BY JOSHUA MCMORROW-HERNANDEZ

I recently had the opportunity to speak with Gary Adkins, who was elected president of the American Numismatic Association (ANA) in July. The longtime coin dealer and numismatic ambassador is the ANA’s 60th president and will serve a two-year term.

Adkins’ ascension to the top of the world’s largest numismatic club marks the latest chapter in his illustrious career. He has served the coin industry as a dealer for more than 50 years, and over the decades has contributed to the hobby in countless ways. One of his most significant achievements was drafting the Collectors Bill of Rights, which he created on behalf of the Professional Numismatists Guild, which he served as its president; the Collectors Bill of Rights provides consumers with an outline on what they should expect when doing business with coin dealers. Adkins is also a board member and past chairman of the Industry Council for Tangible Assets (ICTA), a precious metals consumer and dealer advocacy organization.

Many people may also recognize his name from A Guide Book of United States Coins (The Red Book), for which he has contributed pricing information over many years. He has also been interviewed by various media outlets during coverage of numismatic-related stories. Additionally, Adkins led his own coin firm before join forces in 2017 with David Lawrence Rare Coins in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Adkins was sworn in as president during the ANA’s World’s Fair of Money Show in Denver, Colorado, on August 4, 2017. Already a few weeks into his first term as president, he has a clear vision in mind for what he hopes to accomplish over the next two years while leading the ANA, which currently boasts some 25,000 members. Adkins was gracious to spend some time to speak with me about these plans in vivid detail. Here is what he told me during our interview.

Q. HOW DOES IT FEEL TO HELM THE ANA, THE BIGGEST COIN ORGANIZATION IN THE WORLD?

A. It’s felt like an overwhelming task to be honest, but I’ve been involved in the hobby for 53 years now. Serving as president is my way of giving back to the hobby and giving back to the ANA. I’m 67, but I love coins, the coin business, the people in the hobby, and the ANA. It’s a special time to be leading the group, celebrating 125 years as an organization and it’s the 50th anniversary of the current headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colorado. I want to help them continue another 125 years.

Q. ONE OF THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES WE FACE TODAY IN COIN COLLECTING IS IN KEEPING THE RANKS GROWING. HOW DO YOU THINK WE CAN DO THAT?

A. It’s a challenge to grow the hobby. There are different demographics, different types of collectors. You have those who collect coins because they like their art or history, and then there are those who buy coins for investing. Some collectors are happy to sit at home buying coins in their pajamas, while others prefer to touch and feel coins in person at the shows. It’s a challenge to reach all of our constituents. It’s important to educate collectors and get people to engage with the hobby. I started collecting coins when I was nine years old and became a dealer at 15. It was a different time back then, but young people today are overwhelmed by iPhones, iPads, and computers. We need to appeal to the mass audience. The key is outreach, and one of the best ways to do that nowadays is with the internet.

Q. THESE DAYS, THE HOBBY IS INCREASINGLY LEANING ON THE INTERNET. HOW WILL YOU HELP FACILITATE THIS DIGITAL PUSH FOR THE ANA?

A. There’s the old saying, ‘buy the book before the coin.’ Maybe now we should say ‘buy the ebook before the coin.’ If you look at coin publications these days, they seem to be getting thinner and thinner. The Numismatist is still phenomenal, and people still love getting them in the mail. But the internet is the future and we need to make sure our site reaches all of our base. We also need to increase the amount of content, and we could also improve educational opportunities for beginners and advanced users. One of the things we’ve recently done is extend an agreement with E-Sylum, and they will now link to their work on the ANA site (www.money.org). Another strategic move is in working with CDN to add the Collectors Price Guide (CPG) so collectors can get a better idea as to the valuation of their coins. CDN has been around since 1963, and for most of that time, it was really only coin dealers who had access to their information. Now, collectors increasingly are using CDN for pricing, and this helps extend valuable price information to the collector market, which needs to be served.

Q. WHAT OTHER PLANS ARE IN STORE FOR EXPANDING THE ANA’S ONLINE REACH?

A. eBay is a mass market and it’s a fantastic place for us