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Tradition Trumps Commercialization
November 16, 2010

If the world’s mints needed a make-work project for 2011, they just got it in the form of a royal wedding in Great Britain next year.

Prince William plans to marry his longtime girlfriend.

For those who remember the wedding of Prince Charles in 1981, the large number of wedding coins issued then will probably look small in comparison.

Nowadays there are more mints. They are financially hungrier. They are more commercially savvy. They will capitalize anyway they can on this.

But there is also something traditional about all of this, too.

If you look at the broad sweep of numismatic history, it is the royal families that get most of the attention.

In a way then, a royal wedding will bring numismatics back to its roots conveying the news of the latest happening in a ruling dynasty.

American collectors will get two very traditional commemorative programs next year that are rooted in ancient times as well.

Coins honoring the Medal of Honor and the U.S. Army carry on the tradition of Roman times where the military is honored for victories or loyalty to the Caesars.

So tradition and continuity will be the watchwords next year. That is no bad thing during turbulent times.

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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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