By Jesse Robitaille
The National Postage Stamp and Coin Show kicked off again this September, when collectors of all kinds – numismatists, notaphilists, exonumists and philatelists, among others – gathered for the biannual event in Mississauga.
The Sept. 8-9 show was held at the Hilton Mississauga, where the 9,000-square-foot Graydon Hall packed in a 50-dealer bourse that met scores of collectors with diverse interests.
“A coin and stamp show is a good opportunity to meet different people; it’s not the same people over and over again,” said dealer Gary Fedora, owner of Georgetown, Ont.’s Select Currency.
Dealers from both hobbies were able to do business together under one roof, said Fedora, who has attended each of the six shows held since 2015, when Trajan Publishing Corp. acquired the rights to the event from the Canadian Stamp Dealers’ Association.
“The two hobbies coincide for a lot of people.”
One dealer, who travelled more than 3,600 kilometres altogether to attend this fall’s show, commended the large crowds and strong sales.
“We had a good show, and there was a lot of activity; that first day was surprisingly good,” said Gerard Feehan, owner of Halifax, N.S.’s Citadel Coins, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.
“I’ve been doing shows in Ontario for a long time, and this show is basically leading edge. It’s a new and up-and-coming show, but it’s well advertised and well promoted, so I do a lot of business there.”
Feehan, who has worked the bourse of the past four Trajan shows, noted an increase in attendance from the “general public.”
“More and more people are coming now as the show develops, and people – that’s the general public – are bringing things to consider getting assessed to sell. When you have them bringing things in, that’s a very good thing.”
Another returning dealer who noticed more new faces was John Brown, owner of The Connoisseur, based in Naughton, Ont.
“For ourselves, it was very, very successful. We found there were even more new clients coming in this fall, and we saw quite a few new people last time, too,” said Brown. “It’s worthwhile for our business, and I think the show is expanding the amount of coin collectors.”
ENGAGING YOUNG COLLECTORS
There was also a strong youth presence at this fall’s show, Brown said.
“There were a lot of young children with their parents that were really interested in coins, and more so than last year. I found the young children were really taking an interest in trying to obtain information and add to their collection.”
The importance of developing the next cohort of numismatists is vital to the survival of the hobby, Brown added.
“It’s the same as any hobby and the same as any investment: if the young do not participate, it will die out. Without them, you stop selling because the older generation will eventually die off.”
The strong youth attendance was partly owed to the “Young Collectors” booth and auction organized by Lisa McPherson, national youth co-ordinator of the Royal Canadian Numismatic Association.
With free admission on Sunday, no cost for the children’s auction and discounted material at the Young Collectors booth, the show offered children an affordable avenue into collecting, said McPherson, who’s also the first vice-president of the Ontario Numismatic Association.
“It allows them to start in the hobby. It doesn’t have to be expensive. We have to get the youth because those are our future collectors and dealers; they’re the future of the hobby.”
EXONUMIA & BULLION
Other kinds of collectors, including those specializing in medals, tokens and bullion, were also out in full force at the recent show.
“I had a lot of interest in medals, and I brought some very good medals,” said Gary Miller, owner of Londinium Coins. “I was able to show them to people and meet a few collectors, including a guy from Halifax who’s putting together pieces of the Dominion Exhibition in Halifax, and he bought a couple of those pieces.”
Miller, who’s also a returning dealer, said he was “very impressed by the attendance” this fall.
“Our aisle was always busy, and there was also a lot of retail business, which is nice to see. Having retail customers coming and buying collector coins always impresses me and shows the market is good for quality coins, and I sold some high-quality coins.”
Bullion dealer John Masterson said he was also happy with the traffic on the bourse, which saw no shortage of “silver stackers.”
“Traffic was good, but you know how dealers are; it’s all about sales, and sales were good, too,” said Masterson, owner of Beaver Bullion, which is entering its fourth year of business as Canada’s only hand-powered silver company.
“I was able to meet some new people, and I was very pleased with that.”
The show was also positive for one third-party grading service, Kitchener, Ont.’s Banknote Certification Service (BCS), which has certified nearly 64,000 notes since being established in January 2008.
“There was a good turnout of collectors. I like to talk to collectors at shows, and I had a lot of good conversations,” said BCS owner Steven Bell, who added he attends shows primarily to promote his business.
“People are starting to notice and appreciate my integrity and conservative approach to grading bills, and auction prices are starting to realize that. It’s a reflection of the strict Canadian grading standards I use.”
NEXT YEAR’S SHOWS
The spring 2019 National Postage Stamp and Coin Show will be held on March 23-24 at the same location, the Hilton Mississauga, which is located directly off Highway 401 on Mississauga Road. As always, admission is $3 on Saturday and free on Sunday, and free on-site parking is available to show attendees.
Next year’s fall show will be held Sept. 7-8, 2019.
For more information about the biannual show, which is hosted by Trajan Publishing Corp., owner of Canadian Coin News and Canadian Stamp News, visit stampandcoinshow.com.