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ANA approves dues increase

Dues are going up to $46 a year June 1 for regular members of the American Numismatic Association.

And while news of the $10 increase may dampen some spirits, the rest of the news from the ANA board of governors meeting in Portland was remarkably upbeat.

Whereas last year the board seemed beleaguered by lawsuits, high expenses and dwindling endowment funds, this year the trends were going in the other direction.

Executive director Larry Shepherd mentioned that the ANA’s insurer had settled one of two eBay-related lawsuits and he expressed optimism about the other pending legal matters, including an arbitration with fired former executive director Christopher Cipoletti.

The change of tone was palpable. Even the fact that some board members were being deposed while in Portland for the upcoming April arbitration did not seem to dampen spirits.

A budget was adopted for the fiscal year beginning April 1 that showed a small surplus of approximately $100,000 excluding legal fees. This was made possible by cutting expected expenditures by  almost $1.5 million from the baseline of the budget from the prior year.

Overall, the board expects income to be $4,562,445 and expenses $4,426,380. The $136,065 surplus was reduced by further board action when it postponed implementation of the dues hike by two months from the April 1 budget starting date. Shepherd forecast that this would reduce income by $35,000 or so.

Shepherd also had good news on the endowment front. It is now larger and more liquid.

Because the endowment had sunk to a dangerously low point of $2 million to $2.5 million in liquid funds, the board authorized Shepherd to negotiate a sale of approximately $5 million in Ben E. Keith Co. stock owned by the ANA.

The firm agreed to buy back the shares of the nontradeable stock at full value. Shepherd even said the company picked a valuation date that was to the ANA’s advantage.

Furthermore, because of the deaths of heirs of Kenneth Keith, under terms of his will, their shares go to the ANA. The value of these newly acquired shares more than made up for those sold.

Shepherd said with roughly $9.4 million in Keith stock and $7.5 million in liquid resources, the balance sheet showed the ANA with $16.9 million.

He said that ANA has a net worth north of $60 million when its collections and other assets are accounted for.

And that wasn’t the end of the good financial news. According to present projections, the ANA will receive Keith  shares over time that are valued at a further $19,211,000.

In recent months the staff has shrunk due to attrition to stand at 28.5 full-time equivalents.

The board decided to change the fiscal year from a starting date of April 1 to a starting date of Nov. 1, making the present budget a seven-month affair.

Some concern was expressed regarding the news dues structure for club memberships. It is rising to $75 a year. Offsetting this, however, is that each club gets $5 credit for every member who is a member of ANA, so any organization with 15 ANA members would have to pay zero dues.

In addition to a regular membership fee of $46, the board established a lower basic membership where members who opt to receive The Numismatist publication online only would pay dues of $28.

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