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Millennials: Will They Be The Next Generation Of Collectors?

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Pillar of the Community
United States
3736 Posts
 Posted 04/12/2014  9:36 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add Joe2007 to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Millennials: Will They Be The Next Generation Of Collectors? Can They Afford To Collect?

Over the years there has been a lot of discussion about the rapidly aging demographics of coin collectors and whether enough younger and middle-aged people are entering the hobby to keep it healthy.

Millennials are the demographic cohort comprised of people born from the early 1980's up until the year 2000. According to economists they have significantly fewer economic opportunities than previous generations. These diminished opportunities are largely due to the Great Recession but also a result of longer economic trends including the generations before them remaining in the workforce longer and jobs shifting overseas to lower cost regions resulting in fewer well paying jobs for younger workers.

I'm 25 years old so I'm right in the middle of this demographic and I don't know more than a handful of people that collect anything. From what I have seen younger people in their teens and twenties are more susceptible to mass consumerism than the generations before them. If they have any discretionary income they spend it on expensive cell phones, vehicles, or some other flashy product they see hyped on television and nothing else. They live on the edge of financial ruin, maxing out their credit cards, and living paycheck-to-paycheck. Many of my peers have no savings or emergency funds and look at me like I've grown a third eye when I don't live as they do.

Can we count on this demographic cohort to be the collectors of the future? Or are collectors in general, not just coin collectors, a dying breed?
Edited by Joe2007
04/12/2014 9:36 pm
Bedrock of the Community
13014 Posts
 Posted 04/12/2014  9:48 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add basebal21 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Every generation seems to think theyre the last generation yet every time more collectors come about. 80s-2000 isn't going to be the prime collecting age right now and its true many of them do live in a way that makes no financial sense. But as the population increases you can actually have a lower percentage of people become collectors and still end up with more than before.

Collecting has changed though in the sense that you can no longer go to a show and count heads and use that to make an assessment on popularity. eBay and the internet have allowed collectors to remain much more anonymous, so while it may not have the visual presence a lot of purchases are still being made. I would venture to guess that those purchases arent going to overwhelmingly be the older segment of the collecting population.
Pillar of the Community
Canada
5417 Posts
 Posted 04/12/2014  10:02 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add zxcccxz to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I am yet, several years younger than you are so I cannot say as to what should be or what can be.

What I can attest to is, what I know. What I know is that I inherited a collection worth $100 when I was twelve. By the time I was 15 my collection worth upwards of $5000. I did not have a job, instead I saved my allowance, made money buying and selling coins and precious metals and was a very thrifty bargain hunter, I was so hooked, my birthday wishes were coins, my Christmas presents were coins. As much as my coin collection is my hobby, it is also my investment. Part of which can be sold off at anytime. I was introduced to coin collecting by my dad at a fairly young age, he himself collected coins and later I found out that even my mom had as a kid (Though my parents had never shared collecting after they met and they had long since stopped collecting). I inherited many coins which my dad got from his aunt who was very rich and had traveled the world.

I was always taught the value of money by my parents. So, I do put a steady amount of my paycheck into a savings account, and don't buy a new smartphone the day it comes out and then spend $650 on the newest model every 6 months when my smartphone is a good as it needs to be and already has a whole bunch of useless features like Smart Stay and Negative Colors and Beauty Shot.

I don't blame the new generation, they are victims of pop culture and the media. They are taught that social status is everything and what society thinks of you is more important than anything else. Then, there is the fact that the post-World War II baby-boomers work well into their 60's. Now why would anybody but McDonalds or some other chain which does not require skilled workers hire a someone who's twenty over someone who is 40? Furthermore, a very little amount of people go into the trades (Not the I myself would) resulting in the highly-competitive job-market that we see.

So yes, kids don't see the value in menial things like collecting coins (Pssh... if I asked a 13-year old what collecting coins was they'd say it was a 7-year old's pastime). Even when someone shows genuine interest in what I collect, I find it hard to explain to them how in the world I actually, pay money for... coins?

Back then, there was no internet, no high definition Smart TV to keep people entertained and engaged 24/7. Now people are so busy with their lives that they don't have any time to do anything. Working longer hours equate to sleeping longer hours and before you know it, there goes 90% of your daily time.

What I feel is, that there aren't any less amount of collectors. As the world grows the hobby grows with it. With the population tipping 7 Billion and more and more people hitting, that middle-class level, we see an emergence of collectors, albeit more spread around, perhaps belt-buckles, guns or something else. Overall, even if the percentage of coin-collectors is going down-- the total number is inevitably going to go up. And as there is more involvement of social media into the hobby, there will be better ways to connect with other collectors, virtually perhaps. Another good thing is that most collectors are concentrated into Urban Areas.

