ANA’s 2019 Election Cycle

Members of the American Numismatic Association who opted into online voting should have received the election announcement via email. If you think you did request the electronic voting option and did not receive your notice, check your spam folder.

Those who are not signed up for electronic voting should receive a paper ballot in the mail shortly. Deadline to vote using either method is July 1, 2019.

2019 ANA Election Notice

This year, there are races for president, vice president, and Board of Governors. In addition to the races in all categories, three women are running for the Board of Governors, and five of the candidates are running for the first time. Two are running again after having served in the past.

Three of the current member of the Board of Governors are running for higher office, meaning that there will be at least three new Board members.

Maybe there should be at least four new board members.

It has been a long tradition in United States populist society to “throw the bastards out” dating back to the antebellum South where the southern Democrats ran dirty campaigns and even fixed ballots to weaken the Whig Party that was anti-slavery. Newspapers at the time suggested that if the pols do not protect the southern traditions then vote them out.

Just remember, dirty politics pre-dates the founding of the United States as an independent country. In the 1820s, the movement found a rallying cry.

The ANA has had its “throw the bastards out” situation a few years ago after former ANA Executive Director Larry Shepherd file a lawsuit against the ANA and fired Jeff Shevlin as executive director. It was clear that there were problems, which attracted a large field fo candidates for the seven seats on the Board of Governors. I was one of the candidates.

There was quite a change in made in that election. Unfortunately, a few of the members that were voted in during that election remain. As someone who likes to see change and believes in term limit, anyone elected in 2013 should be retired from the Board of Governors. It has nothing to do with their qualifications, but there is a time for new ideas to replace the old.

Numismatics is not a dying hobby. For as long as physical currency is in use, there will be someone to collect those items and the billions of coins already in collections around the world. But there is some trouble in the hobby.

The ANA has to figure out its long-term direction in the context of today’s society. Kids are no longer checking mom and dad’s pocket change looking for coins. They are not encouraged to do so, but there are no incentives for them to begin. There is no long term encouragement.

We have to adapt to a new way of thinking. Unfortunately, very few of the candidates’ statements show that they are seriously thinking about the future.

Change begins with change. It is time for those who have served to retire from the Board and let others step forward. Let’s thank them for their service and allow them to move on.

It may not be a revolution, but evolution is necessary.

In a few weeks, I will post my endorsements.

Until then, I welcome your thoughts.

I can’t even give it away

After the fiasco earlier this week when I tried to give away an 1859 Indian Head cent, someone else just rejected the coin.

It was a busy day, and there were a large number of cash transactions. Since I was not paying attention to the coins I was pulling out of the drawer, I scooped 2-cents to give to someone in change. As I dropped the coins into his hand, I noticed that one was the 1859 Indian Head Cent.

Rather than putting the coins in his pocket, he dropped the two coins into a tray I keep by the cash register.

Since this happened earlier in the afternoon, I left the coin there to see if anyone would notice. Following several more cash transactions, I took the coin out of the tray and dropped it back into the drawer.

It might not be the prettiest Indian Head cent I have seen, but it is still worth about $15-20. And I cannot give it away!

If I cannot give it away on Saturday, it is coming home with me. At least I appreciate its significance in numismatic history.

Not Everyone Likes Old Change

With most of the roll of 1957-D very red Lincoln cents still in my cash register’s draw and the quarter bin even half-full of uncirculated bicentennial quarters, I thought that most of the more expensive and interesting coins made it into circulation. That was not the case.

A new customer came into the shop and found a few items she wanted to purchase. After selecting a few things, she left to find an ATM because, she said, that she does not like using credit or debit cards. As a reseller of estate and other used items, this is a common practice for many purchases under $100. It is a typical scenario.

After paying for her purchase, she saw that I had given her two very shiny Lincoln cent and one with a beautiful brown color. Except it was not a Lincoln cent. It was an 1859 Indian Head cent that was left over from National Coin Week.

I had included two 1859 Indian Head cents in the draw. This coin was the second that survived National Coin Week. Depending on how you look at the coin, it could grade VG-F making it worth about $15-20.

When she looked at the coin what was different in her hand, she asked what it was. After I explained what it was, she accused me of giving her a counterfeit coin. She insisted it was not real and that I was trying to cheat her.

