by: Dan Duncan – Pinnacle Rarities .......
The summer Baltimore Expo is generally the slowest of the three shows put on by the great folks at Whitman. This year’s show was no different. The slower paced summer event was a bit more quiet than the Spring show, as expected, but some the show did have a buzz. Unfortunately the buzz wasn’t a result of large numbers of collectors clamoring for coins. Instead, the sources were recent events leading into the show. The three things that everyone was talking about – gold, Gardner and government.
Gold showed some strength coming into the show. The yellow metal bounced back from recent loses to regain levels lost since the first quarter of this year. Silver too headed back over $20. Positive gains in the precious metals market always provide a good back drop to trading.
Another big event that was on the tip of everyone’s tongue was the recent Eugene Gardner sale in New York by Heritage auctions. The sale featured many amazing coins with Part One hammering just shy of $20 million. Many exciting examples came out of the sale, with dealers opining about the overall strength the sale showed.
Another topic at the show held so close to DC, were a pair of legislative movements brewing which will directly impact the hobby. One is the Internet Fairness Act. This bill will force dealers to comply with sales tax laws from each and every state and municipality to which a dealer sells coins. This would force each dealer to independently monitor rare coin tax laws (which differ state to state) as well as county and city sales tax laws (which differ from county to county and even city to city within a county). And it will open every dealer to scrutiny from every state, municipality and even tribal governments. The bill passed the Senate last year, but has hit a snag in the House of Representatives. The main hold up is the awareness that compliance would be an extreme burden for businesses as no comprehensive data base for various laws and regulations are in place. And, currently 45 state require a “use tax” on goods purchased from out of state vendors so this bill could be considered as a bit redundant. However, “use tax” has proven difficult to accurately enforce. The other bill is what was titled “Operation Choke-Point." The idea behind this is to allow banks to terminate relationships with businesses listed on a government list as high risk. Going into the show, rare coin dealers were on that list. Ex-Senator Jimmy Hayes, who work closely with ICTA (Industry Council for Tangible Assets) and the Gold PAC was quoted in Greysheet (Vol. LII No.26) that he “does not believe that coin dealers will be a target of this overreaching initiative by the DOJ.”
So despite slightly slower than optimal activity and attendance, there was still plenty to talk about. Additionally I obtained a copy of the new book Morgan Dollar, and you can read my review here. And of course, we did manage to pull a few nice items from the bourse as well as from our extended client base. Enjoy our new purchases here, and we look forward to our next major outing – the ANA – Chicago.