FY2013 Report of the President


Mr. Sydney F. Martin

FY 2013 Annual Report

My first year as President of the American Numismatic Society has been a mixture of learning the duties of my new position, getting to know people, and trying to define what I hope to accomplish during my tenure in this position. Over the last few years, the Society has come a long way: we now have a secure asset base of almost $40 million, a secure, much visited location, a dedicated staff, members who care about the Society, and a great research and publication program. You will hear much more about all this from other officers and staff. As President, I would like to explore with you today the directions in which the Society will be moving – if I can achieve what I have in mind.

Over the last 15 years, the ANS has come along way from a deeply troubled institution with a small endowment, major expenses, a difficult location and a tiny donor base. Although the situation looks much more promising today, we can only accomplish what our current resources allow. In actual numbers, this means that our endowment produces roughly $2 million annually, while fundraising, sales and other income provide approximately $1.3 million. Thus, we are constrained to a effective operating budget of just over $3 million per year. Further, based on our experiences over the last decade – to include the recession – the Board of Trustees and the Finance Committee keep a sharp eye on our annual spend rate, which we have tried to limit to 5%, a figure that is not only prudent but necessary in today’s volatile environment. What this mean for the ANS is that we operate our programs for members and the public on shoe string budget: senior staff is underpaid, our staff is the smallest it has ever been, we have only 2 endowed curators, and the library has only one permanent staff member. At the same time we have extraordinary holdings of coins, medals, currency, books, archival papers, which can barely be explored or curated properly with our limited resources. There is no shortage of tasks, just a serious lack of money, and this is what I would like to address.

It is my aim to begin exploring ways and means of raising significant capital to expand our endowment fund. Ideally, I like to see us raise $20 million or more, which would allow us to broaden our outreach to, and expand our relevancy within, the numismatic community. This is an extremely ambitious project, which will require co-operation among Trustees, Fellows, friends of the Society and staff. It will require realigning staff resources towards development and fundraising, something the Society has not done while we were focused on moving and settling into our new location. To assist in this effort, we have hired a fundraising consultant, Ms. Eshel Kreiter, who will speak to you later. I do understand that this ambitious project will not be accomplished within a short time period – but I also believe it is essential if we are to remain viable and relevant as we move through the 21st century.

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