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Startled by the obvious?

For some reason, I was startled by the contents of a club newsletter that I looked at last week.

What did I see in the folded, single sheet club bulletin that would cause such an effect on me?

It was a section called commodity spot prices.

Listed are monthly prices since March of gold, silver, platinum, palladium and copper.

All of the prices are down since March, some markedly so, but it wasn’t the trend that got to me.

It was simply the fact that these prices are in the letter at all.

I started analyzing my reaction.

Many collectors if not most have a vested interest in staying on top of trends in metals, especially silver and gold.

Those of us who are veterans of the circulation finds era have found that some silver coins that would never have commanded a numismatic premium according to the workings of supply and demand in our hobby have rewarded us by being worth 20 times face value at today’s valuation.

The only reason we kept these coins in the first place was that they were made of silver and since we got them at face value it costs us nothing to hold them all these years.

But by that reasoning, all club letters could be filled with this type of information, but they are not.

Most letters inform the recipients about when the next meeting will be, who spoke last and what their topic was. Specialist letters often are the most important sources of new information about various coin series and ongoing research.

So what’s my conclusion?

Well, it is the responsibility of every editor to get newsletter recipients to read its contents. In this, this particular letter was a great success with me.

Of course, though, with me and perhaps others, the effect will wear off. Most of us get far faster updates online, in a newspaper or on the radio.

I guess at root, I read these club newsletters for the unique insights they give me into what collectors across America are thinking about – not bullion reports. I guess that’s what startled me. I wasn’t expecting it.

The fact club newsletter editors still provide useful information often unique to their organizations is a tribute to their ability to fulfill their mission month in and month out. I hope other club members realize what is being done for them by these editors. I do.