"America The Beautiful" Trademark Owned by the US Mint?

According to the lawyers at the U.S. Mint, the term “America the Beautiful” cannot be used when referring to the quarter series without noting that it is a trademark.

Coin World is reporting that Numismatic Guarantee Corporation will change the labels they use on certified 2010 quarters to remove “America The Beautiful” from across the top because the lawyers at the U.S. Mint complained.

According to registered trademark number 77823874, the trademark is for the term America the Beautiful Quarter™ with the disclaimer “No claim is made to the exclusive right to use America or Quarters apart from the mark as shown.”

Although NGC said that they would not fight the request, NGC’s original label did not use the word “Quarter” and is well within the spirit of what was written in the trademark application.

Prior to the quarters program, many of us knew America the Beautiful as the patriotic song based on the poem by Katharine Lee Bates and music by Samuel A. Ward. We also knew the phenomenal rendition by the late Ray Charles. Does the U.S. Mint’s actions mean that Charles’s estate can issue a cease and desist order against the U.S. Mint?

But did you know there was a documentary titled America the Beautiful asking whether is America obsessed with beauty? The film had a limited release in 2008. Does this mean that the U.S. Mint is infringing on the filmmakers copyright?

Will the U.S. Mint and the United States Geologic Survey become entangled in an inter-Executive Branch tussle over the name? The USGS sells the “America The Beautiful – The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Annual Pass.” that allows the holder to use these lands without paying an additional fee. Will this be the case of prior usage when the Department of the Treasury fights it out with the Department of the Interior? DoI may not be in a good mood given their involvement with the current disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

This is an overzealous prosecution by the U.S. Mint’s Office of Chief Counsel (OCC). It appears that the U.S. Mint is taking a common phrase out of the American lexicon and claiming it as their exclusive rights. In the process, OCC is using legal antagonism against the secondary market that serves the collecting community who is being asked to buy these coins.

Considering the reduction in sales caused by the “Great Recession” and collector fatigue over yet another series, it is not in the U.S. Mint’s interest to alienate the collecting community. I urge the U.S. Mint to reread Bates’s historic poem and reconsider its actions regarding a name.


Not a trademark but a sentiment.

PCGS Sues Alleged Coin Doctors

Late Friday afternoon, Collectors Universe, the parent company of PCGS, announced that they are suing six defendant and 10 “Does” (unknown people) in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California for allegedly doctoring coins. The named defendants are:

  • Al Rossman of Nevada
  • Eric Steinberg, a PNG member and owner of Broward County Coins in Plantation, Florida
  • Rick Wesslink of Mission Viejo, California (it is possible this name is misspelled in the complaint)
  • Silvano DiGenova, a PNG member and owner of Tangible Investments in Laguna Beach, California
  • Greg Krill, a PNG member and co-owner of North Bay Rare Coin & Jewelry of St. Helena, California
  • Robert Lehmann a coin shop owner in Cumberland, Maryland

The complaint alleges that the defendants conspired to doctor coins using “techniques [that] are designed and intended to avoid detection by [PCGS] and the coins’ owners for many years.” Amongst the method allegedly used are chemicals that would show up over time and laser alteration to fix or enhance coins. Owners of doctored coins later received compensation from Collectors Universe under the PCGS Guarantee.

Twelve examples of coin doctoring dating back to 2001 were listed as examples in the complaint.

CU alleges that the defendants are in violation of the Lanham Act (Trademark law) by allegedly misrepresenting the details of the coin; the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) alleging that they knowingly acted as an “enterprise” to defraud CU and PCGS; that the “Defendants acted willfully, fraudulently, maliciously, and in wanton disregard of CU’s rights;” and violated the California Unfair Competition Law.

As part of the complaint, it says that “PCGS is a leading coin authentication and grading service in the world,” and spends several paragraphs describing their work and guarantee. This is followed by the complaint that the defendants doctored coins. However, if PCGS is a professional service, how could they allow these defendants to allegedly submit and they encapsulate coins for over nine years without prior action?

There have been informal discussions in various forums as to whether the third party grading services may becoming overwhelmed with submission and questioning the results of their services. Along with the grading of classic coins, the third party grading services grade many modern coins, some directly from the packaging as shipped to dealers from the US Mint. Could coin doctors use this to try to hide their patterns over the years?

