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Numista Mentoring Program

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Numista is one of the first websites new collectors discover as they start to research their newly acquired coins. Most are attracted to the idea of cataloging and identifying everything and for those purposes it's a pretty unique one stop shop. New members sign up daily and go about enjoying their hobby without ever really engaging with their fellow collectors and discovering all the other features that Numista has to offer.

Sometimes they appear on the forum with a question or two and, in a refreshing change from other coin forums, they get a warm welcome and a prompt answer without the sneering and patronising snobbishness so common elsewhere. (well done you folks on the Coin ID forum) Sadly, far too many then simply fade away. If our beloved hobby is to survive in an age where coins are being phased out and pop culture is pushed on our young people then we need to embrace these new collectors and inspire them. How many potentially great numismatists have we lost because they felt excluded, intimidated or were ripped off by unscrupulous types (including former admin team members!) and either went elsewhere for their resources or gave up entirely and took up knitting instead.

So what can we do that we are not already doing? Simple, a mentoring program. Voluntary of course and discreet too.

Here's the goal -

By matching experienced collectors with eager to learn newcomers we can help them to build relationships and develop the kind of worthwhile contacts which will turn a curious newcomer into a lifelong collector. The mentor's role will be to offer advice on a specific area of collecting, introducing the new member to others with the same interests, informally vetting any proposed swaps to keep the hustlers and sharks at bay, offering help with grading and valuations, provide links to other commonly used web resources, introduce them to Numista's many features beyond the catalog and encourage them to become active on the forum and should they decide to do so, prevent them from being bullied or harassed by the lunatic fringe of the internet.

I think I'm correct in saying that no other numismatic website offers such a thing.

The ideal candidate for a mentor's role should be -
  • Experienced. - If you've only been collecting for a year there's not much advice you can give and it's likely to be wrong despite your good intentions. It depends on the individual of course, some folks just absorb knowledge like a sponge but in general it's going to take quite a few years to get beyond the basics.
  • Honest, Sane, Respected - Clearly it would be counter productive to put a fox in charge of the hen house. This isn't a role for the teenage hustler, KennyG / Eitan types. Also there are some pretty unhinged, barking mad people on the internet who I wouldn't be happy to have my child in contact with especially as it might need the exchange for personal contact info, email addresses, mailing addresses etc. No trial of coins leading into a digital white van please! I think most of us could come up with at least a couple of names who would fit into this category. If you don't have the respect of your peers then how can you open doors, make introductions or conscript specialized help for a newcomer?
  • Free Time - Not everyone has an abundance of leisure time so giving up a part of it without any personal benefit is a pretty big thing to ask. The program will surely fail if people bite off more than they can chew and end up abandoning or ignoring those needing help.
  • Fluent in English - As most people have a working knowledge of English, and that's the language of the forum, the catalog, 90% of the internet, that's going to be a firm requirement. It's great if you both speak only Swedish but how are you going to introduce your fledgling to other collectors if you can't open communications with them?
  • Articulate - You will need the ability to explain things concisely and clearly. At one end of the scale is the guy who uses a lot of specialized terms which don't help the newcomer and can be intimidating, at the other end is the text speaking lighthead, 'hw r u, u hv ne silvr coinz!!!!?" Don't be those guys.
  • Active - We need to know who you are! There's nothing wrong with being reclusive and enjoying your hobby in splendid isolation but the role is suited for those who have plenty of contacts and have a network of friends who can be dragooned into lending support.
  • Established - You will need to be a long time member who knows how the site works, who to turn to in the event of a problem and who to avoid.
  • Pleasant and Personable - No matter how much you might know about numismatics and how wide ranging your contacts are you are going to struggle with the social aspect if you have the personality of a toad. Cajoling others into giving help to your charge is one of the most important aspects - it's going to be tough if everyone hates you. We don't want to scare away our neophytes by pairing them with the socially awkward.

The role of the beneficiary is much simpler - be willing to learn and appreciative of the help you are being given. It should not be viewed as something only for the young or the new collector. We all have our ambitions and sometimes we feel the need to explore new avenues of collecting. One day I'm going to put together my accumulation of vaguely attributed ancients into a real collection and when that day finally arrives I would welcome the help of a mentor.

How do we implement this?

First of all, canvas opinions and suggestions. Decide on the most workable format.

Get together a list of those wishing to become mentors.

Next, decide on the technical aspects. I think the most elegant option would be two side by side lists, one for those seeking a mentor, one for those offering to become a mentor. Alongside the names would be fields for their areas of expertise, languages spoken and a little green/ red button to indicate if they have an opening for a new recruit or not. Some people might be happy to be mentoring several newcomers at once, others might prefer a one on one relationship. At the sign up stage ask new members if they would like to opt in to the program.

Apart from appearing in the list, mentors should have the title and area of responsibility added to their forum tagline and profile page so that newcomers may recognize them if they need to seek out someone for advice.

