OMSA convention in Grand Rapids, Michigan

China –  World War One Victory Medal in original case

This year’s annual convention of the Orders & Medals Society of America will be held in Grand Rapids, Michigan from Thursday, August 10 until Sunday, August 13, about one week after the ANA convention. Like the ANA’s summer meeting, OMSA’s annual convention moves around the country enabling regional members the opportunity of attending without traveling long distances.

Known colloquially as OMSA (ahm-suh), members of the numismatic specialty group collect, research and preserve Orders, Decorations & Medals (ODMs), often generically called “decorations” by the general numismatic community. Items of interest include American and worldwide award medals of all kinds, such as Orders of Knighthood insignia, Decorations for gallantry or distinguished service and Medals for various types of service,  both military and civilian. The vast majority of such award medals are of the portable variety, that is, medals that can be worn by the recipient, often on a uniform, though award medals of the non-portable variety, called table medals, are also enthusiastically collected. Once acquired, researching the history of the circumstances surrounding awarded medals plays an important part of the hobby and is a value-added aspect that cannot be overstated. Simply put, discovering the many fascinating tidbits of information about the medals and their recipients is great fun!

USA – Joe Dimaggio’s 1977 Presidential Medal of Freedom

The OMSA convention is perhaps unique among specialist numismatic events insofar as it is a collector financed affair, the costs of the convention being paid by registered attendees, rather than primarily commercial bourse table holders, the latter method most common in the numismatic community. OMSA attendees pay a registration fee, this year $170 ($195 for registrations after July 1). For that amount, they have access to the convention floor for the four day bourse and exhibits, two days of seminars on faleristic (ODM related) topics, a donation auction, several excellent meals and cocktail parties, including a lavish annual banquet. As members subsidize the event, inexpensive bourse tables are available to any registered OMSA collector or dealer at only $60 each, enabling members of all means to participate as a seller. Exhibit tables are always available at no charge to the exhibiter.

The convention will be held at Hilton’s Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, 187 Monroe Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503, (616) 774-2000 from August 10 through 13, 2017 for registered OMSA members. The convention bourse floor and always fascinating exhibits will also be open to non-registered OMSA members and the general public one day only, Saturday, August 12, 2014 from 9am to 5pm, for a modest admission fee. Those presently, or potentially, interested in learning about medal collecting are cordially and enthusiastically invited. For more information about OMSA, see www.omsa.org. Those wanting more information about medal collecting or attending monthly meetings of the Southern California Orders & Medals Society, should email Frank Draskovic, President, Southern California Orders & Medals Society at  fdraskovic@hotmail.com.

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