One solution was the formation of a service that verifies the grading of the third party graders. After a very public “spat” between the top grading services and notable dealers, some came together to form the Certified Acceptance Corporation (CAC), an authentication service that verifies the grading of the third party graders. While this may have slowed the coin doctors, it has not eliminated the problem.

In the mean time, PCGS reports that they have paid over $7 million under their guarantee over 24 years. While PCGS should pursue those that attempt to defraud them and the collecting community, PCGS may need to examine its own grading practices to understand how these coins passed their scrutiny.

Tweeting the May CCAC Meeting

Yesterday, the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee met at the US Mint Headquarters in Washington DC. During the meeting, CCAC member Donald Scarinci set up his laptop and tweeted from the meeting.

Based on Scarinci’s tweets, it was not a comfortable meeting. While reading the tweets, it seemed that there were some contention between the U.S. Mint and the members who blindly support whatever the Mint wants. Scarinci has indicated to me and in his commentary that appeared in Coin World that he was interested in performing the job intended by the law authorizing the CCAC.

Following the meeting, comments from other members indicated that Scarinci’s statements that appeared in Coin World editorial was the catalyst for the contentious feelings experienced at the meeting. One member indicated that there were more tactful ways to make comments about other members.

It is not apparent from the Coin World editorial what was objectionable in what Scarinci did or said. However, past experiences with CCAC Chairman Gary Marks may indicate that he takes commentary personally rather use it as a constructive lesson. If Marks and the U.S. Mint can realize that those who criticize are not against them but care enough to want to make things better there would be less of a strained relationship between the CCAC members and the public.

UPDATE: I am not condemning or condoning Scarinci’s comments. I am saying that on the surface it does not appear that what he said rises to the level of scorn that is being raised. Regardless of how you feel about his situation, I encourage Scarinci to continue to work in a manner that he feels is in the best interest of the CCAC, even if it means trampling on a few egos.

If you missed the meeting, the following are the compilation of the tweets from @Scarinci:


Scarinci On my way to DC for meetings later & CCAC meeting tomarow. Big agenda tomarow. Took a long time preparing.

Monday, May 24, 2010 2:09 PM
Scarinci Marine 1 just flew over me near the Potomac River in DC. I wonder if the President was on Board. You don’t see that in NJ.:)

Monday, May 24, 2010 4:20 PM
Scarinci Just read “Coin World” article with CFA’s comments on the commem designs CCAC reviews tomorrow. I’m not alone thinking they are unworthy.

Monday, May 24, 2010 6:54 PM
Scarinci If the Mint gave us good designs with only minor variations to pretend CFA & CCAC has imput, maybe I’d be OK being their rubber stamp. 🙂

Monday, May 24, 2010 7:04 PM
Scarinci Only 3 or 4 designs of each coin today–the Mint just engaging CCAC because they have to. Designs limited & most are variations of the same.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 6:39 AM
Scarinci Arrived at mint. Franklin Pierce dollars for sale in lobby. Arkansas quarters too.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 7:41 AM
Scarinci Administrative meeting just begun. It is of course not open to the public.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 8:08 AM
Scarinci Admin meeting adjourned–Why does the Mint like to do things in secret? Very little discussed that couldn’t have been public.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:01 AM
Scarinci Public just entered the room. Seems like a lot of people here for this meeting today.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:05 AM
Scarinci Set up my laptop for twitter today. It is a lot easier on my thumbs.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:07 AM
Scarinci Michael Ross, History Prof at U.Maryland being introduced (Historian seat on CCAC). teaches U.S.History and focuses on 19th Century.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:11 AM
Scarinci Starting discussion of designs of 2011 Army Commem Coin Program. Kaarina Budow reading narratives that were given to the artists.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:15 AM
Scarinci The gold reverse designs are three variations of the same thing. Guess that’s what the Mint wants. There is no choice.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:17 AM
Scarinci Obverse 2 & 3 show central soldier figure wearing the current uniform. We are told it is not specific to any current military action.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:22 AM
Scarinci Had a motion to narrow the discussion even though only 4 obverse designs being considered. No women depicted on any of them.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:26 AM
Scarinci The three reverse designs of the gold coin are all the same with only minor variations. Even more absurd to narrow the discussion on these.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:30 AM
Scarinci The gold is supposed to show revolutionary period to today. Ony 1 or 4 does that for me. But I don’t get the motto on 4.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:41 AM
Scarinci Some support for design 3 because it is focused and fits well on the small surface of the gold $5.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:47 AM
Scarinci Some members wanting to change wording on reverse & minor features of some obverses. Mint seldom listens to that. We get what we get.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:56 AM
Scarinci Device on helmut on design 3 is for night vision and becomes the focus of the image. Some want to see eyes and people facing front .

