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Collectors Find a Haven
May 19, 2008

The Numismatists of Wisconsin show in Iola, Wis., is over. As shows go, it is not at the top of the standings, but shows like this are what make numismatics tick.

It is a bread and butter show of a kind that sends you away thinking things are going to be just fine. I saw a couple looking at multiple examples of a 1914-D Lincoln cent to find just the right one.

I saw several elderly women each with a handful of silver coins selling them off to dealers at current prices. They seemed pleased to be able to do so.

I saw George Cuhaj and Howard Quimby and 10 Boy Scouts head for their merit badge clinic.

I saw American Numismatic Association vice president Patti Finner conducting a treasure hunt for young collectors as well as conducting state quarter quizzes.

I saw an 8-year-old boy and his 6-year-old sister sorting through every single coin in a friendly dealer's junk box. They were supervised by their mother.

Chet Krause, the founder of Numismatic News, was there to reminisce about 48 years of NOW from his perspective of someone who has collected for roughly seven decades.

It was the type of show that fills the weekends of collectors across the country. It was grass roots.

It wasn't ostentatious. It was collectors being themselves.

Perhaps the best comment was from Jerry Koepp of Coins, Stamps 'n' Stuff, Des Moines, Iowa.

"It's surprising they can bring so many people into this little town."

That's a tribute to the organizational skills of Joel Edler as bourse chairman and ANA governor Cliff Mishler, who should be called the social director.

Am I prejudiced? Of course. I am always prejudiced in favor of collectors. Collectors go where they are wanted and where they feel at home.

This past weekend that home was Iola, Wis.

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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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