The ANA Woke Up on the Wrong Side, for a change

When they persisted in questioning him, he stood up and said to them, “The one without sin among you should be the first to throw a stone at her.”

— John 8:7

During an open session of the ANA Board of Governor on January 19, 2021, a session not advertised in a prominent location, the Board voted to remove Farran Zerbe’s name from the top service award offered by the organization.

Let’s take a look at the reasons given for removing Zerbe’s name from the ANA award. According to the ANA’s press release:

A retrospective look at Zerbe’s professional dealings uncovered accusations that he made deceptively inflated claims about the future value of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition gold dollars he sold; complaints of hucksterism and fraud for his creation and sale of coin-like 1904 gold-plated exposition souvenirs;

Modern hucksterism that the ANA Board does not seem to mind versus one that allegedly occurred 112 years-ago.

The ANA Board of Governors, whose members include dealers, is assessing 112-year-old accusations of conducting business. In the meantime, the ANA sits idly by while ANA dealers on television have done the same thing.

I have documented inflated prices and deceptively inflated claims by Rare Collectibles TV, DCN Coin Talk, and other scams that walked into my shop that purchased coins from these members of the ANA. the RCTV pitch included Miles Standish, and the DCN Coin Talk pitch included David Ganz. Ganz, like Zerbe, is a past ANA President.

These are not the only cases of inflated claims on coins that have appeared on television. Frequent viewers of “The Coin Collector” on HSN regularly send emails asking if they are legitimate. I purposely avoided the show because I already have heartburn issues, and it would put a severe test on my regimen of Pepcid.

Zerbe also served as head numismatist for the expositions in 1905 (Portland) and 1915 (San Francisco). Were there any accusations for those expos? Or was there cherry-picking of reasons to justify their actions?

What is the difference between the claim that Zerbe made inflated claims on coins versus the television hucksters? Zerbe is dead and cannot defend himself. The hucksters are living and have given money to the ANA.

[A]llegations that he unscrupulously obtained personal ownership of The Numismatist in 1908 from relatives of the ANA’s late founder, Dr. George F. Heath (then ANA Vice President W.W.C. Wilson subsequently purchased the periodical and donated it to the Association in 1910);

The first word of this is “allegations.” His actions were alleged. Can the allegations be substantiated? What evidence do they have?

Whatever evidence they have is circumstantial and hearsay. I understand that someone can make a strong case using circumstantial evidence, but when the case is being built against someone who cannot testify, there should be almost no questions.

An example of solid circumstantial evidence would be that if you go to bed, the ground is clear. When you wake up, there is snow on the ground. You did not see the snowfall, but you see the snow on the ground. The snow on the ground is circumstantial evidence that there was a snowfall overnight.

Finally:

… and claims of bribery involving the 1909 ANA election in which Zerbe’s friend John M. Henderson was named president.

CLAIMS? The ANA Board of Governors has chosen to besmirch the name of a past president, the driving force behind the creation of the Peace Dollar, and whose collection formed the basis of the Chase Money Museum on CLAIMS?

What are the claims? Who made the claims? What documentation do we have of the claims?

No ANA dealer face an ethics examination after the fiasco of the 2014 Kennedy Half Dollar 50th Anniversary Gold Coin release. (Image is a screen grab courtesy of ABC 7 News, Denver)

In the mean time, no dealer was ever sanctioned who paid someone to buy 2014 50th Anniversary Kennedy Gold Half-Dollars that caused problems outside of the Denver Mint and at the World’s Fair of Money in Rosemont. The ANA only released a statement essentially saying “bad boys” to dealers that created the dangerous situations.

The problem I have with all of this is that there is NO documentation offered to the membership. The ONLY documentation provided is a 119-word paragraph, most of it reproduced here.

Another problem I have is that the ANA holds open Board sessions with little advertisement. Had I known about the session, I would have made myself available. Unfortunately, the Board is lax with their membership engagement making it seem they are a club amongst themselves.

The press release does not report the vote total for the motion. I am sure that the press release would report it was a unanimous vote if it was the case. But the tersely written press release suggests there was contention behind the decision. The ANA does not write terse press releases. Look it up!

The decision was made by a Board of Governors with a sitting member that was once asked to resign from a previous Board because “He realized he had made a mistake.” It was a mistake related to a lawsuit against the ANA by former ANA Executive Director Larry Shepherd.

