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Q. David Bowers

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Valued Member
United States
62 Posts
 Posted 11/02/2014  8:51 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add Villa Rose to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Oh dear. In the November issue of Coin World Monthly, Q. David Bowers once again finds it necessary to point out that the coin collecting hobby ain't what it used to be.

For those who haven't read his past columns on this topic (I have ready plenty of them), what irks him is that the Internet and the coin grading services have brought wrenching changes to the way coins are bought and sold.

Need I point out that those very same factors that have hurt dealers have also brought enormous benefits to us, the buyers?

1. The internet has made it much easier to set up shop as a coin dealer. That's a concern for existing dealers. But ease of entry increases competition, which is good for buyers.

2. Coin grading services have tied dealers' hands. No longer can dealers decide every coin's grade, and the price at which it should sell. True, there's less of a premium attached to the vast knowledge that experts like Mr. Bowers have accumulated over the years (unless they work for a grading company like NGC). But buyers benefit from fairer pricing -- less room for overgrading.

3. Pricing transparency has increased as a result of auctions like eBay (real-time prices, available to all). Publications like Coin World can update their prices in real time as well because of the Internet.

4. The Internet has made made it much easier to buy. I no longer have to travel to a show or a store, so I buy more.

In short, we have a more level playing field than used to be the case. The business has become more commoditized, with less pricing flexibility. Therefore the market is more efficient. The benefit to collectors has been enormous.
Edited by Villa Rose
11/02/2014 9:02 pm
Valued Member
New Zealand
72 Posts
 Posted 11/02/2014  10:01 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add magpie to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
we have had similar complaints here from the antique dealers. Before the internet one was forced to sell to an antique dealer who bought it for peanuts and sod it for a huge profit, now people are able to sell for fairer prices and get more exposure too. the internet is a good thing to happen for the collecting world
Pillar of the Community
United States
1656 Posts
 Posted 11/03/2014  01:46 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Numismat to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I agree. The internet also gives a greater variety of coins available from dealers compared to same dealers before internet selling became popular. Many such dealers also but online and resell in their shop or at shows.
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 Posted 11/03/2014  10:27 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add SsuperDdave to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Given that this thread appears to be an attack on Q. David Bowers' words, wouldn't it be appropriate to know what he actually said?
Valued Member
United States
62 Posts
 Posted 11/03/2014  12:50 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Villa Rose to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Attack? Harsh words, Mr. Moderator. My post was, I hope, merely a reasoned response to a column in Coin World.

I assumed that members of this forum read Bowers' column, as I do. In the spirit of fair play, here's a summary of his key points:
1. In 1961, in order to deal in rare coins you needed to know how to grade them; you needed to know how to identify counterfeits; there were two main sources of prices ( Coin World and the annual Guide Book); if you wanted to buy coins you had to write a lot of letters or travel to shows and stores.
2. Today, things are a lot different and the above no longer hold true. Today, "no knowledge is necessary." [Ouch.]
3. If you are typical, "quality means nothing...the label on a holder takes care of everything." [Ouch again.]
4. The typical 2014 coin buyer is like a person who buys frozen pastry which he thaws out and serves the same day. [I detect more than a trace of bitterness here. This borders on disrespectful to "typical" collectors, and compares us to uncultured clods who don't even bother to bake their own pastry! Oh, the horror.]
5. The above said, there are lots of positives, and suppression of counterfeiting and instant grading makes it easy for beginners.

As you will see if you read the article, he devotes most of his column inches to the negatives.

Bowers makes similar points in his columns once or twice a year. I for one am weary of hearing about how things aren't what they used to be in good old 1961, when Bowers was the youngest dealer ever allowed on the Buffalo coin show bourse, or whatever. I imagine we'll be hearing about that soon as well.

Thoughts?
Edited by Villa Rose
11/03/2014 1:10 pm
Pillar of the Community
United States
4562 Posts
 Posted 11/03/2014  1:17 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add scopru to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thoughts are... op did sound a bit gruff. You have some good points... bowers has some good points. Things aren't like they used to be. Some are better (easier access to information). Some are worse (new collectors/dealers over-dependence on TPG grading.)

To live a more stress free life I would recommend not reading his columns anymore as I am sure he will reference the good old days more and more as time goes on. And please take the comments as they are meant... With levity and good will.