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:03 AM
Scarinci Voting for the gold concluded. I made the point that we are just rubber stamping what the mint wants on the reverses–all the same.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:11 AM
Scarinci Kaarina reviewing narratives for the silver dollar size 2011 US Army Commemorative Coin Program.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:22 AM
Scarinci Some on CCAC are picking up on the fact that the faces depected on these designs look very much the same–diversity is lacking.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:31 AM
Scarinci You gotta love Roger Burdette. He just articulated my thoughts on the wording and the banality of what we are looking at today.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:36 AM
Scarinci No neo-renaissance except in Ed Moy’s speeches. At peace with that, obv.1 & rev.4 is just a nice coin. Lack of diversity & woman troubling

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:58 AM
Scarinci Moved on to talking about the clad half dollar of the three piece 2011 US Army Commemorative set.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 11:04 AM
Scarinci I spoke in favor of obv.1 or 2 paired with rev. 2 as a nice coin & made the comparrison to the rev. on the 1976 quarter. Same artist?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 11:06 AM
Scarinci Good comment just made that the clad half obv. designs are very 1950’s “Atoms for Peace” remakes. There is little inspiration here.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 11:15 AM
Scarinci Member just suggested that the good designs have been edited out of the group the Mint chose to send to CCAC. YES!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 11:20 AM
Scarinci I just made a motion to reject all designs for the obv. & rev. of the clad half dollar. Roger Burdette seconded it. Motion failed.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 11:26 AM
Scarinci Rick just made a motion to reject all obverse designs of the clad half dollar. Mike Olson seconded it, withdrew his second so I seconded it.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 11:31 AM
Scarinci Good, spirited discussion. The motion passed with a 5-4 vote to reject all designs for the obverse of the clad half dollar.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 11:44 AM
Scarinci Discussion about adjourning and considering the 2011 Medal of Honor coins at our meeting in Colorado Springs. Mint staff objected.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 11:46 AM
Scarinci The CCAC did what the Mint wanted and is continuing the meeting. Lets just rush through it since there isn’t much to choose from anyway.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 11:51 AM
Scarinci We are rushing through the agenda and looking at the Gold and silver commemorative designs together. Kaarina is even speaking faster.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 11:56 AM
Scarinci One member just said they can’t even keep up with the pace of the meeting at this point. It is going in high speed.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 11:59 AM
Scarinci We are at it now since 8 AM with not even a bathroom break. Thank goodness they brought some food and sodas out.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 12:04 PM
Scarinci We are talking about two coins at once, obv.& rev.–I’m having trouble following the discussion. Thank goodness I spent a weekend preparing

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 12:08 PM
Scarinci We haven’t even tallied the votes from the Army Commemoratives. Worrying now about my train reservation.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 12:10 PM
Scarinci Roger and Mike have prepared very moving remarks about the medal of honor commems–truly a highlight of today’s meeting.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 12:16 PM
Scarinci I will not be rushed on my comments and I will not lend my name on a vote on such an important coin as the medal of honor coin.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 12:25 PM
Scarinci We got through this in about 1/2 hour. We are now taking a break finally to count the votes.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 12:28 PM
Scarinci The Mint staff just told us they are not rushing us. Unbelievable!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 12:30 PM
Scarinci I did not vote on the medal of honor coins because I refuse to be rushed. We just ran through it to comply with law requiring CCAC review.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 12:38 PM
Scarinci Mike making some motions asking the mint to change design aspects of what we voted for.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 12:39 PM
Scarinci CCAC just voted to make the woman on the Army Dollar, SO-O1, African American to make up for the lack of diversity on the designs presented.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 12:45 PM
Scarinci Meeting has been adjourned. I need to rush to make my train.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 12:47 PM
Scarinci VOTES for 2011 US Army Commems: Gold $5obv:#3=20;#2=18; rev:#3=28;#2=6; Silver $1obv #1=25;#5=10; rev:#3=19;#4=8: Clad$.50rev:#2=19;#3=14

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 2:21 PM
Scarinci VOTES for 2011 Medal of Honor Commems: Gold$5obv.#2=19; Rev.:#2=13; #1=11; Silver $1 Obv.:#2=24; Rev:#2=24. Two members did not vote.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 2:26 PM
Scarinci The private administrative meeting that followed was even worse than the public meeting if that is possible. Things are very bad (IMO).

