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70 Years of the ‘News’ a Publishing Feat

Friendly competitors Chet Krause (left) and Clifford Mishler give a silver round to longtime Coin World editor Margo Russell.

Friendly competitors Chet Krause (left) and Clifford Mishler give a silver round to longtime Coin World editor Margo Russell.

Seventy years is a considerable time-frame. I’ve been collecting coins for more than 70 years – since 1950, to be exact. This October marks 70 years since Chet Krause published the first issue of Numismatic News. Its first dateline was October 13, 1952. To say the world has changed since that time would be a profound understatement.

Where publishing is concerned, 70 years is a veritable lifetime and then some. The venerable Life and Look magazines never achieved that milestone. The Saturday Evening Post as a weekly did not quite make it (1897 to 1963), as it is popularly renowned today, although through varied incarnations it has now spanned over 200 years.

Numismatically, the venerable Numismatic Scrapbook magazine (1935 to 1976) lasted only 42 years. The exception is The Numismatist, published by the American Numismatic Association, which was founded in 1888 and is presently in its 135th year, the only coin collecting community publication that has exceeded the 70-year achievement of the News, no other publication having remotely approached its stature.

As a fledgling coin collector in the early 1950s – the intercession of a young friend and his mother, avid collectors of postally cancelled stamps, having resulted in my introduction to this hobby discipline in the summer of 1950 – it was probably in 1954 or 1955 that I learned of the existence of Numismatic News through a classified ad offer that appeared in an issue of Popular Mechanics or a similar publication of the day. I became a subscriber.

SCRAPBOOK

In 1958, I ventured forth into publishing, personally, inaugurating a five-year series of privately published annual pamphlets cataloging medal and token issues. In my early 20s, I was living in Vandalia, Mich., earning my living as a carpenter. Then, in early 1963, I committed to joining the staff of Numismatic News, accepting an invitation extended by Ed Rochette to move to Iola, Wis.

That move launched me on a career in the numismatic community and hobby publishing. I subsequently spent 40 years on the staff at Krause Publications and what has built into a nearly 60-year association with the News. The world has changed from Smith-Coronas and letterpresses, to CPUs and monitors, with delivery in-print, or fully electronic over the internet. What has not changed is my, and the publication’s, commitment to the collector community.

We’ve been through it all: the booms and the struggles, rejoicing in the achievements and lamenting the depreciations along the way. In the 1960s there was the loss and recovery of mintmarks, the Silver Certificate redemption era and the silver bar craze. In the 1970s there was the boom in world coin collecting. In the 1980s there was the resurrection of the commemorative coin tradition. In these and myriad other instances, the News was always there leading the way.

As Krause Publications grew and expanded into diverse hobby collecting fields in the 1990s, Numismatic News was always there as the rock of stability – as it remains today – for its hobby publishing niche. It’s difficult to forecast the future for five years, let alone 70 years, but suffice to state: I’m confident that the News will change with the hobby and remain present, continuing to show the way through change for future adherents of our hobby community.