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I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead…

I’ll sleep when I’m dead…

The Bellagio, Las Vegas.

Long Beach, California.

Houston, Texas.

Dallas, Texas.

The Bellagio, Las Vegas.

New York City.

St. Louis, Missouri.

South Dakota.

Baltimore, Maryland.

Parsippany, New Jersey.

Those are all of the places I’ve been since I wrote my last show report (ANA August 2014). And I just wrote those down on my iPad at 36,000 feet in the air on my way to Chicago. (Que Nickelback’s “Rockstar”)

I need a life…

Oh wait…I have one. No…I have a great one!

To be candid, if I don’t write a show report right after I return home they all start to blend together. And it’s difficult to remember what happened where. That’s why you’re getting this one. Its time you got a new one and I’ve got some things to say.


I just did back-to-back shows in Baltimore and Parsippany. As in Baltimore on Saturday and Parsippany on Sunday. Think Jupiter and Pluto. Vastly different in size and totally different in every way imaginable.

I got down to Baltimore late Wednesday afternoon, which is a little late for me. After checking into my hotel, I was promptly met by one of my secret suppliers who had…nothing! Boxes full of coins but nothing that jumped out at me and said “Buy Me”! As the old saying goes, some days peanuts, some days shells.

I had made plans to look at a few lots for clients and made my way over to the convention center to find that I had exactly two hours of viewing time available. As I wasn’t planning on doing the whole sale that gave me just enough time to look at specific lots of interest before going out to dinner with two couples who I call friends (although they were customers when I first met them, they have for the most part made the transition to dealer).

Then back to the hotel to send emails detailing my opinions on the auction lots, followed up with a good hour or so of writing up coins for submission to PCGS.

Set up was at eight on Thursday morning and Tom and I were there half an hour early talking to fellow dealers trying to ferret out some fresh material.
If any of you are upland bird hunters you know that looking for really nice coins can be a lot like that. Some days you limit out in two hours, other days you walk 10 miles only getting one shot (which of course you missed). I’m not going to say that we hit the mother lode, because we didn’t. But with some patience and looking through boxes and boxes of coins we were able to find some pretty cool pieces.

There was a lot of talk at the show regarding all the auctions coming up. Gardner, Newman, Pouge, and now Partrick. The optimists look at each of these sales as an opportunity to acquire coins that might not become available for years to come, while the pessimists squawk about the market place not being able to handle everything. I guess I fall somewhere in the middle. Sure there are a lot of coins coming on the market, but man what an opportunity. I’ll write more on this later when we get closer to the big money sales.

I wanna tell you a story.

As you know I teach at the ANA’s summer seminar. And usually we have some pretty sharp students, many who are dealers or the offspring of dealers (trying to learn the business). This year I had the son of a dealer who I’ve known for 30 years or so. The dad’s business model and mine are totally different but sometimes they do intersect, so I was glad to have the opportunity to help them. The son was young, malleable, and eager to learn. That and the fact that he was good made my job just that much easier.

Fast forward a few months and I see him in Baltimore. He calls me over and (politely) asks if he could have my opinion on a coin. Of course I said yes. I always tell my students that their education doesn’t stop after summer seminar and I’d be happy to explain things to them at a show if they had any questions. So I look at the coin and then turn it around on him; asking him what he thinks and why. I won’t tell you what the coin was but I will say that in addition to the grade, there was some question about the designation (FH, DMPL, CAMEO, etc). We discussed it for a bit and it became obvious that he needed to try and buy the coin. So he did. And then he submitted it to PCGS for grading.

In the end, he was close…

But I was closer. The result was an unrealized profit of about $3-4,000 for him. All because he took a class at the ANA’s summer seminar.

Stacks-Bowers had an auction with some great lots in it. After a bunch of email it became evident that I would have to attend not only Thursday’s evening session, but about half-an-hour worth of the session in the middle of the day. Glad I did because I was able to win numerous lots for clients as well as stock. Tom has been busy imaging the ones I bought for stock, so don’t forget to view our new purchases web page.

Friday brought about a really cool situation that I also want to talk about. I have a friend who really likes coins. So much in fact that they take a lot of other dealer inventory on memo and try and sell them (striving to get into the game). After a few shows of looking through their boxes I started to notice a pattern. Most of the coins were just that. Coins. Nothing cool. Nothing exotic. Nothing “Sham-Wow”. Except occasionally they’d have a coin or two that was pretty neat. When I would mention that they explained to me that, of all the coins they had to sell, those were the only ones that they had actually purchased themselves. This discussion took place a few weeks ago in St. Louis and it was there that we decided that they (my friend) wouldn’t take other dealers coins for the next few shows, but instead concentrate on buying only coins that they themselves liked.

