(Temecula, California) -- A college student who started collecting coins as a young child when "the tooth fairy" left Morgan silver dollars under his pillow is the winner of the 2012 Professional Numismatists Guild (PNG) Young Numismatist Scholarship.
"Paul Zapantis, age 21, of Clinton, Massachusetts is this year's recipient. He'll attend a week-long session of the 2012 American Numismatic Association (ANA) Summer Seminar in Colorado Springs, Colorado, compliments of
the PNG. The scholarship will cover airfare, tuition and six nights of dormitory accommodations on the campus of Colorado College," said PNG Executive Director Robert Brueggeman.
A National Honor Society member, Zapantis was President of both his senior class and the student council when he graduated from Clinton High School in 2009. He just completed his junior year at Worcester State University, and says he's now looking forward to learning about coin grading at the ANA Summer Seminar.
He credits his Father, Dino, and grandfather and namesake, Paul Zapantis, for his interest in coin collecting.
"My Dad acted as 'tooth fairy' when I was young and I wound find a silver dollar under my pillow when I'd put a tooth there. I also got a silver Eagle in my stocking every Christmas," said Zapantis.
"My Grandfather owned a small variety store, and one day when I was in the first grade he brought out a big bag of silver coins and split them up with me and my brother, Nick."
Zapantis enjoys collecting 20th century U.S. coins and wants to assemble a set of "key" coins, including the 1909-S V.D.B. Lincoln cent, 1937-D "three-legged" Indian Head/Buffalo nickel, and 1916-D Winged Liberty/Mercury dime. He also would like to put together sets of Walking Liberty and Franklin half dollars and Saint-Gaudens gold coins.
"I try to stick to 20th century coins; things my Grandfather would have seen in circulation in his lifetime," he explained.
Commenting on the PNG scholarship, Zapantis' Mother, Tena, stated: His Father and I are so thrilled for him. Coins have always been his passion. What an honor for him to win this scholarship for this incredible experience."
This is the eighth consecutive year of PNG YN scholarships for the popular, annual ANA summer educational programs. The money to pay for the annual scholarship is administered from PNG's Gerald Bauman Memorial Fund. Bauman, who died in 2001, served for many years as a prominent coin dealer with Manfra, Tordella & Brookes in New York City.
The Professional Numismatists Guild is a nonprofit organization composed of many of the top rare coin and paper money dealers in the United States and seven other countries. PNG member-dealers must adhere to a strict Code of Ethics in the buying and selling of numismatic merchandise. For additional information, visit online at www.PNGdealers.com or call (951) 587-8300.