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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Numismatic and History Discussions  |  Ancient Coin Forum (Moderator: Dr. Danny S. Jones)  |  Topic: "This Dying Hobby"-A new blog by Rasiel Suarez. 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: "This Dying Hobby"-A new blog by Rasiel Suarez.  (Read 479 times)
GRWilson
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« on: September 17, 2019, 04:20:30 pm »

 Does anybody agree? This is a somewhat disturbing post. I just hope Ras is wrong.

http://dirtyoldcoins.com/Roman-Coins-Blog?fbclid=IwAR1mVWm2MEzmMf3IR-pc1THRPvMVU17p2C1Yp9vOaymnRzEP_--VgYYR42o
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« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2019, 04:46:30 pm »

I somewhat agree.  The collectors at shows are definitely older but I do see many people my age (40's) and younger coming into the hobby.  I think people interested in history and Antiquities have always been small compared to other hobbies.  A good gauge is how active message boards like this are.  Joe would be in a good position to comment...
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« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2019, 06:15:28 pm »

I also agree somewhat.  I recently read an article (which I now can't find) that coin collecting is dying because "collectible" coins are being cranked out by less than scrupulous companies.  However the article was bemoaning recent, mint; United states coins.  Same thing happened to baseball cards here in the US in the 80's and 90's.  I'm not sure it applies to ancient coins.  They aren't making any more, and I think ancient coin collectors are a different breed, though our numbers may be dwindling.  I really don't know if younger people collect anything.

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« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2019, 03:20:52 am »

If, at some point, coins disappear as means of payment, it will have a massive effect on the collection of modern coins. Who collects then still penny or Euro variants?

This will also have an effect on the antique coins, but there are many collectors here who do not have a geneneral coin collecting interest, but are more interested in history and archaeology and art and see coins as an affordable connection to the past (at least when they start collecting). So am I. I didn't collect coins until I spontaneously bought an Athenian tetradrachm.

These collectors will always be there.
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Andrew McCabe
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« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2019, 05:09:45 am »

I somewhat agree.  The collectors at shows are definitely older but I do see many people my age (40's) and younger coming into the hobby.  I think people interested in history and Antiquities have always been small compared to other hobbies.  A good gauge is how active message boards like this are.  Joe would be in a good position to comment...

40s … me and many of my collector friends started with our first paycheck if not already collecting seriously as kids.

Not sure message boards are an analogy. After all hardly anyone under 45 uses message boards, hardly anyone under 35 uses Facebook, hardly anyone under 25 uses twitter and all the 15 year olds today are communicating on Instagram. We'd have to see what the 5 year olds are communicating on (TikTok I expect) and see how ancient coins are trending there. The picture-only phenomenon is here to stay whereby the picture is itself the message and does not need text.
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TenthGen
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« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2019, 05:16:00 pm »

In my (very) early 30s, I do tend to be one of the younger people looking at ancient coins in the shops and shows I've attended, but I do see a decent number of younger people collecting US coins. In the US collecting hobbies are still fairly popular, but our exposure to ancient history is somewhat limited compared to Europe.

I started collecting ancients around age 26 because I loved the history and had barely dabbled in US coins prior to that. What got my attention was how easy it was to obtain a genuine artifact from the Roman period. Sometimes all it takes is a movie, a hit podcast, or a TV series to spark interest in the ancient world. However, when you consider people in the 20s or 30s, it's actually unusual for them to have sufficient disposable income to buy even modestly priced collectables. Speaking primarily for my generation and from my perspective, there is also a tendency to be very frugal for material possessions but willing to spend more for personal items (food, health items, experiences, paying for their kids, etc). Surely this is related to watching the entire financial world melt in front of our eyes right when we learned to balance a checkbook.

Ultimately, I think new generations of collectors will come around.


(Side note: I'd never seen Rasiel's blog before. I'm looking forward to reading through it!)
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« Reply #6 on: September 18, 2019, 09:05:08 pm »

    I read the blog, but I think market and competing distractions are not as central to the issue as other factors.  "Adulthood" is a moving target:  Most younger people remain highly mobile into their late 30s, in part by choice but also from necessity.  