Baltimore was their second show using that approach. Wow what a difference! While their sales numbers were down by about 90%, total profit was up by over 100%. Get the picture? Quality sells. Eye appeal sells. “Stuff” doesn’t. At least not without a lot of work. Work smart, not hard I always say.

On a closing note (regarding Baltimore), I kind of think that collectors who attend this kind of event are evolving at a rapid pace. They know what they like, know what they want, and don’t seem to deviate from that game plan much. Impulse buying appears to be a thing of the past at these bigger shows.

I left Baltimore on Saturday, which allowed me one night at home before heading to the monthly one day show in Parsippany, NJ. Pluto to Baltimore’s Saturn. Much smaller and one day only.


Wall to wall people. So crowded that I wondered what a Fire Marshall would have thought had they seen it.

The collector is king here in a land where raw coins rule. Table after table was filled with either cases full of uncertified pieces, three ring binders full of raw coins in 2X2s, or in some cases, just raw coins on a table. It was like a North African numismatic bazaar. Bullion (gold, silver, and copper) were haggled over in a cornucopia of different languages. It was like I was watching a National Geographic special on coins!

So why did I go? It really is quite simple…money.

I’ve always said all it takes to make a show successful (monetarily) is one coin. And that’s exactly what I bought. One coin.

Before I end this article (which by the way has taken four flights and three days to write), I like to mention one bit of news.

Recently a client and friend decided we needed to build a world class set of three cent silvers. So we did. We started off buying not just one, but two complete sets and evaluating each piece to see just which ones would look best in “our” set. Not an easy task at all. Especially when the sets you buy were ranked #2 and #3 on the PCGS registry set boards. When building one set out of two it is easy to get lost in all those coins. A coin that would make it on Monday might not get the nod on Tuesday. And vise versa. But we worked hard at it with many, many a discussion before we made our final choices.


That leaves me with a virtually complete set of three cent silver pieces in GEM proof available for sale. Trust me when I say that each and every one of them could just as easily ended up in “our” set. The coins are that nice.

Look them over (as well as the rest of my NEWPS) and if you see anything that catches your eye give me a call.

Remember…I love to talk coins.




I don’t remember the exact date but I do remember the event. Sometime in the mid 1970s as a fledgling, young numismatist I went to a local “farm auction” that advertised coins in their flier. As a relative newcomer to the hobby I was still trying to fill up my blue Whitman album for Lincoln cents, 1909-1940, and was excited to see several that would help me “fill those holes”.

Again time has stolen the specifics, but I do remember buying one in particular. An S-mint in the teens.

When I got home my mom asked me how it went and did I get anything. I told her all about it and what I had won. The most expensive coin was the above mentioned Lincoln cent. She asked me how much I had paid and when I told her ten dollars she said “Oh God, don’t tell your father!”

That scenario repeated itself several times throughout the years until she was no longer shocked (or impressed) by the amount of money I spent on coins. $100, $1,000, $10,000, or $100,000. She always smiled and said “that’s nice honey, did you sell it?”

Although she didn’t always say it, I knew she was proud of me. Neighbors, family friends, and family members would always tell me how she talked about me and the fact that I had followed my childhood dream of becoming a coin dealer. She and I never talked about it. But I knew.

She passed away on Saturday the 2nd of August. Right before the ANA’s World’s Fair of Money show in Chicago.

I’ve always said that I’ve never worked a day in my life. I mean after all I get to play with coins all day. And hang out with like minded collectors. How can that be called work?

So as I got ready for this year’s show in Chicago I realized just what the hobby means to me. And those close to me. I’m the luckiest man alive.

Silently, I dedicated this show to my mother and all she’d ever done for me.

And every time I bought an expensive coin I heard her say “DON’T TELL YOUR FATHER!”



Like many of the regular table holders at this year’s ANA show, I decided to skip the pre-show. Ten days in Rosemont, Illinois is WAY too long. So I showed up at the pre-show around noon on Monday thinking that I could go in and start conducting business. That didn’t happen. Seems the pre-show went to one way traffic around noon and even regular table holders couldn’t get in. Ugh…

The “official” set up time for the ANA was 3:00. And that’s what time they started letting dealers into the bourse.

For the second time in as many years I had one of those “super-booths”. Half was for me and my wears, and the other half was for my clients to showcase some of their coins. And just like last year we all had a blast. There were five different cases showing highlights from some really great collections.

1) A wonderful exhibit of coins and paper money, all with the denomination of $1. From Colonials, Gobrecht dollars, gold commemoratives, and everything in between. A spectacular group!

2) An interesting grouping of coins, in which every one was housed in old PCGS “doily” holders or “black” NGC ones. This case caused quite a stir among the cult followers of “holder collectors”.

