ANA marks 125 years with annual convention

?How do you celebrate your 125th birthday? Attendees at the 2016 American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money will learn how the association celebrates its quasquicentennial when it holds what is traditionally the biggest coin show of the year in the United States.

The ANA World’s Fair of Money “is the biggest, most educational coin show in the country,” in the association’s own words. This year’s event is scheduled for Aug. 9 to 13 in Anaheim, Calif. Previews of the convention appear here.

The ANA was founded in 1891 by  Michigan physician George Heath, who operated a small coin business on the side and who since 1888 had published a small periodical that he called The Numismatist. In early 1891, he used the pages of his journal to ask, “Whats the matter of having an American Numismatic Association? ... Would it be practicable?” As columnist Joel Orosz wrote in his “Numismatic Bookie” column in the June 20 issue of Coin World, “Favorable responses abounded; in the June number, he nominated a slate of officers for the association.” 

For the past 125 years, the ANA has met the needs of coin collectors, offering a club journal (The Numismatist eventually became the property of the ANA), an annual convention, and much more. 
The ANA has changed over the years. Until 1967 it had no headquarters and all association business was operated out of the officers’ homes. Today it has a headquarters, museum and lending library in Colorado Springs, Colo.
The ANA has also changed how it welcomes collectors below the age of 18, as longtime Coin World columnist Q. David Bowers recounts, writing about his first experiences with the organization in the 1950s when he was in his mid-teens. In that era, the general reaction of the ANA to a youthful collector was, basically, “Go away kid, you’re bothering me.” 

Today the ANA wants young collectors to join its ranks. It offers special educational and fun programs, literary contests, scholarships, and much more that is geared specifically at the young numismatist. The ANA leadership recognizes that the hobby needs to continually refresh collector rolls to ensure that the hobby does not die along with aging collectors (a sizeable majority of hobbyists is in the 50- and 60-year age bracket and even older).

For those of you attending the 2016 convention, have fun looking at and buying coins and notes and more. For those unable to attend the show, try to attend a future show (the location changes from year to year). It is well worth the time and expense.

And if you are not an ANA member, join. You will get the award-winning The Numismatist, access to the largest lending numismatic library in the world, and much more. 

What are you waiting on?