By Dr. Sol Taylor
Second in a series on the American Numismatic Association.
n Part 1, the origin of the American Numismatic Association was traced to the efforts of Dr. George F. Heath of Monroe, Mich. After publishing a four-page newsletter, "The American Numismatist," starting in 1888, Heath eventually posed the question to his subscribers: "What is the matter with having an American Numismatic Association?" It was followed by, "There is nothing like the alliance of kindred pursuits to stimulate growth and interest."
On October 7 and 8, 1891, Heath met with five like-minded men in Chicago and, with 61 charter members, officially founded the American Numismatic Association.
From 1891 to 1895 they met in convention annually, and following the 1907 convention in Columbus, Ohio, they decided to hold annual meetings at various sites.
Heath died in 1908 and was succeeded by noted collector Farran Zerbe, best known as a leader of the Pacific Numismatic Society and designer of various political medals of the 1890s.
Zerbe purchased the ANA journal, "The Numismatist," from Heath's heirs. In 1911, W.C.C. Wilson of Montreal purchased the journal from Zerbe and presented it to the ANA, where it became the organization's monthly publication.
In 1912 the ANA was granted a federal charter, signed by President William H. Taft. The charter was amended in 1962 to allow for a larger board of governors.
In 1966, the ANA opened its permanent headquarters on the grounds of Colorado College in Colorado Springs. Previously, the ANA operated from various sites with the president in one location, the treasurer in another, and the editor in still another. Its library moved among various sites and was in various segments until the new headquarters combined all the books, journals and reference material under one roof.
In addition, the ANA's collection of donated numismatic material and other antiquities were housed at the new facility with an area designed as the ANA Money Museum. It was officially named as the "Edward Rochette Museum" in 2005. It includes some 250,000 items including the famed 1913 Bebee specimen of the 1913 Liberty head nickel, a major part of the Harry Bass Collection of gold coins, and many other historical items.
The ANA has also acquired such ephemera as the original Heath printing press, a coin stamping press, and various banking instruments such as checks, printing plates, and photographs. The museum is open to the public at no charge.
The library houses a reference section, rare book section, audio visual materials, available for research and man y cases also for loan to coin clubs and ANA members.
Starting shortly after opening the new headquarters, the ANA sponsored the first of a series of summer seminars for the education of collectors. The one-week program began very modestly and by the mid-1980s had grown to two separate weeklong programs with hundreds of students and dozens of instructors.
I was the grading instructor at the 1975, 1976 and 1977 summer seminars and had between 30 and 35 students in each session. There were about 10 different classes offered along with a field trip to the Denver Mint, a day at Cripple Creek (scouring through Joe Lucas' shop of exonumia), touring the sites in Colorado Springs including the Pioneer Museum, the Broadmoor Hotel and Manitou Springs evening programs, and chatting with such luminaries a Adna Wilde, Glenn Smedley and Ed Rochette.
In 2004 and 2005, I returned to conduct a mini-seminar just on the Lincoln Cent with some 15 students.
©2008 SCV COMMUNICATIONS GROUP & SOL TAYLOR · ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.