5th National Silver Dollar Convention
St. Louis, Missouri
November 8 – 11, 1984
By A.E. Johnbrier
Recently, there have been a number of letters critical of ANACS and their grading, but very few letters defending them. This will be on of the latter and long overdue from my point of view, but better late than never. Although ANACS has gone through somewhat of a turmoil in the last year, losing key personnel, relatively long turnaround time on coins submitted and perhaps some In House friction, they are not as bad off, particularly grading-wise as they were before Mr. Ken Bressett took over. This is what this letter is all about, in that the general over competence that Ken has brought to ANACS has simply not been addressed. This is not to overlook the other Directors; it’s just that I know Ken and what he has accomplished since he has taken over the reins. In November of 1982, Ken and then Authenticator, Leonard Albrecht faced, if you will, a “Lion’s Den” of about 70 dealers at the National Silver Dollar convention in Houston, Texas and it was there that they earned my full respect. They had been “invited” by the Chairman of the show, John Highfill, to answer and explain, if possible, the incredible inconsistencies and overgrading that was coming out of ANACS at the time, especially on “Morgan and Peace” Dollars. This meeting, or “Roundtable” if you will, was set up at 8:00 the next morning when most dealers were still dreaming of that MS-70. I’m sure Ken thought there would only be a handful of dealers when in fact nearly 70 showed up. The onslaught began.
At 10:30 (the show had opened at 10:00) we had to call a halt but all agreed to continue at 8:00 the next morning. Well, it’s remarkable to get that many dealers to an early meeting once, let alone twice, but the next morning there were nearly 80 dealers this time. Once again, Ken and Leonard stood their ground and answered any and all of the questions put before them. Needless to say, we can’t go into that here but this session took us to nearly 11:00 a.m., but we all came away with a better understanding of ANACS, the problems they incur, budget problems, manpower, experience, etc. They, in turn, came way with perhaps a better understanding of some of the problems we dealers are faced with.
The two mist important factors that came from those meetings were, number one, there was now “dialogue” between two camps that before this, simply ignored one another but now had a common ground to be heard; and number two, the “National Silver Dollar Roundtable” was formed with a pledge from both sides to work together for a common cause: the advancement of Numismatics. Shortly after the convention, two of our members flew to Colorado Springs and ANACS and spent two days there getting to know the organization. When they returned, they were even more supportive of ANACS.
Now, Ken and Leonard could have turned down that “confrontation” (for that was what it started out to be), with all those dealers while the dealers themselves could have said “Who wants to get up that early and what good will it do?” but neither side did and because they “didn’t” it was the catalyst that formed a better understanding between both factions. We offered our support as consultants and they in turn pledged to attempt to do better, particularly in grading and this they have done without question. The dramatic change can now be seen in the overall grading structure of ANACS and although some will say, “They are too strict,” I don’t necessarily find that to be true. Since 1982, I have examined hundreds of ANACS graded coins, (I attend about 40 shows a year), and I find them to be close to, or “right on” nearly 90% of the time. Some of course demand 100% accuracy because there are big bucks involved here, they say. Well, those misguided folks are probably the same ones who are looking for that MS70 “Morgan” or “Peace Dollar.” Nobody is 100% accurate and there “ain’t no such animal.”
ANACS has come a long way since 1982 and I feel like Ken Bressett should, no make that MUST, get the credit that he justly deserves.
ANACS is again going through a somewhat transitional period. New authenticators, tight budget, limited personnel, etc., but I feel, given enough time and the proper support, they will, under Ken’s and lest I forget Bob Medlear’s capable leadership, come back stronger and become a viable force in the field of Numismatics.