US Coins

Monday Morning Brief for June 10, 2024: Support coin shows

Coin shows of all sizes deserve the support of the collecting community. The Long Beach Expo, for example, is held three times a year and has been a part of the scene for 60 years.

Images courtesy of Long Beach Expo.

As we head into the summer months, calendars tend to get filled up with any number of potential activities. Vacations, concerts, social gatherings and family reunions join the host of possibilities. Sometimes, it even gets in the way of attending coin shows. 

The biggest victims tend to be the smaller shows that don’t get a lot of widespread attention. These could be the weekend gatherings held once a month or even larger-scale shows held only once or a few times a year.

While many will plan their schedules around the biggest shows — Summer FUN or the American Numismatic Association’s World’s Fair of Money — the other shows don’t always hold comparable appeal, but they should.

This was all brought to mind during a phone call received from a collector in Michigan. Often, local shows that have been going on for decades don’t get near the publicity and attention they deserve.

Certainly, the scale is smaller, but ask yourself (and be honest) — is a smaller show necessarily a “bad” show? You’ll likely concede that a smaller show has plenty to offer in more than just an inventory perspective.

For many, one of the advantages of any coin show is the social aspect, getting a chance to see people who share an interest and catching up on their acquisitions and collections, and viewing inventory of trusted dealers where relationships have been built over time. There’s a certain sense of comfort walking through the door and seeing familiar faces in familiar places. It is, after all, as much about the relationships as its is about the objects.

It hasn’t been all that long ago when there was an interruption in the world of coin shows. Most still remember how social gatherings were restricted and the feelings we had when we couldn’t attend. We turned to other ways to stay in touch, ways that continue to impact our mindset, as the internet continues to rank highly as a tool for buying and selling. Times change and things evolve. The coin show has come back from that interruption to recapture some of the allure that helped make the events popular.

Care should be taken to make sure that coin shows of all sizes get enough support to keep them around, a part of the environment. Of course, the biggest shows are the safest. It’s the once a month or every-so-often shows that run the risk of going away. What happens when the organizers get tired of doing the often thankless job of putting the show together? What happens when a venue prices itself out of the picture because rising costs have made it impractical for a club to rent a particular hall and is forced to look for a suitable alternative that may not be there? There are enough threats to the existence the smaller gatherings without throwing in a lack of attendance.

Attending a smaller coin show can involve a small amount of time but can make a big difference. One of the joys of attending an event, any event, is the idea that you never know what new thing you might see. It’s not that much of a stretch to believe that something of interest is waiting at every coin show you attend — whether it be something for your collection or something you can learn to help you in your pursuit. There is no real substitute for the show experience. The only way to find out is to be there.

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