US Coins

Monday Morning Brief for Dec. 23, 2019: Technological changes

Technology has changed how collectors receive information about their hobby; how they buy and sell coins; and more. Future technological growth will result in even more changes.

Coin World image.

This year kicks off Coin World’s 60th anniversary celebration, which will begin in earnest in April (we began publishing in April 1960). As part of that celebration, we will look at our history as the most significant news publication for the numismatic community as well as examine each decade as reported by our editors and writers.

Longtime readers know that our look and size have changed over the years. We have gone from fragile newsprint with black and white images to a much higher quality paper with color images throughout. Our physical dimensions have shrunk over the years in response to rising paper, printing and postage costs — factors that plague every print publication. Page counts have declined as the marketplace has shrunk. 

However, changes in technology have vastly improved how we report the news. We can publish news in minutes, at our website and on our Facebook page. In the past, news reached subscribers only as fast as the Postal Service could deliver an issue from Sidney, Ohio, where Coin World was printed for the first 50 years or so of our existence, to our subscribers. For readers on the West Coast, that could take a week or more. 

Today our digital edition is released every Saturday; no need to wait on the mail.

Furthermore, reader comments on individual articles are easier than ever at our website (through Disqus, which I moderate for approval) and at our Facebook page. Others can comment on your comments directly, affording a somewhat unfiltered exchange of ideas.

Something new is coming

The ease with which information can be disseminated is being seen elsewhere. Chris Bulfinch’s “Back to Basics” column this month (Pages 12 and 14) examines the Newman Numismatic Portal, a priceless (and free) online resource available to all with computer access. If you have not visited this website yet, please do. You will not be disappointed. Chris’ article provides a neat overview of what you will find there.

And more technological changes are coming to the hobby. Among the things you will find in this issue of Coin World is a preview of a new product and service to be offered by, our publisher, Amos Media Company, beginning in 2020: SmartTrack DNA. We are excited here about the possibilities this technology offers to collectors and dealers. Be sure to see the preview starting on Page 44.

Mint sales report

On a related technological note, one of our traditional monthly articles, the U.S. Mint Sales and Analysis column, is missing this week. As reported in one of our December issues, the two Mint employees responsible for the report (published at the Mint website) both left the bureau’s employment. The Mint has provided some sales figures, but they are incomplete. We will resume publishing the column once the Mint makes the full sales report available online.

Technology has changed since our founding in 1960 and since I joined the staff all the way back in 1976 (at least we had electric typewriters then). I cannot image what it will be like on our 70th anniversary. 

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