I like to encourage coin collectors to find enjoyable ways to expand the focus of their hobby. There are countless ways to explore numismatics that go far beyond making the current purchase and thinking about the next one. If your activity is limited to the commercial aspects of our hobby then you are missing the majority of what the pursuit has to offer. That said, let me provide an example of what I think would be an interesting and rewarding project that would probably cost a fraction of what you'd gladly pay for the next RCM product.
Numismatic Autograph Collecting
While seldom household names, the artists who are responsible for what appears on our coins have made a permanent contribution to numismatics. This is especially true of modern Canadian coins where many of the designs can honestly be labeled as inspired works of art. To further praise these artisans, how many designers and modellers of any artistic creation can perhaps boast that sometimes millions of examples of their work has been owned and handled by millions of people thousands of times?
One of my favorite Canadian coins is the Loon dollar. I wonder if there is a way to contact the designer, Robert Carmichael and the modeller, Terrance Smith to tell them how much I enjoy their work. If I could manage to find mailing addresses, it would be fun to send them each a letter. I'd explain how much I like their coin and how the design is so perfectly suited to the size of the coin. I wonder if they would respond to my correspondence? Would they hand sign the letter? If I was lucky enough to receive a response I'd certainly be tempted to frame the letters and hang them on the wall in my office. When considering important contributors to numismatics the people who designed the coins must rank near the top.
I'm not suggesting we all begin pestering those who have designed Canadian coins, but should you be tempted to write to one of your favorite coin creators make certain to include sufficient postage to cover the cost of any response they might be kind enough to make.
My purpose in providing this example is not to promote numismatic autograph collecting but to suggest there are lots of cost effective ways the ingenious collector can find to enjoy the hobby during the quiet times between purchases.