Should ANA Deaccssion the Museum?
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Would the hobby of coin collecting and collectors benefit if the ANA deaccessioned its museum holdings? Coins artifacts -- everything. Several large museums and art galleries are doing this for various reasons.

The present facility is a small, pleasant spot, but seems sparsely attended. Located in the middle of prairie dog town, it's too far from anyplace for a meaningful family side trip - except for a few dedicated collectors. Can ANA continue to pour resources into the collection or should it be sold? The Board of Governors must, of course, have a meaningful long-term plan for fiscal growth and use of funds. (The alternative would be to liquidate ANA and send every member $400...approximate value of ANA's assets.)

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How much of the museum do they outright own and could thus deacquisition? 

My understanding is that much of the museum is really actually on long-term loan, and ownership rights are retained by the estates or collectors. 

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Would it not make more sense to move the museum to a more relevant tourist town. 

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Even tough I've never been to the museum and maybe never have the chance, I'd hate to see its demise. If absolutely needed, maybe scaling down a bit only.

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1 hour ago, Coinbuf said:

Would it not make more sense to move the museum to a more relevant tourist town. 

Unlikely unless the ANA would relocate with it.  My guess is that most if not all of the ANA staff wouldn't be in favor of moving so it will never happen.

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How much is the estimated value of the collection?

For coins on loan, who is paying for insurance and any other costs?  The ANA or the owner?

How much of the collection is even on display?

How many visitors does it receive and how does this contribute to the ANA's mission, other than just exposing the public to collecting?  (I doubt the museum does much to either increase the collector base or membership.)

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34 minutes ago, World Colonial said:

How much is the estimated value of the collection?

For coins on loan, who is paying for insurance and any other costs?  The ANA or the owner?

How much of the collection is even on display?

How many visitors does it receive and how does this contribute to the ANA's mission, other than just exposing the public to collecting?  (I doubt the museum does much to either increase the collector base or membership.)

I know that at the ANA sponsored shows, they always bring highlights of the collection for display. 

Things like "1913 nickels" and "1804 dollars" always attract attention, even if they aren't desirable to some of us. These are headline-grabbing show-stoppers, like it or not, and that sort of publicity drives attendance and viewership. 

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1 minute ago, physics-fan3.14 said:

I know that at the ANA sponsored shows, they always bring highlights of the collection for display. 

Things like "1913 nickels" and "1804 dollars" always attract attention, even if they aren't desirable to some of us. These are headline-grabbing show-stoppers, like it or not, and that sort of publicity drives attendance and viewership. 

My prior questions had nothing to do with my preference, pro or con.

The example you are using is different in that it's targeted predominantly to existing collectors which I think is a better or at least more realistic use of the collection.

Those who aren't collectors aren't going out of their way to Colorado Springs in any meaningful numbers to see the collection.  I have no idea what the proportion of non-collector attendance is at major coin shows but I would describe total attendance as "modest" which means they aren't exactly going out of their way to see these coins either.

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4 minutes ago, World Colonial said:

Those who aren't collectors aren't going out of their way to Colorado Springs in any meaningful numbers to see the collection.

That's the advantage of the Money Shows. They are (theoretically) scattered about the country. 

If you have an ad with a bunch of old farts looking at old coins, that's not going to attract a whole lot of people. 

But if you show a slick ad with a coin worth $5 MILLION DOLLARS - COME SEE IT FOR FREE!!!!! then I have to think that some people are going to come see it just for the novelty. The idea of it is enough to get some people interested enough to come check the show out. 

I'd wager that single coin does more to attract people to shows than any YN program they can imagine - and it probably attracts people with more cash they might be willing to spend than your average 13 year old. 

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56 minutes ago, physics-fan3.14 said:

But if you show a slick ad with a coin worth $5 MILLION DOLLARS - COME SEE IT FOR FREE!!!!! then I have to think that some people are going to come see it just for the novelty. The idea of it is enough to get some people interested enough to come check the show out. 

