If you were a world paper money dealer, the International Paper Money Show in Memphis was the place to be June 7-10.
For U.S. dealers, the event was less lucrative but no less important.
World note dealer Tony Pisciotta sat behind nearly empty display cases on the third day of the show.
“It’s been embarrassingly busy,” he said of his results.
“I brought some very powerful notes. By the close of business on Thursday (set-up day), every note was gone,” the Olney, Md., dealer said.
While bourse results always have an element of luck to them, Pisciotta said of his specialty, “There is a sea change going on. People are moving to foreign.”
Dave Cieniewicz of Huntsville, Ala., had good results with his world paper money as well.
“It was a good show and I’m pleased, but it was not as good as past Memphis shows,” he said.
Though world notes generally were strong, he said that he had a lot of requests for Canadian notes specifically.
Jeremy Steinberg of San Anselmo, Calif., said, “Business has been great. It was one of the better Memphis shows. I was very busy the first two days. It is still very easy to sell good bank notes. It is hard to buy good bank notes.”
Buyers were asking him for notes of the British Commonwealth and French Colonial issues.
World note dealer James Warmus of Palm City, Fla., did not have a table. He was rolling his cases of stock around on a hand cart, but that was just the way he wanted it.
“I’m doing real well. Dealers are buying. Latin America is still strong. Specimens are doing well. I’m just selling from A to Z. I used to take tables, but I do so much better walking the floor.”
Costa Rican dealer Mauricio Soto saw the nature of his results change overnight. On Friday he said things were slow, but on Saturday after Costa Rican notes sold for very high prices in the Lyn Knight auction the night before, the story had completely changed.
“The auction was very strong,” he said. “Some of the items that were sold we had in our case for much less, so people came to buy,” Soto explained.
It wasn’t as if there were no U.S. paper money dealers present. They were out in force as usual.
Alex Perakis of Tucson, Ariz., remarked, “Dealer day was disappointing Thursday. Yesterday, (Friday) was exceptionally good. “We bought a $2 1890 Treasury Note (and) sold it to a customer looking for it.”
When asked what was moving, he replied, “Type is doing well.” He added that also doing well was “better material if priced attractively.”
Then Perakis said, “We’re just starting to get into world notes. That’s a very promising area.”
Overall, he summed up by saying, “We did not only collector, but dealer business as well.”
Fractional Currency dealer Rob Kravitz of Chesterfield, Mo., said, “So far it’s been a pretty good show even with light attendance.
“Sales have been pretty good. Ninety-Nine percent of what we’ve been selling has been Fractional. I did sell one nice Postage envelope. The people who are actually here are not just looking, they’re buying.”
After missing a year, Lexington, S.C., dealer Hugh Shull was back.
“I though the show was very good,” he said. “Obsoletes were very strong. It’s good to be back after missing last year.”
Obsoletes are notes issued by private U.S. banks 1782-1866. Their heyday was before the federal government began regular issues of paper money in 1861.
The Titanic’s 100th anniversary earlier this year spurred Cleveland, Ohio, dealer Harry Jones to have his large-size $1 note signed by survivor August H. Weikman certified.
“I’ve had this for 30 years sitting on the wall.”
Another one sold about a month earlier for $39,000.
The Jones note graded Fine 15.
Titanic notes aside, Jones declared, “This is still the show for paper money.”
He also said his results were better than last year.
Though dealer results did vary, table-holders were unanimous in their praise of show owner Lyn Knight and his staff and how the show was run.
Carl Bombara perhaps said it best: “Lyn Knight and his crew are doing a fine job organizing Memphis.”