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 2:28 PM


Follow the CCAC Tweets on Tuesday

As a reminder, the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee will meet on Tuesday, May 25 at the US Mint Headquarters in Washington, DC. On the agenda is the review for the 2011 US Army and Medal of Honor Commemoratives. Coin World is reporting that the designs are less than inspiring.

If you cannot attend the meeting, you can follow the tweets of CCAC member Donald Scarinci to read real-time updates from the meeting. Just follow @Scarinci on Twitter. Scarinci has already begun tweeting about the designs the CCAC are reviewing also noting the Coin World article on the designs. Stay tuned!

Record Sale for Rare Dollar

Last week, a 1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar that may be the oldest known silver dollar was sold for a record $7.85 million! Steven L. Contursi of Rare Coin Wholesalers of Irvine, California sold the coin to Cardinal Collection Educational Foundation of Sunnyvale, California in a private sale.

The coin was graded by Professional Coin Grading Service as Specimen 66 (SP66).

The sale surpasses the $7.59 million paid (including buyer’s premium) in 2002 for the legendary Farouk-Fenton 1933 Double Eagle.

As an interesting aside, the Farouk-Fenton would be worth $9,197,822 accounting for inflation between 2002 and 2010. Of course the coin could sell for more if it should come up for sale again. However, the existance of the ten Langbord-Switt 1933 Double Eagles could change the perception of value for all of the 1933 Double Eagles.

Could EU Countries Reissue Their Original Currency

You might have noticed that a European debt crisis has caused the markets to panic where some have been saying there is no relief in sight. It started wit the economy of Greece needing its own bailout while it is questioned as to whether they can pay the money back. The the news that Portugal, Spain, and possibly Ireland may follow. As a result, the Euro is at a 4-year low against the dollar and dropping.

Aside from the economic impact, there has been questions about the viability of the European Union as an economic entity and its ability to act as a central bank in the best interests of the sovereign members of the Euro zone. Countries can no longer manipulated their currencies or manufactured more money to maintain solvency. They now have to follow the rules of the European Central Bank in order to maintain “fairness” within the Euro zone.

What would happen if these countries did not want to be beholden to the European Central Bank? Countries would have to break from the bank and issue its own currency. There has even been speculation as to the current value of the former EU currencies if they were still in circulation.

For numismatists it would add new collectibles to the market. Countries that would re-issue its own currencies would likely demonetize the Euro and force locals to trade in their Euro coins and notes for the re-issued currency. This would make the reverse designs that are country specific instantly collectible as well as the new Drachma, Escudo, Pesta, Franc, Lira, or Deutsche Mark that would be issued in its place.

Maybe Great Britain was right for not converting to the Euro. But for now, their newly issued circulating coinage is arguably the most interesting in the Euro zone. Maybe another country will join them an open new areas of collectibles.

Follow Up: ANA versus Technology

First, I want to thank everyone who responded directly to me regarding my post ANA versus Technology: The ANA is Losing! There have been so many notes that it is impossible to respond individually.

An overwhelming number of responses were from people who identified themselves as 20-something or 30-something collectors who said they read my blog and others to hear from other collectors. It seems as if they read the blogs to share with other collectors as they would do if they were to attend a coin club meeting. It may be anecdotal, but it adds to my assumptions as to where to find what I am calling “the gap generation” between the young numismatists and the member who comes back to collecting after they are settled into their life.

To answer the predominant question generated by the post: yes, I heard from members of the ANA Board of Governors and ANA President Cliff Mishler. Since I have not had a chance to answer their notes I will not comment on the contents of the correspondence at this time. There are areas for me to follow up and will do so shortly.

I will say that I learned a few things from the Board members that is not readily apparent from materials published by the ANA. That information gap is worrisome and something that has to be addressed.

First Find of 2010

It did not take as long to find a 2010 coin in pocket change this year as it did to find a 2009 coin last year. After going to my favorite coffee place, I noticed a very bright Lincoln Cent amongst the change. When I put my cup down to add a little non-fat milk, I reached into my pocket and found it was one of the new sheild cents. With the exception of the fingerprint on the obverse (it could be mine), the coin looks like it just came from the U.S. Mint.

