Paul and I arrived in Baltimore on Wednesday morning, the day before the show opened. Many dealers will come in early to try and do business to get a jump on the competition. Some will share rooms to show coins in the Hilton or the Marriott and others set up in rooms at the convention center. Some dealers even come in two days early. I am thinking about that for the fall show! There are not a tremendous amount of fresh coins in the market. So the earlier we can see coins for sale, the better the opportunity to buy.
As soon as we arrived, we dropped our bags at the hotel and started trying to do business. Alas, it was the same as most of the shows for the last couple of years. I’d see a coin or two of interest but the value was out of whack. I know you have to stretch on top quality, but I also have to set a limit to protect the interest of our clients. So we hunted and pecked and scratched out a double row box of new purchases. It was a real battle.
Whatever happened to the days of large, fresh deals of coins breaking at the show? There is one dealer in particular that states that they sell great coins at shows and are offered every deal in the business. I can just tell our clients that I’m not seeing it and none of the dealers I associate with are either. However, it’s a great time to buy coins if you work hard to find real value. Many coins are cheap, especially 19th Century type. Technical, strictly graded coins can be found. You just have to exercise patience. Commercial graded coins are everywhere, especially dollars. I’m trying to help knowledgeable collectors assemble Morgan & Peace Dollar sets. Before I left for the show, a longtime dealer sent me a dollar deal. It was a pass or play at the prices he quoted. I bought almost everything except for an 1889-O in MS-64 PCGS. A nice looking coin but I couldn’t get over the removed spot on the neck. He said “wow, you really look at the coins.” I said “yes, I do.” He said “I removed the spot before I submitted it to PCGS.” I had to pass on a nice 1900-S in MS-64 old green holder because of P.V.C. residue. On a previous invoice, I passed on a 1935-S Peace Dollar in MS-63 because of a large staple scratch on the obverse. He said “I sold them all easily at the show.” I said, “I’m not surprised,” but as you said earlier… I really look at the coins. Label readers are everywhere and their clients don’t know the difference.
I decided to give up our table at this show! It was strange not operating out of a home base after many, many years. But the cost hasn’t been justified in probably 5 years. If we sold moderns or commercially graded coins, we’d be able to justify it. As the coin buying public ages, more and more knowledgeable collectors are disappearing.
The auction was huge…over 7,000 lots including the internet sessions. If you had the time, deals could be found there. I was also surprised at the lack of Pogue and Gardner coins on the market. I’m happy to see that dealers weren’t buying these great coins and most went to new happy appreciative collector homes. It takes a lot of money off the market for a while but it will snap back…I hope!