by Warren Mills
I really enjoy going to the Baltimore Show. This spring event is normally later in March, so it was a surprise to walk to the convention center on Friday in about 2 to 3 inches of snow. The climate was cold and so was the retail traffic! Thursday retail was quiet and so was Friday. However, the dealer to dealer business was good. Flight schedules changed coming out of Manchester, so I arrived on Wednesday, later than normal. I went to the hotel to see where everyone was set up and found out that rooms were reserved for dealers at the convention center.
When I arrived at the convention center, activity was brisk. I didn’t get to see everyone I wanted to, but the pre-show buying was good. Most of the dealers I spoke with are starting the year on a good note, with a lot of client interest. I was hoping that the prior day was going to be a harbinger for the show itself, but I was wrong! I was able to acquire about half of what I was hoping to spend. What a disappointment! There just wasn’t enough nice material to consider for acquisition. Low-end to marginal graded coins are everywhere. I feel this will only get worse. If you are hoping to acquire nice coins in the future, get on your horse now and start working. I’m still seeing people getting sucked in to paying gigantic premiums for auction coins, that in many instances the same quality could be purchased on the bourse floor for half the price. However, there are truly exceptional coins that come up in auctions that you may never see again. To those that know what they want and have the money to spend, I salute you!
My overall assessment of Baltimore is that it was a true wake-up call for me. I feel that nice quality is going to get even tougher to find in the future. I hope I never have to compete with the ultimate end users in auction who are willing to spend any amount to acquire great quality. At some point we must consider value! I’m thankful that over the last 40 years in the business I have placed so many outstanding coins that some come back my way! If that weren’t the case, I don’t know what I would do.
I have many friends in the business that like and respect me because my word is my bond. At this show, I was called over and spoke to the owner of the finest known Liberty nickel set, which he sold intact! None of the coins were CAC, but my feeling is that most would garner a sticker. It’s a pleasure to see a specialist reap the rewards of his labor to acquire the best. I also wish the new owner great success. For anyone acquiring top quality coins that aren’t CAC, they should always consider sending those pieces to CAC. A CAC coin can offer more demand, liquidity and a higher price, what’s to lose?!
It was disappointing that the show was in a more obscure hall and hard to find. The escalator at the show open got jammed and it looked like keystone cops tumbling, thankfully no one was hurt. Please change that location!
Bottom line, dealers are doing more business and are happy. This could be a good year!