The E-Sylum:  Volume 8, Number 36, August 21, 2005, Article 11


Ken Barr writes: "As General Chairman of the recent ANA
Convention in San Francisco, I'd like to respond to some
of the comments made by my friend Charlie Davis in last
week's E-Sylum.

First, the ANA has reported the registration figure for this
convention as "nearly 15,000". This is approximately the same
as the registration at Pittsburgh 2004, and several thousand
more than any other ANA convention in the past ten years with
the exception of Philadelphia 2000 at which Bill Horton and
his crew registered an amazing 21,000 visitors. I don't know
where the "3,600 by Friday" rumor came from, but it was
obviously "left field", as we had well over that number
registered by Thursday afternoon, and in fact registered
almost 3,000 on Friday itself ...

Second, the exhibit hall was not "small", but in fact quite
large compared to most ANA conventions. The Moscone
West level one Exhibit Hall is 96,660 square feet, by itself
almost 20% larger than the 82,450 square feet used by the
ANA in Hall B of the David Lawrence Convention Center
in Pittsburgh the previous year. When the 20,000 additional
square feet used on Moscone West level two (for the Mint
Mile, the collectors exhibits and the ANA area, all of which
were included within the 82,450 square feet area in
Pittsburgh) are added to the level one space, the San Francisco
convention was approximately 50% LARGER than Pittsburgh.
While it is true that the San Francisco layout only had nine
rows (as compared to fifteen rows in Pittsburgh), each row
was about twice as long as in Pittsburgh, as Moscone West
has a vertical orientation versus the horizontal orientation in
Pittsburgh. The actual 10' x 10' booth count (including bourse,
publications and club booths) in Pittsburgh was about 465 --
in San Francisco it was about 430 on level one and the
equivalent of about 80 more on level two.

Several factors unfortunately contributed to "ghost town"
atmosphere in the bourse area. First, the "two level" layout
selected by the ANA meant that the dealers could not see
(or hear) the activity on level two, which was always well-
populated and vibrant due to the popularity of the world
mint booths and the special exhibits of some fantastic
American numismatic rarities. Second, the aisles on the
bourse floor seemed to be inordinately wide, something
like 15' versus the normal 10' to 12' feet at most convention
centers, most likely a Fire Marshall requirement. And finally,
this was the "first coin show ever" for many of the registrants
at this convention, not surprising considering the dearth of
coin shows that have been held in San Francisco over the
past few decades. Many of them were quite content to
visit the Mint Mile and the collectors exhibits area, but were
hesitant to enter or spend much time in the bourse area,
probably due to the overwhelming nature of the material
being offered. During my infrequent jaunts through the
bourse area, it appeared that the crowd density in the front
third of the show was about twice that of the middle third,
and about four times that of the back third, indicating to me
that many visitors probably suffered from Coin Overload
and exited the bourse without seeing most of it.

Personally, I hope that the ANA summer convention returns
to Northern California sooner than the 56 years it took this
time. I do hope, though, that the venue selected is the San
Jose Convention Center, as was originally planned for this
convention, a 143,000 square foot single-level column-free
facility in a city that does not suffer from the perceived
expensiveness, traffic, parking and homeless problems of
San Francisco. In that event, I suspect that we might give
Philly's 21,000 registration count a strong run for its money ..."

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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