January 2012 Rare Coin Road Warrior – Follow the Money!
By Vic Bozarth – Rare Coin Road Warrior
This morning Sherri and I are on the West or the ‘left coast’. Over the years I have found lot of great coins in lots of unusual places, but the largest concentrations of the best coins are generally in biggest cities. The East Coast, especially the Northeast, is a ‘hotbed’ of numismatic activity. Frankly, the oldest coins were made there-mostly in Philadelphia-and many of these coins are still coming out of the ‘woodwork’ in 2012. We lived in South Jersey near Philadelphia for many years when I worked for Avena Rare Coins. Although both Bobby and Danny Avena travel extensively also, I was their ‘road guy’.
Like today, I traveled from city to city on a weekly basis mostly to coin shows. Many of the great ‘contacts’ I have today were dealers I met years ago. The West Coast is also a hotbed of numismatic activity. Both Los Angeles and San Francisco are great ‘coin towns’. The Long Beach Coin Show is one of the most well known shows on the rare coin show circuit. In fact, the Winter Long Beach Show will be held in just a couple of weeks in early February.
One of the sayings you hear on some of the TV crime dramas is ‘follow the money’. Frankly, the coin business is somewhat similar, but not in a criminal way. The biggest concentration of coins is in the Northeast because that is where most of the population is centered along with most of the money. California is also a great place to look for coins for the same two reasons: population and money. There are great coins in other parts of the continental United States, but the middle of the country is ‘spotty’. There are exceptions like Chicago and the big cities in Texas.
The Midwest, Southeast, Northwest, and Rocky Mountain states have great collectors and great coins, but the population and MONEY-there’s that word again-are just not in the same concentration as in the more densely populated areas. Because my goal is to try and see as many of the highest grade rare coins possible, I most often travel to the biggest shows and bigger cities. Bigger doesn’t always mean better, but the odds are that I will find more nice high grade rare coins in bigger cities.
The show to attend in late January is the San Jose, CA Coin Club Show. Although not the huge show, the San Jose Coin Club has consistently put together a great show for decades. Now that the Santa Clara Show is gone, this is ‘THE SHOW’ in the Bay area. Scott Griffiths, a Bay area dealer is putting together another show in Santa Clara to be held in August. We are looking forward to this new Santa Clara Show, but are concerned that it is scheduled the week after the Summer ANA Show in Chicago.
The Bay Area has had some legendary shows in the past like the Jack Tarr Shows, but the success of a bigger show attended by lots of out of state dealers will be questionable as long as the state of California continues their lopsided and incredibly short-sighted taxing practices. Like most out of state dealers that have stopped attending will tell you, ‘why create problems for myself?’ Why indeed?
The Rare Coin Show schedule for the Winter months has some great shows. The first week of February the Long Beach Show will be held in the Long Beach Convention Center. Over the last couple of years this show has shown some improvement with more reasonably priced tables and increased attendance. Dealers who ‘just walked’ this show have come back and are taking bourse tables again. We have noticed a significant improvement.
One of the best smaller shows in the country is in St. Louis at the airport Hilton the second week of February. This show NEEDS to be moved, because the bourse facility is completely inadequate, unsecure, and flat out dangerous, but….the show does pack them in. The area where the show is held leaves much to be desired also. Several years ago the two other St. Louis Shows moved to St. Charles, MO to a newer, bigger, more secure, and MUCH cleaner facility. Unfortunately this show doesn’t even appear in the Numismatic News’ Coin Dealer Calendar.
We will travel straight from MO after the St. Louis Show to the NGC Trade and Grade Show in Longboat Key near Sarasota. This ‘dealers only’ show is a great little venue where dealers bring their best coins for grading and trade among themselves in a totally secure bourse area. There are several other good shows in February including the Cleveland Coin Show, The Collectorama Show in Lakeland, FL and the Charlotte (NC) Coin Club Show.
We are attending a new show in Tinley Park, IL (a suburb of Chicago) the last weekend of February. Although there are two other shows held at this nice facility South of Chicago, this is a new show. March starts with a PCGS Invitational Show in Las Vegas. Although somewhat similar to the NGC Trade and Grade events, this show is open to PCGS Collectors Club members and invitees. We have been pleasantly surprised with business at this show and have had a table since late last year.
The big show of the month of March is the Whitman Baltimore Coin Exposition. This show is great! Because of the great location and dealer friendly atmosphere, the Baltimore Show continues to thrive. Dealers LIKE to attend this show. The hotels are plentiful, although you MUST book early, and the restaurants are top-notch. The convention center is easily accessed and the event is heavily attended. Unfortunately with all great events, the ‘bad guys’ KNOW about this show. You need to be extra vigilant when ‘out and about’ especially in the evenings.
Other shows in March include the Sarasota Coin Club Show, the Chattanooga, TN Numismatic Society Show, the C.A.M.P. Show in Monroeville, PA and the South Shore Coin Club Show in Milwaukee the week after the Whitman Coin Expo. There is nothing like the ‘bourse floor’ at a coin show. At fifty plus years of age, the ‘kid in me’ comes out! I invite you to attend a show in your area. You gotta try it!
Bozarth Numismatics is a full service rare coin dealer. We offer a large selection of ‘fresh to the market’ PCGS, NGC, and CAC rare coins on both our website Bozarthcoins.com and in our EBAY Store Bozarthnumismaticsinc. We are always buying rare high grade U.S. coins. Because of our extensive buying trips and shows we can locate many coins other dealers just can’t find. We offer free want list services and will call or email you if we find a coin you are looking for.
In next month’s Rare Coin Road Warrior, I am going to introduce a new feature called ‘ROAD RAGE’.
Please see our blog in late February.
Our Show Schedule for the Winter Months includes:
Long Beach, CA Show, February 1-3
St. Louis Coin Show, February 9-11-TABLE
NGC Trade & Grade, Longboat Key, FL, February 13 & 14-TABLE
Greater Chicago Coin Show, Tinley Park, IL-February 23-25-TABLE
PCGS Members Only Show, Las Vegas, NV-March 1 & 2-TABLE
Whitman Baltimore Coin Expo, March 22-25-TABLE
South Shore Coin Club, Milwaukee, WI, March 29-31