World Coins

Global pandemic forces cancellation of shows, more

The spreading pandemic has caused the cancellation of coin shows and other numismatic events worldwide. It has also led to the alteration of a coin to depict the virus.

Original images courtesy of Powercoin.

This story was updated to reflect the cancellation of the CSNS convention in April.

The numismatic community both internationally and in the United States continues to deal with the effects of the global pandemic of COVID-19.

The March 19 to 21 Whitman Coin & Collectibles Expo in Baltimore was canceled on March 12 after Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan ordered a state of emergency that led the Baltimore Convention Center to suspend activities and operations. All events or gatherings of 250 people or more in the state were prohibited under the governor’s declaration.

“Our highest priority is the safety and health of our dealers, collectors, and the general public,” said expo manager Lori Kraft. “We also understand the challenges for dealers and collectors who were looking forward to the show. All Whitman Expo booth holders will be contacted by Whitman staff over the next seven business days to discuss in further detail.”

Stack’s Bowers Galleries, which was to conduct the official auctions at the expo, is moving the auctions to a new location.

“Stack’s Bowers Galleries’ March 2020 Baltimore Auctions have been relocated from the Baltimore Convention Center to a facility near their California home office. The auction schedule published in the catalogs and on the SBG website ( will be the same, with only the physical location of the event changing,” the firm said.

“We have been closely monitoring the impact of the Covid-19 virus and the resulting cancellation of the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Expo. After careful consideration, we have made the strategic decision to continue to hold our auction, but relocate it to California,” said Brian Kendrella, president of Stack’s Bowers Galleries.

CSNS convention canceled

The April convention of the Central States Numismatic Society in suburban Chicago has been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Our focus is the safety and health of our booth holders, exhibitors, collectors and the general public. Therefore, in accordance with recommendations from health officials to cease activities where people gather together in large and close groups, we are canceling our convention,” CSNS President Mitch Ernst said.

“The official CSNS convention auctions held by Heritage Auctions will still be held on the dates scheduled. However, the location has changed from the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center in suburban Chicago to Heritage’s headquarters in Dallas, TX, instead. For more information on these auctions, please visit the Heritage website.

“CSNS understands the logistical challenges facing those who had made plans to attend the convention and will be reaching out to booth holders and exhibitors in the coming days to discuss options.

“Hotel reservation questions should be directed to the Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel at 847-303-4100.

“We thank our many friends in the numismatic community, including educational exhibitors, numismatic professionals and collectors for their past support of our conventions and look forward to seeing them at our 82nd Anniversary Convention next year in Schaumburg,” Convention Chairman Kevin Foley said.

International, local shows

International shows in Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands were all canceled, and at least two local shows in the U.S. were scuttled.

The Sunnyvale Coin Show in California, scheduled for March 13 and 14, was canceled on March 12, the morning before dealer setup was slated to begin.

Bill Green organizes the show and three others (including a new one planned for Reno this summer).

“It’s very unfortunate and obviously very last minute but there will be other California events canceled,” Green told Coin World.

The decision to cancel the show was made to follow a directive established by the California Department of Health, Green said in an email sent to show visitors and dealers on March 12, explaining the cancellation.

The annual Fort Collins Coin, Currency & Collectibles Show in Colorado scheduled the same weekend, March 13 to 15, was canceled March 11. At press time, show organizer Jim Oscarson said it is unclear whether the show will be rescheduled, since that is up to local club.

There were at least 28 other coin and collectible shows scheduled for the same weekend whose disposition is unknown at press time March 13.

The Shelby County (Ohio) Coin Club in Sidney (home of Amos Media, parent to Coin World) canceled its March 12 meeting due to concern over the virus.

International impact

The novel coronavirus led to the last-minute cancellation of Numismata Munich, which was scheduled for March 7 and 8.

Attendees found out about 10 p.m. the night before the show that it was canceled.

“Due to new administrative orders of the City of Munich because of the coronavirus, we unfortunately had to cancel the fair at short notice,” the show organizers announced at its website, “We are deeply sorry that we found ourselves constrained to cancel Numismata at short notice. We apologize to all visitors especially to those who travelled far in order to come to Munich. Nevertheless, we really want to express our gratitude to the many exhibitors who reacted with such an aplomb showing us that they were aware of the difficult situation.”

Collector Dr. Brad Bowlin traveled to Germany to attend the Numismata, and like other dealers and collectors that came from far and wide, was surprised and frustrated by the late notice of cancellation.

Application of a European Union travel ban was set to go into effect at 11:59 p.m. March 14, causing him and his wife, Veronica, and their son to scramble to get a flight back to the United States before the ban went into effect.

As American citizens, the three would not be banned from re-entry, but presumably the number of flights would decrease as the number of people yet to return to the United States decreased.

“American Airlines has officially cancelled flights from Germany after March 13, and I’m sure the rest of the EU,” he told Coin World at 3:45 p.m. March 12 through Facebook. “This all just happened in the last hour, so we’re on the ‘last flight out’ Saigon style.”

The Munich show was the first of several shows in Europe to be canceled.

Numismatica Antverpia, a coin collecting organization in Belgium, on March 11 canceled its show scheduled for March 15.

“At the request of the government and because of the threat of the Corona virus, the International Fair of Numismatica Antverpia will be CANCELED on Sunday March 15 and moved to a later date that will most likely take place in September,” the organization announced at its website.

The Maastricht Paper Money Fair, scheduled to be held April 4 and 5, was canceled March 12 by show organizer Jos Eijsermans.

Also called the Valkenburg show (the cities are neighbors in the same province), the show is held twice a year, but the spring show has a longer history and generally a larger attendance.

“You and I ‘lost the battle’ against the invisible enemy known as the Corona-virus, officially COVID-19 that controls most of Northern Italy and is spreading not only all over Europe at a high speed,” he announced at the show website.

In making the announcement, Eijsermans cited the travel ban as one cause.

“Under these circumstances — where on top of that all passenger flights from and to the US are banned — I see no other solution,” he wrote, incorrectly describing the application of the ban.

He would not postpone the show because hotels are generally full during the travel season.

He was also unwilling to wait until closer to the time of the show.

“I am fully aware that this decision to cancel will create a lot of problems for many of you,” he said. “The only thing I can say is that the reason I have to do so is 100% beyond my control. I have no choice, no alternative. Cancelling later (e.g. or on your arrival) would create an even bigger problem. We can only hope this whole situation will be over in September.”

A coin for that

Amid all the preparation and reaction, at least one coin issuer has issued a numismatic item.

Powercoin, a dealer in Italy, sold a special edition 2020 Panda silver 10-yuan coin with a colorful sticker or application of some sort. An image of the virus appears on the coin in full color that also glows in the dark.

The coin had a “mintage” of 100 pieces. These were sold for €139.95 (about $157 U.S.) and quickly sold out, despite a projected delivery date of April 30, nearly two months after the coin was first seen online.

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