By Peter Mosiondz, Jr. for CoinWeek ……
Anyone approaching middle age, and those of us who have already arrived there, will no doubt remember the hair coloring commercial on television that proclaimed that “blondes have more fun”. If you were to ask me to come up with a clever idea for a commercial on the many rewards of coin collecting, I would say “coin club members have more fun”.
I hope you’ll agree with me when I say that there is no fun in pursuing any hobby or interest in a solitary fashion. When any avocation is shared by two or more people it becomes that much more enjoyable and interesting, to say the least. And, when there is a large group of collectors involved together in numismatic pursuits it becomes dynamic.
Some of my happiest times in our hobby occurred when I turned 12 years of age. Six of us youngsters formed a coin club and we met every Monday night in the home of a different club member. The father of one of the boys became our mentor and saw to it that a coin newspaper subscription was obtained in the club’s name. As a part-time coin dealer he had a source for discounted coin supplies. This turned out to be a big help to a bunch of kids on modest budgets.
At each meeting we took turns talking briefly about some new acquisition or circulation find. Those were the days when “good” coins could still be found in circulation. I fondly recall one particular Monday meeting when I proudly showed my just completed collection of Washington quarters and told how I found the elusive 1932-S in pocket change, one of the key dates, to complete the set on that previous weekend.
Eventually some of my friends went on to college, or off to war (including yours truly), or married and moved away. We did enjoy seven or eight wonderful years together though.
In my opinion, joining a coin club, if you are fortunate to have one not too far from home, is absolutely essential to obtain the greatest amount of pleasure and enjoyment from the hobby. What do you do if there is no club in close proximity to your place of residence? Why, start one of course. Just a handful of enthusiasts are all you need to begin. And, in a small group, you don’t need a constitution and set of by-laws either. All you need is to get together and discuss coins and other numismatic items.
Needless to say, a meeting place is essential. Many churches and municipalities will often consider the use of one of their halls or meeting rooms by educational or hobby groups for little or no cost. If all else fails, do as we once did over a half-century ago and meet in a different member’s home or apartment on a rotating basis. As to the agenda of the meetings, whatever the majority decides to try, by majority vote, should be accepted without any strenuous objections. Things can always be adjusted later on, again by majority vote and approval.
The length of a meeting will be flexible depending on the events that are scheduled. In most instances the duration will be an hour or two. Here, and in our next installment, are a few ideas that many clubs have used successfully. You can add to, modify or delete these suggestions at your discretion.
Since most potential members are likely to be home from work on the weekend, and as school children are also home on Saturday, why not consider Friday evening as a good time to get together? The starting time could initially be set at 7:30 to allow families to have their dinners and travel to the meeting site. This could always be changed later by majority vote.
One issue to consider is the matter of dues assessment. A small yearly amount may be considered for refreshments at the meetings or to acquire a club membership in a national numismatic society. We’ll address national societies next time.
The meeting is usually called to order by the club president once officers have been named. The “minutes”, or the key topics, discussions and votes that took place at the previous meeting, are read by the club’s secretary who is also responsible for taking the notes. Once the minutes are read, approval is sought for their acceptance. One member will make a motion that they be accepted as read and another member will “second” the motion. These minutes are then made a permanent part of the club’s history. One of the benefits of having these minutes read from the previous meeting is to keep any members, who may have been absent, apprised of the club’s activities.
Next the “new” business is discussed, debated and voted upon. Perhaps the club is considering holding an annual coin show and exhibition. Discussions will follow on the date, location and size of the event. Consideration will also be given to publicity and advertising. One member might volunteer to have the event appear in the local newspaper’s community page. Another may offer to send the information, when ready, to CoinWeek, Coin World and Numismatic News. Maybe a suggestion will come from another member to contact the local coin dealer to see if some low-priced coins could be donated or bought at wholesale prices to give to children at a future club meeting. Ideally these should be coins that, in all probability, the children have never seen before. Foreign coins fit the bill very nicely here. And don’t underestimate the parents’ appreciation for keeping little Mike or Mary away from the television, video games and texting.
One thing is certain. Whether forming your own club or joining an already established club, make it priority number one to invite and attract youngsters to the club. Make them welcome, mentor them and get them involved. After all, they are the future of our wonderful pursuit.
Once the new business has concluded it will become next meeting’s “minutes”.
And now that the business portion has been completed, it’s time to move on to the social segment of the evening. What are some of these social and fun things? Stay tuned for our next installment.