As we progress further into 2010, I am seeing a lot of 2009 coins, particularly the 2009 Lincoln Bicentennial Cents and the District of Columbia and U.S. Territories quarters.

I have yet to find 2009 nickels and dimes.

ANA versus Technology: The ANA is Losing!

In the April 2010 edition of The Numismatist, Q. David Bowers writes about the aging of the American Numismatic Association membership noting that 47-percent of its membership is between the ages of 50 and 60. While Bowers notes that there “are several reasons why numismatics has lost its appeal to younger people,” Bowers says that it is nothing “the ANA has done or not done.” Bowers sites studies that show that younger people have embraced technology and social media to fill their spare time. With all due respect to Mr. Bowers, then why has the ANA not embraced this new social media paradigm?

While the ANA has a Young Numismatist outreach program and a Scouts program for the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, these programs end when the YN member becomes 22 years old. YN’s who go to college are beginning their careers or starting graduate school at 22. Those who do not go to college are in the beginnings of their careers and maybe beginning a family. In either case, at 22 years old, a person’s life is in transition and the least of their worries is membership or participation in the ANA. If the ANA wants to be relevant in the lives of those in the 20-something and 30-something, the organization must adapt to be where their members are or want to be.

Over the last ten years, technology has evolved to where it is more portable, more accessible, and more communal. And recent advances and other industry activity shows that this trend is unlikely to slow down. Those of us who make this technology part of our lives understands how valuable online and accessible resources can be to enhance our lives. If the ANA wants to continue to be relevant for a broader audience, it has to join the portable, communal revolution to make it more accessible to more potential members.

Did you know that the ANA has a Facebook page? Neither did I until I saw a small note about it at the bottom of the ANA monthly email newsletter. Although I will not use Facebook (for reasons other than technology), why is this not advertised on the ANA’s website? Is it mentioned in The Numismatist? It might have appeared once, but it should be repeated monthly so that people will get the message.

If the ANA is on Facebook then why are they not using Twitter? Those of us who will not use Facebook because of recent privacy concerns will use Twitter. Why is the ANA not tweeting? There must be some news coming from Colorado Springs. Were there new books for the library? Are there new exhibits in the Money Museum? Are there press releases we should know about? What about new content on the website?

The ANA website leaves much to be desired. It appears to be a combination of cobbled together download programming and a commercial markup program that does not help manage content and does not provide for ways to better organize the information. Although better looking than the original ANA website, this version has even removed wonderful content that used to be buried under various menus. Where is this content?

For the ANA website to be relevant, it must get a makeover. I am not talking about a style makeover. It needs a technology makeover. First, it must use a content management system (CMS) for being able to organize and deliver content. Even the people at whitehouse.gov figured this out when they transformed the White House’s website to use a content management system. CMS software has the capabilities to include Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds on the site that will allow people to know when content has changed rather than rely on the user to periodically check the site. CMS also has the ability to create calendars that can be a reference for numismatic events, integrate photo albums from ANA sponsored events to share with the membership, and even integrate a YouTube channel that can incorporate multimedia presentations. Even congress uses YouTube!

There is so much more that can be done if the ANA embraces the technology and adds it to their daily workflow.

After the candidates roundtable at the 2007 National Money Show in Charlotte, I walked up to several candidates and said that I had an interest in helping the ANA with the technology communications plans. I handed several candidates my business card and said that after they were elected that I want to volunteer to help. I waited until a few months after the election to remind those I spoke with and those that I did not have the opportunity to speak with that I was still interested. I am still waiting for a response.

Later in 2007, The Numismatist had an announcement for volunteers to participate in an “IT Committee.” I sent my information to the email provided. This committee had one phone call, an exchange of emails, and nothing came of it. The wasted effort is discouraging.

But I am back with a very public platform to inform the ANA that this member is ready to step in and help. Although I am now part of the 47-percent demographic I do not have the same mindset as many in my peer group. I have been in the computing business for 30 years and evolved as the technology has evolved. I am as passionate about technology as I am about collecting and would volunteer to work with the ANA to help.

