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James Bucki

The Future of the Coin Collecting Hobby

By September 27, 2013

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 gold and silver coinsAccording to a report on Reuters, the United States Postal Service is paying a consulting agency over half a million dollars to assess the future of stamps. If it is recommended that stamps have no future and they should be replaced with alternate methods of paying postage (i.e. credit card methods or electronic payment methods) that will be the end of postage stamps as we know them. Additionally, this will also kill the stamp collecting hobby. There has been a lot of discussion about how to "save" the coin collecting hobby since very few young people are getting involved with it. The membership of the A.N.A. is getting older and shrinking.

What do you think? Should a similar company be employed to help us find a solution to the "coin collecting hobby problem?" Is there a problem? If so, can it be solved? I have my thoughts and opinions and I would like to see yours in the comment section below.

Image courtesy of: Getty images

Comments

September 27, 2013 at 12:29 pm
(1) Bill Tretinik says:

Aside from Stamps and coins, many other venerable interests are fading from today’s scene. With the onset of “electronics”, I see the stamp world as being a growing interest for those who collet USED stamps. Newly issued are expensive based on the interests of various stamp levels. I have a large collection of used stamps from my travels and interest. Today I do not collet newly issued stamps on a regular basis…too costly…especially for the older stamps

September 27, 2013 at 4:04 pm
(2) Charles says:

While membership to traditional clubs and societies might be going down, coin collecting is alive and well on the internet. Online auctions have given coin collectors limitless possibilities to add coins to their collections and read up on the subject. While my father might of went down to the local bank or coin shop to add his collection. Or meet a few fellas once a month to discuss coins. All I have to do is click on a mouse and the coin world is at my fingertips. I’m actually trying to collect a coin from every country in the world, something my father would of never thought of in his wildest dreams of doing.

September 28, 2013 at 2:58 pm
(3) david gawlak says:

if not for collecting, what about as a precious metal? silver gold etc. for industry. what is doing away with stamps have to do with coin collecting anyway? seem to me the usps is going down the tubes anyway. the us mints cant seem to keep up with printing demand as it is.

September 28, 2013 at 5:37 pm
(4) Irwin says:

O.K., I’m 70 years old and have always been interested in coin collecting.
to me it has always been as an investment vehicle . Currently, I am focusing on Morgan Dollars, and MS70 silver eagles. Lately , some of my grandchildren have shown interest in coins. They like the way they feel in the hand as well as their beauty. Hey, it’s a start !

October 3, 2013 at 4:26 pm
(5) Ray Perrotti says:

I started collecting coins over fifty years ago and was immediately bit buy the coin bug. Back then it was relatively easy to start a collection and find coins of value in pocket change. Today it is much different. Doesn’t seem to be anything around worth collecting. Coins are minted in the millions and millions of units. Not so years ago. There are millions and millions of dollars worth of one dollar coins sitting in vaults when they could be circulating and bringing something new to the marketplace. We need to give people [ kids] something to get excited about. The only way you can get the dollar coins now is through the mint. The country needs to re-evaluate this for starters.

October 3, 2013 at 5:14 pm
(6) Harry M. Campbell says:

If I go into a coin shop and buy a coin from a completely honest dealer for $600.00 and then the next day go to the other side of town and sell the same coin to a completely honest dealer, he will give me $300.00 for the same coin. That doesn’t sound like a fun hobby to me. Coins might be a fun hobby, but they’re a terrible investment. As they say in the investment business, there’s too much spread between the bid and ask. – way too much.

October 3, 2013 at 5:36 pm
(7) David says:

I started collecting stamps and coins in 1948. I was 5 years old. This may be hard to believe but I collected most of the Liberty Nickel set from change. My first one was the 1885. When I saw it was worth $5 I was hooked. I received a 20 Cent piece in change that the vendor gave me instead of a quarter. We regularly found 100 year old coins in change.

I quit stamp collecting in 2000 as the USPS was, and still is, putting out so many new stamps that it was very expensive to continue. I have stopped collecting most new coins for the same reason. It is too commercial and no fun. Children are not interested because the collections are not electronic and you can’t find much in change.

Both of the “hobbies” will die. The business won’t die because there is too much money to be made.

