Back in May, I wrote an article on the need – and arguably the requirement – of a Numismatist to provide Numismatic education to those around us. While I cannot say that I run into such opportunities every day, I do seemingly every month or two and it reminds me of how important this aspect of our hobby is for us to participate in regularly.
My latest example of this happened last week and it was an eye-opener for me. I was on a business trip working with a business partner and, over dinner, we got to talking about family, kids, skiing, and then to hobbies. When I mentioned that I collected coins, he showed interest and asked me when and why I started collecting. I told him, as I mentioned here previously, that the Mercury dime was what sparked my interest in the hobby and it took off from there.
“What is a Mercury Dime?” He asked, genuinely unclear of what it was. And it made me pause. It showed me that people outside of our little hobby may not know about our coinage history.
I proceeded to explain what a Mercury dime was and its roll in our coin history here in the United States. It just so happened at the time I had my Red Book in my backpack and was able to show him a picture of one. He, being about my age, had an ah-ha! moment when he saw it. He realized he’d seen one but didn’t know where or the circumstance around it.
From there, he began thumbing through the Red Book, asking about other coins and mentioning several times that he “had no idea our coins had changed so much”. It was a great time for both of us, for very different reasons.
For me, it was a chance to share about my passion for Numismatic education. I don’t know about you, but I don’t get to do that every day. For him, it was a sudden excitement of learning that we as a country have a rich and interesting history when it comes to the coins we carry in our pockets.
While I doubt that my colleague will be picking up the hobby any time soon, he did walk way from dinner with a bit more to think about the next time he pulls change from his pocket. At least I hope so.