Littleton Coin Company

ANA Introduces… Coin Collecting Video Vignettes

An interview with Rod Gillis, Education Director of the ANA

Rod Gillis - Littleton Coin Blog

The ANA’s Rod Gillis talks about their latest collector video series – Video Vignettes

This past January, the American Numismatic Association launched their new video series entitled Video Vignettes. These short, informative segments discuss some of the most popular topics in numismatics, including: Coin Collecting 101, Understanding Grading and What Gives Coins Value. The videos are geared toward newer collectors and are designed to help them become smarter and more informed about the hobby.

The ANA has been applauded for creating the videos as a way to introduce the next generation – the tech savvy – to collecting. I recently had the opportunity to discuss these videos with Rod Gillis, Education Director for the ANA and the featured presenter on the films. He took a few moments to expand on the videos, let us know the history behind them, and share the ANA’s goals in producing them.

LCC: “So Rod, what prompted the ANA to focus on videos as educational tools?”

Testimonail - Littleton Coin Blog

Bill Fivaz, noted numismatist and author of the Cherrypicker’s Guide to rare varieties of U.S. coins

RG: “We are always on the lookout for relevant and exciting content for our new website. We thought using video would be a quick and exciting way to address some of our frequently asked questions. Plus, we know that videos are a good way to reach a younger audience, and we are trying to become more accessible to that next generation of collectors.”

LCC: “As the respected go-to-location for all things coins, I’m sure you get asked a lot of questions. How did you decide on which ones to address in the videos?”

RG: “We offer a popular ½ hour seminar at national coin shows called Coins 101. These sessions are always well attended. It made sense to cover these topics in the videos. We basically broke down the seminar into small sections and filmed them. The topics, are also some of our most frequently asked questions. So, you could say we are covering both bases with these videos.”

LCC: “Why focus on new or beginning collectors?”

RG: “The ANA has a large focus on education and introducing new collectors to the hobby. Many folks not exposed to coin collecting can find collecting intimidating at first. There’s a whole new language, and determining value and grading can seem complicated. It’s our hope that these helpful, educational videos will clarify questions and show how easy and enjoyable the hobby can be.”

LCC: “Since feedback has been so favorable, are there plans for future videos?”

RG: “Yes, as a matter of fact, we filmed two more videos last week. These are related to inheriting a coin collection. Long term, we plan on continuing to produce additional video content. Perhaps one per month. It won’t always be me in the video; we’d like to feature others from different areas and get their perspectives, as well.”

Coins for the A's - Littleton Coin Blog

Coins for A’s program – Kids earn free coins for good grades!

LCC: “Do you need to have an ANA membership to access the videos?”

RG: “No, anyone can view them at any time. They can access them either on the ANA website or on our YouTube channel.”

LCC: “The setting of the videos is unique. Where was production held?”

RG: “They were filmed on location at our Colorado Springs headquarters, in the exhibit area and the Dwight N. Manley Numismatic library.”

LCC: “The videos have a warm and friendly tone. Have you had previous experience being in front of the camera?”

RG: “No, not specifically video. Fortunately, we did not need many takes. Since the videos are based on the same talks I give at the National Money Show, I’m very comfortable with the material. Plus, I was a school teacher prior to being with the ANA. I guess those teaching skills naturally transfer over.”

LCC: “Tell us a little bit more about your background in numismatics and your interest in coins. How did you go from school teacher to ANA education director?”

RG: “Like most collectors, I started as a kid, when I was twelve. I dabbled throughout my adulthood. As an educator, I liked to use coins as teaching tools. The ANA offers a class for educators in the summer seminar. I ended up getting a scholarship to attend. At the time, I was an 8th grade history teacher in Lincoln, NH. I wound up developing a relationship with the ANA, and when there was an opening in their education department, they offered and I accepted.”

RG: “Right now, I collect Stock certificates and commemoratives. I’m putting together a set of classic commemoratives in Extra Fine condition. They are more unusual to find, and the coin designs are historic recollections of the past.”

LCC: “What are your primary responsibilities as Education Director?”

Coin Periodic Table - Littleton Coin Blog

The ANA’s periodic table of numismatics poster is available on their website.

RG: “My main responsibility is defining content for the website and working on initiatives to help promote the hobby to new and experienced collectors. I organize content for adults in terms of grading classes and others. Right now, we are working on focusing on getting kids involved with the hobby – We have our Coins for A’s program – students get three or more A’s on their report card and we send them a free world coin. We are thrilled to have over 1,000 kids registered in the program.”

LCC: “What other innovative things are you developing in the education arena at the ANA?”

RG: “Most of our innovation involves our new website. We have a Collector Curator section for inquiries about coins and currency, Money Musements, a new grading game, and numismatic quizzes. We have also just unveiled our new Periodic Table of Elements poster. It’s very visual and a great educational tool. It’s really a fun time to be involved with the hobby. We get to use emerging technology to bring energy into the classic topics and hopefully inspire a whole new group of collectors.”

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