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'C' in Collector Means Cash
June 13, 2012

What’s the difference between a collector and a noncollector?

It is the willingness to spend money on a collectible.

As I was gathering dealer comments at the Memphis paper money show June 9, I arrived at one dealer’s table as he was attempting to conclude a transaction.

He invited me to stay, so I observed what was going on.

Four notes were arrayed before a couple. They were National Bank Notes with the name of the bank that the woman currently worked for.

She wanted the note to frame for her office.

There was one large-size and three-small size notes that I could see from my vantage point.

The dealer quoted a price of a couple of hundred dollars for one of the small-size notes.

While I didn’t see the color visibly drain from her cheeks, the woman’s interest in the note very obviously had disappeared.

She didn’t dicker. She didn’t state what her price range was.

I don’t know how long they were at the table, but since four notes were under consideration, I expect they spent some while in the discussion before I got there.

I will never know what her price point was, but if you are looking for a wall decoration rather than the pleasure of actually owning the collectible object itself, I guess it is much less than real collectors are willing to pay.

That also probably explains the many $19.95 offers on late-night television.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper is editor of the weekly newspaper “Numismatic News.”

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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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