Want to start a numismatic bar fight? Just bring up the subject of Sunday bourse hours at a major convention.
This topic pops us this week because the Whitman Baltimore show announced a new schedule that eliminated Sunday hours completely. The owners then backed off a bit after some reactions from dealers who like Sunday hours and who have bourse contracts. The new Sunday-less schedule will go into effect, but just one show later in the year.
I agree with Whitman. Sunday hours should be eliminated for multi-day shows and conventions. It is sad to see bourses on a Sunday morning. You could hold bowling tournaments in the aisles and not hurt anybody. Dealers who have been on the road for days are tired and want to go home, or have already gone. The public does not support Sunday hours in any large numbers.
So what’s the problem? Naturally there are a few dealers who do well on Sundays and there are a few collectors who do show up. The question becomes should these few set the conditions under which the rest operate? Whitman decided a qualified no. It recognized the point by postponing implementation by one show, but proceeded with its plan.
The bar fight aspect is that supporters of Sunday hours say we are destroying the future of the hobby by not being open. The people who want to come on Sundays will desert the hobby forever.
I don’t agree. There are plenty of one-day Saturday and Sunday shows around the country for people who can’t go to a show during the week. Yes, it is too bad that they might miss a major show, but that is life. They will have to go to another one sometime in the future.
When conditions change, the hobby, including shows, have to change with it. What is remarkable is how many years the hobby has stuck with Sunday hours given the declining attendance. Show promoters and dealers gave it the old college try and now is the time to recognize the obvious and move on.