Coins We Love: World's Fair of Money Recap

Coins We Love: World's Fair of Money Recap

Last week we enjoyed all the typical ongoings of a World’s Fair of Money - some amazing exhibits, constant buying and selling, it’s a whirlwind of nonstop motion and decision-making. Jason, Julia, and Andy pulled up the rear at the ANA show last week and returned home Saturday evening. Breaking a weeklong show into shifts makes a 7 day show a bit more palatable for everyone. Don’t get me wrong. We are energized by these events and were thrilled to make it back to a major show, but it is mentally exhausting.  

I always find that the major shows feel a lot different in hindsight than they do in the middle of the chaos. This week was no different. In this year’s event, we set up one of the more elaborate coin displays that we’ve ever done and it was truly a hit. We had hundreds of folks who came by and enjoyed viewing some of the coins from the D.L. Hansen Collection. Even better, a large percentage of folks who looked at coins in our cases returned to purchase them.

Now if you heard through the grapevine that the show was fantastic, you might have been just a little misled. The show had wider aisles than in the past which made it seem to spread out for miles leading to less crowded walkways and less of a real buzz in the venue. Yes, the show was an "A" when it comes to wholesale trading among dealers. In fact, dealers were so actively pursuing coins that most of them avoided the concession stand (maybe that was because of the hot dogs though?). In truth, dealers were swarming around the floor both buying and selling. However, for the show to be an "A+", the collecting public must be involved. While the collectors that showed were certainly there to buy coins (and we were thrilled to see them!), the overall attendance was rather poor. The stats may seem to prove this statement wrong, but when using the “eye test”, it was clear that the public attendance was underwhelming. Now I’m sure the pandemic plays a large part in that, but I’ll continue to say that the location of Rosemont played further into it. Unfortunately it’s not a location for families or developing collectors. The restaurants, hotels, and shopping mall are nice, but it’s just not a destination.

I would typically say that this lack of collectors shows that the market is not as hot as it was in the previous months…but, that would be incorrect this time.  The internet’s impact on the hobby cannot be understated. This year the live auctions for the ANA show were delayed a week to allow for the auctions to be hosted from the respective offices. I don’t believe this bodes well for future coin show promoters, but the delay allowed for dealers (and collectors) to lick their wounds from the show and come back a little stronger the following week. And boy did that happen! There were four major rarities being offered between the two auction companies, of which we were pursuing each for the D.L. Hansen Collection. Turns out we were incredibly unsuccessful. The key pieces that we were hoping to obtain, the 1861 Paquet $20 PCGS/CAC MS67 brought stronger money than we could imagine. And that wasn’t the only piece that brought strong pricing. Across the board, the attractive, original pieces with eye appeal brought incredible sums. Even some unattractive pieces brought record prices! I don’t quite understand that, but it just shows the strength of the coin market right now. While we weren’t successful on any of the real trophy coins, we did grab a few pieces that we had our eyes on. In the end, it was disappointing from a bidding standpoint, but incredibly encouraging when you think about the value of coins and how it has financially enhanced the holdings of so many collectors.

Overall, we really thought that things might slow down after the ANA show, but the early returns are proving that exactly wrong. Hopefully the trend continues and we’ll still be running across some large bourse floors in the near future and meeting new folks that are finding their way to the hobby.

Thanks again for reading this week’s musings and we hope that you enjoy some of the highlights below in this week’s Coins We Love!

Numismatically Yours,
John Brush

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