As you read these words the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money is coming up very quickly. The main show opens to the public on Tuesday, August 5, after which there will be non-stop activity through Saturday. I plan to be there for most of the show. I invite you to track me down by checking at the Stack’s Bowers Galleries bourse tables or at an auction session, or at the Whitman booth. If I am not at one of these places they will know when I will next return. It is always a pleasure to chat with friends and clients — new and old.
If you are attending the show, study the convention program very carefully. At regular intervals the “Money Talks” series of programs, which used to be called the Numismatic Theater, offers hour-long emersions in various topics — sometimes general, sometimes super specialized. I have attended dozens of these over the years. My formula would work for you as well: If it looks interesting, be there at the beginning. If it turns out not to be your cup of tea, quietly exit. Otherwise stay, enjoy and learn.
The various organizations and societies also have symposiums, annual meetings and, sometimes, other events. Next week I will be part of programs held by the Token and Medal Society, the Civil War Token Society, and the Numismatic Bibliomania Society, the last having to do with those who collect and appreciate catalogs, books and printed material. With Harvey and Larry Stack, I will be in a symposium in which we veteran numismatists share recollections of the gold old days (or whatever they should be called). Christine Karstedt will be moderator.
The bourse with hundreds of tables offers many opportunities to scout for items on your want list or to discover new possibilities. A friend from Texas, a young lady age 18, will be there for her first convention. She has read Ken Bressett’s Coins of the Bible and other books on ancient coins, but has never had an opportunity to purchase any. With her dad she will be making the rounds. Another acquaintance, a gentleman, said he is coming to discuss Civil War tokens with me, his first convention I believe.
Spending a day or two on the bourse talking and learning is always a rewarding experience. As to rules of order for dealers, I suggest that if a dealer is busy, and you want to chat or ask questions, that you come back later when he or she has some time. Some dealers enjoy conversing with collectors, including newcomers, and others are more oriented to spending time with people who make purchases. You will quickly learn whether a dealer has time to spend with you.
Each ANA convention has extensive exhibits covering just about every topic possible. I always make a point to view these, taking a camera along with me so I can snap pictures for later review. There is always something new and interesting to see. Some time ago at an ANA convention an exhibit stole the show, so to speak, although no one expected it would. It consisted of several dozen certified holders from many different services, most of which had ceased doing business, dating back to the 1980s. Even the time-tested standard services such as PCGS and NGC started with holders far different than those used today. A lot of talk was generated, and the exhibit was memorable. I don’t recall anyone having done this since. Perhaps this is an idea for next year’s show.
Stack’s Bowers Galleries will be holding a panorama of auctions during the convention, ranging from colonial and early American coins through federal issues, patterns, territorials, and more, to coins of the ancient and modern world, to paper money of all eras. Dozens of different specialties will be covered. I invite you to participate in your areas of interest. There is always excitement when a new specialty is discovered, so as you browse through the catalogs or online, perhaps you will find something new to attract your attention.
Attending the ANA convention? I hope to see you there!