Once we have a clear idea of what's needed, we can present the idea to Dear Leader who will ultimately decide if it's A} technically possible, and B} desirable. I can't see any reason why he would object on either grounds.

OK, over to you guys. Any thoughts, suggestions or objections? Please keep it civil, productive and free of clownish spam.
Non illegitimis carborundum est.  Excellent advice for all coins.
Make Numismatics Great Again!  
I think it's a brilliant idea, unfortunately I think I'm stretched a bit too thin to be able to offer up enough time to take it on, but I'm sure there are plenty of others who could be able to put their names forward.
I like it. :) I can present it to Xavier as a new idea on the next metting. As it could result in more members being active on the site, I believe it would be good thing to add.
Catalogue administrator, You can support my dream of becoming full time worker on Numista through Patreon if you wish: https://www.patreon.com/Jarcek
Perhaps it can be added as a tab at the top of the page (or even replace the "outings" one, is there anyone that actually uses that?) People could put their names forward as mentors and have a list built up. Then if new members require a mentor they can be matched with someone who is geographically close/speaks the same language/collects similar coins etc.
I believe this is a brilliant idea.

It's exactly the direct guidance a new member needs when they first arrive and something that I'm sure would benefit our community as a whole.

Hopefully implementation isn't too difficult, and despite some toothing problems I'm sure this sort of thing would thrive.
Phil,

I think this is a great idea! I also think you would be a great person to be put in charge of this.

About 2 1/2 years ago I got ahold of my first coins just as you described I came to this site to find out more. I probably would have kept to myself but there was a member that was very welcoming and helped my passion for the hobby grow as well as educate me on tons of things. Now I'm pretty deep into it and love the hobby.

You were the one that mentored me and helped me out and not only have we had great conversations here on Numista and Facebook but even over in Largo when you showed me all your local shops. If you have the time I think you would be great to start this out. Hey I might be a little biased lol

Matt
An excellent idea!
I could see myself being involved with "both sides of the coin", so to speak.

I think I have some decent knowledge of Canadian coins and I know I need mentoring in many other areas.
We were so busy deciding whether we could, we never asked ourselves whether we should!
I think my part is to further expand the WCC topics. Please share the links to these articles with the new members. I remember as a kid that I wasn't able to figure out the logic of South American currencies until I found out much later about the countless redenominations.
I like this idea very much, I don't have the time right now. But any one who is mentoring someone just let me know. I can get 50 to 100 coins, all different years. World or Canada, Mexico, UK and the US. To help a new person out. Free of to a mentor.
It is, what it is.
I think it's a good idea. I especially like the helping avoid sharks and grading advice. I've been collecting awhile and it's a passion of mine so I'm happy to help where I can. I'm always armed with my catalogue for extra info because the history professor in me loves the back story and I appreciate the artistry since really a coin is a small piece of art. I'd offer myself to help in the areas in which I am competent... silver commemoratives of the mid 19th to mid to late 20th century in Europe plus euro coinage and US coinage.
I like the idea, I certainly remember, and appreciate, the mentors I had when I started collecting.
Would you pair mentors and newcomers based on areas of collecting interest?
If I was deemed qualified, I would be willing to help.
Referee for Pre-Euro Ireland
Quote: "muygrandeoso"​I like the idea, I certainly remember, and appreciate, the mentors I had when I started collecting.
​Would you pair mentors and newcomers based on areas of collecting interest?
​If I was deemed qualified, I would be willing to help.
​I deem you admirably qualified my dear fellow.

Yes, it should be possible to pair the two based on mutual interests using a pretty simple matching program, that would be the ideal. But we have many numismatic omnivores who collect anything and everything who could absolutely participate. I would expect that a majority of new collectors are busy enjoying coins from all areas and times and are not in a rush to choose anything too specific.

For my part I would offer to mentor anyone interested in pre decimal coins from the UK and the 3rd Reich period although being very popular areas I would expect them to be well covered already. The only series I have any uncommon knowledge of are the Leprosarium tokens but I think it's highly unlikely that a novice is going to be interested in these.

It might be a better use of my time to concentrate on making sure the right people are being matched up and that the program is working as intended.
Non illegitimis carborundum est.  Excellent advice for all coins.
Make Numismatics Great Again!  
Quote: "pnightingale"
​It might be a better use of my time to concentrate on making sure the right people are being matched up and that the program is working as intended.

