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Demise of the Standard Catalog?
January 06, 2009

Participate in Your Hobby!

I was reading today about the demise of the Standard Catalog of World Coins. The comments came from Bob Reis, who runs a coin business under the name Anything Anywhere.

It's good to read whatever you can about your field of endeavor. Keep informed, view perspectives, that's how you continue learning, but always absorb these comments with a bit of perspective. One thing I learned years ago was that everyone has an angle, a personal interest and every comment they pass you must be viewed within that context. It's not a good thing, or a bad thing, just something to know and keep in mind when considering their perspective.

If you own a certain coin you probably want that coin to go up in value, if you want to buy a coin you probably want that coin to remain low in value until you have a chance to acquire an example. These are factors of human nature and an analyst must expect them and take them into account. I can't tell you the number of times I have heard from people, out of the blue, after years of no communication, just before they sell a collection. Everyone has an angle. It's to be expected.

Here's a distillation of Bob's recent comments; he is dissatisfied with the Standard Catalog of World Coins. Bob's opinion is that the new 17th Century SCWC was not much improved over the last edition, Bob noticed few price changes to this new edition. Bob thinks that Krause catalogs are not destined to be a part of the future of numismatics. Bob would like to establish an online coin catalog.

That's Bob's perspective. Here's my perspective. There were a huge number of price changes made to most all European and many Asian listings in the new 17th Century edition of the SCWC. We made those changes with the advice of some of the best dealers, collectors, auction houses and researchers in numismatics and you can view their names on our Acknowledgments page. We are proud of their contributions and happy for their participation. Their hard work makes these catalogs possible.

While I think it is admirable that Bob would like to establish his own online catalog, I must point out that KP already built and launched an online Standard Catalog of World Coins some time ago under the name NumisMaster. It's up and running, it's available to anyone at anytime. Check it out at You can view extensive coin data for free, and view coin values for a moderate fee. On NumisMaster you can link to other coin sites, coin sales sites, mints and to coin trading networks. You can use collection software, read articles, offer images and make suggestions for data changes.

I have been the numismatic market analyst for the Standard Catalog of World Coins series for over 20 years. That's more than half of the years in the life of this series. KP has published some great books in that time and I have helped in their production. With all that under my belt, I must say that the most important accomplishment I have made for my hobby has been to assist in the creation of NumisMaster.

I disagree with most of Bob's comments, but I must admit that we agree about one thing; an online catalog is essential to the health and advancement of our shared hobby. NumisMaster is there waiting for you. Use it, enjoy it, participate in your hobby!

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Recent Comments
On January 16, 2009 Benjamin said
Tom, I think Bob's comments were a little self serving.  He does not have 36 years of coin catalog publishing experience.  Krause does, and it has people who have spent years working to put out a quality product.  I know that I can take out any catalog,(I have almost all of them), and then take out a second later date catalog and see improvement.  I find your ability to take comments and turn them into positives.  Thanks for your hard work.  Thanks for GREAT catalogs.  Thanks for Numismaster.

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About the Author
Tom Michael has been Krause Publications primary market analyst on more than 80 world and United States coin catalogs produced over the last 20 years. He came to KP in 1987 with a bachelor of arts degree in history, a master of arts degree in economics and a history of coin collecting stretching back to the 1960s. He began collecting world coins as a child by asking friends and relatives to bring coins back from overseas trips, visiting flea markets and having his mother watch for foreign coins in her register at the local grocery store. Today he works with a dedicated base of over 200 contributors to provide accurate market values for the five-volume Standard Catalog of World Coins series, as well as many specialty catalogs, including Coins & Currency of the Middle East and the fifth edition of Unusual World Coins.

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