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CHARLES DAVIS ON INSIGNIFICANT ADJECTIVES IN COIN CATALOGUE DESCRIPTIONS
Numismatic literature dealer Charlie Davis submitted the following quiz. -EditorQuestion: What is significant about the following words? satiny, elusive, enigmatic, attractive, extraordinary, lustrous, classic, intriguing, stately, amazingly rare, pleasing, incredible, awesome, impressive, nice, distinctive, exemplary, celebrated, splendid, popular, famous, desirable, remarkable, compelling, lovely, dazzling, sparkling, satisfying, fascinating, extraordinary, dramatic, landmark, outstanding, exciting, unusual, appealing, and important.
Answer: They are just some of the hollow modifiers gleaned from the headlines of the latest Stack's catalogue. The last one is my favorite. I do not see a coin as being "important." A cure for cancer is important, but we take our selves a little to seriously to consider a coin important. Significant - yes, but not important. And notice that the word significant is missing from the above list.
So why now do I point this out when it has been going on since Kurt Krueger's nauseating 1984 ANA catalogue? An English colleague who now receives the similarly written Smythe catalogues for the first time since the company's purchase by Spink called me with both amusement and disgust in his voice. My answer was of course, "Welcome to America. We speak English here."
THE BOOK BAZARRE
Wayne Homren, Editor
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