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Viewpoint: ANA board tenure changes people

 

By: Bruce Walker

I am beginning to wonder just what it is about the ANA that has such a profound effect on otherwise normal men.

So many guys (and women) who heretofore had run exemplary lives both inside and outside the numismatic community, seem to become total jerks once they have been immersed in this erstwhile great organization.

Recent letters to the editor by current and past board members are yet another example of this proclivity. Even Christopher Cipoleti, it would seem, was a pretty decent guy before becoming ensnared in the ANA and it’s “jerk-producing” culture.

Can anyone explain why other organizations like FUN, the ANS, Central States, just to name a few, never seem to have these same problems? What exactly happens to someone and their psyche after they join the ANA board that convinces them they are a force to be reckoned with?

Why all the secrets (the reason for firing Larry Shepard among them) that lead to endless litigation? Is it the the origins of the organization and its congressional charter that produce such bad karma? Is it the charter that transforms anyone associated with its governance into an ego-maniac who then takes himself too seriously?

I’m convinced that the real problem lies in the perceived self-importance of what the ANA provides to the numismatic community.
To be sure, the ANA produces a terrific magazine, but it’s hardly the only world-class monthly publication out there. It has a nice museum, but again there are many others. Education? Nice value-add but hardly the reason most folks become members.

I’m not sure what the ANA does that isn’t expendable, even the shows it sponsors could easily be replaced by other more enterprising and less litigious organizations. As for the financial interests of collectors, it seems to be better represented by ICTA in many respects over the past few years than by the ANA.

There is only so much nonsense anyone can be expected to tolerate. I’ve been an annually renewing member since 1998, renewing even through the worst of it in 2007. Given the rather large increase in membership dues the last few years, the idea that any of it, even a single penny, is being handed out to lawyers or paid in premiums to insurance companies for board member malfeasance, makes me wonder if my allegiance to the ANA is at best misguided. I hardly think I am alone in making such conclusions.

This “Viewpoint” was written by Bruce Walker, a Kansas City hobbyist. To have your opinion considered for Viewpoint, write to David C. Harper, Editor, Numismatic News, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990. Send email to david.harper@fwmedia.com.

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