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The Perspective from Home
February 11, 2009

At last I am back in the United States. I woke up this morning in a Comfort Suites room near the Cincinnati, Ohio, airport. The rebooked flight connections to leave Berlin worked as intended. We departed just before noon and arrived in New York around 2:20 p.m. Then there was a wait for an 8 o'clock flight to Cincinnati. If the rest of the itinerary goes according to plan I will arrive back in Iola between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m.

The four of us who covered the Berlin show are anxious to get back. It has been a long trip. It was interesting and well worthwhile. I look forward to seeing how the world coin hobby unfolds this year.

However, with my Numismatic News editor's hat on, I am even more anxious to get back into the thick of U.S. numismatics.

What most impresses the hobbyists who are active outside the United States is the sheer scale of the American hobby. There are huge numbers of collectors who spend very large sums of money on whatever interests them. The international challenge is to continue to try to interest a growing number of these American collectors to buy their products.

If a buyer wants one-ounce silver coins, it is not necessary to buy the American Eagle. There is the Canadian Maple Leaf. There is the Austrian Philharmonic. These have a depth of market that makes them virtually as liquid as the American Eagle.

I believe the world mints will continue to make inroads in the American market. However, this segment of the marketplace will continue to be relatively small in percentage terms as compared to the U.S. field.

The U.S. Mint has an incredible franchise and standing with its customer base. It is interesting to see it from the perspective of Berlin. But even better, it is most interesting of all for me to see it from the perspective of home.

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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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