Does coin collecting have a future?

Discussion in 'Coin Chat' started by Volante, Oct 23, 2013.

  1. Volante

    Volante Well-Known Member

    It's a well-known fact that most coin collectors and coin dealers are older men. Go to any coin show, and odds are most of the people there are going to be in their autumn years. Young numismatists are a rare sighting. I've been in the hobby for roughly a decade, so I don't have a great amount of perspective here—has it always been this way or has the average age of collectors increased?

    And if numismatics has become an older man's hobby, do you think the market is going to experience a fall-off as older collectors age out? Or has the rise of internet sales and eBay (at the expense of B&M shops) revitalized the hobby?
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  3. Bambooski

    Bambooski Obsessed YN :)

    *ahem* ;)
  4. vlaha

    vlaha Respect. The. Hat.

    From what I've heard a majority of coin collectors have been older folks, but never doubt that there will be some YNs and younger people in the mix too.

    So yes I'd say that coin collecting does have a future.
  5. Jonobo

    Jonobo Junior Member

    I think everything has it's own comeback but maybe this hobby is taking a little longer... I guess you could be right because when I was in highschool, I didn't know anyone that collected (other than myself) and I graduated in 2011. I think It's just because nowadays, everyone too "busy" watching tv, playing video games, or is on facebook.
    Squaredeal likes this.
  6. vlaha

    vlaha Respect. The. Hat.

    Yeah, yeah, don't forget the girls (The Penny Lady anyone?).
  7. Bambooski

    Bambooski Obsessed YN :)

    Hello! ;) I am a YN and this is definitely not a passing hobby for me.
  8. non_cents

    non_cents Well-Known Member

    We have plenty of YNs on this forum (myself included). Yes, most well-known coin dealer are older folks, but at one time they were young, correct?

    The whole argument of "the coin collecting hobby is dying out" has been around for half a century or more. If anything, there should be MORE collectors in the future, because buying, selling, and researching coins has become exponentially easier with the invention of the internet. I don't think the hobby has anything to worry about in terms of dying out.
  9. Treashunt

    Treashunt The Other Frank

    Future? Yes, as long as none of us die off.
  10. Tom B

    Tom B TomB Everywhere Else

    The demographics were the same 40-years ago, too, when I was in grade school.
    BRandM and geekpryde like this.
  11. 19Lyds

    19Lyds Member of the United States of Confusion

    As long as there are coins available and buyers willing to buy them (regardless of price) then coin collecting will always have a future. At least within the next 10 or so generations.

    If for some unknown reason governments of the world stop producing coins, there will still be those of strong financial position that will have an interest in coins and collecting coins.

    For whatever reason, we're born the the inherent desire to collect stuff. A lot of stuff and I don't see this changing short of genetic engineering in which case we'll all be worker bees anyway...............
    Daniel Lowery and Hiddendragon like this.
  12. vlaha

    vlaha Respect. The. Hat.

    I know, as am I, but in relation to the amount of older people, we definitely are in the minority.
  13. kaparthy

    kaparthy Supporter! Supporter

    Does physics have a future? When Sir Isaac Newton published the Principia, London was a town of 600,000 with a median age of about 22. Infant mortality aside, few people lived past 35. When I was a teenager in Young Americans for Freedom, liberals made fun of "horse and buggy conservatives." Of course, today, you would need a lot of disposable income to afford to keep a horse -- and you could make a good income as a ferrier, making horseshoes.

    Forgive me for being pompous (a noun goes with that as a cliche) but my master's (2010) is in social science and I assure you that Jane Jacobs was dead on when in The Economy of Cities she blew Peter Schumpeter ("creative destruction") out of the water by citing example after example of old forms and old ways that continued via change so that ultimately, George Selgin of the Austrian School of economics could write about The Birmingham Button Makers who created the first truly modern coinage.

    I predict - I have predicted - that in the future, people will collect collections: meta-collecting. "Oh, I have a complete set of Michigan Blueberry Seeds.... Oh, I have a complete set of Peace Dollars...." We see this already in the "Registry Sets."
    ("Oh, look, I have a set of registered coins!")

    It has long been true that the serious collectors in numismatics have purchased other people's whole collections running into the thousands.

    Numismatics has the same future as horses... or cars... or airplanes... or radios... or Rock 'n' Roll...
    Ardatirion and green18 like this.
  14. coleguy

    coleguy Coin Collector

    I think collectors have been having this discussion for the past 6,000 years, straight.
  15. longnine009

    longnine009 Most Exalted Excellency Supporter

    They only have to break the plane, (evil snicker) and they 're ours.

    "Relax said the night man, we are programed to receive, you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave." Hotel California-Eagles
  16. Zach DuBois

    Zach DuBois Member

    I have been collecting since my freshman year in high school. I go to coin shows regularly and there is several young people with there father and or grandfather. I think that its in a bit of a slump.
  17. BRandM

    BRandM Counterstamp Collector

    The fact of the matter is that young people don't have as much disposable income to spend on coins as older folks do. Many of us start out in the hobby at a young age but either taper off or leave it completely when we start families and careers. Later, when we're in a better financial position we get back into it again. That's the way my collecting life has been. I never sold my collection or lost interest in the hobby, I just didn't have the means or time to pursue it seriously. These things go in cycles as most things in life do.

    capthank, Jwt708, aubade21 and 5 others like this.
  18. GDJMSP

    GDJMSP Numismatist Moderator

    The popularity of coin collecting has waxed and waned continuously over the centuries. But overall, the number of those participating in the hobby has never been larger than it is right now. And that number has been growing steadily for almost 15 years. Of course 15 years is but a drop in the bucket in the greater scheme of things.

    Looking at it from an age perspective, yes, as Tom B said, the demographics are roughly still the same as they were 40-50 years ago. Yes, the majority of those in the hobby are older, no doubting that. But that is on a proportional basis. Number wise, there is no doubt in my mind at all that we have more younger people interested in the hobby right now than we have ever had. But we do have more older people interested in the hobby too, so the proportional numbers have not changed.

    As far as the future of coin collecting, given its history of 2,000 years, I seriously doubt it's going anywhere.
    capthank, aubade21 and kaparthy like this.
  19. jello_g

    jello_g Senior Member

    Volante, "you" are the future of our hobby. It's great we have a virtual community here, but make the effort to share your passion with non-collecting friends and family who are curious.
  20. Hiddendragon

    Hiddendragon World coin collector

    I agree. It is mostly older people who have the time and money to devote to a hobby like this, especially collecting the serious coins that cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. Many people, men especially, seem like they are always drawn to collecting one thing or another, and there will always be some who turn to coins. It may not be common - you might not know anyone else you interact with in your daily life who is also a collector - but there are still plenty of us out there.

    I do wonder though as people turn more and more to electronic payments and move away from cash how that will affect the hobby. I can see it going both ways. 1. People don't use cash and coins anymore, so they don't get interested in collecting them. 2. People don't use coins and cash anymore, and they see them as a quaint and interesting relic of earlier times like Indian arrowheads or antiques and that draws people to them.
    stevex6 likes this.
  21. JAS0N888

    JAS0N888 Member

    i`m going to a show on friday, at 42 i might be the youngest one there! hope not
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