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What should be published?

Every so often readers of Numismatic News get into a battle of letters over one topic or another. The mother of all these battles was about the question of when the 21st century began.

Despite clear rules that each century begins with “1,” 1801, 1901, 2001, etc., many readers weighed in in favor of round numbers, 1800, 1900, 2000, etc.

It was lively and good fun even if it could never reach a conclusion satisfactory to all.

Another of these battles has been about what constitutes appropriate content for a hobby newspaper. Nothing racy here, it is just a dispute about “coins and nothing but coins” versus coverage that includes what I would call the social aspect of numismatics.

This battle centers around a column called “On the Scene,” written for many years by Clifford Mishler. He records experiences that are familiar to many hobbyists who travel to coin shows around the country. He recounts where he goes, whom he meets and where he dines, among other things.

Some readers don’t like this.

Others love it.

Fortunately, Clifford Mishler is a good sport and a longtime participant in the numismatic publishing game – not to mention my former boss.

But as he always taught me, the voice of every hobbyist should be heard.

In the pages of Numismatic News, all voices are heard.

On this particular question, some people love reading the column and say so in their letters to the editor. Others do not, and they also say so.

But perhaps the most interesting thing about it is both sides continue to read the column, which is the only real measure of any column’s success.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper is winner of the 2013 Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."