1881-S Morgan Dollar PCGS MS64 (CAC)

Descriptions will be posted soon, if you need a coin described sooner, please contact us at 1-908-962-1500. PCGS Cert #12015600 PCGS Population: 94,285 Higher: 63,237 CAC Population/Higher: 342/2,215 Priced at: $2,000.00

1920 Buffalo Nickel PCGS MS66 (CAC)

Descriptions will be posted soon, if you need a coin described sooner, please contact us at 1-908-962-1500. PCGS Cert #25271451 PCGS Population: 124 Higher: 9 CAC Population/Higher: 24/1 Priced at: $1,500.00

1914-D Lincoln Cent PCGS MS65+RD (CAC)

Descriptions will be posted soon, if you need a coin described sooner, please contact us at 1-908-962-1500. PCGS Cert #25279086 PCGS Population: 3 Higher: 3 CAC Population/Higher: 10/5 Priced at: $35,000.00

1941-S Walking Liberty Half Dollar PCGS MS67 (CAC)

Descriptions will be posted soon, if you need a coin described sooner, please contact us at 1-908-962-1500. PCGS Cert #25271457 PCGS Population: 9 Higher: 0 CAC Population/Higher: 2/0 Priced at: $36,500.00

Welcome to the fascinating world of Numismatic Americana.

Numismatic Americana is an arena of rare coins, American history, artistic beauty, and commercial innovation all rolled into one. In our site we will offer a variety of items for your consideration along with many informative articles.

Through our many contacts in the industry we have been able to assemble a collection of items rarely seen in the mainstream of numismatics. Some may seem familiar, while others will appear unique. Truly something for everyone.

We invite you to browse through our site and inquire about items that are of interest.

William Shamhart, Jr.

Recent Articles of Interest:

On The Road Again…By Bill Shamhart (Not Willie Nelson)

On The Road Again…By Bill Shamhart (Not Willie Nelson)

I usually try to come up with some cute opening line. Not so this time. Hey, that rhymes…

Okay I’ll quit trying to be funny and get back to the real reason why ya’ll are reading my website. That is to get a sit-rep of what’s happening in my little segment of the numismatic world.

To put it simply, quite a bit.

THE EUGENE H. GARDNER COLLECTION, PART 1

On the afternoon of June 23 I had the pleasure of attending the much anticipated auction of Mr. Gardner’s collection. The first of 4 scheduled ones.

Earlier in the day I was viewing the lots and looked around. Hardly a person was there! What the heck was going on? In fact there was a time when I was the only person looking…with the exception of Mr. and Mrs. Gardner. I could only guess what was going through his mind as he looked at this selection of his babies for the last time. Like he was saying good-bye. It was a sad vision, in a joyous kind of way.

A few minutes later I was joined by a good friend and client to look at some lots with the intent of buying them for his collection. He too was befuddled by the lack of people in attendance at lot viewing, but we quickly shrugged it off and got down to looking at coins of interest.

After an hour lunch with the above client, I went to the sale. It started at 3:00 promptly, and again, I was shocked by the lack of people in the room. Of course the usual dealers were there, and maybe a dozen or so collectors, but that was it. Mmmm….

Heritage prepared a great catalog, complete with wonderful descriptions and photographs. And as it should be they auctioned the coins in denominational order, followed by date, starting with half cents. To be candid, I wasn’t really all that excited about Mr. Gardner’s copper coin. It appears that, with the exception of a few isolated pieces, not many others were either.

Lot 30021: 1793 Wreath Cent, Vine and Bars. PCGS MS68 Brown hammered to an internet bidder at $280,000.

Folks, an MS68 Large Cent, of any date or type, should be a VERY special coin. This piece certainly was not.

Don’t get me wrong. There were some really neat coins in the copper section, and they brought really neat coin prices (an 1848 PCGS MS64+ RED CAC realized a whopping $11,500 hammer. See?).

This trend continued until some very cool three cent silvers came up. Most of you know that I have always been a BIG fan of this series. Believe me when I say that there were some KILLER coins in this section.

1854 3CS PCGS MS68 CAC…………$55,000 hammer. And deservedly so.

1863 3CS NGC MS65 GOLD CAC………$20,000 hammer. A quintessential “Shamwow” example of this series.

1863/2 3CS PCGS PR66 CAMEO CAC………..$40,000 hammer. Wow!

After that momentary burst of insanity the nickel coinage came up and it was back to reality. Sort of. Real coins, regardless of what they were graded, brought real money. The others, not so much.

And then the silver sold.

Starting with the half dimes and continuing through end of the sale, it became apparent that collectors, whether represented by an agent or bidding on Heritage Live (something I forgot about early in the sale) were willing and ready to win some trophy coins! Win they did. But with a caveat.

Rare coins, with outstanding eye appeal, sold for record prices. I sat in amazement and watched as lot after lot went to a collector for BIG BUCKS.

I always knew that there were really serious collectors out there for virtually all series, but not to this extent. I saw seated half dimes and dimes sell for 50% more than I was asking for comparable pieces not too long ago. It was magical. Good for those who won pieces for their collections.

What about those that didn’t bring record prices. There could have been many reasons why, but the one that comes to my mind is that they were optimistically graded. Plain and simple (1793 Large Cent MS68 anybody?).

All in all it truly was a memorable event. One that I am really glad I attended in person. Not only because I was able to buy some phenomenal coins for clients and inventory, but because I’ll never forget the electricity in the room that afternoon (and evening).

Thank you Mr. and Mrs. Gardner.

COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO COIN SHOW.

Less than 48 hours after being in New York City for the Gardner sale I was on a plane to Denver and the ANA’s Summer Seminar down in Colorado Springs with a coin show in between.

Set up was at 8:00 on Thursday morning, and being an early riser, I was amongst the first dealers there. So I had a little extra time to set up my booth before the majority of the other dealers arrived. That worked out to my advantage, as I was able to see dealers almost immediately after they got there.

I know, I know. I missed Baltimore. But let me tell ya’ll something; I’m glad I did. While I really like the Baltimore venue, and the great job that the Whitman crew does putting it on, I REALLY like these smaller, regional shows. They’re laid back and generally have a pretty good following of collectors that come with them.

If you were a fisherman and wanted to feed your family would you join a tournament along with the best fisherman in the business, or find yourself a small, out of the way river or lake that wasn’t fished that much and sometimes gives up trophy fish?

Thought so…

This show in particular was very well attended by both the collecting public and the attendees of the ANA’s Summer Seminar so there was a constant flow of people to talk to. I got to see many of my prior students and met several of the following week’s subjects. It was coin geek nirvana.

Sales were what I expected from a show dominated by these types of collectors. And the purchases were really good. Knowing so many of the dealers there allows me to get “first shot” at many neat pieces. This year didn’t disappoint me either.

One such group came from a collector/dealer (who happens to be an alumnus from my class). Notice I said collector-dealer, not dealer-collector. That’s because he was a collector first, and then made the leap to the dealer ranks. These are the dealers you want to deal with. They understand you because they WERE you. Once you’re a collector it’s pretty hard to get that gene out of your DNA. They still look at coins as if they were buying it for their collection. Not because they were cheap. Remember, cheap coins are cheap for a reason.

What did I buy from him? Just some really cool California Pioneer Fractional Gold pieces. They’re on the web site, look them up.

I had a lot of fun at this show. As I found out later, it was just a precursor to the following week.

