US Coins

Coin club officers consider member interests: Guest Commentary

Coin collecting, as a hobby, has certainly stood the test of time. The “Hobby of Kings” has been around for centuries, or indeed, millennia. So what is the status of the “King of Hobbies” today? Let me share some of my thoughts with you.

Many people have a “collecting gene” in their DNA, but it must be unlocked and stimulated in order for it to flourish. There are a seemingly infinite amount of choices of items to collect. Some examples would include stamps, baseball cards, Star Wars action figures, salt and pepper shakers and key chains.

Competing for your leisure time and budget are sports, camping, hunting and fishing, gardening, photography, concerts and travel. Don’t forget social media and video games. Then there is that four-letter word called “work.” It’s a wonder anyone has time to eat and sleep!

So you have considered all your choices and have decided that coin collecting is your thing. Congratulations, you won’t be disappointed! But wait! Not to mix metaphors, but before you plunge into the pool, you need to rein in those horses. How should you proceed?

A great place to start is your local library. There are many books to choose from, but at this point you should look for a book with a title like “A Beginners Guide to Coin Collecting” or something similar. This will help you sort out your many choices.

All of the foregoing is merely prologue to the main subject of this article. Namely, what is it like to run a local coin club today?

Based on the background material I have shared, the officers of a local club must realize that it is absolutely critical to keep their collective finger on the pulse of their members. With so many leisure options to choose from, members should be catered to and listened to. Even among coin collectors, there are as many areas of interest as there are members of the club. As old members leave and new members join, it is vitally important to continually reassess their varied needs. 

The numismatic content and the social aspect of a coin club meeting are 1 and 1A in importance. You can have a well-run meeting, plus the slickest of presentations, but if the members don’t have fun, it is a long, uphill battle.

Meetings include the obligatory “call to order,” old and new business, and, finally, motion to dismiss. Sandwiched in between, there is a presentation (this is of paramount importance to the success of the evening), usually a show-and-tell, a raffle, refreshments, and perhaps an auction

The wise coin club officer must walk a tightrope between fund-raising and making sure not too many members go home empty-handed, when running a raffle. 

If an auction is part of the evening, affordable items with broad appeal should be offered.

I hope I have given you enough food for thought that you will find something of value to take back to your club to improve someone’s experience. I certainly don’t have all the answers. 

I would love to hear from you about things that work for your coin club.

Jim Maurer is secretary of the Hillside Coin Club in Illinois, which normally meets on the first Monday of each month at the Hillside Community Center, 1 Lind St., Hillside, IL 60162. The organization’s Facebook page is found at

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