I plan to have lunch with Russ Rulau today. He recently wrote two articles for Numismatic News based on his numismatic experiences in his military service in the Far East during World War II and then in West Germany in the late 1950s.
The first article generated a great deal of feedback. Everybody seems to have an experience of World War II or a family member who does.
The article about Germany also is anchored in his personal experience, but it is something much less widely shared with others. It was also a much richer personal numismatic experience for Russ that helped lay the groundwork for his subsequent numismatic career.
This is almost a paradox.
If you share a common reference point with someone, the recalled experience is much more realistic and interesting than if you do not, even if you did not personally gain as much out of it as from other experiences.
Collectors know this on all sorts of levels, perhaps unconsciously, but then often run in the opposite direction when it comes to chances of actually bringing them into contact with other collectors to create shared experiences.
Where there are many collectors, few actually join the American Numismatic Association, the national collector organization, and even fewer join a local coin club.
Yet it is these very same organizations and clubs that set up the hobby’s framework and give us the common reference points that can enrich the overall hobby experience for every collector.
Why is that?