Littleton Coin booth staff, Jill and Mike at the ANA show in Boston
As a representative for Littleton Coin, I’m lucky enough to attend events, coin releases and trade shows. Of all the places I go, I get asked most about coin shows. “What’s it like?” “Is it weird to be surrounded by all that money?” “Is it exciting?” After nearly a decade of interacting with dealers and collectors at our Littleton Coin booth, I’ve put together some thoughts on what you can expect when you travel to a show.
Incredible amounts of coins & expertise… under one roof!
I can confirm that it IS truly exciting to see so much money, cash and “moola” in one location. Some shows have as many as a thousand dealers and 220,000 sq. feet of exhibit space all dedicated to the hobby. Working for LCC, I’m no stranger to seeing lots of coins under one roof. Shows offer collectors of all levels a similar opportunity – the ability to see a wide array of money in one location
Kenneth Bresset, author of the Red Book and contributor David Sundman of Littleton Coin talk shop at a show
Coin shows are full of experts on all topics related to numismatics. At any time during a show, there’s more money knowledge on the bourse floor than at most fine academic institutions. It’s THE time to ask and get answers on any money-related topic you fancy – no matter how obscure. Want to know more about error coins, the history of wooden nickels, or numismatic bibliomania produced in the 1820s? Just ask. Many groups and hobbyists have booths, and for most, coin shows are a welcome opportunity to talk shop to an interested audience.
Free seminars and exhibits
Many events, such as those put on by Whitman Shows or the American Numismatic Association, feature lectures and learning sessions free to attendees. Our own Maynard Sundman Lecture Series held at the World’s Fair of Money presents a series of sessions completely free and open to the public. At larger shows, the U.S. Mint and the Bureau of Engraving and Printing have displays showcasing the history of coins or paper money, or host visits by distinguished visitors. Smaller shows often have classes on grading or getting started. Collector exhibits feature fascinating displays by real collectors that highlight specific numismatic areas of interest. It’s like visiting multiple museums all under one roof. Consult the show guide to find out what is being offered.
U.S. Treasurer Rosa Rios signs notes for collectors at the U.S. Mint display
It’s all about the coins
Coin shows are not like any other trade shows you may have attended. You may not see elaborate displays and high-tech products, but you will get more than you anticipated in the way of coins and the hobby. These shows are all about numismatics, where collectors of all ages show prized pieces from their collections, trade and buy coins on their wish lists. Inside you’ll see aisle after aisle of glass cases and desk lamps as well as some of the most unusual coins and collectibles in the field. If you’re buying, the more knowledgeable you are about your subject matter the better. Most dealers at major shows are trustworthy, accredited or part of the Professional Numismatic Guild (PNG), but it’s always a good idea to do your homework first. If you are selling, dealers like Littleton Coin and others are there to make an offer on your collection.
Wear sneakers and come with a plan
No matter what your collecting level, the show can be overwhelming. With hundreds of dealers and exhibitors at major events such as the ANA’s World Fair of Money or the Florida FUN Show, it’s easy to get overloaded. To maximize your day, and keep your muscles from getting sore, wear sneakers and come with a game plan. Check out the show map and choose a general location first. Do you like Paper Money? Want to get a bargain or a supply item? Check out those areas first, because if you wander, you may run out of steam. But don’t worry, most coin shows run for more than one day. So you can always come back!