AMERICAN NUMISMATIC ASSOCIATION’S SUMMER SEMINAR

This year there was a little different schedule than in the past. It started on Sunday morning at 9:00, instead of 1:15. It also ended on Wednesday afternoon, as opposed to Thursday at 4. So we lost 1/2 a day’s worth of teaching. No worries. All went well.

Usually we have one or two (sometimes more) stand out students. Numismatists that go on to jobs working for professional grading services, or straight to the ranks of Rare Coin dealer. Not this year. What we had was a classroom of really enthusiastic, eager to learn, coin nerds. And it was a blast.

About midway through the four days of class a pattern started to emerge. This year’s students did something I’ve never seen before in 17 years of teaching.

One of the exercises we do in class is have the students break down into groups, elect a finalizer, and compete against the rest of the class. Sort of like having four different grading services competing against each other. Think PCGS vs. NGC vs. ANACS vs. ICG.

When the grades were tallied I was amazed at how tightly grouped they were. Generally they were no more than half a point off. Incredible.

Guess they had some really good instructors. (This is where I would insert a big smiling icon if I knew how to).

I was able to catch up with some friends (who were students first, made the transition from customer to client, and finally became good friends) over great meals and coffee.

Before I knew it the time to leave had arrived. Another year of teaching under my belt. I smiled all the way on my drive to the Denver airport.

PCGS’ MEMBERS ONLY SHOW

After a week off following the above activities, it was on to another show.

I had to make an executive decision as to whether I would be going to St. Louis or Las Vegas. Believe me it was a tough choice. But Vegas won. Not for the reasons you’re thinking. I had a lot of coins that I wanted to get graded before the ANA in Chicago and it was just the logical decision.

As you know, I try to call a show as I see it. And I try to not be negative. But honestly, this show was a bust. Seems that Las Vegas, with its 100 degree temperature, isn’t high on the list of places for coin dealers and collectors to go. And deservedly so.

So there weren’t a whole lot of the regular dealers and collectors in attendance.

But I got done what I went there for. And Tom is busy imaging them as I write this. A couple items stand out in my mind right now.

1914-D Lincoln Cent, PCGS MS65+ RD CAC. I can’t remember that last time I saw an example as nice as this one. And I’ve seen a lot of 14-D Lincolns

1883/2 Shield Nickel, PCGS MS67 CAC. The finest known (or TOP-POP in coin lingo). Amazing.

1941-S Walking Liberty Half Dollar, PCGS MS67 CAC. I’ve owned this coin for a month or so. Tried it at PCGS three times for a MS67+. No avail. If you collect Walkers in TOP-POP then this is for you. Intense luster with just a titch of light blue patina throughout. Beautiful.

1881-S Morgan Dollar, PCGS MS64 CAC. Unbelievable color on the reverse. In fact, if this color was on the obverse it would be a $15,000-$20,000 coin. Check it out.

There are many more but I think I’ll let Tom’s photography do my talking. Remember, if you like the photo you’ll love the coin…

AMERICAN NUMISMATIC ASSOCIATION WORLD’S FAIR OF MONEY

It’s coming up sooner than you think.

I’ll be there. As will Tom. And C.J. And some really cool coins from our client’s cabinets for your viewing pleasure. Oh, and some really swell coins for your consideration (I’ve been writing too long tonight).

So that’s it.

Cue Garth Brooke’s “Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old)”

See ya’ll in Chicago.

Stop by and say hello.

Remember…I love to talk coins.

Bill

Long Beach Show Report and Miscellaneous Announcements

Long Beach Show Report and Miscellaneous Announcements

I watered the plants. Did the dishes. Vacuumed the house. Changed the laundry around. Guess it’s time to write a show report.

I know I said I was going to try to write them shortly after the actual show, but sometimes life gets in the way (or more likely I’m just not motivated). Realistically I have a hard time writing about a show if nothing special happened there. I’m not a fan of show reports that are filled with fluff, whether positive or negative, if there wasn’t much to write about. So…what about Long Beach?

It is easy to say that the team producing the show has done a phenomenal job of turning this event around. I’m pretty sure I’ve said it before, but I really thought the Long Beach Coin and Collectibles Expo was dead a few years ago. Man was I wrong. Unlike an ocean liner turning in open water (a feat that takes miles), this show turned around like a Donzi on Lake Como. Quickly. No fast. Really fast.

As you’re aware, my business plan has changed quite a bit in the past year. And it’s working. The only problem with it is that if you don’t have the right coin, or coins, for your customers then they don’t really buy anything. It’s not that they don’t want to. In fact the demand for the right coin on a collector’s want list has probably never been higher. Truly high end, scarce or rare, coins are in great demand. Plain and simple.

I’d like to take this time to tell you about a young man who helped me at the show. His name is Daniel and I met him last year in Colorado Springs, CO, while teaching at the American Numismatic Association’s annual Summer Seminar. He’s a young and talented college student who quickly rose to the top level of the class, Advanced Coin Grading and Problem Coins. We exchanged email throughout the year and decided it would be a good idea for him to assist me in Long Beach. Let me tell you, this boy in sharp and very tolerant (anyone who can work with me has to be). It was a pleasure to have him there and show him just exactly how things go at a major coin show (at least according to me). We had a lot of fun, laughed until our sides hurt, and learned some things. Yes, he taught me. I’m a firm believer that if we keep an open mind we can all learn new things. No matter our age.

I had some coins for grading and must say that PCGS is doing a great job. They didn’t give away the ranch, but rather rewarded the ones that deserve to be. As it should be. By now Tom’s already got them photographed and listed on the web, so check them out.

CHANGE OF PLANS…

Originally I was going to attend the Baltimore show starting next week. That is until I realized that it conflicted with the smaller regional show held in Colorado Springs in between the two sessions of Summer Seminar. So, you guessed it, I won’t be in Baltimore this time. But Tom will. Stop by and say hello, I’m sure he’d appreciate it.

ANA SUMMER SEMINAR

Starting on June 29th and ending on July 2nd, I will be in Colorado teaching for my umpteenth time. If you’ve never attended one of these “Coin Camps”, you owe it to yourself to. It’s an experience you’ll never forget.

If you see something on the site, or need to talk to me, please remember that I’ll be in class throughout the day. I will however return phone calls and emails as soon as time permits.

EUGENE H. GARDNER SALE

I plan on going into New York later this week, or on the weekend, to view the sale. Requests for representation are starting to come in so try to get in touch with me soon if you’d like me to look at something for you.

There ya go. I’m done writing for now, but not thinking about coins. I’m always thinking about coins.

So if you have any questions or comments, or see something of interest, give me a call or send me an email.

Remember…I love to talk coins

Bill

ANA National Money Show 2014

ANA National Money Show 2014

GOLD!

The last time there was a gold rush in Georgia was over 150 years ago. And from that came the mints at Dahlonega and Charlotte, which produced some of the most desirable gold coins today. But you already knew that ‘cause you’re a coin nerd. But did you know that the word Dahlonega comes from the Cherokee language and literally means “yellow metal”?

History has a way of repeating itself, and last week in Atlanta was no different. People came from miles around to the latest “Gold Rush”. Not to pick up the metal laying on the ground, or to mine for it; but to see the fortune in gold that was recently found by a lucky couple in California. Unless you’ve been deep in the jungle for the last few weeks, cut off from civilization, by now you’ve heard of this once in a lifetime find. I won’t retell the story here (it’s all over the web!), but I will make a few observations about it from my viewpoint:

1) Some of the coins were on display in Atlanta last week at Kagin’s table. And man, are they cool! I saw before and after pictures of the coins and can say that the conservation methods really brought the coins back to life. Again, THEY ARE COOL!!

