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ANACS Sold. Now What?
December 28, 2007

I spent much of yesterday waiting for return phone calls that never came. ANACS, the third-party grading service in Austin, Texas, was sold by Anderson Press, Inc., the owners of Whitman Publishing, and rumors were swirling online about it since Wednesday afternoon.

A terse press release confirming the sale was sent to me by Mary Counts from Whitman Books at 4:28 p.m. Thursday (my time). I appreciated getting it.

The buyer is Driving Force, LLC, owned by James Taylor, a former head of the grading service put in place when Anderson first purchased it from Amos Press in 2005. It was Taylor who led the firm's move from Ohio to Austin, Texas, and is now leading the firm's move to Colorado. Taylor's career also included stints at Independent Coin Grading and the American Numismatic Association.

Driving Force is a newly formed limited liability company that was registered Dec. 3 with the Colorado Secretary of State's office.

I left voicemails Thursday morning on the cellphones of Mary Counts of Whitman and James Taylor. They have not been returned as of this posting.

The press release says the sale occurred Dec. 21. Employees were told of it Dec. 26.

At the old weekly newspaper pace of news gathering, there was nothing unusual about waiting for phone calls. That's the way it worked. But at Internet speed, waiting for phone calls like this seems agonizingly slow, especially with the online comments accumulating at warp speed.

The message boards at PCGS were full of speculation. What's the status of the coins currently in the company's hands? How were employees being treated?

Someone had talked to someone who had worked at ANACS. He said....

The fact is, I had a telephone conversation with a former employee as well. But no matter the speed at which it is now technologically possible to post information, I have to be certain it's accurate, hence the need to get through to the principals in the transaction. Thank you, Mary Counts, for that.

But I have more questions, as I'm certain you do, so I will continue to wait by the telephone like the Maytag repairman. I will share additional information as I get it.

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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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