It's Friday, and I'm heading home from the this year's 2022 World's Fair of Money, in Chicago, or rather Rosemont, Illinois. It's been an great week with great weather and surprisingly positive vibes from the dealers, collectors, and wide variety of other attendees (more on that later).
The Greysheet team and I were slammed at the show from the moment we set foot in the hall to end of each day. It's an incredible feeling to see the Greysheet brand build on it's almost-60 years devoted to numismatics and passers-by to our booth (thank you ANA!) come by all day long to thank us, renew their subscriptions, start a new one, or just plain kibitz about the market (which is the best part). This is how we learn about the true "vibe" of the market. We also get some criticism regarding pricing, but this is also well received on our part, and we often make valid pricing corrections or adjustments in real time, as we get them.
I believe that this level of market-access and interaction sets us apart from every other pricing guide, in any hobby. Algorithms and AI-type analysis are a big part of our pricing accuracy but the complexities of the rare coin and paper money markets fail without expert intervention. And we need require direct input from the market to do this well.
Regarding the market, I was genuinely surprised by the level of dealer positivity at the show. "Coins are still selling, and selling strong," I was told by a seasoned veteran. He was not alone in this assessment. My good friend and industry-expert, John Dannreuther, told me that he "feared the worst coming into the show." He was concerned that dealers would worry about the fall season and come to the ANA as net sellers. This was not the case. Interesting, fresh material from $25 to $250,000 was in extremely short supply.
The major auction houses showed up with incredible highlights. Too many to really dig into here, but GreatCollections featured an impressive arrow of coins from several important collections, including their newly-acquired Koessl collection of matte proof gold. Anyone with experience in matte-proof gold coins is blown away by this amazing set that is entirely (or almost entirely) CAC-approved. These coin are so rare in this condition and state of preservation that a second set of similar quality is unimaginable.
Heritage, of course, was front-and-center with a museum-like display or rarities. The show-stoppers, however, were the highlights from their recently announced sale of the primary Bass collection. The coins in this collection have been out of market reach for decades and one could argue they should always be in a museum. But the Bass Foundation believes (rightly, in my opinion) that the proceeds from the sale will allow them to spread this wealth to their charities. And that, my friends, is an exciting prospect for the numismatic community. Read the Heritage press release on this to learn more.
Stack's Bowers occupied the third pillar of auction companies with a major presence at the show. Stack's has been on an incredible roll with the firm growing physically in new cities like Philadelphia, Boston and Virginia Beach and their international staff was on hand and ready for business. They also had an amazing display of rarities on hand with several important collection going on the block next week (link).
Despite the vast array of rarities and other great (not so rare) items coming to market, there is a widespread sentiment on the floor that the market can and will absorb everything with an eager appetite for more. I came to Rosemont a skeptic and left a believer. This market has legs.
Finally, I want to circle back on what I described as the "other attendees" of the show in my opener. To my eye there were more industry-peripheral attendees this year. Folks like eBay and their data-structuring team were on hand to learn more about ways they can improve their massive platform for the benefit of the hobby (and their stock price). I had meeting requests from several important players in Europe (first time!) and the industry trade organizations from CDHCD to PNG, Numismatic Literary Guild (NLG, now with Greysheet editor Patrick Ian Perez as Executive Director) were all energized and buzzing with enthusiasm for the future.
In short, it was a great week. But now I'm exhausted and heading home to work on pricing.
Author: John Feigenbaum