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FUN show starts off 2006 in the right way

Numismatic News editor talks about his trip the Florida United Numismatists convention.

We?re going to have a great year in numismatics if the Florida United Numismatists convention is any guide. This first major show of the new year was held Jan. 5-8 in Orlando, its traditional home.

I had a great time. I met a lot of interesting people, including regular readers of this column. One reader, Conan Popovich, even had his wife snap my photograph with him and with Cliff Mishler. He e-mailed me a copy. Thanks!

This occurred following a meeting of the Sarasota Coin Club that was held Saturday afternoon in conjunction with the show. The members took a chartered bus to attend. They are truly committed hobbyists.

I had the honor of sharing a speaking platform with Jeff Garrett, founder of Mid American Rare Coin Galleries in Lexington, Ky., and author of several books. It was good of him to take an hour away from the bourse floor to share his experiences and insight.

I enjoyed my time with the club and I hope they enjoyed what I had to tell them. Bart Bartanowicz asked me to speak about being an editor. I guess there is some curiosity about what I do week to week. I hope I provided some insight by saying that what I do is not rocket science.

The essence of this job is to report to the readers what they need to know to be active and satisfied coin collectors.

I entitled my talk, ?10 tips to my successor,? though I probably could have stopped at one. The basics of this job is to tell readers three things. We here at Numismatic News have to report what a coin or other numismatic item is, we have to tell you what the asking price is or what the Coin Market price guide value is and then tell you how to get one, whether it is by ordering from the U.S. Mint, a helpful coin dealer, or by participating in the auction in which the item will be offered.

If we succeed in getting you these three bits of information, we have done our job here. Naturally, in any human endeavor, we can even mess up something that simple and I appreciate the gentle chidings of my readers when this is the case.

What are the other nine points? I?ll, list them.

2. Maintain a strong Letters section. Do this by letting readers tell their stories in their own way. This sometimes leads to long letters, but it also leads to more interesting letters and reactions.

3. Recognize that I don?t know everything and respect the reader and his knowledge. The editor shouldn?t always have the last word.

4. Get help. We get input from readers and specialists from all 50 states. Without them, we can?t do our jobs here and we let the other readers down.

5. Follow your readers? interests closely. They change over time and if gold is a hot topic, add gold coin coverage. If Morgans are hot, do the same.

6. Help the reader. Maintain the Clinic question-and-answer column, which allows the asking of all sorts of questions. Not only do you help the specific writer, but also other hobbyists want to read it to.

7. Reinforce reader choices. Art Kagin said you can?t buy coins every day but you can read about them every day. Once readers buy a coin, they want to feel good about the purchase by learning more about it.

8. Know your limits. There are legal restraints on what an editor can do. There are practical restraints also.

9. Build for the future by giving back something. Numismatic News has the Numismatic Ambassador Award to recognize hard-working hobby volunteers. I salute them.

10. Be a collector. For the life of me, I have no idea how you can represent the interests of collectors if you don?t experience the basic coin collecting impulse. Everything I think and do in this paper is done through the prism of being part of numismatics, something that is greater than myself. It is something that spurred 40 or so Sarasota Coin Club members to get on a bus and then listen to me instead of being out on the bourse floor adding to their sets ? now that is a commitment I truly appreciate. Thank you, Sarasota!