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Memphis moves market

Hot paper money not fazed by date change

An unparalleled collection of Third Charter Red Seal National Bank Notes complete by issuing states and territories and with each note having serial number 1 was on display at the International Paper Money Show July 6-8 in Memphis, Tenn.


Cutting the ribbon at the Memphis show July 6 are, from left, Sandy Young, Julia Crabb and Donna Grisham.

The 47-note exhibit was primarily from the personal collection of Jess Lipka, a dealer from Flemington, N.J. It was the talk of the convention.
?I had all the stars in the universe align to get this done,? Lipka said. ?I only owned 43 of the notes, so I had to get examples of the (other) four.?

He said that two of the four notes needed were in private hands and two were owned by institutions. Three owners made it easy.

?The South Carolina Museum was the difficult one. I got my foot in the door thanks to Austin Sheheen?s intervention.?

Lipka paid the expenses of the curator to personally bring the note to the show and to be there every evening to take it out of the exhibit case and put it in a safe.

?I got a rider for lots of extra insurance,? Lipka explained.

?I started planning this about two months ago. Lyn Knight helped me quite a bit,? Lipka said.

After last year?s 30-years of ?Memphis Memories? display courtesy of Lyn Knight of Overland, Park., Kan., it was hard to imagine what could equal it.

Noteworthy exhibits and good business went hand in hand in Memphis this year. Business is basically too good. Prices are so high that dealers are beginning to look over their shoulders to see what market surprises might be gaining on them.

This did not diminish the overall optimism and good cheer.

Traditionally held on Father?s Day weekend in June, this year?s show was forced to change dates because of a conflict with another event at the host hotel. The change meant some people who routinely attend were unable to make it. Others were able to take advantage of the new dates to participate.
Error dealer Harry Jones of Cleveland, Ohio, said, ?this show here was very good compared to last year.?

The new dates were a small distraction for him.

?Considering we?re in a different month, I was a little concerned going in,? Jones explained.

He was happy with the results.

?Error notes were very good. Nationals were very good,? Jones said matter of factly.

Ritchie Self of American Coins & Collectibles of Shreveport, La., observed:

?The show coupled well with the auction has been fantastic. It has brought out a couple of collectors we haven?t seen in a while.?

Self was especially pleased with interest in Confederate material.

World note dealer Mel Steinberg of San Anselmo, Calif., declared, ?It?s been a good show. If you find the material, the material can sell.?

When asked what was hot, he replied, ?It?s just good notes, good British Commonwealth is getting more difficult to find.? He also mentioned French Colonial issues.

?Virtually everything sells,? he concluded.

David Koble of Mid American Currency in Bartlesville, Okla., said, ?I?m pleasantly surprised with the public participation. I was a little worried with the change in venue at a late date.?

Koble was pleased with the balance of business.

?I?ve had a very good show so far. I?ve been able to buy some nice collections. Sales have been good,? he summed up.

?It was very strong dealer to dealer,? said John Markis of Trusted of Lauderdale by the Sea, Fla.

?Perhaps one of the stronger dealer to dealer sales for the year,? he added.

Markis said it was difficult to find notes, but that he was busy looking.
?I was busy from the moment I got here until it closed.?

Jim Simek, a dealer from Illinois who also was given the John Hickman Award for Best National Currency Exhibit at Memphis by the Professional Currency Dealers Association, declared, ?Memphis this year was great. Everyone seems quite pleased with overall results.?

On 7/7/07, Brad Ciociola of Durham, N.C., at his father Barry?s table showed off a Series 2004A $20 Federal Reserve Note to mark the occasion. It had a serial number with solid 7s.


Exhibiting was not the only thing that occupied Lipka?s time at the show. He also also had a comment on the state of business.

?The show?s been very active,? he said. ?It seems like the market is very strong. Prices have stabilized and started to move forward again.?

Forward is the operative word looking toward the American Numismatic Association convention Aug. 8-12 in Milwaukee, Wis., and the autumn season.

Next year?s Memphis show dates are June 27-29. Who can top the exhibits of the past two years? Let?s go and see.