US Coins

Associations 'have sat on their back ends' as memberships decline

The California State Numismatic Association has voted to put The California Numismatist in a digital format and eliminate the print version to save money. The Numismatic Association of Southern California, which jointly issues the journal, will consider the measure Nov. 15.

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Editor's note: The following post is one in a series by Paul Gilkes about challenges facing hobby organizations and their publications. Organizations are facing how to balance demand for traditional print publications with the freedom digital and other electronic journals offer.

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Membership levels are an important part of the equation for both the California State Numismatic Association, the board of which has voted to discontinue printing The California Numismatist in favor of a digital-only publication, and the Numismatic Association of Southern California, which likely needs to sign off on the CSNA’s move to make it happen.

CSNA Vice President Howard Feltham says he plans to investigate the reasons for declining membership and implement efforts to increase numbers.

He said the organizations need to extend its outreach to involve participation of younger members, aggressively recruit new members, and address more of an online presence to augment the print publication.

“CSNA and NASC have sat on their back ends for too long, and we both must take a more proactive role in our state and regional roles,” Feltham said. “There is really no blame for this problem.”

The issues faced by the two California groups are by no means unique. Numismatic organizations nationwide are addressing what to do with their journals in an age when both print and digital publications have their advocates.

For example, the nation’s largest coin collector organization, the American Numismatic Association, offers its members several options: receiving print copies of the monthly ANA journal, The Numismatist; or electronic access to the research periodical; or both.

The ANA journal has been printed for more than 120 years.

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