US Coins

What does the future hold for ANA and your coin club?

Contemplating one’s future and planning for it can be intimidating, even frightening for some people. That’s because the future is associated with change.

The ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus of Ephesus, whose writings date from around 500 B.C., observed: “You cannot step twice into the same stream.” Through the ages his wisdom has come down to us in a shortened maxim: The only constant is change.

Rather than fear change, which will inevitability be in our future, we can embrace it, plan for it, and be a part of guiding change rather than opening ourselves to haphazardly reacting to events and circumstances brought about by change.

As with other aspects of our lives, hobbies and the way we approach them are changing. No where is this more evident than what has been the heart and soul of the numismatic community for the last 60-plus years: coin clubs.

Coin clubs come is all sizes. Some are small, general-interest local clubs. Others are larger, offering diversity of interests and drawing from a larger geographic area, such as a state or region. Others, such as speciality clubs, bring together collectors from a much larger geographic area who share a specific interest in a subject, such as one series of coins or a narrow field, such as numismatic literature.

The American Numismatic Association, the largest and most prominent coin club in the United States — numbering some 30,000 dues-paying members — recently elected a new leadership team. Among the first committee chairmen President Tom Hallenbeck appointed was Clifford Mishler, the immediate past president who is now serving as a governor. Mishler was named to head a new strategic-planning committee. The Aug. 31 announcement of Mishler’s appointment jogged our memory of a questionnaire that had been shared with Coin World April 4 by ANA Executive Director Larry Shepherd.

Shepherd had prepared 31 questions regarding planning for the ANA’s future. He sent it to all members of the ANA Board of Governors and key staff, as well as to a selected group within the hobby community. In a cover letter he explained the importance of beginning the process of planning for the future and asked that the questionnaire be returned by the end of the month. Later, when new board members were elected, he sent them the same questionnaire. His plan was to compile the answers and provide an initial report during the board’s August meeting in Rosemont, Ill.

While in Rosemont, I inquired when the report would be available. Shepherd’s response was a shocker. No one had responded. So there was no report.

Upon reading the questions again, we realized that many people — ANA members as well as collectors in general — may be able offer ideas and suggestions to jump-start the process of focusing on the future. Because of the length, we asked Shepherd to select the top 10 to 15 questions and share his insights about the need to plan for an organization’s future. He did so and they are published in the accompanying Guest Commentary.

While the questions focus on the ANA’s future, they can apply to any coin club — regardless of size or focus. Feel free to adapt them and share with leaders of your local, state, regional or specialty club.

Responses specific to ANA can be sent to ANA at under Featured Links >Member Feedback or shared in future Guest Commentaries in Coin World. ¦

Clarification: ANA Executive Director Larry Shepherd said that the questionnaire was sent to all members of the board of governors, general counsel and senior ANA staff members (department heads) on April 4. His statement as to not having received any responses was in reference to the original distribution. He clarified Sept. 15 that some weeks after the initial distribution, the questionnaire was provided to some others on the ANA staff, who did respond. Coin World was not aware that the questionnaire had been distributed beyond the original list and regrets the misleading implication in the Editorial.

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