October 3, 2013 at 5:41 pm
(8) Jim Bucki says:

Harry,

If you pay $25,000 for a car and drive it off the dealer’s car lot and take it to a dealer across town, he will pay you about $20,000 for it. But yet people keep buying new cars. Why? This is how business works. Because the car dealer needs to make a profit to pay his employees and feed his family and pay his bills, etc.

James

October 3, 2013 at 6:12 pm
(9) darge says:

Hi Jim, my greatest concern is how jaded coin dealers are. They have a horror story for every coin and series, country and denomination.
I am passionate about coins, love every aspect of them, but after a visit to a coin dealer I feel like tipping them all in the toilet.
Maybe it’s different in the US, hope so. Have a great day, darge.

October 3, 2013 at 6:21 pm
(10) Bruce says:

There are still coins of value available but you have to find them. Must be done carefully if you’re reaching out to individuals who are not true coin collectors. Always be honorable.
Meanwhile, save those copper cents before 1982 and all nickels for copper content.
Five years from now? Coins with valuable metal which be much more expensive (valuable?) of only because of devalued dollars. Copper will have a much higher cost. Makes no sense to keep the U.S. cent, nickel could go, too. Any coin with silver and gold will continue to increase in value.

October 3, 2013 at 6:24 pm
(11) Stratton Anthony says:

Coins have gone the way of collector cards. Unscrupulous dealers, ridiculous prices, over grading, no local coin shops, online buying is a bad gamble at best, coin shows with no quality coins for sale, etc. Only place one can safely buy coins which are ‘as advertised’ is the US Mint, and they too are overpriced. The hobby is dead because it is no longer a hobby.

October 3, 2013 at 6:42 pm
(12) Jeremiah Smith says:

I think the future will do away with money and issue cards that allow so many credits per person. The future – based on this assumption – may discourage a lot of potential coin collectors. Also it is very hard to find a coin appraiser that will give you an honest appraisal.

October 3, 2013 at 8:56 pm
(13) Chuck Burkhard says:

In my opinion, coins have been around a long time and even if we stopped making coins, it would only make the coin collecting hobby that much more valuable. Coin collectors have been around for hundreds of years, and I do not see that changing in my life time. The only coin in my life time that will be eliminated due to inflation, will be the penny, albeit one of the most collected coins for new collectors, but most collectors are really not interested in those memorials, or shield nickels as much as the Indian head and colonial pennies. If they did stop production of that penny, those die hard collectors may turn their attention to the modern penny as a viable investment.

God Bless
Chuck

October 4, 2013 at 1:34 am
(14) Peter says:

I have been collecting coins for many a year now, and I have thousands, but I look at every coin as a miniature work of art, and when I think about it I marvel at the workmanship involved in making a coin, I believe there are others like me therefore coin collecting will continue for a long long time.

Regards PJL

October 4, 2013 at 7:41 am
(15) Nitin says:

Although Internet has almost eliminated use of paper mails, and hence we don’t get stamps on envelopes (all current mails have printed stamps), the good thing it has given is limitless networking.
However with the actual usage of stamps and coins/notes going down (replaced by cyber equivalant), slowly these items will be very historical and valued like that. We won’t be collecting new items but treasuring old ones.
Also the interest among people to take up these hobbies is diminishing in younger people (I started out at age 7) as they are engrossed in online games more. The more mature ones need to involve the freshers more in their hobbies through exhibitions for the common public. Unless we as collectors stop limiting our interaction with just the specialized people, the hobby will go away with us.

Technology can just make interaction initiation easier, however it still needs to be undertaken somehow…. that will needs to be created

October 4, 2013 at 8:47 am
(16) Charles Johnson says:

I believe that 25 years from now coins will be worth their melt value and ammunition will be the currency. If you can’t picture that let me invite you to try to find ammunition in a retail store today. Our government continues to buy millions of rounds for obscure federal agencies leaving none for citizens.

October 4, 2013 at 11:30 am
(17) Alan Marks says:

Charles Johnson…..you hit the nail on the head…..also, physical money will disapear and with it freedom will be further lost…digital 100% controlable currency will seem good and easy but it will only serve the ensalving Govt’s efforts to Big Brother us to death…..bank on that reality!