I don't know if it really is a dying hobby but I sure hope not. I am sure that there will be lots of responses to this topic as it stands at the very core of our hobby and I'll be sure to read every one of them.
Edited by zxcccxz
04/13/2014 12:00 am
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United States
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 Posted 04/12/2014  10:21 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add TypeCoin971793 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
A very interesting discussion. I don't see the generation which you describe as being coin collectors. Their only regard is themselves in the here and now, not in preserving history or preparing for the future. I am as yourself, but I am a bit younger and still qualify as a YN, in that I differentiate myself from others by not living the way they do. I rarely spend money, but when I do, I only use cash that is on me so I wouldn't be indebted to anyone. Any excess cash is in a fireproof safe somewhere in my house. I never spend large amounts of money things related to mass consumerism, such as electronics and brand-name clothes, but I spend it on occasional coin purchases. I get the weird look when I tell my friends of my purchasing habits, but I ask them how much they can sell their iPod or their ripped-up jeans for. This usually silences them and gives me justification to continue in the hobby.

As far as the millennials adopting coin collecting, I just don't see it as ever gaining popularity again. That is a rather disappointing statement, but I can only see truth to back it up as I walk around school everyday. You have to have a passion for history in order to appreciate coins, and this passion is virtually nonexistent. In the 550 people taking US history at my school, I can only count 10 people who share this passion for history, myself included; the rest just see it as another grade or just din't care. My history teacher is impressed with my collection of coins and antique periodicals (dating back to 1680), and how I can connect the history of these items with the period which we are discussing in class. However, the apathy of the other students is becoming far more extant among our society's young generation, which is a depressing thought as these people, who can sometimes regarded as lacking in cognitive ability, will be the ones operating the world as adults.

All in all, I believe that the millennial generation will never embrace the coin collecting hobby as people of a similar age did fifty years ago. They are too short-minded, apathetic, selfish, and unwise with money to ever consider taking up this hobby. Sure, the high prices, abundance of counterfeits, and nit-pickiness of experienced collectors can be enough to discourage many from the hobby, especially when they have no true respect for coins. But there are plenty of options out there for ways one can collect inexpensively, while the entire time they are building a hard-backed investment that can easily be sold in the future if a crisis were to arrive. However, the hardest part in getting the younger generation interested in coins is literally getting them interested. If they have already turned into freaks that are passionate about passing fads, I believe they are already a lost cause, but if you get them interested early enough when their mind is still receptive to new things/hobbies/lifestyles, then there is hope that they can be converted towards numismatics.
Pillar of the Community
United States
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 Posted 04/12/2014  10:26 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Domain555 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Joe........


Quote:
Millennials: Will They Be The Next Generation Of Collectors? Can They Afford To Collect?

Over the years there has been a lot of discussion about the rapidly aging demographics of coin collectors and whether enough younger and middle-aged people are entering the hobby to keep it healthy.

Millennials are the demographic cohort comprised of people born from the early 1980's up until the year 2000. According to economists they have significantly fewer economic opportunities than previous generations. These diminished opportunities are largely due to the Great Recession but also a result of longer economic trends including the generations before them remaining in the workforce longer and jobs shifting overseas to lower cost regions resulting in fewer well paying jobs for younger workers.

I'm 25 years old so I'm right in the middle of this demographic and I don't know more than a handful of people that collect anything. From what I have seen younger people in their teens and twenties are more susceptible to mass consumerism than the generations before them. If they have any discretionary income they spend it on expensive cell phones, vehicles, or some other flashy product they see hyped on television and nothing else. They live on the edge of financial ruin, maxing out their credit cards, and living paycheck-to-paycheck. Many of my peers have no savings or emergency funds and look at me like I've grown a third eye when I don't live as they do.

Can we count on this demographic cohort to be the collectors of the future? Or are collectors in general, not just coin collectors, a dying breed?


Well........

Where to start.

It is true, traditional coins are going to be a bit pricy for the next gen.

Is the answer MODERNS?

I do IKES. (and Kennedy half). You can find them on the fly for a buck, and half a buck. You can even buy an un searched $1,000 bags of ikes, for about $1,250. If $1,250 is to much ... you can search the bags for silver, plug your books with coins ... and or spend, trade, with the rest of the coins. Sell 'em at your next Garage sale for what ever the market will bear. Buck 50? 2 bucks?

I guess if you are right ... all this deliciously sweet endeavor, over a very limited supply of 100-1000+ year old silver and gold, will guild smoothly, silently, into the waiting arms of the Strongest, Wisest, and the Richest.

No insult intended ... for responses ... No insults taken.

Opinions?
Pillar of the Community
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 Posted 04/12/2014  10:28 pm  Show Profile   Check jdmern's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add jdmern to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I am in my 20's and I've actually seen the opposite, I have seen many people from my generation become interested in numismatics...

