US Coins

Education abounds

The annual American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money has come and gone once again.

Rosemont, Ill., a western suburb of Chicago, was the site of the 2011 ANA summer convention. Next year’s ANA World’s Fair of Money will be held in Philadelphia with the festivities returning to Rosemont for the next few years.

Those of you who have not made the pilgrimage to the annual coin fest should consider the trip.

Too many numismatic things were scheduled in the almost two weeks of continuous shows — the main convention, held Aug. 16 to 20, was preceded by an official pre-show, set Aug. 13 to 15 — to report in this limited space. I will comment only on the events that would be of interest to those collecting coins from the first federal Mint.

Drawn to show

Many collectors are drawn to the major shows for the selections on the bourse floor in order to add to their collections. The ANA convention may be the only show that offers so much in education and club meetings that it makes the bourse secondary.

This year was a little different than those in the past. The ANA official pre-show was held to replace the private commercial show that always appeared the weekend before the official money show.

I was not able to attend the pre-show, but many dealers and collectors commented that it was not extremely well attended and that the dealers there were widely spread out on the bourse floor, making it difficult to navigate. The ANA and co-sponsor Professional Numismatists Guild plan changes next year to make it more collector friendly.

The week began for me on Monday afternoon, Aug. 15. After checking into my hotel, I went straight to the auction lot viewing room. The Stacks’ Bowers Galleries official auction would offer many interesting and valuable coins that week.

I find that viewing auction lots is an excellent way to gain insight into coins that I do not see on a regular basis. A collector can register and then view hundreds, if not thousands of coins to further his numismatic education.

Many club meetings were conducted in conjunction with the convention with educational presentations for the enjoyment of anyone interested in attending. Every major national coin club has a meeting at the show, and one can learn a great deal from the dedicated numismatists that share their knowledge there.

The John Reich Collectors Society ( held its annual meeting on Wednesday morning. Richard Meaney gave a presentation on remarriages and cuds in the Bust half dime series. This was a “teaser” presentation preceding his Numismatic Theater presentation later in the week.

The best place for in-depth numismatic education at the annual show is the Numismatic Theater. Here, numismatists have an hour to present their material and field questions concerning their topic. You can attend as many of the presentations as you wish — all are free! There is no better deal in numismatics than the Numismatic Theater!

Don’t forget the bourse

Of course, we cannot forget the bourse. More coins were available at this convention than you would think are still in circulation. You can see anything from a cent worth a couple of bucks to a multimillion dollar mega rarity.

Beyond being offered coins for outright sale, some dealers have “private” auctions at their tables. This year, dealer Sheridan Downey sold items from the Roger Solomon Collection to eager buyers of Bust-related material.

As you can see, these annual gatherings hold many opportunities for both education and collection enhancement. Hopefully I have convinced you to attend the next ANA World’s Fair of Money, in Philadelphia. See you there!

Brad Karoleff is a vice president of the John Reich Collectors Society and editor of the club’s journal. He can be reached via e-mail at

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