Rare Coin Show Road Warrior-Freestyling
Dear Rare Coin Enthusiast,
During the last several months I have taken a hiatus from writing my monthly Road Warrior. Many have asked why?
The ‘break’ was not planned, but as one of my grandfathers used to say, ‘if you can’t say anything nice, keep your mouth shut.’ After writing several ‘negative’ articles (which I DID NOT publish), I decided to not write anything at all for a few months. Although I have some serious concerns about the rare coin business and especially the American Numismatic Association itself, I want to focus on the ‘fun stuff’ Sherri and I get to do while traveling part of 40 weeks each year to coin shows ALL over the continental United States. The secret to the ‘fun’ IS and always will be ‘the coins’.
Many of our trips are coin show related, but some are show and buying trips with a little fun mixed in. When we schedule a trip to an area where we haven’t spent a lot of time, I call it ‘freestyling’. I pull out my dealer directory, turn to the state we plan on visiting, and circle the names of the dealers I would like to visit. Often times, I call ahead and introduce myself if I haven’t done business with a particular dealer in the past. Like the word implies, ‘freestyling’ is a toss of the dice. You just don’t know whether you will buy anything interesting or indeed buy anything at all. Frankly, that is part of the fun!
This last week in Manchester, NH (at the NH Show) wasn’t really ‘freestyling’, but since we haven’t had the opportunity to attend this great medium sized show for a couple of years, I was reminded of the many times I have visited an area that was unfamiliar. Being from the Midwest originally and making my home in TX, the reception we receive in different areas of the country is quite interesting. Of course, all I have to do is open my mouth and the natives in some areas KNOW ‘I am not from around there’. This is especially interesting in New England.
Because we have to eat, one of the biggest perks during our travels is dining. In New England, the big ‘draw’ is the fabulous seafood-especially lobster. Between the steamed whole lobsters, lobster rolls, and even a fried lobster dinner, we have sampled and partaken of more than our share of lobster this last week. IT WAS INCREDIBLE. During a lunch this weekend on a deck overlooking New Harbor, ME we had an excellent meal at Shaw’s while we watched a lobster boat unloading the day’s catch. Add in the incredible autumn leaves and foliage and I would rate the trip an A.
During the last month and a half we had three trips out West including the Long Beach and Santa Clara Coin Shows. In addition, we traveled to the ‘last’ Whitman Philadelphia Coin Exposition, as well as, attending the New Hampshire Coin Show in Manchester, NH. With the bouncing back and forth from East to West, our schedule has been particularly hectic, but we always try and take at least a day or two to relax in one of our favorite destinations every fourth or fifth trip.
During our travels, it isn’t unusual to see a couple of dozen different coin dealers in a particularly popular local restaurant. In Long Beach, CA for example we love going to George’s Greek Café. In Santa Clara, CA we are partial to an incredible sushi restaurant called ‘Sushi O Sushi’. In Philadelphia, we will definitely MISS the Reading Terminal Market with the incredible selection of both food vendors and restaurants just across the street from the convention center. OK, no more Food Channel news. Are you hungry yet?
Currently, the rare coin business is pretty healthy. Although bullion prices have been somewhat depressed, RARE coins continue to be more difficult to find as the months roll by. Personally, I do not believe that we will see rare coins (except possibly the MOST generic items) at lower price levels unless the particular coin is a ‘DOG’. Ugly coins have been a thorn in the side of the hobby/business forever. Unfortunately, the pricing guides and grading services CAN NOT quantify eye appeal. CAC has done a great job with their strict ‘line’. Their ‘approved’ stickered coins not only sell faster, but for more money. ‘Nice’ coins are harder to find and the lack of supply will only become more acute.
The rare coin show circuit has been interesting lately. Early in September we attended a growing and very active Santa Clara Coin Show. Since this show was re-opened a couple of years ago, the crowds have returned and dealers are pleased with both the reasonable table prices and attendance. This is a ‘great’ show location (especially because of the history) and this show will continue to improve. The Long Beach Show also continues to improve. Although this show was nearly on ‘life support’ a few years ago, the huge bourse floor is nearly completely full with dealers. And, although the sports celebrities signing autographs (brought in to boost attendance) has helped fill the bourse floor, the benefit to the actual coin dealers ‘paying the freight’ is questionable.
The big news of the Fall is the demise of the Whitman Philadelphia Coin Expo. Frankly, I am disappointed. We had good shows in Philadelphia and enjoyed visiting. The problems were with the Philadelphia Convention Center itself. The incompetence of the facility managers and staff was phenomenal! Not only were there tables without electricity when the show opened, but dealers who had more than a briefcase or two were FORCED to use convention center employees to transport their stock and supplies to their respective tables. Many dealers questioned NOT only the cost of this, but the security risks also. Not only were some of the union rules unpleasant and completely unnecessary, BUT the big ‘kicker’ was the 3 TON safe crashing to the floor in the middle of the Heritage bourse tables only an hour into dealer set-up.
Fortunately, no one was hurt.
Whitman should be applauded. Although they might be blamed by some for the venue, the fault was CLEARLY with the Philadelphia Convention Center and their incompetent staff. Many dealers (including myself) hope Whitman will consider a show in a SUBURB of Philadelphia in the future. Whitman had the courage, and good sense, to say ‘no more’.
Upcoming shows of note in October and November include the Silver Dollar Show in St. Charles, MO during the third week of the month. During that same week, both NGC and PCGS are holding their Dealers/Members Only Invitational events in Las Vegas. While Sherri and I attend the NGC and PCGS events in Las Vegas, our table in St. Charles will be manned by Mike Clark. Later in October we will be attending the Denver Coin Show. We will be represented by our new staff numismatist Mike Clark at the Indiana State Show in Indianapolis the very beginning of November. The BIG Show of the fall is Whitman Publishing’s Baltimore Coin Expo. This show has become a ‘must attend’ show for dealers and collectors alike. Our show schedule for October and November is listed below.
Bozarth Numismatics Inc is a full service rare coin dealer. We buy and sell PCGS, NGC, and CAC graded and approved high grade U.S. coins. We sell coins at shows and on both our website bozarthcoins.com and in our Ebay store bozarthnumismaticsinc. Because of our extensive show and buying travel schedule we can often locate those ‘hard to find’ items. We offer free confidential want list services and will call or email you ‘first’ if we locate an item for you. Thanks and Best Regards, Vic Bozarth/The Rare Coin Road Warrior.
NGC Trade & Grade Las Vegas, NV TABLE
PCGS Invitational Las Vegas, NV TABLE
Silver Dollar Show St. Charles, MO TABLE
Denver Coin Show Denver, CO Attending
Indianapolis State Indianapolis, IN TABLE
Whitman Baltimore Show Baltimore, MD TABLE
Houston (PRE-Money) Show Houston, TX TABLE
Houston Money Show Houston, TX TABLE