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Many of us follow 50-year rule

While I wrote my blog yesterday, it occurred to me that most coin collectors unconsciously follow a 50-year rule.

What can that possibly be?

Well, it refers to the part of the many U.S. coin series that interests a majority of coin collectors.

When I was a kid in the 1960s, most collectors were busy chasing Buffalo nickels, Mercury dimes, Standing Liberty quarters and Walking Liberty half dollars.

All of these series had commenced a half century before.

The numbers interested in Barber sets, or earlier issues back to the 1790s, fell off dramatically among those who were active.

We were a modern hobby.

I would not have recognized that fact then.

The years 1913 and 1916 were ancient history to me.

While I collected each and every one of these sets, I had more luck with series that were hardly 30 years old.

The Washington quarter, the Jefferson nickel, the Franklin half dollar all were assembled and studied by me.

That was then.

Does a similar situation apply today? I think it does.

Those who are interested in what we call modern Mint issue are numerous and active.

You can’t watch cable coin shows without knowing that this is true.

Fifty years ago, the clad proof sets began.

The popular silver American Eagle series began 32 years ago.

Even the modern commemorative series began just 36 years ago with the Washington half dollar.

State quarters are not even 20 years ago.

I expect you already understand my point.

Most collectors spend a great deal of time with the issues of the past 50 years.

That period boundary can be called a 50-year rule.

It is a rule followed even when nobody knows it exists.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog for the third time in 2017 . He is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."