3) An incredible collection of Standing Liberty Quarters, which were painstakingly put together from a fine gentleman from the Bay area. Most of which were in old green label PCGS holders! Really cool…

4) The UNBELIEVABLE Seated Liberty Half Dollar date set of “Ray Levoi”. Although we exhibited some of the coins last year, many new additions were present and without a doubt this was one of the most viewed cases.

5) A newcomer to the club was a fine gentleman, and friend, who hails from the great state of Texas. The collection of type coins he displayed was simply stunning. If you’ve ever wondered where all the “Sham-wow” coins have gone, you needed look no further. In fact there were so many AMAZING pieces that it was sensory overload, and quite easy to be spellbound and stand there for hours. Think 1822 Bust Half Dollar in PCGS MS67. Or 1901-S Barber Quarter in PCGS MS68+ (yes, THAT coin). A collection that I am truly honored to have built.

So set up was from 3 until about 6. Just enough time to get the coins in the cases, shake a few hands, look at a couple dealers boxes, and make dinner plans. And like last year, Monday’s dinner was at Gibson’s right across the street (sometimes I feel like Bill Murray in “Groundhog Day”). Tom Bush and I had the pleasure of dining with a client/friend (and a friend of his who quickly became a friend of ours). Excellent meal and conversation to start off the show. And the first of many 16 ounce bone in filets. After dinner I spent a few hours getting my coins ready to submit to PCGS. Then a brief 6 hours of sleep and the start of another day in “coin geek heaven”.

On the way to the show Tuesday morning, around 7:30, I saw a line in front of the convention center full of a mixture of people. I remember thinking to myself “wow, that’s cool all those young numismatists waiting to get their example of the new Kennedy gold piece. But what are all those old (Asian) women doing in line so early?”

By now you’ve heard just what exactly was going on. Not just in Rosemont, but in Philadelphia, Denver, and Washington D.C. as well.

I’m not going to go on a rant here, but I’ll remind you of a similar incident many years ago. 60 Minutes did an episode on the Franklin Mint and their so-called limited edition coins. In my humble opinion that is exactly where this whole thing is headed. When that happens, not if, it’s going to take the modern segment of the coin industry decades to recover from the black eye it gets. If it ever does…

(If you don’t know what I talking about, Google Denver Mint and John F. Kennedy. Or go to www.pcgs.com and read the forums. It’s pretty much spelled out there.)

Tuesday is actually the first full day at the ANA, even though it was technically set up day. Early badge holders got in at 10 while the show officially opened to the public (ANA members) at noon. I was at my booth talking to another dealer when they let the early badge holders in and was immediately shocked by the mad rush of said “collectors”. A herd of them came RUNNING into the bourse, quickly passed my booth, and bee-lined for the Mint’s table. The great gold rush for JFK was afoot. It was pathetic. And scary. Think flash mob.

After the JFK incident things got down to regular business. Clients came by to say hello, dealers brought boxes of coins for me to look at, and we were besieged by a ton of questions from the public. Throughout the day there was a constant flow of collectors and dealers at the table, both buying and selling. Okay, mostly selling, or looking to sell. From my perspective the collectors in attendance were armed with specific want lists and didn’t fall prey to impulse buying. And unless you have an unlimited amount of money that’s the way it should be. Many a collector has a safe deposit box or home safe with more than one impulse buy in it. I’m not saying that a person shouldn’t buy a coin right then and there, on the spot if you will, when they see it. Quite the opposite. If you see a great coin, with fantastic eye appeal that fits in your collection, you should buy it. Learn to make a snap decision and pull the trigger. Why? Because the chances are that it won’t be there when you return. Murphy’s Law. But don’t buy the first coin on your want list that is sub-par. Or super cheap. Or one that you’ve never seen before. Do your research, learn about it. Believe me when I tell you that there are always cool coins, with really neat stories behind them, outside of your collecting parameters waiting to be bought.

By this time the show was in full swing and my table staff was all present. I was there, as was Tom Bush and C.J. If you’ll recall from last year’s ANA show report, C.J. is a very talented YN who I met at the ANA’s summer seminar several years ago. Sharp, polite, and very adept at grading, this young man is going to make his mark in our hobby.

A little after noon a trio of friends/clients came in from Texas. These guys are great. True coin geeks at heart. In fact one of the first things we did was to start negotiations on a complete set of proof three cent silvers. It took awhile, but we finally got the deal done and the coins became a well deserved addition to “The Ottoman Collection”.

Shortly thereafter, we were joined at the table by the owner of the “Ray Levoi” collections. We talked and laughed for a few, and then he went about the task of scoping out the bourse, only to come back just in time to join us for dinner at…Gibson’s of course. Two boys from Arkansas, A Texan, one from Kansas, another from Missouri, and one from New Jersey (not me, I’m the one from Missouri) all enjoyed a phenomenal meal swapping stories about coins and life. It was great!

