Even though it does not officially open until tomorrow, the World Money Fair in Berlin is in full swing.
The auction is being called by Kuenker.
Mints and suppliers and marketers are holding private meetings with each other.
Longtime attendees are greeting old friends and colleagues.
One of the first people I saw again to renew an old friendship was Albert M. Beck, the founder and honorary president of the World Money Fair. He has written a very interesting new book. He showed me an advance copy.
It is about modern Olympic coinage from the 1952 Games in Helsinki to the 2016 Rio Games.
Tomorrow they will go on sale. He will be on hand tomorrow to autograph copies for anyone who purchases them.
Olympic coin collecting is a very popular subset in the numismatic field. The original research done by Albert includes pricing. Some of the prices he discovered for 1996 Atlanta Olympic Game issues are startling.
Readers will find that some issues are now priced at 10 times what some American readers might think are current levels.
The reason for this is this series was issued 20 years ago and the low mintage issues have been widely dispersed. If you want one, you have to pay up.
This information alone makes the book a worthwhile buy. But those who truly appreciate a peak into history will enjoy Albert's writing style and his on the behind-the-scenes reporting. He has spent 50 years in professional numismatics, having founded Muenzen Revue in Switzerland in 1969.
I plan to buy a copy and I hope that it will be offered in the United States.
On Thursday the technical people, some 365 of them, met to learn the latest information about minting techniques and issues related to the coining process. You might not realize it, but it is a hot ticket, because the requirement for making a presentation at this forum is that the information has not been given anywhere else. That assures that the 12 topics covered today will be on the cutting edge of numismatic innovation.
My colleague Tom Michael and I have been sharing some of these meetings. Our first official meeting with a Mint, as opposed to a casual meeting in the lobby, was with the Monnaie de Paris.
We were given an overview of the mint's plans for 2016. One of the big upcoming series is for a European soccer tournament to be held in France later this year called Euro 2016. The gold coins in this series range in size from the tiny half gram (approximately 1/60th ounce) to a 5 ounce coin that would make any gold buyer drool.
Dealer talk on the floor is a mix of hopefulness and the reality that some markets weakened in the past year. China and Russia, the mainstays of many a prior World Money Fair, are no longer making large gains. In fact, both areas are retrenching. Only the very rarest of pieces from these two countries are holding at peak prices.
I know there is much more to be learned and I look forward to continue nosing around.
For anyone who is in Berlin or will soon be here, please come to the annual Coin of the Year Awards ceremony at 3 o'clock Saturday afternoon in the Paris Room. It is a ceremony that is held by World Coin News in partnership with the World Money Fair.
If you do make it, come say hello. I look forward to the conversation.
More Collecting Resources
• Liked this article? Read more by subscribing to Numismatic News.
• If you enjoy reading about what inspires coin designs, you'll want to check out Fascinating Facts, Mysteries & Myths about U.S. Coins.