2) Virtually every news organization has picked up on the story and plastered it all over every form of media. When you do that it attracts alot of people; some who aren’t really qualified to speak intelligently about such a find but do. When you read the news flashes, whether in print or on the web, or see it on TV, keep in mind (and an open mind) that some of what is being said simply isn’t true. There are a lot of “instant” experts all of the sudden. When your neighbor asks you about this find do your best to get the facts straight. After all, we’re the Numismatists, not “Joe the Plumber”. Thanks.

3) The public really like stories like this. These coins were found by a couple through luck and nothing else. They weren’t treasure hunters, or a large salvage company with an agenda. Just a couple of people in the right place at the right time. As the tag line for the New York lottery says…”Hey, ya never know”. Chalk up one for the little guy. And let’s not forget that we’re talking about GOLD, not a winning lottery ticket.

As I said, the public really likes stories like this. As my table was right next to Kagin’s last week, I got to see firsthand how much. All day long there was a line of pedestrians (non collecting public) waiting to get a chance to see the coins. There was a constant barrage of flashes from smart phones as people took a photographic souvenir. Lots of excitement and enthusiasm. The electricity surrounding their table was great. At one point I actually thought I saw Andy Warhol standing in line to see them.

There is a lot of speculation with this find. Stories of bank and train robbery abound, but the most prominent is one supporting the theory that these are the ill-gotten gains from a theft at the San Francisco mint in 1901. There are a lot of similarities I admit, but most of what is being said is circumstantial. I for one hope that these have nothing to do with the mint theft, and that the couple get to keep the proceeds from their sale to collectors.

Enough about that…What about the rest of the show?

Well, actually that was the show.

I don’t know why, but the ANA’s National Money Show doesn’t have a very good track record for being a good one. I could come up with a list of reasons a mile long, and probably wouldn’t hit on the real reason. I don’t think anyone really knows. It’s just the way it is. But it’s a major show, put on by the ANA, so I went. As the saying goes “you can’t hit a single, let alone a home run, if you’re not in the game”.

As I said above, there were a lot of people in the show. But I really think most of them weren’t collectors. Yet. If only a small fraction of the “non-collectors” get the bug from coming to see the “Saddle Ridge Hoard” then I guess the ANA did their job. Let’s hope so…

From a sales stand point it appeared to me that many in attendance were looking for something different. A couple of the “different” things I sold were:

1) Encased postage stamp. A fellow dealer, who actually collects these, was there and immediately snatched this one up. Good for him.

2) A wonderful 1864 3c Feuchtwanger piece in PCGS MS64 from the famous Eliasberg collection. The gentleman who acquired this was like a kid in a candy shop upon buying it. This was his “home run” hit, which he’d never had done had he not been there. Gotta be in the game…(see above).

3) A great counterstamped Stone Mountain half dollar. This piece was struck in Philadelphia, PA for the Stone Mountain Monumental Association in Georgia, counterstamped ALA, sold at an auction in Alabama, brought back to the collecting fraternity by a Missouri boy living in New Jersey, and finally repatriated back to Alabama by a southern gentleman attending a show in Georgia. What a yarn this coin could spin if it could talk…

See a pattern here?

No?

Think about it. All of the above have a direct connection to the American Civil War. We are after all celebrating its sesquicentennial until next year. I once heard that for every bullet fired during this era there have been a hundred words written about it. Have you read your fair share?

In addition to the above Americana, I did sell some neat, GEM quality coins to some new customers. As always it’s a pleasure getting to know a collector (and their spouses) in person. Thanks to all that stopped by my table (and braved the masses trying to look at the “Saddle Ridge” coins). I appreciate it.

Purchases? This is where I’d normally list a few but I think I’m going to make everyone come back in a day or so and look at them (I will tell you that there is a really neat piece having to do with one of the events mentioned above). As I write this Tom is busy photographing them and putting them up on my site.

When you do, if you see anything of interest send me an email or give me a call.

Remember…I love to talk coins.

Bill

FUN Show Report 2014

FUN Show Report 2014

As most of you know I am from Missouri. So was Mark Twain. He had many famous quotes, but the one I like the best (with a little artistic license) is:

“Rumors of my retirement are greatly exaggerated”

Many of you have emailed me or Tom asking if I retired. Well I’m here to say “NO!” In fact I’ll probably never retire…

A lot of people make “New Year’s” resolutions, and I am one of them. Mine is to you. I will really try and write more show reports and articles for my website on a regular basis. I’ll try my best.

So…what about the FUN show that kicked off this year’s coin show schedule?

In a word, impressive.

When I left New Jersey on Tuesday heading to the airport it was a cold 0 degrees with a wind chill of -15. That’s cold. When I got to Orlando I checked into my hotel and promptly went over to the Heritage lot viewing. Of course I saw many people I know and exchanged the usual “Happy New Year’s” salutations. And then the topic turned to the chill gripping most of America. It was cold in New Jersey but I heard of many places that were much colder. But…everyone was in a good mood and looking forward to the show and what it would bring (including warm weather).

The Heritage sale was, how should I say…HUGE! Never in my life have I ever seen such a large auction catalog. I had looked through the catalog beforehand to narrow down the lots I was interested. Otherwise I wouldn’t have ever got to view the lots I wanted to. There were some really neat coins in this sale and of course the prices realized reflected this.

I left lot viewing and returned to my hotel to look at some fellow dealer’s inventory in the privacy of my own room. I like this practice because it allows me time to talk with my contacts while viewing coins. No interruptions or distractions. Of course I was able to buy some really neat pieces that will be up on my website shortly so check back throughout the week.

Tuesday night I had the privilege to dine with a dozen of the most knowledgeable collectors in the hobby today. I don’t normally like large dinner crowds, but this was different. Dinner was at a restaurant called “The Ocean Prime” and the food was outstanding. Many of the attendees brought something special to share with their friends. In the middle of dinner I couldn’t help thinking of how we all looked to the rest of the restaurant patrons. A dozen middle aged men (with one special lady) passing coins around the table, illuminating them with the flashlight from their iPhones. Total coin geeks! Kind of what I’d expect a middle school coin club to look like…except for the gray hair, few extra pounds, bi-focal glasses, wine glasses, and porterhouse steaks!

Wednesday started with meeting a couple clients at lot viewing to discuss possible additions to their collections. Then back to my hotel for another “secret” meeting. The bourse floor opened at 2:00 in the afternoon and from there on it was like the great Oklahoma Land Rush. A constant flow of dealers and collectors stopping by to say “Happy New Year” and “Got anything for me?”. Tom and I got our submissions for PCGS ready and took them over as soon as we got a chance. One of the nice things about being in the business is that I’ve built some really strong and long lasting relationships with dealers and collectors alike (surprise?) that allows me to look at coins at my table (they bring them to me) throughout the show. The only downside to this is that I rarely have time to leave my table anymore and scout the floor for coins to buy. That’s okay though because I get to see alot of coins as well as talk to my friends and colleagues about coins. How cool is that?

