I sure needed some luck for things to work out just perfectly. I was scheduled to spend a few days in Chicago for work. I emailed the secretary of the Chicago Coin Club, Carl Wolf, to enquirer about their next meeting. It wasn’t totally random, I was already thinking about joining the club, but given that I had no idea when I’d be in Chicago I passed on it last year. So, it turned out that during my stay the club will meet. A few days later I got a request to be the presenter at the October meeting.
So, there I was some weeks later, ready to present. The idea was to bring the materials I presented at ANA last year, simply because many of the members didn’t have a chance to hear it. I decided to update it slightly with some of the things that happened over the last year.
I had to think through a number of things as I was mentally preparing for the presentation. What is it that I would like to bring to the group? It is definitely a number of advanced and educated numismatists. I am sure to some of them it is interesting to understand how to collect coins without vision. However, there is a point, where I feel that this is not enough. I’ve been writing this blog for over three years. It is still the blind coin collector’s blog, and probably for a long time it won’t be anything else. But that alone is not necessarily the most interesting thing. At least not for me. I have mostly talked about the interesting aspects, the challenges, the benefits. There is much more to add from the blindness perspective, but I would like it to be much more than a showcase.
If the goal of the blog was to show that it is possible to have an unconventional hobby, then this should be the last post. If I can take this knowledge and experience and do something with it, the blog has room to grow, and I feel there is still a place to talk about the blindness aspect, to discuss coins from the tactile point of view, while working on more than just collecting.
So, finally I decided to break my presentation into three parts. The first was the blind collecting aspect. The second was the introduction to my description site, where I talked about the challenges and achievements, but mostly about the need for descriptions. The third part was to examine what it means to lose vision for a collector due to aging and still be able to enjoy the collection. If anything, there are many open questions. I am qualified to examine the difficulties and possibly offer a solution, but given that I have never had any usable vision, I don’t have first-hand experience, so this can only be described with the help of people who are currently dealing with this issue.
This presentation helped me much more than I originally thought, it was a great opportunity to figure out what’s the value in what I am doing, and what should be the next logical step for this blog. But back to the Chicago Coin Club.
Before the club meeting, members can gather at the Plymouth restaurant for dinner, so I was happy to make it there at least for the second half.
I have to admit, I was a little nervous presenting there. Ok, not that I’m a nervous presenter, but this is one of the best clubs out there, so I was sure there will be some expectations. To me, it was certainly an honor to receive an invitation to speak, and it was also great to meet some of the people I got to meet last year.
However, to me the highlight of the meeting was after my speech. The club has a show and tell, each person has about five minutes to bring something. It was fascinating. Club members brought some very interesting numismatic artifacts. My favorite was a tin fish from Malaysia which was used as currency. I was allowed to touch some of them. No, let me be clearer, I was offered to touch some of them, which was very nice from the presenters, I know how expensive or delicate some objects can be.
After the club meeting, some of us just stayed there for a while to talk, it is really an amazing group of people. It was very inspiring to spend some time with them. So, this time, I have submitted my request to join the club, who knows, maybe I will be able to join some of the meetings. I wish I knew about it when we lived in Chicago, but those days I knew very little about numismatics.
I would like to thank the club for the invitation, and for the thoughtful questions. I had a great time, and I’m very much looking forward to attending some of the future meetings.