Very often I hear from the general public that our hobby is in dire straits. People say young folks and the young at heart are no longer interested in coin and stamp collecting, and with video games and smart phones to connect to everything, there is no time left.
On the contrary. Our Florida club, the Flagler County Stamp and Coin Club, has seen unprecedented growth. We just signed up our 200th member.
We receive a lot of calls asking how we reached this goal.
First of all, we continue to provide announcements that are published in all the local newspapers and the free papers that are delivered to local residents’ homes. Officers of other clubs should take notice that all it takes is an email or letter to the community events section to describe your club along with the time and location of each meeting. It is important that your announcement interests people not involved with our hobby, such as by offering free appraisals of coins, stamps, gold, silver and jewelry. Always have a contact number and name listed, and if you receive a inquiry, you should get back to them quickly.
Our club participates in the annual local Home Show to bring our services to the public and encourage them to visit our club. We also conduct an annual stamp and coin show every year.
As a public service, our club conducts educational programs at schools and the library.
We produce a beginner’s stamp album, and along with the blue folders for holding coins we hand out coins, 2-by-2 holders, stamps and stamp hinges, and we show each person attending our presentations how to use everything. We make sure that everyone has a contact number if they need more assistance. We try keep these classes to one hour.
We encourage everyone that contacts us to visit our club with their holdings so we can appraise their items. If asked, we tell them that among our members we do have buyers if they wish to sell. We also tell them that they need to know the value of their holdings before they sell to those weekend vendors that show up at hotels and then disappear.
We also make every guest and member feel welcome at every meeting.
Our coin club also has its own website, www.stampandcoinclub.com, which is updated every month. However, remember that it is important to contact those members who do not have a computer to keep them informed.
I personally greet everyone that comes to a meeting. Before the meeting begins we allow at least an hour for trading, buying and selling. During the meeting we always have an educational presentation and we encourage our members to bring in anything of interest to share with the club. This does not have to be just coin and stamp related. At our May meeting two of our members showed Civil War relics that were used by their great-grandfathers.
We have a table at every meeting for free stamps, magazines and coin supplies that are given to those attending the meeting.
At our meeting we use the young members to hand out flyers and door prizes to keep the young collectors involved.
At the end of each meeting we have a live auction; this is also a lot of fun.
Yes, there is great interest in our hobby. We just have to get out there and introduce the young to it. Remember, it is the young that will carry on for us in the future.
Our club is about to start its summer programs. If anyone can help us out with coins, holders, stamps and supplies we would greatly appreciate it. Current catalogs and coin books would also be a great help.
Dave Rosenthal is president of the Flagler County Stamp and Coin Club, P.O. Box 351355, Palm Coast, FL 32135-1355; www.stampandcoinclub.com.