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Can you believe just anybody can profit?

Are coin collectors out of touch? Are we so isolated from the mainstream that our views should be dismissed out of hand by noncollectors?

I sometimes wonder.

I happened upon a story this morning posted by the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. It was about people lining up at shopping malls to get the new iPhone 6.

“At Lenox Square, Atlanta police were called in just before 5:30 a.m. to assist with crowd control,” the story said.

When average Americans read this, they will think, “Wow, Apple really has a popular new product.”

When police were involved in controlling the crowd lined up in Rosemont, Ill., in August for the new proof gold Kennedy half dollar, collectors were tut-tutting as if the whole hobby was somehow embarrassed and made a shambles.

There was little thought that the Mint had found a popular new product.

Today the financial markets are going wild for Alibaba, the Chinese version of eBay/Amazon.

The initial stock price is supposed to pop higher from its $68 issue price, enriching individuals who were able to get an allocation of shares from their brokers.

Some potential buyers were denied the shares.

Profits could be huge for the selected buyers.

This is capitalism at work.

When some individuals made vast profits on the new Kennedy issue, this was called inherently unfair by collectors.

This is perhaps an oversimplification, but coin collectors who proclaim themselves true coin collectors as opposed to those crass coin dealers sound like the British upper class in Downton Abbey talking about the middle class.

How vulgar coin dealers are.

The implication seems to be that true collectors should be given concierge service to the head of every Mint line without any waiting whatsoever.

Dealers should immediately fall all over themselves to hand these true collectors an immediate $2,000 profit.

That way the profits go into the right pockets.

How can the Mint not know who the right sort of people are so as not to sell to the wrong sort?

Perhaps we collectors should ring for tea and continue this discussion.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper is winner of the 2014 Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper “Numismatic News.”

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One Response to Can you believe just anybody can profit?

  1. hrlaser says:

    Well, what can you do with a Gold coin that costs about $1250.00?.. You can admire it.. you can take pride in owning in.. you can get it slabbed, and if you’re lucky enough to buy it at a show and get a “special” label, you can immediately flip it for obscene profits.. or you can stash it away in its OGP for years / decades, show it off to friends, and hope it goes up in value, or not even care if it goes up in value. What can you do with an iPhone (at half the price)?.. about a bajillion things. Certainly, pride of ownership is on the list. So are “I got one first and you didn’t.. nyah nyah” bragging rights. You can use it to connect to the net, and do countless things.. you can shoot photos, run “apps” (I hate that word.. “apps” are computer programs.. calling a computer program an “app” is a modern perversion of the English language that isn’t going to go away).. at any rate, standing in a long line to buy a $1250.00 coin versus standing in a long line to buy a $700.00 phone make for a somewhat amusing comparison, which have some similarities in the purchasing experience, but at the same time, the two products have MORE dissimilarities from each other.. try making a phone call or shooting a picture, or browsing the net or sending email on your coin.. in one way it’s apples and apples (pun slightly intended), but in more ways, it’s apples and oranges.. the only thing similar between the two is the standing in a long line and spending a lot of money for a brand new product, but those products serve such entirely different purposes, I can’t say if it’s really a fair comparison. People stand in long lines and spend obscene amounts of money to buy superstar rock concert tickets.. even more than the Gold coin or the fancy new iPhone.. and what do they have when the concert is over, and their ears stop ringing, and they’re back home?.. they have nothing but memoires, and maybe a few photos (if the venue will even allow one to bring in a camera).. otherwise, they have absolutely nothing tangible, except a ticket stub, and perhaps a souvenir concert program or a t-shirt, or some other overpriced SWAG.. to each his own.. the well-off can have the new phone, AND the Gold coin, AND the expensive concert tickets.. the rest of us are relegated to just reading about them..

    “America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence, without civilization in between” – Oscar Wilde..

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