Thursday brought another action packed day with a TON of people stopping by to look at coins (and sometimes sell me some). You’ll recall that I’ve changed my game plan a little in the past few months. Fewer coins with an emphasis on relationship building. Really getting to know my customers and clients. Well that’s starting to pay off as our sales were very strong even with a higher per coin value than I’ve had in the past. In addition people realize that I really do want to buy back, and resell, coins that they’ve bought previously. So I was able to buy some old, yet beautiful, friends back and subsequently resell them. It’s really a win-win situation for everybody involved!

Thursday night I decided to have C.J. (a really bright and upcoming Young Numismatist) bid in the auction so that I could go out to dinner with a couple clients. The night was one of those that you don’t soon forget. The food and service left a little to be desired, but the camaraderie was great. We laughed like we were at a comedy shop. Thanks guys!

Friday I started the day by giving a talk to the Liberty Seated Collectors Club. I love to talk coins but I’m really bad at preparing speeches (or writing show reports) so I just winged it. A question and answer type of forum. The audience was filled with collectors and dealers alike and they asked some really good questions. I loved it and based on the feedback I got from some of the attendees on the bourse floor so did they. Thanks for asking me. It was my pleasure.

By the time I got to the bourse it was in full swing and abuzz with activity. Collectors were out in full force looking for that special coin (as were dealers). If you’ve never been to a major show let me paint you a mental picture. Think of a football field filled to capacity with 8 foot table with nothing but coins. Hundreds of thousands of them. There is no way to view the merchandise at every table so it helps to have a network of people who might get the opportunity to see something you missed. It’s all about relationships (remember that phrase?). In addition to the bourse there are countless meetings (like the one I spoke at) along with auction lot viewing as well as the auction itself. Truly paradise for coin nerds!

At the end of the day it was off to dinner at The Capital Grille. Again the company was as great as the food. Jokes and laughs briefly interrupted by the mention of something that was bought earlier in the day. Then a short walk back to my hotel afterward for a well deserved good night’s sleep.

Although Saturday was the last day of business at this year’s FUN, you’d never have known it by the business we did. Constant and steady, only broken up by a short break now and then. By this time we were getting our coins back from PCGS that we’d submitted earlier in the show. And again they did exactly what they should have. Reward the really special coins and hold the line. In fact I can’t remember seeing any coins graded there that I thought were liberally evaluated. Both PCGS’ grading team and show customer service people should be commended for the job they did. Thanks guys and girls!

Ya, I know…enough with the generalizations. You want specifics. So I’ve listed some of the coins we bought and or sold down in Florida below:

1794 1c Head of 94, S-59, PCGS MS66+BN; One of the fabled Lord St. Oswald pieces that first came to the market in 1964 via an auction in England. An amazing piece that was last available publicly when Bowers and Ruddy sold the famous John W. Adams collection in 1982. Superb in every way.

1825/4 (2) 25c, Browning 2, PCGS MS64+; An incredible coin that I’ve had the pleasure of placing 3 times now. Every time that I handle it, it wows me more that the time before. Truly a great coin that is a highlight of any cabinet.

1832 $2.50 PCGS MS62; A very rare piece that last appeared in the Paramount (Akers) session of Auction ’82. Very fresh to the market, it was snapped up by the first person to view it. Good move…

1915-S 50c Panama Pacific, PCGS MS67+ CAC; Arguably the nicest Pan-Pac half I’ve ever seen, let alone handled. A real GEM destined for a like minded collection. Check out Tom’s photo of it when he gets it posted.

1915-S $2.50 Panama Pacific, NGC MS67+ CAC; Standing alone at the top of both the NGC and PCGS pop reports, this piece too was acquired by the first client to see it. It now resides in the cabinet of a fine Southern Gentleman.

1853 G$1 California Pioneer Gold, PCGS AU55; One of the real stoppers when it comes to California Pioneer Fractional Gold. An R-8 according to Breen-Gillio and deservedly so. With less than 5-6 known, this one was sold literally a few hours after we bought it. It’s good to see collector based coins sell so quickly when they come to market.

1897 Proof Set, 1c-$1, PCGS PR67 (Except the cent that is PR66 RD); Totally original sets like this, as opposed to put together ones, are virtually non-existent in today’s marketplace. Real GEMs with outstanding eye appeal, this set would knock out 6 slots for those of you who collect by type while at the same time giving the owner the pride of having an original proof set from the 1890s.

I could go on and on, but I think I’ll make you cruise the new purchases section of my web site. I think you’ll be glad you did.

SAD NEWS…

Late Saturday afternoon I was informed by a friend that John Burns, a friend who deals in out of print numismatic literature, had passed in his sleep the night before. A fixture for years at many east coast shows, John touched each and every life that he came in contact with in a manner that only who had that pleasure could understand. I know that I can speak for all of us when I say we’re gonna miss ya buddy. RIP.

Doesn’t seem right to end this report on such a somber note, but I’d like to think there’s a hidden message:

Collect what you like. Live every day as if it were your last. And when your time is up, go out doing what you love…

Bill

Baltimore (and a few other) Show Reports


Baltimore (and a few other) Show Reports

Many of you have emailed or called and asked where my latest (few) show reports were.  Well candidly until this last Baltimore show there wasn’t really anything, good or bad, to write about.  But you asked for them so here they are:

PHILADELPHIA EXPO by Whitman Coin and Collectibles;

A lot of people had mixed feelings about this show and it being held the week before Long Beach.  Their worries were totally unfounded, unless you take into consideration ”THE UNIONS”.  The show itself wasn’t half bad.  It was well attended and we even did some business with local collectors.  But the BIG scuttlebutt was “THE UNIONS” and how they KILLED IT.  As in Whitman pulled the plug on this show.  There will be no more Philadelphia Expos put on by Whitman. And it is all true.  It’s sad.  At least the local coin collectors have the option of traveling down to Baltimore.  I wonder what all those union workers at the convention center will do for a living after they’ve run the last convention out of town.  Honestly…I don’t care.

LONG BEACH COIN EXPO;

This on the other hand is a show that has over time worked out all the bugs and is now gaining momentum at lightning speed.  As you will recall I have changed up my game plan quite a bit and this was the first show where I really implemented it.  And it went really well.

I had fewer coins in my case for sale so that enabled a lot of the foot traffic to quickly pass me by.  But the customers and clients that know what I’m doing were there and ready to buy.  Again, I didn’t sell a lot of coins, just some really COOL ones.  You know the kind; coins that you have a hard time putting down until you’ve got the deal done.  One of my clients was so excited to get a very special piece there that I actually started to visualize him as an 8 year old getting a “Red Rider” BB gun for his Birthday.  I don’t know who smiled bigger…him getting the coin or me seeing his enthusiasm.

As usual PCGS was there doing on site grading.  And as usual they did a great job with the product they put out.  They hobby sure has come a long way since I attended my first Long Beach way back in the early 1980s…

THE SILVER DOLLAR & RARE COIN EXPOSITION;

I didn’t go.  For the first time in many, many years I didn’t attend one of the three major shows held in the greater St. Louis area.  And for good reason…I took some well deserved time off and went out to Montana with some friends.  Sometimes you just gotta get away.

From what I heard though if one was to miss a St. Louis show, then this was the one to skip.  My colleagues who did attend told me that the public attendance was down, and virtually no deals broke there.  Guess I picked the right one to bail on.

