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Viewpoint: Mishler gets it wrong in response

By Ronald Brown


I was not going to reply to Clifford Mishler’s comments about me or my letter to the editor, but misstatements/misquotes must be corrected for accuracy to be heard.

Let the record state, I have no reason to think that Mr. Mishler is anything but an honest man and one of integratory; however, that is not necessarily said of all current or past board members of the American Numismatic Association. Numismatic News readership needs to keep in mind the phrase “Follow the Money” as this election develops and no doubt feedback as well! However, for Mr. Mishler to reply as he has, he either misunderstood what I wrote, the years have caught up with him or there is another motive.

For the record, I did not say “any person running for office in the ANA must pledge their allegiance to the ANA and void any other membership activity.” Misquote of what was written, mmm? What I said was that there needs to be separation from their personal business activity while on the ANA board to protect the ANA’s 501(c)(3) status and Congressional charter. This is a big difference form what Mr. Mishler alleges was said. I also note that he avoided even mentioning the charter and the possible risks to it. As a past board member, you would think that he would be concerned there as well over anything I might have said. That gives me considerable pause in his regard. Not holding or using their office on the ANA to better their other personal business or that of their friends should be a basic tenant of a board position and should require something of them in that regard.

Mr. Mishler wants the hobbyists to be supportive of “... the likes of ANA, PNG, ANS, ICTA, TAMS, SPMC and all the other organizations.” And so do I, but that is not the issue I raised or was against. Another misquote? Why? The issues are and always will be, that the nonprofit ANA board members who are also members of other organizations cannot have conflict of interest issues while serving on the ANA board. This is a basic operational and legal requirement. That’s all I’m saying as it relates to other club memberships. Yes of course be members and support them, but if using their ANA positions and activity to position their PNG friends or business and even self; this is what poses the threat, the issues and the conflicts!

Then I take Mr. Mishler’s comment as a personal attack: “Mr. Brown appears to haul from the radical political left.” Not the left – the real world of business experience, where the appearance of conflict of interest and unethical activity must be avoided. And I’m more right than he seems to be aware, and by right, I mean right!

Again Mr. Mishler misquotes by saying, “Mr. Brown opines that the presence of PNG members on the ANA board represents ‘elitism’.” Being on the board is not elitism no matter what membership you have or had. The “elitism” is represented by PNG’s restrictive and expensive membership requirements, which by design seem to discourage membership by the hobbyists at large. As I stated and showed from documentation, they want the hobbyists’ money and business but not their membership. This is the very definition of elitism. The experience that a PNG business person has and might bring to the ANA reminds me of a quote from President Ronald Reagan, where he used a comparison of the “oldest profession” in the world. The profession might bring experience but to what end and at what cost?

For Mr. Mishler to so clearly misread and misquote might speak volumes as to why there has been so much trouble within the ANA board over the years, certainly so if this is exemplary of the executive prowess therein.

This “Viewpoint” was written by Ronald Brown, an American Numismatic Association member.

Viewpoint is a forum for the expression of opinion on a variety of numismatic subjects. To have your opinion considered for Viewpoint, write to David C. Harper, Editor, Numismatic News, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990. Send email to

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