By William Kirchmann
The 75th anniversary for the Coin Club of Greater New Bedford, Mass. As the recording secretary of the club, I have been a member for one-third of its existence. Thanks to the determination of the prior membership, we have retained the notes of some of the earliest meetings of the club in 1938. It began as a group of local hobbyists, with the support of a prominent coin dealer from Providence.
The first notes mention the club started by forming a committee of interested numismatists to see if they wanted to have a club.
When they decided it was a good idea, meetings were arranged for the 10-12 participants to meet weekly. The club had an interesting first year in which their meeting schedule was interrupted for a couple of months by a minor event, the Hurricane of 1938, which flooded much of southern New England.
Through tough times, like a world war, and good times, like the coin club boom of the 1950s and 1960s, our club has continued its original premise of getting a diverse group of participants together and learning more about the hobby of numismatics.
Since the 1960s, the club has maintained a tradition of issuing wooden nickels for each of our shows and many of the designs have been displayed in national wooden nickel publications.
We no longer meet weekly but the club meets monthly on the fourth Sunday at 6 p.m. at Andrews-Dahill VFW Post 1531 at 477 Park Street, New Bedford, with local shows held at our meeting site four times a year.
As a group, we have traveled to the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia, ANA conventions in New York and Boston, and we took a summer trip to Cornish, N.H., the home and studio of Augustus Saint-Gaudens.
During the time I have been a member of the club, our membership has fallen as the ages and family circumstances of our longtime members have naturally taken its toll and we have seen other clubs in the area fold for lack of membership.
Lately with the interest in precious metals and new coin designs, times have gotten better and new members have joined our group. Active membership has doubled in the past half dozen years.
To keep up with the times and to spread the word about our club, we are now advertising on the Internet and have recently created a club website (www.ccgnb.com).
A good sign for the future, we are starting to see more young collectors attending our shows with their parents. Our biggest challenge is to convince those beginners to join our club and give us a chance to share our knowledge to make them better and more knowledgeable numismatists.
With the success of this goal, we hope to support club long into the future.
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