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MEMORIES FROM THE '70'S

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Wissahickon Collection

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Technology Changes Expectations

Jeff Garrett's article about "Guarantees in the coin market, today" in NGC's Weekly Market Report, started me thinking. Thinking about my coin collecting experiences in the 1970s.

I remember Coin World Mail Bid Sales. These were a listing of coins with NO descriptions; just grades. There were sales by 10's of dealers every week. No description; no pictures; just raw coins listed as:

XF

AU

BU

CH BU

The ever popular Select BU

Gem BU

I made my bids, sent my money, and took my chances.

I expected to return a substantial number of coins- and DID!

Dealer patterns of overgrading would become obvious, over time, and bids were adjusted downward to accomodate his/ her practices.

Some dealers were dropped when the return % grew too high.

TODAY, this stuff won't fly. No description; no SHARP picture; no phone discussion prior to sale, results in NO BUSINESS!

However, then just as now, the good dealers rose to the top, and relationships were forged.

One of my first dealer relationships was with a gentleman in rural Lousiana. I bid on his mail sales for 25 years. We talked on the phone; he sent coins on approval; and I came to feel as if I knew Dan, though we never actually met.

We discussed a miriad of life's events: spouses, kids, politics, marriages, grandkids, and eventually deaths. I traveled a lot in my career, and occasionally in a hotel bar, I would have an "over a drink" conversation with another business man, and asked if they had ever been in Minden, La. Surprise, in 30 plus years, 3 had! I always gave them one of my cards and requested they drop it on Dan's counter, on their next trip through.

Over the years, we lost touch, as my collecting habits and Dan's inventory grew apart.

I don't have any real point to these ramblings. Jeff's article just spurred a thought. Maybe a point would be that our expectations are the same today; just the route to our destination has changed.

In the old days, we got there by "mule team"; today, we travel by jet plane.

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