If you have ever watched a helium balloon accidentally float off into the sky, you know how important it is to stay tethered to the ground.
The same is true for coin collectors as a group.
There are many interesting things to do in a numismatic lifetime, but the first thing you need to do is learn the basics.
You prepare the ground on which you stand for the rest of your time as a collector.
Newcomers are always arriving.
They are not a blank slate, but they do have blanks or gaps in what they know.
I had an inquiry to answer in my email yesterday.
It asked what a buyer’s premium was.
My response was simply this:
“The buyer’s premium is the percentage mark-up the auction firm adds to the hammer price. It is then part of the bill for the bidder.
“If a coin has a final bid of $1,000 and the standard premium of 17.5 percent is added, the buyer actually pays $1,175.”
This information usually buried in the small print of an auction catalog.
But knowing this is part of the basics of being a collector.
I am glad when questions like this come to me at my desk here at Numismatic News.
Questions have been an important part of the content of this paper since it was founded in 1952.
They appear in a section called Coin Clinic now written by Richard Giedroyc.
Questions and my answers that I figure are of general interest I forward to him for Coin Clinic.
If I cannot answer a question personally, I will send it to Richard for a response and inclusion in his column.
I do not claim to know everything.
I wish I did, but nobody really does.
That is why we all call ourselves students of numismatics.
We are still learning.
The point is to make the learning process fun and interesting.
It is why Coin Clinic has been very popular with readers.
In surveys it ranks in the top three.
The Coin Market price guide usually is first, but sometimes Coin Clinic beats it.
Its mission is to be entertaining as well as informative.
So keep those questions coming.
If you want to contact Richard Giedroyc directly, the Coin Clinic email is Giedroyc@Bright.net.
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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