Coin News

Volume 43, Number 6, June 2006

A fair to remember

Volume 43, Number 6, June 2006

Last year the British Numismatic Trade Association (BNTA) decided to move their flagship COINEX show from London’s West End Marriott Hotel to the Excel centre, a purpose built convention centre with excellent facilities but a venue that was somewhat “out of the way”. This move caused a great deal of controversy and it has been decided that this year’s show will again move west, not back to the old venue, which was both expensive and limited in terms of space and nearby parking, but to Earl’s Court veteran of thousands of conventions, fairs and shows with excellent facilities, parking and a tube station right next door. On the face of it such a move is a stroke of genius, it brings the show back to the more accessible, and in the eyes of many more “upmarket” west of the city the transport links are ideal and the venue itself is more than used to hosting such events. This could, we hope, bring COINEX back to the pre-eminent position on the International numismatic “circuit” that it should enjoy. The American shows, the Far East shows, even the European shows are all huge, vastly attended affairs attracting collectors and dealers from all over the world, COINEX however has always been seen as more elitist, a show for the high rollers and one where the average collector or smaller dealer wouldn’t really find much to his taste, or pocket. A couple of year’s ago that changed when the BNTA opened up COINEX to non-members, allowing every dealer the chance to attend and last year’s bold move east was another step forward, taking the show from its grand hotel setting and into a convention centre sent the message that COINEX was for everyone, sadly whilst the sentiment was the right one the venue wasn’t quite and a move back to the West End was inevitable, many were worried that a return to the Marriott would see the fair go back towards elitism but the BNTA’s decision to maintain their flagship event in a convention centre has put paid to such fears and their continuing efforts are to be applauded. So the BNTA are moving in the right direction, but will it be enough? Can a simple change of venue be enough to make COINEX into a world beater? Probably not, it takes more than the bricks and mortar to make a good show, which is where we all come in. If the venue is right, the timing is right (COINEX starts the season in the UK so the timing is always right!) the right dealers are attending and the right stock is on offer what else is there? What else will get people talking about how great COINEX is? Quite simply the number of people through the door has to be right too, so this year make sure you try to come along on September 29 or 30, bring a friend maybe, make a day of it you may be pleasantly surprised! Actually there’s one other thing that might make this show into the huge event it could be, it’s something we feel really could make a crucial difference to COINEX and we would welcome your views on it. Once again on the same weekend as the BNTA’s fair the International Bank Note Society are holding their annual Congress in London, at the new venue of the Russell Hotel, wouldn’t it be fantastic if they were at Earl’s court too? They wouldn’t even have to be in the same room as COINEX (there will always be the purists who feel the two should be kept separate) but if they were in the same building think of the possibilities – a huge “Money” fair in London over one weekend with everything under one roof. Now that really would be a world beater!

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