Editor's note: The following post
is one in a series by Paul Gilkes about challenges facing hobby
organizations and their publications. Organizations are facing how
to balance demand for traditional print publications with the
freedom digital and other electronic journals offer.
Read more from the series:
In the wake of the California State Numismatic
Association's vote to
discontinue printing journal,
California Numismatist, in favor of a digital-only
publication, here's a look at how other major numismatic associations
use print and digital media to keep their members, and the greater
1. Liberty Seated Coin Club
While not as long-lived as the American Numismatic Association, the Liberty Seated Collectors
Club has published the print periodical
Gobrecht Journal for more than three
decades, and now also produces electronically
The E-Gobrecht, delivered by email.
LSCC is not resting on the laurels of 30-plus years of service
to a membership who collects Seated Liberty coinage; it recently
announced improvements to the print journal, to include the use of
full color in what has up to now been a black-and-white
LSCC President Gerry Fortin and Bill Bugert,
publishing chairman, explain the differences between the club’s two
publications. The print journal is for publishing and sharing Seated
Liberty research with members. The E-Gobrecht is the monthly
newsletter for sharing regional meeting events, current auction news
and Seated Liberty coinage discoveries. The print journal can provide
more extensive articles on these discoveries.
RELATED: Club journals and publications useful for
collectors and hobby
SCC does something with its print publication that is virtually
unprecedented in the hobby. Every five to 10 years or so, it takes the
articles in the print publication and assembles them into a bound
edition called The Gobrecht Journal Collective Volumes.
Articles are arranged by denomination, with a section containing
articles about Seated Liberty coinage of a more general nature. The
group recently released the fifth volume in the hardcover series,
covering the print journals of 1995 to 2000.
platform, The E-Gobrecht, also offers fledgling numismatic
writers opportunities to hone their writing skills in a less formal
publication than the print.
LSCC has 630 members, all of
whom receive the print journal. The E-Gobrecht is sent to 650
people, about half of whom, Fortin and Bugert believe, are LSCC
The membership still requests the print version
“due to its long-standing history of providing ground-breaking Liberty
Seated coinage research,” according to Fortin and Bugert.
“The older Gobrecht Journals are collectibles among the
membership and a key source of research information where no
authoritative book has been published.”
Fortin and Bugert
say the increased print costs for expanding the physical size of
Gobrecht Journal and going full color has been offset by
increased advertising aggressively sought by club officers.
2. Numismatic Biblomania Society
Bibliomania Society delivers its print journal,
The Asylum, as part of a paid membership,
The E-sylum weekly by email free to anyone
interested. The club’s main audience is the collector of numismatic
literature — books, auction catalogs and more.
Wayne Homren, editor of The E-sylum, said the electronic
delivery of numismatic information has translated into new NBS
members, who receive print copies of The Asylum as a benefit.
“The audience for The E-Sylum is broader, to include ‘just
plain collectors’ and anyone else who enjoys collecting and learning
new things about coins, tokens, medals and paper money,” Homren said.
“The E-Sylum is free to all, and you don’t have to be an NBS
member to subscribe. We publish all back issues on our web site.
“Due to the electronic medium, The E-Sylum is a faster, less
formal means of communicating with readers. There is more interaction,
with readers raising topics or questions and getting responses in the
next weekly issue.
“I often describe it as ’a weekly cocktail party with many of the
top numismatists from around the world.’ It’s a community where
like-minded collectors can hang out and exchange news and information.”
Homren said nearly 1,800 email subscribers receive The
E-Sylum, with an untold number of unregistered web site visitors.
“It’s been very successful as a tool to simultaneously promote
numismatic knowledge and awareness of NBS,” Homren said. “We’re
constantly converting E-Sylum subscribers into paid NBS members.”
3. John Reich Collectors Society
The John Reich
Collectors Society offers the print
Reich Journal three times a year, and
Newsletter weekly via email.
Bradley S. Karoleff, JRCS president and John Reich Journal
editor, said all 350-plus JRCS members receive the print journal,
while the JR Newsletter currently reaches 522 email addresses. .
The print journal, which Karoleff says he finds easier to access, is
for research articles, while the e-newsletter is for quick news and
exchange of ideas between members and others.
“As with any collector club the success is directly attributed to
the officers and members who participate,” Karoleff said. “We have a
dedicated group of officers that do our best to serve the membership
“The authors that share their research and insights through articles
for the JRJ are creating a lasting contribution to numismatic
knowledge. Their articles are archived for history in the pages of our journal.”
As president and journal editor, Karoleff said he continually keeps
an eye on print and mailing costs to ensure the journal’s successful continuity.
“The printed journal is the ultimate repository of the history of
our club and the research concerning the coins of the Reich period for
posterity,” Karoleff said.
“A century from now, someone can sit down in their easy chair in
front of the fire with an adult beverage and enjoy the works of
today’s researchers much the same as we can do from those who
published before us.”
4. Carson City Coin Collectors of America
Rusty Goe, founder in 2005 of Carson
City Coin Collectors of America and editor of its journal,
Curry’s Chronicle, said the $30 annual
membership dues do not cover the journal’s printing and mailing costs.
Three journals are published annually.
The club focuses on coinage struck at the Carson City Mint.
With just 240 members, the group does not qualify for a quantity
discount on print costs, and even with bulk-rate mailing discounts,
membership dues do not cover all costs.
Goe, owner of Southgate Rare Coins in Reno, said he has been
subsidizing the publication costs.
“From the feedback we have received, most members appreciate the
printed journals,” Goe said by email. “While the majority of our
membership is connected to the Internet, and would probably readily
use an online version of our journal, if available, we have many
traditionalists (call them old-fashioned) who prefer to hold a printed
copy while they read it.
“Members of this latter group take pride in having a full set of
Curry’s Chronicles on their bookshelves. Many of them consider the
printed copies of Curry’s as collector items.”
5. Early American Coppers
Coppers has published its journal,
Penny-Wise, for several decades, and also has
an electronic component.
EAC focuses on early American copper coinage, including half cents
and large cents struck by the Philadelphia Mint, and pre-federal
Harry J. Salyards, editor of EAC’s Penny-Wise since 1986,
says the publication for its current 1,100 members “has endured
because we have embraced technology, including an online presence,
without assuming that this can adequately replace the print medium.”
Salyards said when he first became editor, article contributions
were received by postal mail and had to be typed from scratch. As
technology evolved, more contributions were submitted by email, making
the publication process easier, he said.
Completed issues are published on the EAC website as soon as the
print version of each issue goes into the mail. The internet-posted
version is in color; the print version remains black-and-white.
“Philosophically, I remain committed to a presence in print,”
Salyards says. “I would note that paper has been around for 2,000
years, and I feel confident that numismatic research recorded on paper
will endure — whatever may happen to such information posted in The Cloud.”
Whether in print or in digital format, the dissemination of
numismatic information through multiple channels continues
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