However, this offer does come with conditions. Since the last effort fell short and the ANA has not shown great interest in member suggestions, my conditions require a commitment from the ANA Board of Governors that such work will be fully supported. I want a commitment from the Executive Director that he will participate with providing input regarding the daily operations of the organization and how to integrate technology into their workflow. I want a commitment of money—not for me but a budget that would be used to make the improvements necessary and any future operations and maintenance issues. Finally, I want a commitment that the group that would do this be small—limited to the Executive Director, one member from the Board of Governors, and three members at large. Two of the three members should have a technology background and the third be in the 20-something to 30-something age bracket who may or may not have a technology background. And since I am volunteering, the ANA only has to find two more members at large!

If the ANA is interested, I can write a committee charter that would propose the structure, goals, outcomes, and milestones that the Board of Governors could consider. I am also prepared to provide my own credentials to become of a member of this committee. All I would need is to start this conversation with ANA President Cliff Mishler or Executive Director Larry Shepherd. Both may contact me via email to begin the conversation. I look forward to hearing from these gentlemen.

ANA Show Schedule Favors Dealers, Not Collectors

“We can now move immediately to ‘brand’ Chicago as an ANA city.”

With that statement by Larry Shepherd, the American Numismatic Association has begun to reverse the progress it has made to reach out to its members over the last few years. Rather than finding a way to bring the largest of the ANA shows closer to the membership, Shepherd convinced the ANA Board of Governors to anchor the summer show in Chicago.

“Successful conventions and auction contracts are critical to our future,” Shepherd was quoted as saying. But is he implying> that no other city can put on a successful convention. This would include Baltimore where a successful World’s Fair of Money was held two years ago.

Shepherd also said that the National Money Show in the spring and a new fall show, which was announced to begin in 2011 in Pittsburgh, would be available on a rotating basis with pre-selected cities.

Shepherd stressed the importance of branding Chicago as the home of the summer ANA World’s Fair of Money, noting the success FUN has had branding Orlando as its home, and Whitman establishing Baltimore as a destination for its shows. What makes this argument ridiculous is that Orlando is a central location in the area represented by the Florida United Numismatists and and easy place to travel in the state. Anyone who has travelled through O&rdsquo;Hare International Airport understands the effect of being the nation’s second busiest airport.

There is also a difference in using the location as the branding for the show. Orlando is a travel destination in a way Chicago will never be. Don’t get me wrong, I love Chicago. I think Chicago is a great city. I have friends in the Chicagoland area and look forward to visiting them. But unlike Orlando, Chicago is not the national or international destination Orlando is. Chicago is a great place to visit, but it is absurd to compare Chicago with Orlando. Face it, you are not going to hear the next Super Bowl MVP announce that he is going to Navy Pier!

To further add to the fallacy of Shepherd’s statement is that while Whitman has turned the Baltimore show into a bigger success than it was before they bought it, Whitman is also expanding their reach to Philadelphia and Nashville. While Whitman expands its reach, the ANA now has favored locations and if you are not able to travel to those locations then the ANA will not come to you.

Interestingly, not only is the ANA fixing the locations for their shows, no announcement has been made as to how to improve the outreach to those shows. This can be done using a little imagination and technology to allow members to virtually attend the show. I will have more on this in a future post.

In the past, Shepherd had been discussing the scheduling and handling of the ANA shows so as to not lose money. One consideration was to find what he described as “a good bourse city” primarily to make the dealers happy. What is not mentioned is what would make the collectors happy. Rather, Shepherd is saying that it is not enough to use what is probably the world’s largest numismatic show as the destination in different cities as outreach to its members and future members, the ANA, a non-profit organization, is using the show to make a profit and enforce profits for its dealers. While I am not against dealers making profits, I am against the profit motive as a driving factor for the placement of the ANA convention.

In the May 2010 edition of The Numismatist, ANA President Cliff Mishler quoted ANA Governor Jeff Garrett that Mishler told him, “He reminded me that there are not two classes of ANA membership—dealers and collectors—but rather a single community, one that cares about the well-being of the hobby.” It is interesting how Mishler could tell an ANA governor that the ANA is a community yet support a convention policy that is clearly geared to the dealer community.

I do not recommend quitting the ANA out of protest. This is where being a member helps. As an ANA member I am letting our elected Board of Governors know that this is not a good decision. It is not in the best interest of the ANA nor does it advance the ANA’s chartered mission for numismatic outreach and education. ANA members who are not happy with this decision should use this opportunity to contact the Board and tell them how you feel.

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