jackpot as president of ANA
By Cara Spoto
When Coin Collector
Clifford Mishler was 10 years old, he didn't
think much of collecting.
A friend of his collected canceled postage
stamps, and he tried to convince Mishler to
start collecting them, too, but he said he
didn't see the point.
Then Mishler saw a mail order ad in a magazine
offering 10 pieces of obsolete World War II
paper money and an assortment of coins for 10
cents. He got approval from his father and sent
out his order. The paper money really didn't
interest him, but the coins did, especially a
3-cent U.S. coin and a small bronze coin from
the island of Zanzibar off the east coast of
"It didn't have our dating on it. It had Arabic
dating. To me it looked like the date was 1199,
and I thought, 'Oh, this coin is 750 years old.
It must really be a great buy,'" Mishler said.
"I subsequently learned that the date was really
1882 in the Christian calendar."
That coin "fascinated" Mishler and was the seed
of what has been a 59-year passion for coin
collecting -- a passion that earlier this month
saw Mishler elected president of the nation's
largest coin collecting group, the American
Numismatic is an adjective meaning "of, relating
to or consisting of coins, paper currency and
medals." While there are several coin collecting
associations in the county, the ANA is by far
the largest, Mishler said. Headquartered in
Colorado Springs, Colo., the association has
roughly 32,000 members. It also publishes a
monthly magazine, and has a large museum and
Mishler began his professional career in the
coin collecting world in 1963, when he joined
the staff of the Numismatic News, a Krause
Publication, in Iola. Mishler stayed with the
magazine's publisher, Krause Publications, for
almost 40 years, working with friend and company
founder Chet Krause. Mishler retired in 1999
after spending nine years as vice president of
operations. He then stayed on as the company's
chairman of the board until 2002. Mishler, 70,
was first elected to the ANA's board in 2007
along with Krause.
John Krupka, who owns Point Coin in Stevens
Point, said that having Mishler and Krause in
Iola says a lot about central Wisconsin.
"This isn't going to happen again," Krupka said.
"It lends a lot of credibility to the quality of
coin collecting in the area."
Mishler doesn't have any big plans for the ANA,
but hopes to further the goals of the
association during his two-year term as
president, helping to boost financial stability
and spread the word about coin collecting to
Although it's hard for coin collecting to
compete for children's attentions in today's
fast-paced world, he said kids would benefit
from learning a bit about coins.
"One of the most important things to me about
collecting coins is that they embody so much
history, and heritage," Mishler said. "I have
always credited the fact that I became a better
student of history, geography and mathematics,
then I would have ever been, because I wondered
where Zanzibar was."