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Here's my pitch about coin basics

Start with the basics.

You can’t be the star player of the Chicago White Sox without a good grounding in baseball early in life.

There are basics in coin collecting, too.

One of the most important is knowing how to grade.

The American Numismatic Association is here to help you.

Our national collector organization says it has updated its correspondence course.

“Grading U.S. Coins Today” is now ready to go.

It is being offered by the ANA’s Florence Schook School of Numismatics.

When I learned to grade, it was grab a Brown and Dunn with its hand-drawn coin images and pile my circulation finds on a table.

Sad to say, collector exposure to large quantities of coins is declining.

You can't touch as many coins.

You can't examine them closely

You can't compare thousands as I did.

However, modern tools help offset this.

The ANA says the course is “enhanced with visually impressive color images.”

This is important.

The more realistic, the better.

Materials include the updated book, “Grading U.S. Coins Today.”

They also include the 7th edition of another book, “The Official Grading Standards for United States Coins.”

Price to ANA members is $40.95.

Non-members have to pay more.

Their price is $60.95.

It includes both books and a digital membership to the ANA.

Sneaky, right? But it is good to be an ANA member.

It is better to be able to grade according to modern standards.

The days of Brown and Dunn are long past.

The correspondence course looks at the methodology behind third-party grading and differences between technical and market grading.

Too often we forget to mention the basics.

The ANA wants to help correct this.

Take advantage of it.

Order the course, “Grading U.S. Coins Today.”

Telephone (719) 482-9829, or email

You won’t be pitching for the White Sox, but you will be able to join the All-Star line-up among coin collectors.

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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