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Expo Attendance Down
By Mark Ferguson

The worsening economy, particularly in California, may have played a role in lower attendance at the Feb. 5 to 7 Long Beach Coin, Stamp & Collectibles Expo as compared to the fall show.

Vacant bourse tables were an additional sign of the times as some dealers did not attend the expo.

However, the expo bourse still attracted sports, music and movie celebrities, who were observed checking out possible coins to add to their collections.

Some dealers, especially those who conduct only dealer-to-dealer business, appear to be struggling, but others report reasonably good business activity.

Steve Contursi, president of Rare Coin Wholesalers of Dana Point, Calif., said he sold at least four coins for more than $100,000 each at the Long Beach Expo. "There's a good opportunity right now to buy world-class coins at prices we may never see again," Contursi said.

Several dealers who buy and sell large wholesale quantities of coins generally valued at less than $500 had such crowds around their tables transacting business that it was almost impossible to speak with them.

Frequently found coins worth several thousand dollars are selling slowly, often at substantial discounts. This trend was especially noticeable at auctions held in conjunction with the expo where numerous lots went unsold. A large portion of the unsold lots in one auction, that firm said, were dealer lots with high reserve prices.

Quality coins, however, were well received. The Feb. 1 sale of the Ted Naftzger Collection of Middle Date cents sold by Ira & Larry Goldberg Auctioneers with copper specialists McCawley-Grellman, attracted strong bidding and prices. Every lot offered sold.

Throughout the market, coins described as outstanding, neat and cool are still selling well at strong prices, except for many of the modern coins.


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