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It really is who you know

“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”

How often have you heard that said?

The sentiment is usually expressed in moments of frustration or denial such as in an instance of being passed over promotion.

But who you know does matter even if you are the smartest person who ever lived.

Numismatics is a collaborative effort. We stand on the shoulders of amazing collectors and researchers from the 19th and 20th centuries.

Even now Q. David Bowers is working on another book. By the time he is done there will be enough books to fill a library – well, not quite, but you get the idea. There should be a library with his name on it before he is done.

He obviously knows quite a lot. But if you read his material it dawns on you that on the road to acquiring all of this valuable information he was making the acquaintance of just about everyone in the numismatic field who was worth knowing.

They were his teachers. They were his guides. They were his clients. They met just about every description imaginable.

He has made the best use of his contacts.

None of us can match Bowers, but we all go at this hobby in the same way. We meet people and we learn from them. We have favorite dealers because they speak our language or offer interesting tidbits about what we are buying.

Who you know matters a lot in numismatics. If you don’t know anybody, you are running the hobby race with a serious handicap.

Make it a point to broaden your acquaintances in numismatics and you will never regret it.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper is winner of the 2013 Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."