PCGS MEMBERS ONLY SHOW;

This was held the same week as the above mentioned St. Louis so I wasn’t there either.  I did however send some coins out there to be graded.  Not a lot mind you, but some pretty neat ones.  And as I expected PCGS did a great job.  Reward the really fresh pieces and spank the tired old sometimes altered ones is what I say.  And that is exactly what they did.

BALTIMORE EXPO;

So now we’re all up to speed and are on real time.  I got down there on Wednesday with the intention of looking at the entire Stacks/Bowers auction hoping to pick out the best and try and buy them for inventory.  Well that did not go as planned.  From the time I got down there until early evening on Wednesday I was busy looking at some coins from my many contacts.  It’s that whole relationship thing I keep talking about (got it in there didn’t I).  In this business first shot at a fresh deal means quite a bit.  So when the opportunity arises, I jump on it.  And as you probably figured out, it worked out.  I bought what was in my mind one of the freshest groups of coins to show up there.  Some needed to go to PCGS and some were ready for sale, but most of them have made it to my web site by now (in fact they were posted yesterday and several have already been sold as I write this).

From talking to my friends who also had tables there it seems like it was a pretty decent show all around.  I’m not saying that the market is on fire, but it is very healthy from all indications.  It kind of seems that those people who do have a little extra money are looking for ways to get rid of it.  Coin collecting is an easy and fun way to do just that.

ERIC P. NEWMAN AUCTION

For the last few months the Numismatic Community has been abuzz with the upcoming Newman sale.  And rightfully so.  I have seen all these coins up close and must say that there are some really spectacular pieces in his collection.

Since the first section of Mr. Newman’s coins were sold back in April of this year in Chicago, there has been a lot of talk about what would be in the next group.  Folks they are really cool.  So cool that Heritage had many of the highlights available for viewing at the ANA this past August and collectors couldn’t stop talking about them.  I spoke with several of my clients and customers (who I will be representing later this week) who actually decided to “keep their powder dry” until this sale.  I expect a blood bath and that is okay.  

Garrett.  Eliasberg.  Norweb.  Pittman.  Every time that these types of collections come up they bring run-a-way prices for the time.  And the really special coins without a doubt seem like they were bargains a few short years later.  Make no mistake, the same will happen in this session of the Newman collection.  I really believe that there will be some absolutely stupid prices realized.  Stupid today; smart tomorrow.

So if you want to buy some really neat coins in this sale, sharpen your pencil, figure out the most you’d pay.  Then double it.  And then add ten percent on top of that just for extra measure.  Then maybe, just maybe, you’ll end up with a coin or two you will cherish for decades to come.

So there you have it.  My latest attempt at writing.  I’d like to tell you that I’ll have a report on the Newman auction up early next week but you and I know the odds of that happening.  But hey, you never know.

Remember…I love to talk coins.

Bill

American Numismatic Association’s World’s Fair of Money, 2013 Show Report

I thought I’d take a proactive approach this time and write my show report while the event is still fresh in my mind.  As you read this, and my opinions flip flop between positive and negative, I’m doing this not to attack anyone, but to point out areas that could stand to be improved.  So bear with me…

First off I’d like to complement the ENTIRE ANA STAFF on a job well done.  They in their own right have got this show thing down to a science.  They’re a well oiled machine doing a thankless job.  I personally had no complaints about that end of the show, but there are always dealers and collectors who find something to bring up.  Keep up the good work!

I decided to skip the pre-show and arrive on Monday morning for a late afternoon set up.  I personally think that the whole pre-show thing is a waste.  In my opinion it is an attempt to get more money out of the dealers by playing on their fear of missing out on some deal; and from what I heard more and more dealers are taking that approach, too.  Let’s hope that something can be done about that in the future.

As I said above, set up was Monday afternoon (at 3:00).  I got in Chicago early that morning because…TADA…I had some appointments with dealers who were also coming in that day.  After about six hours of looking at coins in my hotel room, and buying some really great pieces (aren’t relationships great!), it was off to the show!

This year I decided to do a little something different than in the prior years.  I got a “super” booth and invited some of my clients to join me by setting up and displaying items from their collections.  I came about this idea awhile back when talking to a customer who commented that there weren’t any really “cool” coins on the floor “just for display”.  After thinking about it I realized he was right.  So I decided to do something about it.  I asked a few clients, who had varied collecting interests, if they would care to participate.  Imagine my enthusiasm when they all said yes!  Below is a list of displays that were available for the public to view:

1) The Ray Levoi Collection of Half Dollars.  A phenomenal set of Bust, Seated, and Walking halves painstakingly put together by a very fussy collector.  Many of the viewing public kept asking for prices on pieces, even after they were informed that they weren’t for sale.  Unfortunately the owner wasn’t able to attend the show.  I wish he had just so I could see his face when the attendees viewed his collection.

2) Big Moose’s collection of Christian Gobrecht’s Transitional Head Middle Date and Early Late Date Large Cents.  An unbelievable group of incredible large cents.  The owner, a friend with a wild sense of humor, has brought these together, over a long period of time, waiting on just the right coin, with that right look, before making any additions.  A GREAT collection displayed by a true coin weenie!  (And he’s a pretty good painter too!)

3)  The Bay Area collection of U.S. Gold Coins.  While trying to assemble this set, this collector passed on many coins waiting on the ones that spoke to him.  His diligence paid off.  An amazing group with outstanding eye appeal that created quite a stir.  Virtually every dealer and collector who stopped to view them started his/her dialog with “I’d like to see…” before being informed that they weren’t for sale.  I sort of felt bad seeing their faces go from delight (as in they just found that “right coin”) to depression (as in sorry these are for sale).  But I like to think that at least they came away realizing that there were coins out there that they’d like for their collection.

4)  So what do a Continental Dollar, an 1868 Aluminum $20, and a 1907 Wire Edge $10 have in common?  Each of those was on display, on different days, by this eclectic numismatist.  On one day he had a complete 1868 Aluminum set of coins (along with their original period box), the next a collection of pieces with the “Mind Your Business” motif (complete with Fugio and above mentioned Continental Dollar, as well as a denominational type set of Continental Currency), and then a display of Saint Gaudens 1907 coinage along with the beautiful paper money that complements them.  Many a collector came by the next day for a second look at his stuff, only to see something totally different.  Seeing these pieces (with their off the chart eye appeal and colors) was like looking at a Sherwin Williams paint chart…sensory overload to say the least!  

5)  When you get the bug, you got it.  Not even a physician can cure it.  So when this collector put out his display of Pioneer coinage and related ephemera many a viewer was spell bound and oblivious to the outside world.  California, Colorado, Utah, you name it…they were all there.  A passionate collector (as was evident by his case) who’s interests are as diverse as could be.  From Pioneer Gold to Sample Slabs, this gentlemen hunts them down like there’s no tomorrow.  And his eye for quality doesn’t stop with coins.  He even bought an antique bookcase at the antique show in the adjacent hall!  But that is what these displays were all about…FUN!  And sharing your joy with others.  

So set up was at 3:00 and as usual there was a lot of handshaking and pleasantries exchanged all the while trying to get those fresh coins.  There was a buzz, but not one that was defining.  Many of the people there had arrived the week before for the pre-show and were already worn out.  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, those pre-shows have got to go.

