US Coins

ANA adding ‘bling’ to make membership more prestigious?

The American Numismatic Association’s new approach to membership seeks to add prestige to membership in the world’s largest coin collecting organization.

How is it going to do that? By adding a little bling to its membership naming structure, changing the names of its existing membership categories to something it considers more prestigious. The ANA thinks that because of its longtime membership nomenclature it is not seen as a good value, Rather, “it is seen as a cheap membership. There is no prestige attached.” (Emphasis from ANA).

Did you feel pedestrian, dull or cheap as a Basic or Regular ANA member?

I bet you feel vibrant now that your boring Basic membership is now gleaming Gold, or your rusty Regular membership is now Platinum!

The ANA’s marketing and communications director, Jake Sherlock, characterized the current, functional membership terms as boring, underselling and confusing, looking to dictionary definitions of “basic” and “regular” to prove his point.

I struggle to see what’s confusing about a Regular ANA membership and how a Platinum membership resolves the perceived confusion.

As an ANA member, I look at the definition of regular that Sherlock cited in his presentation to the ANA Board of Governors as having just what I want in membership: recurring; attending, or functioning at fixed, uniform, or normal intervals.

The ANA Board of Governors and staff can be applauded for thinking outside of the box on ways to increase membership and revenue.

However, the majority of the ANA’s Dec. 10 open session board meeting dealt with these name changes, while the real “meat” of the meeting, dealing with the 2013–2014 fiscal year budget, was discussed in a closed session held prior to the open one.

The ANA continues to say that it strives for transparency and that closed sessions should have fairly limited purposes, like dealing with staff matters and contracts.

Yet, the 2013-2014 fiscal year’s budget — which draws heavily from the endowment — had just one board member, Gary Adkins, who said anything even slightly critical of it that would constitute discussion at the open session.

During the 45-minute open session meeting there was virtually no discussion on ways to increase revenue, engagement or any of the core issues that underlie the causes of the budget deficit and the stated reason for changing the names of membership categories.

Hopefully now the discussion moves to how to increase the membership experience — in an open forum — to make a “Platinum” level membership meet the expectations that come with such prestigious terminology.


Steve Roach

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