Friday 13 September 2013

Targi, A Visit to Monety Expo Warsaw

For the second time Warsaw was host to a group of foreign coin dealers in what the organizers hope will become an annual event. I had only two hours to visit it this morning, and spotted a number of things which I found of interest. I'll publish this later because of what happened last year when I put down my thoughts and doubts here about what I saw the first day of this two-day event. When I went back the next day, the vast majority of the items I'd noted here as of interest were no longer on display, and I really don't think it was because they'd been sold.  

 Today the international coin fair "Targi Monety Expo" began and I went along to see if it was anything like last year's. After a few problems getting in (the ticket desk had run out of change twenty minutes after opening and I only had big notes), I waded in among the coineys (and this year stamp collectors). So, I wandered round, trying not to look conspicuous.

It was actually more or less like last year's. It seems to me people will not learn. Last year they bought from abroad bucket loads of loose Polish coins, Czech coins, Slovak coins, Soviet coins. Nobody bought then at 1 euro each (guess what? We have bucket loads of them already in Poland, sold for about a tenth of that price), so this year they brought them back and were trying to sell them for two euros each... coineys!   And thanks for the fake Soviet WW2 victory medals, from which country do they think they got to Germany in the first place? Duh.

I was warmly greeted by two foreign coin dealers, one of whom I knew, the other I've never seen in my life (but since he obviously confused me with a client, cadged an expensive looking auction catalogue off him anyway, though I'll not be bidding - gold ducats are so vulgar aren't they?). I was disappointed to see Steven Album was not here this year, he was great fun to talk to (not least because of the collection which was the source of at least some of the coins in his stock... if you get my drift).

There was lots of modern stuff, modern milled gold, and a modest range of modern commemorative sets. Of the oldies, there were a lot of thalars and relatively few ancients of variable quantity. There was a Bulgarian bloke sitting dourly gazing across a table with an odd selection of erdefrisch Roman and Byzantine bric-a-brac. It's the first time I've seen anyone selling quite so many firesteels. My time was short (so I did not talk with him; if he's there tomorrow I'll pretend to be a client and try out some Tompa-isms on him about that wonderful alleged free market they have back in Bulgar-wunderland).  He had a folder full of export licences for every one of the objects he had brought with him. The Austrian dealer who was here last year with the dodgy-looking early seventh century solidi and the nice catalogue freebies was back, and guess what they had in the middle of the showcase? More of the same types of coins (last year he hid them when 'somebody' started asking questions...). It was either a very big hoard, or nobody wants to touch them, and they think the Poles will buy them (bet they won't). I suspect its the former case, because a second dealer, this one from Germany had a similar range of the things in a similar condition. They were all very 'soapy' looking, odd. The German dealer had some interesting other stuff, there were the piles of early Polish milled silver (I've seen this sort of stuff on the market here, it's all from Ukrainian and Belarussian metal detectorists), but also next to them lots of mainland Greek coins, all the same types in piles.... I suspect this is a gentleman we will be hearing more about on this blog. Another dealer had a knackered Roman republican aes, which I realised was the first time I'd had one in the hand (actually they really are unlovely things). Over the other side of the hall however was a really nice Athenian owl in superb condition, and with an interesting die flaw on the obverse. 

I don't know if it's the fashion now, but an awful lot of the coins from foreign dealers looked over-cleaned and some even polished (or is that lacquer?), and its not just nineteenth century medallions and suchlike, but seventeenth century thalars. They look horrible. I get the impression that those who did not bring cheap junk overpriced were after the investment market, so the more it glitters perhaps, the more people with money and no sense they might attract I suppose. From watching the Polish market for 'ancients' for a while now, it's clear to me that there are an awful lot of the latter, but I think those dealers who came back a second time had not really thought out how to attract them. The Polish market has quite a specific character and I think the dealers who came here from abroad did not really appreciate that (ahem, my consultation fees are quite modest). More tomorrow.


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