“Efficiency signifies the productivity of the process.”
– Susan Page
Efficiency sounds so clinical. It’s interesting to hear about it from a newspaper woman. Efficiency is not something that comes to mind when you think of journalism, but of course it’s critical. Excellent writing is all about being concise. It’s about getting the story across completely using the fewest words possible.
But she’s referring to the productivity of the process. At Interfanatic, we have a lot of processes. We have systems galore. We don’t really think about it in these terms any longer because they’re such an intrinsic part of our work. But we’re always trying to find ways to be more efficient for the long run – because it’s better for our customers.
This brings to mind one of our clients from just a couple of years ago: Collectors Universe and PCGS. Now THAT is an efficient company!
Efficiency: An Interfanatic Quality
Efficiency is ingrained. Of course, we have to constantly fight for it. Our business is on an entropic trend with efficiencies fighting inefficiencies on every front. Efficiency doesn’t have to be impersonal, but it does have to work.
We’re constantly on the lookout for ways to make things happen faster, simpler. Any time there’s a complicated process, we seek to simplify it. Our business is rife with new tasks, new processes, and these are not always beautifully efficient.
Over time, we hone new processes to make them simpler and more efficient. It helps us save time and money. And then we can pass that efficiency to our customers through savings.
PCGS is Efficiency in Action
The Professional Coin Grading Service is an incredibly efficient outfit. They deal with tens of thousands of collectibles daily, and they get those tens of thousands of items in front of dozens of extreme experts to get their honest opinion of condition and / or value.
“[PCGS is] an incredible outfit performing a massive service to an industry that intrinsically requires their talents.”
On top of that, they’re dealing with some of the most valuable and rare collectibles in the universe. The collectibles market is much like the stock market, in that it fluctuates daily based on supply and demand. They are the third party that helps buyers and sellers know what is in front of them.
A few years ago, we handled a couple the marketing initiatives for PCGS. Well, we Interfanatic, did not – I did. We handled some of their social media, many of their email sends, and a video marketing program related to a big rollout of collectibles for a big customer. It was awesome!
But in doing so, I got to see how clinically efficient PCGS is. They’re not that way just because they want to be – they’re that way because they have to be. When you’re dealing with collectibles on this scale, you have to treat them agnostically, and you have to treat them quickly – efficiently. It’s an incredible outfit performing a massive service to an industry that intrinsically requires their talents.
So when we had the opportunity to handle some of their marketing, these were some incredibly fun and rewarding projects for us.
Search advertising is the ultimate in efficiency. While the newcomer to the scene – social media – is not always efficient for newcomers, search advertising is the king of making your dollar go far. It’s a great way to establish your brand, and a great way to get your established brand in front of the right customers.
If you want to spend your money efficiently, get a digital search campaign going the right way. It will take some time to get it tuned in, so start by spending slowly. As you see the results you want and begin to understand why you’re seeing them, up your spend to get more of what you want.
It’s a beautiful process, and we’ve been proud to be a part of it for some great customers during these difficult times.
Interfanatic: Honing Efficiency
Like PCGS, we have systems and processes in place to help you become more successful while spending less. We’re here to help. It is my pleasure to help you get more business for less.
This week’s image: Interfanatic‘s founder, Ryan Delane, takes or creates every image you see in our social feed.
While reviewing photographs to use for our social feed, I was struck by this image of a red rose. There is little that is so efficient in eliciting a reaction as a gorgeous rose. It is beautiful and immediate. The more you look at it, you have an emotional reaction to its visual and olfactory presence. It is a king (or queen, as the case may be!) of efficiency.
Black Lives Matter.
When we’re all more successful together, the world is a greater place. The downtrodden, the sick, those less fortunate – they are the enemy of an efficient collective happiness. Instead of fighting to keep some down, we should be fighting to lift everyone up. Not just ourselves. When we help others up, they help us find new heights.
Unfortunately, things are not as severe as they’ll get. Remembering family, we’re in for tumultuous times, not tranquil ones.
If we could relax, perhaps we could improve things. But we can’t. Everything continues to get worse. And it will keep going that way, it seems. There is no tranquility when things continue to get worse because there cannot be. We must push forward to improve.
It would be a lovely thing to return to some semblance of tranquility. But that won’t happen. The same people who were insistent upon throwing us into chaos four years ago appear to have done it again. Last time, only 100,000 people died before their time (and growing.) What will it be this time?
We now know the cost of 100,000 lives. It is a tax cut for the ultra-wealthy. It is further dependence on foreign governments as we continue to go further and further into debt. Apparently, 100,000 American lives aren’t worth that much. Apparently, a strong and independent America isn’t worth that much, so long as the wealthy continue to get wealthier.
So when we seek respite in tranquility, it’s not going to be there. We continue to be weakened.
Our adversaries are winning. So much winning.
