The Calgary Numismatic Society has been organising fairs twice a year to promote the hobby of collecting coins, paper currency and medals to the Calgary community. But unfortunately, this pastime is slowly getting restricted to the older generation only.
A similar event was organized at the Double Tree by Hilton (2120 16 Ave N.E.) on March 4th and 5th.
Thirty dealers from all over Canada were present with their collections being showcased at 52 tables in the show. Some of the rare bills from the 1900s showcased were worth thousands of dollars.
“Unfortunately, coin collecting, and stamp collecting are kind of dying hobbies,” said Cecil Jahrig, chief organiser of the show. “It is usually the older people that are collecting these things.”
The Calgary Numismatic Society has the Coinivores Youth Club to attract a younger generation to the hobby, but the number of collectors has been declining steadily in Calgary. Free coins and collectibles are given out to youngsters to spark their interest.
Personal collectors used the opportunity to find the missing pieces of their collections. The Royal Bank issues sets of mints every year, which prove to be popular. “Collection hobbies are mostly sparked from childhood,” said Ron Beggs, who has been collecting coins for almost 40 years, “My father used to buy me a coin set every year I finished a grade in school.”
There’s a main reason for the decline in coin and money collecting – digitalization. In this modern age, more and more people are using digital cards instead of physical cash or change to do transactions which leaves less money to collect.
“There were around 12 full-time coin stores in Calgary in the 1980s with the city’s population around 500,000,” said Robert Kokotailo, a collector more the last 60 years. “I am the last one that’s a true coin store left. There are three times as many people, but 1/12th the number of stores are surviving.”
He also predicted that we would see more dramatic decline in the number of active collectors over the next six or seven years. “The average coin collector right now is in its mid-late ‘60s and by the time they turn 72, most of them will stop,” Kokotailo said.
The Calgary Numismatic Society has been running since the 1950s and will be hosting its next fair this year in September.