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Thoughts on the 1998 ANA in Portland

Editorial by Larry Gaye

Eight years ago a bid was submitted for Portland, Oregon to host the 1998 ANA Convention. As we all remember, Portland became the first on again, off again, on again ANA Convention. The Willamette Coin Club known then as the West Side Coin Club was only three years old and most of us had really never heard of the PNNA other than the fact that it had an annual show.

The members of the Willamette Coin Club got together and decided in order to have a good base for the ANA Convention, and not be embarrassed with no one showing up at the convention, that we needed a show here in Portland to pave the way for the ANA.

We are about to host our fifth PNNA Convention in 1999. Most of the members of the Willamette Coin Club were involved in the ANA Convention together with members of the PNNA which was the official host club. Without having been involved in the PNNA show, we would have had a really tough time pulling it off. We were very fortunate to have Larry Rowe as the General Chairman. He selected a group that truly worked as a team. The rest is as they say, History!

My personal experience at the convention and getting ready for it has been one of the best numismatic experience of my life. When it was over I felt like I was going through withdrawal. The fun, excitement and camaraderie was hard to walk away from. I firmly believe that all concerned are stronger because of the experience. The PNNA has been changed as a result of the folks that worked together on the committees and volunteered for the grunt work. I was certainly proud to be around such great people. I was ready to do it all over again the next week. But, there is no show here next week. But what about the future?

When the whole process started, eight years seemed so far in the future as to be almost a meaningless time period. But everyday it got closer and closer, and then it was gone. So where do we go from here? I think the time is overdue for the PNNA to become more pro-active and work at preparing member clubs to take on the fun and excitement of putting on a PNNA Convention without the fear of failure. We need to start to assist member clubs and their members in meaningful ways by having training sessions in the nuts and bolts of what it takes to put on a convention. Portland and Seattle should not be the only venues for the shows, and be trading off every five years.

If we don't someone else will for profit. As we witnessed, Teresa Darling gave it a good shot. Early on I felt she was a threat to us, but she provided a real nice venue for a show and brought in dealers who wouldn't otherwise have come to Seattle or Portland. I for one will miss her efforts. Dealers will support club shows, but clubs have an obligation to make sure there is good value for the dealers to come and spend money on tables, food, lodging and a club's coffers.

Bill McKivor and I have volunteered to do the Numismatic Theater for the PNNA Convention. When we call for speakers, please take some time and think how you can help whether the show is in Portland, Seattle, or Spokane. There are ways for the PNNA to make it easier to have guest speakers at the conventions, at least there should be.

I really feel that after the wonderful experience that so many dealers had in Portland, we will see more from around the country at our Convention/Show.  This is a critical time to start the preparations. As second vice-president of the PNNA, a dealer, a member and a numismatist I feel I have an obligation to build on our successes and continue the PNNA tradition of more commitment to our members and our communities. I am also sure that the experience many local people had at the ANA will bring out more collectors to our show. We need to offer them something to come out to. Over 11,000 people came to our party, I've got to believe that they weren't all out of towners. We have to figure a way to get them to our PNNA Convention, make them not want to miss it.

We have a lot to be proud of, there is also a lot more to be done. When you are encouraged as a member to get involved in the PNNA Convention, do it! All of us have talents that can help. If it means driving down from Seattle to participate, do it. I guarantee the rewards are wonderful, and the friends you will make will be with you for a long time. Participation is what makes a club grow and prosper.

"Try it, You'll like it."