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There Goes That Odd Kid
December 30, 2008



This time of year reminds me of my first job. I got a paper route when I was 11. The summer months were great. Running around town on my bicycle expanded my horizons.

During the first winter, the snow hit and I thought I was supposed to walk. That was a drag. It seemingly took forever to get around my route. The longer I was outside in the subzero, the colder my nose got. The colder it got, the more I wanted a solution to the problem.

I hit upon the idea of trying my bicycle again. It worked. Winter bicycle riding got me zipping along at near summer speeds even on the coldest days.

I must have looked odd. Imagine meeting someone on an ice covered street bundled up but riding a red bicycle. I didn't care. It solved my problem. I took a tumble once or twice, but I quickly learned how to stay upright.

Numismatic education is the same way. Every collector has to find out for himself what works. There is a lot to learn. There is a sense of helpless embarrassment where you first think you should either know the stuff already, or know where to find out.

You feel like you are riding a big red bicycle down an ice covered street.

Don't worry about it. You need to do whatever it takes to get the job done in the learning process. Since we all learn in different ways and at different rates, work out your own plan.

Come New Year's make it a resolution that you will pick out a weak area in 2009 and you will learn about it. If every collector would do that, we would all find out that we are all still learning. Whatever we may know, there are always areas where we need help.

If everybody were doing it, like riding a red bicycle in winter, it wouldn't seem so odd.



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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, Bank Note Reporter 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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