Skip to main content

What better place to find the Benjamins?

Many young coin collectors leave numismatics when they get their driver’s licenses and begin dating.

Organized numismatics is aware of this. It is part of hobby lore.

When it comes to a choice between coins and girls in the minds of teenage boys, you know what the decision will be.

However, a grandfather who is witnessing this life choice has emailed to ask me for advice.

He writes:

“I recently signed my grandson up to receive a Christmas gift of a yearly subscription to Numismatic News in hopes he will continue to be a collector. But as a boy of 16 his interests are leaning towards girls. WOW – Who would see that coming! Any advice?”

He signs it: Grandpop – New Hope Pa.

How would you answer this?

You might want to shrug your shoulders and say, “That’s life.”

I will attempt to give advice.

Here goes:

Dear Grandpop:

Coins will always lose an either/or choice with girls.

If you want to do what you can to ensure that your grandson’s interest in coins is more durable than a passing fancy, you have to try to make them a means to achieve success on the dating front.

A potential girlfriend is not going to be impressed with a teenage boy who is a coin collector.

However, she will be impressed with a teenage boy who has available cash to spend on her as a result of his coin collecting.

There are active dealers who never gave up coins in their teenage years.

In fact, they learned the basics of the business while they were teenagers. It helped them generate income.

That’s the key for your grandson. Can he do something in numismatics to generate income?

Can he get a part-time job with a coin dealer?

Setting up tables on a bourse might earn him some money.

Accompanying a dealer to a show is another way to earn funds.

If he is a responsible person, there are ways to leverage this in numismatics.

It is his special edge.

If he is a potential writer, have him write school assignments about coins.

He can earn a good grade and give a teacher something a little bit unusual to read.

Tell him to watch Numismatic News for numismatic scholarships.

The American Numismatic Association offers them.

Coin dealers offer them.

If he has some ambition, he can take advantage of this.

If you are going to a coin show, take him along.

Ask him to scout out the best deal on the floor for a coin you are looking to buy.

Give him a figure that you are willing to spend and tell him if he can find it cheaper, he gets to keep the difference.

You will get your coin, and he will have cash for the following Friday night.

If he truly has an interest in numismatics, it will stay with him.

Still, he might set aside his interest completely.

Do not dispair. Many successful lifetime coin collectors quit around the age of 16 and then came back to it around 40.

There is nothing wrong with this.

Know that you have done your best.

You should feel pleased to be a grandfather who has helped him form fond memories of coins.

This is all you can do.

The rest is up to him.

His generation knows it is all about the Benjamins.

He can earn some in numismatics if he wants to.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog for the third time in 2017 . He is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."

• Like this blog? Read more by subscribing to Numismatic News.