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ANA searches for revenue

I was flat on my back yesterday with the flu. It appears the financial flu on Wall Street continued while I was gone.

After checking the price of metals this morning, I read a story prepared yesterday in my absence about the meeting of the American Numismatic Association board of governors held Monday and Tuesday at ANA headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colo.

The financial pinch is squeezing ever harder. I write that because of what I saw was being considered. The board is thinking of charging nonmembers admission fees to its conventions and to the museum in Colorado Springs.

I can just hear the late George Hatie now. He was legal counsel for many years before Christopher Cipoletti took over the job. He always said he didn’t see how the board could keep its educational charter from the federal government if it began charging admission. Whether he was right or wrong about that, he was consistent. He considered the conventions the most important educational venues the ANA has and the most visible proof that it takes its educational mission seriously.

Certainly, since Hatie’s day the educational initiatives have broadened, making his long-term position more debatable.

However, one thing that I would expect if admission fees are charged is that attendance would drop at national conventions and that might not set well with the dealers who are spending large sums of money to rent their bourse tables.

But the ANA board is between a rock and a hard place. It either has to realistically find more sources of revenue or it must begin to take an axe to staffing levels.

The current stock market downturn is shrinking the financial cushion that the board has been drawing on to try to buy some time. It may have no choice but to grab for any possible revenue it can find.