Treasures piled high, thrill is in the hunt
World’s Fair of Money holds rare, precious, historic artifacts
Warren Mills of Milford, N.H., a vendor at the World’s Fair of Money, examined a coin before the doors
opened yesterday at the Hynes Veterans Convention Center for collectors from across the country.
(Dina Rudick/Globe Staff)
In Blackbeard’s day, “coin collecting’’ meant swashbuckling, flying a Jolly Roger flag, and making rivals walk the plank at swordpoint. Today, it is a little tamer.
A new breed of collectors filled Boston’s Hynes Veterans Convention Center yesterday, traveling from table to table instead of sea to sea. But what they are searching for has not changed at all: treasure.
“The fun is in the hunt,’’ said Andy Lustig, 49, a vendor from Nyack, N.Y.
Hundreds of people from across the country came to the World’s Fair of Money to find that something special. For some, that meant unusual coins.
For others, the historical artifacts on display were the true find.
Still others sought precious metals they said are more reliable investments than the stock market.
“At first, I couldn’t wrap my head around spending money for money,’’ said Raquel McAninch, 33, a vendor with Colonial Trading Co. of Boston. “But then you come to these things, and you see all these characters, and you realize there really is something here for everyone. They all have their reasons.’’
More than 1,000 vendors set up stands to buy, sell, and trade coins with convention-goers. The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History displayed rarely seen goldpieces, and the US Department of the Treasury set up an exhibit featuring an engraver, the design for the new $100 bill, and the largest US note ever printed — the $100,000 bill.
For longtime collectors, such as Sandy Gulde, who traveled from Scottsdale, Ariz., to help run a convention booth, it is the most thrilling event of the year.
“Every day, something is different; it’s so exciting,’’ she said. “From this side of the table, it’s great to be able to hook up a coin with a collector and watch them fall in love.’’
Many vendors selling currency base their merchandise value on various factors: the rarity of a piece, the metal it is made of, condition, and age, among others.
Most are happy to talk about their merchandise and answer questions from inquisitive passersby.
Some convention-goers, like Michael Moloney, 71, from Miami, like to shop around, chatting with vendors and examining the loot before buying anything.
“When people find something unusual, they just know it; and they want to hold onto what they’ve found,’’ said Moloney, who wears a button saying “I [heart] errors,’’ showing his affection for coins minted with mistakes or imperfections.
Others at the show were all business.
“People want to dump their money into something that’s not the stock market these days, so they dump it in gold instead,’’ said Rich Moyer, a coin dealer from Hagerstown, Md., who hardly looked up from the piles of coins he and his son, Mike, were sifting through.
“We check the coin info against the wholesale price sheet and figure out if we can make any money on it,’’ Moyer said. “It’s a family business.’’
For many treasure-hunters, enjoyment comes down to what they walk away with.
“I like this place because there are so many cool coins and stuff,’’ said Lana Taffel, 7, of Belmont. “If you just walk around for a while, you can find what you were looking for all along. It’s like treasure!’’
The convention runs through Saturday. Donn Pearlmann, spokesman for the American Numismatic Association, the World’s Fair of Money sponsor, said up to 15,000 visitors were expected to attend this week.
Marissa Lang can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
© Copyright 2010 Globe Newspaper Company.