Agree, to a point.  

Unfortunately, I don't believe it has the same weight it did in the past.  The 1804 dollar and 1913 LHN are IMO still the most prominent coins from anywhere, but not like before when collecting was a lot more pervasive in the general culture.  Most others no matter how supposedly "famous" to US collectors. almost no one who isn't a collector is likely to even know it exists. Or if they do, know or remember nothing about it.

I'd be curious to hear how the ANA tries to attract the non-collecting public to coin shows.  I see coin internet banner and pop-up ads, but that's because Google sees my searches.  I still don't recall seeing even one for a coin show though maybe I did.  Someone who doesn't go to coin related websites isn't likely to see any, doesn't read the numismatic press or coin forums, and reaching them through local media is a cr*apshoot.

It's the equivalent of a tree falling in the forest with no one to hear it.

1 hour ago, physics-fan3.14 said:

I'd wager that single coin does more to attract people to shows than any YN program they can imagine - and it probably attracts people with more cash they might be willing to spend than your average 13 year old. 

 Agree it likely has a more immediate and definitely tangible financial impact.

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4 hours ago, World Colonial said:

Unlikely unless the ANA would relocate with it.  My guess is that most if not all of the ANA staff wouldn't be in favor of moving so it will never happen.

Staff can always be rehired; not to be overly blunt; if the ANA wants to increase the number of people that tour the museum the placement of the museum in a more vibrant and assessible location needs to be the priority not placing it in a small town because the guy that runs the ANA lives there.

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If they can sell any tangible assets, they absolutely should sell it and put the funds into a permanent endowment.

Any rare coins sold in the future would create excitment as it changed hands, a bonus.  Maybe a stipulation could be that the coins could only be sold at the annual ANA Convention auction held by the ANA or an auction house (like Legends or GC at FUN).

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7 hours ago, Coinbuf said:

Staff can always be rehired; not to be overly blunt; if the ANA wants to increase the number of people that tour the museum the placement of the museum in a more vibrant and assessible location needs to be the priority not placing it in a small town because the guy that runs the ANA lives there.

I agree with you, but I doubt increasing visitor count is considered that important.  My assumption is the board doesn't care enough or hasn't been pressured to do it.  So they won't.  There is no profit motive, so it's usually the path of least resistance. 

They could also try a multi-option approach.  Display the more prominent parts of the collection at ANA and maybe other large national shows that don't compete with theirs.  Split the collection and relocate some of it to a location fitting your description.  However, this would probably negatively impact the budget.  They may be able to charge an admission fee (for non-members) but I doubt it could be high enough to cover their costs.  The rest of the collection could stay in Colorado Springs.

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8 hours ago, GoldFinger1969 said:

If they can sell any tangible assets, they absolutely should sell it and put the funds into a permanent endowment.

Agree

8 hours ago, GoldFinger1969 said:

Any rare coins sold in the future would create excitment as it changed hands, a bonus.  Maybe a stipulation could be that the coins could only be sold at the annual ANA Convention auction held by the ANA or an auction house (like Legends or GC at FUN).

What do they have that fits this description?  Don't see the 1804 dollar and 1913 LHN doing that, as these coins aren't really that hard to buy despite the rarity.  Both sell often enough that it's not really that much of a headline maker.

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The ANA is able to lease the building for the money museum at a very low cost... that alone defeats most of the motivation to move. If they ever did bother to move, realisticly the only reasonable place to move would be near some other popular museums... sort of, hey, we're already here looking at museums, let's check this out type deal; beyond that, how would a different location really generate enough increased foot traffic to justify all the cost and effort of moving, particularly since the ANA has already "slimmed" down it's magazine (I noticed those like four-five columns going missing without notice, btw ANA), and used ad space to market various campaigns to raise funds, in addition to increase in asking for donations.

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53 minutes ago, World Colonial said:

Agree / What do they have that fits this description?  Don't see the 1804 dollar and 1913 LHN doing that, as these coins aren't really that hard to buy despite the rarity.  Both sell often enough that it's not really that much of a headline maker.

