US Coins

Future of the coin hobby electric

Home Hobbyist column from Nov. 30, 2015, issue of Coin World:

So much of what hobbyists do now is digital, from buying or selling on eBay to viewing photos of slabbed coins in digital albums.

I’ve read Coin World since its inception in 1960 when I was 8 years old and nagging my father to bring home rolls of cents from our local bank whenever he cashed a check. I still have my penny board.

What I don’t have is assurance that collectors like me, age 60 and older, will step up to promote the magazine and the hobby to younger generations who spend more time looking at screens than anything else.

Recently I received a link to a digital photo of an oddball toned coin in my collection, an American Eagle silver bullion coin with Lady Liberty seemingly having “angel wings.” (Lately, I’m paying the additional fee to Professional Coin Grading Service for TrueView photos of coins in my collection because I can’t always visit my coins at the local bank box.)

We have gone from raw coins in our palms, to plastic holders in our palms, to digital pictures of plastic holders containing coins in smartphones in our palms. We can bemoan the loss of the good old days or do our part in recruiting new home hobbyists.

Please don’t confuse the emphasis on electric with the demise of print or the lack of enjoyment for raw coins in our collections. In my day job, I direct a journalism school and can tell you that hard-copy magazines like Coin World are desired now more than ever. Each print magazine in the digital era has to cater to Internet opportunities, such as we enjoy with, checking regularly updated values or reading the latest hobbyist news.

So here’s what I’m advocating:

1.?Go online and view if you haven’t already.

2.?Send a link to an article there to a younger friend, with an encouraging comment.

3.?Give back-copies of Coin World print issues to a nonhobby friend.

4.?Follow your favorite Coin World writer or editor on Twitter.

5.?Share your coins on Facebook.

6.?Assemble a collection of inexpensive but special raw coins to sate your need for metal in your palms, as I suggested in November 2013 in “Create a home coin box.”

7.?Send digital photos of your favorite coins to fellow collectors and brag about them.

You also might give a gift subscription to Coin World to a young numismatist to keep the hobby electric.

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