Jeff Garrett: Promote Numismatics for the Holidays with #FreeCoinDay
Posted on 12/9/2021
For decades, the hobby of numismatics has provided me with more benefits than anyone could ever hope for. Since assembling my first Lincoln Cent album in the 1960s, my enthusiasm has never waned. Numismatics has given me years of enjoyment, not to mention a pretty good living. Many of my non-numismatic friends envy that I look forward to going to work every day. I sincerely hope that the hobby remains relevant so that others in the future can enjoy the same pleasures numismatics has given me.
The future of numismatics however cannot be taken for granted. For years, the hobby has been facing a serious problem of aging demographics. The average member of the ANA is over 60 years old. Young people in our society today have become very distracted by technology and social media. Getting their attention is difficult, but not an impossible task.
A couple of years ago, the dealer groups Coin Dealers Helping Coin Dealers and Roundtable Trading, led by Rob Oberth, launched the “Great American Coin Hunt.” Dealers and collectors around the country participated and the results were beyond expectations. NGC played an important role in getting the word out. Even the US Mint got involved when they struck and circulated the “W” mintmark US Quarters. Millions of possible collectors started checking their pocket change for the first time in years — I still have not found one, much to my chagrin!
Encouraging the public, young and old, to search their pocket change still creates collectors. During COVID-19, I personally gave away hundreds of Whitman folders along with random coins to young people who were stuck at home. The feedback from parents and kids was amazing. The obsession of filling empty holes still captivates anyone who starts the journey of numismatics.
Starting in a couple of weeks, dealers and collectors around the country will be participating in a spin-off of the “Great American Coin Hunt.” The holiday program, titled #Coins4Christmas and #FreeCoinDay, is meant to capture the holiday spirit and promote the hobby by engaging collectors and potential collectors in a new and creative way.
“Since the inception of the Great American Coin Hunt, I wanted to create another program that would excite our base during the holiday season,” says Oberth.
|Photo credit: Dan Duncan at Pinnacle Rarities|
Dealers and collectors are being asked to give away coins to non-collectors, whenever they have the opportunity, during the weeklong program. Anyone wishing to promote the hobby can also drop collector coins into circulation to stimulate interest.
The program also requests people put coins in stockings for the holidays. In addition to coins, another idea is to include coin books and coin supplies. A Whitman Lincoln folder given to me in the late 1960s was my first exposure to the hobby. Coins are ideal when trying to find the perfect gift for anyone.
Finally, the program will end with a bang with #FreeCoinDay. Participating dealers will give away free coins to every customer on December 18, 2021. Nearly a hundred rare coin dealers from around the country have already signed up. This should create excitement for the hobby and bring collectors and non-collectors into shops from coast to coast.
Charles Morgan, editor of CoinWeek, has joined to help promote this event. “I saw the good will that Rob and dealers across the country fostered with the Great American Coin Hunt in 2019 and thought: What better way to contribute to the spirit of the holidays than by promoting one day a year where coin shops give something back to members of the collecting community?” Morgan goes on to say that “as an industry, we definitely have a role to play in perpetuating the enthusiasm; I think that starts at the local level.”
To have an impact on the hobby, we need everyone to consider participating, and by using social media, the numismatic community can have a tremendous impact this holiday season and bring in national attention.
Collectors and dealers alike are all asked to use the hashtags and do their part to promote #Coins4Christmas and #FreeCoinDay. If you tag @FreeCoinDay (Facebook), they can share your experience.
Call your local dealer and ask them about the program and encourage them to do their part to grow our hobby. We all need to take this opportunity to bring in new collectors. Numismatics has seen a tremendous spark of activity in the last year. Hopefully, hobby leaders, dealers and long-time collectors will capitalize on this numismatic renaissance.
Leading the charge for years, the ANA — along with the annual release of the National Coin Week publication — has created and guided new collectors in numismatics. We are all stakeholders in this hobby, and if you collect coins, you NEED collectors to be around when it’s time to sell your carefully assembled collection. We cannot expect the ANA to carry the entire weight of promoting the hobby to the general public. Let’s all work together for a brighter numismatic future!
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