October 4, 2013 at 4:27 pm
(18) Ron Black says:

I agree with most of the comments so far that money both coins and notes are becoming a thing of the past and what this will lead to I’m not sure. I have been collecting coins for years now and still get the same amount of enjoyment now as I did when I started. We have two mints here in Australia which are the Perth Mint and Royal Australian Mint both of which produce some of highest quality and most sort after coins in the world and I am proud to collect their coins. The Perth Mint has a young collectors series which seems to be working well in having interesting coins at an affordable price. I know quite a few young people starting to get interested in coins and I love to go to the shows and share my knowledge with them, I have seen the age of the average person that attends coin shows here in Australia slowly getting younger, but more to the point the mints and even Australia Post have been trying to make coin collecting more affordable for all and more attractive by limiting the numbers of their issues.

October 4, 2013 at 4:43 pm
(19) Rex says:

I’ve also noticed that many young people have no idea why anyone would have fun collecting coins. They know very little about the subject and care even less. This is probably because the coin collecting population and organizations (i.e Stack’s Bowers, ANA, PCGS, NGC, etc) are virtually unknown to most people today, and many children have never handled an old or rare coin in their lives.

The reason that most people became interested in the subject of coin collecting 30, 40, 50 years ago had to do with the mass advertisements of penny boards and rare commemoratives in almost any magazine. If any of the people of that generation introduced their children or grandchildren to numismatics, even by simply showing them a few nice coins and giving them a Red Book, making them interested, the market would still be growing. However, they are not doing so.

As part of the very very small young populace interested and educated in the subject of numismatics (I’m 15), I hope I’m contributing to the future of coin collecting.

October 4, 2013 at 4:47 pm
(20) Rex says:

Also, if you want your children to become interested in coins, don’t go overboard and take them to guided tours or “educational” classes on the subject, just give them a couple of coins and tell them a little about the them, then let them get interested themselves.

October 4, 2013 at 11:32 pm
(21) Wally says:

I agree with our columnist, James Bucki. I too wish I had a crystal ball, but there aren’t any around. So here’s my story: I first became interested in coins as a youngster of 10 or 11 years. I handled some coins and I just noticed certain ones, e.g., Morgan dollars, Standing Liberty Quarters, Barber half-dollars, etc. Those were the less common coins in the 1950′s and they caught my interest. Fast-forward to 1999 and the start of the “States Quarter” series. That’s when I actually started my collecting “habit”. It wasn’t because they were valuable, it was because they were attractive and available – at face value. In the years since 1999, I’ve revisited some of my old favorites and now have many of them in coin albums. My interest stems from the artistic appeal and the history, i.e., who might have handled this coin since it was minted. When I buy a new coin or collection, I try to insure that I pay a reasonable price so that my estate will recover a price equal to or greater than the price I paid. But once the purchase is made and I hold the coin(s) in my hand the price fads and he history and art is all that matters. So my answer is that I was interested just because I liked the coins and I hope others find the same joy in collecting. If they do, my estate will find a ready market for my collections, if not, they will just be curious trinkets at some future yard sale. Either way, I’m enjoying my personal pursuit of happiness.

October 5, 2013 at 11:12 pm
(22) David says:

I agree with Charles Johnson, but don’t think it will take 25 years for ammunition to become a currency of sorts. The government is taking ammunition out of circulation the way they did gold. I had a 65 year run at collecting and am glad I was able to enjoy the hobby.

October 6, 2013 at 10:19 am
(23) jeefffa says:

when people get tired of collecting money, the world will cease to exist.

October 10, 2013 at 12:31 pm
(24) Robert Ripley says:

Publishing the values of stamps & coins in the news should stimulate more interest in both hobbies. Let more people realize the fun and the profits from collecting coins. I’m not a collector but am interested in finding the valuable coins, and learning the history

October 10, 2013 at 4:53 pm
(25) Trumpeter David B. Hooten says:

Coin collecting is something that must be taught and handed down generation to generation, although today’s youth have so many more destructions. I personally think an inner active video game available online could be a great education tool and a forum for parent child interaction. The art of music, coin collecting, fishing, and hunting would be, in my humble opinion, most importantly be preserved by such an undertaking. Our children would all be served better to understand the difference between good and great is the attention to details.

