Get to Know People

Many coin collectors thrive on floating about like a social butterfly (as do some people in all walks of life).  They easily make friends, share knowledge, listen intently, offer encouragement, negotiate amicably, and are cogent coin conversationalists.  For these types of individuals, it’s obvious they relish social interaction at the personal level.

Suppose you prefer the lifestyle of an anti-social cave hermit.  Is it possible to build and sustain a fulfilling numismatic calling?  Fortunately for the reclusive types, the answer is yes, thanks to modern technology.

You can learn and teach extensively, communicate broadly and narrowly, or acquire almost any coin of your dreams without ever leaving your residence or engaging in face-to-face encounters.

With internet access, even a cave hermit like this one could enjoy fulfilling numismatic adventures.
With internet access, even a cave dwelling hermit like this one has the possibility of enjoying fulfilling numismatic adventures. Image by Shutterstock.

In the old days (i.e., prior to the Internet), getting out and meeting people was a big part of honing your coin collecting intellect.  For example, before the online webinar was invented, eager hobbyists gathered in hotel ball rooms to hear leading scholars expound on specialized coin topics.

Personal interfacing was also prominent in building not just relationships, but collections.  Your collecting peers became your coin-trading buddies.  You enlisted certain dealers as trusted allies in your search for particular rarities and keeping you informed on the latest happenings in the business.  Auction venues were as much about seeing old friends as adding a few more coins to your holdings.

Although shaking hands and getting to know other people in the numismatic milieu may not be as important as it once was, there is no substitute for in-person matching faces with names.  Non-verbal communication is more difficult to pick up on during a Zoom call, let’s face it (pun intended).

How much you chose to mingle with like-minded hobbyists depends entirely on your comfort zone.  In this day and age it’s possible to never leave home and attain first-rate satisfaction with coins, but it can only help you to become an even better collector by getting acquainted with others in your field.  Here are a few ways to do that:

Years ago, before the Internet came into widespread use, the best way for coin enthusiasts to attend workshops and seminars was to gather in person.
Before the Internet blossomed into widespread use, seminars and workshops were among the few opportunities for coin collectors to gather and learn from numismatic experts. This screenshot from the September 1999 edition of The Numismatist magazine reports on a typical event. Today, in-person learning is still going gangbusters, but as the image below attests, collectors can participate in sessions through virtual attendance. Image by American Numismatic Association .

Many numismatic webinars and workshops are now live streamed over the Internet, making it possible to attend without leaving your home.
Nowadays, in addition to in-person educational events, collectors can participate through virtual attendance. And, if you happen to miss the live-streamed broadcast, chances are good you can catch a recording later on. Image by American Numismatic Association .

Coin Shows

Attend coin shows. There you’ll see a wide display of coins and have a chance to talk with dealers and other collectors one-on-one. Some shows are massive and attended by thousands.  Others smaller and cozier.  The bigger shows generally host numerous training sessions on a wide variety of numismatic topics.

Coin Shows USA has an updated, comprehensive list of all the activity.  Don’t be surprised if there’s a show coming near you soon!

Wanna see a bunch of coins all under one roof? Then coin shows are for you. Let’s say you’re searching for a 1795 Flowing Hair half dollar in Good to Fine condition. In a show the size of the one shown above, there are probably several of them to choose from. It really does pay to shop around. Image by Joshua McMorrow-Hernandez .

Coin Clubs

Join a local coin club if you have the opportunity and enjoy socializing. You’ll meet people who have similar interests and develop new friendships.  It’s a breeze to locate coin clubs through Google, and the American Numismatic Association maintains a searchable directory of coin clubs.

If you're wondering if there are online coin clubs, you bet there are.  More on that a couple of paragraphs down the page.

Central Ohio Numismatic Association (CONA) is one of hundreds of coin clubs operating in the U.S.  Like most other clubs, they meet regularly and host coin shows.
Central Ohio Numismatic Association (CONA) is one of hundreds of coin clubs operating in the United States. Like most coin clubs, they meet regularly and host coin shows. Image by Central Ohio Numismatic Association .

Local Coin Shops

Don't forget about local coin shops.  Although not as prevalent as they were decades ago, coin shops still exist in appreciable quantities.  Unless you live in a small town or remote area, there is a good chance of finding a coin shop in your community.  

Most coin dealers are in touch with nearby coin clubs (if any) and collectors and can serve as a friendly conduit to new opportunities.

Of course, another advantage of the local coin shop is you can hold the coins and closely examine them at your leisure.  A good (and wise) dealer will answer questions and happily assist you with a purchase, large or small.

If you're having a difficult time finding a certain coin, your local coin shop owner may be able to help locate just what you need through dealer networking.

An adroit dealer can be a very helpful resource for collectors, but how do you know when you've found a good one?  The Best Places to Buy Coins chapter provides a few tips for doing just that.

As a youngster, I spent countless hours in local coins shops.  Not coincidentally, most of that time was spent in places where I felt welcome.  [Chuck A., even though I always left your shop smelling like an ash tray, you deserve angel’s wings for how well you treated me.]

Small coin shops like this one can play a vital role in helping new collectors get actively involved in the hobby.
Small business coin shops like this are situated in many communities across America. Spending time at places like this one is a great way for collectors to learn at their own pace about coins, branch out by meeting others with similar interests, and grow in the hobby. Image by Phil’s Coins (Wichita, KS).

Internet Friendships

Meeting other hobbyists through the Internet is a quasi-approach in getting to know people, but it too can be highly productive.

Maybe there aren’t as many in-person coin clubs as there once was, but there are numerous online coin organizations and talk forums where you can pal around with fellow collecting enthusiasts.  The wealth of knowledge floating around on some of these forums is amazing.

Here are a few of the most active coin collecting forums:

Many specialty groups exist online, attracting members from far flung localities.  Organizations like this are enticing for collectors who want to really zero in on a narrow field of interest.

The Early American Coppers Society is but one example of a specialty group.  Many of their activities are conducted in cyberspace, but they do have annual conventions and other get togethers.  Collectors who love old coppers will always learn something new in the EACS journal Penny-Wise.

If you discover an area of coin collecting that particularly captures your attention, there may well be an organization composed of members who feel the same way.  Thanks to the Internet, it's so easy these days to communicate with like-minded individuals.

There are numerous specialty groups in coin collecting, created to help members focus on their particular area of interest.  The Early American Copper Society is one example of such a group.
The Early American Copper Society (EACS) is an example of a numismatic specialty group. Organizations like EACS are ideal for collectors who desire to learn more about their field of interest and enjoy socializing with like-minded individuals. Image by Early American Copper Society.

Yep, there are social media groups galore.

Just do a search for "coin collecting groups" on any of the social media giants.  You may be surprised how many groups now exist.

This is a tiny (and it is tiny) snippet from Facebook when queried:

For coin collectors who enjoy social media, there is an abundance of opportunities to belong to coin-related groups.
There are many opportunities on social media for coin collectors to interact with one another. The screenshot above represents a very small percentage of the coin collector groups on Facebook. Image by Facebook.

Quick Links to Other "Getting Started in Coin Collecting" Chapters...

The next chapter in this section is Handling & Storing Numismatic Treasures.

Use the links directly below to navigate the "Getting Started in Coin Collecting" section.

All the chapters referenced above are accessible from any other chapter in this section.  Thus, no need to return to the "Getting Started in Coin Collecting" Introductory page to link to other chapters.