Enjoying what he says was his best quarter of business in the past 30 years, and hoping this trend will continue, dealer Frederick J. Bart of Executive Currency, Roseville, Mich., was upbeat about the 18th Annual Chicago Paper Money Expo March 8-11 in Rosemont.
The show at the Crowne Plaza O’Hare featured a world-class bourse, attendees from 33 states and seven countries, along with a Lyn Knight currency auction and meetings by various numismatic organizations, including the board of the Professional Currency Dealers Association, the Chicago Coin club and the International Bank Note Society.
“Although there was a moderate buzz on the bourse floor, I felt the real electricity occurred in the Lyn Knight auctions,” Bart said. “Lyn [Knight] did a phenomenal job with the James W. “Billy” Key collection of fancy serial numbers. There were some questions as to whether or not the market would absorb such a specialized collection and in fact it responded resoundingly.”
Bart said his overall sales on the CPMX bourse floor were good, with Doris Bart adding that error notes have grown in demand over the past year.
Echoing the hopeful mood generated at CPMX was convention chairman Scott Tappa.
“It was a pleasure to once again play host to the paper money community at CPMX,” Tappa said. “From the opening of dealer setup Thursday to the close of the bourse Saturday, there was lots of activity in the room. The exhibitors we spoke with were happy with business, and hoped it foreshadowed a strong year in the paper money market.”
“I’ve had a table here at every show and this one continues to be a very strong show,” said world currency dealer David F. Cieniewicz, Huntsville, Ala. “I’m very pleased with the results.”
Older world notes were especially popular, with plenty of interest in notes of Central America and Africa.
“New issues are coming out all of the time and they are being sought after by collectors,” Cieniewicz said.
“Sometimes collectors who have been priced out of other areas of the market are now able to buy new issues.”
He has also observed recent growth of collector interest in world replacement notes, which can be every bit as scarce or scarcer than U.S. star replacement notes.
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“I think this show has picked up,” said Jess Lipka, Numismania, Flemington, N.J. “I think that there seemed to be a lot of traffic today and the atmosphere is generally upbeat. It hasn’t always been like that the last few years. The last time I remember it being really upbeat was before the mortgage meltdown. I think that people are starting to spend money again.”
“The show for me was very busy with sales,” said dealer Joe Sande, Nichols, Fla. “I had some good retail sales. The only disappointment is that there is nobody coming into the show bringing stuff to sell.”
“I’ve been very busy,” said Ed Rothberg of Emporium Coin & Currency, Moorhead, Minn. “I would probably say I’ve done more business in Nationals at this show, but I’ve done everything pretty much across the board.”
Gil Parsons of Parsons Books, Sonoma, Calif., was impressed by the level of sophistication of the CPMX attendees.
“This is our first time at CPMX and though we’ve done Memphis any number of times, this has been a new venue. It’s been very good. We’ve met lots of new people.
“I was particularly impressed with the sophistication of the members of the Chicago Coin Club, who have a wide range of interests and it’s been a pleasure to meet several of them.”
Parsons had some rarities available for purchase, including the earliest known American labor exchange notes, dating from 1857. These notes, with “one hour” and “five hour” denominations, were from the Modern Times community of Long Island, N.Y., a utopian anarchist community that flourished from around 1851-1863.
“We’ve brought in addition one of the splendid early works of political satire about the Mississippi Bubble from the 1720s and we’ve been fortunate to be able to show an example of the original John Law currency in conjunction with that,” Parsons said. “But I think the single item that has attracted the most immediate interest is the splendid Rawdon, Wright, Hatch & Edson engraver’s specimen from the mid 1850s before it was absorbed into ABNC. This is one of five or six copies known of which this is the finest one extant. It has literally stopped traffic by the scale and by the complexity of it.”
The 19th annual CPMX will be held March 7-10, 2013 at the Crowne Plaza O’Hare.