I started collecting with my father when I was young, and quickly grew an affinity for Canadian coins, because I found them fascinating and liked the idea that they were tough to come by but I could get many for reasonable prices...

I ended up having a reasonable collection when I went off to college, and lo and behold, I needed some money for college, and there went my collection... I sold off my collection through eBay, did pretty well, and while in college, bought and sold a bit simply for profit, but didn't hold on to anything...

Many of my friends mentioned their own collections they had received at some point from family members or grandparents, and it seemed like everyone had "an old coin collection" laying around...
Once out in "the real world", which happened to be post recession era, I've found many, many young professionals have an interest in numismatics, many of whom became interested due to bullion, especially when silver and gold were spiking a couple of years ago...

Many people I have had conversations with who are young adult collectors talk about how they would rather put some of their money into bullion than real estate or the stock market, and it seems many began to learn about other coins, becoming coin collectors along the way...

Believe me, if you told me 10 years ago I would regularly be having conversations with people my own age about Morgan dollars or Indian Head Pennies, I wouldn't have believed you, but I truly feel that my generation will actually expand the coin market and turn rare coins into a very powerful market...

I also feel that the future of numismatics is in world coins due to expanding globalization and increasing wealth to areas which previously never had a population with disposable income, but that's a whole different topic :)
Pillar of the Community
United States
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 Posted 04/12/2014  10:32 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add TypeCoin971793 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Zxcccxz, I agree with everything that you said in your post, and can relate to most of it. However, I was never as involved as you were in buying and selling coins and family difficulties inhibited me from branching out. Anyhow, I take pride in that I "only" have about 15 channels on a good day using an antenna, all of which I never watch. No smart phone either, but school work keeps me busy most of the time (I just took the ACT this morning. Hope I did great!).

In my area, I know about ten (maybe) young collectors who appreciate coins. I may be that I don't get out much, but my daily interactions with people show that interest in numismatics is waning heavily.
Edited by TypeCoin971793
04/12/2014 10:35 pm
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 Posted 04/12/2014  10:43 pm  Show Profile   Check jdmern's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add jdmern to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
I'm 25 years old so I'm right in the middle of this demographic and I don't know more than a handful of people that collect anything. From what I have seen younger people in their teens and twenties are more susceptible to mass consumerism than the generations before them. If they have any discretionary income they spend it on expensive cell phones, vehicles, or some other flashy product they see hyped on television and nothing else. They live on the edge of financial ruin, maxing out their credit cards, and living paycheck-to-paycheck. Many of my peers have no savings or emergency funds and look at me like I've grown a third eye when I don't live as they do.


Every time I hear this criticism of people in my age group, I always wonder how this criticism constantly gets laid out on my generation...

IMHO, the reason that the people who live their lives this way are the exceptions, rather than the rule, and the reason why they are so visible is that those are the people who you see out and about on a regular basis... Believe me, I think it would be great to go out on a Wednesday night in a brand new car with some brand new clothes, but I need to be up at 5 in the morning to work the next day and I would rather spend my money on something tangible that may provide a reasonable payoff sometime in the future, with coins being what I tend to like to spend my "disposable" income that I work hard for... However, I don't think the work ethic of this generation is as weak as some people think...


Quote:

All in all, I believe that the millennial generation will never embrace the coin collecting hobby as people of a similar age did fifty years ago. They are too short-minded, apathetic, selfish, and unwise with money to ever consider taking up this hobby.


Typecoin, I would have agreed with that statement was I was your age, you will learn as you get a even a slightly bit older, that many people at that age feign those attributes simply because it allows them to blend in with the masses better or they grow out it...
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 Posted 04/12/2014  11:23 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add shadz to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
If coins were pokemon cards, they would be collecting them. Current generation collectors didn't grow up on baseball cards and things that you would collect jsut to ahve for yourself, but things that you colelct to use like Disney Xfinity toys for the video game and stuff like that.

Strangely moen to collect will always have value, at least coins, because they are made of metal, and even if the coins themselves lose money value, the metal will be able to be used again whenevr there is nothing stopping laws. even if our current coins survive econimies for the next generation over being replaced with plastic, those coins add up, so any you have saved will be able to be spent in an economy where they are still moeny.

It is strange how that 2 cents piece of paper that is a pokemon card can be worth $20 and kept in a protective sleeve and such, but a coin to them is meaningless and only exists to be spent.
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 Posted 04/12/2014  11:35 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Joe2007 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks for the comments!It is great to see so many younger collectors here on CCF.

Jdmern: I hope you are correct. I just see too many people our age making shortsighted decisions over and over again to the point where I'm cynical. These are highly educated people who should know better too. Many of my classmates piled on student loans to pay for a good quality of life while in college and are now paying for those decisions and will be paying off debt for a long time into the future. I don't see them being able to achieve the American dream even if they make an above average wage due to their recklessness during their college years.

