The Business of Numismatics: March 2023 Greysheet
We traveled to the Berlin World Money Fair for what is possibly the most important trade show of the year.
I WROTE THIS MONTH’S COLUMN from Berlin, Germany, where CDN is attending the World Money Fair—not to be confused with the World’s Fair of Money®—for the second time.
The WMF is a very different show than what most dealers and collectors would be used to in the United States. The primary focus of the show in Berlin is on the various sovereign and private mints and the new products they are offering to the numismatic market. It is truly amazing to see all the various coins and other numismatic items these entities produce each year. As we have seen for some time, the creativity and technology that is applied to creating these pieces is stunning and cutting edge. While some creations push the limits on what could rightly be called a “coin” in the traditional sense, there is little doubt as to the collector appetite for such products. That raises another aspect that strikes me. Clearly these Mints would not go to the effort of producing and marketing these coins if they lacked buyers for them.
We witnessed many collectors—young and old—eager to add modern coins to their collection. This may be met with dismay by classic or traditional collectors and dealers. However, it has been proven time and time again, and I am confident it will continue to be so, that many who start with collecting modern and bullion coinage will transition to classic or vintage coins.
The worldwide numismatic market is large enough to encompass all types of collectors, and in fact it must be this way, because there is simply not enough supply of any one genre of coins to support an expanding market. Another exciting and unexpected takeaway from the show is the amount of interest shown in United States coinage, measured by how many people asked about and looked at our sample Greysheet and CPG® Market Review issues we had on display.
I have always found the European collectors and dealers as a bit insular, but clearly the market is becoming more global and more informed thanks to the ever expanding resources available on the Internet. This is also directly related to the expanding influence and acceptance of third-party grading outside of the United States. Although certification has been around for nearly forty years, up until the past decade few European dealers would have graded coins in their inventory; now it is common to see many dealer cases with NGC and PCGS graded coins in them.
One last travel tip: if you ever find yourself in the Willy Brandt airport in Berlin, make sure to take a glance at the ground in the arrivals area, as the tile is embedded with hundreds if not thousands of coins from around the world in certain sections. It certainly shows that numismatics is a subject that connects cultures!
I also encourage readers to spend a few moments with this month's feature article, in which contributor Greg Reynolds raises new questions about the addition and removal of arrows to silver coinage starting in 1853. Often in U.S. numismatics we accept long held ideas as fact, but there are always more questions to be asked. That really is the study of money. A great recent example of this is the new research done on the Continental dollar. Our hobby is rich with unanswered questions and potential discoveries.
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Author: Patrick Ian Perez
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