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Back to Road Report Archive 2013

April 24-27, 2013: The Central States Numismatic Society Convention in Schaumburg, IL

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April 24th:  Day 1

As CRO embarks on three (3) shows over the next three (3) weeks, you are reading the very first of what will be a veritable ton of Road Report entries (if you print them all out on heavy 14pt stock, which is of course not necessary since you can always find them here on this site arranged chronologically).

With today’s entry being written from scenic (well, not so much) Schaumburg, Illinois, home of the 2013 Central States Numismatic Society Convention. Though based on the questionnaire the organizers sent us in the mail asking where we would prefer it to be located, it might not be in this venue much longer. Not that there is anything wrong with this spot – I rather like it, but my guess is that most others would rather be downtown or somewhere with more restaurant choices or something like that.

In the meantime, however, we are pleased to be here to report on the Day 1 activities.

Which for your author started a little late, unfortunately, as I was absolutely 75% sure that dealer set-up on Wednesday began at a relaxing 2 PM.

So that’s why I casually strolled in here at about 10:30 AM prepared to do some leisurely lot viewing before the show opened, only to peek into the bourse floor and see hundreds of my coin dealer brethren already furiously (in a good way) engaged in numismatic commerce.

Yikes! Fortunately I was able to change gears quickly, set up everything in about a half hour (due in large part to the fact that the CSNS people had done a great job laying everything out and I did not have to waste time looking for a light bulb, for example).

Allowing me, within minutes, to sell the first coin of the day, an English Copper that I just bought and which had never been on the site even for a few minutes. As an aside, that happens sometimes and I’m not sure it’s a good thing, since of course in a perfect world I’d like to be operating a FIFO numismatic business model where cool coins are bought, then sold and replaced with new ones like clockwork.  On the other hand, that’s totally unrealistic, since I never know what I’ll find, or where, and coins seem to sell in a random and unpredictable sequence.  But it was a neat coin and I’m not at all surprised someone grabbed it.

Followed in quick succession by a bunch of other stuff symmetrically representing CRO’s Ghidorah-like three-headed (3-headed) Colonial-Federal-World coin category monster:

I might have been able to sell more had I camped out at the table continuously, but as a solo artist at these events I had to steal away briefly to view lots at Heritage, to scour the bourse floor for neat NEWPs and to occasionally stop and schmooze with friends I had not seen in a while, but will now be hanging with excessively for the next three (3) weeks.

Overall, and speaking strictly from my own perspective, this day was pretty active, and people seemed to be buying and selling at a good clip. I also will say that I was able to find some pretty interesting coins on the floor from a variety of sources, which should make people who hate to read that “There was nothing to buy!” extremely happy.

And of course there is a lot of cool stuff in the auction here, which brought in a larger than usual crowd (including a bunch of dealers who usually skip this show) and seems to have increased the buzz-factor by quite a bit.

Tomorrow I look forward to more of the same with the addition of many of our good local customers who I hope to see at our primo table location right near the door.

More later.

April 25th:  Day 2

I made sure to be on time on Thursday, plowing into the bourse right on schedule and quickly setting up the booth for a full day of activity. Including the overdue hanging of the CRO banner, which involved your author standing on a chair, immediately losing his balance and darn near catapulting himself into the hard, unforgiving back case of the dealer right behind me. Thankfully I managed to right myself by hanging from the flimsy metal framing that surrounds the booth in a scene that probably looked a little like this, only more precarious:

Uninjured, I set about conducting some coin business of a buying and selling nature, and frankly I did a lot better with the latter than the former, selling a lot of coins to a lot of different people in a nice, steady fashion pretty much all day.

I say pretty much because there was that 15 minute or so minor fire drill interruption which featured extremely bright flashing lights, a piercing alarm and a loud announcement for everyone to vacate the premises.

