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Don't Divorce Your Coins
February 24, 2011

Have you and your coins gotten a divorce?

Sounds like a strange question but I suspect it to be the case more and more as a generation of grading services and plastic slabs have come between us all and our true loves.

There is an economic need for slabs, but that does not mean collectors should neglect the actual handling and study of real coins. Otherwise, they can write me an inquiry like the one I just received the other day.

The writer told me excitedly that he had received his 2011 mint set (well done, Mint, for rapid delivery). In examining the coins he discovered that the Philadelphia cent didn’t have a “P” mintmark on it.

He wrote me to tell me about his error.

I wrote a one sentence reply that said Philadelphia cents have never had a mintmark.

He wrote back, essentially, saying excuse me for asking an ignorant question.

He was obviously ticked at me.

I wrote back and apologized for putting him on edge, but I told him I wanted to get him his answer as quickly as possible. I was in a big rush when I received it.

That didn’t cut it. I guess I won’t receive anymore e-mails from him.

But somewhere along the way he had divorced himself from his cents and didn’t remember what they routinely wear.

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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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