By William Shamhart – NumismaticAmericana.com
I love my job. I really do. I like the buying and selling of beautiful coins, the hunt to find them as well as the selling of them to excited clients. I love meeting new people and finding out what direction they have taken their collection. I love almost every aspect of my job; except the writing. I can talk for hours on end to people in person when it comes to coin collecting. But I seem to have an aversion to writing. Oh well, I guess that’s why they call it work.
I arrived to Long Beach early on Wednesday, the assigned day for dealer set-up. I used to go out a few days early to do business in the hotel and at the auctions, but lately I have found that the pre-show business hasn’t warranted my early arrival.
As usual, like for the last 25 years, the show management didn’t turn on the AC in the bourse room until Thursday. That meant that the show on Wednesday was hot. Not as in coins were selling like hotcakes, but hot like you just wanted to go back to the hotel and take a nap. Not a good start to a show if you ask me. But business we did. Not a lot, but enough to make it worth while.
I’d like to take a moment and comment on this show, as well as many others, from a TRAVELING dealers view point. Nearly a month ago we had the largest show in America, the ANA, held in Chicago this year. After such a monumental show many of the dealers are tired and in need of a rest. Not that the traveling dealers didn’t know that Long Beach was around the corner, it’s just that it came up so quickly. And on the heels of Labor Day weekend. And a week before the Philadelphia show. That is a lot to ask of any dealer who makes a living traveling around America setting up at the MAJOR shows. I don’t have the answer for this dilemma, nor do I even know if I have any questions. I guess I’d like the show promoters to take in account that MOST dealers who attend MAJOR shows try their best to do them all, and to accommodate their clients, from coast to coast. It would be nice to see the show promoters work together so that dealers, and collectors, could enjoy some sort of normal life.
Now on to Long Beach! I’ll say it first; I give this show a C+. As I’ve said before, I get the impression that this show is old and tired. After all, it’s been around since I was a kid. And I’m far from being a kid now. Every Long Beach show I see less and less of our regular customers. Yes there are those that would attend no matter what, but I can’t help but think the collector is tired of this venue. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not placing blame on any one thing. I just think this show is old.
How old is it? Well to give you and idea, when I first started coming to Long Beach there was a waiting list of dealers wanting a table. Now it seems there as many tables UNOCCUPIED as there were manned, at least in the front of the room. Many dealers, major dealers, have given up their high profile tables in the front and rented much cheaper ones in the FAR back of the room. It just looks wrong. Again, I don’t have the answers, but I know something needs to be done.
As far as sales go, Christine and I were pleasantly surprised. The clients that did show up came to buy. Sometimes there was a trade involved, other times sales were structured so that the customer could afford the coins. The main thing here is that they were buying. Of note were GEM Commems with really nice (sometimes outrageous) colors. Also in demand were high end type coins. Again, and I sound like a broken record here, they had to have outstanding eye appeal for the collector to entertain them.
The best thing to come out of Long Beach was our purchases. Through mine and Christine’s many contacts we were able to buy some pretty cool coins. As usual, as I write this, Christine is busy getting them up on the web site. So check them out and then give us a call. And remember…we love to talk coins.
P.S. Although I might have sounded like I was complaining about the amount of shows we attend, I know that this is the life we have chosen. With that in mind, I will be in Philadelphia starting on this Thursday at the show. Stop by and say hello.