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The E-Sylum: Volume 13, Number 16, April 18, 2010, Article 25

ON THE CHOICE OF ANA CONVENTION CITIES

Joe Boling writes:

I have been promoting the old style of ANA convention site selection - soliciting a host club, and moving the show around the country so that once every few years every member is within driving distance of the convention. But I must say that concerns about the vibrancy of the city that the show is held in have left me cold. I have never had time to even go to the Friendship Luncheon - maybe because my convention duties have been heavy, or maybe because I don't do that kind of exploring even when I am at home or in a "foreign" city not involved with numismatics. Comparing Rosemont unfavorably to downtown Chicago just does not reach me. When I am at an ANA convention, I leave the building only if it's necessary to do so to reach the hotel I am using. The rest of the time I am working.

Bob Leonard writes:

I share David Lange's concerns about the diminishment of the ANA's educational role as a result of the Board's decision to hold the World's Fair of Money(R) in Chicago 2013-2015. Unfortunately, it is now the convention which supports the ANA, not the other way around.

But -- as General Chairman of the 2011 Chicago convention -- I want to assure David that the convention committee is well aware of his concerns regarding after-hours thrills. (Though I'm not sure that David, upon reflection, would want TOO much "adventure" in the city.) Chicago is next door to Rosemont, and the doorman at your hotel will be glad to summon a cab to wherever you like. Beyond that, we hope to find sponsors for some kind of shared transportation for dealers to Rush Street or other Chicago hot spots, and welcome volunteers. The bourse will be closing earlier now, so you should be able to tidy up and arrive in Chicago in plenty of time for cocktails and dinner. Chicago has many fine theatres, and if there is interest, we will see whether an excursion to them can be planned also.

I can't speak for the 2013 convention, but the 2011 committee hopes to set a precedent to follow for it and the later Chicago shows.

Ginger Rapsus writes:

I am delighted with the decision to hold the World's Fair of Money in Rosemont. I could go and not have to deal with air travel! I am glad that you brought out the very good point that Rosemont is not Chicago. I live in Chicago, and Rosemont is a good trip from where I am; Rosemont is quite a way north of downtown Chicago.

I think I mentioned at the time that I was disappointed with the hotel choices in Baltimore in 2008 and Denver in 2006. The closest hotels were not the HQ hotels. In Baltimore, I had to cab it back and forth. In Denver, it was a three-block walk, and not a pretty walk.

As for the choice of cities, I don't think too many people were thrilled with the show in Los Angeles last year. I recall shows in DC, Detroit, and New Orleans, but I don't think the show will be going to any of those cities anytime soon.

Bruce Smith writes:

For the past 20 years or more, most of the coin and paper money shows held in Chicago were actually located far outside the city, near the airport, either in Rosemont (in the convention center or the hotel across the street) or in a hotel just on the other side of the highway, but in a different suburb.

These locations are convenient for those driving to the show (to avoid terrible traffic in the city and limited parking) and for those flying to the shows (only a few minutes by taxi from the airport). However, it is true that the Rosemont area is "sterile" -- being primarily a business park -- and it lacks nearby entertainment or even good eating places.

Over the past 40 years, most larger coin and paper money shows have been moved to locations near airports. I have always heard that this was done to appease the dealers, many of whom flew to shows, and didn't like a location far from the airport. One of the side effects of this move, however, is that it then becomes very difficult for young collectors (who can not yet drive) to get to the show. Generally airports are located well outside of cities or in industrial or commercial areas -- far from residential areas. For those who drive this might be a good thing, but it deters young collectors from coming to shows.

Moving shows to areas near airports is not always done for the sake of dealers. I was involved in moving the Missouri Numismatic Society show from downtown St. Louis to a hotel across the highway from the airport. In this case the move was made for two reasons: few of the club's members (and few collectors in general) lived in the city; most lived out in the county; and no one who lived in the area wanted to be downtown, especially after dark. There was also the minor problem of homeless or intoxicated people wandering into the show and creating a disturbance.

As far as I know, everyone -- dealers and club members -- were happy to see the show moved to the airport area. But it did deter those who couldn't drive. Bus service in the county was very poor, but it was easy to take a bus to downtown St. Louis. Some of the St. Louis shows are now being held in St. Charles -- which is even more difficult to get to. It is far from the airport and I don't believe there are any buses going there from St. Louis city or county. The location is, however, convenient for local people who will be driving to the show, as the center of middle class population in the area has moved from St. Louis county to St. Charles county.

John and Nancy Wilson write:

We have been attending ANA conventions since 1979 and have only missed a few of them. We understand what is being said by David Lange regarding Rosemont and can agree to disagree regarding some of his thoughts on that city. We can agree on his other comments in regards to the ANA history of conventions. To begin with more ANA conventions have been in Chicago and or Rosemont then any other city. We can agree that Rosemont isn't downtown Chicago, but if anyone wants to go there the commuter train runs from O'Hare and from the Hyatt with great regularity to downtown Chicago. A cab ride downtown during non peak traffic we think is under $35.

