US Coins

Get more young people into the coin business: Guest Commentary

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.

These are just a few of the many ways that dealers can start encouraging the next generation to step up, and eventually step in. I am a young collector and dealer in the business, and I got to where I am now as a result of many of the things I mentioned above. 

The three most instrumental people in my career so far have been Bill Panitch of William Panitch Rare Coins, Jeff Garrett of Mid-American Rare Coin Galleries, and Greg Rohan of Heritage Auctions. All three of these men have provided me with countless hours of wisdom, chances to learn how the coin industry works, and guidance when doing coin deals. 

Encourage young people to join the American Numismatic Association. I have enjoyed a great number of activities ranging from the ANA Summer Seminar to the ANA’s wonderful World’s Fair of Money and National Money Show.

The most important thing that I can suggest in order to get new people into the business is interaction. Making that great first impression is what will keep young blood coming back.

    Matt Draiss is a young coin dealer from Athens, N.Y., operating as Matt Draiss Numismatics & Galleries. He is an active member of many different industry organizations.

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