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Have we turned into numismatic robots?

Are average collector buying decisions now determined less by needing to fill out a set and more by what outside influences are pushing us to do?

Everybody knows that the average age of collectors has risen over the years.

Readers of Numismatic News are on average now in their early 60s compared to being 10 years younger when I started here 37 years ago. So instead of being at the peak of their careers and earning power, many collectors are fully retired or perhaps working just part time.

What that means is they have more time to spend thinking about their hobby and they are likely to have investments that provide a portion of their retirement income.

These investments fluctuate in value.

One day the assets are up and their holders might feel like a Rockefeller (if you are 60 you still remember the power of that name).

If the investments are down, you feel like a your standard of living is threatened.

These value changeable holdings might be traditional financial instruments like stocks and bonds, mutual funds, or Exchange Traded Funds.

Other investments can be as obvious as the coin collections themselves.

Hobbyists who piled into gold and silver on the way up might view the 70 percent decline in silver and 42 percent decline in gold since 2011 as a buying opportunity.

Perhaps those who bought bullion coins at the top of the market are feeling the pain of the declines and have cut back their purchases of Lincoln cents or Buffalo nickels.

Is there a significant number of would-be coin buyers now who watch the daily changes in their investments online or via financial TV news and behave according to the mood created by whether they see their investments rising in value or falling?

That would make us more like robots and less like the gee-whiz collectors we used to be.

But then, we aren’t 50 anymore.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper is winner of the 2014 Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."

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