By Jeff Garrett for Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) ……
Equally important to numismatic education is the camaraderie that belonging to a numismatic organization provides
Today there are probably over 1,000,000 people in the United States that collect coins. There are undoubtedly millions more around the world. Currently the American Numismatic Association (ANA) has about 25,000 members.
In my opinion, a LOT of people are missing out on the benefits of belonging to a numismatic organization.
Collecting coins is about much more than just accumulating as many different objects as possible. Most numismatic organizations are based on education, which is the foundation for a successful collecting experience. There are generalized clubs, such as the ANA, with great information for the basic beginner or advanced numismatist. On the other hand, there are dozens of groups dedicated to the highly specialized study of various areas of the market–everything from the Civil War Token Society to the Silver Dollar Roundtable.
Numismatic education is extremely important to fully enjoy collecting rare coins. You can look up the mintage and prices of a Morgan Silver Dollar in the Red Book. You would be missing, however, the history of the series and the incredible nuances associated with them. Most clubs feature numismatic journals with specialized information for the enthusiast of that specialty. Many also have excellent web sites with detailed information and recent research. There are several clubs that offer information that is vital to anyone collecting that series. Recently, after purchasing a large group of patterns coins, I found the information provided on uspatterns.com to be extremely helpful.
Equally important to numismatic education is the camaraderie that belonging to a numismatic organization provides. Whether you are a coin dealer, collector, or investor, you belong to a larger numismatic community. It is up to you to take advantage of the benefits of this community. As an illustration, you can sit at home and buy coins in your pajamas. This solitary endeavor will grow your collection, but not your circle of friends with similar interests. That is one of the reasons coin shows are still well attended by tens of thousands of collectors each year. Many of my best friends are found on the numismatic show circuit.
Belonging to a numismatic organization is also good for the long-term future of the hobby. The ANA does an incredible job introducing the hobby to collectors each year. Much of this focus is on the sorely needed young segment of our hobby. Each year dozens of young collectors attend the ANA Summer Seminars in Colorado Springs, most attending on scholarships. Over the years, many of these young people have become numismatic professionals as a result. Others have become dedicated collectors who later served as members on the organizations board. The tangible results of the ANA educational mission have been enormous. The growth and future of the hobby is important to anyone hoping there will be collectors interested in numismatics when they decide to sell.
In August the ANA will be conducting one of the largest coin shows in the world. The aptly named World’s Fair of Money will take place this year in Anaheim, California. Thousands of collectors will be in attendance for an incredible bourse and week of auctions. Many collectors will also be coming to attend the annual meeting of the many specialty clubs that convene each year during the WFM. There are dozens of such numismatic clubs in the United States and the world.
A great start in the world of numismatic clubs would be to join the ANA (money.org). I am currently President of that organization, and I have been making every effort to increase membership. Having been a member for over 35 years, I can personally attest to the benefits of this great numismatic fraternity. You should also consider joining your local coin club. There are hundreds of these around the country and the first place many collectors start their numismatic journey.
Below is a partial list of the many clubs that will be holding meetings during the World’s Money Fair in Anaheim this year. Most are open to visitors and I urge you to check them out.
Do yourself a favor–JOIN THE CLUB!
(Primary contact email links provided where available)
American Israel Numismatic Association
Ancient Coin Club of Los Angeles
Armenian Numismatic & Antiquities Society
Association of Dedicated Byzantine Collectors
Bust Half Nut Club
Bust Quarter Collector Society
Carson City Coin Collectors
Civil War Token Society
Early American Coppers
Fellowship of Christian Coin Dealers
International Bank Note Society
International Primitive Money Society
John Reich Collectors Society
Liberty Seated Collectors Club
Medal Collectors of America
Numismatic Bibliomania Society
Numismatic Literary Guild
Philippine Collector’s Forum
Professional Numismatist Guild
Society of Ration Tokens Collectors
The Elongated Collectors
Women in Numismatics
Questions about the rare coin market? Send them to [email protected].
About Jeff Garrett
Jeff Garrett, founder of Mid-American Rare Coin Galleries, is considered one of the nation’s top experts in U.S. coinage — and knowledge lies at the foundation of Jeff’s numismatic career. With more than 35 years of experience, he is one of the top experts in numismatics. The “experts’ expert,” Jeff has personally bought and sold nearly every U.S. coin ever issued. Not a day goes by that someone doesn’t call on Jeff Garrett for numismatic advice. This includes many of the nation’s largest coin dealers, publishers, museums and institutions.
In addition to owning and operating Mid-American Rare Coin Galleries, Jeff Garrett is a major shareholder in Sarasota Rare Coin Galleries. His combined annual sales in rare coins and precious metals — between Mid-American in Kentucky and Sarasota Rare Coin Galleries in Florida — total more than $25 million.
Jeff Garrett has authored many of today’s most popular numismatic books, including Encyclopedia of U.S. Gold Coins 1795–1933: Circulating, Proof, Commemorative, and Pattern Issues; 100 Greatest U.S. Coins; and United States Coinage: A Study By Type. He is also the price editor for The Official Redbook: A Guide Book of United States Coins.
Jeff was also one of the original coin graders for the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS). He is today considered one of the country’s best coin graders and was the winner of the 2005 PCGS World Series of Grading. Today, he serves as a consultant to Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC), the world’s largest coin grading company.
Jeff plays an important role at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Numismatic Department and serves as consultant to the museum on funding, exhibits, conservation and research. Thanks to the efforts of Jeff and many others, rare U.S. coins are once again on exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of American History. We urge everyone who visits Washington, D.C., to view this fabulous display.
Jeff has been a member of the prestigious Professional Numismatic Guild (PNG) since 1982 and has recently served as president of the organization. In 2009 and 2011, Jeff ran successfully for a seat on the Board of Governors for the American Numismatic Association (ANA), the leading numismatic club in the world. and he is currently the ANA President.
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