The Art of Collecting
Steve Roach, Coin World’s editor-at-large, has been deeply involved with numismatics for more than 20 years, starting as a young coin collector in Michigan. Two years spent as a coin grader, nearly three years at a major coin wholesaler and a stint as a paintings specialist at an international auction house have given Steve a rich understanding of the hobby, its market and the unique personalities and exceptional objects that make collecting meaningful. He joined Coin World in 2006 as a columnist, and has served as associate editor and editor-in-chief. He received his bachelor of arts degree from the University of Michigan, a juris doctorate from the Ohio State University and is a Certified Member of the International Society of Appraisers.
Visit a coin show: see coins, meet people, learn and have fun
It seems that many collectors today are content having a virtual experience with their coin collecting.
They buy and sell coins online, socialize with collectors online and get their information online. These collectors are likely not maximizing their collecting experience.
Going to a coin show is a refreshing break from the routine. Many of us spend our days in front of a computer screen, and what’s great about coin collecting are the tangible aspects: putting a coin into a Whitman board, holding a coin by its edge, examining one slabbed coin against another one to figure out which one is better for the grade.
I continue to be inspired by local, state and regional organizations expanding their shows to attract new audiences.
Many show organizers are taking proactive steps to keep their shows relevant through advertising, expanded marketing and by letting people beyond their membership know that a show is happening.
But once you get someone in the door, how do you turn that person into a collector?
The best shows are realizing that mere attendance numbers don’t tell a full story of a show’s success. Great dealers offering a range of material, a warm welcome when newcomers enter, and rich educational programs and exhibits, all combine to create an environment that is conducive to cultivating a new collector.
Our Guest Commentary this week shows how the Michigan State Numismatic Society is keeping its fall show, which has traditionally anchored the show schedule over Thanksgiving weekend, relevant.
It’s neither cheap nor easy.
The $5 million rarities that are on loan from the American Numismatic Association (a 1913 Liberty Head 5-cent piece and an 1804 Draped Bust silver dollar) bring in curious visitors, but also cost a club thousands of dollars in transportation and security fees.
Advertising is expensive. Prizes for educational exhibitors can be pricey. Renting a venue costs money (and renting a nice one costs more).
These expenses add up, but smart clubs consider them investments, as a thriving coin show is a key factor to keeping local and state coin clubs — and our hobby — relevant.