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Interview: News From the World Money Fair

Actually, there is no need to introduce the World Money Fair. Over the past years, the international leader in the world of numismatic fairs has developed into a truly unique event with a concept that is unmatched by any other coin fair. While traditional events are mostly attended by insiders, the World Money Fair succeeds time and again in attracting crowds of people who are not yet collectors themselves but want to know more about the subject of coins.

He has already prepared several changes for his first World Money Fair: Goetz-Ulf Jungmichel

He has already prepared several changes for his first World Money Fair: Goetz-Ulf Jungmichel

In 2024, a new generation takes over the leadership of the World Money Fair. Having hosted 17 successful events, Barbara Balz has handed over the reins to Goetz-Ulf Jungmichel. We talked to him to find out about the future course of the World Money Fair.

CW: Goetz-Ulf Jungmichel, actually, you come from a very different industry. You were head of the boat and water sports fair “boot Düsseldorf” for many years. Won’t it be a massive change for you to shift from the world’s most important boat and water sports fair to the world’s most important coin fair?

G.-U. Jungmichel: No, it won’t be a massive change – except from the change in venue from Düsseldorf to Berlin. Although the two fairs cover completely different fields, they are both known as the world’s largest fairs within their industries. And they have more in common than you might think. While the boot Düsseldorf is much larger than the World Money Fair, the two events share a common driving force: passion. Water sports is a passion, as is collecting. Therefore there are many similarities when it comes to hosting these events. In both cases, this is mainly about understanding target groups as well as recognising needs and creating wants. And, ultimately, setting up the market in a way that appeals to visitors.

CW: Could you briefly explain to our readers how the World Money Fair is different from traditional coin fairs?

G.-U. Jungmichel: Unlike other events, we see ourselves as a coin fair that brings together dealers, mints, central banks and engineers under a single roof. This is a unique concept and explains why – with about 300 exhibitors – the World Money Fair is the world’s largest coin fair and is considered the leading event in its industry.

CW: Visitors and their experience are of crucial importance for any public fair of our time and age. Can you tell us what this means? What changes can visitors look forward to at the next World Money Fair?

G.-U. Jungmichel: For 2024, my focus is on “structure and orientation”. We want to surprise attendees and visitors with neatly designed halls and a structure that is easy to navigate. This also includes a new visitor orientation system. Moreover, we introduced an online ticket shop, which means that tickets can now be purchased at our website prior to the event and easily be printed at home. Of course, there will also be a ticket counter at the event, but we aim to reduce the long queues at the entrance to the hotel. The entrance area will also get a new design. We will set up a “Live Stage” for new releases to be presented and lectures to be held. The fair catalogue also gets a new look – and the World Money Fair logo was already redesigned last summer.

Moreover, we launched the World Money Fair Club in December. The club aims to provide a forum where collectors can connect with and talk to like-minded people throughout the entire year, where they can exchange information and receive invitations to interesting events. Membership is free and comes with a number of exclusive advantages. For example, club members get a free drink in the Club Lounge during the World Money Fair at the Estrel Congress Center and discounts from our partners.

CW: Dealers already noticed that quite a few things have changed. Many of them had to get used to the online registration process. Could you tell us something about why this change was necessary?

G.-U. Jungmichel: In recent years, various areas of our lives have been digitised. Be it online shopping or apartment hunting – many things are getting done online today, which simplifies workflows and processes. This is of particular importance when it comes to handling personal data and adopting security measures. Therefore, we opted to implement a new event software in the summer, which safely stores the data of our exhibitors and also enables us to create the hall plans for the Estrel Congress Center. In this way, we can use the space better and create clearer structures. And for us as a team, digitising the process also creates clearer structures and, most importantly, helps with time management.

CW: During Covid, the World Money Fair took place in the digital space. Will this part of the fair be extended? Or will the fair rather focus on personal encounters in real life?

G.-U. Jungmichel: The World Money Fair is a marketplace and brings supply and demand together. It is also a place to meet and get to know new people, to expand your network, foster and deepen relationships, make business and develop trust. For this to succeed, we need it to happen “live”, physically bringing people closer together. For fairs and marketplaces, it is essential to be in-person events, and we want to maintain and foster this aspect. Of course, there will be new content on our new website, providing visitors that cannot attend the fair with information and knowledge while also turning the World Money Fair into a “year-long” concept. We aim to go beyond being a short-term marketplace – we want to do our best for the industry all year long.

CW: These are quite a lot of innovations considering that it’s your fist World Money Fair. Would you let us take a look into the crystal ball? In what direction will the World Money Fair develop? What do you think it will look like in – let’s say – five years?

G.-U. Jungmichel: I am confident that the event will still revolve around the passion for collecting in five years. After all, this passion is a deeply human and timeless trait. Moreover, the enthusiasm for collecting creates a sense of togetherness and the community will want to continue to meet in five years. Interests within the world of coin collecting might change, especially considering the growing trend of virtualization, but I believe that in-person encounters will still be essential to coin collectors. As a fair, we support our exhibitors’ efforts to make successful deals and want to shape the future at the point of sale – at the meeting point of all those who share this passion. Both nationally and internationally I am looking forward to many interesting collaborations with partners who are just as enthusiastic about it as we are.

CW: Our readers probably can’t even imagine all the small steps that go into organising such a large fair. Could you tell us about one or two details of your process?

G.-U. Jungmichel: Of course – it is precisely these details that are at the heart of the fair organising business. You need to like people, understand their wishes and be able to interpreted them correctly so that you can bring them all together at a certain point in time, be it because of their similarities or despite their differences. Every exhibitor is of equal importance to us, be it a dealer and their table or a mint with a sophisticated booth. They all contribute to the diversity of the marketplace.

Secondly, we too are incredibly passionate about our product, the World Money Fair. Unlike a high rack, for example, a fair is not planned to maximise efficiency. A fair must be staged. This requires knowledge, sociability, empathy, creativity, communication on equal footing and a little “calculating”.

CW: How many people does it take to successfully hold such a major numismatic event?

G.-U. Jungmichel: Currently, there are four employees in my team (50% part-time), but they are supported by external service providers. In addition, there are numerous partners, friends and sponsors of the fair as well as, of course, our owners, who are highly interested in the fair being successful – not only in financial terms. This network carries us and helped us succeed, and it will continue to do so.

CW: What do you look forward to most at your first World Money Fair?

G.-U. Jungmichel: If you work on a project for almost an entire year, you look most forward to it actually starting. We altered and changed a lot and I am excited to see how our visitors, partners and exhibitors will react to it.

CW: And what will keep you up at night right before the fair starts?

G.-U. Jungmichel: Actually, I do not think that I’ll be truly worried about something. After all, we started planning the event in good time and are very well prepared. I guess I’ll rather hope that there won’t be any extreme weather conditions in February, that our visitors won’t get stuck in the snow or that some strike will prevent visitors who have been planning their trip for a long time from traveling to Berlin – the place to be!

CW: So I guess we’ll see each other at the upcoming World Money Fair in Berlin! Thank you very much for taking the time to answer our questions.

The interview was conducted by Ursula Kampmann.

The World Money Fair will be held from 2 to 4 February 2024. One day earlier, Künker will hold its auction sale and mint engineers will meet for the 20th Technical Forum.

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