In addition to the collectors mentioned above, Tom Bush was with me and we proceeded to set up.  That isn’t really all that easy when everyone wants to see your coins before you put them in the cases.  But we managed to get through it without any SNAFUs.  Before we knew it six o’clock rolled around and the bourse floor was closed.  It was then off to dinner at the best restaurant around, “Gibson’s”, and a good night’s sleep before the opening bell at 8:00 on Tuesday.

Tuesday morning was kind of like late December and holiday shopping.  Dealers were jumping from table to table looking for that right “gift”.  Or perhaps one that might get a gift from the grading services.  By mid-day, when the public was admitted, it was more like mid-November holiday shopping.  Collectors took their time asking questions and prices, politely replying “I might be back”.

It was at this time that “C.J.”, a YN who I met at the ANA’s Summer Seminar, arrived and joined our team.  To say that he is enthusiastic is an understatement, and his grading skills consistently put him at the top of my class.  Between Tom, C.J., and myself I think we pretty much had it under control. We bought quite a few coins from dealers and collectors alike, and by Tuesday afternoon had submitted them to PCGS.  More about that later…

Having the “Collectors Displays” as well as my own inventory meant that there was always a constant flow of people coming by.  A busy show makes the time fly (Fugio!) and that’s always better than boredom.

So here is my first gripe.  On Tuesday I looked in the “official” ANA program for food options for lunch.  It showed the location of a snack bar in the convention hall.  Well…that was closed.  I guess nobody told them about the show.  There was however a “food court” WAY in the back of the hall.  And that would be okay if you were starving out in the wilderness because their selection SUCKED!   I find it hard to believe that with all the money and wealth in the coin show that we have to eat food that’s primary purpose is to cause health issues.  So…back to Gibson’s for take-out lunch.  Guess I wasn’t the only person that thought that way as the wait time for carryout was over an hour!  Mmmm…not good.  Folks, in this day in age there has got to be a better way.  Let’s work together and figure this out.  Please!

By Wednesday the show was in full swing.  We were expecting to start getting our grading back later that afternoon but it seems that PCGS got overwhelmed.  As in one or two submitters clogged up the system.  But, being the troopers that they are, PCGS worked at making it work.  A big “Thank You” goes out to David Talk and his crew.  They’re great!

Wednesday night I had the pleasure of dinning with a friend/client at…Gibson’s!  Gibson’s is a great place, but as with all good things, sometimes too much isn’t a good thing.  My friend and I had a nice (not so quiet) dinner talking about cars, dogs, and of course coins.  It is evenings like this that makes spending so many nights away from home tolerable.  Unfortunately my buddy had to leave the show the next morning.  I would have like to have spent more time talking with him.

Thursday…

By this time pretty much everybody had settled down into a routine.  Dealers were hunkered down at their tables waiting for the influx of collectors.  I can’t speak for anybody but myself but it seemed like we were busy all day long.  No frenzy, just nice and steady.  As you know, that’s how I like it.  Looking in the safe I could tell by the number of new purchases as well as the number of invoices that it was going to add up to a decent show, despite what other dealers may have seen.  Throughout the day we did our best to help each and every collector who stopped by.  Sometimes we had one or two wanting to talk to us, or look at a coin, but usually there was just that steady flow of potential, and established, collectors coming up to the table.  Again, it seemed like the day flew by and before we knew it six o’clock rolled around and it was off to a special dinner honoring the survivors of the Shanghai Ghetto.  It was a wonderful venue and I had the honor of spending dinner talking to two different survivors.  If you aren’t familiar with the Shanghai Ghetto; Google it.  Their story is amazing.

Thursday night was also the Stacks Bowers Rarities session of the official ANA auction.  As I was at the Shanghai Ghetto event, I wasn’t able to attend but a friend offered to bid for me.  I had spent many hours last week in New York viewing selected lots for clients, as well as looking at a few last minute possibilities.  Well, the auction was VERY strong and I was only able to win one lot for a client.  But, one is better than none and the collector was happy to get it.

What about the buying and selling going on at the show you ask?  Quite a bit actually.  From the number of inquiries at our table, between my inventory and the displays, we saw lots of interest.  Without a doubt the coin market is very much alive.  The only problem is finding the right coins for the right people.  And sometimes you don’t know that you have the right coin.  What?  One example would be Saturday afternoon.  Some of you might realize that I also deal in medals and tokens, not just Gem quality rare coins.  I’ve had a few medals/tokens from Colorado for awhile.  I even had them at the Colorado Springs coin show in late June (kind of thought that’s where they might sell).  Anyways, right after lunch time a gentleman came up, saw them, looked at them, asked a price, and then bought them.  Lock, stock, and barrel.

In addition to the tokens/medals above we sold quite a few really GEM type coins.  You know the type.  The ones that you ask yourself “how did this ever survive?”  We also had the privilege of selling a couple really cool items that we can’t really talk about (to protect client interest).  Again, all of these coins had a common denominator:  EYE APPEAL!

As I write this report Tom Bush is busy photographing our new purchases and getting them ready for the website.  A few of my favorites are:

1855 Large Cent Upright 55, PCGS MS66RD…An unbelievable piece that quite frankly defies existence.

1909 Lincoln Cent, PCGS PR66RD CAC…As fresh as the day it was minted.  

1885 Seated Liberty Dime, PCGS PR67+…Amazing color and worthy of any cabinet.

1935-D Walking Liberty Half, PCGS MS66 CAC…Not your typical 35-D, as this piece has a strong head and intense luster.  Best looking piece for the date I’ve ever seen.

1946-S Walking Liberty Half, PCGS MS67 CAC…Phenomenal concentric rainbow toning that must be seen to believe.

1882 Gold Dollar, PCGS MS67…One of the coolest 1882 gold dollars I’ve seen.  Blazing luster with a blanket of copper color.  Breathtaking.

So there it is.  I’m sure I missed something important, but hey this report has taken three hours and 4 shots of espresso to get done!

Check back often this week, and if you see anything you like email me or better yet, call me.

Remember…I love to talk coins.

Bill

Colorado Springs Coin Show and ANA Summer Seminar Report

Colorado Springs Coin Show and ANA Summer Seminar Report

After being gone for over ten days I have finally caught up with things enough that I can sit down and write this show report.  Okay, maybe not completely caught up, but enough time has gone by that this needs to get done.

Some of you may know that I have been going out to Colorado Springs for the past 15 years and teaching at the ANA’s Summer Seminar.  In fact, many of you have been students in my class.  I am not shy (never have been) about my feelings for this time of year.  It is without a doubt the best time and value in Numismatics.  Over a two week period there are two different sessions of classes held on the Colorado College campus covering a wide variety of subjects.

In addition to the two weeks of classes, there is a coin show put on by the Colorado Springs Coin Club on the weekend between sessions.  For students and instructors alike this has been a hidden little GEM on the show circuit.  I arrived in Denver on Wednesday afternoon and made my way down to the “Springs”.  Many of the students and teachers take advantage of the housing available on campus.  I do not.  I like to stay off campus.  Not that I’m a snob or anything.  I just like the privacy that it affords me.  This year I had the privilege to stay at the newly completed “The Miners Exchange”, a Wyndham Grand Hotel and I was very impressed.  Spending over 30 weeks a years on the road, believe me when I say it takes alot to impress me.  Note:  ”The Miners Exchange” was originally built as an exchange for stocks and bonds for the many mining companies that sprang up in the Colorado Rockies in the first part of the twentieth century.  It is grand and opulent, just like you’d expect for a city built from new found wealth in the gold and silver mining industry.

