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Chet made it happen

This week I have been working on an electronic issue of Numismatic News with a cover date of Oct. 13.

That is a significant date in the history of the paper.

It was this date 63 years ago that was on the very first issue put together by our founder Chet Krause.

Chet was a full-time carpenter. He was also a coin collector.

He decided that a trader newspaper would be helpful to him as a coin collector and since no one else seemed to be undertaking to start one, he took the plunge.

With a subscription you would get a free monthly 20-word ad.

Chet has a logical mind trained by all the tasks of building a house that need to be done in the correct order.

He knew you don’t start with the roof.

He also knew that Numismatic News had to be handled one step at a time.

For the first 18 months, despite encouraging words from many who received copies, Numismatic News lost money.

But because Chet could absorb the losses, he simply waited them out.

By 1957 he had to make a choice between carpentry and contracting, or managing a successful and growing publishing business.

He chose the latter – much to the benefit of many hobbyists, myself included.

I subscribed to Numismatic News in 1969. I came to work for the paper in 1978.

Though I did not personally experience every day of the history of the last 63 years, I have seen most of it. What I did not see I experienced through Chet’s eyes.

This took the form of accumulated wisdom and anecdotes.

In all those years, the need for collectors to trade with each other has never diminished, but the available options have expanded mightily thanks to the World Wide Web.

What happens next is a story that I am helping to write one day at a time.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper has twice won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."

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