The evolution of coin collecting is here. It is all around you, and if you are collecting using blue and brown folders or plastic holders, you are not part of the evolution or at the periphery of the evolution.
New collectors are collecting based on a coin’s theme. They are not interested in date or mintmark series of coins but want a connection to their collectible. The coins must have a meaning.
A midwest club of sports collectors invited me to speak about coins with sports themes. They had heard of the Basketball Hall of Fame coin but wanted to know more. I gathered my information and joined them via Zoom.
For this talk, I made a list of commemorative coins celebrating sports. This list includes the Baseball Hall of Fame coins, the many Olympic commemorative coins, and the Jackie Robinson commemorative coins.
As part of the discussion, they asked why collectors did not like the colorized Basketball Hall of Fame coins. One club member tried to buy the colorized clad proof from a local coin shop and was shamed by the shop’s owner for wanting this coin. The shop owner said that it was a damaged coin and that it will not be worth much in the future. Rather than selling the collector the colorized coin, he tried to sell a regular proof.
Unfortunately, the “traditional” numismatic feeling is that a coin is a legal tender flat metal disc with a denomination with a date, and some have mintmarks. Within the collection of the flat discs, there may be variation in how the coin was struck, changes in dies, and other unintended alterations the hobby calls errors. But that is not what interests today’s collectors.
One of the club members has been collecting the Super Bowl coins from the Highland Mint. He loves football, and the Highland Mint produces the coins for the Super Bowl coin toss. They sell replicas to collectors. The Highland Mint also sells commemorative replica sets for all of the Super Bowls’ coins. For the years before the Highland Mint’s involvement, they created a coin that may have been appropriate for the game.
After listening to the story and the information about the coins, I called him a numismatist. I told him that he did not have to collect legal tender coins to be a numismatist. By having a niche collection of numismatic-related items and learning everything about them, I said that is what numismatics is all about.
In the process, club members told me about coins that Topps made as a promotion in 2020. Inside special packs, there was a thicker card with a coin inserted honoring the player. Following a quick search, I purchased the two versions of the coin card with New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom and slugger Pete Alonso.
I also found a few 1964 and 1971 aluminum coins, sometimes referred to as pogs, for a few previous members of the Mets, including “The Franchise,” the late Tom Seaver. I think I just started a new collection!
Towards the end of the meeting, someone asked if I knew anything about the new Rolling Stones Coin. The Crown Mint produces a silver 10 gram, 1-ounce silver, and 12-gram gold coin using the tongue and lips logo for Gibraltar. The silver coins feature colorized highlights.
As we talked about the coins, I picked up my philatelic numismatic cover (PNC) with the Queen coin from the Royal Mint and put it in front of the camera. I also mentioned that the Royal Mint produced a commemorative for Elton John. Although the coin covers are sold out at the Royal Mint, I went to the Royal Mail website and found Elton John and other commemoratives, including coin covers for James Bond.
After the meeting, I was thinking about themed coins and wondered if the numismatic community can partner with other collectibles to create a more dynamic show.
For example, why not partner with the New Zealand Mint, Perth Mint, Royal Canadian Mint, and others that produce licensed comic-related coins and the publishers to create a Coin and ComicCon. The coins will be the centerpiece of the event but invite the fans to add a different flair.
There are so many themed coins that the hobby can set up CoinCons that bring in different themes with the coins as the centerpiece. A Sports CoinCon would feature sports on coins, and the grading services can sponsor autograph signings of the labels. Coin dealers could set up next to sports dealers to sell coins. And the coins do not have to be limited to a sports theme. If the dealer can sell investor coins or other themed coins, they can gain from the experience.
Outside of numismatic circles, silver and mixed metal non-circulating legal tender (NCLT) coins are popular. The mixed metals are not limited to ringed coins. Using metals like gold and niobium to highlight features is as popular as colorized coins.
Other possible CoinCon themes include advertising, art, nature, history, science, and almost anything else. An International CoinCon could set up conference rooms with different themes connected by a single hall to allow collectors to go between rooms to experience other collectibles. The CoinCon can invite auctioneers of each theme to hold auctions during the show, especially if their lots have coins to feature. How much fun could it be to have a science and technology theme in a CoinCon and hold an auction with space-related coins and souvenirs?
A CoinCon is not collecting as we knew it yesterday. Today’s collectors want a connection to what they collect. All hobby businesses must understand that this is the present and future of collecting.