Getting kids involved in numismatics from a coin dealers perspective.
The Coin Show Podcast
My 12-year-old son, Jack, has recently shown quite a bit more interest in numismatics. However, I do sometimes find myself wondering if he could just be going through a phase, or on the other hand, if this could become something that turns into a lifelong passion. Is he showing an interest only because of my profession and now trying to connect in that way with me? How can I bring information to his level and not talk circles around him? What is out there for inspiring young numismatist these days?
My story is the typical numismatic beginning, where I developed an interest as a young child. At first my coin collecting was fostered by my grandmother but then, when my parents saw how serious I was, they took on an active role in my numismatic journey and helped turn my hobby, into a career. In my time coming into my own as a numismatist, the internet was a new thing where there were only a few places to go and chat about coins with other collectors. I clearly remember, the now defunct Yahoo groups where I met other collectors and realized that there were so many more people into coins than my brain could imagine.
These days we always have a plethora of information at our fingertips. We have everything from the good information to the bad and just plain nutty information. But how do you help a kid sort out what is good information and what is just junk? This is just another dilemma I find myself in. I started out by doing what my coin mentor did and gave him a 2022 Redbook. Since then, I see him reading it before bed each night, as he looks at his own coins and compares it to the page in his Redbook. Then, most, if not every, morning I am greeted with a new and interesting coin fact that he has learned by just pouring over anything to do with coins. To me this is every numismatic father’s dream, but what’s next?
There is a large variety of specialty books put out by companies like Whitman Publishing; from modern coinage to, the rarest of rare, Whitman has something for you to read. I just feel lucky that he will even pick up a book in this era of smart devices, video games, and the Metaverse. I know a lot of parents are not as lucky as I am in that regard. Even with everything being right at your fingertips, the internet is a scary place in so many ways. Aside from the obvious dangers of the internet there is an informational danger when a child, or anyone else, is really looking to learn. How do we sort out all the great sources of good information mixed in with clickbait artist and just plain internet junk?
After all the head scratching, and worrying about the dangers of the internet, I have found that what works the best, is dropping him in headfirst and letting him go wild. By taking him to coin shows and letting him see, touch and learn from others in this niche industry, is how I have brought numismatics down to his level. He looks around at each setup and decides what he wants to buy with his earned chore money. Sometimes, he makes mistakes with paying too much for a common coin, but he learns from that and gains so much knowledge from those experiences. It truly is a magical thing to watch my son become immersed in numismatics. I guess when you look at it, it isn’t really that different from learning to ride a bicycle. I guess I’ll just strap his coin helmet on, give him a push and the rest will be history.