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ANA wins when friends iron out problems

Numismatic News editor talks about the resolution of the ANA dispute over museum naming rights.

The Dec. 5 Iola, Wis., summit has brought peace between the American Numismatic Association and Chet Krause and Cliff Mishler. The ANA Museum will now be named for Edward C. Rochette.

As a life member of the ANA, I am delighted at the outcome. Ed Rochette deserves the honor. He has had a long and distinguished ANA career that began in 1966 when the organization chose to create a permanent headquarters and locate it in Colorado Springs, Colo. His mission at the time was to edit The Numismatist. With his obvious talent, he was promoted to executive vice president, which is the equivalent of today?s executive director. He went on to retire from that job, run for and win the elective presidency of the ANA in 1991 and come back to the executive directorship to save the ANA during a particularly tumultuous period in the late 1990s. He handed a stronger organization to his successor in the administrative job, Chris Cipoletti, in 2003.

Rochette truly deserves the museum honor because he always put the ANA first. As an ANA member, I always knew that. It showed up regularly in our conversations. His commitment and enthusiasm are admirable. I am delighted that Mishler and Krause, ANA president William H. Horton Jr. and Cipoletti have chosen to emulate Rochette?s example and put the good of the organization first.

Mishler and Krause took on the thankless task of fund-raising for the ANA. It is a difficult job. It can also lead to misunderstandings. In recent weeks we have seen what kind of misunderstandings can develop.

People don?t like being asked for money, yet the paradox is, they have to be asked in person by peers in order for anything to be accomplished. I have led fund-raisers in Iola for various projects. My experiences on the local level give me some glimmer of an idea of just what Mishler and Krause were up against on the national level. They persevered. Good for them.

I also call Cliff and Chet friends. I worked for them. Cliff hired me in 1978. They were great bosses. I know from personal experience they are straightshooters. Now that they are retired, I work with them on Iola community matters. They behave as professionally in those areas as they once did in business.

I have known Bill Horton for 25 years. I consider him a friend. I met him at a Garden State show. We get together even when we don?t have to. I know no one works harder for the hobby. His volunteerism earned him a Numismatic Ambassador Award. His commitment to ANA was recognized by the membership in his election to its board and most recently to its presidency. I know he always wants to do the right thing.

The devil, of course, is in the details. What is the right thing? How can people whose motives are good find themselves at such odds? I don?t know. But my experiences in the editor?s chair of Numismatic News and in life prove time and again that it happens. As the joint statement says, ?friends sometimes have disagreements and misunderstandings.? I wish this were not so, but who can argue to the contrary?

Chris is a relatively new arrival in my list of acquaintances. I cannot call him friend yet, but don?t let that be considered some sort of backhanded slap at him. I simply do not know him well enough yet. I don?t have a quarter century history with him as I do the others. The ANA board considers him the right man for the job he holds, which is Rochette?s old job. Those are big shoes to fill. His trip to Iola was constructive. A solution was reached that was laudable. I consider this a mark in his favor.

I have had some awkward weeks watching three friends engaged in a disagreement that should never have happened. I have reported on it as faithfully and impartially as I could. I?ve shared my opinion in this space. Readers have written letters and Viewpoints. Let?s learn from this. Let?s move forward.

My experience tells me that some darn thing will arise in ANA politics in the future. Happily, this experience tells me that hobby friends can deal with it.