The second of Whitman’s three Baltimore shows is history. Even though the bourse floor was packed from Thursday through early Saturday, one couldn’t help but notice that the show was smaller than usual. The newer, expanded hall C, was not utilized this past week, as is the tradition for the “summer” show. This doesn’t constitute a turn down in the market, but rather a reflection of the fact that many dealers scale back their show schedule during the summer months. Also, the annual “Paper Money Show” was held the same weekend in Memphis. And as expected, most of the usual “rag pickers” made the pilgrimage to Tennessee.
Baltimore has become the show to attend on the east coast. The team Whitman has put together is nothing but spectacular. They think of everything. And do it with efficiency unparalleled in any service industry. Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Nashville, They’ve got it covered. Many a show promoter could learn a thing or two from Whitman. My kudos go out to them.
So what was going on in the convention center? Quite a bit! Stack’s had a sale just prior to the opening bell, as well as Bowers and Merena conducting the “official” auction during the show. Both PCGS and NGC had staff there to accommodate dealer “on site” grading, in addition to fielding questions from the public while assisting them with their own submissions. While we only submitted to PCGS, from what we heard on the floor, along with our own observations, it appears that both services are continuing their stance of “no tolerance” while grading. If a coin appears to have been altered, – NO GRADE. Tired coins aren’t getting the benefit of the doubt. Only truly “fresh” coins are being rewarded; as they should be.
One of the most frequently asked questions we get is: So what was selling? In a word, everything; let me explain. Many dealers have a business model that allows collectors to visit a website, point, click, and buy. There is no doubt in my mind that many collectors like to buy coins this way. They don’t have to talk to anyone and can do their shopping at their own pace, on their own time frame. Unfortunately the collector does not get the benefit of a dealers years of experience, or lack there of. That being said, many of our sales were to other dealers.
On the other hand, we find that most of our customers, those with specific want lists, prefer to deal face to face. They like to look at the piece in question, get that ever important “first impression”, and ask questions. Then they pull the trigger. And as I’ve said before, most of these “retail” sales had to have something special going for it. Exceptional eye appeal, wild color, or blazing luster, they got to have it.
Specifics? Gold and silver commems. Gem (MS 65 and above) gold and silver type coins. Proof and mint state examples alike. Proof three cent nickels (?) and…ready…Three cent silver pieces were in demand. (About time in my opinion) Both of these series have been overlooked for too long and represent a challenging, yet possible, task.
So there you have it. Our next venue will be there annual show in Colorado Springs held the weekend of the 4th of July, in between the first and second sessions of “Summer Seminar”. Then it will be a week long session of looking at coins and learning. How cool is that?