The Right move?
Volume 42, Number 11, November 2005
Most of you who are regular readers of this magazine will know that this year the British Numismatic Trade Association’s (BNTA) flagship show “Coinex” was held outside the West End of London for the first time. The new venue was the Excel Conference centre down at the Royal Victoria Dock, just a stone’s throw from Canary Wharf, a purpose built convention centre ideal for hosting large or small events. There’s no doubt that the room itself, and the facilities offered by Excel, were superior to those of the former venue – the Marriott Hotel in Duke Street – but was that enough to convince the dealers, and collectors, that this was the future for what should be the biggest and best Numismatic Show in the British Calendar? The debate as to whether the West or East End should host Coinex has gone on since the move was first announced. Those in favour of staying at the Marriott cited a number of reasons why they wanted the show to stay – including the ease of the West End for trains and major routes (at least from the west); it’s popularity with visitors particularly those who combined a visit there with a shopping trip or evening at the theatre and the fact that the “pre-Coinex Auctions” are held in the West End and foreign visitors wouldn’t want to have to travel from one area to another – especially as the Docklands area is so very far away!. Those who felt a move necessary thought so because they didn’t particularly like the location of the Marriott – especially the parking hassles as well as loading/unloading (whilst the Excel wasn’t ideal for unloading the parking was excellent and a quarter of the price of the NCP car parks of West London), they felt that the cost of staying in the West End was prohibitive and for those coming from the East of the Country there were obvious benefits – this coupled with the proximity of the Docklands Light Railway meant, they said, that Excel was ideal for collectors who didn’t need to brave Central London Commuter traffic to visit. When it came to it all were proved to be right in some way – the Excel room WAS a nicer venue, there were more facilities there, the parking was undoubtedly easier and cheaper, the hotels there were a fraction of the price (although apparently just as pleasant) and if the numbers on the Friday were anything to go by then the Collectors certainly didn’t mind making the trip. However it did seem that the Saturday was quieter, almost as if those who’d come in previous years really had combined it with something else and, as there was nothing other than Coinex to come down to Excel for (no Harrods, no Harvey Nichols, no museums, no coin shops, no theatres) they thought maybe the trip wasn’t worth it – and from our point of view the extra hour and a half it took to get across London really made a difference when you’re travelling to and from Devon in a weekend! So was it a success? As far as we were concerned – an unqualified yes – we launched the COIN YEARBOOK there and sold out completely, our overall sales were up on last year and, we believe, that many dealers, particularly on the Friday, felt the same. Would we go back there if it were to be held there again? Again yes – our only gripe was that with the IBNS show on in the West End on the Saturday and Sunday we had to “split our forces” with half the Token Team staying at Excel and half heading to the TUC centre – wouldn’t it be a grand affair if one year we could have one big money fair with the two combined – we’d get collectors in then wouldn’t we?! Other than that we had few complaints and so yes we’d happily attend that venue again – and we hope that the BNTA will consider holding it in Excel in future. At the very least we hope to be there next year, after all you can’t really tell from just one attempt how well something will go and any of the minor hiccoughs of this year can be ironed out now we know what they are – so that’s our view, others will, I’m sure, have there’s and the debate will go on – watch this space for details!