Hot Topics

Journal entries from the founder of Legend Numismatics, Laura Sperber, help you stay current with the real happenings of numismatics.  A former ANA Board Member, Laura has handled close to $1 billion worth of rare coins to date and has assembled many of the greatest collections ever. Her views and opinions are as "inside" as you can get. Warning: ALL her Hot Topics articles are pretty blunt!

FALL OUT FROM THE LAST HOT TOPICS

SEE, SPEAK, HEAR NO EVIL AT THE ANA

Yes, I am angry girl. I don’t have to be. I could wear rose colored glasses or just abuse the system for all it can give and lead a rich life style. That is NOT me. Never has been, never will be. I’m not a grand stander looking for glory either.  I call things like I see them.

When I was 17 I joined the ANA-40 years ago. I was a wide eyed kid. I loved everything about it. I used its services and the 1976 ANA Show in NYC was a life changer for me. Every month I could not wait to get my Numismatist. Fast forward to today. The ANA IS IN SHAMBLES and is on step decline. My heart is hurt. As a business person I know that if it were a business, I would close it up. So I have tried my darnedest to help facilitate change.

I FULLY ADMIT I FAILED as an ANA Governor. Again, from the very first meeting where some blowhard cyber guy basically called me a fool about challenging spending $750G on a web site, to numerous board meetings that involved the drama a picking a new 401K for the employees or approving a new roof, NONE of my ideas hardly ever got mentioned. The status quo-especially by a few ranking people blew my mind. I should have expected it, an ex gov had told me just to sit through my term and listen as nothing will happen. I left feeling drawn and defeated at the end off my term. I could not put in the time to launch the epic fight needed for real change.

The reaction to my last Hot Topics was the usual. I am a blow hard, how dare i degrade the ANA, give the new board time, etc.

Okay, so let the ANA continue to die a slow painful death? I can’t let it happen. I’m still a supposed advisor and that is what I tried to do. So what happened? A few losers banned me from the ANA insiders emails, and there was a deafing silence from all the important players. This is mind blowing to me. Am I the only person who saw membership dived down by 326 people in a cyber world?

I will say, yet again, Don Kagin, sent me an email of support and again asked for my help on the Set Registry proposal. I promise to him and everyone I am going to do all I can to make the two suggestions work-but I have such limited time and even less influence. Not making excuses, I will try. That is more then the majority of ANA board members are doing-in MY opinion.

THE POSTER  BOY FOR THE ANA DEMISE

Look at this email that was sent around by a board member. I was going to let it go (he has a right to his opinion), until he had the nerve to call me “self serving”.  I want to make it clear, I do not need the ANA (or the miserable PNG for any business reasons). I am trying to give back and keep something alive-NO other motivations.

Since this email was sent all over, I believe it to be public, so I will share it. It is written by current Governor Paul Montgomery:

I know this is not politically correct but I’ve finally decided to block Laura’s emails

Frankly, I’m not sure I’ve heard a positive or constructive comment from her in 30+ years.

I’ve also never seen her lift a finger for anything that was not self-serving.

The hobby faces too many serious issues to waste our time on a chronic malcontent.

If she ever has anything credible to offer I’ll pick it up from colleagues.

Just fed up with the rants……since she won’t go away I can sure block her junk mail.

Paul

Now isn’t’t this a good guy to have on the board? NOT! He clearly is the official poster boy for NON action at the ANA. I am NOT saying my suggestions are the answers nor are my comments friendly, but if you are on the board of a clearly DYING association like ANA, you better damn well listen to everyone. This email reads to me he is above it all and has all the solutions-NOT  A CHANCE IN HELL. He is yet another politico type who thinks he is doing good when in effect he is contributing to nothing. Junk mail? Really?

Look, I know the ANA staff is hard working. Sadly, they are hard working on things that were in vogue 20 years ago. Another big gripe while I was there-the marketing or lack of. I had suggested several times they need a new marketing people. Nope, they refused to remove a long time employee. This drove me nuts. I wrote several ideas, NONE were ever listened too. Its up to the board to make things happen and mandate what the staff needs to do. Nothing like that was ever discussed while I was there.

The ANA should have embraced Ebay years ago and run programs in conjunction with them. Even the PNG could get Ebay to endorse PNG dealers (disgusting in my opinion). There have been many HUGE opportunities for HUGE advancement that have been blown badly (biggest blunder ever-the ANA should have made ANACS into something). The ANA can still reach out to Ebay but simply does not want too. With the ANA there is always an excuse NOT to do something that will benefit it.

THE NUMISMATIC UNIVERSITY

Last, my idea of a Numismatic University, I did not mean a certified University. The ANA should market its programs via the internet like the online Universities do. They can co- brand with banks, Amazon, real universities, etc. It is a fact, 99% of the new collectors come in via the internet. The ANA needs a real strategic marketing plan to reach the masses. Yes, it can be costly, but I did mention co branding with a real outside coins partner  (or an Ebay). They should also hire technical consultants who are held to contracts that guarantee production. This idea could help bring in an whole new generation of collectors. If done right, it could lead to added demand for the Summer Seminars-even creating MORE seminars at major shows through out the year. Having one Summer Session with a few hundred people simply does not cut it. Last I remember, the ANA was far from broke, so money I can’t see is a major problem.

Hopefully my other pet idea, the open Registry Set will one day come to fruition. I am reaching out to technical people I know and trust about it. It is  a bad and sad statement that I have to do this. The ANA is out of time to change, it really can not wait another day.

I don’t care if I am the lone voice on all this. I don’t care if the board hates me. This is all about something much bigger–the FUTURE and survival of the ANA. I stand by my predictions of the ANA show demise. I can’t see the ANA not losing at least another 500+ people between now and next year. Everyone else has to quit being in denial.

Everything written here is my opinion, not Legend Numismatics or Legend Rare Coin Auctions.

I am always open to comments (good or bad): lsperber1@hotmail.com

 

 

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