After many years of fighting a few health issues, I attended my first World’s Fair of Money since the 2008 show in Baltimore. It was worth the time I had taken off from work to drive to Philadelphia to attend this show, especially since it was close enough to drive.
Philadelphia may not be as easy for some to attend like it was for many of us on the east coast. While there were companies and dealers from west of the Mississippi in attendance, those walking the bourse were markedly east coast oriented. There seemed to be a nice crowd drawn from the Philadelphia area and the region extended as far north as New York City and the Washington, DC area.
I know that the numismatic world extends beyond the megalopolis known as the Northeast Corridor, but dealers have mentioned that this is a good area for the numismatic business. More than one have said that with the World’s Fair of Money being in Chicago the next five years, it is good that the Whitman Baltimore Expo will continue to draw the northeast.
As I was talking with dealers, it was common for them to complement Whitman on putting on the Baltimore show and not being happy with the ANA for the upcoming (CORRECTED) 5 three year run in Chicago. Few have issues with Chicago, but nearly every dealer says that not having a rotating show may make it difficult to reach new customers.
One thing that was striking on Saturday was the number of parents walking the bourse floor with children. Some children were trying to get their Numismatic Passport stamped while others were exploring the world of money to earn their merit badge or even have something new to talk about. There were even parents who attended with small children who were less interested than their parents.
I say “parents” because there were mothers and fathers in almost equal numbers. At several tables, I was able to talk with kids and parents showing them some of the finer points of the meaning behind the money. Imagine lighting up the parents of a pair of Scouts explaining the anti-counterfeiting mechanisms of some of the foreign currency they were looking at.
Being able to sit with someone who can explain more of what they are looking at is an experience that cannot be duplicated in this age of online shopping. There is also an aspect of connecting with the numismatic community that is important for collectors to experience the coin show, especially a show like the World’s Fair of Money.
But next summer and the four succeeding summers, the World’s Fair of Money will not tour the United States meeting collectors everywhere but will be centered in one area. While the Rosemont area is not amongst the most exciting, it is near several suburbs that could draw people. But what about new people? What about new people who could be new collectors or find long time collectors and bring them back into the hobby?
I suggest that the ANA Board of Governors remedy this situation by ending the Chicago run after next summer. I do not think it serves the ANA, the members, or the collecting community to continue with this misguided policy.