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Many new and interesting ideas were presented at the U.S. Mint’s third annual Numismatic Forum Oct. 17. This year’s event was held at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington, D.C. Perhaps 60-70 of us invited guests attended, along with numerous staff from the Mint and the BEP.

After a welcome from U.S. Treasurer Jovita Carranza, new Mint Director David Ryder (who had previously served as Mint Director from 1992-1993) explained his goals, visions, and plans, all of which indicated a greater receptiveness to public input and a broadened outlook on what the U.S. Mint might be able offer in the future.

Ryder was followed by brief presentations from Mint managers of different forthcoming 2019 numismatic programs, including commemoratives, Presidential silver medals, the American Innovation Dollar series (with the first coin to be released in late December 2018), and new products directed to appeal to young collectors.

The presentation on new products for young collectors was particularly enlightening. About 79 percent of Mint numismatic products sold directly to collectors go to people aged 55 and older. Most sales by the Mint destined to be owned by children are actually purchased by older customers, who then make gifts of the items.

In deriving market information about what would appeal to young collectors, several key points came out. Children generally do not want to read a lot of words. Instead, they prefer a link to a YouTube video that they can watch. In other words, less copy and more connectivity.

Of the printed materials, the preference is for fewer words, larger font sizes, and more graphics. Monetary denominations not generally seen in circulation – half dollars, dollar coins, and $2 Federal Reserve Notes – were more popular than different finishes (such as proofs) of common circulating coin denominations.