October 10, 2013 at 5:49 pm
(26) M.L. says:

Part I – I fear that no one will accomplish anything by sitting back and bemoaning how few new young people are entering the hobby then asking what someone else will do about it. I am fully in agreement with Ghandi who said: “Be the change you want to see.”
Thinking of how we all were introduced to coins as young people by “interesting” older relatives and friends, I and a group of other folks who met corresponding on-line via a yahoo ancient coins group asked ourselves what we could do about the seeming dearth of new young collectors.
This small group of on-line friends and I took our concern that not only did there seem to be few young folks becoming interested in ancient coins (the specialty we all had in common) but that the educational system, in general, was giving very short shrift to Classical History, Classical Art & Culture and similar subjects. A little over 12 years ago we founded and continue to operate Ancient Coins for Education, Inc. as a vehicle for sharing our passion for the hobby / pastime / avocation – however you want to characterize it – with as many young people as we can.

October 10, 2013 at 5:50 pm
(27) M.L says:

Part II – We are an all-volunteer, strictly not-for-profit organization and we supply genuine ancient coins (common, plentiful and inexpensive late Roman bronzes, mainly) to teachers who want to enrich their students’ educational experience by including actual ancient coins in their classroom programs. We also provide suggestions for using coins in classroom settings, as well as lesson plans, visual aids and a large body of curriculum support and general educational materials useful for study of the subject which we maintain on our website for the free use of anyone for educational and non-profit purposes.
We are a small group. Few are willing to make the commitment to the non-profit ethic as we have done, so the number of schools to which we can reach out is necessarily limited. However, for the last 12 years anywhere from several hundred to over a thousand students per year have participated in one or another of the programs we suggest and support. We have always structured these programs in such a way that each student who participates will take home and own the ancient coin he or she has studied.

October 10, 2013 at 5:51 pm
(28) M.L. says:

Part III – How many new ancient coin collectors have we inspired or will we inspire to take up the hobby? It’s difficult to tell. Often it is years, if ever, before an initial introduction or suggestion blooms into a personal participation in the actual hobby. However, we have literally put ancient coins in the hands of tens of thousands of students over the years. We hope of course that in years to come a new generation of collectors and students of numismatics will emerge to take up the torches from our faltering, aging hands. Only time will tell if this will be so, but the point is that we are doing something about it, “Paying it forward”, in the vernacular. If ancient coins aren’t your cup of tea, I suggest to anyone who is seriously concerned about the future of your hobby that you try to share your passion for coins or stamps or fossils or whatever with young people – you may be pleasantly surprised with the results.

October 11, 2013 at 6:17 am
(29) Randy Blanning says:

I have been collecting coins for over fifty years. Because I am a collector, I try to keep aware of what I might have in my pocket. I find that most people have little or no idea about coins. I live in Greece, and my sister and her husband recently visited me from LA. I asked him to try to pull a set of 1999 Lincoln cents from his change. “What’s special about them?” He didn’t know that the USA issued four coins to commemorate 200 years of good ‘ole honest Abe! My son just left to visit his girlfriend in Warsaw. She seems to have little knowledge of the Polish 2 Zlotych commemorative series. Here in Greece we regularly get new commemorative 2 Euro coins. I show them to Greeks, and they are amazed. I thought that the 50 states commemorative quarter series breathed new life into American coin collecting, but from the facts presented in your article, that appears to not be so. What can save us (coin collecting)? More knowledge.

October 12, 2013 at 6:52 pm
(30) Sue says:

I have been in the field of Market Research for over 20 years and there is a real value in learning why the younger generations are not very interested in collecting coins. Why a company certainly does NOT have to spend $500,000 like the Post Office, a comprehensive market research plan will cost some money depending upon the methodology. The most successful companies in the world spend a lot of money on research, they know the market. I was a US coin collector in my younger years and have just started getting back into the hobby. I am saddened to see how few young people seem to collect anything. James, I am happy to discuss and develop a market research plan to gain statistically reliable and valid insight into the younger generations. You may contact me via email if this is of interest to you. Thank you.

October 15, 2013 at 2:54 am
(31) Ramona says:

Awesome post.

October 17, 2013 at 8:43 am
(32) Andy Lorenzi says:

Hello Jim,
I agree with an earlier comment in this listing. The internet has taken coin collecting to a new level. My collection and interest sat dormant for years. One day I saw an ad for Lincolns for sale on E-Bay and once I learned how easy and wide-ranging buying was, my collection swelled to levels not pleasing to my wife :-)

Keep up the good work promoting our passion!
Andy from PA.

