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Take Hold of Our Fate? Or Not
November 21, 2011

There are a lot of collectors out there who feel unfairly shut out of the Mint’s sale of 100,000 25th anniversary silver American Eagle sets.

I had a phone call on Friday from a longtime collector who had failed to buy one. He was not happy about that as he told me, but he was even more livid that he could not express his unhappiness to someone at the Mint.

He wondered if I could give him a phone number where he would not be put on hold. And it wasn’t just hold. Apparently, it was HOLD in all capital letters and bold type.

“They never answered,” he almost exploded over the phone.

I did not ask him how many times he had telephoned or how long he had been on hold each time, but the frustration level was clearly at the boiling point.

I listened for nearly 15 minutes. My telephone clock times my calls and it had passed 14 minutes before the call ended.

What do we do?

I am going to suggest something radical. If you happen to collect new Mint issues and you are spitting tacks, perhaps now is the time to give up that part of the hobby and collect a classic like silver or nickel three-cent pieces, or Buffalo nickels.

The nearly $300 you would have spent on an anniversary set or $1,500 on five sets, can go a long way to establishing yourself in the new area.

Yet, I know such a change is easier said than done.

I have been at this desk for many years and I have had people write me or email me that they were leaving numismatics forever only to receive more letters or email from the very same collectors years later.

Yes, there are frustrations being a collector of modern Mint issues. The venting process is going on now.

After Thanksgiving, let’s do something else.

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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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