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No advantage being in the middle

What is the future for coin shows?

Ever since the Internet arrived, coin collectors have been debating the question.

Technically, there is no need for a show at all anymore.

But don’t tell that to show organizers or sentimentalists like me.

I like to go to shows.

There are other collectors who feel the same.

The question is whether there will be enough of them to support shows in the future.

Clifford Mishler and I discussed this at lunch earlier this week.

He is a former editor of Numismatic News as well as retired CEO of the company that owned it.

As an avid collector himself, he is a keen observer of hobby trends.

What is he thinking on the question of shows?

He thinks the largest shows will survive, as will the small one-day shows.

The middle, meaning state shows and smaller regional shows, will likely disappear.

Large shows like the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money, the three Whitman Baltimore Expos and the three Long Beach, Calif., Expos and the Florida United Numismatists convention will likely survive and thrive in the future.

There simply are good reasons to bring together the best and the brightest a few times a year to renew, refresh and forge business ties.

Collectors will also want to gather to learn of important developments in their fields.

Face-to-face contact is critical.

But those who are active in numismatics do not need to do this every single week.

At the one-day show level, individuals can be active without incurring huge show attendance costs.

When I submitted my expenses to attend the ANA a few days back, the bill was almost $1,800.

That is not something most collectors are willing to put up with.

One-day shows serve their needs much better.

The reason the middle will be hollowed out is they give you the expense of attending distant, multi-day shows without providing the advantage of knowing that all the players will also be there.

This makes the middle tier of shows a poor bet to survive in the future.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog for the third time in 2017 . He is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."

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