I have just had word that a coin club has died.
It could be any club experiencing declining attendance. But it is the Inland Empire Coin Club in Washington State that has reached its end.
Treasurer Jon Kettner writes: “In December we always have the election of officers for the next year. As usual, our attendance for December was down because no one wants to be elected as an officer. It has been down ever since. Down to about six members plus the officers who continued their duties from last year because there was no election.
“On June 6th the IECC held their last meeting ever. We decided to disband because of lack of attendance by members.”
Many if not most coin clubs are experiencing declining membership as is noted from time to time in letters to the editor in "Numismatic News" or reports in the Club section of the paper.
Collectors who do attend coin club meetings are getting older.
According to Kettner, the club was founded in 1953. It has been in continuous operation since, a run of 63 years.
Like a tontine, or a last man’s club, the final members were given an unspecified gift for their continued support.
Kettner said it was not all bad news before the end came.
The club had sponsored a show for the last 15 years. The most recent one in April in Center Place, Spokane Valley, Washington, had attendance of 250 and a bourse of 39 tables.
There were hourly door prizes as well as a drawing with five silver American Eagles and a 1910 gold $2.50 as prizes.
That sounds like most local coin shows, doesn’t it?
Yet the club sponsoring it has died.
Those of us who continue to be active collectors are mindful of the challenge of how to pass numismatics on to the next generation.
In this case, a local club has failed.
I expect this news will spur action and some good may come of the bad news.
We must keep moving ahead.
The alternative is to sit around and wait and hope that we will make it to the end when the legacy of the last 150 years of organized numismatics is divided up among the last survivors.
Buzz blogger Dave Harper has twice won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."
- If you enjoy reading about what inspires coin designs, you’ll want to check out Fascinating Facts, Mysteries & Myths about U.S. Coins.