How to get the ANA Diploma in Numismatics - A Personal Experience

Fig 1 : The ANA "Numismatic Scholar" certificate
A friend of mine blogged about the numismatic course from the American Numismatic Association or ANA back in late September. Since the blog article was published, some folks have asked me about what was it like doing the American Numismatics Association's Diploma in Numismatics Program :

1. How much does it cost? How do I pay the fees?
2. Was the ANA course difficult to do?  Are the subjects difficult to understand?
3. How long did it take for you to finish it?
4. Are there any exams?
5. How many questions are there and what type of questions?
6. What is the passing mark? Is the failure rate high?
7. Do I really need to study for it ? (Duh !)
8. Is it difficult to study the subject ?

The questions posed mainly revolves around how "difficult" is it to obtain the qualification.

As of the time of writing, there is still ONLY 1 MALAYSIAN (Update : As of 2016 there are 2 Malaysians) who has been awarded the qualification of "Numismatic Scholar" under the ANA Numismatic Diploma Program, according to their records (Yes, I have written confirmation from ANA on that ... in case you really want to know). As some of you already know, I received my Diploma in Numismatics back in 24 July 2014, after spending just under 1 year pursuing it. Of course, there has been a few hundred "numismatic scholars" who have completed the course - if I recall correctly there are more than 600 worldwide.

If you are serious about numismatics, whether you are a dealer or a collector, you should enroll this course to get in depth knowledge on this subject area. At the very least, you are less likely to get conned into buying fake / counterfeit or OVER GRADED items and most of all able to sense if someone is telling you the real facts or just trying to bulls**t you. The returns definitely justifies the price you pay for this course.

If you REALLY want to know how to get one for yourself, read on.

Background of ANA

For the uninitiated, the ANA is the largest numismatic society in the US of A in terms of membership - founded in 1891, it now has more than 28,000 !  The ANA runs courses from its headquarters in Colorado Springs, including their summer seminar series. The course range from those for beginners/young numismatists right up to advanced courses like counterfeit detection. The official name of the school is the "Florence Schook School of Numismatics", named after its former president. Yes, you got it right, they had a lady as their president before !

ANA Numismatic Diploma Program

Some quick facts about the course :

Course Type :
  • This is a self study course where course materials like books and DVD videos are sent to student directly. Student goes thru the materials on his/her own. 
  • A tutor is provided and you can contact him/her via email if you need guidance and help.
  • You will need to get a proctor to supervise your final exam.
  • No need to go over to the United States for any lectures or exams
  • To sign up for the course go to ANA's website at 

Duration :
Up to 2 years to complete, based on student progress. Most student complete in about 1 year.

Prerequisites :
1.       Strong command of English and basic high school chemistry
2.       Must be a member of ANA

Fees :
US$501.75 for all the course materials, examination fees, breakdown as follow :
1.       Diploma Program Final Exam Fee $200.00
2.       Diploma Program Registration Fee $100.00
3.       Course materials (5 books, 2 DVDs)  $201.75

Fig 2 : Materials you will receive from ANA when you sign up.

Shipping :
US$64 for shipping all course materials from USA to Malaysia

Modules :

List of Modules
1.       Introduction to Numismatics Course
2.       Grading Coins Today Course with DVD video 
3.       Detecting Counterfeit & Altered Coins
4.       The Modern Minting Process
5.       U.S. Minting Errors and Varieties 
6.       Grading Mint State US Coins Course & DVD  video 

Tests :
Each module comes with a set of at least 50 test questions. Students are expected to complete each test and send their answers back to ANA to be graded.

The process takes between 1 to 2 weeks.

Test questions are “True / False” and multiple choice types.

These are open book tests BUT the finals is a CLOSED book exam.

Passing Mark:
75% for all tests and final exam

Certificates :
Student will be awarded 1 certificate for each module they have successfully completed and pass the test, here’s what it looks like :
Fig 3 . ANA certificate for the "Grading Mint State US Coins" module
Grades :
You will pass the tests if you score 75% and above. Students with high scores will be awarded honors in the following categories :

  • Honors            :  92% to 95.9%
  • High Honors   :  96% and above

Final Exam
Upon completion of the 6 modules, you will be eligible to sit for the final examination. ANA will record and track your progress and the 6 modules MUST be completed and students must pass ALL the 6 tests  before they are allowed to sit for the final exam. Here's what it is like : 

Exam Type           : Closed book, supervised by an independent party
Total questions     :  200 multiple choice
Duration                :  3 hours
Passing Mark        :   75%

You need to arrange for a test supervisor or proctor to oversee your exam, it has to be someone of authority like a school headmaster. The test papers will be send to the proctor and you need to turn up and site for the exam at the appointed time. The proctor is required to sign a declaration form and send your test answers back to ANA. Needless to say, the proctor must have a good command of English to be able to perform all of that.

