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Are You Part of the Family?
March 27, 2012

I had to go to the funeral of my cousin yesterday. It is not the kind of family time any of us look forward to.

On the long drive, my mind visited many subjects.

I knew my cousin all my life. When you are young looking at the family that you are part of, you tend to focus on all of the differences you see or think you see.

In later years, you tend to see all of the similarities. Some things become so obvious that they become shared inside jokes.

Numismatics is like that if you are fortunate.

When you start out, you are looking at what appears to be an undertaking with so many participants and seemingly so many moving parts that you at first feel hopelessly different.

How do you learn all that you need to? With whom should you deal? What should be avoided?

But as time goes on, you see the many similarities among coin collectors and they behave in similar ways right down to the shared experiences and inside jokes.

That is, it happens that way if you let it.

Do you buy the books and periodicals?

Do you attend local coin shows?

Have you joined a club?

Have you found a friend or two to share the longer drives, or to help at his local bourse table?

Do you write, or exhibit or give talks?

There are moments also when numismatic participants rally round someone who has experienced something unfortunate.

In this way, numismatics truly is like a large family scattered across the nation.

Your relationship to it is also like a family. It is whatever you choose it to be.

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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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