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Sitting on Top of the Poll Questions
November 02, 2009

Apparently I should never ask collectors if they had a good year if I want to get a large number of responses in the Numismatic News weekly poll question.

Fortunately for me and for readers of Numismatic News, those who did respond gave it some deep thought and spent some time writing answers that are longer than what the usual yes and no questions generate. The results went into the Nov. 10 issue that was mailed on Friday.

I am grateful to those who did reflect on this year. It has been a crazy one because of the financial crisis and yet the pattern of the last 10 months is not so very different from a typical year.

Collectors proved themselves to be resilient.

The poll numbers themselves showed that more than half, 57 percent, considered themselves to have had a good year.

That’s not bad if you wonder when the next bank failure, layoff or tax proposal will hit you between the eyes.

To generate large numbers of responses this year, it seems far better to ask whether collectors have an interest in purchasing something. Then the responses flow. This week’s question about the Medal of Honor commemoratives seems to already be proving this.

If I could have asked about Lincoln cents every week without boring collectors, that probably would have generated the most replies, for when I did pose questions relating to the new Lincoln cents of 2009, the answers just poured in.

Lincoln still has got that old magic over collectors. That’s a good thing overall even if there have been some sour moments at the long waits to obtain the new designs in circulation.

But that is all part of routine collecting. If it were easy to get everything all the time, collecting would lose much of its appeal.

And if it were easy to generate poll question responses, then those would probably lose much of their appeal as well.

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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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