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Back at my desk, oh my

The American Numismatic Association convention in Baltimore is over. I am back at my desk for the first time in over a week. I haven’t figured out just how far behind I am yet, though my telephone message light is flashing red and reads that there are eight messages for me.

It was a great convention. It was not the best one ever, but it was good on several levels that we have not enjoyed for a while.

Dealers were happy to be in a town known as a good place to do business. ANA members were pleased to see the problems of prior years being put behind them, so the political environment was relaxed rather than poisoned.

One contentious issue, the location of the 2011 summer convention, was dealt with promptly. At the Professional Numismatists meeting one week ago today, the members let ANA board members and officials know that they thought Indianapolis, the site selected in March, was not a good place to be for business and travel security reasons. Their objections were given forcefully, but often with good humor.

ANA Gov. Cliff Mishler responded to the gathered PNG members as did ANA President Barry Stuppler. The result was action was taken at the Friday ANA board meeting to reverse the previous board decision. Chicago now will be the 2011 convention location.

One longtime dealer present at both meetings said this was the best ANA board he has seen in his professional career.

Whether it is or isn’t the best board ever is less the point than the fact that business is getting done again without rancor and everyone can get on with convention activities that they all look forward to.

Kudos to the Central States board for its generous donation to support this year’s Summer Seminar, which was held for two weeks in late June to early July.

An outright donation of $50,000 was great. The challenge donation was inspired. Dealers and collectors quickly rose to meet it and came up with more than the needed $25,000, so CSNS matched $25,000. That means ANA collected over $100,000. It is necessary for an organization that is still running a large deficit.

Kudos also to Larry Shepherd, the new ANA executive director. His public report was forthright and factual. Employee count is down from 36 to 29.5 due to retirements and natural attrition. Employee morale is up. This year’s deficit has been cut by one-third so far to just over $900,000. It is a large number to be sure, but it demonstrates a certain momentum that we all can hope will be sustained.
That’s enough for today.