We agree that Rosemont doesn't have much to do for the family that comes along to the show. As stated above, they can always find a way to go downtown. You should also remember that the ANA does have activities that take visitors away from the convention center. We don't think that these activities are fully explored by show attendants. The cost for them is minimal, and ANA probably doesn't make any money on them.

As for Rosemont as a convention city. It is the only city that ANA can host a convention that has a major airport (O'Hare) right next to it. You can get off the plane from almost any city in the world and probably go back home that evening. Thus, this city, located close to the center of our country, is very accessible and easy to get to. All major airlines operate out of O'Hare. What we like about it is that when we fly in from Florida, we can take the FREE shuttle to the hotel. Another plus is that the hotel's are close to the convention center. Hyatt, Sofitel, Doubletree, Embassy Suites, Crowne Plaza and a new Intercontinental Hotel are right there. Other chains are within a quarter mile away. Several great restaurants are also in close proximity including Gibson's steak house right across the street, along with a new Capital Grille and McCormick & Schmicks one block away.

We have always loved coin conventions that didn't have a shuttle from the convention center to the hotel(s) like Los Angeles last year. By making Rosemont one of the major cities, ANA wants to host an ongoing show the Association will probably be able to get much more attractive hotel and convention center prices. Time will tell regarding this. We have no problem with ANA making Rosemont an anchor city for their conventions for the reasons stated. Yes, it is a dull city, but other then that it has everything going for it at least for the collectors, public and dealers who come for the show. Illinois is also a tax friendly state, which you can't say for several of the cities ANA has hosted a convention in.

As for downtown Chicago that would be great - but - the convention center to the best of our knowledge has only one hotel by it. Shuttles would have to be utilized. Downtown Chicago is also very expensive with hotels or other conventions would be held there. We also wouldn't want to be flying into Chicago during rush hour traffic going downtown.

An ANA press release dated April 13th announced that the ANA would have an extra show on October 13-15, 2011 in Pittsburgh, PA. That means that the ANA will be in Sacramento, CA in the Spring, Chicago in the Summer and then Pittsburgh in the Fall. According to the numismatic press the Pittsburgh event is intended to launch a three-city rotation of autumn shows. Denver and Boston are the other two cities selected for the trio.

It was also reported that Boston has provisional status that would be reviewed after the results of this coming show are determined. We certainly hope that the mix of shows the ANA is planning works out well for the membership? All the sites being planned for have downtown convention centers which will make the members who like these types of venues happy.

The following is a little history regarding ANA conventions. Before the ANA opened its headquarters in Colorado Springs in the 1960's, the Association expenses were probably very minimal. The ANA was considered a very important convention for most U. S. cities. All cities would have loved to host an ANA convention. The Central States Numismatic Society has also hosted many coin shows since the late 1939's or the early 40's which were successful.

Other organizations also have hosted conventions, but none could compare to the ANA annual convention. People came from far and wide to attend "the ANA show." It went to many cities big and small and the conventions were usually well attended and the dealers probably did well. Those were the uncomplicated years for running not only ANA conventions but local and state shows. Today, several major coin shows are held every month with conflicts always happening. This year the paper money show in Memphis this June conflicts with the Whitman Baltimore show. Baltimore always has lots of paper money dealers attending.

We can recall Ruthann Brettell, from ANA, coming to Milwaukee, WI on an invitation from the Visitors Bureau for a potential convention in 1986. At that time, the ANA conventions were considered one of the top ten conventions for any city in the U. S. That top ten convention statement was from the visitors bureau in Milwaukee. Milwaukee was selected for that show, and we were the Assistant General Chairmen under Kurt Krueger. From that time to this time we just don't think that the ANA has very much clout (getting really cheap hotel rooms and convention center rates) when going to larger cities around the country. Thus, we think one of the reasons for Rosemont is that they probably will be able to get better rates by making it an anchor city for their conventions.

What does it mean to the clubs and their history, with the move to anchor the show in Rosemont for 2011 and then in 2013 and beyond? We just don't think that it will impact the ANA history or clubs very much. It will just make it more difficult for other cities to catch up with Chicago in hosting ANA events. The Chicago Coin Club is still tops for hosting ANA coin conventions. Furthermore, as you can see from our above comments that ANA will still be going to cities besides Chicago but probably not in the summer.

The ANA is working very hard to try to take care of all its dealer or collector members. Let us give them a chance and only time will tell if Rosemont is successful as an anchor city. In reality, ANA just doesn't have a lot of cities it can select. We don't have any problems with what they are trying to do to make ANA the place to go to for conventions. As for the Canadian 1909 convention, someone else can answer that question.

Yours in Numismatics, John and Nancy Wilson, ANA Volunteers and Past Board Members

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: THOUGHTS ON THE ANA CONVENTION CITY PLAN (www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v13n15a18.html)

Wayne Homren, Editor

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