Before I discuss the topic at hand – I want to clarify my word choice. Some would argue that “dying out” should be replaced with “transitioning”. Their argument is that these hobbies still exist, but the hobbyists are simply aging. I would argue that they are correct when looking at the short-term situation, but the point I am making is that if this trend continues – the hobby will die out. If no one from Generation Y or later generations takes up the hobby, it will no longer exist. That being said, on to the list:
1. Trading Cards
Don’t get me wrong – avid collectors are still abundant. However, the hobby is not as wide-spread or popular as before. Baseball cards used to be the pride of any kid’s childhood possessions – with binders and boxes littering their room. This mania spread to other sports such as basketball and football. The hobby then branched out into Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh trading cards in the mid-to-late 90’s. These were the high points in the hobby. Since then, Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh cards have lost their popularity and while baseball cards are still relevant and marketable, basketball and football cards have seen a decrease in success. The hobby will likely never disappear, as there will always be an interest for sports, but it has transitioned from its status as the universal American hobby to an activity practiced by a select group of avid individuals.
2. Comic Book Collecting
In the age of technology, print has followed in the steps of snail mail – it has become less used. Newspapers and comic books are simply not as popular as they used to be. There are numerous reasons for this, two of them being convenience and the need to save resources and money. Comic books are now available online and there is no immediate need to have a physical copy of one. The majority of collectible comic books are aged issues with a lot of history and the younger generations no longer have an interest in them. The same superheroes are accessible to them via Xbox or PlayStation. It’s a lot easier to power up your console and play as Spiderman from home than search for a comic book. The waning popularity is visible when comparing the number of open comic book stores today to that of ten years ago.
3. Model Railroading
Model railroading is a very unique hobby practiced by a select few. The hobby involves assembling model railroads tracks and collecting various cars and engines to run on the tracks. Some hobbyists focus on the realism of the track they are building, while others simply enjoy playing with the motorized replicas – there are many pleasures to take away from this hobby. The hobby was popular with Generation X, but this is not the case for Generation Y. This may be due to the number of train simulations and games available via PC and consoles or simply a transition from trains to cars (Hot Wheels, etc.). As recent as ten years ago – it was not uncommon to find a model railroading shop in a large city, however, now you would be strained to do so.
4. Coin Collecting
Coin collecting, also known as numismatics, used to be very popular hobby for young and old alike. While it may seem that coin collecting has seen a resurgence as of late, this is merely an illusion – as this is a direct correlation to the rising prices of gold and silver. Due to the rising prices, coin shops and private dealers are readily buying and selling various coins made of these materials. However, despite the increased buzz surrounding gold and silver coins, the rising prices are actually harmful to the hobby as can be seen here. The actual number of private dealers and coin shops has been steadily decreasing and the remaining shops have focused their sales on gold and silver. Young aspiring coin collectors are few in number and the majority of those that do collect are well into their 40’s and 50’s.
5. Stamp Collecting
Stamp collecting, not philately, is similar to coin collecting – as it once used to be incredibly popular and has seen a steady decline in the past few years. What’s more alarming is that there is nothing to keep the hobby going, as coin-collecting has gold and silver to keep it afloat. Regular mail is slowly being replaced by email or SMS and there is a declining need for stamps. Of course, there are collectible editions being released for commemorative events or important anniversaries, but this is not enough to sustain an entire hobby. Another distinction worth pointing out is the hobby is dying at a much faster rate in the United States than in Europe. There are numerous stamp stores in the downtown area of almost every major European city, whereas a major US city may only have a handful at best.