What did Steve Ellsworth add to the discussion? As past president, Ellsworth is a non-voting member of the Board of Governors. However, given his previous actions that left the ANA flat-footed when the pandemic closed everything down, it would be interesting to hear his counsel on this matter.

Unless the ANA Board of Governors publishes the details of the allegations against Zerbe, including source material and where it was discovered, then the move adds the ANA to the “woke community” looking to cancel a historic member of the numismatic community.

Therefore, as a member of the ANA, I hereby move that the ANA Board of Governors reinstate the name of Farran Zerbe to the organization’s highest honor.

COVID INFECTIONS AT THE WORLD’S FAIR OF MONEY

The following excerpt was part of an email sent by the ANA this afternoon:

Unfortunately, several dealers have notified the ANA that they have tested positive for COVID-19 since returning from the show. Although protective measures were in place, the potential for exposure is always a possibility when one leaves home. The ANA is unaware of when, where or how the dealers contracted the virus. (Due to privacy issues, we are unable to provide the names of the infected dealers.)

If you feel ill or are displaying any COVID symptoms, consider quarantining for 10 days and/or getting a COVID test.

I have made my feelings known about the COVID-19 pandemic. It is the primary reason why I did not attend the World’s Fair of Money.

Every time I write about COVID-19, I receive at least a dozen emails filled with vitriol. The fact is that over 99-percent of those hospitalized with COVID-19 are not vaccinated, and 100-percent of those deaths are not vaccinated. Today, Alabama announced they have run out of ICU beds.

In the meantime, I hope that the ANA did the responsible thing and notified the appropriate people in Cook County, Illinois. They should make sure that the convention center workers are safe.

I will not attend a coin show regardless of the size until the pandemic subsides, including the Whitman Expo scheduled for November. I will deal with the short-term inconvenience for my long-term health.

Please stay healthy and safe.
Please get vaccinated!

The Polls Are Closed and the winner is…

Dr. Ralph Ross

Dr. Ralph Ross (photo credit: ANA)

The American Numismatic Association membership has made its choice. Dr. Ralph Ross will become the next ANA President at the World’s Fair of Money in August. Joe Boling will become Vice President.

The rest of the Board of Governors will consist of:

  • Mary Lynn Garrett
  • Clifford Mishler
  • Shanna Schmidt
  • Michael Ellis
  • Rob Oberth
  • Charles Morgan
  • Mark Lighterman

Although this was not my choice for leadership, I will support them for their two-year term. The President, Vice President, and the Board of Governors deserve the support of the entire membership regardless of what you thought about the election.

In responding to the last election, I wrote, “The ANA is at a critical juncture in its modern history. There is a societal change happening that is affecting many hobbies and traditional institutions.” Rather than the situation getting better, it has only heightened the urgency.

The reaction to the pandemic showed that the ANA is an organization bogged down by people with old ideas and very little creativity when it comes to adapting to the changing culture. The ANA and its Board of Governors were dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century to survive and not because they wanted growth.

At the time, the ANA looked clueless because the leadership of the Board of Governors was clueless. When they took the reigns off the people at the ANA headquarters, it was evident that they were working in the Association’s best interest despite the Board’s dysfunction. While the people at the headquarters were helping the ANA to survive while working from home, the Board seemed lost.

As I said two years ago, the status quo is no longer acceptable. Zoom is yesterday’s technology and not something to use to build a future. There are better technologies that have emerged from the pandemic that the ANA can use to expand its outreach.

In addition to the technology, the ANA must become a leader in consumer protection for the hobby. For the last year, the number of Chinese counterfeits has increased. Scammers are using new tactics to fool buyers into thinking they are getting a deal on silver coins. Rather than help the public, the ANA has been silent.

The ANA must be the organization to lead the effort against these counterfeits. They can partner with National Coin & Bullion Association (formerly ICTA) and the Professional Numismatic Guild (PNG) to create a nationwide anti-counterfeit education program. A plan can be formulated by the fall, with a national education program occurring shortly after.

President-elect Ross made his platform about education. Here is the first idea to make an educational impact for the ANA.

Overall, 19,027 ANA members were eligible to vote in this election. That is down from 19,737 in 2019. There were 5,560 votes cast, representing 29.22 of the eligible voters. That is down from 31.06 percent in 2019.

