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The E-Sylum: Volume 12, Number 34, August 23, 2009, Article 17

READER THOUGHTS ON ANA CONVENTION SITE SELECTION

Ginger Rapsus writes:

I didn't attend ANA in Los Angeles because I have no desire to go back to LA. I've been there, and I don't care to go again. I note the comments about the location, and that reminds me of the Denver show in 2006 and the Baltimore show last year.

Last year, I stayed at the headquarters hotel, the Renaissance. When I reached my hotel, I roamed around outside in 95-degree heat, looking for the convention center. After nearly 30 minutes, I gave up and took a cab. I took cabs back and forth to the show. I did not see anyone else from the show at the hotel when I had breakfast. The Hyatt was only a short skywalk away from the convention center.

The Denver "HQ" hotel was a 3-block walk from the convention center, and not the most pleasant walk, while another hotel was across the street from the convention center. My point is...why isn't the "HQ" hotel the one closest to the convention center?

John and Nancy Wilson submitted these thoughts on site selection and other aspects of American Numismatic Association planning. -Editor

In regards to Alan Weinberg's comments regarding the recently completed ANA convention in Los Angeles we would like to make these comments. Alan did mention that venues for ANA conventions have to be better. And yes, we agree that attendance could have been better at this show but it wasnít terrible. Here are our comments.

In regards to the location of downtown Los Angeles - we would rather see the ANA go to Anaheim when making a selection in California. One reason for having shows in California is that about 10% of the ANA membership resides in that State. California also has the most ANA member Coin Clubs. We would also like to see ANA conventions in the summer go to sites like Baltimore (every three or four years); Chicago (every three or four years); Anaheim (every three or four years - depending on the tax situation and relief from the nexus like this year in Los Angeles) and a Boston or Philadelphia thrown into the mix at times.

Alan mentioned the hotels. When ANA picks a site we wish they would they would pick only sites that donít need a shuttle. This convention needed one. At least in the case of Los Angeles, the shuttle ran quite frequently between the three convention hotels. The Holiday Inn was a host hotel and located just a few blocks from the convention center. This hotel was adequate and we stayed there for the entire run of the show. The other host hotels were the Wilshire and Sheraton. Both were fine according to friends who stayed there. Other then the Holiday Inn, no other name hotels were close to the convention center. Pre-convention room rates for the three mentioned hotels weren't cheap but not ridiculous. Two new hotels are being built near the convention center, but won't be ready for a year or so.

Alan mentioned the parking fees. We think the $12 parking fee is very reasonable for a downtown parking lot. Some folks mentioned to us that within a quarter mile they found $8 parking. We stayed at a Hilton on Monday the week of the show and that was about a mile away. It was the nearest Hilton chain brand near the convention center. We walked there and back taking different routes. We found very few street people, unlike San Francisco and even Portland. At these two events the street people were aggressive in asking for money, etc.

Many fine restaurants were in the area of the convention center. The Liberty Grill (behind the Holiday Inn) was the site of the TAMS banquet. The food and service were great, and attendance was on par with past TAMS banquets. The PNG banquet on Tuesday night was also attended by about the same number of dealers as in the past. Likewise with the food at this event which was great.

Eshbach John 2009 Farran Zerbe Award The ANA banquet at the Wilshire also had good food with an attendance approaching 300. At the banquet, the new ANA board was installed (see photo), and among the many awards and membership accomplishments, John Eshbach received the ANA Farran Zerbe Award (see photo). Incidentally, to help balance the ANA budget, everyone who used to get a free banquet ticket (staff, volunteers, committee members, judges, exhibitors, Board members, and past Presidents), now have to pay $25 towards the price of the banquet ticket. We have no problem with this as the ANA in the past two years worked hard to balance the budget and had to take steps that had to be hard for them - such as this.

At the opening ceremonies, Numismatist Dwight Manley donated $250,000 to the ANA, for use in the Florence Schook School of Numismatics. Thank you, Dwight, for this outstanding donation to the ANA. In 2002, Mr. Manley donated this same amount to the ongoing ANA building fund. Besides these amounts this numismatic icon donates countless other money to the ANA (and others) for other numismatic projects.

We wouldn't call it the worst ANA we have ever attended but somewhere in the middle. We have been attending ANA conventions since 1979. As for the convention center itself, it was very user friendly, and we had no problems with it. The bourse itself was well lit and with the wide aisles it did appear at first glance that not many people were in attendance. At times we walked through the bourse and many of the dealers had customers at their tables. Yes, the tax problem in CA did cause some people (dealers and collectors) not to come to the show. It is costly to attend an ANA convention and no one likes tax problems included in the equation, thus they didnít come.

The local committee was located just up the escalator from the entrance, and they did a great job of directing visitors to the pay and membership booths. As ANA longtime National Volunteers, we had a good vantage point to see who was attending the convention. We were located down the hallway from where folks paid admission and or were given credentials to enter the convention bourse area.

Sitting behind our lectern, we talked to hundreds of people who attended regarding many different things. We were ANA greeters who gave directions and information to those who needed it. We wondered about charging admission to ANA conventions when we first heard about it. At this convention, the ANA had reduced the cost for an online membership to $18 from the usual $28 for an online membership. Many were convinced to pay the $18 online membership in lieu of the $6 daily admission. Paying the dues made sense if they attended more then one day as the multiple pay for entrance was $6 daily, or $20 for the Wed. through Sun. of the show. Sunday we think was free (or for a short time a reduced $2 admission was charged). All they had to do was register.

Not many complained to us, the volunteers at the booth collecting admissions or the ANA staff regarding the cost of admission to attend the convention. At our position near the entrance, we were able to convince over twenty to take their $6 badge and convert it for $12 more to an ANA online membership. As for ANA recruitment, we think that this was the highest amount of new members ever signed up at an ANA convention.

At the Holiday Inn one morning a dealer did tell us that he and several other dealers didn't like the $6 admission charge. Out of many hundreds of dealers who had booths, this dealer was the only one who complained, at least to us.

We'd also like to mention the official program for this event. It was changed from the handy pocket edition to a program the size of The Numismatist. Everyone called it the 13th edition of the monthly magazine. It had great information for new collectors. Somehow ANA has to have a pull out insert with the pertinent information for the show.

As most dealers, collectors and exhibitors would agree, the ANA is the largest coin show in the world. We always hope it is in a great city. Alan mentioned cities for ANA conventions. The site selections are picked for the ANA by the Board of Governors, with suggestions by the ANA Convention Staff and Executive Director.

Our kudos's to recently installed President Cliff Mishler, Vice President Tom Hallenbeck and Board Members Joseph Boling, Jeff Garrett, Chet Krause, J. P. Martin, Walter Ostromecki, Scott Rottinghaus and Wendell Wolka. If you enjoyed or hated this convention and or have opinions one way or another on how to make the show better go to www.money.org and under contacts you will find the email addresses for the Board, Exec. Dir. and Convention Department. Make your feelings heard and let them know your thoughts good or bad.

Besides the Bourse the ANA two conventions offer so much more in the area of educational talks, exhibits, world mints & bureaus, other activities including a luncheon, base ball game - plus other activities for attendee's, coin club tables and others. The ANA also features a major auction, this year held by Bowers and Merena.

You need the entire week of the show plus many more days to see and do everything an ANA convention offers. Whether we were volunteers or just interested in coin collecting we would attend an ANA convention wherever it is held. We also exhibit and judge at ANA conventions and enjoy the camaraderie and friendships we have in this area of the hobby. In any instance, we agree with some of Alan's comments but wanted to let you know our thoughts and what we think are the other parts of an ANA convention.

Wayne Homren, Editor

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