How many is ‘too many’ when it comes to shows?

By Jesse Robitaille

A new numismatic year is underway, and among the many topics of discussion are shows—how many, how often and to what end?

Our latest Canadian Coin & Stamp Show Planner – a 56-page standalone reference – was published recently in CCN Vol. 57 #18. Each year, we compile all of the local, national and major international shows in Canada and abroad, and this year, there’s plenty to be excited about.

At least that’s how it looks judging the numbers, but some hobby organizers are taking a more cautious approach.

In Canada in 2020, there will be at least one coin show every month of the year. The slowest months – owing to collectors’ summer vacations plus winter weather – are July and December; however, winter, spring and fall are generally quite busy (perhaps too busy for dealers, but more on that later).


Among the major Canadian conventions this year are the annual gatherings of the Canadian Association of Numismatic Dealers (Jan. 25-26 in Hamilton, Ont.); Ontario Numismatic Association (May 22-24 in Burlington, Ont.); and the Royal Canadian Numismatic Association (July 21-25 in Halifax, N.S.).

Of the more than 60 Canadian coin shows in 2020, for example, 11 will be held in April, the busiest month. While five provinces are covered among these 11 shows, the following month will see another eight shows, bringing the total to nearly 20 over only eight weeks.

There are another nine shows in October, too, meaning nearly half of all Canadian shows are held in only three months of the year.

With the Internet offering collectors an opportunity to grow their collections from home, fewer collectors are required to attend shows.

Show organizers are rightly concerned about a potentially oversaturated market that boasts more shows than ever but fewer people to attend them.

Dealers, too, are worried about having less time to restock their inventory with the necessary material to do business effectively. While finding fresh material for collectors is always an issue, some dealers are also burdened by the increasing costs of doing business—especially when attending so many shows within such a short time.

It’s something to consider as organizing committees return to their post for another year of planning: how does the hobby continue to expand and thrive while balancing the needs of its various stakeholders?

Whether you’re a dealer, collector or show organizer, we’d love to hear your opinion on the matter.

Letters to the editor are gratefully accepted by mailing 459 Prince Charles Dr. S. (Unit 2), Welland, ON L3B 5X1 or visiting

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