Tag Archives: dying hobby

Legacy and Diversity


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.

Gibraltar £20 Coin 2016. Made from silver salvaged from the SS Gairsoppa.

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.

£2 Coin 2016 – 350th Anniversary


Holiday and a Reality Check

It ws decided a few weeks ago (not by me) that we would close the shop from Wednesday to Wednesday. The owner is on holiday and decided that it would be easier for staffing if he closed the shop. In other words, after the debacle at Christmas, and his solution (making us take one of the weeks off out of our holiday entitlement because one of his staff (again not me), had made a fuss about coming in for some of the time despite us being given time off as a bonus.

Stamps, stamps, stamps…

The result is that we are now being directed when to take holiday and I am no longer paid for working on Wednesdays (normally my day off). To be honest, I can’t be bothered to argue about it as I have less than a year to go. At that point my small works pension and my Old Age pension will combine to produce an income approximately equal to my current part-time shop job. That’s the advantage of my pitiful career trajectory – retirement will not see me any worse off than when I was working. If I can actually find a part-time job after I retire I will actually be better off as a retiree.

Meanwhile, we had the AGM of the Numismatic Society last night. Eighteen men of a certain age gathered together to mutter and raise hands as the Treasurer read his report and the Secretary read his report and the Chairman gave his annual address The age range is from 45-85, with more at the top end of the scale than at the bottom.

Display of old relics at Flintham Show

Fears about being in a dying hobby are well-founded. Cigarette card collecting used to be a big collecting area. These days, despite a large stock, we sell very few cards and the collectors are mainly in their eighties. Card collecting continues, with football and other gum cards (such  as Star Wars and Batman) still having a following. Pokemon cards have a strong following too, as do many other sorts of card that we don’t deal with. Old dogs and new tricks spring to mind, but as most of the young people do their business online they don’t need a shop.

There were, as I recall, ten collectors shops with coins and medals when I moved to Nottingham 35 years ago. Now there are two, one of which is mainly a jeweller these days.

That’s how it’s going. Collectors generally find eBay a great place to buy (as I do) and they just don’t bother coming into shops these days, a trend I saw starting over 20 years ago. I’m one of the last remnants from the old days, already halfway between dinosaur and fossil . . .

Silver Coin Set