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Let's try again: "Is the hobby of coin collecting dying, thoughts?"

RogerBRogerB Posts: 8,852 ✭✭✭✭✭
edited October 7, 2017 12:17PM in U.S. Coin Forum

Golden1 had a legitimate question that got off track.

Is coin collecting, as a hobby, dying? Is it being divided between "money" and "collecting?" Is there something else? Ideas need not be conventional to be useful. (Remember the posts of a 20-something dealer and the internet and social media coin transactions? Very enlightening.)



  • ZoinsZoins Posts: 33,859 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited October 7, 2017 12:18PM

    Do we need more 20-something dealers on this site to provide ideas? Or should we go find them where they are, say on Instagram, Pinterest, etc.?

  • RogerBRogerB Posts: 8,852 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Hmmmm...speaking as predator, prey or conservator? :)

  • ZoinsZoins Posts: 33,859 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited October 7, 2017 12:26PM

    I assume people would display the same personality as they do here :)

    But my thoughts are that younger collectors are out there forming social communities. It may be useful for more collectors to be engaged there.

  • OverdateOverdate Posts: 6,935 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I wouldn't say the hobby is dying, but there are fewer collectors than there were 10 or more years ago. "Dying" implies that the hobby will someday be dead, which would only occur if the number of collectors shrank to minuscule proportions. That won't happen. What is happening is twofold: the total number of collectors is gradually declining (due to many more competitors for people's attention), and collecting is becoming a more fragmented hobby, with many more options to choose from than when I started about 60 years ago. Just like the television audience is today more fragmented than when I grew up, and had only three network channels to choose from.

    My Adolph A. Weinman signature :)

  • ShamikaShamika Posts: 18,760 ✭✭✭✭

    Even if coin collecting is down, it has also been shown to be cyclic so we may just be in a down cycle more than anything.

    It would certainly help if there were ways to expand from the traditional demographics that exist in numismatics.

    Increasing disposable income among the middle class might help as well.

    Buyer and seller of vintage coin boards!
  • FlatwoodsFlatwoods Posts: 4,122 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I have believed that coin collecting would go the way of stamp collecting.

    The thing that puts a hole in that theory is that I can't find coins to buy.
    Ten years ago I could find more nice coins, in collector grades, than I could buy.
    Now I rarely find anything to buy.
    Maybe they are out there just spread out across different venues that I don't visit.

  • stevebensteveben Posts: 4,595 ✭✭✭✭✭

    the best thing to do if you are afraid of your hobby or trade dying is to get other people into it...even if it's only one person. figure out what a friend is interested in, and apply coins to that, as a way to get started.

  • JustacommemanJustacommeman Posts: 22,847 ✭✭✭✭✭

    No. Not even close


    Walker Proof Digital Album
    Fellas, leave the tight pants to the ladies. If I can count the coins in your pockets you better use them to call a tailor. Stay thirsty my friends......
  • ZoinsZoins Posts: 33,859 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @RogerB I seem to recall you mentioning that you stopped collecting a while back but, of course, you continue to do great research. If you haven't started collecting again, what could convince you to?

  • WalkerfanWalkerfan Posts: 8,956 ✭✭✭✭✭

    No, upward trend. Demographics same as 50 years ago. Older man’s sport.

    “I may not believe in myself but I believe in what I’m doing” ~Jimmy Page~

    My Full Walker Registry Set (1916-1947)


  • SamByrdSamByrd Posts: 3,131 ✭✭✭✭

    there is an adjustment a major one taking place. The vast amount of dealers are older and used to a different market and business model. Cranky and arrogant fails today. Many are Poor representatives of the hobby. The B and M stores largely refused to adopt modern marketing using the internet and offering top tier service to walk in clients at least here in So cal many are gone now. The younger segment will be in the hobby as they gain disposable income many coin series will see renaissance in interest and value. The dealer of the near future will have a very high service level in store to add value for being a bit higher then buying online. If they refuse to offer value by great service and engage all customers they will be out of business. The days where a dealer will ignore you and even be annoyed if your wanting a 10 or 20 or50 buck coin are largely over thanks to the internet. Now it's an elitist hobby as far as many dealers are concerned they want the big sale. The hobby is alive and well and will be for a long time to come long after all of us are gone thats for sure. Thankfully the consumer has real choice and it gives the apathetic dealer the time to read his newspaper rather than be bothered by the hobbyist wanting that coin for his folder. My perspective alone.