Wednesday morning was like the above mentioned “Groundhog Day” movie. I stepped off the curb across from the convention center only to see another MASSIVE line of people that snaked around the building. It always amazes me that the U.S. Mint can sell millions of coins to the public a year, yet virtually none of those buyers make the transition to that of the classic collector. I just don’t get it.

Shrugging the scene off, I got to the show and down to business just like I do at every major one. By this time we started to get coins back from PCGS and get them ready for sale. And as usual the staff from PCGS did a great job. From the huge line of people submitting, to receiving the coins, grading them, and promptly getting the back to the bourse floor these guys and gals made it look easy. Believe me it is FAR from easy. Thanks to Don Willis, David Talk, and the entire staff from Newport Beach.

One of the cool things that PCGS does at shows occasionally is showcase some of their client’s registry sets at their table. I had the honor of being asked by B.J. Searls if I would loan them my Assay Medal collection for the ANA and upcoming Long Beach show. All I can say is…”Wow!!” The presentation along with the brochure they produced was amazing. Many of the visitors in Rosemont came by and complimented me on the set. But I think the real congratulations go to B.J. and her staff. They did a wonderful job. Thanks!

By now the show was in full swing and there was a constant flow of collectors and dealers coming by the table. It’s always great to see everybody and to occasionally get to put a face with a voice known only over the phone. Before we knew it, it was time for dinner at…Capital Grille! What a welcome change from the fabulous Gibson’s. (At times I feel like a member of ancient Rome’s privileged society, eating decadently with no inhibitions. It’s great but you know it can’t last).

Thursday was essentially the same as Tuesday and Wednesday. A constant line of people at the table asking questions, showing me coins they just bought, looking to sell coins they brought, and looking for coins to add to their cabinet. The ten hour day seemed like a short 45 minutes and it was again time for dinner with a great group of friends (clients and dealers). At…Capital Grille! And their rendition of the 16 oz bone in filet!

Friday started with us getting back a BOAT LOAD of coins from PCGS and preparing them for sale. Which leads me to this point I’d like to make; if you’re at a show and stop at a table that handles the kind of coins you like, don’t forget to go back to that table on a regular basis during the show. Dealers are constantly buying coins and taking in coins in trade for something they’re selling. Chances are they’ll get something that fits your parameters after your first stop, and unless they know you’re looking for that particular piece you might never know it. Don’t worry about annoying them…they’re there to sell coins.

This is the point where I’d normally tell you about the really cool coins that I sold and the outstanding ones I bought, but seeing as this show report has taken me four days to write (off and on, as I really do suffer writer’s block) I think it’s time to wind it down and get busy writing descriptions. What, you thought that was a thing of the past? Haha!!

Keep in mind that none of the business I did, whether buying or selling, getting to display the coins from my client’s cabinets, or having PCGS showcase my Assay Medals would have been possible without one thing…relationships. They are the keystone of my business and the most valuable asset I have.

So sit back and take a look at my NEWPS. And if you see anything of interest, send me an email or call me.

Remember…I love to talk coins.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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…


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


ANA National Money Show 2014

ANA National Money Show 2014


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?


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.


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.


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…


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.


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…


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

PCGS’ Members Only Show Report

While preparing for the PCGS Members Only show last Tuesday evening I set the alarm on my iPhone for 3 and went to bed around 11 after writing up my submissions. Well, I guess I really am technologically challenged, because I set it for 3 p.m. And you guessed it, I woke up at 5 a.m. wondering why my alarm didn’t go off. A quick call to the airline and I was booked on the next flight out after my originally scheduled 6:30 one.

An uneventful five hour flight later and I was at the beautiful Venetian/Palazzo resort and ready to do business. Its kind of funny, but after 30 years of attending coin shows I still can’t figure them out. When ever I think I will have a great show, I don’t. And when I don’t get my hopes up, it turns out pretty good. So I’ve learned to just go and do my business and let the chips fall where they may (Vegas lingo). Well this was one of the shows that surprised me with the results. From the very beginning I was busy selling coins to other dealers (after submitting my coins for grading) as well as looking at potential items for inventory. You may recall that I really like this type of environment for coin shows. They aren’t too big that a person can’t get around to see everyone in the room. Unhurried and laid back. Just like I like them. After a few hours of the show it was time for dinner and I had the pleasure of dining with 3 of my fellow dealers at a great restaurant. A fitting end to a very long day.

