As mentioned – a second post for the day.
I was discussing the concept of legacy the other day with one of the committee members. It was in relation to particular aspect of the Society, but came round very quickly to the subject of membership. The Numismatic Society of Nottinghamshire is 75 years old this year. It is about half the size it used to be, the members have an average age of (I informally calculate) 65 and we have one female member. I think I’m right in saying we also only have one member from an ethnic minority too. Not everybody actually attends so it is difficult to tell. I keep nagging Julia to join, despite her limited interest in coins, as, with her heritage, I could then claim to have doubled both the number of female and ethnic minority members.
The Bank of England hosted an Inclusive Numismatics conference last Friday. Our Chairman presented a paper, and used the Society logo on his slides. Ironically, it was crammed with an unrepresentative number of speakers from minorities and was rather artificial. However, the hobby needs participants, you need something to kick-start such initiatives, and it’s much better to hold an event than it is to talk about it trying to make it perfect. A hobby that is short of members is a hobby that is dying.
You hardly ever see a matchbox collector these days and cigarette card collectors are rare, and usually over 70. Both hobbies hold a warning for the rest of us.
If we carry on as we are we may not be about when we celebrate out100th Anniversary. The society is currently about half the size it was in the early days, and as cash disappears from our daily routines, it is likely that entry level collectors will disappear. Over the years we have seen definite fluctuations in interest linked to the ways the Royal mint produces and releases coins. we have also seen a definite dip after lockdown, coinciding with fewer places accepting cash.
The immediate problem isn’t the number of members we can attract from minorities, but simply if the society can attract enough members of any sort. After that we can look at minorities and age profiles, though I’m not sure what we can do about it. We are open to anyone, but people just don’t seem to want to join.