E-Sylum supporter Harry Laibstain's July 2918 email newsletter In The Loupe opens with good news for our hobby - the first two articles address the influx of new young collectors and dealers into the U.S. coin hobby. With permission, we're republishing these here. The image is my addition - we love newbies (a.k.a. noobs).
When a Hobby Becomes a Big Business
Summer is traditionally a slower time for the coin market. This year is no exception. However, the market is benefitting from new players in many areas. Signing onto these large regional shows like TNA and Summer Fun we are getting a chance to meet these new collectors. It’s very encouraging to see people participating in the hobby continuing the evolution that helps build new foundations.
While most people understand what a coin collector does and what being a coin dealer is, they don’t usually know the details. The coin business as we know it is a dynamic business. It includes the obvious, buying and selling coins but also grading, valuation, auctioning and price histories.
Thanks to the Registry we have competition and a way for collectors to display their sets. The online presence of rare coins is mind-boggling with major platforms like eBay and Collectors Corner acting as mirror images of dealer websites. Auction companies are publishing their offerings on a weekly or monthly basis and the grading houses featuring images and other researchable databases regarding the now millions of coins and billions of value they have certified.
As a kid collector of the sixties, I could never have imagined what the coin business would become or that I would become part of it. From talking with dealers and collectors many of our journeys have been similar. It is this shared knowledge of a large but intimate group that makes it so alluring.
New collectors and New Dealers
The one thing that sticks out the most for me in the last year or two are the new young dealers on the floor at major coin shows. All industries experience a generational changing of the guard. However, for many years the business side of rare coins seemed to have a dearth of young dealers. There were lots of reasons put forward for their absence. My favorite was the capital-intensive nature of the business. Young participants just didn’t have the money to play and the reality is the coin business requires significant capital. Still, I wondered where were the young people, who would help the business evolve for another generation, coming from. Then, Viola, they began to turn up until there was a mini-revolution afoot.
In some cases they had loosely attached themselves to nationally known dealers, they came from shops across the country, they came from ANA summer seminars and they peeled off from larger firms and auction houses to set up shop on their own. Most of the young dealers I know are participating largely in the wholesale end of the business. This means they are looking for a quicker turnover which reflects the capital needs. With young eyes and youthful enthusiasm, I predict their ranks will begin to step into more direct activity with collectors. As they discover the value of long-term relationships and building a business that pays dividends I think you will see more websites and participation at shows behind the table.
If any of the young dealers are reading my newsletter this is an important message. Act now and you can get ahead of your peers. Take tables or share them with other dealers. Build your website offering and collector traffic. Make your name known to more than the dealers you buy and sell with at shows. The time to build your foundation is now.
Are you one of these newer dealers or collectors? Whether you're reading this E-Sylum in Sunday's night's email, the Wednesday ANA edition or on the web, please let us hear from you. What has drawn you to the hobby? What keeps you engaged? How can we help? All of our readers can help by spreading the word to these (relative) newcomers about great online resources like (ahem) The E-Sylum and (of course!) the Newman Numismatic Portal.
To visit the Harry Laibstain Rare Coins web site, see:
To subscribe to The E-Sylum, see:
To visit the Newman Numismatic Portal, see:
Wayne Homren, Editor
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