Thursday morning arrived very early for me. Living on the east coast my internal clock is set to wake up around 5 EST. Well that my friends is 2 a.m. in Vegas. I tired to get a little extra sleep, but that is easier said than done if you know what I mean. So I answered emails and made notes of the things that I wanted to accomplish at the show that day. When the show opened up at 8 a.m. I was there for the bell and ready to go. From the onslaught it was busy and let up only when lunch arrived. Seems that the only thing coin dealers and collectors like better than talking coins is talking coins over a meal. After an hour or so business got back to usual and time started to fly. Early in the afternoon a customer, who awhile ago became a client, and is now a friend, showed up and we talked coins, collecting strategy and everything in between (as well as dinner plans). This is a classic example of relationship building that I have mentioned time and again. As the day went on business was done and coins were bought and sold. It was early Thursday afternoon that I started to get coins back from PCGS and I am pleased to say that, in my mind, they did a great job. Fresh, no problem coins were rewarded as they should be. After writing a few more invoices it was off to dinner and evening festivities. It was another great night of fellowship with yet another “coin geek”.

Friday was like watching “Groundhog Day” with Bill Murray. Coins were bought and sold throughout the day, and I was constantly getting freshly graded inventory back from PCGS. “Coin Nirvana”. As hard as I try I still can’t predict what happens at a coin show. I sold coins that I never thought would sell there, and was able to buy a lot more that I would have anticipated.

To sum it up the show was great. From wholesale to retail I can honestly state that the market is very much in good health. And this is a trend that I think will continue for quite a while.

Christine has been busy getting my newps and freshly graded coins ready for the web. So check out the listing of new inventory and if anything rings your bell give me or Christine a call (or send an email). We’ll do our best to make sure its the right coin for your collection and get it to you P.D.Q.

Remember…we love to talk coins!

Long Beach Coin Expo February 2013

I apologize for this very short report in advance. I was writing it on my home computer and it ate it. So now I am writing an abridged version on my iPad.

In a nutshell it was great. The show doesn’t even resemble the show of years gone by, smaller and more refined if you like. During set up there wasn’t panic to get things done, just grown up and methodical, business in a relaxed environment by my account. Just like I like it.

Our buying speaks for itself. Our new purchases are some of the nicest in recent memory, and many of the coins we took to the Beach found new homes. I did notice that collectors are getting a bit more finicky in their purchases, which is just fine with me. Nice coins sell themselves.

Christine and I had the pleasure of dining with a couple of clients while out there and as usual it was great to hear what makes a collector tick. It was a blast.

One thing that does need to be addressed, as I heard it from MANY people, is the PA service. The public announcements were extremely loud and obnoxious. It made it very difficult to speak with anybody in the room. Other than that I think that the staff of the Long Beach Coin and Collectibles Expo did a wonderful job. Keep up the good work.

So there’s my show report, short and to the point! But fret not as our new purchases are lengthy and should provide hours of enjoyment. Look them over and if something rings your bell, give us a call (or email). Remember…we love to talk coins.

2013 FUN Show Report…A sign of things to come?

I am an optimist. I really am. But at the same time I am a realist. The annual FUN show, usually held in the first week or two of the New Year in the resort town of Orlando, is a bell-weather of the year to come. After a month and a half long Holiday season most collectors and dealers are chomping at the bit to start the New Year and their numismatic quests. It’s no wonder that attendance records are set as collectors and dealers alike make the trek to Florida. Along with this comes the anticipation of a good and profitable FUN show from a Dealers point of view. But, and this is a big but, I had my reservations. There has been a lot of press lately about the fiscal (financial) mess and new tax rates coming down the pike. Usually there is a little trepidation with unknowns like this hanging around. Read on to see the outcome…

I arrived in Orlando early Tuesday morning and Christine (who had to travel across the country diagonally) landed later that afternoon. After attempting to check into my hotel, which I couldn’t do early, I went to the auction lot viewing to check out a few things for clients and inventory. Have you every done that? If you get the catalog for the FUN sales then you have a concept of what its like; it’s like looking through a New York city phone book, a daunting task to say the least, but even then you don’t really get the full experience. Try and visualize thousands and thousands of coins and a few hundred people at any given time trying to see them. Now remember that Mr. Murphy (of SNAFU fame) is an ardent coin collector and made sure that you had to wait for hours to see the boxes you need. He and some of his buddies are the consummate coin hogs. Perhaps they did that on purpose, perhaps not. It didn’t help the staff at lot viewing try to accommodate you buy with a little perseverance I was able to see everything I needed to and make the appropriate notes. Then off to dinner after a very long day.

Wednesday started with a few appointments (relationships, remember?) to buy some really fresh to the market pieces and then off to the auction for the first session, which started at noon. Christine and I sat through most of the first session waiting for the really cool Three Cent Silver pieces being offered. I know the dealer who helped assemble this collection (and respect his eye) and had some very strong bid on the pieces I wanted. We even had a client who sat next to us, anxiously waiting to buy one. Well we left empty handed. These coins went for prices that were off the charts. Both Christine and I have loved this series for many, many years and have several advanced collectors that we advise with their acquisitions. I have always said that “trimes” have a cult following, but after this I would say they shot to the top of main stream numismatics. Perhaps 2013 will be their year.

