Jim Bisognani: Attracting the Younger Generation
Posted on 3/16/2023
Well, my friends, there may be something to that old adage that things happen in threes.
Last evening, Beth and I had just completed shoveling and snow blowing nearly 18 inches of heavy, wet snow when we heard a creak, groan and a distinct bullwhip snap. It was followed by a thunderous and jolting impact towards the rear of our house. We knew immediately what had happened: a tree, heavy with wet snow, had given way and was now resting on our roof and blocking a window. Luckily, no one was hurt and the damage seemed minimal.
As the sun came up and I finished shoveling the remainder of the freshly deposited snow the storm had left this morning, my cellphone buzzed. I was informed that there had been a fraud on my debit card. This necessitated me to visit my local branch of the credit union to confirm fraud and have a new card issued.
While I was waiting in line at the credit union, I saw a gentleman come in with a large plastic bucket of coins to be dumped into the coin counter machine. After this fellow had about half of his change counted, an indicator light flashed and buzzed announcing the machine was full. He summoned the manager to come and empty the machine so that he could continue with his deposit.
As the manager crouched down and opened the door to the coin counter, I noticed this fellow was rummaging through some of the remaining coins in his stash. Then, his attention focused on the manager as she was extracting the load of coins in the machine. That is when he became quite excited; he had noticed several silver coins had been deposited. After discussing with the manager, he was able to switch the interesting silver coins for non-silver modern coins in like denominations.
I could hear him chatting about other coins and collecting. At this juncture, I really wanted to jump out of line and join the conversation, but I remained a good little coindexter and dutifully staid put.
As I wrapped up my fraud claim with the branch manager, the coin enthusiast was fortuitously finishing his business at the teller window next to me. So, as he was stepping away from the teller station, I, of course, had to ask him what he had just found. Darren replied, “I just found a 1946-D Roosevelt Dime.” He pulled it out of his pocket and showed it to me.
With his business, Darren accumulates a lot of coins and deposits them regularly. “I love to search through the stuff, and my kids get a big kick out of it,” he said.
“So, you’re a collector, then?” I asked him.
“I sure am,” he said. “I have been for many, many years, since I was a kid.” Darren then pulled out his cell phone and said, “Let me show you a picture of a coin I found the other day. Here it is: a 1903 Liberty Nickel.” The coin appeared to be in nice condition; perhaps even a circulated fine plus.
Darren then said that he occasionally finds Buffalo nickels and some other 90% coins. “Hey, I found a 1913 Buffalo nickel less than two weeks ago!”
I asked if it was a Type I or Type II. Darren replied, “It was the Type I on the mound. And get this: it looks virtually untouched. The coin is nearly Mint State; I couldn’t believe it!” Wow, what a find!
Then, I asked him what other coins he likes to collect, and he said, “basically everything US and Canadian. I have all the coin folders filled. All the Walkers, Washington Quarters and complete sets of Lincoln Cents with all the key dates, including 09-SVDB’s and such.”
Does anyone else in the family collect? “Yeah, my three kids really, really get into it.” I was thrilled to hear this! I was even more impressed with how old they were: At age 4, his daughter Kiera is the youngest collector I have heard about in a long time. Along with his two sons, Dakota and Trevor (9 and 14 years old), they make for quite the collecting family!
Dad confirmed that all the kids love to search for coins to fill their albums. Darren said he loves to make complete rolls of all the coins currently in circulation. “I love the Presidential Dollars and the American Innovation Dollar series, too,” he said.
I could certainly tell that there was an enthusiastic collector in front of me, and I’m certain he has conveyed that excitement to his youngsters. Luckily, they’ve caught on! We definitely need youngsters in the hobby; ones that really care about coins and will carry on with this great pastime when old geezers like me drift off.
I, of course, mentioned and recommended the NGC website and all of its great (and free!) resources, including US and World coin price guides, comprehensive auction data and, of course, great articles. Darren said that he was familiar with NGC and that he and the kids would definitely be using it as a tool and resource.
I must say, at least for me, coins are quite therapeutic. I mean, the conversation with Darren about his kids and coins made me forget about my other two problems!
Meeting with Darren got me thinking about how to attract the younger generation to numismatics. I remembered a visit with my stepson, Jeff, who noticed that I had some coins sitting out on the end table adjacent to the sofa. There was a group of them that happened to be sitting on top of a candy dish in 2x2 flips. Partially inspired by the holiday season, Jeff joked, “Is this like a help yourself to coins or candy?”
Drawing on that concept, perhaps it would be a great idea for old-time coindexters to try filling up a small candy dish with, say, assorted Swedish Fish and some Swedish coins and the like. Or, perhaps adding a mixture of coins would be better.
Then, when the next generation comes to visit, maybe a few members will get hooked on coins instead of candy, just like Darren and his threesome. The hobby will be in great hands as long as we attract and nurture the younger set!
Until next time, be safe and happy collecting!
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