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Storm Reactions Vary
December 08, 2008

A winter storm that is expected to bring around a foot of snow has Iola, Wis., in its sights for later today. Since I am not going anywhere, the news is pretty routine for me.

However, someone trying to get somewhere probably has a different take on the pending event.

Such is numismatics today. There is a storm raging in the economy. Times are getting harder. Coin collectors are not immune. However, their reactions to the storm can vary.

A collector who is in it for the long haul and is basically not going anywhere, can continue on collecting as his or her means allow knowing the hobby is a long-term commitment. The economic storm is something to watch and learn from.

Another collector who may need to raise money for some purpose or other might have a different take on things. Should material be shopped around in a measured way? Is there urgency? Will it get harder to sell material in the next few months? Reasonable questions for someone who needs cash now.

I don't have the answers, except to note that if money is needed fairly soon, a collector should get going as quickly as possible. That need is definite. Market conditions in the future are indefinite.

The forecasters of $1,000 gold might be right. But what if gold is $500? Coin buyers might be temporarily hard to find at the critical moment when the cash is most needed. The consequences of the lack of cash will be harder to bear than the knowledge that coins were sold for somewhat less than absolute peak prices.

Same storm. Two outcomes.

Which way do you have to jump today?

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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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