The show set up was on Thursday around 12-2.  There weren’t a lot of people there earlier on, but as classes winded down, and more dealers arrived, it was in full swing by late afternoon.  At this leisurely pace I was able to hook up with some dealers I see only once a year, as well as catch up with some of the Seminar attendees who I have met over the years.  This show, what I’d call a regional one, isn’t near as hectic as a major one.  There is a totally different pace there, with the collector definitely being the dominant factor.

I’ll tell you one cute story.  A collector, who I’d never met before, came to my table and looked through my cases as if on a mission.  Then he left.  He came back about an hour later and asked to see an 1847 Hawaiian Cent in PCGS MS63BN.  He asked the price and after a little negotiation, purchased it.  Then his story came out.  Seems he lived in Hawaii as a child and was doing some yard work for a neighbor.  Upon completion of his tasks, he was paid with two Hawaiian cents.  As a kid he didn’t really care that much about the coins, and at some point in life sold them.  But the memory never escaped him.  Now, later on in his adult life, it was time to replace them.  A symbol of his childhood and the time spent in Hawaii was now his forever.  I didn’t sell a tremendous amount of coins at this show, but each and every one had a story attached to them.  Usually from the collector’s side and their adventure to find them.  Pretty cool if you ask me.  

Buying, well that was a mixed bag.  After the first few hours of walking the floor, I limited myself to going out to about once an hour for a few minutes looking for possible new additions.  Funny thing about shows.  Most people (mainly dealers) tend to think that if you don’t get there first thing, you’ll miss all the good deals.  That is generally correct, but they forget that collectors are constantly showing up at the show and either selling or trading something there.  So if you have the time, and are already at a show, don’t run off so quickly.  Some of the best deals I have bought have showed up later in the show.  And this my friends is where the “relationship” part of the business comes into play.  Chances are I wouldn’t have gotten offered a few little deals had I not been there on Saturday afternoon.  But I was and I took advantage of it by buying some pretty cool pieces.  They aren’t up on the web yet, but will be after a short trip out to Las Vegas for PCGS’ Members Only show.

Now on to the ANA’s Summer Seminar.

This year marked my sixteenth year of attending.  Wow…how time flies.  For the past nine years I have had the honor of teaching with Charlie Browne (no, not that Charlie Brown, he’s a comic strip character silly).  In addition we had Don Ketterling and Ken Park teaching with us.  In the past I have tried many different people, all very successful coin dealers, to teach alongside Charlie and me.  Believe it or not, it isn’t that easy to find qualified instructors.   Many of them, while very good at grading and dealing coins, weren’t quite able to convey grading tactics to the students.  The dynamics in the classroom are very important.  Synergy is paramount.  The classroom antics are hard to explain, but if you ever get the chance to take our class I highly recommend it.  You’ll have a blast.

Throughout the week Charlie, Don, Ken and I did our best for the students.  Oh, did I mention that we had 27 in our class?  Yep, about half of them were YN’s (Young Numismatists in ANA speak) and the other half had an average age of over 50.  Quite the mixture.  For four and a half days we challenged the students to see the coins in a different light.  Some of them got the concept right away, while others took their time, getting their Eureka moment later in the week.  I’m pretty sure that they all came away with a new appreciation for what goes into grading coins nowadays, as well as being able to spot some of the more subtle “doctoring” techniques.

And then it happened…

Thursday evening, after all the classes were over, and everybody was getting ready to return home, we had our banquet.  In the prior 15 years of teaching there, I think I had attended maybe 2 or 3 of these at the most.  But my fellow instructors wanted to attend so we did.  It was a wonderful affair, with great barbecue, and held on the 4th of July to boot.  Our table, comprising of students and instructors alike, ate and laughed as if the night would never end.  There is nothing better than eating watermelon while busting on each other.

After everybody had a belly full of food, they started the awards ceremony.  All I could think was “Another one is in the books”.  I was talking with Ken Park when I realized that the MC was talking about a “grading class”…our grading class.  I looked at Charlie…and then they read our names.

Charles O. Browne and William Shamhart had each been given the honorary degree of “Doctor of Numismatics” in recognition of Distinctive Career Achievements, Service to the Hobby and Selfless Contributions to Summer Seminar by the American Numismatic Association School of Numismatics.

And while no one got to see it…I smiled.

Bill

June 2013 Baltimore Show Report

June 2013 Baltimore Show Report

I spent over half an hour trying to come up with a catchy title for this show report; and you see what I came up with. So if there was ever any doubt that I suffer from writer’s block, rest assured I have it.

By now you’ve read in other dealers show reports how the June Baltimore (as well as the June Long Beach) show is the slowest of the three. I am not going to fill my report full of fluff about how great it was or how many millions of dollars worth of business I did. Because it wasn’t and I didn’t. But I am going to tell you why this show was pivotal for me and the future of Numismatic Americana. In the past few months there have been some changes in my life. Some would say good, some would say bad. But I say all change plays a positive roll in that it brings about growth. And growth is always good. I won’t lie and say that I haven’t questioned my position as a retailer, because I have. Sometimes I wonder whether that really is my lot in life; my calling if you will. After being a wholesaler for over twenty-five years (25!) it was a little hard to make the transition. But I did. There is a learning curve as well as growing pains associated with it. Remember nothing in life is ever free, and numismatics is no exception.

So where am I going with this you ask? I don’t know myself so I can’t really answer that question. But I do know I love coins and I love talking with people about them. Hearing the story of the hunt and how a collector finally bagged the “Big” one. Or perhaps the research that a collector did on a coin to put all the pieces of the puzzle together. It fascinates me. It intrigues me. I love it. Really I do.

I got down to Baltimore late Wednesday afternoon. I didn’t see any reason to hurry up and get there because I didn’t have any appointments lined up. Seems most of my “secret” connections weren’t going. And I understand that position. But I think they missed the boat. The ENTIRE team of Whitman deserve a big round of applause for their work putting this show together. It isn’t easy making a show overly attractive when your clients don’t really want to come. But they did it. Great job people.

I think I should mention at this time that neither PCGS nor NGC were there doing on-site grading. That in its own right put a slight damper on the show. Kind of funny how important that has become to the success of a show in such little time. Evolution my friends, evolution.

The show officially opened to dealers for set up at eight o’clock on Thursday. This I like. Believe it or not, that one extra hour allows the table holders just a little more time to get settled in. I know that I and many others appreciated it. Early-bird badge holders got in a few hours after that with the general public getting in a couple more hours after them. Before I knew it, it was midday and the show was in full swing. Oh, I forgot to mention that this show was held in another hall, a smaller hall at that. And that’s okay. It worked and I didn’t hear any complaints about it at all. Another great decision on Whitman’s part. Keep up the good work.

As I have mentioned before in my show reports I like a smaller, more intimate setting. That is kind of hard to accomplish in a convention hall. But this show, a June Baltimore show, had that feeling. There wasn’t a rushed sense about it. Big as it was I was able to spend LOTS of time talking with customers and clients (see my last show report to find out the difference) about coins and life and everything in between. It was great. I was really pleased to see several clients make the trip to Baltimore. Clients I didn’t expect to see there. And that allowed me the opportunity to spend some time talking with them. Hearing about their collections and what their goals were. And that my friends is a lot more exciting than hearing about what a dealers goals are. So it was there in Baltimore that I had my moment. That moment when I realized that selling coins to collectors is why I am in this industry (yes industry, this is a real business). So as the saying goes, “I’m all in”.

