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Treasure the coins, but treasure people more

I checked the Kitco website for the prices of gold and silver this morning as I usually do.

Gold was $1,238.60 a troy ounce. Silver was $17.05.

The dominant rhythm of numismatic life these days is set by the fluctuations in bullion prices.

I have followed their movements since I had a paper route; first silver, which was freed from Treasury control in 1967, and then gold.

I know this. You know this. However, this morning my perspective is not coming from its usual enthusiastic place.

"Numismatic News" founder Chet Krause’s health has taken a turn for the worse. It is bad news, but not unexpected.

Even as he has aged, reaching 92 last Dec. 16, he managed to keep up his interests and he went to his Main Street office daily.

From the vantage point of his many friends, it seemed that for him, health problems were simply setbacks that he always could overcome or accommodate.

He would utter some comment as he cracked peanuts out of the shell during break time that would signal to anyone present that he was still actively engaged in some project or other.

All of this changed in late February when he passed out. Doctors discovered his heart is failing.

Chet went on hospice care at the beginning of April. He is on oxygen and medication.

In the midst of this, news about gold and silver are no less important, but they take a back seat in my mind today. They will still make headlines in the paper Chet founded. That is what he wants.

But for him, numismatics is as much about the people in it as anything else. We are all on a great numismatic adventure together. It has been our good fortune to find it.

I had a double portion of good luck when I encountered Chet for the first time and I was able to go to work for him 38 years ago.

Even though Chet has been completely out of the numismatic publishing business since Krause Publications was sold in 2002, his influence has always been present in those of us who trained under his guidance and to those many more who call him friend.

"Numismatic News" has always been about the collector; first it was about the collector that Chet was in 1952 when he reached out to all others like him, and then it broadened out to a national audience and then an international one.

My life is better because I encountered Chet so long ago.

Because of the many publications and books that he published, I expect this is true for many thousands of others who are active in numismatics today.

Chet always taught us to treasure the coins, but treasure people more. It is now time to treasure Chet all the more in the time he has left.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper has twice won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."