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Fun and profit not always the same

One of the great advantages of working with a diverse groups of colleagues who work on a variety of publications here at the Krause Publications offices is the exposure it offers to other interests.

Yesterday I happened to obtain the next three installments of a British Broadcasting Corporation remake of Sherlock Holmes, which is updated to the 21st century.

I read many of the Arthur Conan Doyle Holmes stories as a kid. It was great fun then and it is great fun now seeing Holmes through 21st century eyes. It probably guarantees the world’s greatest fictional detective another century of appreciative audiences.

There are many similarities between Holmes and coin collecting.

What I did with coins as a kid was great fun. The conditions were unique. I learned a lot and I benefited greatly.

But those conditions are long gone. The collector impulse is the same, but the opportunities for today’s collectors are vastly different.

I put Nic-A-Date acid on dateless Buffalo nickels in the mid 1960s to see what they really were. Some would have been quite valuable had any collector cared to buy date-restored Buffalo nickels. But they didn’t. My fun did not lead to profit.

I learned a lesson. Just because I am interested in something does not necessarily make it important to the hobby as a whole.

To the degree that I want to be plugged into the possibility of getting the money I put into coins back out again, I have to not only be sensitive to what interests me, but also to what interests the numismatic hobby at large.

That is the challenge for us all.

And, oh yes, I still have those date-restored nickels. They are as unsalable now as they were 45 years ago, but I see there are still collectors out there who cannot resist the temptation to find out what dates those Buffalo nickels are.