But when I think of tranquility, I think of the cool calm of Charmy Harker, The Penny Lady®.
Tranquility: An Interfanatic Quality
At a given coin show, it can be very irritating to be coin dealer. I’ve been on both sides of the table, and I know how wonderful customers can be – and what a pain in the neck. And I’ve been both! I’ve been both a great customer and a pain in the neck. So I know what I’m talking about.
Charmy is great. She will happily discuss coins with you, but she doesn’t suffer fools. She has a very clinical manner with people she feels is wasting her time, but she’s also a terribly warm person when you get to know her and do business with her regularly.
At the end of the day, her tranquil manner is what is required to maintain sanity and decorum. Some find her fantastic, but I’ve heard that some find her cold. She’s not cold. Charmy is awesome. She’s a coin show veteran. She knows her stuff. And she works with all kinds of great customers – big spenders and small fish alike. She just loves coins and loves sharing her love of coins.
And she’s a great client. 2020 has been okay for some and horrific for others. Through it all, she keeps an even keel and things rolling, sensibly. In a tranquil way.
You know what a great time is, to a coin collector? Checking out Charmy’s site. Her coins are beautiful. It’s relaxing to review the collectible coins on her website and just enjoy them. You can look at her collection (not for sale) or see the beautiful coins she has on offer. For a coin collector, it’s all a good, peaceful time.
For me, it’s fun to look at both. I’m not actively collecting anything right now, but I very much enjoy viewing her coins, and do so regularly.
The Penny Lady®, A Tranquil Repose for Collectors Online
If you don’t know anything about collecting coins, there are a couple of things you need to understand:
#1) Condition is everything.
You can have a Lincoln wheat cent in your pocket that to the untrained eye looks like one of Charmy’s very expensive examples. Maybe the year is not the same or the mint mark is different, or maybe it even looks exactly the same to you. The chances of you having a $500 coin in your pocket are lottery-chances slim. Of course it’s possible, but your penny has to be spectacular or spectacularly rare (odds are worse for you than one in a billion) for it to be worth money. And what looks perfect to you may not at all be perfect to an expert who eats, drinks, and breathes coins.
#2) Certification helps.
All of Charmy’s coins have been expertly certified to be what she says they are. Not only does she know what she’s looking at, she’s had an expert panel review the coins and independently come up with a condition description. This expert panel belongs to what we call a Third-Party Grading company. All they do – and I mean all – is sit and look at coins all day long to determine their condition. And their condition, combined with the other characteristics of the coin – the date, mint mark, and error or or other outside factors – determine the pricing. They look at literally tens of thousands of collectible coins per day.
And even then, many of the coins Charmy deals in are even more special, so they’re more valuable than the available price guides. She knows this because she’s spent years as a dealer going to coin shows. She spends her life buying and selling coins. So she knows what they’re really worth to a collector – sometimes better then the price guides say.
I haven’t geeked out on coins in too long. So let’s have a look at a few of my favorites on her site right now.
Look, there are hundreds of coins for sale on her site. So look for yourself. I picked these out from the home page to highlight because they are to my taste.
All photographs are Charmy’s. She retains copyrights, et cetera.
This is a pretty coin. This is a relatively common coin. There are literally billions of 1942 cents worth no more than $0.01. But this one, even as “rare coins” go, is relatively common in the grade of Mint State 65 Red-Brown. There are many much nicer coins. And they’re all more expensive than this one.
What I like about this one is it doesn’t look common. It has interesting color (we call it toning). The obverse, or head’s side has iridescent pinks and oranges, and the reverse is heavily iridescent yellow-green. This is just not a coin you see every day. And it’s a cool coin, and it can be yours for under a couple hundred dollars.
This is a really cool coin. It’s got a really cool price, too. I used to prowl eBay for unnoticed raw 8/7s. It’s not an easy thing to do – there are lots of collectors doing the same. What’s cool about this coin is, …well, where do I start? First, it’s a Flying Eagle. The mint only made these for a couple of years (three if you count the king 1856). It’s a neat design. While this coin doesn’t ooze eye appeal, it’s still a solid coin because it has all of the diagnotistics of the 8/7 in full view. And it’s a friendly grade of Almost Uncirculated 58, meaning the graders see it as very close to mint state, uncirculated. Philadelphia Mint struck this coin weakly, which is why to some it looks worn. But it’s not. And it’s got the CAC green bean that means not only did the experts look it over and determine it was a 58, more experts reviewed the experts’ work and affirmed they were right.
I love me some purple pennies. I had one years ago that I sold and I still kick myself for it. This one is kinda like the ’42 Wheat – an 1890 Indian is a relatively common coin. Mint State 65 is a great grade – it’s the bottom of what some call “gem”. MS 65 is the lowest grade you want if you want (and can afford) a “nice” uncirc coin. Don’t get me wrong, there are “nice” 62s and “nice” 68s, but in general, 65 is a great collector grade. And this coin is PRETTY. I’d love to see it in hand, with the flashes of mint red coming through blue and purple hues.