October 18, 2013 at 9:27 am
(33) Bill says:

I would caution against suggesting or inferring that the hobby and/or business is declining as a function of ANA’s membership decline. For years, ANA has victimized its members with headlines in the trades about incessant in-fighting; lawsuits; bad hiring decisions; public sniping at past & present board members, etc. I agree with M.L.’s comment about “sitting back and bemoaning how few new young people are entering the hobby then asking what someone else will do about it.” Collectors, dealers, grading firms, and the media all should be better ambassadors of the art and science of coin production and collecting. I do follow my own advice in this regard, but I often feel like my efforts are negated by ANA’s nonsense; snarky dealers at coin shows (not to mention those who are too busy packing a day or two early to even talk to customers); and the industry’s inaction on issues ranging from taxation to counterfeiting. If the status quo continues, we will surely see a decline, but as one very reputable dealer told me recently, it is not uncommon for people to discover or rediscover numismatics in their 30′s of 40′s, when they have more time, disposable income, and appreciation for numismatics. Rising prices on ultra-rarities and high-grade slabbed & unslabbed product substantiate this assertion, at least to some degree.

November 11, 2013 at 1:52 am
(34) Steve Blacik says:

People today like social media–not necessarily conducive to building a collection of slabbed Morgan dollars. So picture an enterprising, ethical, and trustworthy company putting a large collection of coins on social media and letting people buy and trade and sell shares in beautiful coins–rare artwork. They could read Wikipedia about the coins and watch their investments grow and show them off. When an investment grew to include an entire coin, they could request and receive physical delivery. Talk about fun!! A consortium of savvy dealers would love it. . .guaranteed to bring new people and, more importantly, their money into the hobby.

February 12, 2014 at 2:14 am
(35) R.J. says:

(Part 1) Back when the state quater program started, I had a little bit of interest in coin collecting and decided to start with the new issues of quarters. I wanted them to have intrinsic value, so I looked to see if there were any being minted with precious metal content. I came across gold layered quarters and I thought it was great and bought a few. I collected the first 20 states and then I discovered that the quarters were gold plated and grossly over priced. I was ignorant of wording that implied gold plating and was extremely dissappointed at this discovery.

I stopped collecting the quarters and later found that there were silver issues, but by this time the early sets had appreciated a great deal. So, this whole experience killed my desire to collect, at least for the time being.

February 12, 2014 at 2:23 am
(36) R.J. says:

(Part 2) Through my expensive education of gold plated quarters, I learned a lot and became interested in American silver eagles. I started investing in the silver bullion eagles regularly and was quite had with what I saved over time.

However, I eventually grew more interested in coins that had more numismatic value. I was given a red book as a gift and it was the best learning tool anyone could have given me as a novice coin collector. It has been 3 years since I recieved that Red Book and I have worn it out because I look at it almost daily.

I am currently, I will continue to be a coin collector for years to come. I have a lot of Mercs in M.S. grades, nice half dimes, and I am planning to buy more quality coins.

February 12, 2014 at 2:41 am
(37) R.J. says:

(Part 3) I don’t think coin collecting as a hobby is dying. If anything, it may be a little dormant. This is due to lack of knowledge and the evolving change in the coins that were once in circulation. The public at large, knows little to nothing about the history of American coinage and/or where and how to obtain genuine pieces. When the average person gets exposed to coins, it’s usually to the “rip-off” infomercials and commercials.

There is a lot of history, beauty, and potential profit in coin collecting and those are 3 qualities that I believe will keep the hobby alive and well. I truly believe if more people knew about “money”, the prices of coins would sky rocket.

March 28, 2014 at 4:27 pm
(38) James Waters says:

Coin collecting will never be as popular as it use to be 40-50 years ago. The money to be made is at the high end of collecting and among those who deal coins on a daily basis for a living. The collector has to be fairly well off financially even to collect basic sets. Why spend your hard earned money on coins that will never be rare or valuable unless you can afford it. As a collector for 55 years I’ve seen many unscrupuluos dealers ruin the hobby for many generations. It takes a bit of luck to come out on top in this hobby. Enjoy it if you can. And if you can’t then move on down the road. It is kind of like golf. It takes time and money to be halfway able to enjoy the game. If you curse and complain then please go away.

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