Handling New Pandas Treat at Expo|
November 20, 2013
The skies were clear and blue as my plane touched down in China’s capital. While Beijing is known as the “City of Museums,” my top agenda item was the 2013 Beijing Coin Expo, which was held Oct. 11-13 This show is one of the largest in the world yet it doesn’t attract many visitors from abroad.
In the past, the expo’s home was the China World Convention Center in the central part of the city. That is no longer possible because the China World convention facilities (not the hotel) are being replaced by an upscale shopping mall.
So in 2013 the show shifted homes to the China National Convention Center. This is an enormous hall next to the 2008 Olympics site that includes the well-known “Bird’s Nest” sports arena. The convention center was definitely spacious enough. In fact there were at least two other gatherings taking place at the same time as the coin show. The largest was some sort of pharmaceutical event. It had thousands of attendees and it took a while just to walk past that and find the coin show.
The coin show itself was huge. Many of the largest exhibits were clustered near the entrance and some were the size of a small house. Possibly the most prominent this year was the “booth” of the China Banknote and Printing Company, the organization responsible for China’s paper currency. It’s hard for collectors from other countries to imagine how avidly Chinese paper money is collected. The counters at China Banknote were always crowded.
Other significant exhibitors were ICBC and China Construction Bank. These two giant banks were first-time participants in the Expo and their presence is an indication of the growing importance of banks in the distribution channel for collectible and investment-quality Chinese coins.
Another interesting facet of this show was that it was really a distributors’ fest. The Beijing Coin Expo isn’t a scaled up version of a local coin show where the focus is buying and selling individual coins. Rather it’s a venue for big players to meet and negotiate.
Actually, the public has difficulty just getting inside. I asked one collector from North Dakota how he did it. He replied that at the opening about a hundred people were let in and he followed that group.
This was the first year of the expo that coins didn’t share space with stamps. Philately in China now has its own separate Beijing expo. As a result there were no stamp displays and few if any stamp collectors. For all that the coin show looked well attended.
Another first was that 2013 was the first year that Panda coins took center stage. In the past, the top new coins featured at the Beijing expo were China’s beautiful Lunar series. 2013 changed that.
There was a press conference and party to announce the 2014 Panda coins. The event included speakers, videos, holographic coin images, art performances, and best of all, actual coins that could be handled and inspected. It was an unexpected treat to be able to pick up the entire series of 2014 gold and silver Mint State coins unprotected by plastic to examine them.
The 2014 Pandas have an outstanding design that features a very life-like Panda. In a future Panda Collector column I will interview Rocky Zhao, the artist who designed the 2014 Panda coins. See you then.
More Coin Collecting Resources:
• Strike it rich with this U.S. coins value pack.
• Get the 2012 Coin of the Year – limited quantities remain!
• Build an impressive collection with Coin Collecting 101.
• IT’S HERE! Order the 2014 North American Coins & Prices.
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