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Who are new ANA members?

The current American Numismatic Association election campaign is a fairly quiet one.

What can you expect when the presidency and vice presidency are not contested?

This should worry the ANA board.

I am not one of those who thinks lawsuits and ANA voter rebellions are good things, but on the other hand, the future of the ANA is at stake in other ways.

What about tackling indifference?

There are too many collectors who simply assume that ANA will always be there even if they don’t bother to join or to maintain a membership.

The way a few talk about the present dues of $46 being too much money, you would think they were living under a bridge.

However, even among those who have paid it, there are too many members who don’t want even to be bothered to vote in the election.

While the top two spots are already decided, there are 12 candidates for seven board seats.

Who wins these seats in June will set the course of the organization for the next two years, perhaps for even longer.

Once someone becomes an incumbent, they are pretty well set to hold the seat for the full 10 years that the bylaws allow if they want to.

The only other decision is whether the new governor will choose down the line to run for the vice presidency and the presidency.

Increasing the membership is a goal of a number of candidates in the current election, most importantly the new president.

That is the best news to come out of the campaign so far.

However, we all have to consider the possibility that new members will not look, act and think like the old members do.

Newcomers might be able to easily afford $46 dues, but they weren’t born yesterday, either.

What do they get for the money? They will want to know.

Like any good sales force, the entire board of governors needs to be ready with the answer.

John Jay Pittman, who was elected president in 1971, and served on the board to the mid-1990s, was a firm believer in the retail politics approach: press the flesh and come away with the cash before the potential member can reconsider. Then make him feel good about joining.

That approached worked well then.

But how do you maintain that good feeling if the next generation of members is not likely to go to conventions or attend Summer Seminars?

That is the challenge.

Without the next generation of new members, the assumption that the ANA will always be there might turn out to be a faulty one.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper is winner of the 2014 Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper “Numismatic News.”

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