The IAPN was constituted at a meeting held in Geneva in 1951 to which the leading international numismatic firms had been invited. There were 28 founding members. The objectives of the Association are the development of a healthy and prosperous numismatic trade conducted according to the highest standards of business ethics and commercial practice, the encouragement of scientific research and the propagation of numismatics, and the creation of lasting and friendly relations amongst professional numismatists throughout the world.
Membership is vested in numismatic firms, or in numismatic departments of other commercial institution, and not in individuals. Today there are more than 110 numismatic member firms, situated in five continents and twenty-one countries. the General Assembly is the supreme organ of the Association, and this is convened annually, normally in a different country.
The Executive Committee is composed of twelve to fifteen persons from at least six different countries and includes the President, two Vice-Presidents (one from each Hemisphere), the General Secretary and the Treasurer. There are subcommittees dealing with membership, discipline, publications, anti-forgery work, and government relations.