    In the US, first marriage age median was roughly 22/24 W/M in 1980; now it is almost 28/30.  College and even graduate school education are increasingly necessary, and have gotten tremendously more expensive and many US students have "10 signed Syracuse decadrachms" of debt.   (My total cost of college and grad school in 80s was well under 1.5 years of today's cost.)  

 Mobilty impacts collecting.   Coins are individually mobile but collectively less mobile, and reference books even less so, so it is not very easy to keep a stable and secure collection while moving from school, to school, to first job, to career, etc.  I only retrieved my teenage US coin "collection" after my parents passed away.

  Add in family-costs, often starting even later than that delayed median marriage age, running for 18-20 years or more, career vagaries, and need for retirement savings in lieu of traditional pensions, and there's little room for collecting anything in depth for many people.
  I only returned to coins about 9 years ago, in my mid 40s, as some of those factors faded.  But I expect to be at least supporting education costs until I am nearly 60.  (But then, Republican Gold time, kids...)

  The good news is that the "dying" part may be less of a concern. Folks who have both education  and steady income tend to do better in the longevity lottery.  If we don't go broke, we are likely to live considerably longer to enjoy our hobbies, and there is strong evidence that intellectual engagement and collective activities also extend quality-of-life.  Some of my coin club members tend to be quite old, but they show up with enthusiasm!   Had they done more modern outreach, I might have joined them years earlier.

So, putting the questions of market-prices and hype to the side, we can enjoy collecting among our old friends for a while.  I wish all of you many years of joy.
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« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2019, 04:30:58 pm »

Interesting blog post.

I agree with the idea that there are really several, largely separate, indicators the state of health of the hobby.  Ras mentions auction houses, Ebay, and coin shows.  It would be interesting to see stats regarding brick-and-mortar store sales and online sales (I mean individual store websites or group sites like VCoins of MA-Shops, not auction sites).

In addition to knowing what the stats look like for all of these vectors, I wonder what the wider "collecting" market is like.  My impression is that the hobby of collecting anything is far less prevalent among the younger generation - those who have been generating their own income for say 10 years or less - that among previous generations.  But that is only an impression, I would love to see the stats.

I also wonder if there are online sales vectors used by the younger generation that we are not seeing.  I know coins are listed for sale on online spaces like kijiji, etsy, craigslist, facebook, pintrest, etc.  Are these a drop in the bucket compared to eBay or are they now significant?

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SC
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« Reply #8 on: September 22, 2019, 06:51:29 pm »

I have been active in ancient numismatics since I was about 13 (which was when I joined the FORVM in 2009) and remain involved now at age 23. As such I think I am more qualified than many to discuss the "younger" perspective.

I agree with the contention that younger people tend to refrain from coin collection largely because of new modes of entertainment that were not available years ago. Kids can spend money on video games instead of on coins.

I wonder, though, if younger generations will become more interested as they get older and more financially stable. I think it's not unusual for people to develop an interest in history later in life. While perhaps these forces might not generate as many coin collectors as there are or have been in the past, I don't think this should be considered an extinction of the hobby.

Stamps and baseball cards are so often considered as the archetypical "dying" hobbies. Stamps and baseball cards are often expensive due to rare types, small errors or variants. Someone who is not interested in such types may not place much monetary value on these items. While ancient coin rarity affects the price, they are inherently special by being ancient and are among the most accessible pieces of ancient art. Due to this, I find that many of my friends can understand the appeal of ancient coins, where it may find it harder to feel a draw to stamps, for example. I have given coins of mine to friends who are interested in history as presents, and it has always been appreciated.

The blog shows that eBay ancient coins sale numbers and prices are remaining constant. At least now, ancient coin collecting has hardly disappeared. And if I'm right in predicting that future generations of numismatists will appear in force as they grow older, then I don't think there is much to worry about just yet.

Decreasing interest in ancient numismatics would be unfortunate for the community. However, if the hobby of collecting coins does indeed wane, not all is lost either. Coin prices would decrease commensurately, which may at least increase the financial accessibility of the hobby to younger people or those intimidated by prices of nice pieces.