So if you ever find yourself at a coin show where I have a table stop bye and say hello. Don’t let my gruff exterior scare you away. I’m just a “coin geek” who loves coins, and loves talking about them.

Bill Shamhart

P.S. Check out my new listings. If you see something of interest give me a call or send me an email. I will be traveling for the next ten days to Colorado Springs (teaching at the ANA’s summer seminar), but I promise to get back to you as soon as possible.

June Long Beach Show Report

Over the past few weeks many of you have emailed or called asking if I was going to continue to write show reports. So, as they say, “Back by popular demand” I present to you my latest writing…

The June Long Beach show has traditionally been the slowest of the three times a year event. People seem to be busy with graduations, end of the school year, vacation planning, and the likes at this time of the year so I’ve come to not expect a whole lot at this show (so that I’m not disappointed). And on the surface it seems to have been right on course. But then I started to evaluate the show a little more in depth. Sometimes things just aren’t what they appear to be.

I have changed my business plan just a little so this show was a combination of the old one and my new one. Let me explain. I am trying to handle less coins that appeal to more collectors. Example you ask? Take for instance a 1943 50c in PCGS MS67 CAC. Great coin. Beautiful and a joy to behold. But you can find dozens of them at any major show. I’m not saying that collectors shouldn’t buy one (or the series). Just the opposite. I think they should. But I can’t compete with low end coins (un CAC’d) that are available by the truck load. Nor can I compete by hand selecting each and every one for its overall quality and eye appeal only to have collectors get frustrated because I won’t sell them at the same price as a “supermarket” dealer would. It’s pure economics. I should however tell you that I will continue to buy and sell those types of coins to “clients” for sets that I am building on their behalf (see below).

Therefore I am trying to find rare coins that by definition are, well, hard to find. Coins that collectors look high and low for, show after show. And as hard as that is for collectors, believe me when I say it isn’t that easy for dealers either. But try I do and try I will. Want some examples? Look no further…

1864 2c Small Motto PCGS MS66 RB. A classic that has been in demand forever.

1815/2 50c PCGS AU58 CAC. Another true classic that has had collectors asking themselves if they will ever find the right coin for their set.

1900 Lafayette S$1 PCGS MS66+. While available in lower mint state grades, true gems with exceptional eye appeal are few and far between.

So keeping my new plan in mind I would say the show was a success. I had the privilege and pleasure of spending some time with customers who are now friends and clients. Whoa! What is the difference between a customer and a client you ask? Simple. A customer buys something from a dealer. End of story. A client is someone who spends time with a dealer explaining their collection and game plan. They build a relationship with each other (got it in there didn’t I!), knowing that they are both on the same page. The fruits of that endeavor are immeasurable compared to that of a customer/dealer transaction. So I guess you have to ask yourself (or maybe not), do you want to be a customer or a client?

Enough philosophy. How about grading? Well as has been the norm for quite some time PCGS held the line. They reward great coins and well quite frankly, spank not too nice/fresh coins. Kudos to them. That’s how it should be. NGC? Uh, they weren’t there doing on-sight grading.

So there it is. My latest attempt at writing. I have sent my new purchases off to be imaged and put up on the web. I won’t be sending out a new purchase email highlighting them, so check back often throughout the week. I do however promise to work on getting the ability to send out future new purchase emails shortly. So…check out my latest offerings and if you see something of interest, email me or give me a call.

Remember…I love to talk coins.

Central States Show Report

I’m not a writer. You know that. I know that. So who am I trying to kid? I have great intentions when it comes to show reports; really I do. I spend countless hours in my hotel room, on an airplane, driving home from the airport, thinking about what I’d like to say. And then it comes time to sit down at the computer and my mind goes blank. Oh well.

A lot has happened recently here at Numismatic Americana. First I would like to thank all of you who contacted me regarding the recent personnel changes. Thank you. I have a new photographer who just finished imaging the new coins and putting them up on the web site. Look them over; I’m sure you’ll agree they are top notch. As a one man operation I’d also like to thank those whose emails were a little slow in getting a response. I promise to do my best. Now on to the show…

I was originally scheduled to arrive in Chicago EARLY Tuesday morning. But I decided to change all that and get there mid-day. I didn’t really miss much in my opinion. I went straight to auction lot viewing to look at some things for clients. Wow! The auction viewing room was packed! Seeing that certainly raised my expectations for the show. But I was reserved and didn’t get my hopes up for the show starting on Wednesday morning.

Set up was what I would call typical. Lots of hand shaking and pleasantries exchanged. But only for a short while. It didn’t take long before the show was in full swing with a constant flow of collectors and clients coming by the table. One of the good things about a show with a major auction associated with it is that it tends to bring out the more serious collectors. The sale of the Eric Newman patterns and the 1913 Liberty nickel did just that. In fact I would say that there were more advanced collectors here than at any show in my recent memory. I was thinking about this on the way home and realized that we sold more BIG coins there than little ones. Big as in $50k or more. It appears that there is a lot of money chasing coins right now. That brings up a point I’ve wanted to mention for quite some time. There is an old saying…”You can overpay for the wrong coins, but rarely do you overpay for the right ones”. Never has this been truer than now. “Coins with Character” (Doug Winter), “Coins that matter” (Joe O’Connor)…these catch phases ring loud and clear now.

I was able to buy quite a few spectacular pieces in Chicago. Unfortunately some of them didn’t make it home with me or were sold over the phone to client who couldn’t attend the show. A few of them are

1831 25C PCGS MS65 CAC

1806 50c PCGS MS64 CAC

1861-D $G1 PCGS MS63 CAC

1915-S $50 Panama-Pacific Octagonal PCGS MS64 CAC

1836 $1 J-58 PCGS PR63 CAC

In addition to the above I was able to buy so really cool coins for my web site. By the time you read this they will all be up and listed (with photographs) for your consideration. Check them out and them call me or send an email (that I promise to answer promptly) if you see something of interest.

Remember…I love to talk coins.

Contact Information

Numismatic Americana Incorporated
P.O. Box 608
Chester, NJ 07930

William Shamhart, Jr.
Phone: 1-908-962-1500
email: Bill@numismaticamericana.com

Notes on Our Next Show

ANA World's Fair of Money

August 5-9, 2014
Donald E. Stehpens Convention Center
Rosemont, IL

If you have items to SELL please stop by our table and we will be happy to discuss purchasing them

We will also have many items with us for you to view. If you are looking for anything in particular, or have an interest in anything on our website, please email or give us a call, prior to the show and we will make sure we bring this item for you to view.

Thank you and we look forward to meeting you.

Show Schedule

ANA World's Fair of Money
August 5-9, 2014
Donald E. Stehpens Convention Center
Rosemont, IL

Long Beach Coin Expo
September 4-6, 2014
Long Beach Convention Center
Long Beach, CA

The Silver Dollar & Rare Coin Expo
October 16-18, 2014
Greater Saint Charles Convention Center
Saint Charles, MO

Whitman Coin & Collectibles Expo
Table 511
October 30-November 2, 2014
Baltimore Convention Center
Baltimore, MD

58th Money Show of the Southwest
December 4-6, 2014
George R. Brown Convention Center
Houston, TX

Central States Numismatic Society
April 22-25, 2015
Schaumburg Convention Center
Schaumburg, IL