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Collectors Who Shoot Their Own Feet
August 14, 2009

After being on the road to the American Numismatic Association convention for over a week, as might be expected it takes some time to catch up in the office.

There are the usual deadlines to meet. The Bank Note Reporter Paper Money Market price guide section went to press Tuesday. The September World Coin News went to press Wednesday. Numismatic News went to press Thursday. Today the September Coin Market price guide goes to press. I have roles to play in all of those. And then there are the e-newsletters and www.CoinChatRadio that I also contribute to.

Naturally, though, the biggest call on my time is to get Numismatic News out the door with as much space devoted to ANA activities as possible. I think it is important to give readers a flavor of what goes on at major shows. These are the basic commercial infrastructure of both the hobby and the commercial sector.

I know a majority of Numismatic News readers do not attend. However, having a working knowledge of who does what is useful in pursuing the coin collecting hobby.

Many hobby misunderstandings would not happen if collectors themselves would take in a show or two during the course of the year to become acclimated. To meet dealers face to face is important. To talk to hobby leaders about common problems is important. To get out there to simply buy and sell a little is important.

That is what makes the fully rounded hobbyist.

Of course, nobody makes you do that or makes you eat your vegetables. I can be just a blowhard pontificating on a Web site.

However, if collectors would do such things I would get fewer phone calls from elderly collectors who have never sold a thing and have no idea how to maximize value. They are virtually guaranteed to screw it up.

I have calls from collectors who are upset with dealers who will not take their phone calls. A little face-to-face show contact from time to time would do wonders for a business relationship.

I have calls from people who are not ANA members or even subscribe to Numismatic News who find themselves in unfortunate situations. Sometimes it's their own doing. Sometimes it isn't. They demand action.

The ANA and Numismatic News have limited resources. Do the math. Who do you think gets helped first?

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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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