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Collector optimism our little secret

Yesterday I took a walk down memory lane about the year 1966. I enjoyed it.

Apparently, many other hobbyists did as well

I received an email from one blog reader from which I would like to share a portion.

“Anyway, your work is insightful, engaging, entertaining, honest, and heartfelt; I see it in each and every piece you write.

“From my perspective numismatics and precious metal investment is alive and going nowhere. I have such a positive sentiment regarding the field and thought I would share that with you as too often I see writers feeding off doom and gloom headlines (I guess it’s an easy trap if you open a newspaper or read the banners on Yahoo).

“But, I’ve never felt more alive and pleased with the collection I will leave to my nieces and nephew some day, they seem equally eager to get holiday packages from me in the mail as they are always coins and bullion rounds these days. Their collections are coming along quite nicely I might add and have each taken their own interest in the hobby.”

I am grateful for the kind words, but there are three elements within these paragraphs that deserve further attention.

The first is the ease with which we can fall into gloom and doom.

That does seem to be an on-target observation about current business. No question the Great Recession hurt a lot of people and has made us more cautious than we otherwise might be.

The second point is the writer is clearly a collector and that fact alone seems to be his antidote to gloom.

I certainly find it to be the antidote.

Finally, he also seems to possess a secret that few other collectors do. He mentions the interest taken in the hobby by his nieces and nephews.

What accounts for this?

Most of us have gotten used to the indifference to numismatics of family members and relations.

I am happy for the writer and his relations and delighted he reached out to share his thoughts.

Numismatics has meant a great deal to me for almost my entire life. I have been fortunate to be a part of it and to be able to earn a living in the field.

Coin collectors are great people. They are by nature optimists. Otherwise, why would you even begin a collection?

There has to be the hope and/or expectation of finishing when you begin a set.

You know it takes time. You know it takes effort. You know it costs money.

Yet you are pulled into it believing it will somehow all work out.

That is optimism, pure and simple.

And from what I have seen of other collectors in my career, that optimism is amply justified.

(I will run all of the writer's email text in a future Letters column in Numismatic News. It is worth reading.)

Buzz blogger Dave Harper has twice won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."

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