  • ldhairldhair Posts: 7,120 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I think the hobby is doing fine. For me, it has improved in several ways. Most important is the amount of information that is out there and easy to find. That's a big change for collectors that can't get out much.


  • specialistspecialist Posts: 956 ✭✭✭✭✭

    while the coin market might have short term dips, overall it is a growing market. thank you ebay for showing the world coins!

  • BillDugan1959BillDugan1959 Posts: 3,821 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Demographics? All I can tell you is that thirty -seven years ago, there were three times as many coin shows, and every show had three or four times as many attendees. The membership numbers in the clubs and the various associations was a lot higher, and the circulation numbers for the coin newspapers was much higher.

    A few things are better. Today is a better age for numismatic books (insert caveats here). TPG services have indeed lessened some of the old sales abuses, but the boys with their tripes and keisters are still working the market pretty dang hard.

    People today should be able to see the feet of iron and clay everywhere, but they insist they are living in a Silver Age or something.

  • GoldbullyGoldbully Posts: 16,854 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @EagleEye said, "The coin collecting hobby is not dying, it is changing.'

    I don't believe anyone has used the politically correct term of 'evolving.'

    Feel free to use it in your coin collecting commentaries in the future.

  • RB1026RB1026 Posts: 1,469 ✭✭✭✭

    @EagleEye said:
    The coin collecting hobby is not dying, it is changing.

    Coins shows are now on-line, 24-7.

    Coin dealers now include collectors who want to sell their coins to fellow collectors (on-line).

    Coin shops are just easy places for people to sell coins.

    New collectors are being made every day, but they are learning on-line, not at coin clubs, coin shows or coin shops.

    Coins that used to be locally scarce (1909-S VDB) are available instantly on-line. Just select your price and quality.

    Demand is strong for overgraded certified coins and problem raw coins, since they look like bargains on-line.
    Demand is strong for top pop or low pop coins, since they cannot be price-shopped.
    Demand is strong for eye appealing coins which photograph well. Eye candy.

    One of the better posts I've read here in a long time. Excellent points made, all of which I happen to agree with.

  • logger7logger7 Posts: 8,069 ✭✭✭✭✭

    A constant problem is pricing analysis, liquidity isn't what it was years ago when Greysheet was pretty much what certified collectibles were worth. The people with the money in the US are generally over 40 and many of them like quality collectibles. But those with real money have been propositioned to buy much more than they want, "sales resistance". Today's customer is much shrewder, more savvy, and in some ways demanding than 20 years ago. And bank on customers sharing their recent buys, whether certified or raw with local collectors; if it's something that makes them feel like they didn't make a smart buy, it may well get sent back.

  • RogerBRogerB Posts: 8,852 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited October 7, 2017 4:14PM

    @Zoins said:
    @RogerB I seem to recall you mentioning that you stopped collecting a while back but, of course, you continue to do great research. If you haven't started collecting again, what could convince you to?

    The only "collecting" I do is temporary to support research and potential discovery. Once the research project has been brought as close to completion as I can make it, the material is discarded/sold/donated or otherwise disposed of. For me now, and as it was 25 years ago, I cannot afford the coins I like and do not like the coins I can afford. If that were different, I would be searching for the best late 18th and early 19th century US copper, silver and gold, along with international coins of major economies of the same era. (My only real personal prizes are and 1893-S dollar bought from a bank in 1964, a beautiful Gothic crown bought for that reason only, and a Dahlonega gold dollar for its primitive economic reflections.)

