By Joshua McMorrow-Hernandez for CoinWeek …..
Coin shows were once the highlight of the numismatic calendar, with the big regional and national shows serving as the main events for collectors and coin dealers from coast to coast. But with the rise of the internet, social media, and other networking technology over the past 20 years, there has been a noticeable decline in coin convention attendance, with many smaller shows calling it quits altogether.
The problem? Many collectors prefer clicking away at a mouse to acquire the coins they want for their collections, and they often satiate their need for social interaction through Facebook groups and chat rooms. Meanwhile, dealers are finding the lure of internet sales and online marketplaces sometimes more profitable – and certainly much more convenient – than driving or flying to a show and setting up shop for two or three days of trading on the bourse floor.
But not everyone believes the future is bleak for coin shows, nor do all feel that social media and conventional coins shows are mutually exclusive.
RoundTable Trading LLC hopes to couple the popular elements of a traditional coin show with digital technology at the first-ever Coin eXpo (or “Coin-X” as it is also known). This revolutionary venue, to be staged at the Greater Saint Charles Convention Center in Saint Charles, Missouri, November 7-9, 2019, promises to be unlike anything the numismatic world has seen.
Coin-X reimagines an annual event called The Silver Dollar and Rare Coin Expo, hosted by Scotsman Coins and Jewelry of Creve Coeur, Missouri. For more than 15 years, the coin show was one of the biggest numismatic events regularly hosted in Missouri, drawing approximately 100 dealers and swarms of attendees from throughout the Midwest – not to mention local news coverage. It proved to be a terrific base from which to build Coin-X, an event many are hoping becomes a regular part of the annual coin calendar.
“Coin-X, powered by RoundTable, is the culmination of discussions in our RoundTable groups and strong requests from our members over the years to put a show for our dealers and collector community,” says RoundTable President Rob Oberth. “The logistics of doing this were so great, so when Mark Mamelian at Scotsman reached out to offer their existing show to us, we jumped at the opportunity. Over the next week or two we committed to a complete rebrand of the show. That’s how Coin-X powered by RoundTable was born.”
Oberth, who believes Coin-X Powered by RoundTable is the first show to combine social media with a trade association, says the event could inspire more technologically connected individuals to attend a show and meet face-to-face with many of the dealers and collectors with whom they regularly communicate on RoundTable Trading’s social media hub on Facebook.
“We hope to excite the collector base on social media and bring the community to the real world. The RoundTable has formed several communities on Facebook that amount to thousands of dealers and collectors.”
The show will feature a charity poker tournament, a young numismatist auction, a scavenger hunt for children, and much more. But the headlining events include live auction trading through RoundTable on the bourse floor, a currency sale by Lyn Knight Auctions, and auctions hosted by Scotsman, which will sell coins, jewelry, and other heirloom-quality pieces.
“We are very excited for the first Coin-X!” says Bourse Chairman Mary Woodside. “RoundTable Trading is adding so much to the show, and we think people will really be pleased with the new technology they are bringing to the show.”
Woodside, who has worked with Scotsman Coins for many years, says her organization’s collaboration with RoundTable has been a successful venture.
“We actually had to open up a side room to get tables added to make room for everyone that wants to be a part of the show! I think one of the more positive changes is that we will have a lot of young, fresh faces at the tables.”
She also says Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) will be accepting submissions at the show and there will be a variety of specialty speakers presenting on various aspects of numismatics.
“Our main concern is making the show a success for everyone in attendance and we hope that with increased advertising and the huge following the RoundTable Trading group has, that we have packed the room with the right dealers making this a numismatic event people will not want to miss.”
For those who can’t make it to the show, there will be countless live reports on Facebook to connect a vast online audience with the happenings on the bourse floor. Among the numismatic media figures who will help bring the event to life online is CoinWeek Editor Charles Morgan.
“What I’m hoping to do with Coin-X is to see if we can team up with the Roundtable group to stream live content while the show is going on,” says Morgan. “We want collectors to get the Coin-X experience in real-time even if they can’t make it. But if they can, all the better.”
Morgan notes that the biggest hurdle in building base attendance at coin shows is tapping into a collecting crowd that has become increasingly comfortable with socializing via the web – not to mention buying and bidding on coins with the simple click of a button from home.
“Coin shows are facing a challenge in enticing people to leave their mouse and keyboards for an analog experience. What if you don’t have to do that for coin shows to succeed? This is our beta test of that concept.”
More than 100 dealers are expected to attend the Coin-X show in November. And with free parking and admission, it’s certain to lure large numbers of collectors from far and wide. The debut of Coin-X will also have the advantage of drawing return patrons who have attended the event from years past when it ran under The Silver Dollar and Rare Coin Expo banner. Public showtimes are 10 AM – 6 PM Thursday and Friday, November 7-8, and 10 AM – 4 PM on Saturday, November 9.
Meanwhile, secure dealer set-up hours will be Wednesday, November 6, from 2 – 6 PM and dealer hours for the duration of the show are 9 AM – 6 PM Thursday and Friday, and 9 AM – 4 PM on Saturday. Those wishing to attend as a dealer can still register by submitting an application. For more information about Coin-X Powered by RoundTable, please check out the show’s website.