Zxcccxz: I think we have a lot in common. I spent most of my allowance, Christmas, and birthday money on coins growing up. I also went to local estate auctions with my grandfather who was a flea market dealer who bought and sold cheap glassware, house-wares, and tools. It was a great experience, I learned what stuff was really worth at those auctions and what could be resold. Seeing what the antique/secondhand dealers were buying and how much they were paying was very insightful. A lot of stuff that people accumulate from today's stores is practically worthless and has no resale value whatsoever.

TypeCoin971793: I totally agree with your comments. I also only use cash; it really helps one more carefully weight their purchases. Your comment about today's youth not being interested in history is right on the money in my opinion.
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 Posted 04/12/2014  11:42 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Cruisinfusion to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I think I'm about one generation below everyone here, just meeting the "millennial" mark. I've only been in numismatics for about 5 years now and have not seen much growth in 14-30 year-old population (in the hobby, that is).
There does not seem to be an easy way to get into the hobby of coin collecting unless you are introduced to it by a parent. Of course, there are exceptions. The only coin collectors teens that I know also have coin collecting parents.
Let me provide some back-story.

My step-father is a lawyer who deals primarily with divorce. He has had various clients who are simply unable to pay their dues in cash or credit and must give him an item of value. One client, whose case lasted longer than expected and resulted in more lawyer expenses, did not have enough money so he payed with a portion of his coin collection. It included just about every United States coin with a face value below $2.50. My stepfather allowed me to look through the collection and keep a few things I found neat, but he deemed as relatively inexpensive.
The client explained the history of coins and what each coin was. He quickly became a friend of the family and I befriended his son. Sadly, he has recently passed and left his collection to his son.

So my stepfather and I both got into coin collecting after this. He's definitely not a millennial, being in his early sixties, so he doesn't count. Basically, I got into coin collecting because of the influences of a parent.

So on to my second point, that it is hard to get into coin collecting without the strong influence of a parent.
I tried to introduce my friends at school to the different types of United States coins and the potential value that they may have. I was picked at and my hobby was called stupid. I once brought a fairly high grade Morgan dollar to show my friends. Unfortunately, it was taken out of my locker during P.E. and bent, scratched, dented, and the value was destroyed.

Several of my friends cannot wrap their mind around the fact that a coin with a face value of $1 could be worth over $20.

They cannot wrap their mind around why a face value of $1 would be put on a coin that is worth 20 times that.

I don't know what the future of numismatics will be, but I hope it will be a good one!
Edited by Cruisinfusion
04/12/2014 11:44 pm
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 Posted 04/12/2014  11:43 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Cruisinfusion to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Unfortunately I have to work for my money to buy coins, so funds are limited. I don't receive allowance.
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 Posted 04/13/2014  12:36 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add peanutbutter to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
With just the shear number of millennials, I think the hobby will at least stay the same if not grow. I feel the mint is doing their best to attract new collectors all the time. The Statehood Quarters, commemorative coins, silver eagles. I think as these millennials age into adults and move past all the flashy toys there will be a surge in the hobby. Everyone collected things as they grew up and will someday return to collecting. Just my 2 cents.
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 Posted 04/13/2014  11:42 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add MeadowviewCollector to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I will be 26 in a little over a week. I started collecting in 1999 as a result of the State Quarter program. My mom was the one who encouraged me and even bought proof sets.

An older gentleman knew I was starting to collect and gave me an old Red Book. I read it from cover to cover several times.

My parents have certainly helped me along collecting wise through the years. I've never seen the importance of having the latest cell phone, gaming system, computer, clothes, etc. instead I would rather have something that isn't likely to depreciate over time.

-MV
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 Posted 04/13/2014  2:21 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add SsuperDdave to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
We've done polls here regarding CCF's age demographic. Fully a quarter of our membership - the ones active enough to participate in polling - are under the age of 25. I'm not worried about the future.
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 Posted 04/13/2014  9:08 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add fromms2244 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Let me start by saying if you are of this generation (as am I if barely), there should be little debate... Never has there been a time in numismatic history where everyone collected coins. As has been previously stated, every generation is the last. I started collecting early (12 years) and quit till I was 26. No friend of mine was ever even the accumulator much less the collector. However, fast forward a few years ( current day) I am 31 yrs old. Of my close friends from high school whom I still speak with frequently, the genetic theripist is a silver stacker, the teacher is a nickel fanatic, the shift worker buys mint and proof sets... And by the way, the fishing junkie ( me) is a franklin fiend. None besides me had ever "collected" a coin before we were 23. The hobby is alive and well. Fear not
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