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The Curious Case of David Harper
February 17, 2009

How deep does your interest in numismatics run and how has it affected your identity?

I found out a little more about myself yesterday and discovered my interest is pretty deep and if you remove numismatics, what is left is kind of hard to say.

This topic comes to mind because I had lunch yesterday with a former Krause employee whom I haven't seen or been in touch with for 17 years.

Naturally, the conversation hinged on the question: what have you been doing all these years and proceeded from there.

I found that my stories and anecdotes almost always had a numismatic connection somewhere. Some connections are overwhelmingly so, such as my job. Some are less so, such as vacation spots visited, but still the connection is there.

Noncollectors, of course, respond charitably to numismatic stories to be polite, but because there is no real interest there, I was reminded of the reactions of my aunts and uncles when I was a child. At family gatherings they would always politely ask about what I was doing.

On those family occasions where I mentioned something about coins, there was that polite almost mechanical, "That's nice," or some form of noncommittal response that really was a plea to change the subject.

Unfortunately or perhaps fortunately, my connections to numismatics have only gotten stronger over the years.

Even when yesterday's lunch topic ranged to retirement, I said I would have to find something to do to really seriously consider the idea. Running off to, say, Costa Rica, would be very interesting for two weeks or a month, but then I would get restless and my mind would return to - you guessed it - coins.

The funny jokes about what I really should be doing in retirement couldn't disguise the fact that I seem to be seated in the chair I want to be in five days a week holidays and vacations excepted.

Am I a numismatic hard case? Absolutely. I can't say that I planned my life to turn out this way, but that's the face in the mirror.

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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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