The Future of the Hobby

“Youngsters are important to the [coin collecting] hobby. They are the future for all of us.” – Q. David Bowers

While young collectors may be more prevalent in the hobby today than ever before by at least one measure, efforts need to be made by adult collectors everywhere to ensure that these young collectors stick with the hobby and feel passionate enough about it to pass on their knowledge to future generations. This can be done by sponsoring YN events in your area.

Young Numismatists of America is one of the largest YN organizations in the country, currently with more than 200 members, according to the organization’s Web site. It was founded in 1990 at that year’s American Numismatic Association Summer Seminar, with a primary goal to create a publication that would give YNs the opportunity to write nationally published articles. In 1995, the club peaked with a membership of 100 young collectors, who published four newsletters a year, met at the annual ANA summer convention and held gatherings at the yearly ANA Summer Seminars.

During the late 1990s, the YNA experienced a decline in membership and activity, as a majority of its members went off to college and no longer had the time to contribute to the organization. In 2001, perhaps in response to the then relatively new State quarter dollar program, YNA membership once again began to rise, and the program has since attracted its highest membership to date.

Most numismatists believe the increased interest in coin collecting among young people is important to the future of the hobby, and many local coin clubs have begun cultivating the trend. For example, the Ocean County Coin Club of Toms River, N.J., holds a YN program before each of the club’s monthly meetings. The programs last between 15 and 20 minutes and are followed by the regularly scheduled adult meeting.

According to an article in a 2001 issue of the American Numismatic Association journal, The Numismatist, while the length of a YN meeting should depend on the kids’ ages and interests, 15 to 20 minutes is often an acceptable length. The article also states that the children should be made to feel welcome while at the meeting and also feel able to decide for themselves how long they want to stay and when they want to leave. Some will voluntarily stay for the adult meeting, while others will be ready to head home. Allowing them to have this freedom will encourage them to return in the future.

In 2002, Jim Majoros, president of the OCCC and former ANA national YN coordinator, created a pamphlet containing recruiting suggestions, meeting ideas and thoughts on how to maintain an interest in collecting that can help local coin clubs attract YNs in their area.

A meeting room in a local library is a great, and oftentimes free, place to sponsor a YN event. Inform the library that the coin club is a nonprofit organization and the purpose of the event is to promote awareness of the hobby to local residents. Majoros notes that most libraries publish a list of upcoming events, which can attract even more children in and around the area. If a library room is unavailable, meeting rooms in churches or schools are also possible locations.

Another way to sponsor a YN event is to invite local schools, Boy and Girl Scout groups, and other such organizations to participate. In addition, if a township sponsors events that include various local organizations, request to set up a table as well, advertising the club and displaying eye-catching items. Offering free handouts may also draw attention to the cause.

A local coin club’s annual show is a great place to publicize YN events and activities. Set up a table and offer games and prizes that actively involve the children. Encourage club members to bring their children, even if the kids are not already interested in coin collecting. Having a new experience and seeing other children enjoy themselves could pique their interest.

Read the rest of the article at Coin World.

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