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Cipoletti reports ANA closing gap

The American Numismatic Association has too much money in the view of some grant-giving institutions, said Christopher Cipoletti, ANA executive director, at one point during the Aug. 14 public meeting of the board of governors during the World?s Fair of Money in Denver. Colo.

While that may have closed a few doors to the ANA, he nevertheless delivered financial good news in the form of a quarterly budget update that showed a shortfall from where they wanted to be of less than $30,000.

This, Cipoletti explained, was more of a revenue-timing issue than a problem. He expressed confidence that the 2006-2007 budget would reach its target. The budget, which was adopted in April in Atlanta, forecasts a nearly $93,000 surplus in a $5.8 million package.

Cipoletti also expressed confidence that ANA negotiations with an unnamed multinational corporation would lead to $250,000 in sponsorships and gifts.

Traditional sources of funding were also looking much healthier. Vice president Barry Stuppler reported that when the three-year contract expires with Numismatic Guaranty Corporation, the official ANA grading service, in February 2007, it will be replaced by contracts with two or three grading services that will both give ANA members wider choice and more than double annual revenue to a forecast $420,000.

Bid openings for the 2008 Phoenix National Money Show and the summer 2008 Baltimore World?s Fair of Money revealed competition between two firms and new ideas that could lead to even more revenue in future years.

For Phoenix, Heritage Auctions bid a flat $135,000, while Bowers and Merena bid $85,000, plus one percent of hammer prices over $5 million. If this 2008 auction would have results like the spring 2006 Atlanta sale, which realized almost $16 million, the Bowers and Merena bid would be higher. That, however, puts the board in the position of trying to figure out auction conditions two years from now.

Heritage added a new wrinkle with its bid for Baltimore. Under standard terms, it bid $501,000. However, if the board would change the rules and increase the number of lots that can be sold and lengthen the official sale dates into the pre-ANA convention period, its bid was $626,000.

Cipoletti immediately cautioned that to accept the longer auction would be a change in policy. To be fair to all bidders, it could not be done in 2008. It is something, though, to look at for 2009 and beyond, he said.

For the 2008 Baltimore sale, Bowers and Merena bid $460,000, or $400,000 plus one percent of the hammer prices between $15 million and $20 million, and two percent over $20 million. If a sale like 2005 San Francisco?s $25 million occurs, the Bowers and Merena bid would be worth around $550,000.

Cipoletti was asked to prepare a spreadsheet for an Aug. 16 board meeting before a decision would be made. The results were not known before this issue was laid out.
The board confronted a number of old hot-button issues, such as endowment use policy, but the fire of prior meetings seemed to have been extinguished in the general good news and feeling among the board members.

Future educational initiatives include a possible virtual museum, where online images and information would be made available to the public. No decision was made, but it was an example of the forward-looking agenda. Gov. Alan Herbert commented following staff presentations that they were ?the best I have seen at one of our meetings.?

One other bit of good news: the annual audit for the budget year ending March 31, 2006, shows ANA assets up by $1.2 million. The audit will be published in the Numismatist after future board approval.

Gov. Don Kagin reported the beginning of sales of the San Francisco Old Mint commemoratives. He hoped for a sellout, which would raise $8.5 million for the Old Mint restoration project. He said the American Money and Gold Rush Museum would occupy the ground floor of the Old Mint and a $5 million capital campaign would be conducted to help furnish it. He thanked dealers for the $150,000 in donations that funded the successful lobbying of Congress for the commemoratives.

The ANA board also began a process to determine whether the organization should regularly give its positions on political issues, like abolishing the cent. ANA President Bill Horton said this issue should be researched a little bit more. 

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