SSDC Awards

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The SSDC gives awards at the annual VAM Thing to recognize members of the VAM collecting hobby for their achievements and contributions to the hobby. These awards were first given out at VAM Thing I in 2004. A list of award recipients by category is below

VAM Master

The VAM Master award is the SSDC's equivalent of a lifetime achievement award. This award has been given to those people in recognition of major or pioneering contributions to the hobby. Most recipients have been involved with VAM research and collecting for decades.

2004 — Leroy Van Allen

2005 — Jeff Oxman

2006 — Michael Fey

2007 — Bill Fivaz


If you’ve been to more than one major coin show over the past fifty years, there’s a good chance you’ve met Bill Fivaz. He’s been a frequent educational presenter for decades and one of the most noteworthy and respected numismatic authors spanning three generations of collectors. His awards are too numerous to list with anything resembling brevity, but some highlights include the American Numismatic Association’s Farran Zerbe Memorial Award as well as induction in the ANA’s Hall of Fame, the National Silver Dollar Roundtable’s Lifetime Achievement Award, the Numismatic Literary Guild’s highest honor – the Clemy Award, and he was inducted into the CONECA Hall of Fame in 1988.

Fivaz is best known as the co-author of the Cherrypickers’ Guide to Rare Die Varieites of United States Coins. This work is ongoing with an expanded section on Morgan and Peace Dollar varieties contained in the upcoming Volume II of the 6th edition of this landmark publication. He is also an accomplished coin photographer contributing most or all of the illustrations to four well known Society of Silver Dollar Collectors guides; the SSDC Official Guide to the Hot 50 Morgan Dollar Varieties, The Official Guide to the Top 50 Peace Dollar Varieties, 1878 Morgan Dollar 8-TF Attribution Guide, and The 1878 Morgan Dollar 7/8-TF Attribution Guide.

Perhaps his most significant contribution to the field of VAM collecting is now largely unknown. In the 1970’s, Fivaz was a regular columnist for Errorscope, a publication by the Numismatic Error Collectors of America – one of the two organizations that later merged to form CONECA. Beginning in 1974, he authored a series of monthly columns on VAMs. The following year he formed the VAM club-within-a-club. This small group was the first in this field. It can be viewed as a precursor to both the SSDC and VAMworld. Fivaz’ work was pioneering, and his efforts are ongoing, placing some of the most noteworthy VAMs in front of the larger numismatic community. He was a natural choice for the SSDC’s highest honor in 2007 when he was presented with the VAM Master Award.

2008 — Lloyd Gabbert

2010 — Herb Zepke

2011 — Logan McKechnie

2012 — Mike Faraone

2014 — Pete Bishal (posthumous)

2015 — A. George Mallis (posthumous)

2016 — Larry Briggs

2017 — Ash Harrison

2018 — John Baumgart

2019 — Brian Raines

2020 — David Close

Terry Armstrong Memorial Award

Terry Armstrong was a numismatist and VAM collector always interested in serving other collectors and collecting organizations. The Terry Armstrong Memorial Award was established to recognize outstanding service to the VAM collecting hobby.

2004 John Baumgart
2005 Rob Joyce
2006 Ash Harrison
2007 Phil Perdue
2008 Crae Morton
2009 John Roberts
2010 Mike Andrew
2011 Alan Scott
2012 John Coxe
2013 David Close
2014 Dennis Halladay
2015 Eric Justice
2016 Ken Margeson
2017 Brian Raines
2018 Dan Carr

A. George Mallis Outstanding Article

In 2010, an award recognizing an outstanding article written within the past year related to silver dollars or VAM collecting was established, named after VAM book co-author A. George Mallis

2010 Alan Scott 1886-O VAM 11/11A VAM-e
2011 Leroy Van Allen The Case of the 9 Tailfeathers VAM-e
2012 Paul Gilkes 1878 VAM 85 and 86 Discoveries Coin World
2013 Dan Carr 1964-D Peace Dollar Project VAM-e
2014 John Coxe Morgan Relative Rotations The View
2015 Nick Capuano 1888-O VAM 12 and 12A VAM-e
2016 John Dannreuther Evolution of the Peace Dollar The Numismatist
2017 Charles Morgan Talking Morgan Dollar with Leroy Van Allen CoinWeek
2018 Leroy Van Allen 1882-O/S Morgan Dollar: New Supporting Evidence VAM-e
2019 Leroy Van Allen Crazy 1879-O VAM 4-O/O/O Horizontal VAM-e
2020 Dennis Halladay 1895-S VAM Date Set Experiences VAM-e

A. George Mallis Outstanding Book

In 2010, an award recognizing an outstanding book written within the past three years related to silver dollars or VAM collecting was established, named after VAM book co-author A. George Mallis

2010 John Roberts 1878-CC Attribution Guide
2011 Mark Witkower 1878 Rev of 79 Attribution Guide
2012 Selby Ungar, Jeff Oxman, Adam Crum Carson City Morgan Dollars (Whitman)
2013 Leroy Van Allen Wonders of Morgan Dollars and Wonders of Peace Dollars
2014 Karen Lee The Private Sketchbook of George T. Morgan
2015 Robert Franklin WOW! An Introduction To Sixty Of The Most Fascinating Morgan Dollar Die Varieties Currently Known
2016 Roger Burdette From Mine to Mint
2017 Q. David Bowers A Guide Book of Morgan Silver Dollars (Whitman)
2018 John Highfill The Comprehensive US Silver Dollar Encyclopedia, 2017 Edition
2020 Dick Osburn, Brian Cushing A Register of Liberty Seated Dollar Varieties