All coin shows offer something for the coin collector, but large coin shows have tons of fun for every type of numismatist.
Of course, going to a major coin show is like spending a day at an amusement park… lots of walking, lots to see and do, and you’ll probably spend lots of money while there.
Let’s check out some tips and advice on how to make the most of going to a major coin show.
Going To A Major Coin Show
So, you’ve got a large coin show coming to a town near you?
Maybe you’re making a trip out out of going to major coin show.
In either case, you’re about to have a wonderful time.
Large coin shows are where you want to be if you’re looking for that special coin you simply can’t find online or at your local coin dealer.
Big coin shows also provide plenty of opportunities to bid in a coin auction, attend helpful coin seminars, and make new friends.
Here are 9 tips for attending a major coin show…
Tip #1: Wear walking shoes! Yes, big coin shows are held in big venues. Major convention halls are commonly used for the biggest coin shows, and you’ll easily be walking a few miles on the coin bourse.
Tip #2: Don’t forget to pick up a program. Major coin shows easily attract hundreds of coin dealers. That means having to pick and choose which coin dealers to stop by, because there really is no way you’ll be able to visit each one. Commonly, coin dealers are listed in coin show programs by specialty. Be sure to decide which type of coin dealers you’re looking for (such as ancient coins, rare U.S. coins, and bullion coins) and head to those coin dealer first.
Tip #3: Bring plenty of cash. Believe it or not, even in this day and age of plastic cards being the common monetary medium, many coin dealers aren’t able to complete credit or debit transactions at coin shows. Without credit card-processing equipment, your plastic cards are often useless at coin shows. Bring along plenty of cash… and if you insist on using a credit card, be sure you ask each coin dealer you visit at the coin show if they can accept credit cards.
Tip #4: Protect yourself. Coin shows are very exciting places to be, but they can also be dangerous. Don’t flaunt your purchases, don’t flash your cash, and watch your back. Some unscrupulous folks will follow their prey. If it seems you keep seeing the same person behind you, it’s possible you may be marked. Seek security if you feel uncomfortable (there are always plenty of private security guards and municipal law enforcement on hand at coin shows). Don’t ‘tough it out.’ You can never be too safe at a coin show.
Tip #5: Don’t forget your want list. Like it or not, you’ll never remember every coin you’ve been aiming to get. So don’t even try it. Simply make a coin want list. Then be sure to bring it with you when you go to the coin show. You’ll be glad you have your want list on hand once you hit the coin bourse and start looking for your treasures!
Tip #6: Make going to a major coin show a family affair. Why go alone? If anybody else in your family shares in your love of coin collecting (or if you’re trying to introduce the hobby onto the next generation), then bring along a little company. Having a loving family member or two by your side can make the day more enjoyable and give you a second set of eyes in shopping for the coins you’ve been hunting down.
Tip #7: Set a budget. Going to a coin show is not unlike going to any other recreational destination. Unless you have deep pockets, you’re may be pretty upset with yourself if you go home from the coin show with a brief case full of coins you didn’t budget into your finances.
If you haven’t been to a coin show before, you’re going to find spending money at a coin show is far easier than you think. Set a budget 10 percent below what you can afford. Go to the coin show and stick to your set budget. If you end up spending a little more, that 10 percent padding will save your pocketbook from destruction.
Tip #8: Bring your own tools. Make sure you have your own magnifying glass and lighting on hand. Because various types of lighting affect the way a coin looks,you’ll find it wise to bring along a hands-free head-mounted light. Test it out at home on your coins first so you get used to the particular effects of that lighting on your coins. And don’t forget your own magnifying glass or coin loupe. It’ll become your best friend while shopping for coins at the coin show!
Tip #9: Make the most of the coin show. Coin shows are about so much more than buying or selling coins on the bourse. They are real destination events. As mentioned earlier, they are places to attend coin seminars, take in a coin auction or two, see all types of coins, and even expand your numismatic friend network. Yes, hit the coin bourse with a ready pocketbook, but don’t forget to enjoy all the other amenities just waiting to be enjoyed at the coin show!
My love for coins began when I was 11 years old. I primarily collect and study U.S. coins produced during the 20th century. I'm a member of the American Numismatic Association (ANA) and the Numismatic Literary Guild (NLG) and have won multiple awards from the NLG for my work as a coin journalist. I'm also the editor at CDN Publishing (a trusted source for the price of U.S. rare coins), editor at the Florida United Numismatists Club (FUN Topics magazine), and author of Images of America: The United States Mint in Philadelphia (a book that explores the colorful history of the Philadelphia Mint). I've contributed hundreds of articles for various coin publications including COINage, The Numismatist, Numismatic News, Coin Dealer Newsletter, Coin Values, and CoinWeek. I've also authored nearly 1,000 articles here at The Fun Times Guide to Coins — and I welcome your coin questions in the comments below!