If there are only 5 Liberty Head Nickels, and given that they sell for millions, I don't think they sell that often.  Only 3 are in private hands.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1913_Liberty_Head_nickel

ANA has the McDermott and Walton specimens.

 

 

Edited by GoldFinger1969

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1 minute ago, GoldFinger1969 said:

If there are only 5 Liberty Head Nickels, and given that they sell for millions, I don't think they sell that often.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1913_Liberty_Head_nickel

ANA has the McDermott and Walton specimens.

 

 

It sells a lot more often than any other (prominent) coins with a similar scarcity that I know.  Or even rare but still noticeably more available coins.  No, it's not every year but still seems to be about no more than five years between sales. 

Other actually rare coins with a very high collector preference are frequently held for decades and seldom become available but these are often in more "esoteric areas".  Take a look at the sales history for the CSA half dollar, 1850 Baldwin & Co "Horseman" $10 and 1792 silver Getz pattern half dollar. Or even 1854-S half eagle.

It's possible what you infer is accurate, as I really don't know what it takes for most collectors to take notice.  The 1913 LHN is about as close to a "headline" maker among more casual collectors since it's as close to famous as any coin can be.  Concurrently, I don't believe those who buy it really find it that interesting or else it would be harder to buy.  It also seems to be a lot less interesting to the type of collector who posts here or ATS.

All I know is, it takes a lot more for me to think it's a big deal than anyone else I have encountered on coin forums and no, it isn't just because of what I collect.

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33 minutes ago, 1917 said:

The ANA is able to lease the building for the money museum at a very low cost... that alone defeats most of the motivation to move. If they ever did bother to move, realisticly the only reasonable place to move would be near some other popular museums... sort of, hey, we're already here looking at museums, let's check this out type deal; beyond that, how would a different location really generate enough increased foot traffic to justify all the cost and effort of moving, particularly since the ANA has already "slimmed" down it's magazine (I noticed those like four-five columns going missing without notice, btw ANA), and used ad space to market various campaigns to raise funds, in addition to increase in asking for donations.

Agree

For what I would describe as a financially marginal organization, it probably doesn't make any sense.  Presumably requires increased donations to cover the cost difference which is far from a sure thing. 

Last time I was able to visit the Met in NYC (2006 to my recollection), there was a big renovation in process.  Even with a far from free admission fee, I presume they rely heavily on donations to stay open and this is one of the best and most famous museums in the world.

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Several years ago the ANA was presented with a unique opportunity. They were offered space to set up their museum, plus a small office, on the first floor of the U.S. Mint building in Washington, DC. As some might be aware, the Mint Bureau is prohibited by law from having a public museum, but the ANA museum could have been a fine surrogate. Imagine the potential for museum visitors and US Mint product sales. Imagine the potential for borrowing specimens from the Smithsonian - part of which was originally the Philadelphia Mint Cabinet of Coins, Medals and Ores. Mint management thought this was a great opportunity.

The deal failed largely because ANA would not take decisive action. Management felt removing the museum from Colorado Springs would "harm the organization." There are a host of other excuses for not carefully exploring this option. Maybe it was just ANA's inertia.

(I was the instigator of this heresy.)

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IMO, the ANA should have NEVER moved their authentication service which later started grading coins from DC.  The politicians wanted to get a firm control of the only profitable part of the organization.  If they had not moved and not sold it, the deal with moving the museum would have been perfect.

As far as being located in a "cow town,"  IMO, the Springs is perfect.  I believe the ANA got a good lease on the land too.  Having a collage next door is another plus.  Additionally, the library gets more use than the coin collection (except for seminars). 

BTW, the Philatelic Organization is located in a place you've never heard of.  They bought a match factory.     

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3 hours ago, World Colonial said:

The 1913 LHN is about as close to a "headline" maker among more casual collectors since it's as close to famous as any coin can be. 

