Businesses closing down, churches locking their doors, schools sending kids home until after spring break – maybe even the rest of the school year… Even if COVID-19 does relatively little further physical harm to people (a hopeful outcome we're all pulling for!) this pandemic, also widely known as Coronavirus, has already earned an indelible place in the history books, to be remembered for the ages alongside the Spanish Flu of 1918 and the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793. It’s a scary time for everyone, but this unprecedented shutdown of America and other nations around the world is giving many people a forced vacation.
How will people spend this time locked away in their homes? Maybe some will find new hobbies… Indeed, this period may have a silver lining for many industries, including biotech and medicine, which are being forced to discover new and innovative ways to cope with public health crises. Schools and workplaces are being taxed to adopt remote technology – a move that could forever change expectations of the way we earn degrees and paychecks. And for numismatics there are potential benefits, too.
Here’s a look at three such ways the hobby may glean positives from the COVID-19 crisis:
- Everyone is counting their spare change – That coffee can of pennies on the nightstand will soon provide, for many Americans, the latest, greatest form of novel entertainment. As you read this right now, someone is looking through their long-fed (and long uncounted) jar of small change. Surely, many of these folks will find something interesting among those coins… Maybe a Lincoln wheat cent… A silver coin… An error… And their curiosity will eventually take them to a coin shop, or maybe even just online to a numismatic website like this one. And their eyes will widen to the wonderful world of coin collecting.
- Bullion prices will go up, and non-numismatists are going to buy, buy, buy – Bullion booms have historically been good times for our hobby. When silver and gold prices go up, the general public suddenly becomes interested in buying bullion of their own. And if gold and silver prices go up over the next several weeks as the predicted recession takes shape going into summer, we will likely see bullion hit the roof. If that happens, watch the newbies enter coin shops at a pace not seen in years.
- Bullion prices will go down, and coin collectors will start buying anything they can – While bullion bust cycles aren’t particularly attractive to the Everyday Joe or Jolene investor who really only gets excited about bullion when prices are hitting the accelerator, drops in gold and silver prices bring out the true investors and collectors. These are the ones who are looking to buy at the bottom. These folks who buy low may be attempting to stack some silver or gold for a rainy day. Or, maybe they’re collectors who were waiting to buy their first Saint-Gaudens gold double eagle and finally have an opportunity to afford one after gold sinks below a certain price threshold.
All things considered, the societal effects of the COVID-19 pandemic may not necessarily be all bad, especially if the forced time indoors helps us to reconnect with loved ones, old hobbies, or new pastimes. Coin collecting stands to do well as a hobby during this time, and hopefully the same can be said about your health and that of your loved ones. So, wash your hands, stay away from big crowds for now, keep well, and make the best of this time at home!