As for myself, I sat for my final exam at the Taylors' International School in Kuala Lumpur.

If you need help with finding a proctor, please contact me. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

1. It is difficult to complete the course ?
It is very easy ..... just kidding ! No, it can be very challenging studying on your own. The most difficult part of this whole thing is self discipline - making sure that you make time to sit down and ready EVERY PAGE of the material. You will need to be very determined to finish it.

2. How long did you take to finish it ? 
I started the first module in September and sat for my first test on 6 Nov 2013. I received my certificate for the final exam on 24 July 2014, so that makes it 11 months.

3. Which are the most difficult modules ?
That would be the "Grading Mint State US Coins" and the "Errors and Varieties" modules. A lot of terminologies to understand and remember!

4. Do I really need to study for it ?
Duh?! Of course you do. The tests are not that straight forward, some questions can be rather tricky BUT if you study you will pass the tests and final examination, that's for sure.

5. Can I skip any module ?
No, you need to finish all 6 in that specific order and pass all 6 tests before you are allowed to sit for the final exam. There are no short cuts to this. It is completely merit based and you need to do all that is required before you are awarded the certificate of "Numismatic Scholar" !

6. Any study tips ?
Some useful tip :
- Please set aside a fixed time to study every day and this is perhaps the most challenging part because most of the time you are you own worst enemy. But if you manage to overcome the endless procrastination, you will feel really good about yourself !

- Get in touch with an ex-student : he/she may be able to give you good advice and discuss topics with you and help you better understand the subject matter. Feel free to reach me if you are having issues with the material, I'll be happy to assist, contact detail is at the end of this blog posting.

- Take notes of important points, this is so that you don't have to refer to the thick text books when you do revision for your finals. Here are some of my study notes :

Fig 3 : My personal study notes - which really helped ! 

7. How did you do for all your tests and the final exam ?
If I recall correctly I managed to get 3 High Honors, 2 of which are 100% score and my average score for all 6 tests was 94.8%. As for the finals, I didn't do very well, only managed a meager score of 88%.

And if you score better than my average of the 6 tests and the finals, lunch is on me ! Seriously.

Fig 4 : You will receive a total of 7 certificates once you complete it. Quite a rewarding experience actually!
No, you do not get the portrait of the Queen, I was referring to the ones on the right.

REMEMBER  : Nothing good comes easy. You really need to work at it and have the discipline, in the end you are the one who gain the most if you study, not anyone else. Don't cheat, don't take short cuts. Once you have the certificate, there is a certain level of expectation on you. 

ANA does a good job of ensuring students really do the necessary, this is important because ANA needs to ensure the certificate really does reflect the level competency that comes with the qualification; which in turn upholds and protect ANA's market reputation.


So if any one of you out there need additional information or have more questions, please feel free to contact me via email or Whatsapp to +60 12 318 3042. You can ask me any question but please do not ask me to just give you the correct answers to the module test questions ! This is cause me to lose respect for you.

Until then ....



  1. Good morning,

    I am quite interested.

    How do you think I can get a proctor and test venue in Singapore? Am thinking of doing the online course at before ANA diploma.

    Would like to have your advice please since you had done both.

    Thank you

    Lambs @

  2. Dear Lam

    Thanks for writing to us. You can get a secondary school principal or university librarian as your proctor for the final exams for the ANA course. You need to provide the full details of the proctor and ANA will snail mail the papers to the proctor, he/she will need to sign a declaration. On the agreed date, you will then sit for the exam at the designated location. The proctor will then send the completed papers back to ANA to grade.

    As for which one to go first - my personal feel is to do the ANA one first, which is a lot more comprehensive. Once you've done that, the URC one looks easier! But that's my preference. Mind you the ANA course has an extensive coverage on grading coins which is NOT in the URC one.

    Let me know if you need any assistance or advice. You can call or Whatsapp too.

    1. Good afternoon.

      I have started the ANA program but they do not have the book and CD for unit 2. Grading coins today. Out of stock.

      Will I be able to get a set from you? I am from SGP. Thank you.

  3. Hi can I get ANA here in the philippines?

    1. As long as there is mail service, ANA can send the the course materials directly from the USA.