What does the future hold for coin collecting?
Everybody would like to know the answer.
All we can do is guess.
In my case, I see a distinct possibility that we won’t know for sure in my lifetime.
Why? Consider this.
Many current collectors began as children.
When teenage social life beckoned, they stopped.
College, career and families came next.
Only when they reached their 40s did some of these child collectors return to become active numismatists.
This is a very common pattern.
Because it is, the outcome takes many years to be fulfilled.
When was the last time we had a major influx of youngster as collectors?
It was during the state quarter program.
This wave of new collectors of all ages was so huge that the Mint claimed that there were 140 million people who were collecting state quarters.
There is no question that there was growth in active collector numbers during the program.
If large numbers each started as a kid at age, let’s say 8 years, what does this tell us?
A kid starting state quarters at age 8 in 1999 and leaving at age 15 in 2006 will not reach his or her 40s until the year 2031.
If you are worried about the future of the hobby in 2018, that is a long time to wait for an answer. No question.
If you are about my age, you will be in your 80s when this new wave of collectors returns to take up coin collecting in middle age.
I hope to be there to see the handoff.
It will be gratifying.
Even if events do not play out this way, it is important to remember that coin collecting is a long-term pursuit.
Collectors spend lifetimes at it.
Our two major national organizations are 127 and 160 years old, respectively.
There can be no greater testimonial to the permanence of numismatics than this.
Be glad of the stability.
However, if a quick answer to what fate has in store for us is what you want, you probably won’t get it.
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."
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