This time of year reminds me of my first job. I got a paper route when I was 11. The summer months were great. Running around town on my bicycle expanded my horizons.
During the first winter, the snow hit and I thought I was supposed to walk. That was a drag. It seemingly took forever to get around my route. The longer I was outside in the subzero, the colder my nose got. The colder it got, the more I wanted a solution to the problem.
I hit upon the idea of trying my bicycle again. It worked. Winter bicycle riding got me zipping along at near summer speeds even on the coldest days.
I must have looked odd. Imagine meeting someone on an ice covered street bundled up but riding a red bicycle. I didn’t care. It solved my problem. I took a tumble once or twice, but I quickly learned how to stay upright.
Numismatic education is the same way. Every collector has to find out for himself what works. There is a lot to learn. There is a sense of helpless embarrassment where you first think you should either know the stuff already, or know where to find out.
You feel like you are riding a big red bicycle down an ice covered street.
Don’t worry about it. You need to do whatever it takes to get the job done in the learning process. Since we all learn in different ways and at different rates, work out your own plan.
Come New Year’s make it a resolution that you will pick out a weak area in 2009 and you will learn about it. If every collector would do that, we would all find out that we are all still learning. Whatever we may know, there are always areas where we need help.
If everybody were doing it, like riding a red bicycle in winter, it wouldn’t seem so odd.