“And if you’re in need of a new hobby during quarantine, drag out the old box o’ coins from the attic and start learning about them.”
See, this, for me, is tranquility. I can’t afford any of these coins right now, but I can afford to window shop online. For a coin geek, that’s as relaxing as listening to Clair de Lune.
And if you’re in need of a new hobby during quarantine, drag out the old box o’ coins from the attic and start learning about them. They’re a window into the past; a vessel of art and time.
It would be my pleasure to discuss coins with you any time. So long as I’m not too busy getting stressed out with work.
Even ol’ Trumpkin got hacked. Which just proves that if the crooks want to get in badly enough, they’ll find a way to get past the lock.
There’s really nothing anybody can do to keep a determined hacker out. But we can do the basics to keep most out. Just like your house: if you leave the door unlocked and you live in a neighborhood where such action is not advised, you’re inviting the hoodlems. But if you at least lock your door, would-be thieves are more likely to move on to the next place to see if they forgot. You’re better off locking your door.
What we do, it’s a little bit more than that. It’s not full-proof, but it’s practical and it works almost all the time. We’ve been through getting hacked. We’ve learned the hard way. So we apply those lessons learned and our customers are much, much safer than they used to be.
Interfanatic: Keeping it Tranquilo
Let’s all just chill. Don’t let the orange motormouth angrifier get under your skin. Wouldn’t it be a much nicer place if we could just ignore him because everything he says is unimportant again?
This week’s image: Interfanatic‘s founder, Ryan Delane, takes or creates every image you see in our social feed.
I did what was right. I voted. In doing so, I expressed my opinion, I flexed what little muscle I have. Was it enough? Probably not. I could have done more.
Also, I gotta mention, the ’31-D that was on Charmy’s site, the one I used for this week’s social – it’s already gone. I hope you’re the lucky new owner!
Black Lives Matter.
The monkey (DT) gets us all worked up. He pits us against each other. Almost everyone is in agreement that he’s a piece of shit. But, the people that vote for him are willing to live with the 100,000+ people that he killed, the angry, racist tirades, the “everyone else is crazy and against me”, the constant lying, the absolute horrible example he sets to their children and grandchildren, because they like what he does.
It’s crazy to me, but that’s how it is. So we may be stuck with him. That idiot Nate Silver is trying to mislead us again by telling us there’s a 12% chance he’ll win. Trump is going to win. I’ve spent the day trying to come to terms with that and the shit show that the next four years will be.
And all the while, black people are dying for no good reason, Mexicans will continue to be “murderers and criminals” in the eyes of many bigots, the descendants of Chinese who happen to live here are to blame for COVID-19, and “religious liberty” will be the continued promotion of one religion and the oppression of every other – especially Muslims because every single one of the three billion Muslims on planet earth is a terrorists who can’t be trusted into these United States.
We’re so caught up in knowing that “you can’t tell me what to do!” that we’re destroying the fabric of our nation for the benefit of billionaires and our nation’s adversaries. So be it. America is filled with idiots and bigots more intent on expressing their opinion than tending to the common good. And – I can’t stress this enough – not every person voting for Trump is an idiot. In fact, many of the people voting for him are people I have trusted and respect most. Which makes me really question everything. Is it because we’re not heard enough? In the age of 24-hour infotainment and the din of social media, our own voices are drowned out behind those most obnoxious getting the attention and envy?
Trump says “libtards hate America”. No, you make me hate America because you bring out our worst. I’m not liberal or a libtard. I’m an average, middle-of-the-road American, and you’ve destroyed our country and my faith in it.
This is America.
To the next four years; may he not kill all of us.
Collecting cents can be complicated if you don’t keep your collection in order. Now, think about trying to sell them.
When one coin is worth $100 in one grade, and the exact same coin is worth $350 toned, and the exact same coin is worth $10,000 two grade points higher, you’ve got to have your coins in order.
Charmy Harker, The Penny Lady®, does that. Which is how she’s helped the most exciting collectors build some of the most beautiful sets of collectible coins the world has ever seen.
Like Eliza Cook said, “Order is the sanity of the mind.” Collecting coins in enough insanity without a little order to keep things clear!
Order: An Interfanatic Quality
You might think you know what it takes to build a website. But to do it successfully for businesses over and over and over – there are a lot of moving parts. The launch checklist is about 2,381 items long alone. Theorizing, designing and creating a successful website is a bit like conducting an orchestra. The minute one thing is out of tune, it can all come tumbling down.
“Theorizing, designing and creating a successful website is a bit like conducting an orchestra.”
Just like Charmy brings order to the chaos of collecting, Interfanatic brings order to the chaos of creating websites that bring in paying customers.
