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Collectors: Your Hobby Needs You

By Mitch Ernst

I write this on the heels of our Central States Numismatic Society Board voting to cancel our convention for the second year in a row. COVID-19 and the resulting governmental restrictions have been tough on all of us. Some have lost loved ones. Some have lost their businesses. Some children have lost a year in school. Most people have had their lives disrupted and delayed for over a year. I know I can only speak for myself, but I would venture to say that the decisions made by the boards of numismatic organizations in this challenging environment have been incredibly difficult. I know they have been for us. We understand the feeling of being let down, the feeling of frustration and the anxiety caused by the unknown. I can personally say I feel I have aged 10 years in the past year. I’m probably not the only one.

We are all hurting. We all feel frustration and the nagging questions which cause us to wonder if things will ever return to normal. Those same emotions and worries apply to your friends in the numismatic community as well. Many clubs haven’t met in over a year. Many local clubs were living on the edge as it was, even without all of the mandatory cancellations.

So, with that in mind, may I say, the hobby needs you more than ever. The clubs you are involved with need you. Because we haven’t seen each other, may I suggest you call your friends from the hobby and see how they are doing? Talk coins! Talk about what you miss. Talk about the shows you miss attending and the dealers you miss seeing. Sure, there have been opportunities to continue to buy and sell online while we’ve been locked down, but those dealer friends that you have made acquaintance with over the years miss seeing you at shows as much as you miss seeing them. Give them a call and just say “Hi” and ask how they are doing and maybe even ask what they have for sale?

Again, I know firsthand what a disappointment our recent cancellation at Central States was for so many. I know because I know how disappointed we at CSNS were to make that decision. In January we thought we may just luck out and be the first big show in a year. We weren’t that lucky. If you know a board member at any organization, may I suggest that you contact them and let them know you are still with them through thick and thin? If you are a member of a club, please pay your dues. If your membership has lapsed, please consider renewing your membership. If you can’t get together with your club, why not offer to write an article for your club newsletter? And believe it or not, a note of encouragement to the people you know in numismatic leadership may help them know their members are still invested and that you are hanging in there with them. We understand it is our social interactions, particularly through shows and club meetings that fuel this hobby of ours for dealers, members and collectors. Without that fuel, clubs need to know that you are engaged like we have never needed you to be before. You may not have realized it, but many dealers have rolled their bourse table fees over for two consecutive years now? Not only is that a sacrifice for them, it is a godsend to organizations because we still have contracts to pay, expenses to print and mail out newsletters and we also have deposits of our own that we were asked to roll over. We are all affected. That’s why it is just as important that we all continue to pay our dues and stay engaged.

Clubs are membership-based organizations and even though we haven’t been able to socialize like we have in years gone by, we are still members together. But if you don’t let your friends in hobby leadership know, they may not know you are still with them. Let them know that you are thinking about them and you are thankful for their leadership in these incredibly difficult and unprecedented times. Let them know that you plan to help support and promote our beloved hobby through your membership as you have done in the past.

As I end, I hope you all forgive me if the above sounds a bit self-serving, but hey, can you blame me? Because the reality is, those of us who serve on boards really miss seeing you all too.

Mitch Ernst is a longtime numismatic hobby promoter, serving as president of the Omaha Coin Club, the Nebraska Numismatic Association and Central States Numismatic Society. He has been recognized for his hobby involvement by being named a recipient of the American Numismatic Association’s Medal of Merit and the Numismatic Ambassador Award. The non-profit world is familiar to Ernst as he has his Masters of Divinity from Oral Roberts University and is also a certified fundraising manager.

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