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Traveling to Shows: It's What Coin Collectors Do
By Dr. R.S. "Bart" Bartanowicz, Coins Magazine
June 11, 2013

This article was originally printed in Coins Magazine.
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It was still dark when our numismatist entered Yummies, his favorite Venice, Fla., donut shop. There was nothing like the smell of donuts early in the morning.

“Hi, I have an order for four dozen mixed donuts for the coin show.”

The young woman greeted him with a smile and promptly set the boxes on the counter.

“The coin dealers love your donuts. I’ll be back tomorrow morning for another four dozen.”

He quickly put the donuts in the trunk of his car, thus avoiding the temptation of sampling a donut on the way to the show. Complimentary donuts and coffee for the dealers are an important part of the coin show.

The club was holding its second coin show of the season, at a new modern venue that was an easy exit off of I-75 the main north-south corridor on Florida’s West Coast.

With a new venue, there had been plenty of advertising in the local newspapers as well as in Krause’s numismatic publications such as Numismatic News. Fliers had been distributed to coin dealers and at other coin shows.

As always, there was still some apprehension about how well the show would be attended.

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Our numismatist sighed with relief as the doors opened and people started coming in.

Our numismatist commented to his friend Vic: “Looks good. I believe I’ll celebrate with a donut. I might even have two.”

His friend chimed in, “Me too. Bring me a chocolate long john.”

Both men chuckled, as they shared a fondness for the chocolate long johns.

As usual, folks were asked how they heard about the coin show. Many had seen the advertisements and others had received mailers from the club. One of the greeters was astonished to find that a few people had traveled from as far away as Ocala and Gainesville, some 150 miles away.

As one dealer said of a far-traveled collector: “I had one customer who spent an hour with me seriously going through a large number of coins. He purchased more than 20 coins. He was pleased and so was I.”

One of the travelers said, “It seemed like a nice day for us to take a long ride, have a nice lunch and buy some coins. My spouse never complains about these coin dates. She considers it quality time. We always enjoy ourselves. We’ll probably be back for the next show.”

Discussing the show a few days later, one of the club members still expressed amazement that someone would drive 150 miles one way to attend a small coin show.

Our numismatist smiled and replied, “That’s what coin collectors do.”

Trying to figure out why numismatists do what they do can be a real mystery. Traveling hundreds of miles to attend a small show would have some folks scratching their heads. Perhaps it is the quest for that much needed coin, or simply it’s an opportunity to interact with other numismatists. I can probably come up with lots of other reasons, but for coin collectors a coin show is like the big dance or prom.

For those who are new to the hobby, or are reading this magazine in their dentist’s office, I want to make it clear that coin people are not crazy or necessarily have lots of money to make a day trip when gasoline is approaching $4 a gallon.

If you look at the show calendar listings in this magazine, you will see that coin shows are held pretty regularly throughout the country. Some shows are held every month, same place, same time. For those of us in Florida, we can usually find a show every weekend, especially during the winter season with our influx of winter visitors.

The dialogue in our house sort of goes like this: “Honey, there’s a coin show in Fort Myers. We haven’t been there in a bit. What say we go to the show and then do some shopping as well as eat out?”

The reply is usually, “Are you looking for something special.” And, of course, my response is, “You know me. I just thought it would be good to get out.

“As far as something special, not really, on the other hand who knows?”

Our drive may not be a road trip full of adventure but it makes for a nice day and diversion from the usual weekend routine.

Have we driven a couple of hundred miles and not purchased anything? Well, I almost always purchase something. It might be coins, books or supplies.

The purchase might only be for a few dollars but it might be more. Does this make sense—especially if it’s something that I could buy from my local coin dealer? Well, it probably doesn’t make sense, but, as I said, this is what (some) coin collectors do.

For those with a limited budget these long day trips may be out of the question, but hopefully a coin show will be coming to your neighborhood. I always have fun.

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