US Coins

Monday Morning Brief for Dec. 7, 2020: Pandemic continues

The COVID-19 pandemic's affect on the numismatic community will continue into 2021. Florida United Numismatists board members have canceled the planned January convention in Orlando.

Original images courtesy of Florida United Numismatists.

A truly horrible year is coming to an end and a new year is about to begin.

The pandemic shows no signs of lessening in severity; public health officials are predicting that worse is yet to occur. Experts are recommending that people avoid crowds, stay at home, forgo traditional holiday gatherings, and when being in public can’t be avoided, follow the twin health protocols of wearing a mask and maintaining physical distancing.

Some progress is being made, fortunately. Several vaccines with promising results are potentially on the verge of being approved for use in the United States. That bodes well for a return to something approaching normalcy sometime late in 2021.

The pandemic has disrupted numismatic events just as it resulted in the postponement of long-planned events like the Tokyo Olympics, cancellation of concerts and movie releases, and temporary (and permanent) closures of brick and mortar stores. The last major numismatic convention in the United States was held in March, though promoters of smaller shows held events later in 2020.

As for 2021, the Florida United Numismatists convention was canceled on Dec. 4, barely a month before it was scheduled to occur. The Florida Department of Health had issued a public health advisory that recommends that residents and visitors refrain from gatherings of more than 10 people and to avoid closed spaces, crowded places and close-contact settings. Though FUN officials planned to implement COVID-19 protocols, the risks of holding the convention outweighed the benefits.

In addition, annual conventions traditionally held in New York City and Berlin in January are canceled, though the Berlin promoters plan a virtual event.

Despite the curtailment of most public events, the coin community continues to thrive. Most auctions are being held virtually, and educational events are being offered online as well, all to great success.

So, what will 2021 bring? Hopes are that widespread use of vaccines will start curtailing the coronavirus’s spread, maybe by the third quarter of the year. In the meantime, show organizers must face reality and act responsibly in concert with public health recommendations.  

Stay safe.
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