    You might say that my interests have evolved over time and adapted to the personal economic realities -- kind of like living species including us humans. Is this what is happening to the hobby/business of coin collecting as we grew up with it? It certainly seems like something fundamental is or has happened. Did it start with privately run authentication and grading, or different auction models, or internet access, or social media, or something else?

    Eagle Eye and others have posted thoughts. Is now a good time assimilate ideas and look for ways to connect collectors, sellers, buyers and others that each can adapt and integrate to their needs and capabilities. As a personal example, I despise "social media" for its impersonal, superficial and largely ignorant intrusions into people's relationships. Nearly every day I see some cluelessly absorbed non-entity wander into the street, or into a pole or another pedestrian, as the thumb their way into nothingness. Don't misunderstand - these media have great power to truthfully inform, unite, engage and protect any interest. But they possess equal power to destroy, and as we have learned over many many years of human activity, left to themselves humans are better at destruction than creation....or so it seems. :)

    [Sorry to be so long-winded.]

  • rickoricko Posts: 98,724 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @EagleEye ... you are totally correct. The hobby is indeed changing, and it is dynamic if you know where to look....Coin collecting has outlived generations upon generations and it will continue long after today's generations are gone. Cheers, RickO

  • crazyhounddogcrazyhounddog Posts: 13,802 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @ricko said:
    @EagleEye ... you are totally correct. The hobby is indeed changing, and it is dynamic if you know where to look....Coin collecting has outlived generations upon generations and it will continue long after today's generations are gone. Cheers, RickO

    It's the oldest hobby in the world unless someone collects rocks. I agree 100% with Ricko, the man :)

    The bitterness of "Poor Quality" is remembered long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.
  • EagleEyeEagleEye Posts: 7,676 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Opportunity arises during changing times. I posted that overgraded and problem coins sell. That's true, if they are cheap - they appear to be bargains. That doesn't mean you should buy them for your collection. There is a whole thriving part of the "industry" built on problem raw coins. Just look at the crowd that lines up at the various raw dealers table at shows. The buyers are on-line sellers that are all looking for coins with light problems that they can get cheap and sell on eBay cheap.

    Also, cheaper prices realized of overgraded certified coins are being used along with prices of properly graded certified coins by the greysheet to "accurately" track pricing. This has a negative effect on prices, but it also rewards the sharp-eyed collector who can easily snag a beauty for not much of a premium. A great coin will always be a great coin.

    Coins with very low populations, like varieties will likely benefit in the future as there are not enough overgraded examples selling to depress prices.

    Rick Snow, Eagle Eye Rare Coins, Inc.Check out my new web site:
  • tradedollarnuttradedollarnut Posts: 20,146 ✭✭✭✭✭

    A great coin will always be a great coin.

    Until NCS conserves it for a huge fee and turns it into a white POS like the Norweb 1893-S dollar.

  • PocketArtPocketArt Posts: 1,335 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Absolutely not- 90% of the coin club I belong to, who are 60 and over, are alive and kicking! B)

  • jesbrokenjesbroken Posts: 9,254 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I agree with Rick. Its not ending but changing. The internet changed most everything in our lives. Look at what books cost 50 years ago. $50 or more. Now many are free online and are at least a reasonable cost. So that increases knowledge and with the availability of even more information than ever before. Coin sales have dipped on the lower grades but seems to be increasing on the higher grades. At least it appears that way to me.

    When a man who is honestly mistaken hears the truth, he will either quit being mistaken or cease to be honest....Abraham Lincoln

    Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.....Mark Twain
  • Golden1Golden1 Posts: 208 ✭✭✭

    @ldhair said:
    I think the hobby is doing fine. For me, it has improved in several ways. Most important is the amount of information that is out there and easy to find. That's a big change for collectors that can't get out much.

