We read on a regular basis that traditional coin shows are dying a slow death due to the presence of the Internet, live auctions, and dealers that service their customers. While there is some truth to the fact that your selection is far more limited than when you’re in front of your computer, coin shows still serve a purpose.
As a dealer, we view coin shows as a great opportunity to buy coins, source “deals” and collections, and to simply further our relationships with our colleagues. We benefit from traditional shows because when a business opportunity arrives, it becomes an immediate possibility. As a collector, coin shows can be great places to meet old numismatic friends, make new acquaintances, and to source coins. While we can only bring a small portion of our normal inventory, we do our best to have an abundant variety at each show.
Personally, I’ve always enjoyed coin shows, not only for the coins, relationships, dinners, baseball games (28 MLB stadiums down!), but also for the other items that I might come across. I’ve purchased multiple watches, coins with really neat engravings, love tokens for my wife and mother, posters, postcards, and even a large stone Amethyst that sits in my office. My most recent coin show find was an item that I was able to knock off my bucket list: a World Series ring. Albeit, the ring was from the losing team (1980 Kansas City Royals) and from a front office employee, but it’s something that I’ve always wanted. While my wife may not understand my penchant for collecting, it’s simply a “bug” that most coin collectors have. While we may not collect shoes, jewelry, or stamps, there’s simply something about a coin show that brings out the true collector in many of us.
Although you may not find the exact coin you’re looking for at a coin show, you may find another piece for one of your many collections. You could find a new collector friend who shares a similar interest or reconnect with an old dealer friend. If you’re new to the hobby, many times an educational seminar is even offered, making the trip worthwhile! If nothing else, I encourage everyone to attend shows as they are able. It may not even be a productive trip as far as purchasing or filling in holes in your Dansco album, but it certainly does bring out a part of all of us that we may not often see and is a great opportunity to advance yourself as a collector.