Last Friday’s official opening of the World Money Fair as always got off to a much anticipated start. Officiated by the WMFs honorary President, Dr. Albert Beck, the Royal Australian Mint’s CEO Ross McDairmid, Managing Director of the WMF Ms. Barbara Balz and President of the WMF Hans-Henning Gohrum, all were present for the ribbon-cutting at the entrance and within a matter of minutes, the main bourse of the fair was almost filled to capacity as more than a thousand waiting collectors passed through both entrances. By the middle of the day, many parts of the bourse were simply crowded to capacity.
As guest host this year, the Royal Australian Mint was featured just about everywhere much to the delight of many collectors who are fans of the innovative and imaginative coins which have been issued over the last five decades since the RAM was inaugurated on the February 21st 1965. This year marks fifty years and the RAM were both enthusiastic and happy to highlight this milestone anniversary.
As the World Money Fair also celebrated their tenth year at the Estrel Convention Centre in Berlin, the venue did not fail to live up to their usual standards which this year saw even greater numbers of attendants to the WMF – despite the wintry chill in the air and a bit of snow on the ground. As lines of eager collectors were waiting for the official opening almost two hours before the 10:00 AM ribbon-cutting, the lobby soon emptied itself out when the doors were opened and the constant stream of attendees filled each hall, some heading for the main hall of Mints and central bank booths and some heading straight to the more than 200 dealers from all over the world.
Two of the most popular items for many collectors was the 2015 Mint sets for both Lithuania and Andorra who were both issuing EURO-denominated coins for the first time this year. Also popular among collectors were many bullion related items with silver and gold equally seeing a higher than anticipated demand. With the easing of the Euro against the Dollar and sterling, many dealers reported seeing better than expected sales as well as increased demand for higher-priced coins.
Also making their debut onto the collector’s floor was the EXPO 2015 Milano official souvenir coin/medal programme who also counted down the 100th day until the official opening of the international event which Italy will be hosting for six months from the 1st May. The official souvenir folder containing the Nordic brass example was the EXPO’s best-selling item. The EXPO 2015 booth also included a display of some of the more rare medals and coins previously issued for past international expositions, these items were recently on display at Monaco’s Coins and stamps museum in Monte Carlo just before Christmas.
As part of the opening day’s schedule, the much-anticipated and well attended Media Forum began shortly after the official opening. With eighteen presentations, this year’s forum included the most number of Mints and Central Banks presenting and was the most attended since the WMF began staging in Berlin. For the first time, the Central Bank of Ireland discussed their 2015 issuing schedule. The media forum is open to both attending media as well as the public.
Friday evening was Australia’s turn to shine with the annual Gala dinner hosted by the WMF’s Guest of Honour. Attended by many of the Mints and Central Bank’s representatives as well as guests of the world money Fair and the attending media, the evening is an opportunity to welcome all of the contributors to the WMF and showcase the both the Mint and their home country with cuisine and entertainment.
On Saturday, the event which many look forward to is the Coin of the Year or COTY’s as they are commonly known as. Sponsored by Krause Publications, publishers of the well-known Standard Catalog of World Coins to name but a few, the event highlights some of the most exceptional designs and technological innovations from the Mints and central banks whose coins are nominated by and judged by an international panel. A total of ten categories were voted on with one of the winners in the categories also being chosen as the ultimate coin of the year with Austria taking both top honor as well as three overall categories.
Unexpectedly, the Sunday attendance saw a higher than anticipated level of attendees, perhaps it was due to the sunny but crisp winter day but many dealers had commented they had greater sales and several products from both Mints and larger dealers had either sold out completely or had substantially lesser quantities with quite a few booths staying open a bit later than anticipated to accommodate collectors.
Next year’s dates for the World Money Fair have not yet been confirmed – for more information on upcoming dates, please visit their website at: http://www.worldmoneyfair.de/wmf/en/ Next year’s event will be hosted by the Mint of Korea who will I’m sure many are looking forward to.
Stay tuned for additional coverage from the 2015 World Money Fair this week on Coin Update!