I walked over to the shelf and grabbed a new copy of the Red Book to show her that it is a real coin and that it has value. But she was not impressed insisting that was scamming her with stuff I did not know. Even after pointing to my name in the list of contributors she would not back down.

Finally, I agreed to change the coin.

As I put the coin back into the cash register drawer and replaced it with one of the 1957-D cents, she stopped me and said that I told her the coin is worth $15-20 and she wanted $20. I reminded her that she thought the coin was bogus, so why should I pay for a fake coin?

After handing her another coin, she looked at it and noticed the wheat ears reverse. While accusing me of trying to cheat her, she asked why am I giving away “phony money?”

I explained that the coin was a bit more modern even though it is a little older than me. Its value is about $5-6. She looked at the coin and compared it to the coins in her purse, ignoring the fact that I had given her two of them earlier.

“The back is funny. Why is the back funny?” she asked.

While explaining about the design and the changes made to the coin, I search the change draw then my pocket for a more modern coin. She gave the 1957-D back, and I replaced it with a brown Memorial-back cent I found in my pocket.

Happy that she has recognizable money, she walked out threatening to call the police. As I held the door for her, I said that she should contact the U.S. Secret Service because they are responsible for dealing with counterfeiters.

I wished her a good afternoon.

My new and former customer left without saying another word.

Finding Coin World’s new podcast shows Numismatics is in technology amateur hour

Did you hear? Coin World started a podcast.

I found out in one of their multiple daily email blasts that Coin World is producing a podcast starring Chris Bulfinch and Jeff Starck.

A professionally produced podcast that is regularly published for the hobby is a good idea. I would become a listener but it is not possible. The podcast is not in the Apple Podcast directory and only available on directories other than Apple including Spotify, Stitcher, or TuneIn.

Aside from not having enough room on my iPhone for another app, I have a lot of time invested in my chosen podcast app that is configured to work with my weird listening schedule.

Why did Coin World make this decision? Shouldn’t they want to reach as many people as possible? After all, there are approximately 97.2 million iPhone users in the United States. That is approximately 47-percent of the smartphone market. And some research suggests that approximately two-thirds of podcast listeners use an Apple device. That is a lot of people to exclude!

Time and again it seems that when numismatics does something to try to reach beyond its borders using technology, the attempt reminds me of the 1971 kitschy movie The Gang that Couldn’t Shoot Straight. In this case, Coin World shot itself in the foot.

ADDENDUM: After I wrote this and queued it for posting, I went back to the announcement page on Coin World’s website and looked at the HTML source behind the page. I found the URL of the RSS feed that my podcast app could use to subscribe.

Even though I found the URL, I deconstructed the page to find where the link was hiding. Yes, it is hidden.

To find the link, you have to hover your mouse over the embedded podcast player on their webpage so that the controls appear. Click on the share button to the far right to bring up a share panel. There is a button that says “Get the RSS Feed.” Clicking on that will bring you to the feed.

Or you can just use https://feeds.buzzsprout.com/273189.rss.

Click on the share button? Really? Now that’s really intuitive!

Coin World is using Buzzsprout as their hosting service. There is nothing wrong with Buzzsprout although its embedded podcast player’s UX (user experience) leaves much to be desired. However, Buzzsprout is a well-rated service for podcast hosting.

Then again, Coin World should have read Buzzsprout’s “How to Make a Podcast” guide. Step 6 on their list is “Get listed in Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Spotify.” After all, it says “Listing your podcast in these directories will ensure that people can find your podcast when they search for it. Getting into these directories is the most important step in marketing your podcast.”

Coin World should have considered their overall UX when doing this. It’s an amateur’s mistake!

There once was a time that Coin World’s parent company, Amos, had a good technical group that was there to help the Amos properties but was also doing consulting. These were the people who were brought in to help get the improved money.org off the ground. The people we worked with were very intelligent.

Unfortunately, Amos did not retain this group following the issuing of the money.org request for proposal (RFP). These smart people went their separate ways. I hope they all have had a lot of success after leaving Amos. But for Coin World, it is too bad because this is a time when it seems that this they could have used expert assistance.

