Coin News

Volume 39, Number 11, November 2002

The show will go on

Volume 39, Number 11, November 2002

This time last year as the organisers of the London Coin Fair were preparing their first event at the new venue there were many in the hobby who were pronouncing the old fashioned Coin and Collectables shows a thing of the past. The Internet was here and it was no longer necessary to even leave your house in order to pick up the choice pieces for your collection. Mail order and cyberspace were the way forward and the days of queuing up to trawl through dealer’s trays were at an end. The doom and gloom merchants even predicted that such archaic things would not last into 2003, the provincial shows were going to go first as obviously anything outside of London couldn’t possibly survive the inevitable upheaval, but in time even the grandees of the capital, even Coinex itself would fall by the wayside. Anyone who has attended any coin fair in the last few months will realise such predictions haven’t only proved worthless but indeed in many cases the very opposite of what they gleefully portrayed has happened. The “provincial” shows are going from strength to strength – theYork Coin Fair has proved so popular that, as from January 2003, an extra floor will be used and many medal dealers, who have been clamouring to be “let in” for years will have tables for the first time. The Leeds (Morley) show is a hit month after month and even with the move to larger premises there is a waiting list for tables. David Fletcher’s monthly Midland Coin Fair at the Motorcycle Museum, Birmingham has also continued to grow at a fantastic rate both in terms of dealers and collectors, with the forthcoming event on November 10 being the biggest ever – over 75 dealers are in attendance and the show has had to be moved to the larger Britannia Suite in order to cope with them and the inevitable increase in visitor numbers. In London itself the recent International Coin Show held at the Commonwealth institute was Davidson Monk’s biggest ever show with dozens of dealers and literally hundreds of visitors packed into two rooms instead of the usual one. Coinex too proved a phenomenal success and the fourth London Coin Fair to be held at the Holiday Inn Bloomsbury, taking place on November 9, also promises to be one of the best ever with another Argentum sale from Baldwins being held that afternoon at the same venue attracting collectors from far and wide. In short it can be seen, both from the number of events still appearing in the “What’s On” section of COIN NEWS every month and the number of people who are still attending those events that the “old Fashioned” Coin Fair is far from dead. Like those who claimed that internet auctions would kill off the traditional auction houses those who believed that the market place would become solely a virtual one have been proved very wrong. Certainly mail order and the internet do have a vital part to play in this hobby of ours and the electronic revolution has enabled people to buy coins from dealers up and down the country and worldwide who they would not otherwise have been in contact with; there is no doubt that it has given numismatics a real shot in the arm and that coin collecting has benefited greatly. However the kind of people who are now buying solely from the internet are the kind of people who before were buying solely from dealers lists and, before they became popular, solely from one or two dealers who they had done business with for years. The collectors who don’t leave their armchairs now didn’t before; many of them have never been to a coin fair in their lives and never will. On the other hand the people who do regularly attend such events thoroughly enjoy them, they love the banter, the deals, the social side of things; they love handling the coins they are planning to buy, love examining them in minute detail, they love spotting that bargain that the dealer hasn’t recognised and they love that buzz of seeing, at long last, that missing piece that completes their collection nestling snugly in a dealer’s tray. It is those feelings that make this, or any other collecting hobby more than simple accumulation, no amount of trawling the Internet can beat those feelings and, as long as they remain part of this hobby, the coin shows that instil them will be here too.

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