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Worth Watching
December 27, 2010

Being away from my desk for four days means I have a great deal to catch up on.

It is not surprising that news doesn’t stop for the holidays. There was even a message left on my telephone yesterday.

After I had shut down on Wednesday came word of the combination of Bowers and Merena Auctions with Stack’s.

While neither operation could be described as small, the combination gives them additional competitive size when compared to Heritage, which has been the big dog in the numismatic pack for a long time.

Not long after I first became a professional in the hobby more than three decades ago, there were usually four or five firms that ran neck and neck in terms of auction sales.

Those annual totals usually ran around $20 million each. These days the numbers have grown far, far larger and a single good auction can surpass the old annual totals – sometimes by several multiples.

It will be interesting to see how consigners view this new combined entity. It starts off with a strong franchise with the American Numismatic Association official auctions. What other steps will it take to grow?

What impact, if any, will this have on Heritage’s upward trajectory?

That’s what makes numismatics so interesting. As much as there is that is the same and comfortable, the hobby as a whole continues to evolve and that is worth watching.

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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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