How are we able to get more young people into the coin business?
The rare coin industry has treated many dealers and collectors well. A large number of people have made good to great livings through coins, but what happens next when some of these dealers reach their golden years and retire? In order to keep this industry alive, we need to start recruiting the next generation.
Let’s look at a number of ways to reach out to the young numismatic community:
Start/sponsor a coin club at a high school, college or other location in your area. My local coin club has taught me an enormous amount about numismatics, provided me with a place to do business, a place to network with fellow dealers and collectors, and a place to just have fun. Promotion is easy: Just put the word out in local newspapers, online through social media, and on community billboards.
Reach out to any young people who come into your shop, belong to a local club that already exists, or walk by your table at a coin show. Engage them, ask them what they collect, and see if you can assist with their collection. A lot of us work on tight margins, but giving a young person a few dollars’ break on an item will leave a lasting impression.
Volunteer your time. Dealers, if you have any kids of your own, go to their local school for career day and talk about how great the coin industry is. Give talks to local clubs with young numismatist programs, and even if only one young person is present, that could be a game changer.
Offer some part time work. A lot of dealers have enormous amounts of merchandise that need sorting, packaging, holdering and pricing. See if any local young numismatists can help you out. I have learned an enormous amount about how the coin industry works through internships and working in local shops. Working in a coin shop or interning for a dealer is truly the best seat in the house! Giving a variety of tasks to a young person will show them that the life of the coin dealer offers a nonstop, profitable adventure.
Even small coin dealers can help play a part in this: Have somebody run around a coin show trying to sell your coins, have them sit behind your table and allow them to watch what you do, or give them a few items to sell on the Internet.
Many dealers keep large libraries of reference books. Allow young people to borrow books from your library. Encourage them to start reading and writing. Many numismatic organizations encourage writing and offer programs with awards for articles.
Give away free copies of Coin World.