Right after the first session of the auction the bourse floor opened for dealer set up. There was a lot of “Happy New Years” exchanged, talk about the holiday season, and the usual pleasantries exchanged. With this many dealers and tables to view Christine and I tried to concentrate on buying for the first few hours, occasionally showing our inventory to other dealers and making a sale. As you can see from the new purchases that have been recently added to our web site we were pretty successful. After another long day it was off to a quiet dinner, just two of us.

The first full day of the show, Thursday, had the bourse opening at a reasonable 8:30 and we were there ready to do business. For the next hour and a half it was again dealer to dealer, until the collecting public was admitted at 10:00. After that there was barely any time to breath. From 10 until 7 it was non stop with at least 2 and sometimes 3 or 4 people at our table looking at or talking coins. Many old clients and customers came by as well as some new and potential ones. At times I felt like I was running for office as I shook what seemed to be ten thousand hands (if I ever ran for an office or something I’d like to think you all would vote for me). By the end of the day we were completely exhausted, but in a good way. Talking all day about something you love can’t be all that bad…can it? As tired as Christine and I were we were happy when we were invited to out to dinner with a few really great people who just happen to be clients as well. I can’t remember when I laughed that much, but that’s what this is all about isn’t it? Coins and camaraderie. An unbeatable pair.

Friday. What a day. It started off a little slow but by noon I have to say that I don’t remember a show like this in recent history, truly non-stop, with virtually every person who stopped by ending up walking away with a new addition to their collection. That coupled with numerous phone calls with those who, unfortunately, couldn’t make it to FUN this year. I’d like to take the time to again mention that NONE of this would be possible without the many relationships we have built over the years. I know that those are the most valuable assets I have; as well as the most cherished. As with the night before, Christine and I were invited out to dinner with two other great guys, and very advanced collectors as well. Again, laughter throughout the night!

Enough of that though…what about the coins?

Well we really did buy some “stellar” pieces. From the phenomenal 1836 Lettered Edge Half in PCGS MS66, to the unbelievably rare 1872-S Seated Half in PCGS MS65, I think this is one of the best selections we have acquired in a long while. Keep in mind that many of the coins we bought never made it to our web site as they were bought with specific customers in mind and dealers as well. Early on, as in before the show even started, we had the opportunity to by a really cool 1911-D $10 Indian. We didn’t have a customer in mind, but I knew a fellow dealer who might. We offered it to the dealer and they were happy to buy it, finally finding one for their very patient client. It’s great when you know that a collector finally gets their white whale, and that you were part of it.

I could go on and on about the coins we bought, but I think I’ll let Christine’s photos and descriptions do the talking. As I’ve always said, “If you like the photo you’ll love the coin”. Check them out and then give us a call (or email) if you see something on your wish list. We can have them to you before the weekend (and then you can have a play date with them and your collection).

And remember…we love to talk coins.

Ringing in the New Year with a little FUN!

Now that the Holiday season of 2012 has come and gone, I thought I’d take a time to write down a few thoughts about the past year and the up-coming new one.

As a relatively new company (Christine and I have had Numismatic Americana for a little under three years now), we are grateful for the success that has been bestowed upon us. It is a fairly known fact that most start-up companies don’t make money for the first few years, but through hard (and smart) work, what we think is unparalleled customer service, and some of the most eye-appealing coins available we have had the privilege to provide hundreds of collectors with coins (from gem Walking Liberty half dollars for under $1,000 to superb proof gold coins). It is a simple mission statement for our company, but it works. Thank you to all of you for another successful year.

It has been said that if you don’t evolve with the times you become extinct. Keeping that in mind Christine and I are constantly striving to streamline our company, all the while keeping it simple, so that your coin buying experience is an easy and FUN one. If you have any ideas or suggestions that you would like to see from us we welcome your input.

In the upcoming months we will be trying a few new ideas and implementing some new strategies. One of them is to revise our want list program. So now might be a good time to think about updating your want (or wish) list. We sell a lot of coins directly to our clients that never make it to our website, so this definitely could benefit you and your collection. Think about it, and if you like the idea, give us a call or send us an email.

As some of you know, Christine and I are not sales people. We are coin people. We love to talk coins with our customers, even if it means talking someone out of a particular piece. That’s just who we are. One of the great innovators in our hobby in the past 50 years is David Hall. Yes he is a competitor of ours, but more importantly it was he who, although he didn’t come up with the concept, took third party grading to the level it is now. A lot can be said of Mr. Hall, but there is one thing that keeps sticking in my mind. His company tag line: Have FUN with your coins. I don’t think I could have said it better.

