Having stirred-it up on another thread, someone stated that I should "join the club, run for office, get elected and then implement the changes you want to make. It is very difficult to be taken seriously when you criticize an organization that you don't even belong to."
A fair statement. I am a member of a club in Las Vegas that meets at the Gold Coast monthly. Awhile ago I was dragged to a meeting by friend and neighbor Joe Pavlik (RIP) and signed up. I have attended a few meetings as I am in and out of LV and only participate when a friend prompts me to join him. I understand there is also a national club that may not automatically include the LV locals.
Anyhow, I have no qualifications for, or interest in, a club leadership role. In reality, I have few chips as my interest lies in casino memorabilia. Nothing I see here or at chip meetings or shows motivates me to become more active in chip collecting. Moreover, I have a busy schedule, live in two states, travel extensively and just don't have the knowledge, time or inclination to become an effective club officer. Besides, I'd just be another 'ol fart in a leadership role and I believe young blood is essential to save the leadership ranks and the hobby itself!
So where's the beef?
I have been an active numismatist for many decades and "l know it when i see it." Chipper club functions, shows and events have horrible demographics and lack "pizzazz"!. There was spirited bidding at a recent LV club meeting when the auctioneer tried to get bids up all the way to $5! That paled in excitement to the fund-raising auction that reminded me of bingo in the old age home but actually was slower.
Surely someone will nail me for being critical of the old farts who ran the auction and raffle. I expect they are wonderful people but believe they should step-aside and let more "vigorous" folks run the show while the 'ol folks enjoy continued participation.
This hobby is well on the way to follow the destiny of stamp collecting, which is on life support. A former 6-figure stamp collection can be had for pennies on the dollar IF a buyer can be found at any price. The best advice for someone who inherits a stamp collection is to get it listed on eBay without reserve and take whatever you can get.
I don't think chips are far behind. Last night i saw a forum member grovelling for last-minute bids on some "stuff" he had listed on eBay.
Slabbing may have saved numismatics from a similar fate to that suffered by philatelics. The rare coin market is relatively vibrant and active, with national and local shows doing considerable business. The market has its ebbs and flows and is somewhat "soft" now, but it will likely cycle in a healthy fashion. Most auction houses only accept coins slabbed by the major services and turn million$ per auction. Can anyone say that about chips? Of course not.
Slabbing couldn't save stamps, and may not be the salvation for chips either. Thaat said, consultation with the major slabbing services may be beneficial.
Dynamic club leadership may be the only way to get the hobby re-invigorated.
Look around a chip club meeting or show and ask yourself how many of the dealers and attendees look like they are one step removed from the grave.
Do the national shows have lectures and exhibitions? Are they widely (and properly) promoted? Do they offer an exciting and interesting experience that is likely to encourage new entrants to the hobby?
Or do they have grumpy curmudgeons that deny show entry to paying customers who prefer to stay off mailing lists and consider their personal information to be just that? Would resolution of a dispute regarding show entry be delegated to a show chairman who was unable to grasp the issues and relied on his very nice, but powerless, wife to resolve the situation only to be overruled by Mr. curmudgeon? Did the show leadership appoint the grumpy curmudgeon to chair the 2018 national show? Boy oh boy, that is dynamic leadership which is likely to boost show participation if I ever saw it!
If it is to survive, I believe this hobby needs dynamic YOUNG (as in under 50) leadership that is smart, user-friendly, progressive, innovative and E-commerce savvy.
Casino chips offer a world of history and are outstanding collectibles for those interested in the fascinating development of the global gaming industry. How fascinating is a chip from Bugsy Siegal's Flamingo opening or Wilbur Clark's Desert Inn? What famous players handled a chip from the first WSOP at Binion's? How are chips made? What are the variances? How did they evolve over time? What is the hobby's holy grail?
Education, appeal to history and gaming buffs, publicity and promotion may be key components to revival of the hobby. I just don't see the old geezers who run the show today serving in this capacity.
What say thee?