David Vagi Selected 2021 Numismatist of the Year

David Vagi
David Vagi

Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGCcoin.com) congratulates David Vagi, NGC Ancients Director and Finalizer, on being selected the 2021 Numismatist of the Year by the American Numismatic Association (ANA).

Vagi is the third member of the expert NGC grading team to receive the highly regarded Numismatist of the Year award, joining Mark Salzberg, Senior Grading Finalizer, and David W. Lange, Research Director.

Vagi is a lifelong numismatist who has studied ancient Greek and Roman coins since 1985. After entering the field professionally as a staff writer for Coin World, he later worked as a numismatist for the auction houses Christie’s, Superior Stamp and Coin, Spink America and R.M. Smythe before establishing Delphi International Ancient Arts, which he ran from 1996 to 2008, when he joined NGC.

For more than 25 years, Vagi has penned a column every month for a major numismatic publication, including Coin World, The Celator, Numismatic News, World Coin News and The Numismatist. He also writes the monthly NGC eNewsletter column, NGC Ancients, which has won multiple Numismatic Literary Guild (NLG) awards, including one this year. Other accolades based on his research and writing contributions to the hobby include two ANA Presidential Awards and an ANA Heath Literary Award.

Vagi’s 1,294-page book, Coinage and History of the Roman Empire, received "book of the year" awards from the NLG, the International Association of Professional Numismatists (IAPN) and the Professional Numismatists Guild (PNG). Published in two volumes, the work is considered by many to be the starting reference book for collectors of ancient Roman coins. Vagi is also contributing author to six other numismatic books.

A life member of the ANA, Vagi has taught more than 20 weeklong courses on ancient coinage at Summer Seminars. He is also a life member and fellow of the American Numismatic Society (ANS). Given his meaningful participation in and service to the hobby, it is no surprise that Vagi was named one of Coin World‘s 100 Most Influential People in Numismatics, 1960-2020.

"It is a great honor to receive such a distinguished award from the ANA, an organization that I’ve long admired for its tireless service to the hobby," commented Vagi. "Not only is receiving the award this year an incredible honor, I believe that it reflects the rising profile of ancient coins within the numismatic community."

As Director of NGC Ancients, Vagi has been part of many incredible discoveries, asserting his authentication and evaluation expertise to affirm the legitimacy of numismatic wonders from the ancient world. He led the evaluation of the record-setting EID MAR aureus of Brutus that sold for nearly $4.2 million, the highest price ever paid for an ancient coin at auction.

"Working with Dave has been one of the highlights of my career," commented Mark Salzberg, NGC Senior Grading Finalizer. "Through his passion, knowledge and eloquent way of sharing both, he has inspired me and countless others to take an interest in ancient coinage. Congratulations, Dave, on being selected Numismatist of the Year. It is a well-deserved honor."

Vagi will receive his award during the 130th Anniversary ANA World’s Fair of Money at the Member & Awards Celebration, being held August 13 at 3:00 p.m.

About Numismatic Guaranty Corporation® (NGC®)

NGC is the world’s largest and most trusted third-party grading service for coins, tokens and medals, with more than 50 million collectibles certified. Founded in 1987, NGC provides an accurate, consistent and impartial assessment of authenticity and grade. Every coin that NGC certifies is backed by the comprehensive NGC Guarantee of authenticity and grade, which gives buyers greater confidence. This results in higher prices realized and greater liquidity for NGC-certified coins. To learn more, visit NGCcoin.com.

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Isn’t this the gentleman that you see on Pawn Stars?

Seth Riesling

Charlie –

You have a good eye for faces! David Vagi, a former associate of mine, has indeed been the main “outside” numismatic consultant on the Pawn Stars t.v. show for many years now. He helped NGC start their “NGC Ancients” coin authentication/grading division & is it’s director still. He is definitely a numismatics wunderkind!



I hadn’t thought of the pressure and intensity of a “coin grader”, until I read this article and realised that this one guy is literally deciding whether an old piece of stamped metal is worth millions or nothing (and everything in between).

Josette Davis

I have an coin which is a follis of the Byzantine Emperor Justin II struck at #5 Workshops of the Constantinople mint 573/576 AD. This has a certificate from London British Museum department of coins and medals. The Certificate dated in 1960. It belonged to my late father. Can you give me an idea of how much it’s worth please.


Can you tell me if this coin has any value 1943 steel penny