"SP Banknotes & Coin Fair 2015" in Penang

Most Malaysian and Singaporean collectors are familiar with banknotes and coin fairs held quarterly in Malacca and Johor (Batu Pahat, Danga Bay) for the past several years. The fairs are a good place for enthusiast, dealers and the general public to come together to buy/sell and exchange ideas and get the latest information on market prices of these collectibles. However, there has not been any such activity at the north of the peninsular for the past few years and that was what prompted Bert Chang to organize one in the Straits Settlements' island of Penang.

Coin Fair in Penang April 2015
Fig 1. Event banner

Now if you are an avid Facebook user and do all your hunting and socializing on the most popular social media platform on this planet, then you would have at least encountered the "SP 钱币发烧友" Facebook group (Translation : "SP Banknote & Coin Enthusiast"). The SP stands for Sungai Petani, a town in the northern state of Kedah. This is an active group of 15,340 members from all over Malaysia (as of 29 April 2015) with many daily postings for stuff for sale and enquiries from group members. Bert Chang is the organizer of this community since 2013 and this the very first time a pure numismatic event was organized in Penang in recent years. This 2 day event (25 & 26 April) was held in Menara Komtar, the tallest building in Penang.

I began my journey to Penang from Kuala Lumpur with an early morning drive at 6:30am. After arriving on the island that late morning and checking in at a relative's place, I headed to Komtar at 2:15pm.  

The show was held at the ICT Digital Mall section of Komtar and the place was packed to the rafters at 2:30pm, there was hardly any space to walk around to see the items for sale. Sign of a pent up demand over the past few years? 

I did had the opportunity to have a chat with Bert. He didn't quite expect such a big crowd but it was a pleasant surprise. There were a total of 53 stalls, a high number of the dealers are from Kuala Lumpur. Table rent was very reasonable - at RM180 for 2 days. According to him, preparations started over 2 months ago and it has been a challenging task managing such an event. It is never easy running an event such as this. I have personally done similar events before. I had participated in countless IT exhibitions before and more recently I was organizing a flea market in the Klang Valley area. There are many little things to take care of e.g. the tables, arrangement of tables, collecting rentals and following up with table/booth owners, traffic flow etc. Bottom line is you can't please everybody, you just do your best given the circumstances. 

Also present at the show was the General Manager of the ICT Digital Mall, Ms. Leong Mee Meng, she was there to officiate the event and more importantly witness the progress of the event. While not a collector, she did express her excitement about old banknotes and coins being able to command good value in the collectors' market place. There was a lot of buying and selling, at the same time, I did witness folks bringing their old coins to be valuated and inspected by the dealers.

Overall we concluded that it is a success judging from the turnout and Bert says that he will certainly organizer another one, with improvements base on feedback received for this one.

Fig 2. Introducing Bert Chang! 

Fig 3. The VIPs officiating the event at 3:00pm, with Ms. Leong, GM of the ICT Digital Mall.
Fig 4. Official ceremony (photo courtesy of Bert Chang)

Fig 5. The place was packed with people from all walks of life.
Fig 6. Now these 2 guys look very very familiar! (CT Tan & See Thoo)
Fig 7. Guys from TMC Junior
Fig 8.  Wee Banknote & Boson Goh (from the south of the Peninsular)
Fig 9. A very happy Loo Chia Wei. 

Fig 10. Fancy any PMG/NGC T-Shirts? Don't think they are UNC though!

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