American Numismatic Association

The American Numismatic Association (ANA) was founded in 1891 by Dr. George F. Heath in Chicago, Illinois. Heath founded the organization to advance the knowledge of numismatics (the study of money) along educational, historical, and scientific lines, as well as enhance interest in the hobby. 

The ANA national headquarters and museum is located in Colorado Springs, Colorado. It claims a membership of over 25,000 and offers memberships for various terms, including one-year, three-year, five-year, and lifetime memberships. In 1912 the association received a Federal Charter by the United States Congress for its work in the field of numismatics.

The association's official monthly journal is The Numismatist. Many articles are contributed by members of the Association.


Dr. George F. Heath of Monroe, Michigan, gained knowledge of world history by studying his collection of coins. The remoteness of the community in which he lived was an obstacle towards obtaining certain specimens, and made meeting fellow numismatists difficult. In 1888, he printed, published and distributed a four-page leaflet, NUMISMATIST, in which he listed his coin needs, advertised duplicates for sale, and discussed numismatic topics.

The fledgling publication introduced Heath to fellow collectors in other isolated areas. As his subscription list increased, a need for a national organization of numismatists was evident. The February 1891 edition of The Numismatist printed a question, "What is the matter with having an American Numismatic Association?" A follow-up statement was included: "There is nothing like the alliance of kindred pursuits to stimulate growth and interest."

On October 7 and October 8, 1891, five men—Heath, William G. Jerrems, David Harlowe, J.A. Heckelman and John Brydon—holding 26 proxies, met in Chicago and with 61 charter members. The result was the founding of the American Numismatic Association. Since that meeting in October 1891, the American Numismatic Association has expanded to become the largest non-profit numismatic organization of its kind in the world.

Eventually, Heath introduced the idea of a numismatic convention, where members could make personal contact with other numismatists. This meeting was held annually from 1891 until 1895. It resumed in 1901 and continued until 1904. After the 1907 convention in Columbus, Ohio, it was decided to hold annual meetings thereafter.

On June 16, 1908, Dr. Heath died suddenly. Farran Zerbe, then president, assumed the task of editing and publishing The Numismatist, and soon purchased the publication 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, and since that time, the magazine has been owned and published monthly by the ANA.

National prominence was attained by the Association on May 9, 1912, when it was granted a Federal Charter, signed by President William H. Taft. An amendment to make the Charter permanent and allow for a larger Board of Governors was introduced in 1962. This was presented by Congressman Wilbur Mills and Senator John L. McClellan, both of Arkansas. This amendment was passed by Congress and signed by President John F. Kennedy on April 10, 1962.


An ANA national home and headquarters building fund was established on April 29, 1961. Colorado Springs, Colorado, was selected, and a groundbreaking ceremony was held on September 6, 1966. On December 20, 1966, the building fund goal of $250,000 was reached and the new home and headquarters of the American Numismatic Association was dedicated and officially opened in Colorado Springs on June 10, 1967. Currently, the ANA facility in Colorado Springs houses the largest circulating numismatic library in the world. Books, educational slide programs, and instructional videotapes are loaned to members without charge other than costs to cover postage and insurance. Additionally, the ANA has many affiliate club members throughout the United States.

Conventions, Summer Seminars, and

Other Programs and Events

Young Numismatists (YNs)

The ANA has many programs for Young Numismatists (YNs). There are two programs in which YNs can earn free coins by completing coin-related activities. These programs are the Early American Copper Project and the David R. Cervin Ancient Coin Project.

The ANA also has a “YN Dollars” program in which YNs earn YN Dollars for different activities. They can spend these YN Dollars at the ANA summer convention at the annual YN auction.

The Young Numismatist of the Year award has been given by the ANA every year since 1968. Many former winners of the award are now prominent numismatic professionals, or have distinguished themselves in other areas.


The original Young Numismatists of America group was formerly a worldwide coin organization that was founded in 1990 at the ANA Summer Seminar. In its early days, the YNA was an attractive way for young numismatists (YNs) to submit articles for publication. However, by late 1996, many of the YNA founders were in college and could no longer help out. The YNA program was slowly discontinued because of lack of interest. Then, in 2001 at the ANA Summer Seminar, the young collectors decided to reform the YNA program. Within several years, however, the YNA once again was suspended.

Numismatic Events

The ANA has held conventions annually in most years since 1891, and expanded to two annual shows in 1978. The ANA offered a third show in 2011 and 2012, but announced on May 4, 2012 that it would not continue this in the future. The features of these conventions include the offering of a large bourse room (trading floor where dealers set up at tables and display their items for sale), along with exhibits, educational programs, junior member activities, auctions, and meetings of affiliated specialty organizations. The National Money Show and the ANA World's Fair of Money are the brand names for shows that are held annually by the organization. The National Money Show is traditionally held in the spring while the World's Fair is held in the summer.

The annual ANA Summer Seminar is an assortment of classes held in Colorado Springs in mid-summer (generally the last week of June and first week of July). Most classes are one week long but some weeks have half-week classes available. Classes are taught by numismatic experts. Students are of all ages and divided between collectors and numismatic professionals. There are special programs for Young Numismatists. The ANA and many local coin clubs sponsor a few scholarships to defer some costs for a few students.

ANA Money Museum

The Colorado facility also houses the ANA Money Museum that includes over 250,000 objects encompassing the history of numismatics from the earliest invention of money to modern day. The Harry W. Bass Collection features American gold coins, experimental pattern coins and paper money. The museum also offers changing exhibits about money in history, art, archeology, banking and economics, and coin collecting. Members may study the items on display and, by prearrangement, can use other museum materials for research purposes. The Museum has one of the finest accumulation of coins in existence, featuring some of the rarest pieces of all time.

Board of Governors

The ANA is run by a nine-member board of governors, composed of the president, vice-president, and seven governors, elected by the Association's membership in odd-numbered years. Candidates for the board of governors must have been ANA members for at least three years. Candidates for president and vice president must have served at least one term on the board of governors. Total service on the board of governors is limited to ten years.

For more information about the American Numismatic Association please visit its website at

The material on this page was adapted from a Wikipedia profile.