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Verona Coin Fair - Veronafil 27-29 May 2016

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What better way to combine business and pleasure than to enjoy lovely Italian food and weather, while spending a good couple of days browsing what the coin dealers of Italy have to offer?

The idea to come to Verona for the Veronafil stamp and coin fair came about during the Kunker spring auctions in Osnabrueck back in April and already then I thought it was a great idea. Of course, so did my wife and we decided to make it a long weekend in Verona. 

I had kept my expectations at a low as I couldn't imagine Italian dealers having much North European and British coins. But this proved to be wrong, actually it was one of the better European fairs I have been to, very much comparable to the big Numismata fairs in Germany.

Not necessarily the prettiest of fairs, but this is something that any seasoned coin fair visitor is not just used to, but even appreciates. The unfinished and raw atmosphere of the cold metal booths and tables leaves a sense of an imperfect environment, which of course is a good thing if it only applies somewhat to prices!

Hangar building #9 was one of many similar buildings on the huge Veronafiere site.

Friday had a good start with a proof Rupie 1905-J from German East Africa in exceptional quality. This was followed by an 1816 Q (Perignan mint) French 40 Francs with a price tag expected for a VF coin, but this coin was a good EF with sparkling mint lustre! Further I bought some decent grade shield sovereigns and the odd German 20 Marks.

No trip to a foreign coin fair is complete without a cultural faux-pas. In Italy it has to be around respect, or my apparent lack thereof. I thought my offer for buying an entire book of 87 silver coins would warrant a dealer's attention after waiting politely while he was scribbling something on a piece of paper. After presenting my (very fair!) offer for the third time he threw his pen on the table, set off an array of Italian presumed not so nice words while gesticulating vehemently. I left this opportunity to buy a nice mix of Morgan silver dollars, French and Belgian 5 Francs and Italian 20 lire from Vittorio Emanuele II.

What better way to complete a nice day browsing some great coins, than to enjoy a glass of local soave wine on a quiet side street to the busy shopping street, summarizing the day's purchases while eating a delicious meal of home made tortellini, a local speciality and, of course, finishing with a tiramisu!

Via Mazzini is lined with beautiful houses with flowers in the balconies.

It always amazes me how you spend 6 hours going through what you think is an entire fair, only to come back the next day and find lots of coins you haven't seen. I'm sure some dealers change their coins on display and in the case of Matteo Cavedoni from Firenze not a single coin is the same on day 2! Friday was all Italian, Saturday international. Since he was the originator of the idea to come to Verona, I had to spend some money with him on Saturday. Last time I saw his stock was during the NYINC in New York and both then and now I was impressed at the quality of coins he has. He clearly has a good eye for quality and it is a real pleasure to do business with him. Needless to say I had to sell some bullion sovereigns I had brought to pay my bill in the end!

The booth of MCN (Matteo Cavedoni Numismatica) was one of the busiest at the fair.

Some of the picks from Saturday included an uncirculated 4 riksdaler riksmynt from Sweden (1862), a set of mint condition gulden from German states Bavaria, Nassau and Hesse-Darmstadt and a lovely bright red uncirculated penny 1841 (unfortunately the common type with no colon after REG). The dealer, who was British, told the story of the penny being found in a box which was set in the foundation of the old police station in Bromley, brought down some years back. Apparently it was common to set coins in the foundation of buildings back in the days for good luck. I had to pay dearly for the coin but sometimes this is warranted and whether the story is true or not it is the best 1841 penny I have seen, similar in colour to copper coins from the Baldwin's 'cellar', where rolls were put away over 100 years ago.

All in all a trip worthwhile with some great coins, lovely weather and fantastic food. Count me in for the next Verona fair in November!


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