If you have been to online forums for coin collectors you will probably notice a lack of women. Why does it seem like only men collect coins and precious metals?
First off, I will say that women do collect coins, and I feel very qualified to say that as a woman who collects coins!
I’m going to be talking about why it may feel like there are almost no female numismatists, and how more women could be attracted to the hobby.
Why does it seem like there are so few female numismatists?
Think about everyone you have talked to online about coins, on Instagram, CoinWorld, Reddit. Do you know-with 100% certainty- that everyone you messaged with was male?
Of course not! Some people may have their name set to “Steve” or photos uploaded with clearly masculine hands, but most people opt to stay relatively anonymous online. It’s likely you have talked to a female coin collector and not realized it.
I’m not making the argument that you need to treat anyone differently online, or even stop assuming anons online are male. Even I assume most people on coin and precious metal forums are male!
One of the best parts about coin-collecting is that it brings groups of people together to talk about a hobby they love. Conversations rarely delve into political or social debates. Two people can meet to talk about coins and not realize that they may have radically different views on what the world is or what it should be, they will just talk about coins.
There are many less female coin collectors than males, and that should not be understated. Hopefully, that will begin to change. There are several reasons why I think there are currently less female than make coin collectors.
1.) Coin collecting was started by men and then passed down.
Boys, on average, have a tendency to emulate their fathers while girls emulate their mothers. A man who collects coins who has a son and a daughter was probably more likely to notice his son developing an interest in coins and therefore pass it on to him.
This doesn’t mean that the father wouldn’t have also given the collection to his daughter if she was interested. Kids pickup on small social cues, so a young daughter may see a father collecting coins and the mother not collecting coins and put coin collecting in the “male” category.
Of course, not everyone has a son, and not all sons are interested in coins more than daughters. However, I think after generations this effect tips the scales to generationally favor more male coin collectors than females.
2.) Precious metals and coins are also considered investments.
I would say it’s only been in the last 50 years that women in the US have gained more of a footing in higher-level positions in banking and investing. There is still a lingering idea that women handle the day to day budgeting while men handle the investments.
Precious metals can be a decent hedge against inflation. Before most people invest in gold and silver, they usually buy stocks and bonds. If women are only in the past few decades becoming interested and knowledgeable about investing, then it will take longer for them to begin looking at hedging inflation with precious metals.
Plus, with women earning less money than men. They have less to spend on piles of gold and silver. People can prioritize collecting precious metals at any income level, but it doesn’t make financial sense for most people. (Unless you are worried about a complete collapse of the US Dollar which some precious metal collectors are.)
3.) Coin collecting feels like a man’s hobby.
This section is more about perceptions than what may actually be experienced in reality.
I have never felt talked down to by a man about coin collecting because he knew I was a woman, but have I worried about men perceiving me as less knowledgeable because I am a woman? Absolutely.
Even in these modern times when women are gaining more respect in business and finance, there is still a sense that women know less than men. Sometimes, these fears are unjustified but sometimes they do ring true. Women often feel like they need to prove themselves to be seen as equals to men.
I think a lot of men would love to have more women interested in coin collecting. I see men trying to get their female friends, girlfriends, and wives involved in their hobby.
How to get more women interested in coin collecting?
First off, we need more real women on US coins. Lady Liberty is a great symbol of freedom that women may relate to, but she is not a real woman.
Off the top of my head, I can think of two circulated coins that feature real women: the Susan B. Anthony Dollar Coin and the Sacagawea Dollar Coin.
The Susan B. Anthony coin is a real mess of a coin. The US Mint rushed to get this coin out before it was ready. The back of the coin depicts the moon landing which has no direct ties to Susan B. Anthony.
If anything, this coin feels a bit insulting. It feels like the U.S. Mint was pressured to put a woman on a coin, but put very little thought into the design after that. The Susan B. Anthony Dollar Coin is one of my favorite coins for the history around what made the design so poorly thought out, but this coin is not empowering.
Women keep getting put on dollar coins, which is a good start, but the Mint could do more to get women included on commonly circulated coins. Most people do not see dollar coins in their day-to-day lives. How will a woman know that women are featured on dollar coins if she never sees one?
If you want to get a friend or wife or girlfriend interested in coins here is my advice:
She may not be interested in collecting coins for the same reason you are interested in coins. Figure out something she is interested in and find a way to incorporate coins.
Does she like jewelry?
There are many kinds of beautiful coin jewelry handmade online! Mercury dime necklaces have a light, feminine appeal. State Quarter rings also make a great gift. (If you want to see my recommended jewelry, see #8 on “Top 10 Gifts for Coin Collectors”.)
Does she like history?
She may be interested in older coins. Maybe give her some tokens that commemorate a historical event. Coins and tokens are great pieces of history.
Does she like adventure?
Get her a metal detector! This is a great way to go exploring and maybe find some coins. Although her main goal may not be to find coins at first, she may become more interested when she learns the value and history of her own finds. (If you want to see my recommended metal detector, see #6 on “Top 10 Gifts for Coin Collectors”.)
Does she like treasure hunting?
Get her to try coin roll hunting! Coin roll hunting is a treasure hunt for valuable coins in everyday change. (If you want to learn more check out “What is Coin Roll Hunting”.)
There have been no studies done on this, so this post was almost entirely speculation on my part. My opinions could very well be skewed by the fact that I know very few other female coin collectors and that most of my dealings with other coin collectors happens online.
If you have any thoughts on this I would love to hear from you and start a discussion. Leave a comment below, or reach out through my Contact Page.