Parent of Krause Publications Files for Bankruptcy — Will Sell Off Assets

While searching for something else, I came across a story that F+W Media, the parent company of Krause Publications, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on March 10. As part of its bankruptcy filing, the company plans to liquidate its assets to pay its creditors.

According to the bankruptcy filing, F+W owes $105.2 million in outstanding debt to between 1,000 and 5,000 creditors (filing is not specific and I did not want to count the over 500-page filing). The most money is owed to LSC Communications, a company that provides printing and distribution services with over $2.7 million owed.

F+W is also asking the court to approve $8 million in financing to be used as working capital. They claim to have over $10 million in assets.

F+W has been a hobby publisher for many years. The company was founded in 1913 and was named for its two initial publications Farm Quarterly and Writer’s Digest. Farm Quarterly ceased publication in 1955.

Since 2000, F+W has been on a buying spree trying to diversify its portfolio. In 2000, F+W bought UK-based book publisher David & Charles and later renamed it F+W International. In 2002, they bought Krause Publications. In 2012, F+W Media acquired Interweave, an arts and crafts media company, and in 2014 purchased New Track Media.

F+W has had a failed Internet strategy that was not coherent across imprints. While those of us who regularly read Antique Trader find it difficult to understand why Numismatic News does not have a website to match. After scanning the bankruptcy filing, it is apparent that the lack of a cohesive e-commerce strategy led to the failure of the Numismaster website.

The bankruptcy of F+W will be felt across a lot of hobbies. They report that the company averages 600 new titles every year and has over 4,000 titles in print. The company produces 42 magazines, not all are weekly publications like Numismatic News. It lacks a cohesive e-commerce strategy and their idea of selling e-books is producing PDF files of their publications.

From a reader’s perspective, F+W magazines have no integration. Several times I have written to the writers and editors of Antique Trader and Old Cars Weekly magazines when there is a numismatic-related mistake in their publications. The response is almost as if they do not realize the other publications exist.

Krause Publications publishes more than numismatic-related magazines and books. Many of their books are collector and buyers guides for other hobbies. Books like Antique Trader Antiques & Collectibles, Warman’s Antiques & Collectibles, Goldmine Price Guide (vinyl records), and Military Trader magazine define these industries.

For the sake of numismatics, I hope that the Krause publications survive. This includes the Standard Catalog books, which are a hobby staple. In fact, because of the Standard Catalogs, Krause should have a significant database of numismatic information that should beat almost anyone. With a lot of imagination, that data could be put to great use for the benefit of numismatics and a way to produce premium content in order to generate the revenue to support its existence.

Just their database could create a treasure trove of possibilities that could be used beyond the numismatic community. All it would take is someone with money (which I don’t have) and imagination (which I have plenty).

Weekly World Numismatic News for March 17, 2019

Counterfeit American Gold Eagle found in Iowa
(Image courtesy of the Des Moines Register)

One of the most popular stories on this blog that people find via a search is “How easy is it to pass counterfeit currency.” I wrote it in response to watching a cashier use a pen with iodine-based ink used to determine whether the paper used is counterfeit and how it can be defeated.

A lesson learned is that people do not pay attention or care, which is why the iodine pen is popular. This is why the story of the week is about a person in suburban Des Moine, Iowa is wanted for passing a counterfeit American Gold Eagle coin.

According to the story, the suspect, who has been identified, used the alleged gold coin to purchase $25 worth of merchandise from a gas station. The next day, the clerk who took the coin found it was fake after taking it to a local coin shop.

Although the story does not say why the employee accepted the coin as payment, I speculate there was a greed motive involved. The suspect probably convinced the clerk it was real and that worth more than the $50 face value but was low on cash and needed the merchandise. The clerk thought that the coin is worth more took it hoping to make a profit.

If the coin was worth more than face value, then why did the clerk not ask why the suspect did not take it to a coin shop himself?

Even if you do not know the price of gold, why would someone try to use a valuable coin in a gas station?

I have commented in the past about the perpetual hunt for “rare” 50 pence and £2 circulating commemorative coins in the United Kingdom. At least by publicizing the coins, Britons learn a little about the coins issued by the Royal Mint. In fact, if you are watching my Twitter feed (@coinsblog), I post stories about other countries that produce stories about coins put out by their country’s mints.

