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Get on That Roof and Prepare
October 19, 2010

I was crawling around on a house roof last night sweeping off pine needles. A woman had asked the Iola Lions Club for assistance.

It was not a task I would look forward to performing, but since I didn’t know what I was getting into, I just got on the roof and did the job.

I did not think about it. It was necessary. It was done. I am sure I would have preferred simply to show up for the evening meal of chili, swap stories with the other Lions and go home, but last night was a designated work night around the community.

Individual coin collectors should do something like that. This is not so much a message to clubs, because clubs often have events of this type that help other collectors. It is directed to individuals.

Individual collectors need to designate work nights for themselves to upgrade their skills. Skills, even if they have been attained, need to be used and updated.

You might want to do something else, like checking to see how far silver has pushed up the price of junk silver coins, but there is no real value to a collector of simply checking a price. You might congratulate yourself on having kept it around long enough to profit from it, but the essence of collecting has far more to it than that.

Consider what areas you feel you are weak in. Identify what you need to do to correct it, whether it be buying a new book, seeking out the advice of a fellow club member, or enrolling in next year’s American Numismatic Association Summer Seminar.

Then do it.

Use the profits from your silver to pay for whatever you need and then spend the time it takes to get proficient. Time is usually the critical factor. That’s why designating it in advance can help.

Learning can sometimes feel like crawling around on a roof, however the potential fall is not from the time spent in the process of learning. Falling in numismatic terms very often occurs on the bourse floor when you buy something you shouldn’t that you could have avoided had you been better prepared.

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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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