US Coins

The ANA appears to be heading in the right direction

The American Numismatic Association’s second — and final — Fall National Money Show is a wrap.

Was it a success?

Attendance at the show in Dallas was comparable to last year’s first Fall ANA show in Pittsburgh. Although the ANA sold around 20 fewer tables in Dallas, the collector organization increased its table revenue by offering fewer discounted tables.

Heritage used its hometown advantage to fill its official Dallas convention auctions with thousands of lots that generated more than $25 million, substantially more than last year’s official Pittsburgh convention auctions, which were at the $15 million level.

Although the ANA does not make its auction contracts public — or even disclose how many firms bid on the opportunity to host an official auction at one of its conventions — one assumes (or, one hopes) that the ANA benefited financially from the increased auction total at its Dallas show. In the past, the ANA has received a flat fee plus a percentage of the total price realized.

The ANA’s acknowledgment earlier this year that its fall ANA show was not needed is welcome.

Dallas ended the experiment of an expanded three-show ANA schedule on a strong note, rather than continuing a show that few collectors or dealers seemed to ask for and that stretched the ANA’s limited resources.

So, yes, it appears that the show was successful.

Good things seem to be going on at the ANA right now. Decisions are being made that are moving the collector organization in a positive direction, if executive director Jeff Shevlin’s report at the ANA Board of Governors meeting on Oct. 20 is indicative of the ANA’s current path.

Unlike five years ago, today there aren’t plans to raise $40 million to build numismatic museums on both coasts, nor are there broad expansion plans for ANA headquarters. Rather, the organization seems to be focusing on its membership and making small changes that will have a big impact.

For example, the ANA is projecting a small budget surplus of $6,650 for the fiscal year from November 2012 to October 2013. It’s expanding its educational outreach by increasing its presence at major coin shows across the country and creating programs to attract visitors to its museum in Colorado Springs, Colo.

The ANA appears to be taking steps to improve security after a humiliating museum theft where a former employee stole roughly $1 million in coins during the course of his employment.

In addition, according to a statement read at the board meeting, there’s no pending litigation against the ANA, a welcome departure from past years’ experiences.

Also on tap for the ANA in 2013 are elections.

Coin World plans to cover ANA elections a bit differently than in past years. Candidates for ANA president will each be invited to submit a Guest Commentary of a standard length to describe their platform. Candidates for other elected ANA positions will each be provided an equal amount of words for a brief biography and to answer several questions.

This ensures fairness, and doesn’t burden our readers who may not be interested in ANA politics with multiple articles announcing the individual candidacies.

The reason for this is space and interest.

One candidate’s recent biography and platform approached 1,000 words, and if each candidate submitted something of similar length, the resulting coverage would take the space of three to four Special Edition features! Further, the ANA is exploring ways to move its election online, where it can provide extensive information on candidates beyond what we have room for. Finally, our readership surveys have shown that a relatively small percentage of our readers are ANA members.

Let us keep the focus on the many positive things that the ANA is doing to grow the hobby and rebuild itself into what it should be — the world’s premier coin collecting organization.


Steve Roach

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