US Coins

Eliminate the mystery: pass along description of coin club meeting

Robert Matitia is a member of the Garfield Heights Coin Club in Michigan and a local numismatist and writer.

If you are looking for ways to pry our youth away from the latest video game or iPhone, why don’t you gift them a membership or invite them and their parents to a night out at a local coin club meeting, or take them to a coin show? Why don’t you pass along this article that describes what actually goes on at a coin club, and perhaps that can eliminate the mystery. 

We had crowd of about 80 die-hard coin collectors and numismatic experts as well as several guests at the Garfield Heights Coin Club’s recent coin club monthly meeting. Doors opened at 5:30 p.m. and the meeting started at 6:30 p.m., while the highly anticipated and exciting auction began at 6:45 p.m. and concluded roughly by 8:30 p.m. Prior to the meeting, attendees had a chance to view the auction lots that are displayed on the various auction lot tables for view. Also, some local dealers set up some small tables to buy and sell. 

The whole experience was and is very organized. A lot of volunteer work is done behind the scenes for weeks up to the meeting for the auction. 

Usually more than 100 lots of coins are up for auction (members would have brought and submitted them for auction at the previous meeting).

Bidding at the recent auction was very competitive and full of activity! The average auction lot went for about $50, so there was something for everyone. The typical lots are mainly the usual suspects: Morgan and Peace dollars, Barber coins, Franklin and Kennedy half dollars, Indian Head cents and Wheat cents, as a well as Buffalo nickels, a sprinkling of older and modern commemorative coins, foreign coinage and some paper money to round out the offerings. 

The auctioneer at the meeting was one of our local expert auctioneers who volunteers his services to our club, Frank Buchwald. He always makes the bidding process exciting and is very knowledgeable numismatist as well. Assisting Frank was our club president, Louis Raffis. Also volunteering assistance to make sure the auction runs smoothly, as well as providing impeccable bookkeeping, were members Allen Walter, Julian Raclawski and John Rebic. 

The club counts on volunteers like these folks as well as several others to ensure that we have one of the best coin clubs in the area. 

Let’s not forget that about midway through the auction, we all took a breather to have a doughnut and some coffee or pop! 

Energized after the break, the bidding continued furiously for about another 45 minutes. 

At the end of the meeting, the buyers and sellers settled up, with the coin club representatives acting as intermediaries. 

This year the club has wisely decided to reinstate our affiliation with the American Numismatic Association and Central States Numismatic Society; these affiliations will broaden the resources and exposure of our club. 

The club offers resources to its members, such as making price guides available and selling newly issued Kennedy halves and the dollar coins at discounted prices. The club also orders the “Red Book” annually for its members at discounted prices. 

We have great events through the year as well, such as sandwich night, Hawaii night in April, a great Halloween party in October and then a holiday party in December. 

The club also sells raffle tickets for about $1 apiece for great prizes such as silver American Eagles, silver Eisenhower dollars, silver Pandas or Kookaburras, and special raffle tickets for tenth-ounce gold American Eagles. 

The club also sends out a monthly newsletter packed with news articles, upcoming coin shows, the latest happenings, minutes of the last meeting, and, of course, the auction listing, which is usually very well populated. 

A club meeting is a great place to catch up with friends or make new friends, and to introduce youngsters and others to the hobby. Usually many of the same folks that attend the coin club are at the local coin shows, so being friendly and saying “Hi” is an easy way to make a new friend who just may also be interested in the same genre of collecting that you are. 

If you haven’t already joined a coin club or invited someone to join, do so now!

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