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I should be listening

Saturday I drove down to the Milwaukee suburb of Wauwatosa to attend the annual dinner of the Milwaukee Numismatic Society.

It was a beautiful autumn day to drive. It was great fun to renew longtime hobby friendships at a club that has a very special place in the history of Numismatic News.

It was founded in 1934, so it was very well established by the time 1952 rolled around when the idea of starting a hobby newspaper was very much on the mind of Iola carpenter Chet Krause.

Chet is a very methodical person. He does not rush into things without a game plan.

In 1952 he sounded out knowledgeable collectors about whether numismatics could support such a paper as Numismatic News and the most accessible knowledgeable collectors happened to be in Milwaukee.

What they told him was enough to green light his dream. 60 years later we celebrate this.

I went down to be the dinner to be the speaker.

I reminded the members present, how important their feedback was historically, and how important it continues to be.

We live in a time of great technological change. While collector desires to learn about coins, determine what they are worth and how to buy them will never change, the manner in which they do this does.

I wouldn’t have the opportunity to write this daily blog if that were not the case.

As editor of Numismatic News and writer of a blog, my need for feedback is every bit as critical as it was to Chet in 1952.

If I have a hot topic, it is helpful to know it. If I have moved down a blind alley, it is helpful to find out quickly. If I have made a mistake, it is important for readers to supply a quick rap on the knuckles and I can correct it.

Things moved more slowly in 1952. Consider the price of gold. It had been fixed at $35 an ounce in 1934 and hadn’t budged since. Officially it wouldn’t budge until 1971. Now gold’s price can change second by second.

However, the average collector’s need to juggle his coin purchases with his or her other bills to match monthly income is no different than it was in 1952.

So we live in a world that is both different and the same.

Keeping these club ties open and lively is one of the things that needs to remain the same. Whatever future direction Numismatic News and takes will be based on vital information and feedback provided by coin collectors. And just as it was in 1952, some of that important feedback will come from our friends in Milwaukee.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."