The existence of the Internet is supposed to be killing off coin shows. Certainly it has changed their nature.
It is almost eerie to look into convention auction rooms and see almost nobody present as lot after lot goes to online buyers.
Clearly the need to be present to do business in the numismatic field is diminished.
But then along comes the U.S. Mint with special convention offers of coins.
With the dual-dated 1964-2014 gold proof Kennedy half dollar to be offered in small quantities at the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money, the show calculus suddenly shifts back to needing to be physically present.
This is a good thing.
Coin shows, especially the ANA’s premiere national convention, should not go down without a fight. The Mint is to be congratulated for making a fight possible. I hope it will consider tying the release of other new coins to shows around the country.
Not all will agree with me. Some feel show releases only help enrich a select few. There is something in that criticism, but it should not be allowed to obscure the fact that with advance notice, everyone in the country has the opportunity to go to the ANA convention and be present.
Life’s responsibilities mean that for most, this is an empty opportunity, but that should not be the end of the story.
A hobby without hullabaloo of some kind is dead, even if it has not yet fallen over.
The Mint should pick shows all around the country to release new coin offerings. It should be a fairly small number to assure their special nature, but large enough to grant access to average collectors all across the country.
That might be a tough challenge, but I think it can be met.
New coin releases at shows infuse the hobby with life and tip the balance back to physical interaction and a need to attend a show.
The future of numismatics could be slow decline and endless boredom because everything is absolutely fair. We could all sit in our homes and never see another collector.
In that kind of world, collectors have proven again and again that they lose interest and buy less. The price of countering that dismal fate is a little controversy. That is a price worth paying.
Buzz blogger Dave Harper is winner of the 2013 Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."