The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 19, Number 5, January 31, 2016, Article 19


Dick Johnson answered the call for predictions for the future of numismatics with this interesting list. Thanks! Some of these are areas I hadn't given much thought to. Reader comments are welcome. -Editor

Tom Kays' request for predictions on the future of coin collecting and numismatics is in itself insightful. Based on 75 years in the field, my credentials cover many aspects as a collector, dealer, observer. writer, even manufacture in the field. Are those qualifications enough to make these predictions? I have written about some of these predictions before, notably on future U.S. coins.

Therefore, in response to Tom's request here are my top twelve predictions for the future of numismatics...

1. The churning of rare coin sales at auctions among investors at ever increasing prices – like the Dutch tulip craze -- will someday bust. Prices will fall to a sustained level supported only by collector interest.

2. Before this happens an increasing number of new auction firms will be formed to serve the increased sales activity. Only the big four will survive.

3. Investors who were burnt because they did not liquidate their coin holdings will leave the field forever. Far-sighted investors who had liquidated their holdings will join others in acquiring bullion coins as their interests shifts to precious metal investing.

4. States which place a sales tax on bullion coins will find the sales of these within their borders fall to near zero. Entrepreneurs in tax free states will establish bullion coin depositories for out-of-state investors.

5. The United States will follow so many other countries in eliminating the issuing of low-value coins. The U.S will drop three coin denominations and add three new ones to accommodate the country’s ever-increasing economic growth. The cent, nickel and quarter will become obsolete where prices and sales transactions will be rounded off to the nearest tenth of a dollar. Five, ten and twenty dollar coins will be issued because of demand for coins for easier cash transactions at the higher amounts.

6. Numismatics with an obvious strong interest in coins will find an ally for those new denominations in the vending machine industry which will embrace the higher value coins to overcome their industry’s major problem – machines accepting paper currency. This includes. identification of currency denominations and high degree of paper money rejection.

7. Compositions of U.S. coins will change. The new dimes will be ceramic coated aluminum, half dollars will be copper, dollar coins will be brass similar to the Sacagawea dollar (which will continue to circulate and 30 million of these currently in storage will be released into circulation). Five-dollar coins will be copper-nickel, ten and twenty-dollar coins will be silver.

8. Three U.S. refineries (on East coast, West coast and Central U.S.) will contract with the Treasury Department to melt and reformulate the billions of cents withdrawn from circulation. The refineries will add virgin copper to the copper-coated zinc cent scrap for a new 95 copper 5 zinc composition. They will roll this new formulation in strips the gauge (thickness) of the new half-dollar coin. They will also blank the strips for the half-dollar coin blanks and ship these to the mints for upsetting and striking.

9. Withdrawn coins -- cents, nickels and quarters -- will be collected by banks and shipped by Brinks and other means. Cents go to refineries, nickels and quarters will go to Mints for melting, rolling and blanking into five-dollar coins. The volume of this will be staggering. Cents alone will not be measured in bags. or pallets, but in boxcars. It will take years to reformulate and strike new coins from withdrawn coins.

10. Collectors of current coins of the world will find fewer coins issued in the future by countries turning to a cashless economy, During Christmas week 2015 Sweden became the first country to announce it will no longer issue coins and currency. Sweden’s national bank, Riksbank, will accept deposits of coin and currency but no longer will pay out physical coins and paper money. All payments and transactions will be made by app or credit card. It’s no longer “paper or plastic” in Sweden.

11. To the wonder of old-time collectors, future collectors will study even more minutia of a coin’s surface. They will seek microscopes with greater power to catalog the characteristics of dents and scratches. They will seek more sensitive scales to determine the amount of wear on a coin, and in an attempt to establish numerical ratings within the Sheldon scale based in part on their weight (once proved impracticable by Coin World’s Amos Press Company).

12. The number of numismatic books on coins will gradually increase but will reach a point where all coins of the world, past and present, will have been covered, then drastically decease. In contrast, books on medallic topics will appear in increasing numbers, as collectors find more ways of collecting by new topics, from the current number of about 250 topics until this reaches over a thousand.

Wayne Homren, Editor

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