    That's a good point, gone are the days of doing research only through coin magazines. Between the internet and ebay it's still a fairly new market.

  • OwenSeymourOwenSeymour Posts: 366 ✭✭✭✭

    I think I'm the poster you're referring to in the OP, made the thread of "Coin Collecting is Not Dying".
    I stick to all the facts I pointed out.

    If anyone can look at all the activity surrounding numismatics all over the internet- Facebook, Instagram, eBay, Reddit, etc. And tell me it's dying, you're either stubborn or delusional.

    Coin shows/ shops? Oh yeah, they're aging, alarmingly so, but don't confuse that as the hobby entirely.

    There really isn't even much to discuss after looking for activity / YN activity on the internet, the answer to the health of the hobby quickly becomes apparent.

  • OwenSeymourOwenSeymour Posts: 366 ✭✭✭✭

    And in addition to the concept of money VS collecting, there always has been, is, and always will be people in coins who like money more than the coins. So long as they aren't doing anything damaging I don't think it's really a bad thing.

  • BryceMBryceM Posts: 11,729 ✭✭✭✭✭


    The sky is not falling.

  • FullStrikeFullStrike Posts: 4,353 ✭✭✭

    Changing ? Hmmmmmmm............?

    Yes. Thats it. Yes , changing, that's exactly it.

    30 years ago I'd never have dreamed of having 5 - 1913 Liberty Nickels. Yeah.... they're raw. Not slabbed at all.

    Every once in a while I do look at them. Shhhhhh........ don't tell anyone.

  • shorecollshorecoll Posts: 5,445 ✭✭✭✭✭

    People talk about how eBay may help find stuff and it does, but it has also greatly facilitated the scamming of large numbers of collectors, as have the shopping networks and certain dealers. Rick Snow somewhat makes the same point. I don't think we'll end up like stamps where you couldn't give away pounds of the stuff, but if enough people get burned, you could see the prices of junk drop by 80-90% (or at least to melt for silver and gold). If you are a collector you can go right on collecting, after you finish crying over the lost money from your older material. If prices dropped back to a 10-year low like real estate did, you might actually end up with more collectors.

  • savitalesavitale Posts: 1,406 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The coins I want are fetching prices well above what the price guides say. That suggests there is something healthy about at least parts of the market.

  • 7Jaguars7Jaguars Posts: 7,249 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Dealer rah rah talk is fine enough, and I don't disagree with some of the points. However, since we are going with personal anecdotes I have known two coin clubs to fold, and now despite having vastly more contacts of all ages and backgrounds know MANY fewer collecting or having the vaguest interest in coins.
    I do believe the State Quarter fad was just that and the best that can be said is there are likely thousands with huge accumulations of these currency strikes that couldn't care less about them.
    I do believe that acknowledged rarities bring ever higher prices. And I see coins like circulated 20th C. keys absolutely tanking (1909 S lincolns +/- the VDB, 1914D, 1931 S cents, the 1960 small date cents, the 1938 & 39 Jeffs, the S mint Roosevelts, the 1932 D &S quarters, the 1938 D halves, etc.).
    Other than flippers, US Mint issues incl. mint and proof sets play & sell to progressively fewer hands, etc.

    Whatever, this is not a "downer" response but just a reflection of what is. As was said, the market is evolving, not yet dying (and hopefully never). Essentially agreeing with the above shorecoll post.

    Love that Milled British (1830-1960)
    Well, just Love coins, period.
  • ms70ms70 Posts: 13,946 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I actually think an interest in coins may possibly stem from an interest in history, U.S, foreign, or ancient.

    That might be the lead.

    Great transactions with oih82w8, JasonGaming, Moose1913.

  • JustacommemanJustacommeman Posts: 22,847 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited October 7, 2017 8:53PM

    Coin clubs are destined to fold up. I wouldn't read much into it. The younger folks aren't into that. It's not it their wheelhouse and doesn't fit their lifestyle. FWIW I've never been to a coin club meeting and I can't imagine it happening now.

