Congratulations should be given to Carl Schwenker and the other workers of the Greater Houston Coin Club who put on the Money Show of the Southwest.
It had a successful run Nov. 30-Dec. 2 in a challenging environment. This was the first show held in the new early December time slot. In recent years, it had been running in January. Pulling off a date change is a difficult thing to do. Judging from the evidence, it has been successfully done in Houston.
Carl was up front about it afterwards. He didn?t try to sugar-coat it. When I first asked him how it went, his reply was, ?We had mixed reviews and I hate to say that.?
But dig a little deeper into the facts of the event and it would appear that the show went about as well as it could.
At the last show in January of 2007, Carl said there were 204 dealer tables. The current show held just over 10 months later had 221. This came despite the fact that 10 dealers who were regulars could not attend because of prior commitments to other shows. Carl said that three of those didn?t even ask for their table deposits back because they want to be right back at it in Houston at the December 2008 show. That?s what I call loyal support. Carl also forecast that the next show would add another 20 tables.
I asked Carl if any dealers said they wouldn?t be coming back. He said no.
The first Houston Heritage auction was a great success at $4.8 million. Nothing signifies major show status like a major auction of this kind. Houston has now got one. This, too, is a credit to the steady building up of the event in recent years. Heritage would not hold an auction if it didn?t think the venue was appropriate.
The show was also jam packed with educational talks on all three days. There was a Boy and Girl Scout program attended by 109 Scouts. The count was 147 when parents and others were included.
American Numismatic Association Vice President Patti Jagger Finner, who conducted this program, joked that it was three and a half hours and nobody left.
So where is the bad news? Carl said of public attendance on Saturday and Sunday, ?Somebody just turned off the faucet.?
Carl described the state of business this way: ?Wholesalers all said they had great shows. Local guys were not all that happy.? A bit later in our conversation, he said attendance was gangbusters on Thursday and Friday. The well-known buzz of a good show was distinctly audible.
All and all, it was an encouraging performance as far as I can see. Some collectors who missed the Houston show this time might discover their mistake come January. Many of us operate out of habit. I have experienced it. When the Numismatists of Wisconsin hold the rotating state show in Iola, the following year I get telephone calls asking when the next Iola show will be held. Such is the force of habit.
When busy collectors discover their error, they will slap their heads and make sure the 2008 Houston event is on their schedule. Knowing Carl as I do, next year?s show will be better than ever.