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Future of conventions scrutinized

On my way down to breakfast Saturday morning, the hotel elevator doors opened to reveal a young woman wearing a grass skirt, a lei around her neck and rings of flowers on her wrists and on her head.

I was surprised.

It was the final day of the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money.

Such a costume I might have seen at the Numismatic Literary Guild on Thursday night. It is not something I associate with a Saturday morning.

We both ended up in the buffet line, so I asked her why she was wearing what she was.

She said she was attending a business conference that had a Hawaiian theme.

I might have replied that such a theme is a bit unusual for a business conference, but then I remembered seeing the photo many years ago of Grover Criswell in such a costume.

Conventions are strange animals. NLG Bashes are stranger still.

The future of conventions in the numismatic realm was a topic at the Saturday morning meeting of the new ANA board of governors led by President Jeff Garrett.

Even as the agenda included site selection for the National Money Shows in early 2018 and early 2019, Garrett remarked that these shows were money-losers for the ANA. They might have to be shrunk in size to fit into a hotel ballroom to keep costs under control, or they could be abolished, he said.

Garrett then went on to talk about the specifics of the 2018 and 2019 shows.

He polled the board.

Oklahoma City, Okla., is the leading location for 2018. Pittsburgh, Pa., seems to be the favorite for 2019, though Charleston, S.C., is still a strong contender.

No decisions will be made until October as the board seeks more input.

The need to attend any convention seems to be diminishing as more and more people decide to buy and sell on the Internet to cut their personal costs. Yet it is hard to imagine a numismatic business without the personal connections.

The three-year experiment with the Rosemont World’s Fair of Money is now at an end. It was made to cut the ANA’s convention costs.

Few people seem to remember this, or speak about it. They have become bored with the surroundings.

Next year’s convention in Anaheim, Calif., might be more interesting as it is next to Disneyland, but the accountants will notice.

Money has gotten tighter in the business. Input from accountants has gotten stronger.

This touches everyone from world mints, to bourse dealers, to NLG sponsors to me.

If I mention Hawaiian costumes to my accountants, what will they think?

So this is just between us, you understand.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper is winner of the 2014 Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."

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