    It's a new world and business and hobbies are just handed differently. Mobility is king. Information is disseminated differently today. It's just the way it is.

    When you think about it this forum is a defacto coin club meeting


    Walker Proof Digital Album
    Fellas, leave the tight pants to the ladies. If I can count the coins in your pockets you better use them to call a tailor. Stay thirsty my friends......
  • BuffaloIronTailBuffaloIronTail Posts: 7,408 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited October 8, 2017 12:11AM

    The State Quarter Program was a big plus for the hobby. It brought a lot of new collectors in. Sadly, I believe that it did not also bring a resiliency with it. A lot of collectors were fad based, and didn't continue.

    I love the history and stories behind the coins. History for today's collecting seems to not be so important.

    A lot of the younger collectors today probably think the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor. (and don't really care who did).

    The counterfeits around today are a plague. Once bitten twice shy, so to speak. Knowledge and research seems to be not so important to the newer section of the hobby. This is very sad.

    A lot of established collectors do not have the ability to look ahead (or adjust). There seems to be a great divide.

    I'm here. I'm staying. I may not like a lot of things now, but I can live with it.


    "I tell them there's no problems.....only solutions" - John Lennon
  • ZoinsZoins Posts: 33,859 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @tradedollarnut said:
    A great coin will always be a great coin.

    Until NCS conserves it for a huge fee and turns it into a white POS like the Norweb 1893-S dollar.

    I wonder if the owner got what they were expecting and was happy with the service?

  • OwenSeymourOwenSeymour Posts: 366 ✭✭✭✭

    Also can all the doomsday criers let me know when the hobby is dead? I'll take all 1793-1838 US mint coins at melt (will shell out 2X melt for large cents) just let me know when it's dead and we can work a deal.

  • keetskeets Posts: 25,351 ✭✭✭✭✭

    **a 20-something dealer and the internet and social media **

    that sort of thing may be a trend that stays around but personal contact and actually looking at coins "in-hand" is the real life-blood of the Hobby. collectors as a group tend to be rather enigmatic people, but we still need and want inter-personal contact. what we are seeing with the OP's reference is the upswing of a new trend which hasn't even fully developed yet. out of the gate there is no regulation on most social media content, not even real regulation of eBay.

    without really wanting to incur any wrath from member OwenSeymour, he seems to lack a little of the skill needed in the real world of face-to-face interaction. the mere mention of this topic for discussion already has his attitude ramped up.

  • WingedLiberty1957WingedLiberty1957 Posts: 2,961 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited October 8, 2017 5:21AM

    Not dying in the short term -- too many old geezer collectors born in the 1950's and 1960's with money and time are still alive.

    However, in 20 years (say along around 2040 or so) when the collecting base is made up mostly of people born in the 1980's and later -- it will be ugly. There are just not enough younger collectors to make up for the die-off of old geezer collectors over the next 20 years. Add to that the financial woes of that younger base, they just wont have the disposable income (or the interest) that the baby boomers had.

  • 1Mike11Mike1 Posts: 4,414 ✭✭✭✭✭

    My guess is the raw and lower grade coins will continue to be tossed around for a while but not in a very profitable way (a slowly floundering hobby). The serious money coins will not die out. That's where the profit is. Similar to any antique, the best of the best is what's happening.

    "May the silver waves that bear you heavenward be filled with love’s whisperings"

    "A dog breaks your heart only one time and that is when they pass on". Unknown
  • keetskeets Posts: 25,351 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited October 8, 2017 6:27AM

    However, in 20 years (say along around 2040 or so)

    the trouble with this line of thought is that it pre-supposes that things will be the same as they are today. it is the same way WE thought 20 years ago before there was any social media, and eBay was in its infancy. it is the same way that Dave Bowers thought back in the 1960's. it is the same way that the Norweb's thought in the late 1940's. etc. etc. etc....................

    ironically, a few things run through all that time and even before, dating back well over 100 years there have always been Coin Dealers, Auctions and Coin Shops. perhaps they have changed and perhaps there have been more/less at certain times, but they have always been there.

