Collectors were back out in force at the 16th Annual Chicago Paper Money Exposition, March 18-21, at the Crowne Plaza Chicago O’Hare Hotel, Rosemont, Ill.
“At the close of the show Sunday, one dealer – who asked us where the restroom was because he hadn’t had time to get away from his table the previous four days – told us that activity was so strong, we may look back at this CPMX as a watershed event in the paper money market,” said CPMX bourse chairman Scott Tappa. “We certainly hope he’s right.”
Around 75 paper money dealers, auction firms, grading companies and related groups occupied the bourse floor. General attendance was up about 20 percent from the 2009 show, Tappa said.
“From the opening of the bourse floor for dealer setup Thursday, to general public attendance days Friday and Saturday, even on the typically slower Sunday, the room was buzzing with chatter and activity,” Tappa said.”
Three auction sessions were staged by Lyn Knight Currency Auctions. At the show’s completion, Knight termed collector interest at the show “positive.”
Comments from other dealers interviewed on March 20 during the expo were also markedly upbeat.
“It was a very active show, probably my best show in at least two years,” said William Litt, Carmel, Calif. “So I’m very pleased with the results and, in fact, it was the more pedestrian notes that seemed to be selling, which I think is a good sign for the market as a whole.”
Litt said he was fortunate enough to have purchased a large grouping of inexpensive small-size nationals prior to the show and was able to sell many of them at CPMX. Plus, notes in his inventory were moving.
“Generally, it was a lot of nationals, which is what I specialize in, and it seemed like there were real collectors out there,” he said of specific demand, adding that these were “notes that I had for a year or more that were good notes in the $300 to $1,000 range that apparently people were looking at with new eyes, or with a new perspective, because that material sold and I thought we would never see those days again or at least not for a long time.”
His only lament was in the area of buying new material.
“I didn’t have too much time to look around,” he said. “It was actually a slower buying show than usual. The last two major shows I’ve gone to have been good buying opportunities but this one not so much, maybe it is because the collectors are back in force and buying.”
Tim Kyzivat, Kyzivat Currency, Western Springs, Ill., reported interest across a broad spectrum.
“The most interest for me has almost always been in large-size type, but I’ve noticed an increase in small-size type based on the fact that the prices are still quite reasonable,” he said. “They didn’t take the big hit like the large type did.”
The only drawback, when it comes to nationals, is a lack of material, he said.
“The good collectors who want to buy nationals are still out there, it’s just harder to find the stuff that they need,” Kyzivat said. “If you have the right national and the right buyer then the market is still very strong and we’re not talking just about the top end stuff. Nice material that a serious collector needs has been doing well, and Confederates and obsoletes are picking up a little bit. The market just seems to be a little broader. There is interest all across the spectrum.”
Kyzivat was most impressed by his wholesale business at CPMX.
“What was very promising with this show was the return of a wholesale business,” he said. “The last four or five shows I’ve done the dealer-to-dealer business has been very slow and I depend on that for a significant part of my business. Seeing the dealers buying means they’re selling which means the bigger market is doing better.
“Traffic on the retail side has been good too, but it is the return of the wholesale that encourages me that the economy must be getting better. We are attracting more new collectors who want to buy stuff and that adds a significant amount to my business.”
U.S small size, Fractionals, Military Payment Certificates and world notes were active for dealer George Warner, Sheridan, Wyo.
“The show was excellent,” Warner said. “I was busy from the time the doors opened until they closed at night. I’ve had hardly any chance to go around and shop for myself.”
John Markis of Trusted Traditions, Lauderdale by the Sea, Fla., saw activity in large-size notes in EF to AU grades that were priced proportionally to today’s market.
“I came into this show without any expectations and I’m happy to say that I’m pleasantly surprised,” he said. “It worked out really well. The public ultimately arrived and sales were brisk. In fact, Thursday we were extremely busy, nonstop.”
Hugh Shull, Lexington, S.C., started by complimenting show sponspor Bank Note Reporter and the F+W Media staff for an “excellent job” on this year’s CPMX.
“First, I’d like to comment on you guys,” Shull said. “You all did an excellent job. I thought you had the people in here. Business was good, and the obsoletes market is good, the Confederate notes sold good, and we will be looking forward to coming back next year.”
“It’s been a really busy show,” said dealer Richard Horst, Colorado Springs, Colo. “Last night [March 19] I had like five dealers standing around here trying to buy Chinese notes. That’s been the hot thing lately in world currency.
“This morning I’ve had two or three people standing around, looking for checks. I sell a lot of checks. So for me it has been an excellent show.”
The 17th Annual CPMX is slated for March 10-13, 2011 at the Crowne Plaza Chicago O’Hare, 5440 N. River Road, Rosemont, Ill.