By Charles Morgan for CoinWeek …..
To our readers, a quick note:
For the next week I will be in Bangkok, Thailand, site of the 2016 World Mint Director’s Conference. CoinWeek was invited to deliver a presentation at the conference and our topic will be on Modern Coins and the Secondary Market for these issues.
To many observers, the numismatic marketplace has become bloated with special coin issues while, at the same, time a growing number of people the world over are becoming less reliant on physical money (especially coins) for daily commerce.
In the United States for instance, four coin denominations are struck for commerce yet dozens of other coin designs are struck each year for collectors and investors.
The mints have become increasingly reliant on “numismatic” coins (a term I’m loathe to use, because it implies that numismatists are simply coin collectors). It also appears that some of these novelty coins have become more important to a certain group of collectors than coins struck for commerce or the countless other reasons why coins have been struck throughout history.
If the world mints look solely to these “commemorative” coins and “branded investment products” as the future of coin collecting and investments, then it may be “game over” for the little round discs.
Recent news out of South Korea suggests that it might be the beginning of the end for coins in circulation as many push for new forms of digital currency, as the “cashless society” of electronic money is always “just around the corner”…
Regardless, the message I carry to Thailand is a message that I think many of CoinWeek’s readers might say, given the chance.
In a nutshell: Respect the collectors who buy your products and and help foster and support the market and the traditions of the hobby that you depend upon.
For decades, many coin collectors have suffered the abuses of marketers trying to make a buck off of the collectors passion and interest in coins. Too often this was aided by the mints who lost sight of the fact that, at the end of the day, all mints are in the business of making coins, and not some kind of coin-based “pseudo-collectible”.
And since Legal Tender status is what gives these products legitimacy in the marketplace, the mints must honor their commitment to the face value of the coins they strike.
If both coin dealers and the mints themselves hope to have continued support from the collecting community for the modern coins being produced, then it is imperative that all parties concerned insure that the secondary market for these coins is both healthy and stable.
My bookshelf sags with the weight of my library of Krause’s Standard Catalogs of World Coins. I don’t want the weight of what’s yet to be struck in the 21st century to bring down the entire shelf… or the coin industry.
The stamp industry and the sports card industry both experienced a similar “super nova” of activity before their markets collapsed. In the coin industry, mere mention of the Franklin Mint is enough to bring shivers.
The Franklin Mint was one private business. It pales in size and scope compared to the world mints of today…
These are some of the issues that we plan to discuss at the Mint Director’s Conference and within our presentation. We will keep you informed as to both the reception and feedback to our presentation, and about the conference as a whole.