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Do Internet stories age like fine wine?

If there had been an Internet in 1776 when the Declaration of Independence was written by Thomas Jefferson, would computer users still be posting online questions to him on the electronic copy?

I wonder.

This week, I see a new post from the Philippines on a story that Numismatic News originally put up online 10 years ago.

This certainly testifies to the longevity of posted stories.

If I needed further evidence, I know that even now a story about the discovery of a small-date copper 1982-D cent most weeks still ranks higher than any story we have posted online since.

It was posted originally more than a year ago.

This is a bit disconcerting.

Why post new stories at all when you can spend your time fielding questions generated by old material?

Yeah, I know that sounds like sour grapes. It is not meant to.

On the plus side, a story about a coin of the lowest denomination can attract the attention of people here and around the world.

This is amazing.

Cents are coins that many people ignore.

When dropped, they often are left on the ground.

When received, they usually are taken home and dumped somewhere, never to see daylight again.

When the cent’s fate is discussed, many wonder why we are bothering to mention it at all.

But call a cent a rare variety or error coin and it is like an electric charge tingles through every single member of the public.

Even before the Internet, this sort of thing occurred.

Whenever a story was published about a copper 1943 cent, dealers across the country would groan.

They knew their phones would ring off the hook.

They knew that the callers would claim that they had one.

What we have never been able to measure is how many people who have gotten excited by stories of errors have actually gone on to become bona fide coin collectors.

We know some have.

In that very same story about the copper 1982-D small date cent posted Dec. 23, 2016, we have Ken Potter writing that his book Strike It Rich With Pocket Change has led to discoveries of other rare cents by people looking at their change.

While we cannot measure the size of the impact on the hobby, we know it is positive.

Perhaps these very words will be inspiring someone to collect coins in the year 2028.

The Internet is a wondrous thing.

Just don’t expect me to respond 10 years hence.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog for the third time in 2017 . He is editor of the weekly newspaper “Numismatic News.”

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One Response to Do Internet stories age like fine wine?

  1. Bob says:

    One of the problems with news stories on the internet is that often the date of publication is not obvious. It is often there, but hidden at the top in small print, you have to go looking for it. Yet sometimes there is no date at all…

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