US Coins

Monday Morning Brief for March 16, 2020: Outside world intrudes

The spreading pandemic has caused the cancellation of coin shows and other numismatic events worldwide. It has also led to the alteration of a coin to depict the virus.

Original images courtesy of Powercoin.

Coin collecting is seen, rightfully, as a respite from the humdrum of daily life.

One can temporarily detach oneself from the outside world and become immersed in a collection of coins, paper money or exonumia. Sometimes, though, the outside world forces its way into the collector’s life. It did on 9/11, when New York City coin auctions scheduled for that morning were canceled. It’s happening again now, in a growing list of cancellations made necessary by the worldwide pandemic.

Mounting concerns over the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus causing the illness COVID-19, has led to the cancellations of many public events and to a ban on travel from most of Europe to the United States, announced March 11. Cancellations and quarantines are now affecting the numismatic community, as senior editors Paul Gilkes and Jeff Starck and contributor Art Friedberg all report in separate news coverage this week.

In the United States, the biggest “hit” to the numismatic community is the cancellation of the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Expo in Baltimore, set for March 19 to 21. Obviously, the need to cancel the show — required under a state of emergency in Maryland — disappoints a lot of collectors and dealers, and the expo management.

The Stack’s Bowers Galleries auctions set for the show will continue, just in California and online. With much of today’s bidding done online and by telephone, the impact on Stack’s Bowers should be much less than it would have been a decade ago, when much of the auction action occurred onsite rather than online.

Over the next few months, as all of us adjust to a new reality in our daily lives and routines, the Coin World staff will continue reporting the news through the crisis.

Be cautious, be well, and be happy to have an ideal hobby to enjoy at home!

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