Paper Picking Up Steam
By Robert R. Van Ryzin
"Activity and sales at CPMX snowballed as the
show progressed," said dealer Fred Bart of
Roseville, Mich., about the 15th Annual Chicago
Paper Money Exposition, March 5-8, at the Crowne
Plaza Chicago O'Hare Hotel and Conference Center
in Rosemont, Ill. "It started out extremely
quiet on Thursday, but by Saturday afternoon
there was a quasi-electric feeling in the room."
Bart reported strong sales in error notes and
serial No. 1 notes. Despite there being interest
in large-size type, he said, demand for that
material seemed to be down this year over prior
CPMXs. Of the overall market for paper money, he
characterized it as still being good.
"I think that people are willing to buy and sell
at today's levels and are not actually greedy
and expecting an unrealistic profit are doing
well," Bart said.
"I thoroughly enjoyed it," said dealer Dave
Steckling of Gold & Silver Rarities, St. Cloud,
Minn., of the expo. "Krause's always puts on a
good show. I did not anticipate attendance like
I've seen." CPMX is sponsored by Krause
Publications' Bank Note Reporter.
Steckling said most of his sales were in
notes. He believes the current economic downturn
has increased interest in this area of the
currency market, as it offers lower priced
alternatives for collectors.
Another dealer who experienced good sales in
world notes was Lowell Horwedel of Horwedel's
Currency, West Lafayette, Ind. Interviewed on
Saturday, during the four-day expo, he said the
show had "been very good so far," with
notes being the most popular among the material
he offered on the bourse. He also sold quite a
"The traffic has been very, very good, and I
think overall the show is very good," said Bill
Grubb of Olde Mill Currency, Telford, Pa.
Although he's optimistic about the market's
future, he noted that "People are very cautious
about wanting to spend their money and they're
looking for high quality stuff at a price they
Stephen Perakis of Alex Perakis Coins &
Currency, Inc., Lima, Pa., came into the show
with some apprehension about the market.
"We did a lot better than we expected," he said.
"With the overall economy, you can't help but be
a little conservative, at least a little anxious
about what the show might bring. Yesterday
[Friday, March 6] was wonderful. We saw a lot of
old customers. Attendance was decent and we sold
a good bit of notes."
Perakis said business has remained good across
"It seems we are focusing more on the more
affordable $2,500 and less items," he said. "The
ultra rarities still seem to find buyers
provided they are kind of the pinnacle of what
that category might be."
Dealer Larry Falater of Allen, Mich., was also
pleased with his expo results.
"It exceeded my expectations," Falater said,
"and although there are only two stock
certificate dealers here, I sold quite a bit of
stock certificates in addition to the paper
money, and one of things that I found
interesting this year is that people seem to be
interested in esoteric items, so that helped my
"I was able to buy some interesting things also.
I am very satisfied with the show."
CPMX convention chairman Kevin Foley noted that
despite the economy, this year's expo was
surprisingly active. He reported attendance at
around 400, with 20 people paying the fee to
enter the bourse during Thursday's Professional
Preview period and 365 regular paid attendees on
Friday and Saturday, along with roughly 20 more
free attendees during Sunday's bourse.
"The show began, I felt, on Thursday, at the
beginning of the dealer set-up period, quite
slowly, with quite a subdued level of business
activity," Foley said. "It built slowly and by
mid afternoon, in the midst of the Professional
Preview, it seemed to be quite active.
He added that "a number of the dealers who deal
have told me that they've had very good shows,
much better than they expected.
"Some of the people who deal in federal
material, where values have admittedly declined
and declined quite significantly over the past
several months, have told me that they have a
lot of interest at the current, lower price
levels, but that it is more challenging for them
to buy simply because many holders of material
purchased at higher levels are unwilling to
accept the reality that their items are not
worth what they were when they bought them."
Of the market, he said, "What I tell people when
they ask me about the market and its future is
that my crystal ball is very cloudy right now,
so I really didn't know what to expect and I was
"One of the things I always try to remind myself
about is that there is not one single item for
sale on the floor of the Chicago
Expo that anyone needs to buy. This is 100
percent discretionary spending. And given what
are called current economic circumstances, it is
actually quite surprising to me to hear how
noisy and busy it is in the room."
Dates for the 16th Annual Chicago
Exposition are March 18-21, 2010, at the Crowne
Plaza O'Hare Hotel and Convention Center, 5440
N. River Road, Rosemont IL 60018. For additional
information, contact Kevin Foley, P.O. Box 573,
Milwaukee WI 53201; telephone (414) 421-3484;