By William Shamhart – Numismatic Americana …….
I spent over half an hour trying to come up with a catchy title for this show report; and you see what I came up with. So if there was ever any doubt that I suffer from writer’s block, rest assured I have it.
By now you’ve read in other dealers show reports how the June Baltimore (as well as the June Long Beach) show is the slowest of the three. I am not going to fill my report full of fluff about how great it was or how many millions of dollars worth of business I did. Because it wasn’t and I didn’t. But I am going to tell you why this show was pivotal for me and the future of Numismatic Americana. In the past few months there have been some changes in my life. Some would say good, some would say bad. But I say all change plays a positive roll in that it brings about growth. And growth is always good. I won’t lie and say that I haven’t questioned my position as a retailer, because I have. Sometimes I wonder whether that really is my lot in life; my calling if you will. After being a wholesaler for over twenty-five years (25!) it was a little hard to make the transition. But I did. There is a learning curve as well as growing pains associated with it. Remember nothing in life is ever free, and numismatics is no exception.
So where am I going with this you ask? I don’t know myself so I can’t really answer that question. But I do know I love coins and I love talking with people about them. Hearing the story of the hunt and how a collector finally bagged the “Big” one. Or perhaps the research that a collector did on a coin to put all the pieces of the puzzle together. It fascinates me. It intrigues me. I love it. Really I do.
I got down to Baltimore late Wednesday afternoon. I didn’t see any reason to hurry up and get there because I didn’t have any appointments lined up. Seems most of my “secret” connections weren’t going. And I understand that position. But I think they missed the boat. The ENTIRE team of Whitman deserve a big round of applause for their work putting this show together. It isn’t easy making a show overly attractive when your clients don’t really want to come. But they did it. Great job people.
I think I should mention at this time that neither PCGS nor NGC were there doing on-site grading. That in its own right put a slight damper on the show. Kind of funny how important that has become to the success of a show in such little time. Evolution my friends, evolution.
The show officially opened to dealers for set up at eight o’clock on Thursday. This I like. Believe it or not, that one extra hour allows the table holders just a little more time to get settled in. I know that I and many others appreciated it. Early-bird badge holders got in a few hours after that with the general public getting in a couple more hours after them. Before I knew it, it was midday and the show was in full swing. Oh, I forgot to mention that this show was held in another hall, a smaller hall at that. And that’s okay. It worked and I didn’t hear any complaints about it at all. Another great decision on Whitman’s part. Keep up the good work.
As I have mentioned before in my show reports I like a smaller, more intimate setting. That is kind of hard to accomplish in a convention hall. But this show, a June Baltimore show, had that feeling. There wasn’t a rushed sense about it. Big as it was I was able to spend LOTS of time talking with customers and clients (see my last show report to find out the difference) about coins and life and everything in between. It was great. I was really pleased to see several clients make the trip to Baltimore. Clients I didn’t expect to see there. And that allowed me the opportunity to spend some time talking with them. Hearing about their collections and what their goals were. And that my friends is a lot more exciting than hearing about what a dealers goals are. So it was there in Baltimore that I had my moment. That moment when I realized that selling coins to collectors is why I am in this industry (yes industry, this is a real business). So as the saying goes, “I’m all in”.
So if you ever find yourself at a coin show where I have a table stop bye and say hello. Don’t let my gruff exterior scare you away. I’m just a “coin geek” who loves coins, and loves talking about them.
P.S. Check out my new listings. If you see something of interest give me a call or send me an email. I will be traveling for the next ten days to Colorado Springs (teaching at the ANA’s summer seminar), but I promise to get back to you as soon as possible.