Friday, 10 August 2012

Coineys, a Shrinking Community?

Way back at the beginning of the millennium, it was estimated that in the US were 50 000 collectors of ancient coins. Nobody knows on what that figure was based, or how accurate the estimate was, probably though it is very much on the high side. The primary internet forum for a certain faction of this milieu was the Moneta-L forum run by four coin dealers. I note that a while ago I noted 
It is interesting to note that the Moneta-L homepage warns potential members that it is a high intensity discussion list with over 1000 posts a month, this has not been true for a number of years, two to three hundred is the average now  
That was in September 2009, and it is interesting to note that this downward trend has continued since then.

Jan Feb  Mar Apr  May  Jun Jul Aug  Sep  Oct  Nov  Dec
2012   327  271   415 237   138 107   141  

2011   369 384 378 298 268 213 406   601 324 297 259 438
2010   306 368 254 368 425 135 217 135 344 172 269 247
2009   582 282 233 369 264 267 585 271 362 269 276 177

From numbers of contributions in the 1100-1300 range per month in the heyday of 2000-2003, the list has dropped to less than 400 posts a month even though it now has 2539 members. It might be suggested that this is due to other forums being set up, but the most recent example of that, Californian dealer Dave Welsh's "numismatica" forum, begun Aug 31, 2011 has since then managed to attract only 23 members and 134 contributions  with its antagonistic posts (mainly by the list owner) aimed mainly at preservationist archaeologists

Mind you on the much less militant and therefore bigger FORUM Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  (begun in February 2003, now 13226 members) the presentation of forum statistics indicates that there are generally 4000+ posts a month made (so ten times more than Moneta-L), and the general trend is not one of decline.

Could it be that collectors of dugup ancient coins are beginning to question the more aggressive tenets of the no-questions-asked market which were prominently displayed on the Moneta and Numismatica (and similarly inactive Unidroit-L) forums and beginning to doubt that this is the way forward and we can expect some proper debate of the issues - though in a different medium? Time will tell. 

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