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Run, It's the ANA on Patrol
December 18, 2007

Applicants for the job of executive director of the American Numismatic Association will have the opportunity to personally deliver their resumes to ANA President Barry Stuppler at his bourse table at the Florida United Numismatists convention in January in Orlando.

Whether planned or unplanned, the Jan. 11, 2008, deadline for resume submission occurs during the show.

That is a good thing. Individuals who have numismatic backgrounds are the most likely individuals to be on hand at FUN to contact Stuppler there. It is to be hoped that someone among them will be able to take the ANA in hand to end the past decade of organizational tumult and take the organized hobby into the 21st century.

Last week when I first heard of the job posting, I wrote here that a hobby background is the critical factor in any future executive director. I have marveled and been mystified at the vehemence of opinion held by noncollectors about what collectors and their national organization should do.

That noncollector opinion I believe is what keeps leading ANA deeper and deeper into areas that are not only unproductive, but offend the collector membership.

One of these is the steady increase in what I call the police function. There is a strange supposition, again among nonmembers, that it is the responsibility of the ANA to be some sort of regulator of all nonmember conduct. That the opposite of what should be the case. ANA should have standing to regulate only member conduct.

ANA has loaned its good name to eBay to very little good result. If ANA does nothing, it looks weak and ineffective. If it does something, it infuriates those affected. In neither case does it help the ANA itself.

If the only contact you have with an organization is to have your wrist slapped, or to be told of the many manifest failures of ANA to stop unethical conduct of nonmembers, why would you want to be associated with it?

ANA is supposed to be an educational organization established for the benefit of its members, not a police power haphazardly interfering in nonmember matters.

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About the Author
David C. Harper has been a coin collector since 1963. He joined the Krause Publications editorial staff in 1978 and is currently editor of Numismatic News and World Coin News. He also edits two books annually, North American Coins & Prices and Coin Digest. He is the author of the Class of '63 column that runs each week in Numismatic News. His first bylined numismatic article appeared in the June 1971 issue of Coins Magazine and his various Krause Publications assignments included a stint as editor of the magazine 1980-1983. Harper received a bachelor of science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in 1977. He had a double major of journalism and economics.

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