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Vol 05 No. 02 February 1991

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About This File

It seems that controversy and difference of opinion are inescapable components of the human experience. As we go to press this month the world is torn by differences of opinion that will greatly impact all of our lives. In a world where we have so many things in common, it is a pity that we are engaged in so much controversy and confrontation.

Having been dragged involuntarily into more than a few controversies and caught directly in the middle of some differences of opinion, we can say without reservation Ihal the experience of confrontation, whether verbal. physical or psychological, is not it pleasurable one.

Controversy and confrontation have become common place in our lives that we have learned to expect them in our leisure experiences as well. This editor has been sharply criticized by some for not following an editorial line which is more probing and investigative, one which confronts the "issues" head on. Call it "lack of editorial courage" or "soft-soaping" if you will. The simple fact is, we are not in the expose business, and it is not our inclination to get into that business. We see our role as one of providing 'In informative, educational and entertaining publication for hobbyist. Most of us adopt a hobby to escape from the pressures of our super-energized world and it seems pointless to drag that world into our retreat. Utopian? Idealistic? Unrealistic? Maybe so, but we have more than enough controversy in our lives. We don't have to let it dominate our "fun" time.

Usually, we find controversy within our hobby occurring as a reaction to some perceived injustice. Someone did not deal fairly with another, or some perceived right was violated. As often as not, the facts are obscure and sometimes even misrepresented. There are times when the controversy itself becomes the focal point, overshadowing the actual incident. As a result, views become polarized, and objectivity disappears. It's difficult and usually inappropriate for us, as publishers, to act judgmentally in controversial affairs. We do not always possess all of the facts, nor the expertise, to accurately assess the elements of controversy. Therefore, it would be pretentious of us. and essentially a disservice to our readers. if we actively sought a role as spokesperson, mediator, or judge in controversial affairs.

We do not offer these thoughts apologetically, but simply in explanation of our long-standing and continuing editorial policy.

The Spring auctions promise to bring more excitement than ever this year and very soon will be upon us. You'll find announcements for some of the more prominent auctions within this issue. Even collectors whose budgets are limited should not overlook the importance and value of these sales. With the cost of numismatic publications being what it is, subscriptions to the auction and sale catalogs of major dealerships (who produce some very impressive works) are a cost-effective way to build a useful and beautiful reference library.

Policies regarding subscription fees vary greatly, as does the actual willingness of some dealers to send out catalogs or lists to those who are not active buyers in their sales. We have seen some very emotional and heated discourses over the fulfillment of list or catalog subscriptions. In our opinion, the decision to charge for catalogs or lists, how much to charge for them, and who to offer them to, is essentially a personal one which rests solely in the hands of the dealer or auction house. Even though an advertiser in The Celator may offer free lists, we do not interpret this type of offer as a binding or continuing obligation and will not hold any particular advertiser accountable for specific fulfillment terms concerning free merchandise. The fulfillment of paid subscriptions is of course another matter. The Spring marketing season is coming in early and aggressively this year (let's hope the weather follows suit), get ready for a good time!

We received some real words of wisdom in the mailbox this month and thank those who have taken the time to share their views with us. The idea of a "Classical" education is really an archaic notion, much to our dismay and regret. To those of us who love the mystique and challenge of understanding the past, it is a very personal loss. This month, when you curl up with The Celator and a glass of Sherry or cup of tea, why not take just a minute more to share with us your point of view?


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