US Coins

Monday Morning Brief for May 24, 2021: A return to normalcy?

The Pennsylvania Association of Numismatics held its annual convention recently, after a year when few regional coin shows were held, and accounts suggest that it was a success. Shown is a scene from PAN’s 2016 convention.

Image courtesy of the Pennsylvania Association of Numismatics.

For the last 15 months or so, the nation, indeed the world, has been teetering on the edge of a precipice — a deadly pandemic that threatens to become worse. In many places, the spread of the virus has worsened, including in India. In the United States, the situation has improved thanks to ramped-up vaccinations, and that means coin shows and conventions are slowly making their way back.

The Pennsylvania Association of Numismatics recently held its annual convention, and by all accounts it was a success. One observer noted that the table count at the 2021 show was higher than at previous PAN conventions, and that dealers in attendance were not just from the eastern United States — several were from  western states. The enthusiasm at the Pennsylvania show suggests a pent-up demand for in-person coin viewing and buying that is finally being met.

The numismatic community has weathered the pandemic pretty well. Coin organizations, the United States Mint and others have kept collectors informed, entertained and engaged by presenting more online activities in place of the traditional in-person events that were held before the pandemic arose.

The growth of online educational events is something that should be continued, even after in-person conventions become the new norm. Attending conventions can be expensive and time-consuming; sitting in on an educational presentation from your home is the next best thing to being there, especially when you can do so for free.

The leaders of the American Numismatic Society recognize this, and their September Coinage of the Americas Conference will offer both in-person and online participation, at least under the current plans.

The ANS plans to hold this as a hybrid event, with speakers and attendees participating both in person and online. It is expected to be the first major event hosted by the ANS since the initial outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Conditions for in-person attendance will depend on the requirements implemented by the ANS at that time, based on CDC and New York state guidelines.

The ANS is acting wisely. Despite improvement in the numbers of COVID-related infections, hospitalizations, and deaths in the United States, the pandemic is not over yet. A sizeable number of Americans are not yet vaccinated and the risk of further spreading this coronavirus remains, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Hobby organizations and businesses would be wise to plan for both in-person and online activities for the foreseeable future. They should continue to do so, even beyond pandemic concerns, to better serve the numismatic communities.

The successes of online educational presentations by the ANA, ANS and other hobby presentations are proof that collectors are hungry for digital access to events that many could never attend in the past, even without COVID-19. The new world that is emerging, however slowly, from the pandemic shows us that new technologies work to keep us all connected even when we cannot be together in person.

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