I did something fun last night. I was asked to speak in front of a local coin club. Randy Clark, the President of the South King County Coin Club, asked me to make a presentation to his group. The meeting was held at the Tukwila Convention Center which is a few miles south of Sea-Tac airport. The facility is extremely nice and I was encouraged when Randy told me that the meeting usually attracted thirty to forty collectors. With very cold weather and impending snow on the horizon, the actual number of attendees turned out to be less. I counted around twenty people in the crowd; not including my wife who I dragged along for moral support and who I figured could be a ringer in case no one in the crowd had any questions. (Mary: “So what are some of the most interesting coins you’ve sold…”)
The meeting turned out to be a success. It lasted for close to two hours and I was encouraged that the crowd was knowledgeable and enthusiastic. While very few people in the club collected United States gold coins, they asked me some really interesting questions about grading, the price of gold and silver, toning, the market acceptability of “conservation” and more.
Coin clubs are an excellent place for new collectors to share knowledge and improve their education. As a national dealer I often forget about the grass roots of numismatics and that not everyone is necessarily interested in buying Condition Census New Orleans coins. Most collectors start small and as they become more confident because their knowledge is increasing, they buy more expensive coins.
If you are a new collector, go to a local coin club meeting and see if you like it. If you are an experienced collector or dealer, give a little of your time once or twice a year and help the local club. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.