Fewer members and fewer voters are just one legacy of this past Board of Governors. If the ANA does not find ways to better engage with members and draw in new members, these numbers will be reduced in 2023.

If members have ideas that could help the ANA, let them know what you think. As a member, your input carries weight, and you should be able to participate. When you do write, please keep it respectful and include your membership number.

It is your ANA. Your ANA needs your input. Support the new Board and help them find their direction.

Note About the Makeup of the Board

Following the announcement, there were two persistent comments appearing in my Inbox about the demographics of the Board of Governors. I am very disturbed by the comments.

I do not subscribe to the idea that a person is not qualified for the job because of demographic characteristics. I never have. This is not because I am “woke,” but this is how I have been for as long as I can remember.

I will not respond well to a statement like, “I don’t like this person because…” and insert some ridiculous demographic reason. Let us all get along and work together to make the ANA better.

ANA Elections Are Here

Welcome to the election season for the American Numismatic Association. It is the first election after the pandemic. As the ANA recovers from the pandemic with the rest of the United States, the ANA must elect the right people to rebuild the association.

The ANA leads leadership to revive the association so that it matches the interest in the market. The current Board appears to lack vision and is led by someone incapable of getting out of his ideological way. It is easy to maintain an ideology when times are good, but an effective leader knows when to adjust when difficulties arise.

The definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over again, expecting different results.

Unfortunately, there are members of the current ANA Board of Governors that need to learn this lesson.

Primary to the election is the vote for president. For this election, I am endorsing Don Kagin. With no offense intended to Ron Ross, the ANA needs a president that has the experience to navigate the association through the post-pandemic environment. Ron Ross has the right idea for expanding numismatic education. It is that the ANA is in a place that it needs more. The ANA needs a president with a strong business background to lead the ANA forward.

If Ross is not elected, I hope that Kagin will find a way to keep Ross involved with the ANA’s education initiatives.

Joe Boling is the only candidate for Vice President. If Boling ran for the Board of Governors, I would endorse his candidacy. Boling has to be a member of the Board if for nothing else to restore the exhibit committee. Many people vehemently disagree with Steve Ellsworth’s mishandling of the exhibit committee and his alleged plans. As the former chair of the Exhibits Committee, Boling is the right person to fix this situation.

As for the Board of Governors, I am endorsing the following candidates:

  • Muriel Eymery
  • Mark Lighterman
  • Clifford Mishler
  • Charles Morgan
  • Rob Oberth
  • Shanna Schmidt

First, I am endorsing everyone running for the Board of Governors who is younger than me. It is time for the ANA to transform, and I believe that those younger have the ideas. I added Cliff Mishler to the list because he favors change with the intelligence to be a moderating voice.

I will not endorse anyone who wants to repeat the past mistakes to move the ANA forward, which is why I am not endorsing Mike Ellis and Mary Lynn Garrett.

I discussed the issues I have with Ellis in the past. I will never endorse someone who was forced to resign from the Board because of his actions.

Garrett lost my endorsement during the candidate’s forum when she did not embrace the new environment for improving ANA. Garrett wants to turn to traditional fundraising methods to grow revenues and did not indicate that she was in favor of expanding the ANA’s reach using new technologies during the forum. Garrett may have a different view after reflecting on her answers, but in a critical moment the Board needs people who can think beyond whatever they perceive as what worked in the past.

Although I only voted for four of the above list, the ANA Board of Governors will consist of seven members. If you want to vote for seven, I would recommend Garrett over Ellis.

Now it is your turn. Remember, the independent auditing firm has to receive the election ballots no later than July 1. VOTE!

POLL: Are you going to attend the World’s Fair of Money?

Earlier this month, the ANA announced that the World’s Fair of Money will be held as scheduled. As part of the announcement, the ANA said that the show would be limited to 300 dealer tables to configured the bourse floor to allow for social distancing. Those attending the show will be asked to maintain social distancing, and masks will be required.

There are no indications as to whether there will be capacity or other limits. Other questions include how are they handling exhibits, room configuration for meetings and talks, and seating for the auctions? How will the banquet be handled?

I am not questioning the ANA’s commitment to health and safety. But I have personal concerns there. There are members with age-related health issues that have to consider their situation before attending. It would be nice if the ANA were more forthcoming about how the World’s Fair of Money will operate.

