Lots more on this topic came up recently. See Detecting if a scalar has a number or string, which includes a lot of discussion about how to treat objects that overload like numbers. I personally like Re^3: Detecting if a scalar has a number or string by davido, which ducks a lot of the issues and tests to see if a given input would generate a warning if used in arithmetic -- which is what I usually find myself wanting to check when I'm being given user input (as opposed to whether something is represented internally as a number or string).
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