At this time of the year, it is customary to be grateful for good fortune, to make resolutions to eliminate bad habits and other bad things, to take stock and to look ahead.
Going through this mental process can be quick, or it can be slow. However much time I spend reflecting on this year, the process will end with the knowledge that Numismatic News readers are the best there are. I have known that from 30 years of interaction with readers under my belt. I was a reader myself for nine years also, but I think together we really proved it in October when we put the 55th anniversary issue together.
Not only have we been in business for 55 years because of our readers, but the creation of that issue broke the mold for usual newspaper creations and put most of the creative work in the hands of the readers themselves.
We sent questions primarily by e-mail to the hobby?s prominent individuals and they took the time to respond with thoughtful and thought-provoking answers that the rest of the readership considered some of the most interesting items ever published in these pages.
That is quite an accomplishment. After 55 years, to come up with something new to say and a new way to say it feels mighty good.
Readers shared their reminiscences of their time in the hobby. These made great reading. As much as they were unique to each individual, there are enough similarities to see that we collectors often really do think and act alike in our shared field.
Sure, we primed the pump a little bit with Liberty Head $20 gold pieces and silver American Eagle coin prizes, but that was as much an act of sharing as any kind of inducement to write. Over the years I have learned that hobby knowledge and experiences are shared by one person with another not because of the profit motive or selfish reasons so much as the profound impulse to be of help and to share a hobby that all of us enjoy. That doesn?t mean we don?t enjoy doing deals and we don?t respect the commercial aspect of the hobby. We do.
But interestingly, the commercial aspect of the hobby is what generated the least response. The coin shop section was the smallest of the three in the anniversary issue. The answers to the questions and the recollections were many multiple pages longer.
That, I think, shows a great respect for history and the roles we all play in it.
Numismatics has always been called the hobby of kings, but the genius of America is that the hobby was made into something that serves the average person, too.
While we have literal riches in the form of precious metal and base metal coinage, we are equally rich in experience and memories. That they are valued was definitely proved by the 55th anniversary issue.
Thanks to all for making the year 2007 such a memorable one for me and for making the 55th anniversary issue such a wonderful stroll down memory lane. I wasn?t active in the hobby during the entire stretch, but I sure feel like I have a better understanding of it all. How about you?