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Friendly Folks at the Monnaie de Paris
January 15, 2009



Monnaie de Paris Sets the Tone

Just a little more than two weeks now until I travel back to Berlin for the 38th Annual World Money Fair. This is the premier coin show for modern issues, as it offers a chance to learn what the worlds mints are planning for the coming year. About 20 world mints will participate in the WMF - Media Forum, where they will announce their 2009 new coin issues and show off these new designs in wonderful projected displays. In addition, even more mints and support services companies will have booths set up on the main bourse floor offering coins for sale, plus brochures and literature on their upcoming 2009 programs. Last year I had the opportunity to speak with over 40 Mint Directors, Marketing Managers and other mint officials.

That's a rare convergance and one which former World Money Fair President Albert M. Beck worked a long time to build. This year, for the first time, Mr. Beck will hand over the reins of the show to Hans-Henning Göhrum, who has taken over the position of WMF President, with Beck stepping over to Honorary President. It's a little change, but a comfortable progression in the shows long history and Barbara Balz will still be overseeing the practical matters of the bourse, so everything will surely flow as smoothly as usual.

During last years WMF - Media Forum I was very please to meet several world mint directors. Everyone was open to conversation and took the time to listen. It was a great atmosphere for an old coinhead like me. In fact, I was so busy visiting with folks before the Forum that I didn't get a chance to pick up all the available mint brochures before the program got going. Once the mic went live through, I quickly took a seat and got set up to take notes and pictures for The Standard Catalog of World Coins and World Coin News.

After one or two presentations had passed, I noticed that I was seated right next to a large contingent from the Monnaie de Paris. The gentleman on my left had a pair of Monnaie de Paris new issues information packets, one that I did not yet have, so when a break in the presentations came, I asked if he could spare one. The gentleman was so kind as to pass me a folder and a business card, for which I thanked Jean-Charles Rocher, Sales Director of the Monnaie de Paris. Mr. Rocher's kind gesture left me with a very good impression of the Monnaie de Paris, one that was later enhanced by their presentation.

In fact, in my observations about the WMF -Mint Forum last year, the Monnaie de Paris presentation stands out as the tone setter for the entire event. Christophe Beaux - President Director General for the Monnaie de Paris spoke passionately about reconnecting with their collector base. Beaux told us that the Monnaie de Paris was planning on redefining their commemorative program to better meet the needs and wants of French coin collectors. Fewer issues, desireable themes and innovative designs.

With those words Beaux set a clear path for world mints in 2008. He made a good choice, given the tenor of the coin market this past year and others saw the wisdom and followed suit.

So this year, I am wondering...who will step up and take a chance. Who will exhibit the bold thinking that keeps our hobby strong?

Luckily for me, I will be there in Berlin to see and hear what the worlds mint officials are thinking for 2009. It's a privilege I treasure and one which I hope to share with you, my readers, this year and in the years to come.



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About the Author
Tom Michael has been Krause Publications primary market analyst on more than 80 world and United States coin catalogs produced over the last 20 years. He came to KP in 1987 with a bachelor of arts degree in history, a master of arts degree in economics and a history of coin collecting stretching back to the 1960s. He began collecting world coins as a child by asking friends and relatives to bring coins back from overseas trips, visiting flea markets and having his mother watch for foreign coins in her register at the local grocery store. Today he works with a dedicated base of over 200 contributors to provide accurate market values for the five-volume Standard Catalog of World Coins series, as well as many specialty catalogs, including Coins & Currency of the Middle East and the fifth edition of Unusual World Coins.

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