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Personal Hobby Interaction Still Matters
September 17, 2009

I had an conversation with Jon Lerner for tomorrow's Coin Chat Radio program. He is the bourse chairman of Coinfest, which will be held Oct. 9-11 in Stamford, Conn.

What I found most interesting about our conversation was at the point I was asking him just how important it is to have face-to-face interaction of collectors and dealers in this age of the Internet.

For committed collectors, this personal knowledge is still critical in many ways, perhaps not if you are looking solely to buy the proof sets issued since 1950, but to find out if there is a fit of personality and attitudes for the long-term building of collections.

In the history of numismatics dealers and collectors have built amazing collections together, but it doesn't get done if one or the other's traits rubs the other party raw. You might be able to get through a single transaction in difficult conditions, but the dealer for sure is not going to take a want list and start acting on it without feeling very comfortable with the other party.

What do I mean?

Lerner illustrated his comments at one point with an anecdote of a recent show. He had a junk box on his bourse table. Someone searched through it and pulled out a silver half dollar marked $5.

At the time, the silver in it was worth about $6. Lerner said he was going to let the potential buyer have the coin for the marked price until he said, "Will you take $3?"

Lerner said no and took the coin back without further negotiation.

Something as simple as this short personal interaction is enough to make or break any kind of profitable potential long-term commercial relationship.

So even in the age of the Internet, personal compatibility still matters.

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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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