• Kevin Goldberg

    Old World, New Ideas

    Kevin D. Goldberg began collecting European coins as a Middle School student in suburban Philadelphia. Three decades later, he still collects European coins, but now in suburban Atlanta, where he teaches in the Department of History & Philosophy at Kennesaw State University. He earned his Ph.D. in European History from the University of California, Los Angeles, and was a postdoctoral fellow in the International Humanities at Brown University, 2011-2013. Kevin has been planning on expanding his collection beyond Europe for the past decade, but is only now getting around to it.

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    The Summer FUN Show in Orlando was, well, fun. Well-stocked dealers, educational seminars, live auctions, and air conditioning; these were just some of the reasons to spend time in the Orange County Convention Center these past couple of days. But was the show a “success?”  

    Like any coin show, Summer FUN (Florida United Numismatists) was only as successful as we the collectors were willing to make it. No matter how we define a successful show, there is no getting around the fact that success is a personal metric, measured by one’s own experience. How then do we measure our own experience at a coin show?

    Well, for most collectors, it’s a matter of whether or not we find the right coin(s) at the right price(s). But it doesn’t have to be just that. I made more of a concerted effort to chat with dealers this time around, and I’m glad that I did. Maybe it was the Florida sun, but joviality and humor trumped the sky-is-falling, get off my lawn, misanthropic soapboxing that tends to anchor coin discussions. But, there’s more to a successful show than small talk, right?

    Absolutely. I’m always researching potential new niches for my collection, and there is not a better venue than a coin show to explore options firsthand. Despite the fact that I rarely commit to a new niche, it’s still an opportunity to converse and learn about something exciting and new (to me). This time it was the coinage of Tokugawa Japan.

    But, aren’t the coins that we actually buy more important than the coins that we almost buy when quantifying a successful show?

    I think so. And by this metric, I was extremely pleased with the FUN Show. Two coins that I purchased waited their proper turn on my slow-moving want list, another was a flyer in a peripheral field, and the final coin was a big hitter in a core area. I left feeling content (if a bit lighter in my wallet). So this means I had a successful coin show, right?

    I most certainly did, but for yet another reason. On the show’s third day, I was able to convince my two children to join me (this in lieu of another day at Universal with their grandparents!). But it didn’t end there; my father and a nephew tagged along as well. We had a blast panning for gold, spinning the wheel in the kids’ zone, and digging through junk boxes. Although my daughter denies it now, I am certain that she whispered to me while pulling out coins from the junk box that this was more fun than Universal! Now this is how I know the show was a success.