September 11, 2014 – The 100th Hannover Coin Show is scheduled for 30 November, 2014. Naturally, organizer Christoph Walczak has already devised some very special attractions for this date. A medal, designed by Peter Götz Güttler, will commemorate the event. Visitors are given the opportunity to produce their own commemorative medal by using a balancier. In addition – same as it ever was –, they can exchange views with other collectors and visit their favorite dealers.
On the right: Christoph Walczak, organizer of the coin show Hannover.
In 1965, the ‘Münzfreunde Hannover’ decided to introduce a “pre-Christmassy coin exchange day” on the initiative of their chairman Georg Wimmelmann. What sounds pretty normal to us was rather spectacular back then. Many traditional societies refused to accept their members exchanging and trading in the context of their seemingly academic meetings. The collectors in Hannover, in contrast, hailed this innovation. From then on, they met for exchanging at regular intervals.
Then, in 1968, the great currency uncertainty began. Charles de Gaulle had announced in June 1967 that his country was not willing anymore to back up the U.S. dollar. In November 1967, the British pound, second most important anchor currency after the U.S. dollar, was heavily devalued. Next was the freeing of the gold price on 17 March, 1968. When the London Gold Market opened again the gold price modestly rose from the set $35 to $38. But uncertainty was in the wind. Everybody considered options as to how to secure his money. Prices increased dramatically. In 1967, the inflation had been 0.71%. In 1968, it was 2.11 %, while in 1970 it even rose to 4.05 %.
Entrance to the 98th Hannover coin show.
With the uncertainty came the desire to invest the savings in safe products. Coins became one of the favorite investment products of the Germans. The ‘Verein der Münzfreunde von Hannover’ benefited from it. Its ‘Internationales Münzsammler-Treffen’ attracted as many as 500 visitors already in 1968 and 900 in 1969. In 1970, the important year of foundation of many coin shows – including such widely known ones as Numismata and World Money Fair –, 2,500 visitors were registered. It was a real success, but that also posed a problem. There were far too many people attending the show so that the hall the Numismatic Society in Hannover had rented was proved too small. Additionally, the profits gained from the coin show were so high that the society was afraid to lose its recently granted status as a non-profit organization. There was only one solution: the coin show had to be spun off. To that effect, the ‘Münzen- und Medaillengalerie’ was established in 1970, which was planned to act as host, under the direction of Susanne Wimmelmann, wife of the President of the Numismatic Society.
The first measure of Mrs. Wimmelmann was to relocate the show from the hotel it used to be conducted at to the Niedersachsenhalle. That provided enough space to bring together the many visitors and the dealers. Thanks to its early foundation, Hannover had become the most important show in Northern Germany that, however, likewise attracted a great number of visitors from the South of Germany.
98th Hannover coin show: exhibition hall.
Johannes Diller, coin dealer from Munich, gladly reveals that he always made a note of the Hannover Coin Show in his diary. He used to travel North on 1 May and the first weekend in Advent every year. He considered not only selling coins important. Most of all, he appreciated the legacy of the former collectors’ exchange: the gallery. There private collectors sold their coins and he found many a piece for his stock there. Johannes Diller tells us that he never will forget the table of Hannover-based coin dealer Lothar Bühnemann senior. One had to virtually lie on lookout to be the first one there. Being the first standing in line paid off since there was always at least one coin whose profit would pay the travel expenses. Bargaining with ‘old Bühnemann’, on the other hand, was impossible. Ramrod straight, he stood behind his table and dictated his female assistants the bills out of his head.
In 1995, Susanne Wimmelmann sold the Hannover Coin Show to his son, Rainer Bühnemann. He shaped the event in his way. It was thanks to him that the Numismatic Society Hannover organized exhibitions at regular intervals. This society, under President Dr. Manfred Gutgesell, played an active role in the show room in general. They took over the neutral info-booth where the visitor could not just get old auction sale catalogs but was given advice regarding the buying or the selling of coins.
It is hard to believe that the – today omnipresent – security personnel were introduced as recently as Rainer Bühnemann. Susanne Wimmelmann cannot recall a single case of coin heist under her aegis, and, and the reason for Rainer Bühnemann to hire security service is not that Hannover had actually witnessed any problems but because he learned about appalling incidents from other show hosts.
Christoph Walczak first assumed the coin house from Rainer Bühnemann in 2005, then, in 2008, likewise the Hannover Coin Show. He leads the show into the future with great commitment. Being a family-run company, he takes pride in providing dealers and collectors alike with ideal conditions for a fair and successful exchange. The composition of dealers has become much more international under his direction. He was able to win several big auction houses over to participate in his event. And the next generation is at the ready: together with his sons Christian and Patrick, Christoph Walczak, develops many ideas in order to lead ‘his’ show into a successful future.
More information online …
… at Münzenhandlung Bühnemann Nachf.
Inh. Christoph Walczak
Tel: 0511 / 323 74 4
… or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.