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The E-Sylum: Volume 11, Number 26, June 29, 2008, Article 29

WILL FUEL PRICES HURT THE COIN BUSINESS?

Here's a topic unrelated to numismatic information and research, but it's on the minds of a number of readers. -Editor


Kerry Rodgers of New Zealand writes:
Did you catch this? I suspect it could have a profound influence on attendance at shows and auctions Down Under. It may promote far more live on-line bidding as well as other aspects of web-based numismatic participation. However, its ramifications could run far deeper than that. At the very least some folk may come to appreciate what it is to live-out one's hobby in sublime physical isolation!


Kerry forwarded an item written by Doug Winter on the high cost of traeling to coin shows. Here's an excerpt. -Editor


How are soaring energy prices going to affect the coin market? I got my first taste of the New Reality today when I decided not to attend a coin show because of what I thought was an exceptionally high price for an airline ticket.

The other day I received an email from Whitman Expos regarding their August Atlanta show. I believe that this show is in its third year and I have attended the previous conventions. Even though it is a brutal flight for me to get to Atlanta from the Northwest, Iíve always looked forward to the show. I love Atlanta, I like the Whitman people and want to support their shows and I have some good clients in the Atlanta metropolitan area. So even though this had never been a ďmajorĒ event on the coin circuit, I was still happy to attend it.

That is, until I went on my airlinesí website yesterday and looked up the price of a round trip ticket to Atlanta. Even booking the ticket more than two months in advance, the best fare I could find was close to $800 and that was with a lovely three hour layover on the way home in Dallas. To get a convenient round trip ticket was nearly $1,000.

I wonder how many other dealers are feeling the same way about non-essential shows. No matter how expensive airfare gets, Iím still going to attend the ANA and FUN shows and I will continue to attend West Coast shows because of the convenience factor. But instead of going to three Baltimore shows per year, Iíll probably cut back to two to reduce expenses.


To read the complete article, see: How are soaring energy prices going to affect the coin market? (http://www.coinlink.com/News/commentary-and-opinion/how-are-soaring-energy-prices-going-to-affect-the-coin-market/#more-1212)

Alan V. Weinberg writes:
I fly a lot but that's going to stop. One must justify trips by the cost of the travel and it goes against my grain to pay $500-600 for a fare that last year I paid $350 for. Car rental has also gone up and that I cannot understand. What I could rent for the same trip and period last year for under $100 now costs over $150. I foresaw this increase (although not to this level) a few months ago and booked all my flights thru Labor Day weekend. Since then I've searched for a reasonable January 2009 FUN show airfare without success. $435-500+ and up for a fare that was less than $300 last January, Los Angeles to Orlando.

Watch - attendance at shows will dramatically drop due to the cost of air fares and vehicle fuel. The only thing that will prop up hobby prices will be the auctions, which are curiously still doing very well despite high unemployment, high fuel costs and natural disasters that are wiping out whole areas economically. I'd like to predict that the numismatic market will drop 35% or more - but I'm not sure that'll occur. A few weeks ago at the Long Beach show I overheard a telling comment in a conversation between two dealers - "You know, I can sell a coin for $100,000 more easily now than I can sell a coin for two or three thousand dollars."

The national news tonight said a lot of money is seeking new reliable outlets for investment and I thought of coins/currency where there's pride of ownership. I seem to recall reading that numismatic price levels did not drop all that much during the Great Depression as the stock market bombed. But then prices were much lower and the number of collectors/dealers was infinitely smaller.

Friday, concerned with the LA Times forecasting $7 gas and $200 oil by the end of the year, I booked a roundtrip flight to January 2009's Orlando FUN show. Normally, I would never book such a flight so far in advance during summer's high air fares. But, after considerable checking, I booked an AirTran "redeye" flight for $405 LAX-MCO. Other airlines were quoting $500 and up. This same flight was just over $225 for the last January FUN. I feel sadly confident that this was a prudent move.




Wayne Homren, Editor

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