I attended a well-organized US Mint conference this past Thursday at the Federal Reserve in Philadelphia regarding the status of the Numismatic industry.
In attendance were invited guests from all over the United States that are involved in some shape or form in the industry. A broad spectrum of invitees included APs, coin dealers, graders, a few individuals who have a strong passion for collecting and a few members of the media.
In attendance from the Mint were Principal Deputy Director, Rhett Jeppson, who I had the pleasure of sitting next to during the presentations along with quite a few of his staff members.
Mr. Jeppson started the conference giving his impression of what the Mint’s role is in the industry. He led off with the Mints E-commerce stats in Numismatics that seemed quite impressive.
On the Mint’s web site from Oct. 2014 to Sept. 2016, the mint processed 1.88 million orders:
- Shipped revenue of 833 million.
- Shipped orders 2.96 million.
- Units shipped 9.75 million
- Customer service contracts 1.14 million
Please don’t ask me to explain what all these numbers mean, I’m not sure. But the Deputy Director seemed pretty excited on how much business was being done under his watch.
One thing he said that I was surprised to hear was, if you Google “coins” the US Mint comes out top dog on the search engine. Something he was proud of because he said it cost the Mint nothing to achieve that status. I just tried it and the Mint was second in line after “What’s my coin worth.” He’s a good guy so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt on that claim.
Some interesting guest speakers were on hand, some you may know gave presentations. First Mr. Jeff Garrett gave his assessment of the Numismatic industry as a whole. Next Dr. Robert Goler who gave the United States Mint Heritage Assets overview. Then Dr. Ellen Fingold Curator of the Smithsonian Numismatic collection. Jon Cameron Acting associate director of the US Mint spoke about what the Mint has in the works with new products and new technology.
All very interesting presentations but the next two I found fascinating:
Here is some interesting data that was shared during “Invigorating the coin collecting hobby.” According to the US Mint:
- 70 percent of the customers are over 40 years old and making over $ 50,000 dollars per year?
- 90 percent of the customers are white.
- 89 percent of the customers are male.
So these stats created a wonderful open conversation on how we invigorate the existing collector, but more important how do we get new blood into the industry? Here are two of the comments I think are important:
- One person said the industry is not creative enough and not spending enough dollars in marketing products as the Mint confirmed they haven’t spent a dime on marketing in years.
- One person said, the industry will have a difficult time getting the next generation involved in coin collecting because the kids never see their parents handle loose change anymore. Every kid sees his or her parents using either a debit card or credit card to make purchases.
After lunch we broke into discussion groups to come up with some ideas on the following topics. When done, these topics became a long opened-ended dialogue until it was time to go across the street to the Mint for a tour.
Other topics that were discussed:
- Mint packaging
- Mintages/ household order limits
- Who is our customer of the future?
- Customer engagement.
- Working with youth.
- Ideas on Historic Design Reproduction
- ATB follow up: What should be the Mints next creation?
In my opinion, to be successful in creating a collectable coin the most important thing is the STORY behind the product. The story is the difference between something you just buy on impulse and something you want to hold for a long time.
Hope this piece got your interest, If not, I gave it my best, as I always want my readers to feel like they were sitting right next to me at the conference.
Have a wonderful Monday.
Disclaimer: This editorial has been prepared by Walter Pehowich of Dillon Gage Metals. This document is for information and thought-provoking purposes only and does not purport to predict or forecast actual results. It is not, and should not be regarded as investment advice or as a recommendation regarding any particular security, commodity or course of action. Opinions expressed herein are current opinions as of the date appearing in this editorial only and are subject to change without notice and cannot be attributable to Dillon Gage. Reasonable people may disagree about the opinions expressed herein. In the event any of the assumptions used herein do not come to fruition, results are likely to vary substantially. All investments entail risks. There is no guarantee that investment strategies will achieve the desired results under all market conditions and each investor should evaluate its ability to invest for a long term especially during periods of a market downturn. No part of this editorial may be reproduced in any manner, in whole or in part, without the prior written permission of Dillon Gage Metals. This information is provided with the understanding that with respect to the opinions provided herein, that you will make your own independent decision with respect to any course of action in connection herewith and as to whether such course of action is appropriate or proper based on your own judgment, and that you are capable of understanding and assessing the merits of a course of action. You may not rely on the statements contained herein. Dillon Gage Metals shall not have any liability for any damages of any kind whatsoever relating to this editorial. You should consult your advisors with respect to these areas. By posting this editorial, you acknowledge, understand and accept this disclaimer.