Moving forward with improvements to the American Numismatic Association website was the most important and most expensive action taken by the outgoing board of governors at its last public meeting Aug. 16 during the organization’s World’s Fair of Money in Rosemont, Ill.
The board awarded $625,000 in contracts after being assured by treasurer Larry Baber that the money was there.
“I’m fully in favor of this. It will generate some money for us. We don’t know how much. ANA is healthy and strong,” Baber said.
At another point he said, “This sum is two years’ of investment growth. We have the ability to fund this. I’m not proposing we sell Ben E. Keith stock. We have other resources we can use.”
Though ANA may presently be strong financially, during the discussion it was pointed out that ANA membership has fallen by 20 percent in the last four years to under 25,000.
This was one of the issues that it was hoped the new website would address.
Riser Media was awarded a $375,000 contract to build the internet platform with capabilities that ANA wants.
Euclid Company was awarded a $250,000 contract for the association management software that would be used by the website and the ANA staff.
The motion for both passed 9-0, though incoming governor Laura Sperber, who did not take office until that evening, said, “I’m totally appalled at the cost … It has no sizzle. Bad deal. Bad job.”
The work is to be completed in one year.
None of the governors went into it with rose colored glasses. Outgoing Gov. Wendell Wolka perhaps best summarized the present website when he said, “There are several lights out on the marquee” and “There is no viable alternative.”
Outgoing governor Clifford Mishler pointed out that he expected the project to take longer and cost more than what they were being promised here, but that is the nature of this kind of project.
Gov. Greg Lyon pointed out the risk the ANA is currently running with its website. It is hosted at ANA headquarters. It is not fail-safe.
Among the features of the new website, “games could be wildly popular with members. They would perform tasks and earn virtual coins,” said Clay Goforth, formerly of Amos Digital, who was involved in the selection process.
The new website also will have the capability to host e-learning videos and host social media where each member could have their own profile page, blogs and forums.
There can be a virtual collection gallery, comprehensive dealer and membership directories, a crowd-sourced “coinipedia,” a library catalog and digital copies of the books, podcasts and other educational online presentations, live event streaming, classified ads and interactive capability so dealers can choose their booths in an online process.
In other business, the nomination process for the ANA Hall of Fame was modified so that only three members of the council would be necessary to pass a nomination on to the electoral panel.
There was some discussion of extending board member terms from two years to three, but no decision was made.
The Chicago Coin Club was chosen to be next year’s host club and William Burd was named host chairman.
An organizational meeting of the new board was held Aug. 17.
New President Walter Ostromecki got things going by giving a Presidential Award to national volunteer Larry Gaye.
Initial presidential appointments were approved, including Mark Lighterman as parliamentarian to help the board move its deliberations along.
Young Numismatist Cole Schenewerk was put on the board as a non-voting intern position.
Public board teleconference dates were set for Dec. 10, 2013, April 8, June 10 and Oct. 14, 2014, at 2 p.m. Mountain Time.
A board retreat and development meeting was set for Oct. 21-22 at headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colo.
There will be no board meeting at the Florida United Numismatists convention in January.