Skip to main content

Hope For the Hobby

by Roy Herbst 

One of the biggest laments you keep hearing about numismatics is who is going to be the future collectors since younger people seem to have, at best, a lackadaisical interest in the hobby.

I know my own children, despite my constant prodding, are just not interested. I have dragged them to coin shows and even an auction or two but to no avail.

I have given this problem some thought and came up with an idea that I think would be helpful.

My daughter is a second-grade teacher and I asked her if she could arrange for me to do a half-hour presentation on coin collecting to her class of about 20+ students.

She checked with her principal and they were fine with it. I decided to try and keep it as simple as possible by taking mostly circulated coins from the early 20th century (mainly Indian cents, Mercury dimes, Buffalo nickels, etc.) for a few reasons. One, I wanted them to be able to handle and look closely at the coins and their designs and also talk about how these coins were circulating when their grandparents were children.

If the kids got into it, I also brought some coins that were minted during the Civil War and a few coins that were even minted earlier. I brought an 1809 Bust half and told them it was minted during Abraham Lincoln’s birth year. I also brought a Saint-Gaudens double eagle.

The kids were ecstatic and couldn’t soak up enough information, they asked so many questions (and really good questions) about how the coins were made, what they were made of, and how valuable they were.

I ended up staying for more than an hour, and when I had to leave, the kids were disappointed I couldn’t stay longer.

I don’t know how many of these students will eventually come to our hobby but if even one does it will have been worth the effort.

I think one of the reasons we don’t get young kids interested in coin collecting is because, unlike when we were kids and silver and older designs could regularly be found in circulation, today’s coinage, in my opinion, is quite dull. I believe we have to catch them at an early age, to try and compete with computers, video games, and cell phones.

I plan on doing this each year when my daughter gets a new class.

This “Viewpoint” was written by Roy Herbst, an avid collector.

To have your opinion considered for Viewpoint, write to Editor, Numismatic News, 5225 Joerns Drive, Stevens Point WI, 54481. Email submissions can be sent to