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Take Down Your Walls
January 23, 2012

Get connected. Coin collecting often seems to be a hobby pursued by rugged individualists in isolation from each other.

While a great deal of time can be spent in quiet individual study, it is imperative for collectors to make connections in the larger hobby sphere.

I had a call from someone in northern Michigan who had a piece that he wanted identified. If I understood his description correctly, what he has is a reproduction of an early American piece. The books call the original unique.

Of course, he wanted to know if it is genuine. Even though the odds were very high that it is a reproduction, he wanted confirmation of what it is, because he said it had been passed down from his grandfather.

I suggested having his local dealer take a look at. He said he is too isolated.

He could send it into a grading service. He didn’t want to spend the money.

I said perhaps he could swing by a local show in his area the next time one is held.

That didn’t satisfy him.

I said individuals can perform tests like weighing it and doing a specific gravity if it came to that, but that was beyond him.

He basically shut the door on every avenue that is open to him.

So probably he will always wonder.

That’s a shame.

If you are spending a lifetime in coins, a part of that experience is the connections that we all should make.

A local dealer is a big advantage, but if you don’t have one, someone you see on a regular basis at VFW Hall weekend shows can be a useful substitute.

Dealing with grading services is now a part of hobby life. Figure out how you want to interact with them.

Join a club if you can.


Sooner or later, we all have questions that can be answered only by other collectors and dealers.

When that time comes, you should have the network in place to help you find the answers.

More Coin Collecting Resources:

State Quarters Deluxe Folder By Warmans

• Subscribe to our Coin Price Guide, buy Coin Books Coin Folders and join the NumisMaster VIP Program

Strike It Rich with Pocket Change, 2nd Edition

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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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