Thursday, August 28, 2008

ANA Establishes Government Affairs Committee

Government Affairs Committee Established

ANA President Barry Stuppler has instituted a Governmental Affairs Committee. The committee was created to promote Association and coin collector interests in Washington, and keep members abreast of federal legislation that affects the hobby. Updates will be featured in The Numismatist and on The ANA thanks Mark Olanoff and Diane Piret for co-chairing this new committee.

ANA Legislative Update as of August 2, 2008

With the support of the Board of Governors, President Barry Stuppler created the ANA Government Affairs Committee and appointed Mark Olanoff and Diane Piret as co-chairs. Mark Olanoff has 10 years of lobbying experience at the federal and state level. Diane Piret has been an Industry expert for over 20 years and currently is employed by the Industry Council for Tangible Assets (ICTA).


First off, I want to congratulate President Barry Stuppler on seeing a need and filling it by forming this committee. Some of us collectors have felt we are in a nearly adversarial relationship with the US government over the last decade. I also know the ANA and ANS used to play a more active role in our government and it is nice to see that role being restored. Coin and banknote collectors often have more collective wisdom about money than many of our politicians do and you can take that to the bank! I also want to congratulate Mark Olanoff and Diane Piret on their appointments and hope they are successful in their positions and wish them every success.

But I must express this one concern. The page is full of bills that mainly address possible new coin designs. What I would also like to see dealt with is the current struggle with the US State Dept and cultural property issues addressed too. As numismatists we need to stay united on these issues. Not all of us collect US money, plenty of us collect Ancient and Foreign / World coinage too. I hope that just because the ACCG is doing so much on that front that the ANA won't neglect the concerns of other coin collectors.

As cultural property laws continue to spread outside of the United States, Foreign / World coin and banknote collectors will begin to feel the squeeze just as ancient coin collectors already have. That a hobby as innocent as coin collecting even needs to defend itself from government action is an atrocious attack on personal freedom and an abuse of government power - and both US political parties can take a share of the blame.

So while I am pleased to see the ANA taking a more active role in the hobby as it relates to government, I hope this new department won't only act as a committee for suggesting new collectible proof sets so that the government can 'cash in' on US coin collectors. Proof sets and other collectible issues do serve an important purpose in commemorating US History and Americana in general but that shouldn't be sole focus of our hobby.

We are in another 'golden age' of coin collecting right now because of the perfect storm of forces at work in history right now:

  • New circulating coin programs such as the 50 State Quarter program
  • The widespread use of the internet and venues such as eBay
  • A much more reliable global postal system
  • The emergence of the Euro leading to an abundance of inexpensive foreign coins
  • The growth of new finds in ancients coming from Europe and the Middle East
But all this can come to a grinding halt if we give in to international pressure from foreign governments who push the failed policies of Cultural Property Nationalism, Protectionism and Statism. If we do not resist these forces, only the rich will be able to collect ancient coins and the only foreign coins that will remain collectible will be current 'pocket change' issues and annual proof sets, often minted right here in the USA and made to appeal to less than genuine historic or culturally important themes.


Jim McGarigle
Polymath Numismatics

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1 comment:

Ed Snible said...

US government should stop making cents, nickels, and dimes. Dime is already worth less than the half cent when we stopped making that.

Right now laws ban export of cents and nickels. That law should be repealed.

The government should clarify which medals are banned under the Stolen Valor act. I have no problem with it covering rare medals but civil war decoration collecting should be legalized.

Hobby protection act should allow the word 'copy' to be much smaller for extremely tiny coin replicas.