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Seeing ANA from world mint eyes

It is the peculiar nature of the World Money Fair that I attended last week in Berlin that I ran into people that I would more normally speak to at home.

One such conversation I had was with Tom Hallenbeck, president of the American Numismatic Association. He was attending his second Berlin event.

Unlike last year, this year the ANA had a booth and Ann Rahn and Kim Kiick were helping Hallenbeck fly the ANA flag in Europe.

When I asked Hallenbeck about his experience, he said, “It’s fascinating what they do here. How differently coin dealers work and how differently they do business than world mints.”

He thinks the summer ANA convention can do better catering to the needs of world mints. “I think we can do a lot better job,” he said.

Unlike the more casual American way of doing business at a coin show, Hallenbeck noted that the world mints set up their meetings well in advance of the event.

“It’s very hard to just walk up and meet somebody.” He said he was lucky at one booth. He happened by and was told by the dealer that it was the first time in two days that he had been there.

How do the Europeans view the ANA president, I asked?

“I’ve been treated superbly. I’ve been treated with German kindness,” he replied.

“Just being here a second year is opening doors for the ANA.”

Hallenbeck said it was his hope to make the summer ANA convention live up to its name of World’s Fair of Money.

That will require some rethinking.

Whereas security and open lines of sight across the bourse floor are the primary considerations when setting up an American bourse, Hallenbeck said mints have other ideas of what they want.

“They like the idea of big set-up booths,” Hallenbeck explained. They stand out, but they also make any clean line of sight for security impossible.

He mentioned the Paris Mint. He said they would attend the ANA convention “only if they can build something that looks like Paris.”

Overall, Hallenbeck said, the mints “do want an American trade show.”

Hallenbeck is determined to help them get it.

But learning was not a one-way street.

Hallenbeck noted that the mints he talked to seemed “stunned at the number of ANA members.” They did not know that ANA had a large staff providing many programs to American collectors through its museum, library, monthly publication and club outreach.

Now that I am home, I can watch to see how the lessons of Berlin will be applied by the ANA and the world’s mints. And get some sleep.