    I see no reason to believe that those things will go away. however, I do strongly believe that Facebook and other forms of social media will be radically different in 20 years, but if you think that is the way of future I would suggest you get involved.

  • cladkingcladking Posts: 28,329 ✭✭✭✭✭

    There are probably five times as many collectors today as ever before. Most are young and just starting. They are no longer mostly boys and men of European extraction in the US. There are ever developing technologies that will make old coins more important to the study of history and more exposure of coins to the populous as computers continue to make inroads even in poorer countries.

    Coins, numismatics, and collecting aren't going anywhere. While everything will be different it's equally true that the more things change the more they stay exactly the same. It will be a very exciting time for the hobby over the next dozen years. At the end of this time we'll have a better feel for what will seem so different and what trends will come to the fore.

    Tempus fugit.
  • RogerBRogerB Posts: 8,852 ✭✭✭✭✭


    The primary topic has been under discussion on this and other message boards for several years. Amidst the expected repetition and personal ‘venting’ of injustices, there also appears to be a gradual convergence of ideas for differences, changes and approaches to dealing with change – i.e., corporate “change management” discipline.

    It might help to try the following (depending on individual age and background reading base).

    List the things you do in coin collecting (hobby or business) today.
    Now go back 50 years, and examine how those same things were done then. What are the attitudes and values of participants? How were common tasks accomplished?
    Next, extend back 100 years; 150 years; 200 years; further….

    As you do this, commonalities and diversions will appear, change and vanish.

  • OwenSeymourOwenSeymour Posts: 366 ✭✭✭✭

    @keets said:
    **a 20-something dealer and the internet and social media **

    "without really wanting to incur any wrath from member OwenSeymour, he seems to lack a little of the skill needed in the real world of face-to-face interaction. the mere mention of this topic for discussion already has his attitude ramped up"

    Haha is that so? That's weird because I LOVE going to shows and I LOVE interacting with fellow coins lovers whether as customers, dealers, veterans, or noobies.

    Does the topic irritate me? Oh yeah- I'm tired of people analyzing facts that are indicative of a healthy hobby and they just say "nope it's dead". It's like trying to argue with someone that water is indeed wet.

    I don't mind people asking the question out of genuine curiosity but so many people argue it's dead when there's tons of facts showing otherwise.

  • BillDugan1959BillDugan1959 Posts: 3,821 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited October 8, 2017 12:36PM

    Oh puhleeze, when old Tinker-bell is dying, everybody knows you gotta clap your hands really really loud.

    Otherwise, the play is over.

    Right then, there and on-the-spot.

  • sellitstoresellitstore Posts: 2,479 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Concise version:

    It's evolving, not dying.

    Collector and dealer in obsolete currency. Always buying all obsolete bank notes and scrip.
  • BaleyBaley Posts: 22,658 ✭✭✭✭✭

    So many conversations are difficult because of the hyperbolic terms folks insist on using. Happens at my work, happens on TV "News " shows, happens on this forum.

    Saying coin collecting is dead or dying is like saying democracy or the economy or the climate is dead or dying.

    Yes, evolving is a much better word, thanks to all dor discussion of the ways things are changing.

    Liberty: Parent of Science & Industry

  • WoodenJeffersonWoodenJefferson Posts: 6,491 ✭✭✭✭

    I have a tendency to believe that the 'hobby' collector has been waning since the advent of the internet. Fast paced, volatility with high auction fees have strangled the sedentary casual coin collectors, which have become dinosaurs and we all know what happened to them...fossils with mustard stains.

    Chat Board Lingo

    "Keep your malarkey filter in good operating order" -Walter Breen

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