Over the last few days, I have not read many complementary reviews about the America’s Beautiful National Parks Quarter Dollar Coin Act of 2008, now Public Law Number 110-456 (GPO: Text, PDF). Not only did I write about earlier this week, but Susan Headley at About.com wrote about how many of her readers did not like the concept.
So where was the ANA? The American Numismatic Association has been representing the collector community in all matters numismatic. The ANA was instrumental in convincing congress to create the 50 State Quarters Program. The ANA does talk with congressional leaders about numismatic issues. But with very few positive things being said about what is now law, why did the ANA not say anything this time?
I am sure there will be excuse that between the holidays and that the recent burglaries of dealers that included the firm owned by ANA President Barry Stuppler may have diverted some attention from this bill. But there are others in the ANA who could be asked to speak on the community’s behalf.
One person who could have spoken on behalf of the membership is David Ganz. Ganz is a former president of the ANA, numismatic author, lawyer, and politician who worked with the ANA to lobby congress for the 50 State Quarter Program. Ganz could have spoken with Rep. Michael Castle (R-DE) and said that this is not the area to spend political capital. Rather, the Ganz could have offered to bring the idea to the ANA to allow the members to come up with fresh ideas.
When the National Parks quarters fail to capture the public attention like the 50 State Quarters, I believe the collector community will be blamed for not “being on board,” even though we were not consulted. The community will lose credibility in a manner similar to the coin shortage of the 1960’s and it will take a few years before congress will listen to the ANA again on coinage matters. It could have been avoided if the ANA would have spoken to Castle and expressed concerns when the bill was announced last June, long before the holidays!
If it is the job of the ANA to protect the hobby, the ANA failed at its job.