Crazy Little Thing Called Ethics. (Ba Doom Doom Doom....)
So what are these things called ethics and why should they matter to numismatics?
Ethics makes civilized life worth living. Ethics is what makes a dealer offer a discount to a buyer who hasn't attempted to dicker with him. Ethics makes a mechanic NOT recommend car repairs a customer doesn't need yet but might in a year. Ethics is pointing out that a lot in a local coin auction is the rare variety rather than the generic version listed in the catalog. Ethics causes a man to voluntarily pay more for a coin than his high bid in a coin club auction with poor attendance due to a freak snowstorm.
Ethics makes a man offer more than he is asked for, and take less than he is entitled to, then seek to repeat the experience. Ethics makes a well-off widow with a terminal diagnosis opt for palliative care rather than seek miracles in order to maximize her estate's assets for her struggling heirs. It compels a man to open the iPhone found in the men's washroom to try to identify and find its owner.
Ethics occupies that ill-defined but very real penumbra where law and morality intersect. It's what compels you to do the right thing even when you know for sure you can't get caught. It explains the car coming to a full and complete stop at the STOP sign at a deserted rural intersection in rural Oklahoma at 2:30 in the morning, the guy putting the note on the windshield of the car whose fender he scraped, and not waxing ridiculously poetic about gold's soon-to-come price rise into the stratosphere just because you sell the stuff. Ethics explains the long term businessman without an attorney on retainer, or even really knowing one personally. Ethics means disagreeing vehemently with your spouse without ever even thinking of divorce.
It makes a collector cringe just a teensy little bit when he sees the book "Cherrypicker's Guide" even though the hobby has long ago litigated and accepted the practice of cherry picking.
And ethics means being a PCGS spokesman and not attempting to justify your firm's ANA-Chicago "Fairy Tale" gold Kennedy half dollar slabbing practices, regardless of your "marketing strategy" or your "core competencies" or other corpora-speak!! That is UNLESS you intend to publicly admit your product is less genuine than your competitor's and apologize for it. Take your lumps like men and women, not hide like rabbits.
The cynical find ethics and those who value them self-righteous, annoying, and an easy mark or even a chump. Their day will come as surely as the sun rises tomorrow.
Your ANA, MY ANA, is supposed to be all about collector education and ethics in the coin hobby. We shall see. We shall see. Watch this space.