How many people attended the 2016 ANA World’s Fair of Money?

One bright spot was higher numbers of Boy and Girl Scouts
By , Coin World
Published : 08/26/16
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Though overall attendance at the American Numismatic Association’s World’s Fair of Money, conducted Aug. 9 to 13 in Anaheim, Calif., was down from 2015, one bright spot emerges.

The number of Boy and Girl Scouts in attend­ance at the 2016 show was 240, compared to 46 for the 2015 convention in Rosemont, Ill.

Attendance mixed

According to the ANA, a total of 8,192 people attended the 2016 show — 2,986 members of the public and 3,390 ANA members. The attendance numbers reflect more than 400 fewer overall attendees and 374 fewer ANA members through the doors than in 2015, despite not having an ANA World’s Fair of Money in the state since 2009. 

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The lone uptick came in the number of people attending the Scout clinics, which are a major outreach to young potential collectors.

Though attendance was mixed, auctions remained a strength of the show. 

Auctions bring big $$

The auctions were the highlight of the show, really the cornerstone.

Nearly $60 million in coins and paper money traded hands in auctions during this year’s show. Stack’s Bowers Galleries sold more than $21 million in its official auctions, while Heritage saw more than $38 million in its sales.

Heritage’s sell-through rate exceeds 95 percent across the board, with U.S. coins sold at a 98.7 percent clip.

Leading the sales for Heritage were a pair of early American pattern cents, from the dawn of American coinage — a 1792 Silver Center cent and a 1792 Birch cent, which together realized $869,500.

Shining brightest for Stack’s Bowers were gold coins with impressive pedigrees, like the 1798/7 Capped Bust $10 eagle that realized $352,000.

But one of the most exciting displays didn’t cost a cent. 

Exhibits, awards on view

The United States Mint displayed the unique 1974-D Lincoln aluminum cent, drawing crowds to its booth during the show’s five days.

Competitive exhibits were also part of the show. A total of 33 exhibitors of all experience levels, showing 63 exhibits, competed in this year’s program, noticeably down from previous years. 

The ANA presented 47 competitive exhibit awards, and that number was down because many award categories lacked suitable entries.

Winners were announced at the exhibit awards presentation and reception on Aug. 12, and at the awards banquet that evening. 

Exhibitor Michael T. Shutterly received the Howland Wood Memorial Award for Best-in-Show for his exhibit “In the Beginning … When Man Created Coins.” 

The Thos. H. Law Award for the best exhibit by a first-time ex­hibitor went to Stephen Edward Abraham for “The French Revolution — a selection of rare and scarce medals from 1789 to 1793.”

The Rodger E. Hershey Memorial People’s Choice Award, selected by convention attendees, was also won by Abraham for the same exhibit. 

The ANA announced multiple awards during the convention banquet, with the ANA’s highest honor, the Farran Zerbe Memorial Award, presented to Mark and Myrna Lighterman. The association’s most prestigious award is given in recognition of numerous years of outstanding, dedicated service to numismatics. The Lightermans were honored during the ANA awards banquet on Aug. 12.

Show issue Panda Medal

The U.S. Mint no longer uses the ANA World’s Fair of Money as a launching point for popular products, after the fiasco that developed during the 2014 event in Rosemont with the Kennedy gold half dollar.

However, there are still limited edition show issues available for sale — just not from the U.S. Mint. The Shanghai Mint and Cham­pion Hong Kong Auctions, in con­junction with the ANA, celebrated the ANA’s 125th anniversary with three limited-edition Panda medals.

The 2016 ANA medals share a common obverse depicting the obverse of the 1925 California Diamond Jubilee silver half dollar at center, flanked by a Chinese panda bear on the left and a California bear on the right. The Hollywood sign appears above, beyond the half dollar design, while bamboo backs the panda and towering redwoods stand behind the California bear.

The reverse of the 1-ounce medals carries the ANA Lamp of Knowledge logo at the center, surrounded by two rings of inscriptions. 125TH ANNIVERSARY ANAHEIM 2016 appears above and THE LAMP OF KNOWLEDGE below in English on the outer ring, while the same in Chinese appears in the inner ring. 

The reverse of the 12-ounce medal shows the logo at center, with inscriptions THE LAMP OF KNOWLEDGE, ANAHEIM and 1891–2016 in English and Chinese surrounding the logo. In a sectioned ring at the rim is ADVANCING NUMISMATIC SCHOLARSHIP, and QUASQUICENTENNIAL CELEBRATION, in both English and Chinese. 

These commemorative bullion pieces do not bear denominations, but the weight and fineness is indicated on the edge of each medal.

The 1-ounce silver medal is limited to mintage of 2,000, with limits of 125 each for the 1-ounce gold and 12-ounce silver medals.

All medals feature a serial number engraved on the obverse.

Multiple sales periods were announced for three days of the show, with limited numbers available during each period.

Huge lines formed the latter two days as word of the medals’ availability spread, forcing ANA staff to corral buyers, to allow access to other dealers’ tables.

The secondary market for these medals is robust, with 1-ounce examples selling in original packaging for around $300 to $350 each (compared to their $100 issue price). 

The 2017 event is scheduled for Aug. 1 to 5 in Denver. 

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