By Peter Mosiondz, Jr. for CoinWeek ……
In our previous installment we pointed out the advantages of joining or forming a coin club. We talked a bit about some of the business portion of a club meeting. Now it’s time to move on to the social or fun part of a club meeting.
On an average, the business portion of the meeting will occupy about one-quarter to one-half of the allotted time. The remainder of the evening is spent on the social aspects. What are some of these venues that should prove to be so enjoyable to the coin collector? I’m glad you asked.
One of favorites is the “show and tell”. This is really a fun thing to participate in. Designated members bring in one of their favorite numismatic items and give a brief, say five minutes or so, talk on the item. Perhaps it will be the story of where and when it was found in circulation. Or maybe the talk will center on the history of the coin, the subject matter or how the design came into being. Usually two or three members are pre-selected for that evening’s meeting.
“Talks” are also an important part of a club’s educational forum. I always enjoy the opportunity to give a talk to a coin audience. Try to limit this to 20 or 30 minutes to allow some time for questions and answers. Remember that not everyone present will be interested in your subject matter and you don’t want to put anyone to sleep. If you are fearful of getting up in front of a group of people and making a presentation, I confess that I once shared that inhibition. That is until I bought a copy of one of the best books on the subject of giving talks and making presentations. It is entitled “I Can See You Naked” and is written by Ron Hoff. Believe me, it helped tremendously with my apprehensions. It should be available on-line or at a book store for those who may be interested. A tip to the club; a “Certificate of Appreciation”, easily produced on a computer, should be given to the speaker at the conclusion of his or her talk.
Sometimes a distinguished speaker will be invited. Recently I had the privilege of listening to a talk by one of the U.S. Mint’s chief engravers, now since retired. Another time at the Early American Copper’s annual convention Q. David Bowers was the featured speaker. There have been many interesting and enjoyable talks that I have experienced over the years. Not only do you acquire new knowledge but it greatly enhances the social aspects as well when you think about the opportunity to meet some notable numismatists and chat with them privately.
Club auctions are another fun way to dispose of unwanted items or better yet to obtain needed items at a reasonable price. Most clubs that I belong to meet twice a month and have a short auction once a month. Members are usually limited in the number of items that they may submit in any one auction so as to keep the auction more manageable. The club normally takes a 10-percent commission on the selling price to help the treasury.
Many clubs encourage dealers to be members. They should be permitted to set up a table in the meeting room to give members an opportunity to purchase numismatic items, frequently at a special club discounted price. Stop and consider for a moment that without dealers our hobby would not have the tremendous price support for our cherished possessions. With no dealers it would be a hobby akin to matchbook cover collecting where the items may be rare and nice to look at but without any secondary market.
Collector swap events are also popular with some clubs. Tables are provided for collectors who wish to trade material with each other. This is another neat way to not only dispose and add items but it enhances the opportunities to make new friends.
Some members may just want to sit at their original places and share a cup of coffee and a doughnut with other friends and simply talk coins. It’s this type of camaraderie that attracts many collectors to attend meetings.
Joining a coin club is one thing. Participating in the club’s functions is quite another matter. Some clubs have small groups of collectors who take care of everything year after year. We call these unselfish folks “spark plugs”, for without volunteers such as them the club could not function.
Volunteering your time and skills will provide you with an immense feeling of gratification not to mention removing some of the workload from the shoulders of the people already doing their part. Perhaps you possess strong organizational skills. If so, the duties of the club secretary might interest you. Why not
volunteer to run for that office when the current secretary’s term expires? Maybe your acumen is is in the financial sector. The club’s treasurer position may be just right for you. Do you have a persuasive nature? If so, I’ve got the right job for you. You will be the program chairperson. You’ll be convincing members to give programs thus becoming more deeply involved with the club’s activities.
There are many other ways in which to volunteer your time and talents. Just talk to the club president to see where the club needs help. Who knows? Maybe you’ll be the president someday and be looking for help yourself.
We can not leave the subject of being involved in a club without mentioning the premier national coin club. Please consider joining The American Numismatic Association. Their address is 818 N. Cascade Avenue, Colorado Springs, CO 80903-3279. Their web site address is www.money.org and their e-mail address for membership inquiries is [email protected]. Their benefits are many. The most visible of these is their large monthly magazine The Numismatist. Two coin conventions are also held each year. Members can save money on coin insurance and also submit coins directly to NGC (Numismatic Guaranty Corporation).
Dues for U.S. residents are $46 per year. Perhaps the best deal of all is life membership. Seniors aged 55 and over, pay $900 while others pay $1200. A life membership makes sense as it protects one against future dues increases. Having been a life member of the ANA for 20 years I can speak highly of the advantages. I only wish that I had become a life member much sooner.
By all means, get involved with a coin club or two and please consider the ANA. You’ll be glad you did.