Regular readers know that I am proponent of electronic books and using technology to expand the reach of the hobby. But there is one thing that the hobby cannot make electric and that is the coin show.

This week, the American Numismatic Association National Money Show is being held in Denver. While not as big of a production as the summer’s World’s Fair of Money, it is still a premiere event of the numismatic calendar. Sure, there are other significant shows, but nobody puts on a show like the ANA.

Even if you go to one of the other larger shows or a smaller regional show, there is nothing that can duplicate the atmosphere and energy of a show’s bourse. There is nothing like walking into a room full of tables and seeing coins, currencies, medals, tokens, and other numismatics fill rooms, ballrooms, or convention centers. All for sale!

There is nothing like the dealers and collectors that you meet on the bourse floor. While their personalities are as varied as what they sell or collect, numismatic collectors are intelligent, fun, and engaging. Even those dealers, authors, and researchers who are “famous” in the industry are as approachable as anyone else.

The last time I was able to attend the National Money Show was in 2007 that was held in Charlotte, North Carolina. When I first entered the Civic Center in downtown Charlotte, I was surprised as to how much smaller the show was than the Whitman Baltimore Expo but was even more surprised when the energy surpassed that of the Baltimore shows.

The difference is the ANA—they put on a heck of a show!

Since Whitman took over the Baltimore Expo, they have improved the experience making it more of a destination show—one I hope to attend in June. But the ANA shows are different in that as a membership organization, they have generate a fraternal feeling amongst those who attend the show that cannot be duplicated. 

But that does not mean other shows are now worth attending. On the contrary, local and regional shows can be as much fun as the large national shows. Local shows can be destinations to bring local numismatists together. They are also places to meet the local and regional dealers who can help you put together your collection.

If you cannot attend a national show, attend a local show. Get out from behind the computer screen and meet your fellow collectors and the dealers. Experiencing the numismatic community at a show cannot be duplicated in email, on a forum, or through a blog. You have to experience it for yourself.

The Whitman Baltimore Expo starts on Thursday, June 28 and end on Sunday, July 1. Unless something comes up, I plan on attending on Saturday, June 30. The World’s Fair of Money will be August 7-11 in Philadelphia. I will be there for a few days during that show. If you are going to attend either of these shows feel free to stop me and say hello. I would love to meet you!

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