Those questions, or some form of them, are often tossed at me to initiate a discussion about what we should be doing to inspire youngsters to take up the coin collecting challenge.
This is a worthy topic, but it has nothing to do with how my mind is working this week. Perhaps I am feeling a little ornery. I want to focus here on what I want to do, or what collectors of a similar age to mine might want to do.
As worthy as it is to inspire the next generation, I don’t think collectors my age are ready to pack it in. What will inspire me to continue on in numismatics for the next 10 years, or 20 years or 30 years? That is a question that is often on my mind.
Have you thought about it?
I have had collectors in their 90s telephone me about new Mint issues. I hope I can stay as engaged in the hobby as they obviously are. I don’t want to wander about the house putting labels on things indicating who should get them when I pass on. Prudent planning – yes, but then it will be back to doing what interests me.
I think the greatest inspiration any collector can provide for our collective future is to be observed by others doing something he or she loves to do.
Most people I know can tell when I am doing something I love to do. They can also tell when I am doing something that I probably wouldn’t choose to do if I had any choice at all in the matter.
After almost 50 years and now most of a career in numismatics, it is quite clear that I am not going through a phase. It was my good fortune to choose a field that seems to be always new and always interesting. I just want to keep jumping right into the middle of it.
Coin collecting may make us all better and healthier people and citizens – and I have written words to that effect many times before – but I don’t wake up in the morning asking how I can be a better citizen. Do you?
I wake up with plans in my head and a list of things I want to do. Or if I don’t wake up with them, they pop right into my brain as soon as I have a cup of my morning coffee in hand.
Yes, I know it can be quite a sight to see the nation’s middle-aged coin collectors on bourse floors across the country. But rather than worry all the time about how we all might be replaced at some indefinite point in the future, I think it is important for each of us to spend some time mapping out how we are going to finally fulfill our fondest collecting wishes.
That’s what it’s all about.
As we go about trying to find the coins we have always wanted, or dreamed of owning because they are just beyond our reach, our obvious passion for the collecting task is what is contagious.
Noncollectors of whatever age will either shake their heads and go away, or jump right in and try to figure out what gets so many of us worked up. When they figure it out, our future is secure.