Friday was the first day open to the public here at the World Money Fair in Berlin and a huge number of collectors and vest pocket dealers packed the lobby at the entrance to the show. At opening it seemed like an ocean flowing in and within minutes all the coin dealer areas of the show were packed full and tables were two or three people deep waiting to look at coins for sale.
Before too long visitors to the show were filtering into the vast central floor of the show, where all the Mints in attendance had booths set up with great displays of their newest offering for 2008. At the same time, back up near the entrance to the show in large room, 16 world mints were offering video/audio presentations of their new issues and programs for 2008 and beyond. I sat with well over 200 other professionals and journalists and watched these colorful and sophisticated displays at the annual Media Forum, a feat pulled together by show organizer Albert Beck.
To secure the attendance of this many mints and central banks at a coin show is no small bit of work, but Beck seems to accomplish these great things with ease. His presence is both friendly and firm during the nearly five hours on continual mint presentations.
This factor of mint attendance is what sets Berlin apart. In the days before the show opened to the public I wandered the bourse floor, watching workers setting up the elaborate booth displays for the various world mints and coin dealers. It was like nothing I had ever seen before, in the many U.S. based shows I have visited over the years. These folks were building a little city, with saws and drills buzzing, special lighting, huge banners and for the mint of P.R. China, even a miniature walled courtyard.
The Austrian Mint used their symbol to construct a funnel into their display area, at the forefront of which stood a rotating plaster of their first one ounce silver bullion coin. This is the first European silver bullion coin and displays the very popular Philharmonic design they have used on their attractive gold bullion series fro nearly 10 years now. I did not have a chance to buy one yesterday and am hoping that they might still have a few left for sale today.
Many more of the 2008 coins presented for the first time at the Media Forum for the Mints were also offered for sale for the first time down on the bourse floor. Special sets and individual items with special packaging commemorating the Berlin show were of course very popular.
When I have a chance to post again, possibly tonight, I will try to relate my view of the Media Forum. In short, for now I can tell you that it was one of the best events I have ever attended in my 20-year career with Krause Publications and the Standard catalog of World Coins.