In the popular Harry Potter series of books and movies, Harry and his companions are sometimes transported to distant places by means of a portkey. A portkey is an object enchanted to instantly bring anyone touching it to a specific location. Most of the time, a portkey is an everyday object that would not draw the attention of non-magic folk like you and I.
In one instance, they use a portkey to travel to a large gathering of fans for the world championship of a fictional sport called Quidditch. They all come because they love the sport and are quite happy to be there among so many like-minded people. The atmosphere is one of excitement and camaraderie.
Although we have no such fantastic means of transport, we can travel using “everyday objects” like cars, planes and trains to take us to our desired destinations.
There is a place where I go that does seem to have some magic, a place populated for a moment by familiar faces from distant places where a shared passion connects many of the inhabitants. It is a community that transports itself from location to location, from one point in time to the next, in constant flux but always familiar. It may be somewhere you ave never been before, but it can feel like home.
That place is the World’s Fair of Money and other numismatic conventions that sometime seem to be more like a small town rather than the temporary market that it is. A place that is always there waiting for you to return to your neighborhood and reacquaint yourself with old friends.
The idea that a coin show can be a unique community first presented itself to me when a friend of mine made the comments, “This isn’t what he does in real life,” during a conversation among a group of collectors on the bourse floor at the ANA World’s Fair of Money.
Some of us are numismatists in “real life,” making a living in the hobby by selling, grading, writing, researching and many other occupations. Most of us have careers outside of numismatics and collect for the fun of it. Many friendships are formed along the way.
Over the years, my family and I have had the good fortune to make many friends in the hobby and to become very close with some of them. Although we may only see them once or twice a year at a show, it always seems like it was yesterday.
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The 2012 World’s Fair of Money will be in Philadelphia this Aug. 7th through the 11th. With a 225,000-square foot bourse floor and some 1,200 dealers, the convention is a great place to search for additions to your collection and to immerse yourself in numismatics. There are countless things to see and do. You can purchase a “mint passport” and stop by the various world mints to have your passport stamped and receive an uncirculated coin from each to complete the collection.
The ANA Money Museum is sure to have an exhibit with several great rarities. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing will be there with the Billion Dollar display. There will be many educational classes and talks and “there will be plenty of fun – from family activities, prize drawings as well as children’s activities such as Treasure Trivia and the Kids Zone.
So whether you travel by portkey or SUV, go to where your numismatic friends are and share your love of the hobby and more importantly spend some quality time with them.
This Viewpoint was written by David G. Heinrich for the March issue of “The Cincinnati Numismatist.” To have your opinion considered for Viewpoint, write to David C. Harper, Editor, Numismatic News, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990. Send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.