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From bullion buyer to collector

Last night I attended the annual dinner of the Nicolet Coin Club in Green Bay, Wis.

Clifford Mishler, Numismatic News columnist and former American Numismatic Association president, drove. Joel Edler, former "Coin Market" editor and ad manager, and I joined him for the trip.

It was a purely social affair.

There were no speeches. There were no awards given. There was just a lot of conversation.

Joel had been president of the club back in the 1970s. He said there were a number of people there he did not recognize even as he had attended previous dinners over the years.

It was my first visit. I probably should not admit this, since the club is in my back yard.

One of the people I talked to was a newcomer to numismatics. He had been active in the construction field before the bottom fell out of the economy in 2007-2008.

In keeping food on his family’s table, one of the things he undertook to do was the buying and selling of precious metals.

This turned out to be his entry point to numismatics.

Some of the things he came across were coins that he became interested in as collectibles rather than as meal tickets.

That started it all for him. He is a true collector now.

This got me thinking.

Each time those of us in organized numismatics witness an uptick in the price of bullion, all sorts of people suddenly appear to try to make money or preserve their assets or do anything with bullion-related items that does not actually involve collecting.

Collectors – myself included – always express the hope that some of the people attracted by bullion will catch the collecting bug and stick around after the excitement of bullion wears off.

It seldom happens.

But now I can attest that it has happened in this case.

It is nice to know that something that we collectors have theorized about over the years as possible actually occurs.

Thanks, Nicolet Coin Club, for a fun evening.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper is winner of the 2013 Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."