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Save date for Memphis

Dates have been set for next year’s International Paper Money Show in Memphis, Tenn.

It is a little earlier than usual, beginning June 1 and running through June 5 at the Cook Convention Center.

This a familiar gathering for paper money collectors.

Ever since the first one was held in 1977, it has been a must-attend event for many hobbyists.

Lyn Knight, who took over the show from the Memphis Coin Club some years back, is planning a super event next year because it will be the 40th show.

I remember what he did for the 30th anniversary. I can’t wait to hear what is being prepared for the 40th show.

I was a regular attendee for many years.

The first one I ever went to was in 1983.

Changing duties and shrinking travel budgets have kept me away for the last couple of years, but in my mind’s eye, I am with regular show-goers.

Memphis is where paper money collectors can be paper money collectors and enjoy the many possibilities of the hobby together.

At most conventions, paper takes a backseat to coins.

Considering relative numbers, that is appropriate, but paper money collectors need an event organized just for them.

That was the founding rationale for the show at the old Rivermont and it is the animating principle to this day.

In addition to the stroll down memory lane that I am sure Knight has in store in 2016, Memphis is still a place for business.

The Knight auction is a must for serious note buyers.

The bourse will be worth visiting.

Then, of course, what would the Memphis show be without a trip to Beale Street after the bourse closes? It is just a short trolley ride away.

I always made sure to visit the Rendezvous for its ribs at least once per trip. It is a place to enjoy rubbing elbows with fellow collectors.

I remember running into Chuck O’Donnell coming out of there as I was going in many years ago. The paper money book author was famous in the hobby and I was green, a bit awe-struck, but eager to learn.

I met Bob Leuver there when he had taken charge of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. He served in that capacity 1983-1988. He later went on to be executive director of the American Numismatic Association for a decade.

I also happened to meet Larry Felix in Memphis years before he served as director of the BEP 2006-2015.

The point of these recollections is not to drop names, but to show what is possible at Memphis.

It is not a huge and intimidating show. It is small enough to rub elbows with everybody and take in the events.

You don’t have to schedule yourself in a narrow silo of specialization. You can meet and interact with everyone if you are open to it.

That’s the point of Memphis.

All are welcome there from beginners to advanced collectors. There are well-known hobbyists in attendance, and as I have proven, there are people there who will become well known.

I find myself wishing that there would be more shows like Memphis, but there really can only be one.

Put June 1-June 5 on your calendar and see it for yourself.

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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