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'I Hope I'm Not Boring You'
February 20, 2009

Is the economy making me, or many of us, a little crankier?

I had a telephone call yesterday from someone who said he was a subscriber to Numismatic News.

It wasn't my finest hour.

He asked if I had a few minutes to talk. I said I did. That was my first mistake.

He then began to point out what he said were errors, starting with the Feb. 17 issue.

One story dealt with the weight of shipwrecked cannons, which were described by the size of the cannonballs. He said that he could figure out what it meant but it should have been made clearer.

He said a show from Portland, Maine, was listed in Connecticut. He did not tell me the date of the show or the issue it was in, but it wasn't in the Feb. 17 issue that we had started with.

It is possible that a mistake was made, but I said that it was up to the promoters to make sure we had their free listings and to make sure the state was properly indicated.

He mentioned the semi-annual Show and Auction Guide and said there were no shows listed for Connecticut in the latest one.

Mistake? It certainly could be.

I replied that whatever the promoters get to us by deadline is put in. If the state was missing, it would likely be because we had no new show listings at the time it was produced. Is that the only possibility? No. But it is the most frequent reason for omissions.

Between each of the caller's points he kept repeating, "I'm probably boring you."

At the third or fourth repetition I asked, "What's your point?"

I was waiting for a complaint about heading off to the wrong location for a coin show or trying to buy a coin when the price listed was missing a zero. Those kinds of frustrations I understand and kick myself over all the time.

He replied that he thought the quality of the paper had declined because of these errors.

I had to disagree. I said I had been here 31 years and there had always been errors of this kind.

Then he resumed pointing out typos.

I repeated, "What's your point?" hoping to get to something that could be resolved, but he repeated, "I must be boring you."

He finally said that he was weighing whether to continue his subscription.

That's when I blurted out, "If you are going to go, go." That was my second mistake.

He then said our conversation would be written up in another paper.

I can hardly wait.

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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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