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When mom doesn't know best

In my dark moments I sometimes wonder if collectors are making themselves irrelevant by our own actions.

We revere history. We revere coinage. Neither of these two attributes does anything but put us in a positive light.

It is the basis of our numismatic hobby. We are proud of it and we should be. It has served us well.

But is there something going on in our minds today that cause us to live in the past more and more or at least ignore current realities?

As you might expect, I gain of sense of what collectors consider to be important by the number of responses emailed to me for our weekly poll question.

Large numbers of responses indicate some engagement with a topic.

Small numbers of responses mean less engagement.

I have often wondered why collectors respond so little to questions involving the bullion markets.

This is an area that generates billions of dollars in revenue for the U.S. Mint, its Authorized Purchasers and the many smaller coin dealers who make a market in these coins.

We could not have the numismatic infrastructure that we have without the revenue that is generated by bullion coins.

Yet bullion questions usually end up being yawners for collectors and response rates drop.

On the other hand, ask a question about cents or Presidential dollars and many can’t wait to share their opinions about them.

Yet when you evaluate this on a level of importance, the future of the cent means relatively little to organized numismatics except for our historic attachment to coins.

For Presidential dollars, the public doesn’t want to think about them. They haven’t been struck for circulation since 2011.

While many collectors share the public’s view of the dollars and their utility or lack thereof, we spend an awful lot of effort still thinking about them. Perhaps we should, but as I said, I sometimes wonder.

When I talk to my 83-year-old mother she from time to time tells me she does not like it when a product’s packaging changes.

Usually, this occurs when she has bought something mistakenly.

She would rather go by the way the old box or bottle looked rather than read the label.

The new doorbell is too quiet, she has told me more than once.

It might have something to do with her deteriorating hearing, but I get a dirty look should I mention this.

Are we coin collectors beginning to sound to the general population like my mother does to me?

If we are, that might explain why it seems so difficult to attract younger newcomers to the numismatic field.

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

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