​I completely agree! I think it quite important that this program is well administered, and I would imagine that we all agree that you are the person for the job.
Referee for Pre-Euro Ireland
Great idea Phil.
Fantastic idea Phil, I certainly appreciated the advice I was given when I first started here on Numista.
Restoration addict : Verdigris Removal : Zinc White spot removal : Iron Rust Removal : Silver brooch/necklace mount Removal
Let me know how I can help.
I have been helping local folks - mostly coworkers and/or their kids identify recent coins - usually those from within the last 100 years. I've also helped people I've met in the local stores find specific countries in the circulated coins bin. I suspect most of you can do the same thing, so that won't bring much to such a program.
One thing I could offer is that I can pick out lots of countries from the six-for-a-dollar bin. I just pulled out over 70 countries last Saturday for a kid who is joining the hobby. If someone wants to help a new collector amass common countries, or just get familiar with country coats of arms, I would be glad to dig through the bins and send coins to someone without such stores in their area.

When I started identifying my coins, I found websites with lists of pictures such as this one from Portland Coins (a former dealer with an internet site): http://www.portlandcoins.com/pictureguide
There were also sites with word lists. For example, "Österreich" is Austria. Maybe we could start a thread with picture and word lists for those who need a starting place, or do you think it is unnecessary since there is information on the internet already?

One thing I would like to have a mentor help me with would be finding coins from certain countries for my collection. I am learning but am still sadly deficient with ancient coins. I want to buy one of each affordable ancient country, but I know so little about them. It would be great it someone mentioned auctions that looked good, and advised how high they would recommend going before they would stop bidding.
When I was a child, I had a very strange coin which I couldn't identify. I knew both geography and history very well yet still couldn't find out what is that strange 'Helvetia'. I didn't have an Internet and spent whole day reading the encyclopedia and finally I had found it. Wow, what a moment that was! And that's what I like the most about numismatics - discovering something new :)
We should help less experienced people, that's for sure, that's why I do my best to help people while on coin expos or shops to make right decisions.
ROMAE AETERNAE
This idea sounds good, and will also require an adaptation in the French side as well.
Administrateur du catalogue, référent de nombreuses nations antiques et de la Lorraine.
Catalogue administrator, numerous Antique nations and Lorraine referee.
Quote: "pnightingale"

​But we have many numismatic omnivores who collect anything and everything who could absolutely participate. I would expect that a majority of new collectors are busy enjoying coins from all areas and times and are not in a rush to choose anything too specific.


I am a coin omnivore myself. As a such, I think that my advice could be useful to some similarly minded new members.
However, in a twist of a wonderful Phil's idea, I would propose a general-use blog for everyone to see. While an advise of a specialized collector is invaluable for a like-minded novice, many of a beginner may want some more general type of "what to do, what to avoid doing" advise. It would be a "waste" to limit a well-thought and well-written piece of advise to have only one addressee.
Sorry to revive a dead thread, but as I am new to foreign (non USA) coins, I could really use some mentoring.
Hello there
Oh there is a big world of coins out there. And many ways to collect to collect them. There is collecting by type, one coin for each KM number. Or you collect everything. You can try to get a coin from every country. But a lot of what you collect will be determined by money, space and time you have for collecting. By space I mean, I collect everything year and mint mark. I have been working on a complete set (circulating) of German Pf 1, 2, 5, and 10. From 1948-2001. That is over 600 coins. It takes up a lot of space.
But I think the best way would be get a few bulk lots from e-bay or somewhere. And collect everything. Get your hands in deep. You will find what you like that way. You will find what and how you like to collect. And just let that guide you. There is no wrong way to collect coins. Just the way you want to. But remember you are collecting money so there is a value with it. So don't spend a lot on wore out coins. Try to get nicer ones. Me my main focus is on 1 cent or penny coins. That is the first thing I collected here in the US. They are all being removed from circulation now. You being in the US may I say try Mexico. A lot of different coins and types. And easy to come by. And Canada.
And be on the forums a lot, let everyone get to know you. There are a lot of good people here. And get some catalogs to help you learn as much as you can. So welcome to Numista and happy coin collecting.
yours daryl
It is, what it is.
Quote: "Hello There"​Sorry to revive a dead thread, but as I am new to foreign (non USA) coins, I could really use some mentoring.
​I suggest the following:
1) If you have specific questions, then start a new thread and ask them.
2) Read, there are a lot of good books and periodicals on world (I don't like the term "foreign") coins. "Coin World" is probably available at your local public library,and I'm sure there are Krause catalogs there as well.
3) There are a lot of on-line sources of coin information, just do a Google search in your area of interest.
4) Finally, collect what you like, this site is mostly geared toward those who collect one coin from each country, that's OK but it's not for me. Figure-out what appeals to you, not someone else.
The problem that I am having is that most of the time I don't know if the swap I'm doing is fair. I don't want to be taken advantage of due to my low swap rating.
Quote: "Hello There"​The problem that I am having is that most of the time I don't know if the swap I'm doing is fair. I don't want to be taken advantage of due to my low swap rating.
​There are a couple of ways to value coins for a swap. The first is to use the Krause value for both coins, which can easily be found here: https://www.ngccoin.com/price-guide/world/

The second way is to look for recently concluded auction sales, which are readily available via the Advanced Search function on ebay.

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