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What Will the Judges Think?
June 12, 2009

Yesterday I was sorting through 12 month's worth of issues of Numismatic News to find the material that I would nominate for consideration for the annual awards given by the Numismatic Literary Guild at the annual American Numismatic Association convention Aug. 6 in Los Angeles.

Some items seem like very obvious choices to make. Others are less so. What I am finding more and more is that because of the Internet, there are some cracks opening up between what can be nominated and what I know is popular.

There is a radio category. However, the rules are written more for over-the-air radio than online streaming radio of the type that is Coin Chat Radio, which we launched last year.

The rules ask for audiotapes. I am sending a computer disk. The rules don't allow interviews and since that is what I have basically done, none of that body of work will be judged.

From the feedback I have gotten from listeners, these interviews are much appreciated. Some do well. Some do badly. The further I get into this process the more I think I know about what the listeners would most appreciate, just as I make a similar judgment about stories in print.

Also there is a deep appreciation online about numbers and timeliness. Neither one lends itself well to judging.

Judges looking at year-old numbers probably consider them empty, cold and dull. Someone online who gets the sales number for the two-roll set of Lincoln Formative Years cents, which is 250,557, would think of them more as important and lively and food for thought.

None of this is meant to be a complaint. Times change. Needs change. Some NLG rules can be tweaked. Some things can never be effectively judged after the immediacy of the moment passes.

However, much can be effectively judged and that is why the competition is interesting and important.

And then, too, what's a blog worth a year after it was posted?

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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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