Hobbies all-important during our current crisis

By Jesse Robitaille

I’m preaching to the choir here, but in times of crisis, there’s no end to the benefits of having a hobby.

We all know this, but it bears repeating: numismatics is good for the soul.

It’s especially true today, when we’re faced with never-ending updates on a gloomy situation that only seems to get worse by the hour.

In these bizarrely unprecedented times, with much of Canada under quarantine as COVID-19 continues to spread, we as collectors are fortunate to have numismatics at our disposal.

Like always, numismatics allows us to take our minds away from the burdens and stresses of everyday life. For centuries, the hobby has been a safe refuge from a chaotic world. Now more than ever, it’s a way for us to keep calm, busy and mentally stimulated while we’re all forced to stay at home.

Whether you’re looking for education, entertainment or distraction, numismatics has something to offer. (And there’s much more to it than simply collecting coins: beyond buying and selling, which you can still do as of the time of printing, there are countless other off-shoot activities such as research, writing, grading, exhibiting and more—and all of it extending into areas like history, geography, economics and science.)

You can continue to support Canadian dealers, who are taking a significant hit as shows – often their primary source of income – are cancelled across the country.

To find a reputable dealer in your area, visit the Canadian Association of Numismatic Dealers (CAND) listing at cand.org/membership.html. All CAND dealer members follow a strict code of ethics.

Some dealers – like Metro Coin & Banknote owner Jared Stapleton, who also runs the biannual Toronto Coin Expo – were keeping their storefronts open by appointment only; however, with Ontario’s decision to close all non-essential businesses, dealers in that province are forced to take their business online.

“Numismatics is a way of life,” Jared Stapleton, owner of Toronto’s Metro Coin & Banknote, told me on March 17, before the Ontario government expanded its state of emergency to close all non-essential businesses.

“As a numismatist, it’s something you eat, sleep and dream about, so to all of a sudden stop, that’s not a good thing.”

Many dealers also continue to offer their wares through online auction sites like eBay.

Canadian auction houses, for the most part, are continuing with online-only auctions. Colonial Acres’ April 3-4 “Premier Auction” is one example (click here for more information). All Nations Stamp & Coin is also continuing its weekly online auctions.

This is a small representation of what’s happening across the country—many dealers and auctioneers have adjusted their businesses and are carrying on accordingly. I recommend keeping informed, if you can, by checking dealers’ social media accounts for the most recent updates.

THE CAMARADERIE CONTINUES

Think of all the friends you’ve made through numismatics over the years. Would your hobby be the same without them?

Just because we’re all unable to attend shows and meetings, for the time being, doesn’t mean we can’t stay in close contact with our fellow collectors – something we at CCN strongly encourage.

After all, camaraderie is numismatics’ defining feature.

As I write this, we at CCN are exploring ways to keep everyone connected, whether it’s through existing Facebook pages or by hosting virtual seminars and meetings. We’ll have more information soon at facebook.com/CanadianCoinNews.

With uncertainty in the air, it’s essential for us as collectors to come together under our shared interests. With today’s technology, we can all stay in touch with relative ease (but remember not everyone has the access or the ability to use the Internet, so continue picking up the phone, too).

Without club meetings, Organized Numismatics can also continue online through websites, social media and journals or newsletters.

Online, the Saskatoon Coin Club offers a commendable series of articles and presentations covering a range of Canadian numismatic interests. See more at saskatooncoinclub.ca/articles.html.

Again, this is just one example of the many resources available to Canadian numismatists – even your home library likely holds the ticket to an afternoon of stress-free reading.

CCN TO CARRY ON

It’s also important to note CCN will continue serving readers through its bi-weekly print edition, which will continue to be filled with engaging numismatic content, plus its weekly e-newsletter and constant updates at canadiancoinnews.ca.

To read more about CCN’s COVID-19 plan, click here.

We’re hopeful the aggressive actions taken by our government will help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

We’re also hopeful the disruptions to your hobbies and lives are short-lived. In the meantime, we’ll come together – as collectors and as friends – and try to overcome our current crisis. It’s not the first one, and it won’t be the last.

If you have any suggestions for collectors, clubs or us at CCN, please drop me a line at reporter@trajan.ca.

Thank you for your continued support.

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