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Act like a new high school graduate

It is graduation season. If you have a high school graduate in your family, long-term thinking is the order of the day.

What college degree will be the most useful for a career that will stretch from 2019 to 2059?

Perhaps it will be vocational school or the military that will be the chosen path to get your graduate to his or her future.

Just looking at the year 2059 is startling, isn’t it?

Can you imagine what life will be like in that year?

Do you believe that you can prepare for it?

I do.

There are many things that will be new and different, but there will also be quite a bit that will be similar if not identical to what exists today.

Looking at 44 years ago, instead of 44 years ahead, takes us to 1971.

Then there were high school graduates born in one of the peak years of the Baby Boom. They went on to become doctors, lawyers, accountants, nurses, police officers, fire fighters and fill the necessary jobs from the full gamut of life.

Those high school graduates certainly thought about the future. If they did something about it, they set themselves on a career path that many of them followed during their working lives.

Now consider coin collecting 44 years ago.

The Dwight D. Eisenhower dollar series was just starting with clad 1971 and 1971-D coins as well as proof and uncirculated 1971-S 40 percent silver coins.

Hobbyists went wild for Ikes because there was little that was new or different after the clad coins swept silver out of change.

The pattern of waiting for what the Mint might issue next began to be established among the collector population.

However, collectors who furthered their interests by studying all or some part of the classic U.S. coin issues from the 17th century onwards went on to become the nation’s premier coin dealers still active today as well as serious coin collectors.

I wish I would have done more of that rather than wait around for the 1972 Ikes to be released.

While I did not jump into the study of Bust coinage or Seated Liberty coinage as I might have, I did take up the habit of writing.

My first article was published in Coins Magazine in 1971. From that beginning I ended up with a career.

I can look back and pick apart just how much time I wasted in 1971. I was just a high school kid.

But I did do something. That is the key.

Do something. Now.

Don’t sit and wait. Go out and try new things in the hobby.

Walk into a coin shop. You might find one you like and your collecting life could go in a new direction.

Go to a show.

Visit a grading service website.

Join the American Numismatic Association. Use its library, museum and Summer Seminar to become something you are not currently.

We coin collectors are not anchored to any set milestones.

Events like high school graduation come only once and at a usually fixed time.

With coin collecting, you can start that new life at 28, 38 or 48.

I had a letter last week where the writer wrote “Age 94” after his signature.

All it takes is thinking that your collecting life will stretch on for many years and a desire to direct it.

You will find a richer numismatic experience than you ever imagined possible when you were simply waiting for the next new Mint issue.

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."