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ANA, 'Remember the Member'

By Barbara J. Gregory

The September 2020 issue of The Numismatist (Page 55) carried a heartfelt plea from American Numismatic Association Executive Director Kim Kiick urging optimism with regard to the future of the hobby and the American Numismatic Association. Although her comments saddened me greatly, they were solidly on the mark.

Now, more than ever, collectors and families need fun, stimulating diversions from today’s challenges, much like American citizens did during the Great Depression and the years following World War II. Those dreary days provided a conducive climate for promoting coin collecting and launching a host of hobby products, from coin folders and guide books to monthly magazines and supplies. Eager for an affordable activity to take their minds off their troubles, many people dove into numismatics, pushing hobby participation to new heights.

ANA governors can learn from history and turn the present situation into an opportunity for growth and service. However, some appear to have another agenda – one that does not support members, facilitate headquarters staff and operations or ensure the continued health of the numismatic hobby and its advocate, the ANA. I fear a few elected officials and appointees have used the current COVID-19 pandemic as a convenient excuse to essentially cripple and dismantle the Association, with utter disregard for its legacy of education and guidance.

What is behind the board’s silence and fatalist attitude? With the steady erosion of the ANA’s foundation and the beginning of a board election cycle in December 2020, it is time for members and concerned hobbyists to ask such questions and for the Board of Governors to provide clear, honest answers.

I can think of no better use of the ANA’s ample endowment than for bolstering member services and strengthening the hobby during this difficult time. With contributions from many hundreds of members, the Association built its home and headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colo., in 1967. This facility – much improved and expanded over the years thanks to continued member support and trust – belongs to them.

In the words of former ANA President Matthew H. Rothert, the man who advocated the inclusion of IN GOD WE TRUST on our nation’s paper money, “Remember the member.” For the American Numismatic Association, this advice can illuminate the path forward, but ANA leadership is not listening or proactively responding.

This “Viewpoint” was written by Barbara J. Gregory, ANA Life Member and former editor-in-chief of The Numismatist.

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