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Will Experience of Youth Be Ignored?
July 07, 2010

Generational experiences matter in coin collecting. It helps determine what is being collected today.

I was thinking of this and what the future holds as I was taking a hike from a remote parking area to my desk.

This happens once each year when it is car show time in Iola. The grounds are set up and ready to go surrounding the Krause Publications building. With tents all over it looks like a circus has come to town.

The people arrive this afternoon. The theme is “Sensational Sixties.”

It suits me. I remember the 1960s. The cars of the decade bring back fond memories. I look forward to seeing them on display.

I have worked the car show for community service organizations since 1978. I remember when Model T and Model As were hot and collectors drove them here in car club groups. The club members had fond memories of the cars from their youth.

The popular cars of that hobby reflect the ages of the participants and what they remember when they were young. So now it is the 1960s.

Coin collectors do the same thing. They tend to focus on what they remember as well. Once we get by my generation, which began collecting in the 1960s, what will be the focus of future generations of collectors?

We are the last, or youngest, depending on how you want to express it, individuals who still remember what silver coins look like in actual use.

We know the appearance of the shiny white surfaces when new and we have images imprinted in our brains as to how the coins wear, how the luster fades and what hints of wear progressing to massive wear look like.

This is all very helpful when trying to figure out grading and whether coin surfaces are natural or artificial.

What will the generation of collectors who grew up with clad coins focus on?

Will clad coins come into their own at that point, or will those collectors essentially chase silver or gold coins that they have no experience of from their youth?

It should be interesting to see.

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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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