Coin collecting - a pursuit that many of us associate with quiet studies surrounded by gorgeous coins and thick tomes of numismatic knowledge - has in many ways become as affected by technology as any other part of the world.
Coin collecting - a pursuit that many of us associate
with quiet studies surrounded by gorgeous coins and
thick tomes of numismatic knowledge - has in many ways
become as affected by technology as any other part of
the world. The introduction of eBay, online census reports
by the grading companies, message boards, and coin-related
web sites have created an impact that can be felt throughout
numismatics. Everything about how we collect coins and
share numismatic knowledge has been affected, if not
directly, than at least indirectly by the introduction
of computers and the Web. Even those of us who stay
as far away from computers as possible feel the impact
of the Web through its effect on our fellow collectors.
From coin prices to the education and development of
the next generation of numismatists, key aspects of
coin collecting have been affected by technology.
One of the most visible and exciting changes in numismatics
has been the introduction of online coin registries.
For those not familiar with the concept, coin registries
are a way for collectors to enter the details, descriptions
and photos of their coins into a web site in predefined
sets, and thus share their collections and coin knowledge
with the world. The registries also rank sets by the
rarity and desirability of the coins, allowing collectors
to quickly identify the best sets listed. This powerful
new tool gives viewers the opportunity to see and admire
coins that otherwise might be mere legends to the average
collector-talked about in admiring tones at coin shows,
but never actually seen. Furthermore, users can converse
with one another on message boards (a kind of public
bulletin board, much like group e-mail correspondence).
The coin clubs of the new millennium
In the six years since electronic coin registries have
existed, they have become the coin clubs of the new
millennium, storing virtual versions of literally thousands
of collections and tens of thousands of coins. They
are the Whitman and Dansco albums of the Internet age
wrapped up in a package (with community communication)
that begins to feel like an online version of a coin
show. Only this coin show goes on 24 hours per day,
7 days per week, and is just a click away.
The registries have demonstrated an ability to significantly
influence the hobby in a variety of areas. Regular registry
and message board participants testify to the fact that
the impact of the registries on coin prices, scarcity
and collecting trends is highly visible. The registries
have proven to be a quickly growing facet of the hobby
that many collectors find compelling and key to their
enjoyment. Registries can be for everyone, and it's
clear that they will become more and more central to
collecting as their exposure grows, just as the Internet
itself has become a major part of our lives. To ignore
their impact on collecting means ignoring a significant
part of the future of collecting.
Understanding the registry concept
An online coin registry is an interactive, electronic
community for collectors, allowing users and members
to display complete or partial sets and have them ranked.
Although coin registries vary, their main purposes are
to encourage coin collecting and to acknowledge outstanding
collections, as well as to promote an electronic exchange
of coin information with other collectors.
Registries are commonly run by system managers who
are responsible for creating definitions of the "sets"
in the registry, in terms of what coins they contain.
Then, within those sets, they will create a number of
specific "slots" into which individual coins
can be collected. These "slots" are essentially
like the empty spots in a Whitman album. The system
managers make determinations such as what varieties
will be collected in a particular set.