Impressions from Chicago International Coin Fair

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May 31, 2012 – The coins of India have joined the coins of China as most sought after by world coin buyers, according to dealer Allen G. Berman.
“I find that Russia is still among the strongest countries as well,” Berman said at the Chicago International Coin Fair held April 27-29 the Crowne Plaza Chicago O’Hare Hotel and Conference Center in Rosemont, Ill.
Russian collectors also are expanding their interests, he said.
“Russians aren’t just buying Russian material anymore. They are looking at Northern and Eastern Europe,” Berman said. “Like everybody else on the planet, they are looking for quality Chinese.”

Berman, of Fairfield, Conn., said that whatever the country, it was the better pieces that were seeing stronger prices.
“Common pieces in low grade are somewhat weak. The spread between upper and lower quality coins is increasing.”

Ancient coin dealer Harlan J. Berk observed, “Republican Roman gold seemed to be the strongest at the moment, although there is good support for high quality Greek silver.”
Berk shared his impressions: “The show has been well attended. There have been several large buyers, but mostly people making modest purchases.” He also said there was “a distinct lack of strong material on the floor.”

Kerry Wetterstrom, who publishes, The Celator for collectors of ancient coins, evaluated the show this way: “From talking to dealers here, it is very healthy.”

The real action he said was in the “higher end of the market, VF coins and better … lesser coins are selling too, but at more stable prices.”

“Fantastic,” was how Gordon A. Singer of Greenbelt, Md., described his show experience. “It’s been nonstop since the minute I arrived. Chicago has been really great.”

His challenge will now be to replace inventory. “I’m very depleted on all areas, British coins, French and Italian, Eastern European.”

Inventory is always a critical issue for coin dealers.
“It’s been a good show,” said world coin dealer Al Boulanger of Pittsboro, Ind. “I just bought a collection three weeks ago. When you have fresh material, it’s always a good show.”

Glenn Schinke, Montrose, Calif., said of his results, “It’s been OK. It’s been fairly busy. I think a lot of customers have been coming in.”

“Better coins, good-looking coins” were moving at the table of John Ferm. “Better coins that are $50-$1,000 are pretty good, A to Z.”
Ferm said he had a lot of inquiries for Russian, Chinese and Scandinavian material.

Catherine Bullowa of Philadelphia said, “It’s been active. I didn’t expect to do this much. Dealers and some collectors are buying. India seems to be popular, Latin America – of course, everybody wants Russian.”

“Activity was good on the first day,” said James Beach of Owosso, Mich. “I did real well buying here. I was able to buy good world coins from European dealers.”

Marcel Haberling of Zurich, Switzerland, said “I’m pretty pleased. It was a little better than last year. There was more retail business and a little bit less wholesale.”
Overall, Haberling expects good business for the next 12 months.

James C. Diracles, Renaissance Coin Co., Minneapolis, said, “The show has been good. I think there might be, dollar-wise, a little less activity than last year.”

Lorraine Weiss of Weiss Collectable Sales of Las Vegas, Nev., had results similar to Diracles.
“Business has been good,” she said, “Unfortunately, as far as we’re concerned, last year was a little bit better. People seemed to be sophisticated in their preferences, but because of the economy they are narrowing their focus … that one piece they are seeking. This is the one show they expect to find it.”

Book dealer John H. Burns of North Huntingdon, Pa., when asked how the show was, replied, “Yesterday wasn’t bad. Today should be better.”

Not everybody was present at CICF to buy or sell something.

Carl Wolf was on the floor to promote the activities of the Chicago Coin Club at the organization’s table. “It’s been 33 years I’ve worked this show,” he said. “I haven’t missed a show since 1979.”

Next year’s CICF is set for April 18-21, 2013. For more information on the show, visit this site.

To browse through information on this year’s event, please click here.