“Surprising” was the word many used to describe bourse activity at the 34th annual Chicago International Coin Fair, held April 23-26 in Rosemont, Ill.
The show, sponsored by World Coin News, enjoyed a public attendance total that was up slightly from last year, according to Kevin Foley, convention chairman.
“I’m really very pleasantly surprised,” he said. “I did not expect it to be as strong as it has been.”
Sunday attendance was also better than expected. A larger proportion of dealers stayed through the day, according to Foley.
He attributes CICF’s success to its international focus.
“The collectors who come to this show know that they will see dealers that they won’t find at the typical U.S.-oriented show.”
It is this same international flavor that drew dealer Joseph Algazi to CICF for the first time this year.
“You have to expose yourself,” he said.
Algazi said that in general he does more business with dealers than the public at numismatic shows, supplying them with Cuban currency, coins and historical documents.
“It’s all about timing,” he said. “One buyer can make it for you.”
Foley speculated that this CICF was more commercially active than the previous year’s.
“One thing you notice ... is the level of noise in the room,” Foley said. “The noisier the bourse room, the more activity, the more sales, the more transactions that are going on. And I did notice that both on Thursday and Friday the room simply had a buzz all day long, from beginning to end.”
This sentiment was echoed by Distinctive Coins dealer John McCaugherty. He said the show was going very well and described business as being “better than expected.”
His wife, Gayle McCaugherty, agreed that business was brisk.
“We are all tired at the end of every day,” she said.
So what items were hot sellers at the show?
World paper money, Greek and Roman gold, as well as lower-priced material seemed to be in demand, Foley said.
For the Distinctive Coins folks it was Polish, German and Chinese coins. Rarities were also hot, they said.
“Generally scarce items, no matter what the level of overall market activity, are stronger than more common items,” Foley explained.
Business aside, CICF was also about catching up with friends. This year was bittersweet for German dealer Ernst Neumann. He had the opportunity to spend time with his friends the McCaughertys, including their son Chris McCaugherty. However, absent at the show was Neumann’s Austrian partner, Erich Mozelt, who was forced to cancel due to health reasons.
“We wish him the best in his recovery,” Neumann said.
For the Chicago Coin Club, CICF had yet a different meaning this year. The organization celebrated its 90th anniversary in conjunction with the show.
“We’ve been through two World Wars and haven’t missed a beat,” said Jeffrey Rosinia, CCC president. “Our club is ambitiously striking medals and publishing articles.”
Rosinia and Carl Wolf, CCC secretary, manned the club’s booth at CICF, selling bronze, silver and gold anniversary medals. The pieces feature Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ “Standing Lincoln” statue that is located in Chicago’s Lincoln Park.
The club hosted an anniversary banquet for members, family and friends on the evening of April 25 at Giannotti’s Steak House in Schiller Park, Ill. After dinner, Jewish coin scholar David Hendin gave a talk on “Economics, History and Money in Judea and Early Christianity.”
Among the clubs to hold meetings during CICF was the Every Country Collectors Group, which met April 25. Lisa Bellavin, Krause Publications online editor, shared her experience at the Berlin Munzkabinett with a presentation titled “Berlin Coin Cabinet – One Impressive Coin Collection.”
Bellavin and Maggie Stigsell, editor of World Coin News, then fielded questions and comments from the group pertaining to KP’s NumisMaster database and the Standard Catalog of World Coin series.
Other group speakers included Alan Berman, or “King Alanus I of Bermania,” who told the history of dragons in the “kingdom” of Bermania to the Bermanian Guild of Numismatists April 24.
The next day Hendin presented “Ancient Judean Coins: New Discoveries from Yehuds to Judea Capta” to the Ancient Coin Club of Chicago.
Elizabeth Hahn, American Numismatic Society librarian, spoke on “The ANS Library, Sicilian History and Early Numismatic Literature” for the Chicago Coin Club April 25.
Rounding out the presentations was Chuck Jacobs, who spoke to the International Primitive Money Society on “Hammered Dump Coinage from Feudal Japan – 1576-1870,” also on April 25.
Hendin, Hahn and Jacobs all were awarded an American Numismatic Association Education Certificate for their presentations.