The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 14, Number 41, October 2, 2011, Article 16


The latest news on the revolving door at the top of the American Numismatic Association is that executive director Larry Shepherd has officially been fired. Here's an excerpt from an article by Dave Harper in the September 28th Numismatic News. -Editor

Paid administrative leave has turned into unemployment for American Numismatic Association executive director Larry Shepherd.

ANA President Tom Hallenbeck made the news public in a telephone conference call to the numismatic press Sept. 28.

Hallenbeck said he would attend an ANA staff meeting later that afternoon to tell the organization’s employees of the decision of the ANA board of governors.

In the words of the official press release, “The American Numismatic Association Board of Governors today announced that it has ended its employment relationship with Larry Shepherd as executive director.”

To read the complete article, see: No Return for Shepherd (

Scott Barman, in his September 28, 2011 Coin Collector's Blog writes:

No reason was given as to the reason for Shepherd's dismissal. However, those of us who make our living reading between the lines can speculate about the reason based on what was disclosed. The first clue comes when the press release says:

“We appreciate Shepherd’s past three years of contributions, but the Board determined the association needs to move in a different direction going forward, providing greater focus on its core educational mission,” said ANA President Tom Hallenbeck

This is the first that has been reported that the Board or anyone else felt that not enough emphasis was being placed on ANA’s educational efforts. But it appears that the Board is not happy with the increased attention to the shows. In the succeeding paragraph, Hallenbeck was quoted as saying:

The ANA is about more than just being a big coin show. It’s about our individual members and member clubs. It’s about educating our members and the general public, doing so by creating a positive numismatic experience for the many diverse segments of our organization and the greater hobby community.

Reading between the lines, the ANA Board of Governors may have found some irregularities in Shepherd’s involvement in the expansion of shows and basing the flagship World’s Fair of Money in Chicago, a move questioned on this blog in May 2010. Has this been a simmering issue with the Board as well?

To read the complete article, see: ANA Fires Shepherd (

In the "Things that make you go 'hmmmm' department", Numismatic News reported the following in the same issue. -Editor

Former American Numismatic Association executive director Larry Shepherd was hired by Harlan J. Berk Ltd.

Berk made the announcement less than 24 hours after ANA announced it had parted ways with Shepherd.

Berk told Numismatic News Sept. 29 that Shepherd was hired “for his honesty and integrity and his numismatic ability.”

Berk was named the American Numismatic Association's 2011 Numismatist of the Year. His firm is located in Chicago.

As Scott Barman points out, the rest of us may never learn the real reasons behind the ANA's move, so none of this is any more than speculation. All I know is that if anyone had asked me I would have recommended promoting someone from within to run the organization. Why is it that search committees look high and low but never seem to recognize potential leaders in their own backyard? Instead, good people are driven away from the organization time and again.

Luckily there are still many great employees at ANA headquarters, but it's a shame the talent that has been pushed aside in recent years. My advice, as it has been in the past, is to promote a hardworking, honest, loyal employee with the best interests of the organization and hobby at heart. Do so and you just might find the next Ed Rochette, and avoid yet another hiring debacle. -Editor

To read the complete article, see: Berk Hires Shepherd (

Here's an article sans speculation from the local Colorado Springs paper, The Gazette. -Editor

The American Numismatic Association last week terminated Larry Shepherd, the group’s executive director since 2008, for unspecified reasons.

Shepherd had been placed on administrative leave Aug. 20. In a news release, the group said its board voted unanimously to end Shepherd’s employment effective Sept. 20, although the move was announced Wednesday.

Tom Hallenbeck, president of the association’s board and owner of Hallenbeck Coin Gallery in Colorado Springs, said he couldn’t say much more about Shepherd’s departure.

“We just can’t talk about personnel issues,” he said. “It’s no fun to change executive directors. In my two-year term, it’s not what I wanted.”

After placing Shepherd on administrative leave, the coin collector’s association hired a human resources consulting firm to review the group’s management and employment policies, the release said, and the association has formed governance and strategic planning committees. One goal of the new committees, Hallenbeck said, will be to try to provide more stability in its leadership.

The association has 35 employees in Colorado Springs and a $6 million annual budget; it was founded in 1891 and has been based in the Springs since 1967.

Shepherd replaced Christopher Cipoletti, who was fired in 2007 and was then sued by the ANA for malpractice and other professional misconduct. That lawsuit was resolved earlier this year in an out-of-court settlement that required Cipoletti to pay an undisclosed amount to the association.

The ANA ran deficits from 2002 to 2008, which required dipping into its endowment funds, but Hallenbeck said the ANA is now in good financial shape.

To read the complete article, see: Numismatic association ousts executive director (

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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