The 45th annual World Money Fair, hosted in Berlin for the 11th year now, was a homecoming of sorts for the hobby.
The show (this year conducted from Feb. 5 to 7) included the remarkable sale of an early Holey dollar that is now returning to Australia after a very strong bid at auction.
In addition, special ceremonies and exhibits at the show marked the return to Germany of German-made tooling and dies for Chinese coins.
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Finally, the show itself acted as a homecoming for the members of the vast worldwide “numismatic family,” according to show chairman Hans-Henning Gohrum, who used the phrase several times to define the attendees at the show.
Mixed results for show
Though final attendance figures are not yet available as of Feb. 12, attendance did not appear to be as high as in 2013 or 2014. However, the bourse floor in 2016 was anecdotally busier than it was last year.
Multiple dealers linked the continued weak Russian ruble (the result of falling oil prices and economic sanctions) and soft market for Chinese coins to the show’s mixed performance.
At the low end of the market, numerous collectors and small dealers swarmed dealer booths to snap up individual and wholesale quantities of circulating commemorative €2 coins, the most widely and popularly collected aspect of modern European numismatics. Lines congested the aisle around the Monnaie de Paris booth, as dozens of collectors daily queued to swap euros at face value for the new 2016 French circulating commemorative €2 coin for the UEFA soccer tournament.
Other dealers offered a bounty of new circulating coins from the Middle East, including Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Libya, Morocco, Oman, and Syria, as well as other nations.
Vatican City coins of Pope Francis were a hot seller at several booths. Also robust during the show was the retail and wholesale market in modern paper money.
The largest and most visible group of transactions began the day before the show’s public open.
Künker auction sizzles
Fritz Rudolph Künker’s auction No. 271, on Feb. 4, realized a total hammer price of more than €6.6 million (about $7.2 million U.S.), according to the firm, though no precise figure was available. The estimate is about 38 percent higher than the pre-sale estimate, but does not include the buyer’s fee and Value Added Tax of 20 to 23 percent, which applies variably depending on where the item is being delivered.
Leading the sale was an 1813 silver Holey dollar (of a 5-shilling face value), an example of emergency coinage from colonial Australia.