Unfortunately, the best we get in the United States outside of the numismatic media is an infrequent blurb in a local news source. The Washington Post’s new motto is “Democracy Dies in the Darkness.” It also dies with ignorance especially when movie money is mistaken for real.

And now the news…

 October 14, 2016

Worried about buying a fake when you shop online? Here's how you can keep counterfeits out of your shopping cart. David P.  → Read more at desmoinesregister.com


 March 10, 2019

Richard Masters’ work for the U.S. Mint is a marriage of his interest in art and his boyhood hobby of coin collecting. A former professor of art at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, Masters has designed 21 coins and five medals, including the 2009 Bicentennial Lincoln Cent (Log Cabin), the 2011 Sacajawea gold dollar reverse and the 2017 America the Beautiful Effigy Mounds (Iowa) quarter reverse.  → Read more at legion.org


 March 11, 2019

Finance ministry had issued a notification on March 6 announcing the launch of 5 new coins in the country namely new One Rupee, Two Rupees, Five Rupees, Ten Rupees and Twenty Rupees. The new series of coins are visually impaired friendly and have enhanced design.  → Read more at zeebiz.com


 March 13, 2019

Urbandale police are looking for a man who used a counterfeit $50 coin to make a purchase at an Casey’s General Store in February.  → Read more at desmoinesregister.com


 March 13, 2019

Warwickshire County Council wants to raise £62,000 towards buying a hoard of Roman coins.  → Read more at bbc.com


 March 13, 2019

More A lucky penny which deflected an enemy bullet during the First World War One – saving a soldier’s life – is set to be sold at auction. Private John Trickett would have been shot in the heart if the bullet – which still left him deaf – had not struck the coin in the breast pocket of his uniform.  → Read more at uk.news.yahoo.com

Coin Collectors News
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Weekly World Numismatic News for February 24, 2019

The delay in reporting the weekly world numismatic news was because I worked at my first Comic Convention or Comic-Con. It was a small Comic-Con with between 60 and 80 vendors around a large hotel ballroom. Of course, each table had comics but others had different items related to the comics, science fiction, horror, pulp fiction, and similar works.

As with any of the shows that I have worked, there were the serious collectors with want lists who were laser-focused on finding that gem for their collection. There were the collectors and those with a general interest who were there for the experience. They were looking at different items for something unusual. Finally, there were those who were there for the cosplay. Cosplay is a portmanteau (combination) of the words costume play.

Aside from a visit by the likes of Darth Vader, Wonder Woman, and the Joker in the crowd, the best costume was the guy dressed as Iron Man. Ironically, the solid pieces of his costume were made from wood. It looked good but the wood seems odd given the character.

What does my experience at the Comic-Con have to do with numismatics? It is a type of show that demonstrates how other hobbies adapt with their audience to lure new collectors. Rather than concentrating on making sure that every collector has the latest special edition of the No. 1 copy of the current story with their favorite character, it promotes fun, interaction, and does not judge each other because someone does not collect the four special covers of the No. 1 copy just issued by the comic book designer.

Numismatics claims to be all inclusive but if you ask most dealers what to collect, they will gravitate to most of the same answers. If they are not pushing gold the number of Morgan dollars in their cases is an indication of their preference.

There are too many people with set ideas of what makes a good collection. And the problem is that the dealers are the wrong people to ask. They have an agenda over the perpetuation of the hobby. There is nothing wrong with that agenda because it contributes to their livelihood and the well being of their employees. Unfortunately, too many dealers pay lip service to the notion of collect what you like while pushing the latest set of VAMs on you.

While thinking about the show as I was driving away with half-empty bins of inventory was that if the hobby was more inclusive to people who do not collect high-end merchandise. People have different tastes and there should be more dealers who not only cater to those tastes but should be given better access.

Speaking of the dealers, if they want to be more inclusive and show consideration for the collectors they should stay until the close of a show on Sunday. When I participate in the many antique shows, flea markets, toy shows, sports shows, and now this Comic-Con, dealers are warned that if they pack up and leave early they may not be allowed to set up at a future show. Numismatic shows say this, including those sponsored by the ANA, but nobody follows through. Then we get a situation like in Baltimore where it is not worth attending on Sunday, my only day off this week.

