Robert Burns wrote in his poem To A Mouse “The best laid schemes of mice and men/Go often awry” describes how I tried to leave early yet something always gets in the way. Such was my journey this morning when I tried to leave before my morning note posted. But after a stop at a local coffee shop, I was able to take to the road to Philadelphia.
With traffic, the drive to Philadelphia was 2 hours and 45 minutes with a stop to refill the coffee cup. I made such good time that I was too early to check in. So I left my luggage with the concierge and walked across the street to the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
I know I should not compare facilities because each city builds a convention center for its own purposes, but it seems that this facility was not as big as I thought it would be. Maybe I am not seeing the entire facility. But it is a nice place. It is well laid out, decently lit in the bourse area, and nicely positioned in downtown Philadelphia.
Every city has its charm, especially the old cities in the northeast corridor. Their growth, problems, and gentrification reflect the character of the city and how the city wants to show itself. Philadelphia seems to want to balance between the history of the colonial city while maintaining its melting pot atmosphere. The problem is that Philadelphia was so successful that it has made supporting services, such as hotels and parking, more expensive.
While I am not a fan of the American Numismatic Association’s decision to hold the World’s Fair of Money in the suburbs of Chicago, I am not sure they could sustain other shows in the downtowns of major cities. While I like Philadelphia, costs and the economy suggest a more cost effective location.
Maybe it is the cost and the economy why I was a little disappointed when I entered the bourse area of the World’s Fair of Money. Maybe the halls are bigger than they seem, but the show does not take up the entire hall. The back area is very open and there are sections blocked off so the show does not take up the entire hall.
The last time I attended the World’s Fair of Money was the 2008 show in Baltimore where they took up three halls in the Baltimore Convention Center and had a waiting list. While I have missed a few since (should have had my hip replaced sooner!), the differences are drastic.
Regardless of the size, the one thing you have to give to the ANA is that they know how to put on a show! The schedule is packed with interesting lectures, meetings, and other activities. They get the U.S. Mint, Bureau of Engraving and Printing, and a few world mints here including the Royal Canadian Mint, Perth Mint, Holy Land Mint, and the Polish Mint—which are only the ones I saw today. I think there are others I will explore tomorrow.