ANA Ponders Sites, Pre-shows, Number
By Numismatic News
The future of
American Numismatic Association conventions
dominated discussion at the Oct. 13 ANA board
budget meeting in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Executive Director Larry Shepherd gave the board
major points to consider over the next three
• Hold three ANA conventions each year, up from
• Designate three-city rotations or establish
permanent show sites.
• Sponsor offical pre-ANA shows.
The ANA currently receives 54 percent of its
annual revenue from bourse fees and the sale of
auction rights, Shepherd told the board.
But it is going to be increasingly difficult to
maintain that percentage, he said, because
conditions that prevailed from the 1960s-1990s
no longer exist.
“We (the hobby/industry) won’t have 11 major
coin shows per year in five years,” he said.
Shepherd was emphatic that he wanted the ANA
shows to survive in the top tier and through
some version of the options he listed for the
board, he thought this can be achieved.
Shepherd was scathing in his criticism of
privately run pre-ANA shows and auctions.
They “leach off of our efforts ... It angers me
and offends me,” Shepherd said.
He suggested setting up an official ANA pre-show
as part of the World’s Fair of Money effort in
Chicago in 2011 and at other shows going
It would run Friday to Monday preceding the show
and be open only to dealers, who would be able
to set up at their tables just once for the
pre-show and ANA convention.
Shepherd said the cost to the ANA for nine days
rather than six at the convention center was the
same and other costs would be low enough that
the ANA could actually sell its bourse tables at
the pre-show event for less than a promoter of a
privately run event held elsewhere.
Shepherd also proposed the ANA:
• Sell rights to the pre-show auction or
• Close the bourse at 5:30 p.m. instead of 7
p.m. for the entire week to “try to eliminate
the conflict between the bourse and the
• Eliminate Sunday show hours.
“Close the show on Saturday night. No Sunday.
Everyone could go home comfortably,” he
explained. Shepherd then zeroed in on the
selection of future sites.
“It is a flawed process,” he said. “We need to
change,” he added.
Selection of bad sites means the ANA was “not
listening, not caring or not competent,”
Shepherd said. “This has done us irreparable
The current site selection process has caused
the spring National Money Show to fall to
second-tier status, he said, noting that last
year’s Phoenix event lost $150,000.
Future sites must meet three objectives:
• Offer sufficient facilities to host attendant
club meetings and hobby events.
• Be in a city known as a good bourse town.
• Be in a city that the major numismatic auction
firms regard as good auction cities.
Good bourse towns mean having major jet service
because dealers cannot carry their inventory
with them onboard regional jets. They simply
will not come, Shepherd said.
Meeting all three requirements drastically
narrows the number of possible cities to host
So Shepherd’s first option, which was to do the
same thing as in the past, is not an option.
The second option is to move to a three-year
rotation for both the spring National Money Show
and the summer World’s Fair of Money.
For example, he offered warm cities of Atlanta,
Miami and Phoenix for spring shows and
Baltimore, Chicago and Denver for the summer.
As a variation, this option could be expanded to
a four-year cycle where the three anchor cities
remain the same but in the fourth year the city
Another variation is to add a third annual show
in the fall. This could be a Denver-Pittsburgh
rotation, or it could be permanently placed in
Denver, Shepherd explained.
The downside to rotations is the ANA cannot
brand cities as Whitman has branded Baltimore,
Shepherd said, and that took him to his third
Go to a set schedule of permanent show sites.
Hold a spring show in Phoenix, summer show in
Chicago and a fall show in New York or Boston,
or go to Atlanta, Chicago and Denver for the
annual cycle, Shepherd said.
The cities he cited were examples of the
concept, not fixed choices should this option be
He said permanent locations had the benefit of
maximizing the organization’s clout in
negotiating with convention centers and hotels
and they reduce the high cost of decorator
expense, floor plans and shipping of materials
to ever changing locations. Many convention
resources could simply be stored in the city
where they are used annually and eliminate
shipping costs completely. Storage costs,
Shepherd noted, are far cheaper than shipping
“I like this option a lot,” Shepherd said. “We
would brand three cities as our own.”
Board members expressed some concerns and
reservations right off the bat, but Shepherd
said discussions should be ongoing in the coming
two or three months because, “It is the most
important decision we are going to make” during
the two-year term of the present board.
When the time comes, he said, he hopes the board
will “make a unified decision. No matter what is
decided, some won’t like it.”