The London Coin Fair on Saturday July 3 was the first physical coin fair to have taken place since February 2020.
Held at the Holiday Inn on London’s Coram Street, it attracted 350-400 visitors which is about two-thirds of the usual pre-pandemic footfall.
With around 60 exhibitors – dealers and auction houses – to talk to and buy from, there was a positive atmosphere and a general feeling of normality and relief.
Dealer Timothy Millett views the fair as a good trial run with the hope of further fairs opening in due course, a scenario made far more likely with the announcement last week that almost all of England’s lockdown restrictions are likely to be eased from July 19.
Millett used to stand at a fair every month whereas during the past 16 months he had not exhibited once. “Anything is a plus”, he said, “Dealers are only happy when they’re dealing.”
This was certainly a sentiment shared among the other dealers that ATG spoke to – a palpable solace and reassurance at just being able to deal in person again. Many had not been prepared at the time to make the move to online retailing during the pandemic restrictions.
Nik von Uexkull, Emma Howard and Elaine Fung were representing Spink with a range of coins and books. Despite the success of the London firm’s online auctions, they were as enthusiastic to be dealing with the public again as much as they were meeting other traders and their clients, with whom they had been able to interact only online for more than a year.
Howard said people were happy to be back and, although mask-wearing and required social-distancing was still in force, everyone was in high spirits with a good crowd coming steadily through the door.
Others took advantage of the fair to showcase upcoming auction items.
Dominic Chorney, ancient coins specialist at A&H Baldwin & Sons, is looking forward to in-house sales returning to the firm’s base at 399 Strand after the combined venture with St James’s Auctions has come to an end. The first auction will be held on October 6 and Chorney was exhibiting a selection of English milled coins that will be among the lots on offer.
Although a few dealers gave the fair a miss, not wanting to social distance and wear a face covering while trading, the majority of the regulars on the coins circuit did attend and were rewarded with the enjoyment of a successful event, the first step back to regular trading.
The next event will be the Midlands Coin Fair on August 8, with the next London date being September 4.