Pictures do tell the story, and I received one by text on the first evening of the recent Geoffrey Bell sale as a reminder that live auctions are still popular.
“Live auctions are alive and well,” the text accompanying the picture proclaimed. It shows the auction room, held at the downtown Toronto Reference Library, almost filled to capacity. I was speaking to auctioneer Brian Bell afterwards, and I agree with him that, despite increasing online bidding, live auctions are not dead. The keys are great material, strong marketing and passionate collectors that stay connected to the hobby.
As I have written previously, while live auctions and coin shows are the best way for collectors to really examine potential purchases, they are, just as importantly, the glue that connects numismatists with one another. And speaking of coin shows, the Toronto Coin Expo, held in conjunction with the Bell auction, is deservingly earning a reputation of being one of Canada’s best numismatic shows. Attendance was steady throughout the two-day event, held at the library’s Yonge street location. Featuring many of Canada’s top dealers, the show is also emerging as a hot spot for members of various numismatic organizations to gather and host special meetings.
Another drawing card of the Expo show is the educational workshops. This year’s topics were appealing to collectors of all ages, including Christopher Boyer’s excellent presentation on “Kids Collecting Coins”. A full-time teacher, Boyer was precise in tapping into the minds of these young collectors and holding their interest during the hour-long workshop, as evident in a story by reporter Jesse Robitaille in this issue of Canadian Coin News.
There were also presentations by the Canadian Tire Coupon Collectors Club and the Canadian Centennial Coin Club. I believe symposiums, such as the ones offered by Jared Stapleton’s Toronto Coin Expo, are a huge magnet to drawing more collectors to coin shows. They also serve to feed the minds of new and seasoned collectors – perfect ingredients to making our hobby stronger. And isn’t this what we all want to see happen: a strong, vibrant numismatic community?
I know it’s a key mandate of the Canadian Association for Numismatic Education, also known as CAFNE. This non-profit organization has been financially supporting Expo workshops since the fall of 2013 as well as other symposiums offered by the Royal Canadian Numismatic Association. CAFNE is an organization we all need to support and donate to. Its key mandates are educating the public about numismatics, supporting research about Canadian numismatics and awarding scholarships and bursaries for the study and research of numismatics.
These are important mandates for our hobby. To learn more about CAFNE and how you can support their mandates, go to cafne.ca.
In summary, while online auctions and classified sales are a great – and convenient – way for collectors and dealers to tap into new markets worldwide, let’s not forget the benefits to the overall health of our hobby community of attending auctions and supporting numismatic shows.