By Jesse Robitaille
Budding young collectors will have a chance to grow their collections for little or no cost this April, when the special youth booth and auction return to the National Postage Stamp & Coin Show.
Organized by Cassidy Stroud, the national youth co-ordinator of the Royal Canadian Numismatic Association (RCNA), the “Young Collectors” program is aimed at developing the next cohort of collectors. It also ties into the show’s youth mandate, which includes free admission for all children aged 17 and under throughout the two-day event plus exclusive access to highly discounted material at the youth booth just outside the bourse. Also returning this spring is the popular 50-lot youth auction, which is free for children to participate in.
“The youth are our future in the hobby and we certainly need to plant seeds in their minds about how fun the hobby is,” said Stroud, who added participation in the Young Collectors auctions, which are also offered at other major Canadian shows, increased by about 25 per cent last year.
“Having a free activity for the kids is important because it allows anyone under 18 to participate. They can learn and meet others, and it’s all in a controlled environment where they can feel comfortable. Parents stay at the back, so the kids and teens can make their own choices on what to bid on.”
Among the highlights of the auction are two lots, each with a youth collector binder full of coins, holders, Mint boards, two-by-two holders, storage pages and more. They’re valued at $40 each, said Stroud, who’s also the secretary of the Ontario Numismatic Association (ONA) and the past president of the Brantford Numismatic Society.
The RCNA’s youth program is partnered with the Canadian Association of Numismatic Dealers (CAND) as well as the Canadian Association for Numismatic Education (CAFNE) and is made possible through fundraising and donations from individual dealers and collectors.
“The RCNA, CAND and CAFNE have all been very supportive of the program and have provided quite a bit of material and supplies,” Stroud added. “We are very grateful.”
YOUTH BOOTH OPEN ALL WEEKEND
The youth booth will be open for the entire weekend before the auction, which begins on April 5 at 1:30 p.m. and runs for upwards of two hours.
“At the youth sales table, we like to ask them what they collect to try to accommodate them but also to promote offshoots of their main interest,” said Stroud, who added organizers will also be promoting “the art of exhibiting” at the show this spring.
“There is a youth exhibit section at the ONA and RCNA conventions, and it would be wonderful to have more exhibitors.”
A new workshop being planned for future shows – beginning with the ONA Convention in Burlington this May 22-24 – will have young show-goers making their own wooden coins.
“It may inspire them to have their own woods one day,” said Stroud, of the wooden money championed by the Canadian Association of Wooden Money Collectors and other associations worldwide.
With these new initiatives and the growth of the Young Collectors program, organizers are also putting a call out for more volunteers.
“We have had a couple of people volunteer for the youth program since we put the word out, and now that we are starting to gain more traction with spring coming, they will have some jobs to do,” said Stroud, who added she’s seeking more volunteers to help with the youth booth and “be an advocate promoting the hobby with their peers.”
For more information, contact Stroud at firstname.lastname@example.org.