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No Time to Wait
August 19, 2011

Gold is up.

Silver is up.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down big time.

What impact does this have on the bourse floor of the American Numismatic Association convention in the Chicago suburb of Rosemont?

When I walk the bourse floor, a great deal of business is obviously being done. The aisles are full of people. Dealer tables have waiting customers. The audible buzz is strong and continuous.

So far so average.

What surprised me yesterday was something I did not expect to see.

Not long before lunch I was passing the booth of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. This display usually draws crowds. Yesterday when I walked by it looked relatively empty.

The light went on in my brain and I quickly went to the other end of the hall to take a look at the U.S. Mint booth. This, too, is usually a major convention draw. Again, almost no public was present.

Can it be two bad locations or are market conditions so urgent that convention attendees feel there is no time to stroll around and do the usual convention kind of things?

I’ll vote for the latter.

This sense of urgency to do business is also affecting the public back home.

I talked to Pat Heller, Lansing, Mich., coin dealer and author of our numismatic e-newsletter. He was leaving the ANA show early to go home to his shop. Activity there, he said, is so frantic, he needs to be there.

Julian Jarvis of Greencastle, Ind., stopped by the Krause Publications table to say hello. He was present at the ANA on a quick in-and-out day trip. He was making appointments by phone for today back at his office as he walked the bourse. Like Pat Heller, his mind was being pulled back to his office instead of being able to fully focus on his mission here.

So whether you are at the ANA or back home, it appears we are all fixated on now. Whatever must be done, it must be done immediately. There is no time to wait, no time to be curious, no time to simply be a collector.

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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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