I am both sad and happy to get such a letter. I am sad because the writer is in a physical situation that I cannot help with. I am happy that he finds Numismatic News to be a pathway to escape from his daily situation and to offer a constructive diversion.
The diversion part is something I can help with. We collectors find the hobby so intellectually stimulating and the search for coins so challenging that it does indeed help us escape for a while from our daily cares.
People with hobbies benefit in all aspects of their lives from this effect. The benefits can take many forms. If it gets the collector’s mind off worries, or stress, it probably lowers his or her blood pressure and improves his or her heath and disposition.
If a collector makes astute purchases, it can aid him financially.
If he happens to learn something from history, his mind is improved and he becomes a better all-around person.
Coin collecting is not a cure all, but it does have the power to make life better. It offers goals that each collector alone sets for himself. Success is defined as each collector defines it. Satisfaction comes from having control of something and constructively utilizing the responsibility.
I wrote a note to the letter writer thanking him for his kind words and answering his question. Oh yes, he did have a question. If that doesn’t make him a typical collector, I don’t know what does.