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Coffee, Eggs and Retirement
January 31, 2008


My body clock tells me it is 1 a.m., but the sunshine and the smell of breakfast coffee and scrambled eggs tells me it is morning in Berlin. I've already knocked a fork on the floor as Standard Catalog of World Coins market analyst Tom Michael and I trade the laptop for plates of food.

We are surrounded by many officials from the world's mints in the Hotel Estrel's breakfast area. Some will head to business meetings. Some will head for a quick tour of the city. We will head for the Berlin Mint. It is set-up day at the World Money Fair.

Last night's reception at the Canadian Embassy yielded many interesting tidbits of conversation. Murray Church dropped the bombshell that he is in the process of retiring. His Euro Collections International is to be sold to Australia's Downies Coins.

Murray Church (right) announces his retirement. He credits Dietmar Spranz (left), president of the Austrian Mint, for his help in making the success of his business.

I wished Murray luck, but I couldn't hide my surprise and disappointment. I have worked with Murray for many years. I particularly remember his PR efforts in 1992 when he was publicizing the monthly unveilings of new 25-cent designs for the Canada 125 program, which was the forerunner of the United States 50-states program. Each province and territory was honored by Canada.

Downies will do a good job with the business. I look forward to working with them. I kept asking Murray why now? He had various reasons, but then he joked that his younger sister would telephone him to ask, "What? You're not retired yet? That struck home. I can imagine my younger brother pulling the same thing with me. Suddenly it was perfectly clear.

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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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