The question became pertinent when a new city ordinance enacted in November 2011 disrupted the Numismatists of Wisconsin convention hosted by the Madison Coin Club March 25 at the Sheraton Hotel.
The ordinance required all dealers in precious metals to obtain a license at a cost of $2,000.
Numismatists of Wisconsin Vice President Fred Borgmann said that dealers who were informed of the ordinance beforehand did not show up and others who arrived only to be told of it by sheriff’s deputies simply turned around and left.
Tom Snyder, a collector from southern Wisconsin, estimated that two-thirds of the dealers went home.
“The few brave remaining dealers reported that they had a good show,” Borgmann said.
However, their inventories of paper money, cents, nickels and other items not made of precious metal were exempt from the licensing requirement.
Borgmann said he sent an open letter to the Madison Common Council, where he pointed out that this was an unfortunate way for the state’s oldest coin club to celebrate its 80th anniversary.
He suggested that some revision to the ordinance might be made to allow the city to once again host such an event.
Alderman Marsha Rummel, replied, “Thanks for letting us know. I hope Alder. Verveer, who helped shepherd the ordinance changes will be open to this suggestion.”