World Coins

Coronavirus scare leads to cancellation of coin show in Asia

The Singapore International Coin Fair scheduled for April 3 to 5 has been canceled. The show brings collectors and dealers from Asia together. Organizers are still hopeful that the 2020 Singapore International Coin Fair can be rescheduled in June or August.

Image courtesy of Singapore International Coin Fair.

One coin show in Asia is canceled and two others are delayed in the wake of the outbreak of the coronavirus disease now named COVID-19. 

American coin firms with footprints in the region also report being affected by the outbreak in various ways.  

The Hong Kong International Coin & Antique Watch Fair, previously scheduled for March 24 to 26, is canceled. 

Organizers of the Singapore International Coin Fair, originally planned for April 3 to 5, announced that the show was canceled. However, they are in negotiations to reschedule the show for sometime in June or August, but operators of other events that have also been canceled are likewise trying to reschedule, clouding an already busy calendar. 

Kitty Quan, of PandaAmerica, which coordinates the Singapore show, said, “It is a tough decision to make. We are keeping our fingers crossed and hope we are able to secure a suitable date and will receive an early confirmation from [Marina Bay Sands, the show site].” 

In addition, the 8th Hong Kong Coin Show, originally scheduled from March 27 to 29, is rescheduled to May 9 and 10. 

That show is jointly operated by Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio, and Spink. Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio announced changes to its auction schedule, moving the sale originally scheduled for March 23 to 25 to a slot May 4 to 6, ahead of the newly rescheduled show. Spink also rescheduled its auction, to follow on May 7 and 8 now. 

“Since the Coronavirus first emerged in Wuhan China in December 2019, Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio has been closely monitoring the situation and considering its effects on our clients, employees and global business,” the operators said Feb. 17 in a statement. “We believe this decision is in the best interest of protecting the safety and health of our staff and clients, as well as our bidders and consignors.” 

Feeling the effects

Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio isn’t the only American company with offices in Asia to feel the effect of the outbreak and the resulting public health efforts to minimize its spread.

Brett Charville of Professional Coin Grading Service told Coin World, “The Coronavirus has affected both our Shanghai and Hong Kong offices, but especially our Shanghai offices as the city of Shanghai was closed for an extended period of time after the Lunar New Year,” though he could not offer specifics beyond agreeing that the show schedule change would affect the firm’s calendar.

Paul Sandler of Numismatic Guaranty Corp., said that NGC’s Shanghai office reopened on Feb. 10, nine days later than originally planned, because the city of Shanghai extended the Chinese New Year holiday through Feb. 9 

“Our first week back was slower than normal as our employees and customers gradually returned to work,” he said. “This week is notably busier and most of our Shanghai employees and customers are back at work.”

Though the Certified Collectibles Group’s Hong Kong office has operated as normal, the firm has postponed its NGC and PMG on-site grading events originally planned for late March in Hong Kong. Revised dates will be announced soon, he said.

Strict health protocols

Like several other people contacted, Sandler noted that the firm is adhering to the recommended health precautions.

“Both our Shanghai and Hong Kong offices are observing strict health and cleaning protocols designed to enhance safety during the coronavirus situation,” he said. 

Kenneth Yung, director of operations, Heritage Hong Kong, echoed those sentiments.

He told Coin World in a statement that the entry restrictions into Hong Kong mean that Hong Kong residents have not been able to enter Taiwan and mainland China effective from Feb. 8, and mail parcels have also been restricted. 

“As a result, we have not been able to arrange some meetings with customers to collect materials,” Yung said.

Heritage is a co-sponsor of another show in Hong Kong, the Hong Kong International Numismatic Fair, which is still on schedule for June 26 to 28, he said.

“Since the experts believe that this epidemic will be eased in summer condition, our auctions and exhibitions on end of June will continue as usual ... unless there is a particularly severe situation,” said Yung. 

A separate statement from show organizers said that protective measures during the show will be increased.

Mints feeling the pinch?

China has four national mints, in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Shenyang.

Coin World was unable to determine if the coronavirus outbreak is affecting any of these facilities. 

Wuhan, the site of the outbreak, is about 600 miles from each of the four mint facilities, in different directions. 

At least one private mint has contacted Coin World to alert that its production is back in line after the Chinese New Year holiday. 

Awards-Mania, located in Dongguan City, Dongguan province (not far from Shenzhen) said in the email that “China’s outbreak is under control and medal makers are slowly recovering. .... We may not be able to match the time requirements of some of your orders, but relative to some factories we know, we are the first to go.” 

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