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Smart move or last hurrah of dinosaurs?

Am I a dinosaur? I ask myself that as the rapid pace of change in my business requires a gut check from time to time.

I have never used that term before, but it gets the idea across. I use it now because it was employed in a Coin Chat Radio conversation I had with Professional Numismatists Guild president Paul Montgomery.

The program, which was posted to www.coinchatradio.com Sept. 24, features the full interview prompted by the news that PNG has reached an agreement with the Greater Houston Coin Club, sponsor of Houston’s Money Show of the Southwest, for a PNG Day on Dec. 2 preceding the show’s Dec. 3-5 run.

This news is significant because PNG only has agreements for these special days with the American Numismatic Association and Central States Numismatic Society. This is not because others have not wanted PNG Days, but because there is a desire to not dilute their importance. PNG needs to have a strong commercial underpinning for these events and a national audience to guarantee that the participants don’t simply add an extra day’s worth of expenses to trips that already are often long and costly.

I asked the logical questions of Montgomery. How does Houston make the cut when other cities with large shows on the East Coast do not and is PNG putting resources into something that is out of date in the Internet Age?

At one point he proudly states that he is a Texan, and we had  a good laugh about that being the most important point in the decision-making process, but he also ticks off the many advantages of the Houston venue for dealers. It is the fourth largest city in the United States with many people within driving distance who count themselves as collectors. It follows in size New York, Los Angeles and Chicago – all three of which have hosted major national shows in recent years.

So Houston gets a shot with the enthusiastic support of the show’s organizers.

That takes care of why the location. Now comes the question of whether PNG members are spending money that might otherwise go to a better use.

That’s when the term dinosaur came up. Montgomery said he didn’t think he was one but he continued to believe in the importance of face-to-face dealings in the numismatic business. Veteran collectors and dealers can size each other up much more rapidly and easily at shows than anywhere else and make a quick determination as to whether they want to do business with each other.

This is the second time the personal aspect of the acquisition process has come up for me in a little over a week. Jon Lerner mentioned it in a Sept. 17 Coin Chat Radio interview about Coinfest, which is slated for Oct. 9-11.

The human element continues to be important in our business. After the Lerner interview, I wrote a daily online blog about this and it got as many hits in a couple of days as my blog usually receives in a month. Others either agree with this idea or are so curious as to who would make such a statement that they have to see for themselves. Either way, I ask whether I am a dinosaur for believing personal interaction still is important.

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