In August, I attended the 2011 Hong Kong International Coin Convention. The Hong Kong show is the world's #1 show for Chinese Modern coins, and I wanted to get the pulse of the market in Asia.
Compared to the major coin shows in the US, the HK show is physically small, occupying a little more than a ballroom at the Holiday Inn in Kowloon. Surprisingly, the show floor is about 70% occupied with watch dealers - a throwback to when coin and watch dealers needed to join forces to draw enough visitors. However, now it appears that the fairly small contingent of dealers in Chinese coins attracts the majority of traffic.
Attendance at the show was overwhelming. The bourse floor was so packed with people, that you couldn't walk the aisle or see the dealer tables without pushing your way between bodies. US shows feel like a leisurely stroll in a spacious mall by comparison.
Just prior to the first day opening, a large contingent of dealers from the Chinese mainland descended on the tables of the major US and European dealers, each elbowing their way into position to try to be the first in line to buy. It was very clear that these wholesale buyers were very hungry for any new material they could find to feed what must be very strong demand in Shanghai and Beijing.
As I have mentioned previously in this blog, most Pandas and many other
Chinese modern coins were exported to the west up until about
2001. Therefore, most of the desirable coins are outside of China and
are now making their way home.
For coin dealers, the first day of the show could be described as a feeding frenzy. Buying was fast and furious, and there was little or no negotiation for the most desired coins. To say that money was being thrown at coins would not be an overstatement. At times, paper money was actually thrown on the counter to try to close a deal.
Before and after the show, there were coin auctions in nearby hotels held by Baldwin, Spectrum, and Champion. The Champion auction was focused entirely on modern Chinese coins and had the most high-end coins overall.
The next show will take place in early December.