by Bruce Frohman
The most important role of a show for a coin club is to bring new hobbyists in. When the Livermore Valley Coin Club has its annual show, we widely advertise it throughout the community. (Our next show is March 1, 2020).
Some coin clubs use shows primarily as a fundraiser and may overlook the potential of gaining new members. A well run club does both.
For coin dealers, the most important role of a show is to make money buying and selling coins and gain new customers. Dealer involvement in local coin club meetings is critical to the success of clubs. Dealers who only attend shows but don’t actively support local clubs may be undercutting their own business. Coin dealers founded many clubs and are needed to keep clubs viable. A club that is not viable cannot put on a successful show.
Education of collectors has been reduced to only a secondary benefit of a coin show rather than a primary purpose. Years ago, when rental space for a show was not great, coin clubs could afford to set aside large areas for educational exhibits. Competitions were often held for the best exhibit. Now, few shows have exhibits. Exhibits can stimulate new collecting interests, so their disappearance is regrettable. Some major shows still have exhibits, but they are less frequent. For a number of years, some hobbyists have predicted the demise of coin shows because of the creation of the Internet. The reasoning was that online trading would make shows obsolete.
Despite the prediction, the number of coin shows held each year has not significantly declined. Not only do coin clubs put on shows, but professional show promoters have entered the business. Promoters have found ways to profit from shows in place of coin clubs that have folded. In the San Francisco Bay Area, excellent promoters such as Scott Griffin and Bill Green have increased the total number of shows held annually.
The coin show bypasses the inconvenience of mailing merchandise or returning purchases that looked better in a photo than in real life.
Dealing face to face with great coin dealers such as Bill Wolverton of Pahrump, Nevada or Joe Wargo of Millbrae, California, adds a human component to coin trading that the Internet cannot replace. The dealers patiently educate customers on how to grade and properly value coins. Treating everyone fairly, they provide regular customers with bargains that are difficult to find on internet web sites.
As long as the coin collecting hobby remains viable, coin shows will continue to be an integral part of the collector agenda. The impersonal internet cannot replace the social value of attending a coin show, where one can interact with enthusiastic fellow collectors.♦
This “Viewpoint” was written by Bruce Frohman, a member of the Livermore Valley Coin Club. To have your opinion considered for Viewpoint, write to Editor, Numismatic News, 5225 Joerns Drive, Stevens Point WI, 54481. Email submissions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.