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Coin collecting is big business on social media

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A collection of old, European coins is shown.

Younger people have shown more interest in coin collecting, a hobby that's been made easier by apps like Instagram, eBay and Facebook. leezsnow/Getty Images

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At a recent meeting of the Palm Beach Coin Club, members bought and sold coins, discussed the current market, latest trends and upcoming shows. Matthew Tavory remembered meetings in middle school.

“I got $50 from my parents. They let me loose in this room when they had the big shows. And they figured, ‘OK, I was going to come back with some magic beans and it’ll be the last they ever hear of this.’ I came back with some coins and $100,” he said.

Matthew Tavory at a Palm Beach Coin Club meeting. (Yvonne zum Tobel)

These days, he said he’s putting himself through graduate school with his rare coin business. 

Tavory’s been selling coins on Instagram since high school. In an interview from his home office in Lake Worth, Florida, Tavory pointed to the pandemic as just one reason his business has boomed. “Partially due to the pandemic. Inflation’s happening. People are rushing to put their cash into assets that they think will appreciate in value, like gold and silver and collectible coins,” he said.

Tavory specializes in world coins. “I have an example here, a coin made during the siege of Vienna when the Ottomans were attacking it in 1529. You don’t have that kind of amazing history with U.S. coins.”

During the Renaissance, coin collecting became known as the hobby of kings — only the very wealthy could afford it. Now, selling coins is big business on social media and younger collectors are helping to drive the spike in popularity. The pandemic is one explanation for the recent coin boom. 

The American Numismatic Association said it’s seeing more interest from children and young adults. And apps like Instagram, eBay and Facebook have made collecting easier. 

Jeff Garrett is senior editor of “A Guide Book of United States Coins,” known as the Redbook. It’s published annually.

“Young people are really really good at using the tools that the internet provides,” said Jeff Garrett, senior editor of “A Guide Book of United States Coins,” known as the Redbook, which is published annually. “It took a lifetime to achieve the knowledge that I’ve accumulated. Now, I’m competing with guys that have been around for a few years but they can look up with a click on their phone most of the things that I’ve had, took me a lifetime to figure out.”

Garrett said online sales at his galleries have doubled since the beginning of the pandemic. This year, he said, he increased the value of nearly every U.S. coin in his book by between 10% and 30%.

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