The Numismatist is the official publication of the American Numismatic Association.
In the January issue there was a nice article on publication's 125th anniversary. With permission and assistance from editor Barbara Gregory, here it is. Thanks, and Happy Quasquicentennial birthday! The cover features an image of the original printing press used to create the publication.
In the autumn of 1888, The American Numismatist, a modest, four-page leaflet dated September-October, debuted. The brainchild of Dr. George F. Heath of Monroe, Michigan, the publication dropped the word “American” from its title on its subsequent issue
and The Numismatist officially was born.
The Numismatist continued publication, with the third issue bearing a January-February 1889 date. Perhaps Heath sensed that his small leaflet would be no less relevant 125 years ago than it is today, for he stated in this third issue that “The Numismatist is here to stay.”
And stay it has. After a two-month demise in 1890, the magazine returned, with 12 issues forecast for that year. The coin-collecting hobby was expanding, and ambitious plans were announced for 1891.
In February 1891, Heath proposed the formation of the American Numismatic Association. His idea was published in an article titled “A Plea for an American Numismatic Association” in the double-sized March issue. For a brief time in the late 1890s, The Numismatist separated itself from the ANA and was no longer its official journal.
Heath died suddenly on June 16, 1908, and ANA President Farran Zerbe, who assumed the position of editor and publisher, soon bought the publication for himself from Heath’s heirs. In 1911, through the generosity of W.C.C. Wilson of Montreal, Canada, The Numismatist was purchased from Zerbe and presented to the ANA. It has been an important part of the American Numismatic Association ever since. (From 2003 to 2007, "The" was dropped from its title.)
Including Heath, 15 chief editors have steered the magazine’s course during the past 125 years. In 2003, Barbara Gregory, the first woman to fill that position, took The Numismatist to a new, full-color format, which was refreshed in 2011.
The December 1928 and January 2013 issues
Today, George Heath’s humble little leaflet has evolved into a premiere hobby publication that arrives in thousands of ANA members’ mailboxes each month. (The magazine, as well as archived editions, also is available online to ANA members.) George Heath would be proud.
Barbara also passed along word that the ANA is producing a limited-edition reprint of the very first issue! It's a nice reward for a donation to help the association.
The ANA asks for your help as it endeavors to unite collectors, grow the hobby and expand the value of membership. Your tax-deductible gift of $25, $50, $100 or more to this year’s Annual Giving Campaign will allow the Association to bolster its role as a positive force and leader in the numismatic community.
To thank donors for their generosity, the ANA has produced a limited-edition reprint of the very first issue of The Numismatist.
This exclusive publication will be available only in 2013 to life members and those who give $50 or more. Once it’s gone, no more copies will be produced. Watch for the ANA Annual Appeal in your mailbox, or go to
For more information on the ANA, see:
To read an earlier E-Sylum article on anniversaries, see:
VOCABULARY ANSWER: QUASQUICENTENNIAL
Wayne Homren, Editor
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