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1211 Posts
 Posted 11/03/2014  1:59 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jerseyben to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I agree with Mr. Bowers' opinion. Sometimes the truth hurts.
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United States
62 Posts
 Posted 11/03/2014  3:00 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Villa Rose to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Scopru: yours is a fair and reasoned response. But I must take issue with your suggestion that I cease reading the wise and witty writings of Q. David Bowers.

Sorry sir, but I'm not in a position to do that.

Excuse me please, but I cannot accede to your request.

Why? Because, despite his quirks, Mr. Bowers (or "QDB," as I call him) is one of my favorite coin writers. I have a lot of fun reading his column while drinking bourbon whisky and searching for my pet peeves. I own two of his books. I've also bought coins from him. Quite a lot of coins, actually.
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 Posted 11/03/2014  3:58 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add scopru to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Quirks make the world a much more interesting place...and make for good conversation at times.

and on another note
Welcome to the forum!

Pillar of the Community
United States
1347 Posts
 Posted 11/03/2014  5:04 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add ArrowsAndRays to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
the Internet and the coin grading services have brought wrenching changes to the way coins are bought and sold.


Is the column 20 years old?
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United States
23522 Posts
 Posted 11/03/2014  7:22 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add SsuperDdave to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Attack? Harsh words, Mr. Moderator. My post was, I hope, merely a reasoned response to a column in Coin World.


I was left the distinct impression that you weren't his largest fan.

Either way, I let it stand because it's a worthy topic and not liking Q. David Bowers isn't grounds for expulsion anyway, as long as you offer the opinion with the respectful tone you've used. Welcome to Coin Community. I have a feeling you're going to be an interesting member.

Anyway, you're a bourbon drinker. That's good enough for me.
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United States
62 Posts
 Posted 11/04/2014  7:59 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Villa Rose to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Ssuper Ddave: thanks! Thanks to everyone, in fact.
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 Posted 11/04/2014  9:06 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add smokeriderdon to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Personally I dont like him much either. I have read his prattlings for a while myself. He may well be one of the most knowledgeable numismatists out there, but he is also a stereotypical stuck in the past those darn new fangled computer thingies old guy.
Valued Member
United States
62 Posts
 Posted 11/01/2015  2:16 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Villa Rose to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Q. David Bowers' annoying penchant for self-promotion is back in full force in the November 15 monthly edition of Coin World. His column on page 150 supposedly discusses how gold double eagles recovered from shipwrecks increase the coins' populations. That's what it says in the table of contents. My problem is that his discussion is littered with self-serving statements about his accomplishments, most of which will be familiar to Coin World readers:
- he was a teenage dealer in 1953,
- his marketing of the Brother Jonathan shipwreck coins was a "smashing success,"
- he was invited to have a small share in the California Gold Marketing Group, and
- "excitement prevailed as I helped market thousands" of the coins.

And most annoying of all: he claims he has "attended more ANA summer conventions than anyone in history." So what? How does that further my understanding of coin collecting? It's just boasting, plain and simple. I also question whether he has facts to support this statement. Has he reviewed attendance lists from all the ANA conventions for the past fifty years and totaled up each person's appearances to see if anyone has equaled or exceeded his awesome attendance record?

All of this "I did this, and I did that" is tiresome, and a waste of readers' time. I don't buy Coin World to hear ol' QDB toot his own horn. Of course he's accomplished some things in his lifetime. So have I, but it's bad form to showcase your own accomplishments (especially the same accomplishments, year after year). He's writing a column about the joys of coin collecting, not interviewing for the chairman's position at Stack's.

I don't mean to be harsh. But as a subscriber, I find this infuriating. It's the same point I raised about a year ago -- see earlier posts in this topic.
Pillar of the Community
United States
531 Posts
 Posted 11/01/2015  2:50 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Penny Guy to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I view his columns as more of a historical perspective, which can be valuable. I too was an avid collector by the time 1961 rolled around but embrace the technical changes of our world today. QDB has a lot to say that can be of benefit to today's collectors but sometimes if anyone writes anything over 140 characters they lose audience.
Edited by Penny Guy
11/01/2015 2:51 pm
Pillar of the Community
United States
1285 Posts
 Posted 11/01/2015  2:58 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add techwriter to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I wasn't going to but have ignored my own advice and would advance this:
1. If you don't like the articles--don't read them!!
2. If you want to complain about the content then write a letter to the Editor and state your objections, specifically.
Otherwise, just turn the page(s) and move on.

I've collected for over 40 years and have not always agreed with some of his points or arguments either but his books are terrific references and pretty good for the background and historical perspectives he brings to the printed page.
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