Corrales coin collector Rod Frechette won an unusual distinction last month when he was chosen for two awards by the American Numismatic Association (ANA) at its meeting in Colorado Springs.

“For only the second time in more than 40 years, the ANA is honoring one person with two national awards,” the organization announced.

The first award was “Numismatist of the Year,”  while the second was its Glenn Smedley Memorial Award medal. Frechette will receive the awards at the ANA “World Fair of Money” in August.

He has been a key member of the Albuquerque Coin Club for decades and has managed its coin shows twice a year for 12 years.

He started collecting coins when he was seven years old. “As a  little boy, my parents owned a paint store, and I would stock the shelves and get paid a penny or a nickel for my work,” Frechette recalled. I would hang around the cash register and look at all the strange coins. I also counted the milk money at school every day.” 

(See Corrales Comment Vol.XXXIII No. 10 July 5, 2014 “Corrales Collector Delights in Ancient Coins.”)

In 2014, when asked how many coins he owned, Frechette hesitated, seemingly unsure how to answer, before stating “several thousand.”

The ones that stand out are the Croesus coins, the first silver and gold coins from 560 to 546 BCE [Before Current Era]. They are extremely rare, with only a few left in existence.

At a holiday dinner, his grandfather pulled him aside and gave him his first collectable coin, a shield nickel, the first five-cent piece introduced  in 1866 to be made out of copper and nickel.

The gift sparked a lifelong interest; he considers the coin his grandfather gave him to be his most valuable of all. His other grandfather also had a small collection of rare coins, which helped spark his passion even more.

The thing that he loves most about coins is the history associated with them. He likes that coins can teach us about people, cities and events. Coins essentially allow us to hold a piece of history in our hand and connect us in a tangible way to the past.

For information about the Albuquerque Coin Club, visit http://www.abqcc. org.

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