Skip to main content

Do you know where coins are going?

The future is on the minds of hobby leaders.

They want to know what hobbyists are thinking about our prospects.

A poll is being conducted until Dec. 19 by the American Numismatic Association and the Florida United Numismatists. It was in my morning email.

Participants are restricted to those who are invited to attend the “Future of Numismatics Symposium,” which will be held Jan. 8, 2019, in Orlando.

This happens just prior to the FUN convention opening.

Because most collectors will not receive this, I have listed the 10 questions below.

I hope you will read them. I know you will have opinions.

As you can see, these questions touch upon important issues.

Do numismatic dealers adequately promote collecting and hobby enjoyment by inspiring and encouraging their customers and the general public?

Do mass marketers of numismatic material to the general public pose a threat to the future of collecting?

Are coin shows and conventions still relevant in today’s world?

Is public education an important part of these numismatic shows and conventions?

Based on current and historical pricing models, do collectible coins offer good value to today’s hobbyists?

Do complicated methods of grading and pricing have a detrimental effect on the hobby?

Are digital media, the Internet and other cutting-edge technology important to the future of numismatics?

Is accurate numismatic information readily available to collectors and the general public?

Do you anticipate a bright future for the numismatic hobby and industry?

Can a knowledge of the past help guide the numismatic hobby in planning for the future?

How would you respond to these questions?

I have often written that I am an optimist.

Some of my answers will probably differ from those offered by others.

Most coin dealers do their utmost to promote collecting. Is that adequate? More promotion is always better.

Calling mass marketers a threat is over the top.

The fact that numismatics attracts mass marketers indicates that the field is strong and has a future. Otherwise, they would not choose to be in it.

Coin shows are relevant today, but they are changing.

Education will become increasingly important.

As far as good value goes, some coins are good value. Some are not. Many fit neither definition. This has been true in all years since I began collecting in 1963.

But there is no question we do not collect in the same way as we did in 1963.

Bags and rolls are much less important than they were in the 1960s.

Remember the one-ounce silver bar craze in the 1970s?

How about modern commemoratives in the 1980s?

I don’t even know how to characterize the 1990s. Five lousy years were followed by five better ones.

Turn of the century? The Internet took over and is getting stronger.

The “I don’t know anything about” online marketing ploy, “but I just happen to have one for sale” is not as effective as it once was.

Now we have -70 graded coins where years ago we thought the grade would never be used.

We have seen a lot of change in my time. A lot of change is still to come.

We cannot go back to so-called simpler times. We know what we know.

We have books where none previously existed. These references are road maps for our new approaches to collecting. They are digitized.

At all times, some hobbyists do not like what is happening. Some leave. But if you stuck around after the great clad coin disillusionment of the mid-1960s, you have proven your staying power.

But it is good to find out what hobbyists are thinking.

ANA and FUN are to be commended for taking this poll.

ANA is an education-based organization.

That is still the firmest foundation for it to stand on.

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."