The Red River Valley Coin Club hasn’t been able to have its semi-annual coin shows since January 2020, just before Covid-19 ruled out in-person gatherings like the popular coterie of collectors. That dry spell ends Saturday, when the 50-member club hosts its 18th annual Coin Show of North Dakota at the Ramada Inn, 3333 13th Ave. S., Fargo.
Hundreds are expected for the show, which runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free. Dealers from the Upper Midwest will be on hand to buy, sell or trade numismatic materials like U.S. and foreign coins, currency, tokens, medals and other related items.
Longtime member Ken Lepper says the club’s shows attract all ages, from youngsters just beginning their collections under the guidance of a grandparent or uncle to those who have spent a lifetime as numismatists. While he observes the hobby seems to be declining among younger collectors at the national level, no such trned has been apparent here. “Locally, we have a good base. We’re seeing more collectors in their 30s and 40s,” the NDSU geology professor notes.
The youngest hobbyists often begin with Lincoln cents issued since 1909. “When a youngster is introduced, that’s almost always what they start with,” he says. Genuine silver dollars, larger than their more recent versions, attract a great deal of attention, too; their last year of issue was 1924. “Those are the ones gamblers throw down on the table in western movies,” he adds.
While live shows were put on hold during the pandemic, Lepper says, many collectors were able to keep up their hobby indoors and socially distanced, thanks to the large number of dealers who are now selling their products online. But not all , including himself, are entirely satisfied with building their collections through the online avenue.
Part of the issue is missing those hours of rubbing shoulders with fellow enthusiasts, he explained, but there’s more to it. “Many of us are still uncomfortable when we can’t see the coins we are buying first,” he says. “Especially when I’m looking for a couple pricier items, I want to see them before I lay my money down.”