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Setting one’s sights on shows

 (Image courtesy

(Image courtesy

by Antoinette (Toni) Rahn

One of the many things that continue to impress me about the numismatics community is the number, frequency, and organization of shows that take place. I know there are many reasons why coins and notes are considered among, if not the, oldest collecting interest, but I think part of the longevity has to do with the camaraderie shared by collectors. I believe one of the best places, in addition to clubs, to enjoy that type of connection is at shows.

My first experience attending a coin and paper money show fortunately included a conversation with the dear departed Mr. Chet Krause. By the time I had joined the Krause Publications (F+W Media) group, Mr. Krause was out of the business but very much an active icon within the community of Iola, Wis., and the collecting universe at large.

My first show was a Numismatists of Wisconsin event held in the building behind our former offices. It really couldn’t have been a more perfect introduction to the coin and paper money show circuit. Everyone was incredibly kind to the “new kid.” When I didn’t have an answer to a more complex question posed by someone attending the show, there were people including Bob Van Ryzin, George Cuhaj, and the late Colin R. Bruce II, for me to turn to. In all honestly, my head was swimming with the volume of information presented during that first day.

As I was putting away the books and magazines at the close of the first day, Mr. Krause came by on his motorized scooter. I knew his name and had heard the story of the empire he had built, but I had never met him in person. Again, in complete honesty, I was more than a little nervous to meet someone so accomplished in his field, not to mention someone who was such a progressive champion of the community in which he lived.

I’ll not forget the first thing he said after we introduced ourselves. Mr. Krause smiled and said, “Aren’t shows wonderful? There are so many opportunities to learn and meet people.” For a moment, I thought I must have misunderstood. Mr. Krause, THE Mr. Krause, was telling me he was learning things about numismatics during a show, and it was one of the things he enjoyed most? I could absolutely get behind the idea of enjoying learning, because I am a life-long learner, as well. I was, in my naivety, unsure how someone who seemed to be a true expert of the hobby would be learning. Silly woman I was. That’s part of what made him a genuine authority and incomparable ambassador within numismatics.

That evening, I chatted with Mr. Krause for a good half hour. I left there feeling like I was on the cusp of something inspiring and truly enriching. Nearly 15 years later, I feel like that conversation took place yesterday.

My bit of advice, such as it is, is to attend as many shows as you can. You never know whom you’ll meet; and if you believe the words of Mr. Chet Krause, you’ll always learn something new.

This article was originally printed in Bank Note Reporter. >> Subscribe today.

More Collecting Resources

• The Standard Catalog of United States Paper Money is the only annual guide that provides complete coverage of U.S. currency with today’s market prices.

• Keep up to date on prices for Canada, United States and Mexico coinage with the 2018 North American Coins & Prices guide.