“Message from the President of the A.N.A.” Written 100 Years Ago

Greetings from Chicago and the American Numismatic Association’s World’s Fair of Money for 2014 (59 years and now 60 conventions after attending my first ANA convention in 1955., I think of the many ways the hobby has changed over my years in numismatics, as well as in the over 120 years since the ANA was formed in 1891. But, there are also many things remain the same, including the mission of the association. I like to review old numismatic publications, and came across this portion of the “Message from the President of the A.N.A.” written 100 years ago by Frank C. Duffield and printed in the January 1914 issue of The Numismatist. The younger set comes to the fore:


To the Members of the American Numismatic Association:

To prove worthy of the office to which you have elected me, and to assist in materially adding to our usefulness, to our prestige, and to our numerical strength, and to aid in developing a greater interest in the subject of numismatics in our country, will be my purpose during my term as president of the A.N.A. To receive the highest elective office in the Association is a distinction that I appreciate, and I thank you for the honor.

As I assume the office it seems fitting to refer to some matters affecting the Association and its work that are worthy of your attention. At this time I shall refer only briefly to them, but during my term of office I hope to dwell at greater length on some of them, with further suggestions, perhaps, for your consideration.

For several years it has been a pleasure to me to assist in the work of the Association and to serve it in several capacities, and from this experience I see no reason why we should not continue to conduct it along the lines laid down by its founders, which were for “an Association built on broad and liberal lines and primarily in the interest of the great class of less advanced and beginning collectors.” A glance backward over the 23 years of its existence shows that this policy has been generally followed, and that any attempt to depart from it has been successful.

“To encourage and assist new collectors and to foster the interest of youth in the subject,” is and always has been one of the objects set forth in our Constitution. To be interested in the young or new collector does not imply that all our members are of this class, nor that this is the only class in which we are interested. It does imply, rather, that from our own experience we realize the difficulties that lie in the path of young collectors, and that we appreciate the fact that they are to become in a few years the body of advanced collectors in this country. One of the most effective ways of creating an interest in numismatics in our young people is for those members who have the opportunity to address the pupils of high schools, or young men’s clubs and societies of an educational nature, on the subject, illustrating the address with coins from their collections. The good results may not be apparent immediately, but the harvest will be gathered later. The development of the coin-collecting habit formed during their schooldays has given to the A.N.A. some of its most valuable members.

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