The Professional Numismatists Guild deserves a round of applause for addressing what has been a large gap in the hobby’s programming for young people.
Typically young numismatist programs end at age 18, although the American Numismatic Association expanded it to age 22 to help bridge the gap between high school and college-aged YNs. Once essay writing and exhibiting has lost its charm to young people, there has been little to help guide YNs to a professional career in numismatics.
The PNG program is addressing this void by providing a professional entry point for young numismatists 21 to 32 with an interest in turning their curiosity about coins into a career.
The program provides a wide range of experiences that match the career trajectories of many thirtysomethings currently employed in the coin field.
With experiences including rotations at an auction house, a grading service, a coin shop and a dealer on the coin show circuit, the interns should get a full 360 degree introduction to the rare coin industry.
Based on the program’s description, it provides a little bit of everything: From the front counter at a coin store where someone has to sort through and value assorted coins quickly, to the fast-paced hustle of a bourse floor. From the quiet darkness of a grading room to a large auction house where nearly anything and everything numismatic might cross one’s desk as consignments arrive before an auction.
The PNG program highlights a key issue limiting our hobby: Many young people with an interest in coins have no idea where to get started pursuing the interest as a career path.
The business of coin dealing lacks formal training in the United States and success has always been a combination of talent, interest, luck and mentorship. Few could argue that a formal degree in any subject can’t somehow be applied to a career in coins, but a good eye, solid general business sense and knowledge about coins is just as important.
The formal internship program is healthy for the long-term strength of the hobby by helping train another generation of coin dealers.
But, more can be accomplished.
One hopes that as the PNG program develops it will assume a responsibility for bringing underrepresented groups including women and minorities into professional positions in the hobby. As demographics change, programs like this can train a new generation of professionals and at the same time, add needed diversity in our hobby.