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Baby boomers have coins to fall back on

Recent coin drop has Numismatic News editor feeling nostalgic.

Coin collecting sure is popular these days. If you saw Scott Travers on the national news media during National Coin Week, you are not alone. Most of America did. He dropped three valuable cents into circulation in New York City by spending them.

How many people will check their change as a result? I don?t know, but some people will. That is good for the hobby. Scott will probably also get a few calls in his capacity as a professional numismatist and/or numismatic author.

Numismatic News and later the American Numismatic Association used to do coin drops just before the ANA summer convention. They didn?t cause a tenth the stir of Scott?s recent effort. However, 10 to 15 years ago, the national news media was not nearly as receptive to numismatic topics as it is today. The local media was hardly doing somersaults either.

What has changed? Well, the American people have become progressively more aware of numismatics. The state quarter program, record rare coin prices and rising bullion values have helped prepare the ground. However, as a professional in this field, I have to tip my hat to the professional competence of Donn Pearlman. It takes someone to cultivate the media ground for numismatists like Scott and that is Donn?s specialty. He is a hobby asset in the public relations field. He knows what he is doing and he gets the job done.
What?s the job? Getting the news media to notice us. He gets paid to do that. Really. He is the 21st century equivalent to B. Max Mehl?s radio ads offering to pay $50 for 1913 Liberty Head nickels.

Jealous? Sure I?m jealous ? at least a little bit. This is a competitive business after all, but more than that, I am pleased. I have worked with Donn for years and I can say he is a professional in every sense of the word. I used to listen to him on News Radio 78, WBBM Chicago. Now he has his own PR firm and he lives in Las Vegas. How neat is that?

With every passing year, the idea of trading in an Upper Midwest winter for a warmer climate gets more appealing. Donn did it and utilizes his professional skills as well. You might have noticed his photograph in the April 25 issue?s photo pages of the ANA convention in suburban Atlanta.

Perhaps you have a warm clime in mind to retire or semi-retire to, or just change the page in the book of your life. How you manage it is your own affair, but I have to point out that with all the Baby Boomer retirement stories out in the financial media, it is reassuring to this Baby Boomer that I have some numismatic background to fall back on.

Obviously, Donn does too. More importantly, so do you. Our surveys show that many of our readers are Baby Boomers.

What an asset we have. I have met Baby Boomers on the nation?s bourse floors who have jumped from another career to full-time bourse coin dealer. Others do it at a vest-pocket level. Still others sign on as employees of other dealers and help them get from place to place and man the bourse tables besides. Others just jump online and become an eBay merchant. All it takes is a little thought and determination. You too can find a niche.

This kind of job activity is not the whole of the story either. Collectors also have their collections to fall back on. If you have spent most of your life keeping a collection and building it lovingly, it can be used to help support you in later years. Coins have risen in value. They are an asset. They can be sold.

Any ordinary 90-percent silver U.S. coin today is worth 10 times face value. That?s not a bad base. I started collecting coins when I was eight. I can have some connection to the hobby at age 80. It is all up to me. It is also up to you.
Figure out what you want in retirement and use your numismatic interests and skills to help you achieve it. Perhaps you want to retire to a nice little casa on a Costa Rican beach, but even there, the existence of computer links and growing disposable incomes around the world can keep you in the numismatic game.