Heavy rains kept some collectors away from the American Numismatic
Association National Money Show in New Orleans, May 9 to 11, but
nearly everyone reported having a great time in the historic port city
known as “The Big Easy.”
New Orleans is familiar to collectors today as the site of a U.S.
Mint, which holds the distinct title of being the only Mint to produce
both United States and Confederate coinage. The ANA has a long history
with the city as well, hosting conventions there in 1972, 1981 and 1994.
The overall attendance was counted at 3,204. When show officials
are calculating attendance, dealers and their employees are counted
once. Others, including ANA members, are counted separately for each
day attended. While on Thursday, May 9, 1,433 people attended
including 854 nondealers, counts dropped to 918 on Friday and 853 on
Saturday. By noon on Saturday — the final day of the show — the bourse
floor, lively on Thursday, resembled a ghost town.
A board meeting, a spirit healer
The ANA Board’s open session meeting on May 10 started in a unique
way as past-ANA President Barry Stuppler introduced a local spiritual
healer who performed an elaborate ritual involving newly appointed ANA
executive director Kim Kiick. The spirit healer anointed her with
orange blossom water to help her overcome the “nastiness left behind”
and then gave her sage to help her “remain pure” in her new duties as
ANA director. He left her with a sachet, advising Kiick that it would
provide an “air of sanctuary” around her. A week before the show Kiick
was named the replacement for former ANA executive director Jeff
Shevlin, who was ousted after less than a year of service. The ritual
led to both the amusement and confusion of the audience and Kiick herself.
After the ritual was concluded, former U.S. Rep. Jimmy Hayes
discussed the impact of current legislative efforts to impose an
interstate sales tax and its possible impact on coin dealers. About
the healer who preceded him, Hayes remarked to a chuckling audience,
“you’re all ANA members, so you obviously have to be cured!”
President Tom Hallenbeck announced that, at the prior night’s
executive session, a three-year contract for a Professional
Numismatists Guild pre-show at the World’s Fair of Money was executed
and Robert Wittman was hired to prepare a security assessment for the
museum at Colorado Springs, Colo.
Toward a younger demographic
At the open board meeting, three members of a team from Amos
Digital — a separate firm owned by Amos Press Inc., the parent company
of Coin World — made a presentation about its ongoing project to
update the ANA website to increase member numbers, better support
fundraising and boost member engagement with a flexible
infrastructure. The website team stressed the need to attract a
younger demographic to the ANA, stressing that 75 percent of the ANA’s
membership is over 50 and that membership has suffered a 20 percent
decline in the last four years. The rebuilt site would also include
features to increase staff productivity by better managing membership
and events including conventions. The team presented an outline for a
new ANA website by Aug. 5, 2014.
Among other business items were financial reports including 2012
audits and a proposal to accept the Long Beach Coin Club and the
Numismatic Association of Southern California for the co-host clubs
for the 2016 World’s Fair of Money in Anaheim, Calif.
Current ANA Vice President Walter Ostromecki presented a motion to
expand the number of regular ANA Board meetings and to distribute for
new, first-time elected ANA Board members the minutes from both open
and closed sessions of the past two years of ANA Board meetings. Both
of these measures passed.
This year’s National Money Show benefited by having an auction by
Stack’s Bowers Galleries held during the show at the convention
center. Last year in Denver, no official ANA auction was held, which
dealers said hurt the show.
Prices realized (including a 17.5 percent buyer’s fee) totaled
$6,558,233.13 for the two floor sessions May 9 and 10. According to
Coin World’s calculations based on published prices realized, of the
1,082 total lots offered, 997, or 92.1 percent, were reported sold.
The top lot was a rare 1879 Coiled Hair gold $4 Stella, graded
Proof 64 Cameo by Professional Coin Grading Service — one of just 12
to 15 known in all grades — that realized $646,250.
Another highlight was an undated Liberty Cap half cent blank
planchet with a distinctive edge device that brought $19,975. That lot
was the subject of a detailed story in the March 18 issue of Coin
World. Although the planchet was undated, the edge device on the
unstruck planchet is known as the Edge of 1793 and is unique to that
issue. This allowed researchers to identify the intended date of 1793.
Edge ornamentations on subsequent-dated issues are somewhat different.
An impressive, toned PCGS Proof 65+ Morgan dollar with a Certified
Acceptance Corp. green sticker indicating quality within the grade
realized $73,439. It was listed as coming “from a New England Museum”
although representatives of Stack’s Bowers Galleries could not be more
specific as to what institution consigned the dollar and other coins
credited as coming from the same museum. ■