With metals prices strong and an active coin market, the mood was generally upbeat at the 67th anniversary Central States Numismatic Society Convention, April 27-29, in Columbus, Ohio.
Attendance for the show, held at the Greater Columbus Convention Center, was placed at 4,794 adult passes (child entries were not recorded) and 206 Professional Preview passes. According to convention chairman Kevin Foley, there were 235 dealer booths.
Foley said dealers he talked to were exceptionally pleased with their results.
?A number of dealers told me that it was busy beyond their fondest expectations,? Foley said. ?And I didn?t hear a single report from any dealer of disappointing sales or purchasing results.?
He added that CSNS is looking forward to returning to Columbus in the future and once again being hosted by the members of the Columbus Numismatic Society/Central Ohio International Numismatic Society.
Despite some complaints over an Ohio provision requiring bourse dealers to collect state sales tax on retail sales of precious metals and coins, most dealers interviewed on Saturday echoed Foley?s assessment and were happy with the show?s turnout and their sales totals.
Leon Hendrickson of SilverTowne, Winchester, Ind., characterized sales as ?fantastic.?
Sales to show attendees were also brisk, according to Hendrickson.
?I think this is going to be the best year numismatics-wise ? even better than 1980,? he said of the overall market. ?I think people are getting better educated, which is wonderful. And I think that makes a big difference. We are seeing more new customers coming into the field than I have ever noticed in a year or two-year span.?
Hendrickson also commended the host club, CNS/COINS, for their hard work. ?I think they need to be honored for it,? he said.
Wayne Freese of Aurora Coin, Marysville, Wash., said show attendance was ?decent.?
?I think there has been a fairly decent crowd of retail people in here both days so far,? Freese said. ?I?ve been very pleased with it.?
Freese, who was selling mainly U.S. coins, said sales were especially strong in collector-based material.
Another dealer who was pleased with the turnout was Gus Tiso of Salisbury, Md. This was despite the drawbacks of having to collect state sales tax.
?It?s actually been better than I thought it would be, with regards to the taxes we have to charge,? Tiso said. ?We didn?t lose too many sales.? He reported good wholesale activity for his certified inventory, especially among Morgan dollars, and characterized dealer and collector turnout as strong.
Dealer Joe Pankratz of Avenue Coins, Appleton, Wis., gave the show a grade of ?A.?
?I think this has been a fantastic show,? he said. ?I absolutely love the city of Columbus. That was a highlight of the show for me, just seeing the city and what a beautiful job they?ve done on the downtown.?
?The market has been unbelievable as far as good, solid activity and generally optimistic perspective,? Pankratz added.
Book dealer John Burns of North Huntingdon, Pa., said, ?I think it?s done pretty good so far? in relation to his sales. ?It was a little slow on Thursday, but yesterday was very good. Today I need another day as good.?
Burns, who noted that his numismatic book inventory is weighted about one-third U.S. and two-thirds foreign and ancient, reported strong sales for U.S. coin books.
Asked how his sales had been, dealer Will Rossman of Peak Numismatics, Monument, Colo., said, ?There?s a ready market. The dealer community is still active. Collector coins are selling extremely well and everyone seems to be having a good time. We enjoy being here in Columbus.?
He believes there are different factors driving today?s market than in 1980 when the market was very hot.
?We have a whole new group of collectors in because of the new Mint products and a certain percentage of them are evolving to the next level and a certain percentage of them to the next level and so on,? he said. ?And a lot of the collector coins are in relatively small supply to begin with, so it doesn?t take a lot of new people to fire the demand.?
?It?s been very active,? Randy Miller of Chief Coin Co., Oshkosh, Wis., said of the CSNS bourse. ?Dealer business on setup day was extremely active. The market seems positive.
?I think the crowd was a little bit light, but I think that has to do with being downtown and all of the conventions and parking. But it seems like the people that were here were buying coins to fill their collections.?
Miller also reported that it was collector coins that were most in demand.
Rick Tomaska of R&I Coins, Encinitas, Calif., was happy to be back in Ohio.
?This was my first time in Ohio in quite a long time, and it was great meeting a lot of our customers from this area,? he said. ?As far as buying, there wasn?t as much material here ? the kind of material we are looking for ? as I hoped.?
Tomaska deals mainly in high-end proof coins and Mint State Franklins.
?We bought some, but not nearly as much as we would have thought for a show this size,? Tomaska said.
He said traffic was good, but lamented that the sales tax hurt.
?It doesn?t make any sense for a collector to buy a coin here if they can order it from us back in California and waive the tax,? he said.
Next year?s 68th CSNS anniversary convention will be held May 9-12 in St. Louis.