As we know of the situation today…

Are you attending the World's Fair of Money in August?

No. Either I cannot go or I am worried in the current environment. (42%, 10 Votes)
Yes! I am or will be making reservations. (29%, 7 Votes)
Maybe, depending on my situation (17%, 4 Votes)
Maybe if I can understand the ANA's safety precautions. (13%, 3 Votes)
Yes, but I reserve the right to change my mind. (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 24

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World’s Fair of Money Is ON!

Two days after questioning whether the ANA will have to cancel the World’s Fair of Money this year, they issued a statement saying that the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Illinois, will be open for shows.

The ANA press release said that the show would be limited to 300 dealer tables to configured the bourse floor to allow for social distancing. Those attending the show will be asked to maintain social distancing, and masks will be required.

Currently, there are no indications as to whether there will be capacity limits.

I am sure the ANA will do what it can to make the show safe. I encourage you to assess your risks and make an informed decision as to whether you will attend.

Admittedly, I may be more paranoid than many people. Having lost two family members to COVID-19, a long-time friend, and seeing a few others who have had long-haul health issues, I may wait until the last moment before making my decision. My original plans were to attend the last two days of The National (National Sports Collectors Convention) and stay for the World’s Fair of Money. I will skip The National this year and decide whether I go to the World’s Fair of Money by July.

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Will the World’s Fair of Money Be Canceled

Trying to assess the short-term future of our life during this stage of the pandemic has many of us wondering when the numismatic shows will restart? Smaller shows have found ways of being held with required social distancing. A few medium-sized shows have moved to larger venues to allow for social distancing, but what about the big shows.

Organizers of the significant shows canceled their shows while the pandemic caused problems. As the vaccination rate has increased and the infection rates decreased, there is hope that life will return to normal.

In the first sign of the post-pandemic life, Florida United Numismatists continue to plan to hold Summer FUN starting on July 8 in Orlando. Florida health officials have lifted crowd restrictions that would prevent the show from happening.

It is a different situation in Rosemont, Illinois. Currently, the Stephens Convention Center, where the World’s Fair of Money is scheduled for August 10-14, remains closed. Illinois state health officials continue to restrict large gatherings throughout the state.

Although the ANA has not said anything about the World’s Fair of Money, the National Sports Collectors Convention (NSCC) issued a statement warning that their show could be canceled. The NSCC, known as The National, is to the sports collecting business as the World’s Fair of Money is to numismatics. The National is scheduled to be held at the Stephens Convention Center July 28 through August 1, before the World’s Fair of Money.

According to The National’s organizers, the Illinois Department of Public Health will publish their rules about large conventions on or around June 1.

Since the ANA is not communicating with its members about the World’s Fair of Money, watch what The National is saying. If The National is canceled, the World’s Fair of Money will likely be canceled.

Weekly World Numismatic News for May 2, 2021

One bit of news that did not make the numismatic press is that the Coin Collectors Blog sponsored 36 news memberships to the American Numismatic Association. All 36 new members will begin to have access to the ANA, the Numismatist, submit coins to NGC, check out books from the library (oops… I have a few books I have to return), and attend the World’s Fair of Money without having to pay an entrance fee.

I thought it was important to sponsor new memberships to the ANA to bring in new members, especially those with diverse backgrounds and ideas. All the new members should let us know how they collect.

The ANA must evolve to the new environment. The ANA was caught flat-footed when the pandemic changed the environment. Even though the headquarters staff did their best with the resources provided, it was clear that the leadership lacked the imagination to do better.

New members can help. You can tell the ANA what they can do to help make your collecting experience more valuable. You can contact the Board of Governors directly or tell me. I will publish the ideas on this blog. Together, we can make the ANA a better organization.

To the 36 new members: WELCOME!