HAVE FUN WITH YOUR COINS! Wow, what a concept…

And if you happen to be in Orlando next week, stop by the FUN show and look us up. Table 904.

Remember…we love to talk coins.

PCGS’ Members Only Las Vegas Show Report

The last major coin show of the year was held this past week in Las Vegas at the beautiful Cosmopolitan Hotel. Put on by PCGS, the Members Only Shows are attended by a small but dedicated group of dealers and collectors alike. Most serious collectors are starting to realize just how important this venue is and are starting to show up in greater numbers. Dealers in the know regularly attend. A lot happened this week in Vegas, some good, some bad, but I promise that what happened in Vegas won’t stay in Vegas.

Let’s get the bad out of the way first. We have a customer who lives in Las Vegas and was planning on attending the show. He even went to the bank and got his coins out in preparation of attending. Unfortunately he made the grave mistake of leaving his coins at home unattended for just a short while. And yes you guessed it, he was robbed. I am telling you this story because it happens all too often. Please don’t make this mistake. It only takes a few minutes for your life to be turned upside down. Safety and security should be paramount when it comes to your valuables. Be vigilante.

Now for the good…

One of the good things about shows is the ability to socialize with friends, clients and dealers alike. Christine had received a text a few weeks ago asking if she and I would like to go out to dinner on Wednesday. Of course she graciously accepted. Well, as the party who invited us so appropriately put it, we were “punked”! Seems that the couple had planned on getting married that night and wanted to surprise us (along with virtually everybody at the show) and surprised we were. Congratulations to Irma Kane and her new husband (and fellow dealer) Doug Winter. It was a beautiful ceremony followed but an outstanding dinner/reception.

Oh, did I mention that both of the above mentioned events took place on the same day? Talk about highs and lows.

Now on to the show…

Set up was at 11 a.m. and when I arrived the doors had just opened. Right away there was a buzz in the room. Dealers came trying to take advantage of some last minute, and year end, business. Many came in anticipation of the Legend-Morphy auction being held there. While I wasn’t able to attend the sale, it was a great success. Another congratulations is due; this time to the staff and owners of Legend-Morphy Auctions. Good job!

Early in the afternoon the public was admitted and that is when Christine and I really got busy. Not overly busy, as in no time to breath, but just a slow and steady flow. If you’ll recall I like this type of show and being able to spend some quality time with our customers and clients is really nice. No frenzy, no pressure, just great conversation and the occasional sale.

We submitted our coins early Wednesday and started to get them back late Friday afternoon. My experience was that PCGS was again holding the line just where it should be. Reward the really nice coins and well, and from the complaints that I heard from other dealers, error on the side of conservative with the not so nice or fresh.

Thursday night Christine and I had the pleasure of dinning with a couple of clients and talking coins, family, and everything in between. We had a great time and look forward to doing it again soon.

As I promise in my last show report we have some pretty special coins available for your consideration this time. These coins are really cool and represent some of the best pieces available, as well as highest graded in some cases. Those, in addition to some neat purchases from our secret sources (relationships, remember?) will soon be listed on our web site under the “all new coins” drop down page of our “coins and currency” page. Christine has been busily imaging them and getting them ready for your perusal. And if you see something of interest have your spouse or children give us a call. We can have it there in the “Nick” of time for the holidays.

This will be the last show report of 2012. So we’d like to take this time and wish each and every one of you a Happy Holiday season and great New Year!

Bill and Christine

Greater Houston Coin Club’s Money Show

Last week was the 56th showing of the Greater Houston Coin Club’s Money show of the Southwest. A Texas size shout out (thank you) goes to Carl Schwenker and all the members of GHCC that volunteered at the show. Their efforts make this venue a must attend event of the year (as always).

I arrived in Houston early in the afternoon, with enough time to attend Heritage’s lot viewing for their auction that week. I met a couple clients there and we talked about the lots as we looked at them. After lot viewing it was off to my hotel and a couple hour meeting with clients regarding their collections. It is always good to sit down (or plan a phone call) with your dealer of choice and talk about what direction you want to head with your collection. Times change, client’s taste change, and life changes, it is a good idea to keep up with it.

The show set up at 8 o’clock on Thursday (9 on Friday) which allowed a few extra hours of wholesale, or should I say dealer to dealer, time. I’ve always had a hard time with the phrase wholesale in this industry. There isn’t any set pricing or warehouses where a dealer can go and buy his inventory and then mark them up a certain percent. In fact I’ve looked at a coin (at somebody’s table), asked for a price, passed on it, and then watch a collector (not a dealer) ask for a price while I am still there, get quoted the same price and then buy it. I guess one man’s wholesale is another man’s retail.

