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I'm not as easy to find as I thought I was

Numismatic News editor gives detailed instructions for how to get in touch with him.

Hey, I?m here. Really. I will bet you already knew that since you are reading this column. I didn?t think I was that hard to find. My latest experiences may indicate otherwise.

Recent space devoted to platinum American Eagles generated a lot of interesting contacts. I enjoyed them a lot. I learned a few things. I hope you have also.

However one helpful reader wanted to send me a copy of a study. He did. He e-mailed me to ask whether I received it. I hadn?t. This caused some apparent concern, even perhaps a thought that I was dodging the issue. Push came to shove, though, and the envelope finally did arrive on my desk some days later. It was mailed to Cincinnati, Ohio, to the offices of our corporate parent. It was then forwarded from there to me here in Iola, Wis.

Using the wrong address could have been an inadvertent slip on the part of the sender, but I have to write that it takes some effort ? rather a lot actually ? to find the street address of the F+W corporate parent of Numismatic News. I don?t know how it occurred. Every week the box in the lower left corner of this page runs my e-mail address and the mailing address. It is there to facilitate contact. That obviously didn?t work in this instance.

Today I had a telephone call. The caller said, ?Hello Dave, I?m Mr. So-and-So.? I will leave his name out of it. I knew I was in trouble. Anyone who calls me by my informal first name and then uses Mr. in his own probably doesn?t have anything good on his mind. He didn?t. It reminded me of my days as a child when teachers were Mrs., Mr. or Miss.

Mr. So-and-So had telephoned somebody before. He couldn?t say who it was. But, he said, he had been given my name. He had an old issue of Numismatic News dated Jan. 24. (This conversation occurred March 28.)
Mr. So-and-So said he had sent in some photographs of what he thought was a possibly rare coin. Had I seen them? No, I replied. I neither recognized the subject of the photographs nor his name.

Who did he send the photographs to?

He gave me a post office box number that I didn?t recognize. I said so.

Well, it is right in your paper.

Where? I asked.

He led me to Page 4. On that page in the far right column appears our masthead. We went down the column nearly to the bottom. He had picked out the paragraph:

?Attention retailers: to carry Numismatic News in your store, call Periodical Sales, 800-894-4656, or write Numismatic News Periodical Sales, P.O. Box 5014, Iola, WI 54945-5014.?

I apologized to him for not recognizing the P.O. Box, but I said that his letter had not reached my desk.

I asked him what it was he wanted regarding the coin he had photographed. He wanted it examined. I said he would have to contact an authentication service and pay a fee to have the coin evaluated.

How do I do that? he asked.

Contact one of them and do as they tell you, I replied.

Then he tried to sweet talk me. He had been the hobby almost 40 years and he had never seen anything like it. I said that was why he needed to contact an authentication service.

We repeated this conversational loop several times until he grew exasperated and exclaimed that I had already told him that four times. It is still true, I said. This he didn?t like. Why couldn?t I help?

We are a newspaper, not an authentication service, I replied. In one of the conversational loops I had told him the odds of his coin being what he said it was weren?t very high and I personally did not need to see it, but he was welcome to go through the process and pay the fee to a firm that would do it for him.

I don?t know what he will do. I know he did not like my answer. That is unfortunate. Perhaps we got off on the wrong foot because of what he had already been through with the wrong address. Don?t let this happen to you. Write or e-mail me at the addresses listed below. For coin questions, see the Clinic page and follow the contact instructions.