Finally, something should be done to make the shows fun. While I am not suggesting that people get dressed up like at the Comic-Con, there has to be something to make it fun. For example, the last time I attend the F.U.N. show, there were tables set up where Hobo Nickel artists were carving coins and making jewelry on the show floor. That was fun!

Although there are dealers who give out low-value coins to young collectors, can we do something to make the show more fun for the casual collector? Does everything have to be about buying the next piece of stickered plastic that happens to have a coin inside?

There have been some successful promotions including a chance to win an autographed Red Book but what about a drawing for a gift certificate? Hire a magician to do some coin magic to intrigue people. What about a walking exhibit where an expert in a non-mainstream area walks around and starts with, “Hey, let me tell you a story…” which involves taking a coin and talking about it beyond its grade. I am sure that someone can take a handful of tokens representing the area of the country where the show is and tie it with local history.

Numismatics is not dying, but it is not adapting. Maybe if the shows can be made into a real event then more people would be willing to collect. Remember, the Comic-Con had aisles full of people on a Sunday, more than will attend the Whitman Show in Baltimore next week!

The view standing In the middle of Hall A at the Baltimore Convention Center for the March 25, 2018 Whitman Expo.
Is this the fate of numismatics?

And now the news…

 February 19, 2019

A TEAM of metal detectorists in a field near Malvern had a 'lottery winning' moment as they found a hoard of rare 17th Century coins.  → Read more at worcesternews.co.uk


 February 19, 2019

Coins were buried in a ceramic pot under the floor of a building, Warwickshire County Council said.  → Read more at bbc.com


 February 20, 2019

The 14th Century coin was discovered inside one of three hidden drawers in a wooden bureau.  → Read more at bbc.com


 February 20, 2019

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas on Tuesday warned the public against improper handling of peso bills and coins.   Current trending headlines in business, money, banking, finance, companies, corporations, agriculture, mining, foreign currency rates, Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) Index, inflation, interest, market prices and economic analysis.  → Read more at gmanetwork.com


 February 21, 2019

Danny Bostock is accused of killing rival Gordon McGhee during bungled burglary  → Read more at theweek.co.uk


 February 21, 2019

The 14th Century coin was discovered inside one of three hidden drawers in a wooden bureau.  → Read more at bbc.com


 February 21, 2019

A Burnsville man and former coin dealer has pleaded guilty to fraud charges in federal court. Barry R. Skog, 68, pleaded guilty Thursday to one count of mail fraud and one count of selling counterf…  → Read more at twincities.com

Coin Collectors News
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Thank you Dave Harper, and good luck!

After having time to catch up on my reading, I was perusing the news from the numismatic press when I came upon a blog post by Dave Harper announcing his retirement from Numismatic News.

Shortly after I started this blog in October 2005, I found I liked writing about coins and all about numismatics. Aside from giving me an outlet to express my opinions, it also gave me the ability to learn more about everything surrounding numismatics. Writing provides me with the ability to learn more about history and politics, my undergraduate minor and the concentration when I earned my masters.

When I reached out to the numismatic publication, I was able to talk Dave to publishing a few articles. I originally wanted to write for a little money, knowing I would not get rich. But I was satisfied with just having the byline!

My greatest thrill was my front-page story in Numismatic News about the launch of the 2012 Star-Spangled Banner Commemorative Coin. It was an easy task since the drive to Fort McHenry is a little more than an hour from home.

A few months later, Barry Stuppler, a past ANA president and founder of the Gold & Silver Political Action Committee, was looking for someone to help write a newsletter. Dave recommended that Barry contact me. After helping cover an event for the PAC on Capital Hill, Barry offered me the job of Political Coordinator.

From July 2012 until February 2018, I wrote the PAC’s monthly email newsletter. It was a way to combine my Masters in public policy with numismatics. It was a great experience and I have Dave Harper to thank for recommending me for the job.

Thank you, Dave, for helping me when I was looking for a writing outlet.

Thank you for your nearly 41-year service to the numismatic community.

And much naches to you and your family as you embark on your next adventure!

Image courtesy of Numismatic News.

Weekly World Numismatic News for February 3, 2019

Sorry for being late, but there was this boring football game on. And the commercials stunk, too!

