The curtain came down on the 42nd annual World Money Fair on Sunday evening, much to the dismay of the many attendants and visitors to this year’s extravaganza held in Berlin, Germany’s capital city. Organizers reported a noticeable increase from last year’s numbers and had expected additions in excess of 15,000 coin enthusiasts through the turnstile despite the economic slow-down. Several dealers confirmed that more of their customers appear to be gravitating from the world of bullion investment rather than the dedicated coin collector as those investors who are new to the activity are seeing a favorable return to their gold and silver holdings. The Estrel Convention Centre was as in previous years, the focal point of the three-day event which included a memorable auction, technical and media events & launches and of course the intense social and business “get-togethers” which ultimately results in further coin programs for next year’s launch and release. As participants arrived earlier in the week to prepare and build the booths, displays and pavilions, the Estrel Centre was transformed into “money-central” and became the hub of high-octane activity before, during and after the WMF officially closed.
This year’s guest of honor was one of the oldest continuous Mints in existence, the Monnaie de Paris, operational since 864, it is also the oldest French institution. The festivities kicked off on the Wednesday before the opening of the WMF with an invitation-only reception hosted by the Monnaie de Paris at the modern and avant-garde French Embassy in Berlin, just a stone’s throw from the historic and classical Brandenburg Gate. Opening comments by France’s ambassador to Germany and the evening’s co-host mentioned the 50th year anniversary of the Élysée Treaty or the Treaty of Friendship, an important pact between historical enemies, France and Germany signed on the 22nd January 1963 and the prominence of this anniversary for both countries. The CEO of the Monnaie de Paris, Christophe Beaux also commented on the anniversary and unveiled the French version of the 2 €uro commemorative coin and the design which will be shared with the Federal Republic of Germany for this important anniversary. Guests at the reception were all given an example of France’s 2€ commemorative coin.
Thursday saw the staging of the much anticipated Kunker Auction which, during some parts of the session, was standing-room only. The at times surprising results from this rare coin auction was testament to the shared sentiment that there is most certainly money in the market and happily being parted with for choice numismatic items with greater frequency. The auction ended with smiles all around as hammer prices totaled €7.6 Million which calculates to more than a 66 % increase above the estimates / guidelines offered to prospective bidders. Of particular interest during the auction was a 5 Rouble gold piece (1/2 Imperial) struck during the reign of Czar Nicholas II. The piece exceeded all expectations with a hammer price of € 180.000 – its estimate was listed at € 100.000. Kunker also reported a stronger than expected interest for the coins of the German regions of Hamburg, Quedlinburg, Sachsen and Madgeburg. Also on offer was the consignment of the Collection of Professor Helmut Hahn whose items totaled € 1.44 million and the consignment of additional Russian Coins in total reached more than € 1.8 million, which represents a 100 percent result of the estimate. The World Money Fair also hosted a technical Forum of 21 presenters where many Mints and Mint suppliers from metals to precision machinery discuss and showcase their know-how.
Friday was the first day of the actual fair which traditionally sees a heightened level of dealer to dealer business and a plethora of meetings within the extended industry. A comprehensive Media forum, which is also open to the public, is an opportune time for the Mints to describe their upcoming programs and soon-to-be coin issues. This year, 14 Mints presented their plan of issue which was led by the Monnaie de Paris in a very colorful and entertaining presentation. One of the more irresistible events during the WMF is the Gala Banquet which gives the Guest of Honor – in this case the Monnaie de Paris an opportunity to play host to the other attending Mints and Central Banks, dealers and invited guests on the evening of the first day. Held at Berlin’s Historic Automobile Museum, the evening was attended by more than 200 guests who were treated to French haute-cuisine and selected wines with authentic cabaret in between courses. After the entertainment, a hand-over ceremony of sorts was conducted as it was officially announced that the Mint of Austria will take over as Guest of Honor for the World Money Fair, 2014. During the banquet, Dr. Albert Beck, founder and honorary president of the WMF was honored by the Monnaie de Paris for his lifetime dedication to Numismatics and was presented with a medal specially struck by the MdP for the occasion. Also honored by the WMF was Hubert Lanz for his outstanding achievements in Numismatics.
Now in their 30th year, the COTY (coin of the year) awards were also staged on Saturday and was hosted / sponsored by Krause Publications. Eleven awards in total were presented with the Royal Dutch Mint taking the awards for the most innovative coin as well as for coin of the year, and if you’re wondering which coin was recognized for these categories, it was their 5 €uro coin issued for the centennial celebrations of the Dutch Mint in Utrecht which included a readable QR code as integrated into the reverse design.
Next year’s WMF dates have also been confirmed for the 7th to the 9th February with the Estrel Convention Centre continuing as the now familiar venue. For more information on this year’s more outstanding events or to enquire about exhibiting or attending as a dealer, please contact the organizers of the WMF at: Tel.: +49 (0)30 32 76 44 01 Fax: +49 (0)30 32 76 44 02 or: