In last month 's issue, one of our regular advertisers, Dr. Arnold Saslow, made the statement " ... it seems our instincts work as well as those who spend hours trying to research a coin, so that they can figure out how to substantiate the price asked." This statemen t followed the explanation by Dr. Saslow that he buys and sells coins solely on the basis of " ... quality, what the coin cost to buy, and current market conditions." The statement seemed to us to be simply a statement (rational or not) of Dr. Saslow's methodology. However, in reaction, we received a stinging letter to the editor from another dealer who was deeply offended because he felt that Dr. Saslow's statement was an attack on classical numismatists (including himself) and their professional reputations.
It should go without saying that we wholeheartedly support numismatic research and would take a dim view of anyone demeaning the efforts of researchers. If research leads to the recognition of rarity, and thereby increased value, so much the better (for everyone, including the collector). Although we are frequently engaged, personally, in numismatic research, and have on rare occasion benefited financially from that research, we did not perceive any personal attack in Dr. Saslow's statements. Maybe we have developed thicker skin over the past five years.
We have tried diligently to be noncontroversial in our editorship of The Celator because we do not believe that hostility and controversy are high on the list of things that readers would like to see in a recreational publication. Nevertheless, we sometimes (more so lately) find ourselves drawn into this arena of confrontation in spite of our preference to avoid it. For us, this is not a question of choosing sides (if indeed there are sides to be chosen). These words are not in defense of Dr. Saslow, because he knows very well that his comments sometimes have a tendance to inflame even the pure of heart.
As a matter of policy, we will not consciously publish, within the pages of The Celator. personal attacks against anyone. In keeping with this policy, we have decided not to print the dealer's letter of complaint.
We could simply ignore the issue, and some might think we should, but it brings to mind a distressing and growing trend in our hobby which someone needs to speak up about. One can hardly attend a coin show any more without having to listen to deliberate character assassination, some "hot" new gossip, or some "shocking" revelation of misdeeds. This garbage, which circulates all too freely, is not professional; it is not becoming; and it is not productive or effective. Misdeeds or unacceptable business practices (whether real or perceived) need to be dealt with aggressively - but not in the public arena. Neither should the bourse floor be used as stage for the clashing of puffed-up egos. We all deserve better than this.
We have all chosen a very prestigious hobby and inherited a noble tradition. In the Age of Enlightenment, the newly educated and cultured society pioneered the modem collecting of ancient coins. In 19th century Europe, great minds created volumes of priceless numismatic literature. What is our legacy? What will we be remembered for, the revival of jousting? We should dedicate ourselves to a more productive use of our energy.
This issue marks the close of our fifth year. Some of you will remember our first anniversary, it was a real milestone, and we were very proud and encouraged. The encouragement never ceased, and we have grown substantially as a result. Our family of readers now numbers over 1,700, with subscribers in every state of the U.S. and 30 countries around the world. Perhaps the most visible measure of our success is the rapidly growing number of major numismatic research centers and universities who subscribe to The Celator. This reflects very highly on the efforts of our contributing authors. For a popular journal, we have broken a tremendous amount of new ground. We still are proud of The Celator but recognize - more so than ever - how important the contributions of our readers and advertisers have been. We will continue to improve as technology and resources permit, and we plan to bring The Celator into your homes for as long as you continue to enjoy it.
That's enough for now. We hope you'll have a wonderful holiday season, and we look forward to seeing some of you in New York. Until next month, we'll be watching the mailbox for your point of view!