60 Years of the Long Beach Expo


A souvenir “coin” from the first Long Beach Coin and Stamp Exposition in 1964. (Image courtesy of Ron Gillio.)

David Hall Recalls Early Long Beach Expo by Donn Pearlman

(Long Beach, California) — Launched in 1964 as the Long Beach Coin and Stamp Exposition, the now-named Long Beach Coin, Currency, Stamp & Sports Collectible Expo (www.LongBeachExpo.com) is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
The upcoming show, January 30 – February 1, 2014, will be held in the Long Beach, California Convention Center, 100 S. Pine Ave.
In 1966, just two years after the first Long Beach Expo, an eager 19-year vest pocket dealer attended his very first coin show there.
Coincidentally, that teenaged dealer of the 1960s, David Hall, now “owns” the show in his role as President of Collectors Universe, Inc. (NASDAQ: CLCT) the parent company of Expos Unlimited, organizer of the Long Beach Expo.
“What I remember most about that first show I attended in 1966 was the enormous size of it. I recall seeing the ‘big name’ dealers of the day, such as Abe Kosoff, Sol Kaplan and Harry Forman. It was quite intimidating,” Hall recalled.
“I also vividly remember one particular dealer’s table because he had two showcases filled with only one item, 1957 flat pack proof sets. He must have had several hundred sets piled up. No High Relief Saint-Gaudens Double Eagles, no four-dollar Stella gold pieces; just two cases filled to the brim with 1957 flat pack proof sets!”
What were the “hot” numismatic items a half century ago?
“In those days, most of the trading was in then-modern coins, often in bulk quantities. So, even at a coin show there would be a lot of BU rolls, proofs sets from the 1950’s and 1960’s, and even complete roll sets of modern coins,” said Hall.
The Long Beach show was founded in 1964 by Los Angeles coin dealer Ray Lundgren and Long Beach coin and jewelry dealer “Trader Sam” Frudakis.
About 20 years later they sold the show to Sam Lopresto who operated it until 1992 when he sold it to Ron Gillio and Paul Kopenhaver who subsequently organized the show under the corporate name, Expos Unlimited. In 1995, Koppenhaver sold his share of Expos Unlimited to Gillio.
Collectors Universe President and PCGS Co-Founder David Hall attended his first coin show in Long Beach as a 19 year old vest pocket dealer in 1966.
The founders of the Long Beach show, Ray Lundgren and “Trader Sam” Frudakis, circa 1964, the year they launched the show. (Photo courtesy of Ron Gillio.)
Gillio continued to operate the Long Beach Expo until he sold it in 2006 to Collectors Universe, corporate parent of Professional Coin Grading Service and Professional Sports Authenticator.
“Collectors Universe is a growing company and looking for things that are complimentary to what we do with collectibles. The Long Beach show was right in our backyard and it was available, so we purchased it. It was always a great show for PCGS, and the Long Beach show is one of the great institutions in the rare coin market,” Hall explained.
“With Cassi East, President of the Certified Coin Exchange division of Collectors Universe, in charge of the show, we are moving forward to keep innovating and improving. For example, you now can look for the specific coins you’re seeking even before you get to the show using our mobile application, Collectors Corner CoinSearchâ„¢. The free app is available at m.collectorscorner.com and works with any mobile device or smart phone to let you see the inventory participating dealers will be bringing to the show.”
Admission to the show is $8 for adults, $4 for seniors and children aged 8 to 16. However, as part of the 50th anniversary celebration, anyone can get a free admission coupon online for the upcoming show.
“Simply go to our website, www.LongBeachExpo.com, click ‘Get Passes,’ and enter the special Promo Code, PR214, and print out the coupon to present at the show’s registration desk,” explained East.
For additional information about the January 30 – February 1 show, visit online at www.LongBeachExpo.com, call the Long Beach Expo at (888) 743-9316 or email at [email protected].