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Milestones at Long Beach show

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News.
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A rockin’ David Hall and quite a rock – a 100-ounce gold nugget helped make events surrounding the Long Beach Coin, Stamp and Collectibles Expo held Feb. 3-5 memorable.

On the eve of the convention Professional Coin Grading Service officials and authorized dealers joined Hall to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the founding of the third-party grading service.
Since then, more than 20 million coins with a combined market value of over $20 billion have been certified.

“When PCGS opened on Feb. 3, 1986, we ‘flicked a switch’ and changed the rare coin market,” said Hall, PCGS co-founder and president of its parent company, Collectors Universe, Inc.

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“This was truly a revolution for the hobby and the rare coin market. We not only established impartial, third-party standards for grading coins, we also created sight-seen and sight-unseen markets for trading certified coins. This generated unprecedented confidence for collectors to participate in the market, and helped coin owners recognize the true value of their coins,” said Hall. 

PCGS President Don Willis said the company is looking to the future with the recent opening of an office in Europe and the introduction of the ground-breaking PCGS Secure Plus™, an unparalleled system that employs state-of-the-art technology to help combat counterfeiting and coin doctoring.

The nugget’s presence attracted a visit by well-known Southern California television personality Huell Howser.

It was the first public display of the recently discovered, nearly 100-ounce gold nugget in Southern California.

Howser videotaped interviews for an upcoming episode of his long-running TV program, “Visiting With Huell Howser,” that is broadcast on KCET (channel 28) in Los Angeles and other public television stations in the state. The episode will be shown at 7:30 p.m. on March 7 and March 17. 

“Mr. Howser graciously signed autographs and posed for photos with collectors and dealers as he and his cameraman toured the bourse floor for several hours,” said Ronald J. Gillio, Expo general chairman. 

“He originally planned to visit the show because of the display by Holabird-Kagin Americana of the big Washington Nugget that was uncovered last year near Washington, Calif.  But then he decided to do an expanded piece about all the many other interesting collectibles that people buy and sell at every Long Beach Expo. He even brought his childhood stamp album to the show,” said Gillio.

Despite blizzard conditions across much of the Northern United States that prevented some dealers and collectors from flying to Long Beach, Gillio said attendance at the February show was higher than the two previous events in June and September 2010.

Heritage Auctions, the official auctioneer of the Long Beach Expo, reported its Signature U.S. Coin Auction generated over $8.5 million in winning bids.

It wasn’t all good news at the convention. The Salvation Army was told that an 1804 dollar thrown into a Whittier, Calif., red kettle was not genuine.

Major Chuck Gillies of the Whittier Corps of the Salvation Army went to the show Feb. 3 with the dollar.

“It was put into one of our holiday collection kettles in Whittier in the middle of December, and set aside until we could determine what it was,” Gillies said.

“I couldn’t sleep because of the anticipation about whether it was real or not.  I already had the money spent,” he said.

Several dealers immediately knew on first glance that it was only a replica.

The next Long Beach Coin, Stamp & Collectibles Expo will be held June 2-4.   

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