Thursday, January 26, 2017
How Many Coin Collectors Are There?
In a recent post on Coin Update, the editor asked a question: How does someone count the number of coin collectors who do not belong to the ANA? Those of us who do our buying largely online, or from the bank, and never bothered to join a group where we would be part of a head count. (See the full article here. Editor's note is at the bottom of the article.)
A few ideas come to mind...
1. Try to get your hands on eBay buyer data for coin listings. I'm not sure how difficult that would be, how proprietary eBay considers the number of unique coin buyers it has, but that would be a very good indication of the active online market.
2. Poke around Facebook numismatic groups to see what the total member numbers looks like. It wouldn't be super accurate, but again, it would give you an idea. A programmer could design an application to record the names of all members, cross reference them to remove duplicates (people who belong to more than one group), filter for just users in the U.S., and get a pretty good number.
3. Ask coin website admins how many unique users they see in a month. This might yield the most realistic number because collectors do not spend all of their time buying coins. There is research, window shopping, and just plain dreaming that fills many hours. Most of the PCGS apps in the Google Play Store have over 10k downloads, and that does not take into account the prevalence of iPhones (Apple's App Store is not forthcoming with download numbers).
It's a tough problem, how to count people with no interest in being counted. The above are just a few ideas to get a vague sense of how many active collectors are online.