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When coins are mentioned

Telling people you are a coin collector is not exactly socially graceful.

When I am asked by strangers what I do for a living and I tell them that I am an editor of a weekly coin paper, I often see that momentary panic cross the questioner’s eyes, as if asking, “What can I say now to get out of this awkward conversation?”

But once in awhile I am surprised.

A recent arrival to Iola whose acquaintance I was making one Sunday morning asked me what I did.

I braced myself after telling him.

“No kidding? I used to do that as a kid. I didn’t think people did that anymore. Can you really make a living at it?” he asked.

I assured him that I had been happily making my living this way for 34 years and hoped to continue doing so.

Then we talked about his interest in airplanes and the weekly Friday lunch at the local grass airstrip five miles east of town and whether I had ever been there.

I have been there and I expect I will drop by for lunch again. If I see this retiree there, and in a small town it would be hard not to, I will be able to see if the topic of coin collecting is ever mentioned again.

Fortunately for me, Krause Publications is well known in Iola and no matter how future conversations might evolve, at least I know I won’t be perceived as a crazy person.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."