I wonder how much the "Hawaii 5-0" episode is responsible for that. xD

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I haven't been to the museum in many years, so I just took a virtual tour. An interesting experience involving much more than displaying coins. However, judging by what is on display, there must be a significant stash of coins out of the public eye that may never find their way to an exhibit nor will be used for research (how much research is done using the museum's collection?). Assuming no strings attached I would sell these at auction, give it a lot of fanfare as a fund raising event.  

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43 minutes ago, GoldFinger1969 said:

I wonder how much the "Hawaii 5-0" episode is responsible for that. xD

To me, this is a perfect example of how this coin and coin collecting would have been more prominent culturally at the time.  I wasn't living in the US when the series aired and have never seen the episode.  I doubt most under maybe age 50 know of this episode.

Similar line of reasoning more broadly.  Before I moved back to the US in 1975, I have read posts about department stores with coin sections.  I never saw one.  During the gaps in my collecting up to 1998, I would still buy or read coins books and coin magazines at Walden Books or B. Dalton Booksellers.  I'd also see coin folders.  Now, Barnes & Noble may still have a coin section but know nothing about it and their footprint and customer traffic has collapsed, even assuming someone is looking for it which they mostly aren't.  The number of B&M coin shops has also decreased, noticeably.

The point is, the internet has expanded the hobby's reach mostly for those who are consciously looking for it.  If you aren't one of these people, it's far less likely to be on your "radar" and might effectively be almost invisible.

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1 hour ago, RWB said:

Several years ago the ANA was presented with a unique opportunity. They were offered space to set up their museum, plus a small office, on the first floor of the U.S. Mint building in Washington, DC.

That would have caused problems if the ANA ever took public or legal actions against the U.S. Mint.

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31 minutes ago, LINCOLNMAN said:

However, judging by what is on display, there must be a significant stash of coins out of the public eye that may never find their way to an exhibit nor will be used for research (how much research is done using the museum's collection?). Assuming no strings attached I would sell these at auction, give it a lot of fanfare as a fund raising event.  

I understand this is very common of museums generally and not just for coins.  I went to the British Museum once, in February 1999.  A few coin displays but more recently, I read it has one of the largest collections in the world.  Don't know if it is true but if so, most of it is archived and never sees the light of day.

As for research, don't know if it's available at the ANA but is at the ANS.  I intend to visit for my area of interest eventually.

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...yes research available at both organizations...of course covid has restricted access and scheduling, educational research is a mainstay and underlying principle to both organizations' irs and congressional status....most museums coin or otherwise only have a small percentage of their collections on display and rotate their exhibits...I worked at both the smithsonian numismatic collection and the ana collection and both rotated their collections...

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4 hours ago, World Colonial said:

Last time I was able to visit the Met in NYC (2006 to my recollection), there was a big renovation in process.  Even with a far from free admission fee, I presume they rely heavily on donations to stay open and ths is one of the best and most famous museums in the world.

The Met has a big endowment and can make a few phone calls and get plenty of wealthy Manhattanites to give $$$ at any time.  xD

What the ANA should be doing is contacting some wealthy coin collectors and asking them to create a legacy by endowing the organization, conference, talks, lectures, prizes, etc.  Wealthy people like the idea of their name living on forever.

It's win-win. xD

Edited by GoldFinger1969

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34 minutes ago, GoldFinger1969 said:

The Met has a big endowment and can make a few phone calls and get plenty of wealthy Manhattanites to give $$$ at any time.  xD

What the ANA should be doing is contacting some wealthy coin collectors and asking them to create a legacy by endowing the organization, conference, talks, lectures, prizes, etc.  Wealthy people like the idea of their name living on forever.

It's win-win. xD

Few wealthy collectors do more than give lip-service. For New Yorkers, "the Met" (museum or opera) is "home." Colorado Springs is not "home." The place was picked because it was cheap, and it effectively separated ANA from commercial and legislative centers. Hence, prairie dogs are the most numerous visitors.

Edited by RWB

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