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Examine All the Coins You Can
July 02, 2010

I just found another reason to go to the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money in August in Boston.

It is not as if I need another reason, but it adds to the appeal of the event.

The U.S. Mint has set Aug. 12 as the day it will release the new one-ounce platinum proof American Eagle.

I would like to take a look at it. It is part of the Preamble series. This year the theme is to “Establish Justice.” Last year’s was to “Form a More Perfect Union.”

Am I planning to buy? No, not at all.

Platinum is $1,500 an ounce today. The idea of committing to a six-part series at that price level doesn’t appeal to me.

I don’t know anybody on staff who is planning to buy one either, so I won’t get a look at the coin in the office.

Boston it is.

That’s the beauty of going to a national convention. It is important to see things. The old saying “seeing is believing” should be changed for collectors to “seeing is learning.”

Actually examining real coins is what makes us better collectors. It is unrealistic of me to expect to own everything, but it is not unrealistic of me to think that I might be writing about every coin over time.

That’s why it is so important to examine the exhibits and look over what is being sold on the bourse floor.

The same applies to local shows. Sometimes they are even better than national shows. Where else can you ask a dealer what he thinks the difference is between an MS-61 and an MS-62 silver Washington quarter?

I’m not likely to ask that question at a national convention.

Every type of coin show has its opportunities. The key is to attend enough of them to take advantage of the many learning opportunities that occur at these shows over time.

You will be a better collector for it.

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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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