US Coins

Monday Morning Brief for June 1, 2020: The show must go on?

The American Numismatic Association World's Fair of Money is still scheduled for early August in Pittsburgh. If it is held as planned, it will the first major U.S. coin convention since late February. Show promoters nationwide have deliberated over the wisdom of holding public shows.

Original images courtesy of American Numismatic Association.

The deliberations being made by the boards of major numismatic organizations and by the owners of auction houses are mirroring similar discussions by governments and business boardrooms worldwide.

Do we reopen or stay closed? Do we go on as planned or do we cancel?

Much of the news in our pages since March has a common theme: the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the numismatic community.

The biggest impact, arguably, has been to the convention schedule. The last big coin show held this year was in late February: the American Numismatic Association National Money Show in Atlanta. Since then, every major numismatic convention has been canceled, including the March and June Whitman Baltimore Expos, the April Central States Numismatic Society convention near Chicago, the June Long Beach Expo in California, and the July Florida United Numismatists convention, as well as dozens of small shows planned by local organizations.

In many circumstances, show organizers have had no choice; restrictions on large gatherings remain in place in many states even as stay-at-home orders are gradually being lifted in some places.

In some cases, though, show organizers in some locales have had other reasons to wrestle with whether to hold a long-planned show as scheduled or to cancel it, even as restrictions have been relaxed.

FUN officials decided to act out of an abundance of caution canceling the group’s summer convention. Ultimately, they decided not to risk the health of potential convention attendees. They made a choice that was right for them.

ANA officials are also deliberating on that organization’s summer convention, its World’s Fair of Money in Pittsburgh. In the event that the show goes on, officials are discussing how to arrange for a safe experience for the collectors, dealers and Mint officials who might attend.

All of us are weary of staying home. Collectors and dealers want to get back on the bourse floor to buy and sell coins.

The question remains, when will it be safe to do so? 


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