At this point, I think the conclusion of the blog is overly lugubrious. We will only for certain, however, with more time.
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« Reply #9 on: September 23, 2019, 08:47:43 am »

What about really young collectors Aarmale?

Like you, I was a collector early.  I collected stamps and coins (not ancients) before I was ten.  Back then (1970s) lots of kids did - not the majority, but I was never the only one in class.  It was easy too.  There were small racks of stamp packets at places like Kmart and Woolworths.  I lived in a small city of around 100,000 and it had two stamp stores - one in a nearby mall.  I would go in each week with $2-$3 and sit for hours selecting stamps selling for .2c - .10c. The grown-ups humored me.

In high school I collected military patches and badges, and role-playing games.  Starting in university I collected military uniforms, medals and badges from one country in a very serious way.  In my early 30s I switched to ancient coins and antiquities and eventually sold off my WWII stuff.

I am left wondering two things.

Is collecting by young kids still a thing?  My kids (now 19 and 20) did collect Pokeman cards, but exhibited far less of the collector bug than I did.  Neither collect anything now, though I did introduced them to stamps, coins, minerals, etc. over the years.

Also, does collecting when young equate to collecting when older?  In other words, if true that young people collecting things is rarer now, does that have an impact on the likelihood of collecting when older.  Did adults who are now in their 40s, 50s, 60s, etc, and collect beer signs, or Colonial antiques collect stuff as a kid?  How many people start collecting in middle age when they have never collected before?

I know this has got off the original topic, but like Aarmale, I am not really worried about the "death of this hobby" but more just interested about the sociology of collecting in general.

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SC
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« Reply #10 on: September 23, 2019, 10:39:49 am »

What about really young collectors Aarmale?



There certainly aren't too many young coin collectors, but people did collect things. Pokemon cards and other such items were collected by my classmates. When I was younger, some of us would collect interesting change, and even a few times I went with friends to a local coin store on a day off school. Often the coins were too expensive for us, but a couple times nice store owners would give us an old low-quality coin or something.
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« Reply #11 on: September 24, 2019, 06:24:57 am »

Hello,
maybe I read the posts too quickly and I missed the point if the point has been addressed already but one key issue is the accelerated destruction of general culture.
At least in France, there has been a sort of real ideological war against chronology in teaching history in the full education system (in the new programs presented this year the Minister insists on a certain way back to basic chronology - on croit rêver !!!!!!! -). There are also strong restrictions in access to teaching Greek and Latin.
I know the classic comment "it was better before" and this has serious limitations but, really, who can argue that - on an overall spectrum of a generation, not for the kids of the self-proclaimed elite - there is - at least - stability in the standards of culture ?
It is strictly correlated (numismatics and culture) and, to me, the outlook is crystal clear at least in terms of depth of the collecting community looking forward : down and sharply. Well, to put it clearly, barbarians are not at the gates, they are already inside.
As some kind of second degree joke, I do like the fact that - to a certain extent and, again, in France - it is the ideologically leftist-minded "pédagogues" who have made somewhere real the theory of a neo-conservative (Francis Fukuyama) about the end of History (and I know that this was a theory developped for something totally different - ie notably the environment due to the end of the Cold War -).
Best
Pierre

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lawrence c
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« Reply #12 on: September 24, 2019, 05:34:01 pm »

I think that you bring up a good point. There seem to be two entrances to the start of someone collecting ancients. The first is an interest in the coins as coins; whether for aesthetics or for investments, the principal focus is on the coins themselves. The second approach is to be very interested in the history of the period and then develop an interest in the coins as a reflection of this history. Clearly -- as shown very well by the discussions on this board -- the two interests almost always begin to overlap. Unfortunately, though, the decreasing interest in 'straight' history and the rather rapid decline in history programs in higher education likely means that creating the initial spark of interest that these coins represent can be very much an uphill battle in the future.
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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Numismatic and History Discussions  |  Ancient Coin Forum (Moderator: Dr. Danny S. Jones)  |  Topic: "This Dying Hobby"-A new blog by Rasiel Suarez. « previous next »
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