Collectors and dealers alike gave high marks to the American
Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money held in Rosemont, Ill.,
Aug. 16 to 20.
Attendees praised ANA Executive Director Larry Shepherd and
Conventions Director Rhonda Scurek for putting on a very strong
convention, buttressed by a record-setting bourse floor and gold prices.
ANA reported attendance at the show totaled 9,113, including 3,772
general admission visitors and 543 new ANA members, fewer than the
10,204 who attended last year’s show in Boston, but more than the
7,727 who attended the 2009 convention in Los Angeles. More than 4,000
attended the Central States Numismatic Society’s convention held April
27 to 30, also at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in
Rosemont, but on a different floor than the ANA show.
Shepherd promised visitors that the 2011 ANA World’s Fair of Money
would represent the “next generation of coin shows” by offering “the
largest, most exciting coin show and convention ever held under one
roof.” At 220,000 square feet, the bourse floor was nearly double the
size of last year’s ANA show in Boston. Between displays of rare coins
from the Smithsonian Institution and the ANA, and several displays of
great collections brought by coin firms, collectors had no shortage of
great rarities to see in the Museum Showcase and at dealer tables.
The official auctions by Stack’s Bowers Galleries realized more
than $40 million while auctions conducted by Heritage Auctions held
prior to the show in Rosemont realized $31 million. Multiple
six-figure and several seven-figure transactions were reported across
the bourse floor, as dealers reported strong sales both at retail and
Bullion fuels brisk business
It was hard for coin dealers not to make money at the ANA show, a
result of rapidly increasing bullion prices. Gold started the week on
Aug. 15 at $1,738 an ounce, closing at $1,848 on Aug. 19 and reaching
a high of $1,870 during that day’s trading.
While dealers were happy, many noted what felt like an absence of
a local coin buying and selling public. Dealer and newly elected ANA
Governor Gary Adkins of Edina, Minn., said that the show was
continuously busy for his firm, but added that the retail traffic
wasn’t as great as he expected. Adkins observed that the show lacked a
“wow factor” suited to what is “supposed to be the best show of the
year.” His comments on the missing “wow” element were echoed by
others, who characterized the vast bourse floor as being tough to navigate.
The U.S. Mint, its booth in a far corner of the hall, was often
free of collector traffic — a rare sight during past ANA conventions —
and the Bureau of Engraving and Printing’s ever-popular “Billion
Dollar Display” was at times empty except for BEP staff.
During the April CSNS show, people could be seen selling large
quantities of anything silver — including silverware and tea services.
However, at the ANA show few nondealer attendees appeared to be
Lyle Walters, a trader with American Precious Metals Exchange in
Oklahoma City, said that APMEX had a very busy show start to finish,
with the firm’s nine buyers purchasing everything from 90 percent
pre-1965 silver coins to pre-1933 U.S. gold coins that had been in
family collections. Collectors who wanted to purchase coins from APMEX
were directed to Internet-connected computer terminals to complete
Brett Charville, a numismatist with Carter Numismatics in Tulsa,
Okla., found the show to be the strongest that he had attended in the
last four years. He added, “We sold multiple six-figure coins to
dealers who don’t normally look at our wholesale inventory,” and noted
a palpable “buzz” on the floor for all but the final day of the show.
More than a dozen world mints participated in the convention, and
a healthy world and ancient area rounded out the bourse.
Numismatist Larry Sekulich of Livonia, Mich., stayed for all five
days at the show, participating as a speaker and exhibitor. He was
able to add several pieces to his collection of pre-1500 A.D. coins,
and said, “If you collected ancient, world, Byzantine or medieval
coins, the dealers were there and they had great material.”
Trying new things
Several initiatives were introduced at the ANA show, including
daily dealer tables, which allowed dealers to attend the show and have
a retail presence without committing to the entire show. Many dealers
seemed pleased with this option. Ken Konig of Greater Milwaukee Coin
took a daily table on Aug. 17 and 18 because retail business at his
store has simply been too busy to allow a full five-day commitment to
set up at the ANA show.
Howard C. Cook of HCC Inc. in Holland, Ohio, took a daily table on
Aug. 16 and 17, and he was also pleased, saying that he’d do it again
because it gave him a chance to personally meet many of his clients.
Both Cook and Konig were able to do a robust wholesale business at the
show and then return to their shops to deal with their regular customers.
Another initiative, which had mixed reviews, was the
ANA/Professional Numismatists Guild pre-show, held in the same hall as
the main ANA show Aug. 12 to 14. The 80 dealers who attended the
pre-show were widely spread throughout the vast bourse floor, and
dealers were vocal in their complaints about the layout.
The ANA banquet was held on Friday, Aug. 19, rather than the
traditional Saturday to accommodate for the new convention schedule.
The ANA’s highest honor, the Farran Zerbe Memorial Award for
Distinguished Service, was presented to professional numismatist
Robert Rhue received the Howland Wood Memorial Award for
Best-of-Show for his exhibit titled “A Complete Collection of Regular
Issue North American Horsecar Tokens” and Katie Reinders won the
Charles H. Wolfe Sr. Memorial Young Numismatist Best-of-Show award for
her exhibit, “Happy Birthday Oregon: A Collection of 1959 Medals and
Tokens Issued in Celebration of the Oregon Statehood Centennial.”
The Rodger E. Hershey Memorial People’s Choice Award, selected by
convention attendees, was won by Jeffrey Rosinia for “Chicago: My Kind
of Coin Town: Chicagoland Coin Savers.”
Harlan J. Berk was honored as the Numismatist of the Year and
Thomas K. DeLorey received the Burnett Anderson Memorial Award for
Excellence in Numismatic Writing. Chris Donato was named Young
Numismatist of the Year and David W. Akers received the Lifetime
At the conclusion of the banquet, the 2011 to 2013 ANA Board of
Governors was installed: President Tom Hallenbeck, Vice President
Walter A. Ostromecki and Governors Gary Adkins, Michael L. Ellis, Jeff
C. Garrett, Greg Lyon, Clifford Mishler, Scott T. Rottinghaus and
Wendell A. Wolka. ■