A strong public turnout of 6,376 and dealer sales characterized by one table holder interviewed for this story as being ?excellent? marked the Feb. 9-11, Long Beach Coin, Stamp & Collectibles Expo at the Long Beach, Calif., Convention & Entertainment Center.
?We came close to running out of visitor badges on the last day,? said Ronald J. Gillio, Expo general chairman after the show. ?The coin market is booming and there obviously are a lot of new collectors as well as former collectors who are returning to the hobby.?
Gillio?s comments were echoed by dealers talked to by the Numismatic News staff midway through the convention.
?My collectors have been here,? said Salvatore J. Falcone, Falcone Coins & Collectibles, San Jose, Calif.. Falcone, who has been attending Long Beach expos since the 1960s, reported sales volume that was right on target.
?It?s only Friday, and it?s already shaping up to be a good show,? he said.
Falcone found the market active for gold, U.S. and foreign coins, but a bit sluggish for U.S. paper.
Cory Frampton, Mexican Coin Company Inc., Carefree, Ariz., termed it ?the best show we?ve had here.?
Frampton credited a hot U.S. market fueled by high bullion prices for leading collectors to look at alternative collectibles, thereby boosting the market for Mexican numismatic material.
One dealer, who asked not be named in this report for security reasons, offered that the coin market has been so active lately that he has more coins on his shop floor than in his vault. There just hasn?t been enough time for him to process his recent purchases.
Julian M. Leidman, Silver Springs, Md., reported that the expo crowd was ?decent.? People weren?t rushing up to tables with open wallets and hands full of money, as during the market rush of the late 1970s and early 1980, but ?collector items are still solid,? he said.
Leidman added that it was great to see all of the special exhibits on the convention floor, which he credited for bringing some excitement to the bourse.
Key among these were numismatic exhibits with a combined value of more than $17 million.
Monaco Financial, Newport Beach, Calif., presented its ?Early Americana Rarities? exhibit of gold and silver coins, highlighted by historical documents, including one signed by President George Washington.
Rare Coin Wholesalers displayed the legendary King of Siam proof set, which includes a Class I 1804 silver dollar, and Professional Coin Grading Service exhibited the finest collection of gold $10 Indian Head coins in the PCGS Set Registry.
The gold $10 Indian Head set was assembled by collector John Kutasi of Los Angeles. Beginning with a 1907 wire-edge $10 Indian graded PCGS MS-66 and continuing through a 1933 in PCGS MS-65, all coins in the set ? several of which are among the finest known ? ranged from MS-65 to MS-67 in grade.
Another dealer who factored in the bullion market as a major drawing card for the show was Robert Campbell, All About Coins, Salt Lake City, Utah.
?The precious metals market seems to be pulling and pushing collectors in the market,? Campbell said. The fluctuating market, Campbell explained, has made it so you can buy material in the morning and sell it in the afternoon at a profit.
Campbell mainly brought coins in the $30 to $70 range to this show, of which he said sales were strong.
Richard E. Snow, Eagle Eye Rare Coins, Tucson, Ariz., termed sales as ?sporadic,? though he admitted his main reason for attending Long Beach expos is to buy. Snow specializes in Flying Eagle and Indian Head cents. ?Nice stuff is hard to find,? he said.
A half dozen educational seminars were presented. Among these was a ?Buying and Selling on eBay? lecture by Troy Thoreson, an eBay representative.
An estimated 200 children participated in the Kid?s Treasure Hunt on Saturday.
Winners of the competitive exhibits hosted by the Long Beach Coin Club were:
Andrew Woodruff, first place in the U.S. category for ?The 1923 Silver Certificates? and second place for ?Casino De Isthmus City ? Gaming Tokens.?
First place in the world exhibit category went to Mike Ontko for ?A Sampler of Mints of Spanish Colonial America.?
The next Long Beach Coin, Stamp & Collectibles Expo is scheduled for June 1-3.