honored at the ANA Awards Banquet on Saturday, August 14,
at the 108th Anniversary Convention in Chicago.
As vigilant and relentless as he is in his own collecting
pursuits, Hallenbeck is just as aggressive in his storefront business
and in promoting the hobby and the ANA. "There is a synergistic
benefit of having worked with and for the ANA," he says, based
on his experiences as a staff member, officer and volunteer.
A member of the ANA Board of Governors for 16 years in
three separate stints, including two years as president from 1989 to
1991, Hallenbeck served as museum curator from 1977 to 1983. As
a Board member, he chaired the Young Numismatists, Hall of
Fame, Bylaws, Insurance, ANA Certification Service and Personnel
Committees. He continues to volunteer his services to the
Association in a variety of capacities, including assistant treasurer.
Hallenbeck says, "The thrill of my life was being named
curator of the ANA Money Museum," a job he took in 1977 and
stayed with until 1983. While it caused him to uproot his wife and
four children from their home in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, where he had
been active in local, state and national numismatics, it was a move
and a job he does not regret.
When he could, Hallenbeck says he visited other
museums and collections, such as those at the American
Numismatic Society, Smithsonian Institution and Boys Town. He
also frequented his favorite haunts_flea markets and garage sales.
"At one flea market, I found some old music storage racks,"
Hallenbeck says. "They seemed perfect for holding coins, so I put
them in the ANA vaults." The racks still are in use today, a credit
to his ingenuity.
As much as he loves Ft. Wayne, there is no place like home
for Hallenbeck_Ann Arbor, Michigan. It is where he was born on
October 20, 1931; where he grew up, the son of county road
superintendent and eventually Michigan National Guard Brigadier
General Kenneth L. Hallenbeck Sr.; where he graduated from
college in 1955 with a degree in geography and met his future
bride, June Miekka; and where he intends to return the Friday
before receiving the Farran Zerbe Memorial Award to meet with
old friends at his 50th high school reunion.
However, Ann Arbor is not where Hallenbeck began his
numismatic pursuits. While living in Santa Clara, California, in
1942, where his father was stationed during World War II, he
found an Indian Head cent on the floor of an ice cream parlor.
"A friend said he would give me a nickel for it,"
Hallenbeck says, "but I thought, `Oh, no you don't. I'll keep it and
start a coin collection.'"
Like many young hobbyists, Hallenbeck began collecting
pennies by date. When he moved back to Michigan, he often
sought out coin shops in Detroit, finding some old coin dealers
willing to educate him. "I like to think I have continued that
tradition in my own business," he says.
Hallenbeck rushed headlong into numismatics, starting the
Ann Arbor Coin Club when he was in high school. He is a charter
member and past president of the Old Fort Coin Club. He also
served as president of the Indiana State Numismatic Association,
and in 1974 he received the state organization's Founders Award.
Over the years, he also joined many other numismatic
organizations, including the International Primitive Money Society,
Love Token Society, Numismatic Literary Guild, Society of Paper
Money Collectors, Society of Ration Token Collectors, and Token
and Medal Society. He has served as president of the
Colorado-Wyoming Numismatic Association, Colorado Springs
Coin Club and Colorado Springs Numismatic Association.
After leaving the ANA staff, Hallenbeck opened a coin shop
in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where the ANA is headquartered.
"I thought I could make `big money,' but immediately learned it
was a lot tougher than I expected," he says.
The hardest part was selling his personal coin collection, the
basis for his initial inventory. "It tore my guts out," Hallenbeck
Hallenbeck has been recognized over the years for his
service to the ANA (with the Glenn Smedley Memorial Award,
Medal of Merit and Exemplary Service Award) and to the hobby
(with Numismatic News' Numismatic Ambassador Award and
appointment as chief assayer of the Old-Time Assay
Commissioners Society). In his coin shop hang a number of
plaques noting his service as ANA president and general chairman
of the ANA's spring convention in 1984. Also prominently
displayed is his first-place Archie A. Black *** Chips and
*** Tokens Exhibit Award bestowed last year at the ANA's
convention in Portland, Oregon.
His success as a coin dealer and his son's gradual
acquisition of the business has given Hallenbeck the freedom to
travel. During his trips, he seeks out antique shops, flea markets
and garage sales.
"I'm always putting different things in my shop, so my
regular customers have something new to look at," he says. "About
two years ago, on a trip `Down Under,' I was in an antique store
in Christchurch, New Zealand. I saw an old telephone switchboard
and just had to have it. I bought it and had it shipped to me. It's
in my store now."
When asked about the equipment's numismatic relevance,
Hallenbeck says, "None. But it's just really neat. I like collecting