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Coin collecting now a soap opera

This article was originally printed in the latest issue of Numismatic News.
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As I got the latest word from the U.S. Mint that no decision has been made as to when sales begin for the new 5-ounce, 3-inch diameter America the Beautiful silver bullion coins, I wondered whether we all have become numismatic thrill seekers.

Wondering week by week when the new coins will be released has become something like a soap opera. And it is not just this particular set of coins that keeps us on the edge of our chairs.
Much of what we have focused on this year has gone in similar vein.

“Tune in today to find out whether the proof gold American Eagles have sold out.

“Next week see collector Dan wonder how he can go on as a hobbyist without a 2009 proof silver American Eagle in his set where the hole in his album has left a giant hole in his heart.

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“Will collector Sally fall in love with the new 2010 proof silver American Eagle, rekindling a passion that started in 1986?”

Earlier in the year we wondered if the Mint would be able to supply adequate amounts of gold and silver American Eagles to investors.

Gold buyers have also gotten into the act. They aren’t just bragging about having made a good investment in the last 10 years. It’s the end of the U.S. dollar. The Federal Reserve is destroying the republic. Secret conspiracies threaten us, yet the little guy who buys gold coins and takes delivery flouts the evil designs of Big Government and Big Banks and triumphs in the end.

Now don’t get me wrong. Coin collecting has always had some moments like this. But in 2010 it strikes me that it has become all drama all the time.

Perhaps the American Numismatic Association board of governors should start piping in music to underline its dramatic moments.

Will former executive director Christopher Cipoletti yet again refuse to take his legal castor oil?

Can the plucky board balance the budget and avert financial disaster?

Wendell Wolka has been the emcee of the annual Numismatic Literary Guild Bash for years now. His opening line is usually, “Greetings, thrill seekers.”

Has he had us pegged right all along?

What happens to us when the Mint can once again offer us everything we want when we want it?

What happens when gold and silver go quiet as they did for many years after 1980?

Can we ever go back to simply buying coins to fill out our collections without there being accompanying cries to fire the Mint director?

Collecting in the United States has survived as the country has endured depressions and world wars. However, will we as collectors be able to survive peace and quiet and once again talk about the hobby as a relaxing pastime that takes our minds off our daily cares?

That’s a big question. What do you think is the answer?

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