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Time for World Notes
June 30, 2008

World paper money is the place to be right now judging from what I saw at the paper money show in Memphis, Tenn., over the weekend.

There were more buyers who came from overseas to do business than has been the case in many years if ever. I have now been to 20 shows in a row.

Prosperity in Russia has given collectors from that country the means to go on a buying spree in the United States as their counterparts in the coin field have been doing.

The strong euro has armed European buyers with the means to take huge quantities of material home with them.

One American dealer said that stuff is not ever coming back in his lifetime.

A Chinese Ming note that had a hammer price of $33,000 on Thursday night at the Lyn Knight auction was talked about. That was more than four times the high estimate of $7,500.

Even the low end, the notes that are used for countless promotions have gone up in price. David Leong said the common notes bought by the thousands or tens of thousands are now more than a dime apiece.

Boy. the dollar is weak when it takes a dime to buy one note of a modern defunct or near worthless currency. But such is the compelling power of the idea of collecting these days.

What of the American market? The balance of opinion seems to weigh in on the underachieving side, but that was as much a function of the lack of fresh material as it was the slightly weaker attendance. All the major players were there looking to buy.

I am glad I was able to attend the show and even gladder to be home. I owe a special thanks to show chairman Mike Crabb and a double special thanks to his wife Julia for all their help this year.

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About the Author
David C. Harper has been a coin collector since 1963. He joined the Krause Publications editorial staff in 1978 and is currently editor of Numismatic News and World Coin News. He also edits two books annually, North American Coins & Prices and Coin Digest. He is the author of the Class of '63 column that runs each week in Numismatic News. His first bylined numismatic article appeared in the June 1971 issue of Coins Magazine and his various Krause Publications assignments included a stint as editor of the magazine 1980-1983. Harper received a bachelor of science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in 1977. He had a double major of journalism and economics.

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