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Needs of diverse audience always in mind

I guess this is the slogan of our time; everybody has jumped on the bandwagon for change. God help us because change for the sake of change is not always good.

This is in response to Julian Reitzel’s “need for change” and expresses my own personal opinion and not that of Krause Publications.


I guess this is the slogan of our time; everybody has jumped on the bandwagon for change. God help us because change for the sake of change is not always good.

A publication like Numismatic News serves a diverse group of people with numismatic interests and these interests vary greatly. I doubt there is a publication that prints and therefore airs as many views as Dave Harper does in letters to the editor.

The readers of NN consist of many ordinary collectors with limited budgets, many wealthy collectors with deep pockets, general dealers, specialist dealers, specialist collectors, investors, speculators and just plain ol’ hoarders of coins and related items. It is very difficult to satisfy and appeal to the interests of such a diverse group and in your comment you ignore many of what are the interests of such a broad group.

You criticize the market charts and comparisons (which I personally don’t care for) as inaccurate or perhaps misleading. Might I suggest you put to use your 54 years as a hobbyist and share your insight and submit something more accurate.

Regarding travel articles and the ANA; there are many who cannot get to major shows and conventions and they enjoy an insight into the goings on at and around these events. Maybe you don’t like the personal touch or think it is overdone, but many will disagree with you. The ANA articles may be somewhat overdone but the ANA is the pre-eminent association of our hobby.

Now regarding the pricing comments: “Last month there were some sellers of 1877 Indian cents in VG and Fine. I did not lower them in our database because I knew it was an isolated instance. I noticed this month there seems to be some sellers of 1921-P&D dimes in dimes in Fine and VF. They will be up again.”

OK, what did I do here? I pointed out what I believed was an isolated market incident making the reader aware that lower prices had been noted, and interestingly enough the following month those same wholesale indicators were back up and two months later four of the six are even higher.

Now I don’t have a crystal ball, but with nearly 42 years as a full-time professional numismatist and another dozen or so as a collector I do have a little insight. Sliders trading at MS-61 price levels is an indication of market strength and pointing out that much of the material we may see offered is not what it appears to be. It is also an indication that accurately graded Mint State examples are very much underpriced. Please also remember there is very limited space for this commentary, so wordy explanations are not possible and every commentary includes my contact info should you care to use it.

Regarding ANA grading standards, buy the book. It has been reprinted several times and is readily available! While what an individual dealer represents a particular coin as is an issue between that dealer and the customer; the VF-XF comment makes no sense.

ANA was the first certification service, well before any of the slabbing services came along. It was their practice to split grade coins by obverse and reverse grade such as VF20/EF40 and it has always been accepted that VF-EF meant VF-35 or in simple terms a coin that is nearly EF. In fact if you look historically at grading terminology, any of the following are acceptable: VF (20), VF+ (25), Ch VF (30) VF-EF (35). I have even seen VF-38 used meaning borderline EF, and while not commonly accepted it is a legitimate usage if you look back at the original Sheldon system of 1 to 70 on which all modern grading is based.

Regarding free classified ads, while I am not privy to the inner workings of the publication I do know in these tough competitive times cost cutting has become the bane of most large companies and suspect that is the case here as well. There is no free lunch anymore!

Mr Reitzel, you raise some interesting points. Stop being negative and become constructive. You must have gathered a good deal of numismatic knowledge since 1955. Share it and contribute an informative article. Because like me, I am sure you have gotten a good deal from the hobby and we owe it to contribute to its future.

Harry Miller is U.S. coin market analyst for Krause Publications. He is also a collector and dealer.

Viewpoint is a forum for the expression of opinion on a variety of numismatic subjects. The opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of Numismatic News.
To have your opinion considered for Viewpoint, write to David C. Harper, Editor, Numismatic News, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990. Send e-mail to