Stories abound from Bankrate and others about how the pandemic has led to a coin shortage across the country. You can hardly go to a fast-food restaurant drive thru without seeing a sign in the window regarding the “national coin shortage”. I say shortage schmortage.
The real national shortage that we should be concerned about is the shortage of hobbies amongst our youngest generation. The hobbies that our greatest generation loved so dearly like collecting coins, stamps and trading cards for example have been replaced by collecting likes on TikTok or collecting skins in Fortnite.
So what’s a parent to do? I have found that the simple act of exposing my children to something I would like them to get interested in without actually pushing it has had some success. The old adage attraction rather than promotion. Most if not all kids like money and what they can buy with it. Initiating a simple chat about the origins of money – Investopedia has a good article – could lead you down a good (for a change) online rabbit hole. Or showing them a silver dollar or two dollar bill or buffalo head nickel could spark their interest.
Having a holiday sleepover at Grandma’s? Maybe you could suggest to Grandpa that he get those old shoeboxes out of the attic or basement and share some of what is inside with your children. He can share an enthusiasm with them unlike any online video. And if Grandma and Grandpa have done any international travelling in their retirement (prior to the pandemic of course) children tend to be fascinated by the colors and faces on foreign currency.
As I mentioned in a previous post, coin collecting is a hobby that spans the generations and appeals not just to parents and their children, but grandparents and their grandchildren. An adult’s excitement about a hobby can be contagious, especially to a child who has been spending way too much of their time in front of a screen during remote learning time. During this pandemic, with parents and children being home together more than ever, what better time to start a hobby together.
Concerned that you wouldn’t know where to begin? Joshua McMorrow-Hernandez makes a lot of good points as to why to get involved in numismatics on the SmarterHobby website and the American Numismatic Association (ANA) has a great section for the budding coin collector in your life.
So this holiday season, instead of an Amazon or Playstation gift card or another scarf and mitten set, how about exposing someone in your life to coin collecting by giving them the unique gift of currency. The selection at Ancient Coins and Collectibles includes not only great U.S. coins and unique Biblical and Judean coins, but also ancient Byzantine, Chinese, Greek, and Roman coins, paper money, fossils, and rare and collectible books.
2020 has been a challenging year for sure. Put a much-needed smile on someone’s face and surprise them by not giving them the same old gift this year. It’s time for change. Pun intended.
Mike Shoule is the author of My Daddy Loves Boston College Football and still uses coins to feed parking meters.