US Coins

Editorial Opinion: Longevity in the hobby: Coin collecting as a lifetime activity

A lifetime activity is something that is adaptable as a person grows and matures; something that one can do from youth through old age.

When it comes to sports, running, rowing, golf, bowling and tennis are sometimes characterized as lifetime activities. In contrast, playing American-style football, with its wear and tear on the body of the player, is not generally considered a lifetime activity.

Coin collecting may place some wear and tear on the eyes and certainly on one’s pocketbook, but thankfully, it’s a hobby that can occupy one’s mind and time for decades.

When we were putting together the last few issues of Coin World here in Sidney, Ohio, I was struck by how many articles have celebrated individuals who have had a lifelong connection with our hobby.

For example, our longtime columnist and hobby legend Q. David Bowers just noted 60 years as a professional numismatist and celebrated this achievement during a reception at the recent American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money.

Or, there’s David Alexander, who just won the ANA’s Numismatist of the Year award. He began collecting in 1949 and has enjoyed more than five decades of professional involvement with coins.

At each ANA show, dozens of members receive longevity awards honoring years of continuous membership in the organization. Even one of our youngest columnists, 35-year-old John Kraljevich, received a 25-year ANA membership award.

John has a couple years on me, as I joined the ANA in 1991, but it’s a bit wild to think that in a few years I too will be a 25-year ANA member.

John wrote in an Aug. 19 entry to his Kraljeblog, “A few weeks ago, a package showed up from ANA Headquarters containing my ANA 25 Year Membership silver medal and pin. It’s impossible to open an article of mail and from it receive a bucketful of cold water to the face, but if such things could happen, I now know what it would feel like. I’m 35. I haven’t even been shaving for 25 years, and I’ve been shaving for a really, really long time. Could I really be a 25 Year ANA member?”

Few people when starting out think that they’ll be a lifetime coin collector, but often that’s the case.

Our hobby is wonderfully expandable, encompassing nearly all budgets and ambitions, while providing a flexible way to connect with others throughout any stage in one’s life.

With coin collecting and numismatic scholarship being a lifetime activity, the hobby benefits with the accumulated knowledge and wisdom of those who have stuck to it for a lifetime.

And then, before you know it, you have years of experience behind you and wonder, how did this happen?


Steve Roach

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