1991 29¢ Numismatics
Issue Date: August 13, 1991
City: Chicago, Illinois
Printed By: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Lithographed, engraved
US #2558 was issued for the 100th anniversary of the American Numismatic Associaiton. Numismatics, the study of coins and currency, is honored on this stamp that pictures two popular collector coins: the 1858 1¢ Flying Eagle and the $20 gold Double Eagle, plus two bank notes.
American Numismatic Association
In the 1800s, Dr. George F. Heath enjoyed learning world history by studying his coin collection. However, living in a small town in Michigan, it was hard for him to acquire new coins and meet fellow numismatists (coin collectors). At the time, there were numismatic societies in larger cities, but they didn’t reach the smaller towns.
To further his cause, Heath published a four-page leaflet called Numismatist in 1888, in which he included a list of the coins he was in search of, the ones he had for sale, and wrote about coin collecting. Heath’s publication proved popular with hundreds of other coin collectors in similarly isolated areas. His list of subscribers began to grow and he soon realized they should form a national organization. In the February 1891 edition of Numismatist, he asked, “What is the matter with having an American Numismatic Association?” He then responded “There is nothing like the alliance of kindred pursuits to stimulate growth and interest.”
Heath then called on his readers to meet in Chicago to establish such an organization. And on October 7, 1891, they did. Heath and a group of 61 others met and founded the ANA. Of this event, Heath said, “The foundation of the ANA was not laid for today alone but for the long and distant future as well. Each member can do a little in contributing to its success.”
Heath also suggested that the members of the ANA hold a numismatic convention where they could talk about their hobby and exchange coins. They held conventions each year between 1891 and 1895, and again between 1901 and 1904. Then in 1907, they held a larger convention in Columbus, Ohio, after which they decided to make the event annual.
In 1912, the ANA received a Federal Charter from President William H. Taft. And in 1962, their charter was amended to allow for a larger board of governors. In 1967, the ANA opened its headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Today, the ANA continues to issue a monthly journal, The Numismatist. Their headquarters holds the largest circulating numismatic library in the world, which offers books, slides, and videos to members free of charge. The ANA headquarters is also home to the ANA Money Museum, which is home to more than 250,000 items from the history of numismatics. The ANA membership today consists of about 24,000 people around the country.