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Dispatches From a Week in Numismatics

By Charles Morgan for CoinWeek …..

Hello, CoinWeek readers. As we wrap up the final days of winter, I thought I’d write a few words about my experiences and share my thoughts about the state of the rare coin market.

The American Numismatic Association’s (ANA) National Money Show was held at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs. For those of you who have never had the good fortune of spending some time there, the Broadmoor is one of the finest resorts in the United States. Its picturesque campus is situated at the base of Cheyenne Mountain, just miles from ANA Headquarters. I cannot recall a more agreeable location to host a coin show.

As the ANA considers future locations for the National Money Show, I hope it might consider a return engagement.

This National Money Show marked the first “coin business” trip that I was able to experience with my son, Owen. For him, the trip was one of many firsts: first airplane ride, first trip away from home, first proper introduction to the numismatic community. As the son of an ANA governor and numismatic publisher, he was fitted with a dealer badge and was able to walk the bourse freely.

I’d like to thank the dealers for being so kind and hospitable to him, namely: Jeff Shevlin for talking to him about So-Called Dollars; Allan Schein and Colonel Steven Ellsworth for teaching him the importance of a proper handshake; and the tender of the CNG booth, who allowed my son to handle a beautiful Aes Grave. My son’s first focus in coin collecting has been ancient coins and he was thrilled at the opportunity to hold history in his hands.

At the show, I had the opportunity to meet a passionate collector who is new to our hobby and has already made a splash, picking up some very big coins at a recent Heritage sale. The collector, who would like to keep his personal details private, so I will call him B., read a recent article I wrote covering “Ten Coins I’d Love To Own“. The narrative about the Baldwin $10 Horseman must have resonated with B. because, shortly after reading the piece, he took the opportunity to purchase one of the finest known examples of the type. He’s now hooked on pioneer gold and working with several key dealers in this specialty area.

I also had some shopping of my own to accomplish.

As I made my way around the bourse, I succeeded at filling three holes in my DANSCO 7070 album, picking up an 1807 half cent, an 1862 three cent silver, and a 1920 Standing Liberty quarter. The 1807 half cent is a very nice, nearly Mint State example that traded two times in the 2000s at Heritage. The silver coins are in Choice Mint State and fit with the overall focus of the album, which I am building to have a portable tool to teach youngsters about the history of U.S. coins. I have been working on the book in drips and drabs for several years, but I still have a ways to go.

On returning home, I was happy to receive the American Numismatic Society’s latest issue of the American Journal of Numismatics (Volume #33). Collected in this volume is a wonderful piece by Giuseppe Castellano on the Volterra Hoard; a lengthy metrological survey of Ptolemaic Bronzes of Alexandria from the first and second centuries by Daniel Wolf; and an interesting essay on mid-18th century Livonian coinage by Samuel G. Kramer… just to name the few that I have had time to review.

Collectors of ancient coins who are not already members of the American Numismatic Society should join today and inquire about receiving this latest issue.

At the end of the month, I will make my way north to Baltimore to attend the Whitman Expo, where I will record interviews as part of an upcoming project. I will also walk the bourse and take the temperature of the room. Is the coin hobby ready to return to coin shows in full force? What will shows look like in the post-COVID world? Will there be enthusiasm for live in-person auctions? These are all open questions. I hope to find answers later this month.

Charles Morgan
Charles Morgan
Charles Morgan is an award-winning numismatic author and the editor and publisher of Along with co-author Hubert Walker, he has written for CoinWeek since 2012, as well as the "Market Whimsy" column for The Numismatist and the book 100 Greatest Modern World Coins (2020) for Whitman Publishing. From 2021-2023, Charles served as Governor of the American Numismatic Association (ANA), where he was bestowed the Glenn Smedley Award. Charles is a member of numerous numismatic organizations, including the American Numismatic Society (ANS) and the Numismatic Literary Guild (NLG).

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