I did a little “wholesale” business in the morning (Christine couldn’t make it this time) and then got ready for the collecting “public” to arrive. And they did. As usual this show gets a large crowd of collectors, dealers, vest pocket dealers, speculators, and everything else. There was a constant flow of people throughout the three days the show was open. I got to talk to a lot of customers of ours as many of them made the trip to Houston. In particular there were four different clients that I had the liberty of spending quite a bit of time with. It was the high-light of the show. These relationships Christine and I have built of the years really mean a lot to us.

As I said, there was constant flow of people through the George R. Brown convention center for the duration. Sales were a little weak for what I expected, but our buying more than made up for it. Sometimes you just don’t have the right coins for the right collectors at the right time. That is why we are continuously buying new coins for inventory. And, you guessed it, if it weren’t for the relationships we have built over the years there is a good chance Christine and I wouldn’t get as many coins as we do. In fact it is because of these bonds that we are able to offer the items that Christine is busy putting up on the web. Virtually all of them were purchased from existing customers or dealers with whom we have done business for a long time. It would be nearly impossible to acquire this many high quality pieces one at a time on a bourse floor, they simply aren’t out there (lying in dealer cases).

I’m not going to list any of my favorite purchases here because I don’t think I could pick two or three that I like better than the rest. I think they are all pretty cool. Oh, and remember that meeting I had on Wednesday night? Well the outcome of that is that we will have a few VERY neat gold coins available after PCGS’ Members Only Show next week in Las Vegas (this time at the Cosmopolitan). Stay tuned for those or if you get to attend that show take a look at them. I know you’ll be pleased.

The Holiday season is in full swing now, and we wish everyone a great one. And thank you for your patronage throughout this past week. We really appreciate it.

Happy Holidays!

Bill and Christine

Whitman’s Baltimore Expo Show Report

A lot has happened since I last sat down at my computer to do a show report. In a word: Sandy. I’d like to take this time to thank all of our customers, clients, and friends who inquired about how we weathered the storm. Everyday I see trucks from all across the U.S.A. working feverishly trying to restore power to the residents of the East Coast, as well as helping to just clean up the damage. I know that not everyone would agree with me, especially those still without power, but I for one am impressed with the progress made in the wake of this disaster. Thank you to those who are working around the clock over here, it is greatly appreciated.

The first major show after Sandy was Whitman’s Coin & Collectibles Expo held in downtown Baltimore, Maryland. It was a little hectic getting ready for the show, but once Christine and I arrived in the Inner Harbor (as the locals call it) it was almost as if Sandy had never happened. After checking into our hotel we immediately welcomed our first appointment. I know that I keep talking about our relationships with dealers and collectors alike, but the reality is that without them our business would be a fraction of what it is. In this case it was with another dealer who we do a lot of business with throughout the year. Our purchases were, well, great. Christine is busy imaging them (as well as all of our other NEWPS) and getting them ready for your consideration. After a few hours of business in the hotel, it was time for dinner and getting ready for Thursday, the first day of the show.

Set up was an early 8:00 in the morning. We barley had time to get to our table when we were inundated with fellow dealers wanting to see our coins, as well as ask how we survived Sandy. We did some wholesale selling, and looked at many dealers boxes. As has been the case lately, the boxes of coins we looked at were the usual tired stale inventory. We were lucky if we found one or two coins after looking at hundreds. But as with anything in life there are always exceptions, and we were very happy that three other dealers came straight to us (first) looking to sell fresh, new to the market, deals. Of course both Christine and I did everything in our power to buy those coins. These, along with the aforementioned deal, are among the new purchases being offered this week.

Around noon on Thursday the public was admitted to the show. Again many customers and clients stopped by to see how we fared with Sandy, exchange pleasantries, and also to BUY coins. I must confess that the retail aspect of the show was greater then I had expected. A good many coins in our inventory found new homes among their other high quality pieces. There were a few of our clients that had asked for our opinion on some of the auction lots being sold there, we advised them as if we were buying them for ourselves. Some were successful, some were not, but each and every one of them came away with a little more insight to the market.

I must confess that I am a little rusty with my show reports. I promise that the next one will be more in depth. In the mean time Christine and I, would like to give thanks to each and everyone of you for your support throughout the year. We hope that you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and get to enjoy some time with your families. But if you find yourself in a position this weekend of either going holiday shopping (really?) or spending some time at home, might I suggest you get some of your coins out of the bank and enjoy them. After all isn’t that what this hobby is all about? And if you find a coin in our latest offering that might fit into your collection, give us a call. Remember…we love to talk coins.

Contact Information

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

William Shamhart, Jr.
email: Bill@numismaticamericana.com

Notes on Our Next Show

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