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More Collectors are Coming
December 27, 2007

This is the time of year when collectors like to join the rest of the population to peer into the future to try to make out what might happen.

Wading in with a handy forecast is John Kamin of the Forecaster Moneyletter. I have been reading Kamin's work on and off since 1969.

He says the population of the United States will double from the current 300 million people to 600 million by 2058, a half century from now. What are the implications? Twice the current number of Americans will affect everything from farming to home building, but where it especially interests me is the impact on coin collecting. There will likely be more of us in 50 years, probably twice as many.

Kamin doesn't delve into the specifics, so allow me to fill in with my own thoughts. We know coin collecting has a long and deeply rooted history. Numismatics dates back to Renaissance princes, 500-year-old German references, more than 200-year-old, mass-produced British Conder tokens to over a century-old approach to collecting American coins by date and mintmark.

This great age doesn't tell me what people will collect in 50 years, but it does tell me of the long-term stability of numismatics. Our hobby descendants will be here and be very active.

Proportions might change. There are more coin collectors in the United States than paper money collectors. Paper money collectors will probably increase their share going forward.

But there probably will be even more emphasis on coins of precious metal than even now as inflation and coin substitutes continue to devalue those coins that actually circulate.

It will be an interesting half century ahead of us. Let's plan on sticking around as it unfolds.

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About the Author
David C. Harper has been a coin collector since 1963. He joined the Krause Publications editorial staff in 1978 and is currently editor of Numismatic News and World Coin News. He also edits two books annually, North American Coins & Prices and Coin Digest. He is the author of the Class of '63 column that runs each week in Numismatic News. His first bylined numismatic article appeared in the June 1971 issue of Coins Magazine and his various Krause Publications assignments included a stint as editor of the magazine 1980-1983. Harper received a bachelor of science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in 1977. He had a double major of journalism and economics.

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