A story that resonated with me was from the American Physical Society that discussed research being done in Germany that could digitally examine coins.

Currently, the research is using ancient coins stored by their local heritage society. The purpose is to aid in the identification of the coins and to maintain an accurate description of these coins.

Although there have been similar attempts including smaller programs, this appears the first attempt to use computer imaging on a large scale to analyze the characteristics of coins. If it is successful, the imaging can also be used to determine the grade of coins.

Images borrowed from the original article.

Yes, I am saying that computers can do the grading of coins and probably do a better job than humans.

Computer imaging has come such a long way that it is an enhancement to almost everything that requires visual work. Nothing is more impressive than the system that uses medical imaging to virtually recreate a surgery scene so that a doctor and team can practice the most delicate surgery before cutting open the patient. Imaging can see beyond blood, organs, and even ordinary body fat to guide instruments through the body allowing for minimally invasive surgery.

Those of us with a smart telephone in our pocket that was purchased within the last three years has a device with the imaging capabilities and computing power that is equivalent to those used in those medical situations.

We can perform medical miracles, detect people from satellites thousands of miles in space, and even capture clear images of someone committing a crime with a phone from your pocket but the numismatic industry pedantically resists the use of computer imaging to grade coins.

The problem is that computer imaging will disrupt the status quo and make the grading services nearly obsolete if it was an acceptable way of analyzing coins. Dealers would lose their advantage of being the experienced eye looking at coins.

The result will be a consistency in coin grading that is not available today.

Think about it. There would be no need for crossovers, crack-outs, or a fourth-party sticker service that is nothing more than an arbitrage system to drive prices up. Collectors would be in control. Take out your phone and scan the coin. It will tell you the grade. And it will be the same grade whether I do the scan or if you do.

Computers do not like. Computers do not have emotions. Computers do not have an agenda. Take the picture, analyze, and provide a result. It puts the power in the hands of the collectors.

Of course, putting the power in the hands of the collectors is not what the dealers want. It is not what the grading services want. Computer imaging will disrupt their business.

And now the news…

 January 29, 2019

During school field trip, student finds coin bearing the inscription "King Agrippa."  → Read more at israelnationalnews.com


 January 30, 2019

At the same time, the number of fake banknotes has dropped.  → Read more at spectator.sme.sk


 January 30, 2019

The County  → Read more at thecounty.me


 January 31, 2019

The massive medallion, made of the purest gold bullion ever refined and worth $5.8 million, was stolen from the Bode Museum in Berlin—and has never been found  → Read more at macleans.ca


 February 1, 2019

A new exhibit at a landmark Vermont museum showcases the work of a renowned artist who calls New England Home. In his Windham County workspace, Johnny Swing transforms quarters, half dollars, and other…  → Read more at nbcboston.com


 February 1, 2019

Countless historical coins that differ from each other only in details are in storage at German state museums. Unlike paintings, these archaeological artifacts may not be labeled, marked or barcoded. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Factory Operation and Automation IFF developed a scanner and analysis software in collaboration with the Saxony-Anhalt State Office for Heritage Management and Archaeology, which digitally capture the visual features of coins and describe them exactly in a matter of seconds. The scanning system can be used to identify and recognize coin finds.  → Read more at phys.org

Coin Collectors News
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It was for the wurst

Staatliche Münze Berlin
(photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

It seems that in my attempt to highlight numismatic-related news from somewhere other than the United States I may have done my wurst!

While the story about the currywurst commemorative coin seemed like something to poke fun at, I was reminded that Staatliche Münze Berlin, the Berlin State Mint (www.muenze-berlin.de), is not an official government mint. It is a private mint that has been contracted by the German government to assist in producing coins. Their website reports that they produce one-fifth (20-percent) of all German coins.

Reports suggest that the Staatliche Münze Berlin has been under contract to Latvia to produce legal tender coins since 2014.

It appears that Staatliche Münze Berlin would be to Germany as the Pobjoy Mint is to the United Kingdom. Both a private mints that are contracted to strict legal tender coins that create their own commemorative.

This might mean we are safe from coins commemorating poutine and haggis. However, the idea of mixing curry with ketchup may be worth a try!

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