And now the news…

 April 26, 2021
DALLAS, TEXAS – The first dollar coin struck at the fledgling US Mint in 1794, an experiment in copper that would become the pattern for more valuable silver versions minted later, sold for $840,000 at Heritage Auctions Friday, April 23.  → Read more at antiquesandthearts.com

 April 28, 2021
It may have been the greatest heist of all time, and it took place on the high seas. The royal ship Ganj-iSawai, property of Indian emperor Aurangzeb, had set sail from the port of Mocha on the Red Sea bound for Surat, India.  → Read more at theday.com

 April 28, 2021
Jersey Heritage Hundreds of coins and 35 pieces of jewellery are among the Le Câtillon I hoard which have been bought  → Read more at bbc.com

 April 28, 2021
It may have been the greatest heist of all time, and it took place on the high seas. The royal ship Ganj-iSawai, property of Indian emperor Aurangzeb, had set sail from the port of Mocha on the Red Sea bound for Surat, India.  → Read more at theday.com

 April 29, 2021
A picture made available on 29 April 2016 shows one of 19 Roman amphoras discovered in the town of Tomares, near Seville (EPA Photo)  → Read more at dailysabah.com
Coin Collectors News
news.coinsblog.ws

 

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JOIN THE ANA ON ME!

This year, National Coin Week celebrates the anniversary of the last of the large dollar coins. One hundred years ago, the U.S. Mint brought back the Morgan dollar while coming up with a new design that eventually became the Peace Dollar. Also, 50 years ago, the U.S. Mint began production of the Eisenhower dollar. These three coins were 38.1 mm in diameter and were the last of the large circulating coins.

As part of the Nation Coin Week Celebration, the American Numismatic Association is offering a discount on the GOLD (digital) membership. For $5, you can join the ANA for one year.

Let’s make joining the ANA more fun! The first 25 new members who join the ANA through this link will pay Zip, Zilch, Nada!
If you are not a member of the ANA, I will pay your 2021 Gold Membership dues for the first 25 readers of the Coin Collectors Blog who join during National Coin Week. All you have to do is click this link and use the Promotion Code NCW21SB when you check out.

In addition to being the world’s largest numismatic organization, the ANA offers collectors resources to learn more about your collection. Aside from the shows, my three favorite resources are:

  1. The Numismatist. There are a lot of great writers talking about numismatics. The Numismatist brings you the best of the writing that can inspire you to learn more or spend money on new collectibles. With the Gold Membership, The Numismatist is delivered electronically so you never have to worry about it being lost or damaged in transit. Since the ANA has digitized every issue dating back to 1888, it serves as a historical reference of numismatic knowledge. Members can access the digital archives from any computer and there is an app for tablets.
  2. The Dwight N. Manley Numismatic Library. If it is not printed in The Numismatist, the Library has more than 128,000 items that members can check out. All you pay is shipping, and you can check out books, catalogs, and other resources. I have a box of books I am going through now!
  3. Directly submit coins to NGC. As an ANA member, you can apply for an account with NGC and send your coins directly for grading and encapsulation. Currency collectors can submit their collectibles to PMG. You will have to pay for the grading service but you can submit without becoming an NGC or PNG member.
JOIN TODAY!
Click this link and the first year of your GOLD membership is FREE!

Offer expires on April 24, 2021 or when 25 new members join only at info.money.org/ncw-2021-barman.

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ANA Library Opens Again

A year after the pandemic shut everything down, the ANA Library is back! ANA members can check out books from the library and have them shipped.

The ANA announced the library’s opening yesterday in their monthly Money Mail. After reading it, I found my notes with the four books I want to consult and submitted a request.

The ANA Library might be the most underused benefit of being an ANA member. The library contains many hard-to-find and expensive books that might be useful for a short time. All you do is pay for the shipping in both directions, and the entire world of numismatics is delivered to your mailbox.

Books are an excellent resource for information that is no longer in the mainstream. For example, I developed an interest in foreign coins used as legal tender in the United States and the foreign coins struck by the U.S. Mint. There are a few resources, and they are challenging to find. None of the books are available in digital format.

Part of my book buying binge

Since the start of the pandemic, I have been on a book buying spree. References books that I wanted to borrow from the ANA were purchased and added to my growing library. The expansion of my numismatic library has forced me to downsize my old techie books. Numismatic books are more fun.

Having a ready library of references helps satisfy my curiosity. A few of the books have references to scanned books and articles found online at both the Newman Numismatic Portal and the Government Printing Office. These resources help in providing background to my reading.

Having access to the digitized editions of the Numismatist also helps. ANA members can access the complete library of the Numismatist via their website or a smartphone app. It has been common to have the app open on my iPad while staring into the computer screen reading another resource.

Since all of the Numismatists are available online, I will be finding new homes for the paper copies taking up valuable shelf space.

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