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Glorious Past, Bright future?
April 02, 2010

I see silver is approaching $18 an ounce again. I have lost track of the number of times this has happened.

About this time in 2008 silver was almost $24. It backed off hard and then recovered.

The $18 mark one dealer last year characterized as a wall. Antsy silver owners who were lured in when silver seemed unstoppable two years ago bail out at the $18 mark.

If you read online accounts of accusations of silver market manipulation, it makes you think that it must be time for another slam downwards to keep the $18 wall intact.

Whether it happens or not, we’ll see.

What I do know is interest in coins and, tangentially, precious metals is growing. A colleague in the antiques division of F & W Media wanted some material to do a story about coins.

Coins certainly do have an appeal. They are familiar. The are portable. And those made of precious metal tend to rise in value overtime underpinning the collectible values attached.

Perhaps antiques dealers are just looking for another source of cash flow. In this environment, many businesses are casting about for opportunities.

Coin collecting has been around in one form or another since the Italian Renaissance. Numismatic literature stretches back 500 years. The British Conder token issues of the late 18th century followed a path similar to new issue collecting today.

Date and mintmark collecting of U.S. coins goes back more than a century.

That’s a permanence that few areas can boast.

Check back on Pez dispensers in 50 years. Where will they be?

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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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