‘Young Collectors’ turn up in full force at Trajan’s ‘National Show’

By Jesse Robitaille

Bidding was fierce between dozens of eccentric juniors vying for nearly 40 lots of material in the Young Collectors Postage Stamp and Coin Auction this March.

Organized by Lisa McPherson, national youth co-ordinator of the Royal Canadian Numismatic Association (RCNA) and first vice-president of the Ontario Numismatic Association (ONA), the auction offered 36 lots of material donated by hobby organizations such as Trajan Publishing, The Royal Philatelic Society of Canada (RPSC) and the RCNA as well as individual dealers and collectors.

“There’s about $600 worth of material being offered today, and everybody will get something,” said McPherson, who served as the auction runner and added every participant who didn’t win a bid would receive a gift bag.

Serving as auctioneer was McPherson’s husband, Robb, who’s a regional director for the RCNA and past president of the ONA, while the winning bids were recorded by Cassidy Stroud, secretary of the ONA and past president of the Brantford Numismatic Society. The team divided $1,000 in play money among the nearly 40 bidders, each under 18 years old, and sent the adults to the back of the room so there was no unfair guidance.

Each young bidder was given $1,000 in play month and asked to sit away from their parents so there would be no unfair guidance.

“We give out a number because that’s who we identify you with,” said Lisa McPherson prior to the auction. “We don’t take a name; we take a number. If there’s an item you want, put up your number when the auctioneer starts and keep it held high.”

All bidders also received an auction catalogue for their perusal during the sale.

“This will tell you what each item is and what it’s worth,” said McPherson before offering a rundown on the bidding process.

“First, the auctioneer will give you some information – he’ll say, ‘Lot 1 is so and so,’ – and then he’ll start the bidding at $5,” she said, adding all of the Young Collectors and affiliated “Coin Kids” auctions start the bidding at $5 and increase in $5 increments.

“If you like an item, you’re going to put your number up for the $5 opening bid. When the auctioneer says $10, somebody else will put up their hand and then the item’s not yours anymore. If you want it really bad, then you bid a bit higher, and that’s how it goes. After the first few lots, you’ll all have it under your belts.”

Budgeting is also an important auction skill, McPherson said.

“If you want something that’s later in the sale – like Lot 30 – but you bought something at the beginning and spent $500, remember you’d only have $500 left,” she said, adding it’s important to prioritize the items you want and need for your collection.

“Some of the regulars know if they really want an item, they can jump up; if the auctioneer yells out $5, you can yell out $50.”

LIVELY BIDDING FROM THE FLOOR

The youngsters each learned about auction skills such as budgeting and prioritization.

The auction’s first item included a hand-drawn postcard and piece of art plus a hand-hewn arrow tip produced by members of the Great Sioux Nation, which has significant populations in Manitoba and Saskatchewan as well as nine U.S. states. A six-piece set of legal-tender Sioux coins was also included in Lot 1.

“This is actually legal tender for the Sioux Nation,” said McPherson, who added the item was donated by the Bradford Exchange and had a value of $250.

Nearly half of the room contended for the set as bidding climbed to $500 – half of each bidder’s total allotment.

“That’s half of your money, so remember you’ll only have $500 for anything else that’s left on that table,” McPherson reminded the enthusiastic bidders.

As the bidding reached $700, one bidder called out $1,000 to receive the lot.

“He just jumped up to the maximum, so he’s going to get the lot for $1,000 because no one has more than that here,” said McPherson to thunderous applause from the roomful of budding collectors.

“Now he can’t buy anything else because he’s out of money.”

One of the philatelic highlights was a pane of 12 commemorative stamps issued last year by the U.S. Postal Service highlighting Scooby-Doo!

“You can buy these in the U.S. at the post office for about $15 Cdn.,” said McPherson as a handful of bidders pushed the bidding to $350 before the lot hammered down to a young boy.

A sheet of 100 wildlife stamps also brought $1,000 as an excited seven-year-old girl put down all her money for the impressive item.

“They’re all in one sheet, and you have to be very careful when you pull it out of its holder so you don’t separate them,” said McPherson.

Always important for any serious hobbyist, a bag full of philatelic supplies crossed the block as five youngsters fought to place the winning bid on the sought-after lot.

“If you’re a stamp collector, these supplies will be very important to you,” said McPherson as the lot hammered down for $600.

As the final lot, a $20 gift certificate to Coin and Stamp Supplies’ booth was offered amid excited bidding. It eventually sold for $1,000 to close out the sale.

With free admission to the National Postage Stamp and Coin Show, no cost for the youth auction and discounted material at the ‘Young Collectors’ sales booth, collectors aged 17 and under are given an affordable avenue into collecting stamps and coins. The Young Collectors program owes its success to partnerships with Trajan Publishing Corp., The Royal Philatelic Society of Canada, Royal Canadian Numismatic Association, Canadian Association of Numismatic Dealers and individual dealers and collectors.

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