Rare Coin Road Warrior – October 2010
Hi, my name is Vic Bozarth and I am a Rare Coin Road Warrior. I have spent most of my twenty plus years in the rare coin business at shows or on buying trips all over the continental U.S. My wife, Sherri Bozarth, and I own Bozarth Numismatics Inc. and our website is Bozarthcoins.com.
In my first Rare Coin Road Warrior column for September I talked about the ANA Convention in Boston, MA held in early August as well as the Illinois State Numismatic Association Show in Chicago, the Long Beach Show, and the newer Whitman Coin Expo in Philadelphia. This month I will write about some of the news from Long Beach and Philadelphia as well as previewing shows in Manchester, NH, St. Louis, MO, Portland, OR, Stamford, CT, Baltimore, MD, and Boston, MA. As you might have guessed the Fall season is very busy with lots of big coin shows. We try to attend all the major shows as well as most of the larger regional shows.
The coin business is very busy right now with the gold bullion price hitting an all time high with each new day. Currently gold is at $1356 as I pen this article from my seat (20C) on a Continental Airlines flight to Boston. Although we are at an all time high price for bullion many rare gold coins are trading at a smaller premium (over melt) than at any time in recent memory. Prices are rising with both the higher bullion prices and increased demand, but good values are still readily available.
The Long Beach Coin and Stamp Expo is one of the largest and most successful shows in the rare coin business. Dealers have been attending the Long Beach Show since the sixties when there were two shows annually. Since the seventies there have been three shows each year generally in February, June, and September. Personally I have attended over 70 straight Long Beach Shows and wouldn’t miss one for the world. We love to visit CA and the Long Beach Show has hundreds of dealers in attendance plus a major Heritage Auction at each show.
Over the last several years the Long Beach Show has had some challenges. Attendance has slipped and many smaller dealers were, to put it frankly, just priced out of the room. I was pleasantly surprised at the September show to see some ‘new’ dealers set up as well as healthy attendance by the public. Indeed, prior to the show, the management of the show did a good job trying to fill the bourse by offering some more attractive table prices to both new attendees and those who had not had a table recently. Long Beach is cool and a lot of dealers make it a better show for everyone.
The Whitman Philadelphia Coin Expo is only in the second year of existence, but these folks know how to run a show. Philadelphia is the home of our first, and for many years only, mint. Philadelphia and the Northeast comprise a large portion of the original thirteen states and ‘old’ coins come out of the woodwork there. After all, the ‘old’ coins were made there. Not only is Philadelphia a great coin town, but it is fun to visit also. The Convention Center itself is conveniently located with lots of lodging and dining options. Public transportation is available too. We really enjoyed the Reading Terminal Market and the dozens of vendors and restaurants available there.
The October Show Schedule is pretty grueling. Early October starts with the New Hampshire Coin Expo in Manchester, NH. Ernie Botte, a dealer and the show promoter, does an excellent job with this show. Not only has it grown, but the new facilities are much improved. New Hampshire is a gorgeous state, especially this time of year. If you have the opportunity I highly recommend this show for a combined coin show/vacation trip.
The largest show in October is arguably the Silver Dollar Expo in St. Charles, MO. Both PCGS and NGC grade ‘on sight’ at this show and there is a Scotsman Rare Coin Auction. The Silver Dollar Expo moved to St. Charles from St. Louis several years ago and it has been a great improvement. The show itself is held in a new convention center connected to a very nice Embassy Suites. Although this show doesn’t have the attendance it once had, it is an excellent show and most of the major dealers as well as many Midwest dealers are represented. One note of interest is the new ANA Fall Show that will be held in Pittsburgh, PA the week following this show next year. The question is whether the grading services (PCGS and NGC) will try and grade on sight at both St. Louis and Pittsburgh next year on back to back weeks.
We are trying a new show in Portland, Oregon this year. The Willamette Club Show is held in Portland, OR at the Doubletree Hotel in downtown Portland. This is a new show for us although I have attended it a couple of times over the last ten years. Because this is a new show for us, I will have to hold off on any comments until next month.
One of the neatest shows to start in the last five years has to be the Coinfest. Coinfest has used some interesting, albeit quirky advertising flyers to promote their show. We attended our first Coinfest a couple of years ago and just ‘walked’ the bourse floor. Last year we took a table and this year we upgraded to a corner table. Coinfest is held in Stamford, CT which is an easy drive from the NYC metropolitan area. The show is just off I-95 and all the bigger East Coast dealers, as well as many from other parts of the country attend. This year the show is being held in a new facility at a Marriott Hotel near the Hilton Hotel show location from last year.
For those of you in the Rocky Mountain states, the Denver Coin Show held the last week of October is an excellent show. We have attended this show and enjoy it thoroughly, but a scheduling conflict between this and Coinfest forced us to skip this year’s Denver Fall Show.
The November show schedule starts off with possibly the best show being held in the U.S. annually. The Whitman Baltimore Coin Expo has developed into a must attend show for most dealers in the country. The facilities are more than adequate. There are lots of hotels, but you must book a room early. Baltimore’s Inner Harbor area, where the convention is held, is cool both historically and for just having fun. Public transportation is available with rail lines dropping off passengers very close to the convention center. Bowers and Merena Auctions hold a large and well attended auction in conjunction with the show also. The Baltimore Coin Expo is held three times a year, but the Fall show has always been the best of the three.
Although we probably will be unable to attend this year’s Fall Bay State Show in Boston, MA, I wanted to put in a good word for Ed Aleo and the work he has done running this show for several decades now. Ed has managed to schedule his show around lots of bigger major shows without getting stepped on time wise. This year’s show is the second week of November. The Bay State Show is held twice a year, in the Spring and Fall, at the Radisson Park Plaza Hotel just two blocks from Boston Commons. Boston is a cool city as most who attended the recent ANA convention there will attest. Boston has really given itself a makeover in recent years. As an added bonus, there is a Legal Seafood Restaurant right across the street.
There are dozens of coin shows every week somewhere in the U.S. We try to attend the larger shows, but I want to emphasize that we just can’t attend them all. There are lots of excellent shows we can’t attend. Unfortunately there aren’t enough weeks in a year. In next month’s Rare Coin Road Warrior I am going to list a few of the shows we don’t attend that I have heard good things about. As an example, Dave and Ginger Pike run several really good shows each year in Grapevine, TX, a suburb of Dallas. Dave and Ginger go out of their way to make dealers feel welcome and when we haven’t had a conflict with another show we have really enjoyed their show. If you have the opportunity you should attend.
Also in next month’s RCRW, I will discuss news from the October Shows we have attended as well as previewing the November Show Schedule. Bozarth Numismatics upcoming schedule includes the following shows:
New Hampshire Coin Expo, Manchester, NH ….. October 8-10
Silver Dollar Show, St. Charles, MO ….. October 14-16
Portland Coin Show, Portland, OR ….. October 22-24
Coinfest, Stamford, CT ….. October 28-30
Whitman Coin Show, Baltimore, MD ….. November 4-7
Santa Clara Coin Expo, Santa Clara, CA ….. November 18-20
Houston Money Show, Houston, TX ….. [December 1 PNG Day] December 2-4
Bozarth Numismatics sells thousands of high grade PCGS and NGC U.S. coins each year. WE TRAVEL TO BUY NEW COINS. To see our current selections and read our monthly Rare Coin Market Report please check out our website Bozarthcoins.com.
Best Regards, Vic Bozarth.