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Get crazy?

Do you sometimes feel the "rules" of numismatics are just too restrictive?

"Buy the book before the coin."

"Buy the best you can afford."

These are standard admonishments to newcomers to focus on the hobby in a methodical manner.

Other things that are as exciting as eating your vegetables are things like keep good records for tax purposes. Make a plan to either sell your collection before you pass it on to heirs or put something in place so your heirs can do it for themselves.

All of this is good, solid, responsible advice.

However, when I began collecting, I wasn't looking for a good, solid, responsible thing to do.

I wanted something that captured my imagination.

I tried rocks, studied astronomy and dinosaurs, built model airplanes and played with electric trains.

I was trying to find my place in life as any 8-year-old does who looks outward and views the world with wonder.

Then I found coins.

I felt like King Midas when I could look through hundreds and hundreds of cents. Finding a 1909 Lincoln cent was like unearthing an ancient palace.

My imagination was captured. I had a purpose.

I still have that purpose. I like coins. When I read auction stories I still wonder over the great rarities even if I cannot buy them. They are all part of the same story that I have been writing since that fateful day in 1963 when it all began.

What a ride.

Do you miss that sense of wonder?

If you do, make 2016 the year when you put all your responsible numismatic behavior aside long enough to identify what really sets off your imagination.

Then follow this dream. See where it takes you. A time will come when you must become your responsible self again, but that won't be so bad, because you will have found the key element central to your numismatic life.

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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