William T. Gibbs

Bill’s Corner

William T. Gibbs

William was appointed the managing editor effective May 1, 2015. He joined the Coin World editorial staff in 1976 as an assistant editor for "Collectors' Clearinghouse" and later became a senior staff writer before being appointed news editor. As managing editor, he manages the day-to-day editorial operations for Coin World, both print and online, and leads the editorial staff. He also serves as chief copy editor for all Coin World publications, including for all books published by Coin World since 1985. He has been project editor of mulitple editions of the Coin World Almanac. Bill began collecting coins at the age of 10 and soon discovered Coin World. As a teen interested in numismatics and journalism, he identified a writing position on the staff of Coin World as a dream job, which was realized shortly after he graduated from Bowling Green State University with a major in journalism. He collects store cards and medals depicting Adm. George Dewey of Spanish-American War fame.

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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? 

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Older Comments (1)
The ANA can lower the median age of its collectors if it would stop holding on to the ways it has always done business and go to where the collectors congregate: on line. There are many YN programs that attracting YN is lesser of a problem. Keeping the YNs interested when they reach the age of majority, find other interests, get jobs and add the responsibility of family. There is a way and it involves moving more of the ANA online.

Although the ANA has done a great job updating their website and moved a lot of the mundane business-related items to being accessible online, none of the ANA programs are online accessible. One thing the ANA could have done for this convention is to broadcast the Money Talks lectures online. Many of these lectures are very interesting and can be good learning experiences for all collectors. However, unless you will be Anaheim, you will not see them.

As we have seen in current events, there are simple ways to do a basic broadcast online. All it takes is a smartphone and a connection to the Internet. Imagine if there was a little effort put into broadcasting the talks how much better it can be done.

It does not have to cost the ANA a lot of money. While the programming could be free, advertisements can be offered. Instead of a short ad, what about allowing people to sponsor blocks of time such as Heritage Auctions and Stacks-Bowers that would sponsor blocks of time to highlight items in their auctions along with instructions how the off-site viewer can participate. The auctions themselves can also be broadcast for a fee.

The possibilities are endless but it must begin with the recognition that the demographics of society are changing and those people do things differently. Now that the ANA has caught up with the beginning of the 21st century it’s time to make the leap to the present. It’s time to move more of the ANA to the online world!