Charmy Harker, The Penny Lady®
Do you know any coin dealers? I know a lot of coin dealers. Some of them are great! (Yes, I’m talking about YOU.) Some of them are not. Which is what makes Charmy’s success in excellence as a coin dealer all the more convincing. She has to deal with other coin dealers. Who are mostly men. And some are not nice to deal with.
She has carved her niche doing what she loves. She’s really into Indian Cents. Most Indian Cents in the world are worth a few cents to a collector. But the ones Charmy deals in can be worth much, much, much more than that. These little metal disks tell a snapshot of history, of art, of their time, and of their place in history. And she loves them, too.
If you’re interested in collecting small cents, Charmy has an excellent selection. Take a moment to peruse The Penny Lady’s most recently added coins for sale. You’ll love them, too. She has something for everyone. (Talk about a great gift for the person who has everything.)
Browse Charmy’s Collections
Charmy is good at infuriating people, too. She uses her website to show off her collections, which are not available for sale. Because they’re usually some of the best (which is what collectors want.) So, serious collectors can’t have them, and, well that really irks ’em.
Because not only is Charmy a successful dealer of pennies, she’s a successful collector of cents. She would never brag about her collection because she’s helped collectors assemble humbling collections. But the fact is, her collection is nice.
And on top of all of this, she’s just a nice person. She doesn’t suffer fools or intent hagglers because she doesn’t enjoy that. And its her business, so she gets to decide how she runs it.
Charmy Harker does a great job. And at the end of the day, she is after all The Penny Lady®.
“Science is organized knowledge. Wisdom is organized life.”
– Immanuel Kant
There’s smart, and then there’s wise. Ron Guth is both.
Negotiating the field of German Numismatics is extraordinarily tricky. German coins are a complex group. Guth uses his wisdom to navigate the complexity of the coins, their history, and their buyers, with the skill of a seasoned master.
Wisdom: This Week’s Interfanatic Virtue
Kant’s quote is so perfect. It’s just too good! First of all, he’s Prussian (as are many of Ron’s coins). He’s a philosopher of the enlightenment, who expressed rich and complex thought, so much so, it’s still debated. He’s from the German States period of coinage, perhaps the most complex of a country with a rich and incredibly detailed numismatic history.
And it fits coin collecting so well. The science of numismatics consists of organized knowledge of coins: their design, their make-up, their art. Making a life of trading in these beautiful historical metal disks – that takes wisdom.
Ron Guth: The Esteemed Numismatic Author Who Would Take on The Germans (Coins)
Look, the study of United States coins isn’t easy. It very easily to overwhelms. And it’s very easy to know just enough to get yourself in a lot of trouble.
That’s why you need a trustworthy dealer as an ally as you explore “the hobby of Kings.”
But US Coins are child’s play compared to the complexity of German Coins. Coins from the hundreds of German States, to the Empire, to the Weimar Republic, to the Third Reich, to Germany broken into West and East, and Germany Unified, each period has it’s own rich complexity.
Debate About The Wisdom of Some Who Collect
Some insist that the despicable history of Nazi Germany must die insist we should forget. They’re not wrong. Some insist the despicable history should live so that we will never forget the terrible lessons we learned. They’re not wrong either. Surely, some people collect German coins of this period because they’re not right in the head. Surely, some just have interest in the history. For some, those “just interested in the history” use an excuse. But for others, preserving history – all history, good and bad – is their hobby. And, for some, it’s just about having one of each kind.
It’s an incredibly controversial debate to wade into. It takes the even hand of a wise master like Ron Guth to deal with this level of complexity.
And he does it deftly. Guth wrote wrote (and is writing) some of the most-read numismatic books of our time. He’s loved coins of all coins almost all his life. And he gladly shares that knowledge passionately with the good people with whom he surrounds himself.
GermanCoins.com, by Ron Guth
That’s why it was our great pleasure to take on GermanCoins.com. No doubt, some of the things there make us feel icky and queasy, but to focus only on that is to ignore the rich history that surrounded that time. There are thousands of coin types – not hundreds, or as in US coins, around fifty made for circulation. Thousands of coin types covering dozens of denominations from all through and over Germany’s rich numismatic history. Undoubtedly, there are some of the ugliest coins you would never want to see – but there are many more that are among the most beautiful and fascinating you could ever know.
Thousands of coin types cover dozens of denominations from all through and over Germany’s rich numismatic history.
It’s such an honor to work with Ron Guth.
German Coins: You Might Try Them
If it piques your interest to wad into this deep, difficult, complex and nuanced numismatic history, my advice is: buy what you like. Buy what you think is interesting. Buy what you think is pretty. But whatever you do, talk to Ron Guth about it first.
There are many wise characters in the worldwide traveling circus that is the world of numismatics. Ron Guth is one of our wisest American greats.