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Does it Make Sense to Wait?
December 08, 2010

We live in a world where just about everyone who has a public platform seems says they expect rapid change in our lives as technology advances.

I see and hear that message so often that I am surprised when others express surprise about change.

Yesterday a colleague whose desk is near mine received a phone call. It was longer than usual. The snatch of words I could hear made me curious.

At the conclusion of the call, I asked what it was about.

The caller had purchased a copy of the latest Standard Catalog of World Coins for the 20th century. However, when he discovered that it did not have 19th century coins listed, he telephoned to ask why.

His prior purchase of a copy was about 14 years ago and it was a volume that had both centuries included in it.

He wanted to know why he couldn’t get a similar book.

My colleague had to point out that books can get only so large before page counts will break the spine, so that requires a division. Large increases in the number of new coins issued each year made the division into two necessary. The split was made in 1996. There is even a 21st century Standard Catalog.

If you look at the first volume from 37 years ago you will see fewer pages in it than the 20th century edition alone has today even when that original volume included a few 18th century issues.

In short, change has happened. How could it not happen? In addition to new issues, just about anything made of gold or silver has been rising rapidly in price.

I know that many collectors skip annual book purchases to save money. That might be a mistake with the current rapid changes in the market. Also, with deals that are being offered today on our NumisMaster website, I hope you won’t wait 14 years to renew your library with the latest editions. Take a look at the website at

Is this a commercial pitch?

Yeah. But every collector needs references and yesterday's call really did happen.

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About the Author
David C. Harper has been a coin collector since 1963. He joined the Krause Publications editorial staff in 1978 and is currently editor of Numismatic News and World Coin News. He also edits two books annually, North American Coins & Prices and Coin Digest. He is the author of the Class of '63 column that runs each week in Numismatic News. His first bylined numismatic article appeared in the June 1971 issue of Coins Magazine and his various Krause Publications assignments included a stint as editor of the magazine 1980-1983. Harper received a bachelor of science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in 1977. He had a double major of journalism and economics.

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