The E-Sylum:  Volume 10, Number 13, April 1, 2007, Article 4


Following on the heels of the recent merger of leading numismatic 
auction houses Stack's and American Numismatic Rarities, the two 
leading U.S. nonprofit numismatic organizations announced this weekend 
that a long-rumored merger has come to pass. In a joint statement, 
the leadership of the American Numismatic Society (founded 1858) and 
the American Numismatic Association (founded 1891) acknowledged the 
financial and organizational obstacles that each has encountered in 
recent years, but focused on many positive aspects of the combined 

"These past months have been both draining and exhilarating for our 
boards and top officers. The secret meetings, late-night negotiation 
sessions, and endless discussions of details often devolved into 
recriminations and tears. We are clearly two organizations that care 
deeply for our members, history and traditions. Yet the talks were 
infused with a sense of great hope and promise for the future, which 
we feel is being realized today. We know many of our members will feel 
the same sets of contrasting emotions that all of us did in coming to 
this joint decision, one which we trust and pray that in the end the 
numismatic community will embrace with the same sense of hope for the 

The new organization will be called the American Numismatic Trust. 
No staff layoffs are planned, but headcount will be reduced through 
attrition. Effective immediately, the popular glossy magazine-format 
monthly publications Numismatist and American Numismatic Society 
Magazine will be combined into one 25%-larger issue called simply 
"Coin". Organizational news will be published mostly electronically. 
The separate ANA and ANS web sites will be merged by year end.

The biggest surprise concerns the new organization's headquarters 
building, which had been rumored to be the biggest stumbling block 
in the negotiations. Although both sides had dug in their heels in 
defense of their existing operations in Colorado Springs and New York 
City, a compromise was finally brokered by a team of angel backers 
led by well-known dealer Q. David Bowers, which donated an historic 
building at 225 N. Holliday St. in Baltimore, Maryland. 

Erected in 1813 by Rembrandt Peale, son of the famed portraitist 
Charles Willson Peale, it was the first building in the Western 
Hemisphere created to serve as a museum. After years of mixed success, 
in 1830 the building was acquired by the city of Baltimore and later 
became the home of "Number 1 Colored Primary School". In subsequent 
years the building was used for storage and fell into disrepair. But 
with today's announcement, the grand building, just blocks from 
Baltimore's famed Inner Harbor, stands to rise again as a leading 

ANS leaders contacted privately admitted that "we looked around and 
realized we hadn't gotten around to unpacking all this stuff from 
our last move anyway, so what the heck, we might as well move again." 
The ANS' current exhibit at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York will 
remain for at least two years, when a new satellite exhibit will occupy 
a special place at the new Museum of American Finance at 48 Wall Street. 
The Museum's founder John E. Herzog said he was "delighted with the 
new arrangement, which ensures that many numismatic treasures will 
remain available to the public here in New York."

In Colorado Springs, CO, a similar arrangement has been made with the 
trustees of Colorado College, which will keep the main level of the 
old ANA building open as a museum after the purchasing the building 
and grounds by year end. Former ANA employees staying in Colorado 
Springs will move to a smaller suite of rented offices nearby. In a 
similar move, New York-based employees will move to smaller rented 
space while the ANS building is emptied and sold.

Funds from the building sales and planned auctions of duplicates from 
the organizations' famed collections and libraries will replenish the 
combined organization's endowment fund.

Officials stated "We're shooting for a grand opening of the new 
building Friday, August 1, 2008, in conjunction with the "World's 
Fair of Money" convention planned by the ANA for the Baltimore 
Convention Center."

American Numismatic Association elections, scheduled to begin next 
month, have been cancelled, and the terms of both Executive Directors 
have been extended through December 31, 2012. "At first we kidded 
about holding a kickboxing tournament at the 2007 Numismatic Literary 
Guild Bash to determine who gets the top post, but some people didn't 
get the joke. I dunno, they're both tough cookies - we coulda sold 
some serious tickets."

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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