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It will get better

It’s baseball season, but you wouldn’t know it by looking out the window here in Iola, Wis.

We see snow.

Winter still has us in its grip.

Last year it was in the 80s in March. This year the ground was covered with snow the entire month. It’s nearly the middle of April and it is completely covered again.

What’s my point?

Well it amounts to this:

Coin collecting is an indoors activity. Those of us who live in the frozen north are most active in numismatics during the bad weather.

When summer comes, we tend to spend less time on our indoor hobbies in order to take advantage of our fleeting good weather.

Readers have been showing me by their questions that they are still indoors and focused on their coins.

I have been getting a lot of routine questions even at a level as basic as what does MS stand for in Coin Digest.

After nearly four decades of calling uncirculated coins Mint State, it is nice to know there are still newcomers to the hobby who have to work their way forward as we all did.

I have had a question about a packaging error on a new proof set just received from the U.S. Mint.

And just as routinely I replied that packaging errors are curiosities that don’t command much of a premium because they are easily duplicated.

I told the collector that if he liked having a set with curiosity value, he should keep it and if he wanted a perfect set that will be routinely salable in the future, he should send it back and get a set with all of the correct coins in it rather than two of one and none of another.

Another caller was apprehensive about placing a coin order. He was unsure whether a dealer requiring a check before the coins are shipped was standard practice.

I assured him that it was standard practice.

Do you see any headlines in these anecdotes?

I see only one.

"Hobby thrives" would be it.

Collectors are still spending time with their coins and those with less experience are working their way up the learning curve.

That fact and the knowledge that spring weather will eventually come to Iola keep me going on a miserable day like today.

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