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Times, they are a-changin'
August 14, 2007

"Times, they are a-changin'" is the title of an exhibit at the Houdini Museum in Appleton, Wis. A post-convention tour of about 40 of us stopped there on our way to a planned visit to Krause Publications in Iola, Wis., yesterday after the American Numismatic Association convention concluded.

What kind of title is that for a museum dedicated to a famous magician who died in 1926? Good question. While the museum overseen by the Outagamie County Historical Society finds that Houdini is its top draw, there is more to life than that and that includes mounting other exhibits, including this one from the 1960s.

Most people would say life was never the same again after the 1960s. I agree with them. It wasn't. It got better, but we didn't know that as we lived through the decade.

When I think of the state of numismatics, this title also fits. When I report on the happenings at the American Numismatic Association and the fate of its board and executive director, some people ask me what that has to do with them. This is a headline event like Houdini is the headline museum exhibit. But there is more to hobby life than this.

Times, they are a-changin'.

More and more of my readers are actively online. They eagerly received the e-blast we sent out electronically yesterday to inform our e-newsletter subscribers about Chris Cipoletti's administrative leave from his post as ANA executive director, which began Sunday morning. Traffic on our Web site spiked. None of this has even hit Numismatic News yet. We haven't gone to press since it happened.

Times, they are a-changin'.

I had a discussion with Don Charters of Michigan at the museum. He remarked that all the local coin clubs he belongs to have fewer members and they are older. Younger hobbyists are not joining.

Times, they are a-changin'.

Just about any collector can offer an observation about the changing nature of our hobby life. That's just the point. It is changing. It is becoming vastly different.

What those differences will be, I don't know. This blog is certainly one of them. Where it goes from here, where the hobby goes from here, where the ANA goes from here are all unknowns.

Times, they are a-changin'.

As was the case with the 1960s, I think hobby life will get better.

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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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