Which I and a hundred or so other people did forthwith, while the overwhelming majority of other dealers sat behind their booths, ignored all warnings and kept doing whatever they were doing. I assume these people all had on flame retardant numismatic clothing, or simply didn’t care, which is certainly an individual choice. One that, at least in this instance, didn’t hurt them, since it turned out to be a false alarm and they let us all back in right away.  Regardless, it was actually kind of a nice break.

After which I kept selling, mostly federal and world coins to long-term and first-time customers alike, that second group represented by a gentlemen who proceeded to tell me all about his niece who is apparently an accomplished and well-known professional bowler. Who knew?

A few last minute sales later and it was time for the auctions to begin, including the exciting first installment of the Newman material, followed by HA’s regular old Platinum Night session featuring a 1913 Liberty head Nickel and lot of other cool stuff.

And while I followed some of the results with interest, I must admit I did so from the hotel bar and eventually our restaurant table, where I had a lovely dinner with some industry friends and enjoyed what we all felt was perhaps the best Clams Casino we’ve ever had at a coin show.

After which we called it a very late night in anticipation of a good Friday which I hope will bring similar sales, better purchases, fewer fire alarms and, you would think, our first grading results from this show.


April 26th:  Day 3

Though no one has yet sent me any bluntly-worded emails complaining about the lack of hard-hitting numismatic content in this CSNS RR, I figure it is simply a matter of time and so I am going to cut that off at the pass with the following several paragraphs:

First, I have been genuinely surprised by the amount of business I have done here, with steady sales every day that continued at an accelerated pace on Friday.

I’m not sure if everyone here has simply come to buy, or if I just happen to have what people are looking for, or if my table location right near the door is so good that people cannot avoid me (or perhaps it is some combination of the above), but whatever it is a typical transaction here has gone something like this:

Customer:  “Hi, can I see that (date, denomination, grade) coin please?
Your author:  “Here you go.”
Customer:  “I’ll take it!”

Now, that is a slightly condensed version in which I removed any bowling references, but I believe this 3-line script accurately captures the ‘we’re not wasting any time here’ approach most show attendees have been taking.

In fact, I really can’t recall ever dealing with a more decisive and fast-acting numismatic crowd, which I have to tell you is a wonderful thing.

With the majority of this fast-action centered on federal coins of all kinds and price points, resulting in a CRO website inventory federal section decimation that ranks right up there with some busy Baltimore shows in years past.

I am not sure if this experience is typical of most of the other dealers here, but the anecdotal evidence of those set up near me or dealing in similar material has been about the same.

As for buying, I managed to find a few more cool coins and snag some good stuff in the auction as well, but not nearly enough to balance things out. Frankly I had hoped that some of my coins coming back from grading here would help that situation, but as of the end of day Friday I hadn’t seen anything yet.  Surely by early Saturday, right?

Anyway, the action on Friday continued until very late in the day when I suddenly found myself at a totally unexpected and unplanned dinner at Benihanas, my first visit to one of those in about 20 years, but frankly a pretty darn good experience with food that was, if nothing else, extremely hot.

But not as hot as the action on the bourse floor here in Schaumburg.

We’ll see what happens on Saturday, but at this rate I’ll be surprised if there is not a bit more buying and selling to be done here before we all pack up and head home.

Until tomorrow –

April 27th:  Day 4

Let’s go ahead and summarize everything that happened here over the last 4 days:

  1. Sales were excellent.
  2. I bought just 11 coins and 2 medals on the floor, though one of them was a 6-figure item.
  3. While the auctions were very strong, the sexiest coins were types / series / grades that I do not do much with, so I mostly spectated on those.
  4. It seemed like 75% of the non-numismatic people I met while in town mentioned something about the 1913 Liberty Nickel in the auction and said they intended to look through their spare change as a result. Hey, I guess those press releases worked.
  5. I did get my grades back and was generally pleased with the results, except for the 2 coins that were holdered backward in the slabs.
  6. Many nice people stopped by the table, reinforcing my positive vibes about the Midwest.
  7. I discussed bowling.
  8. Invoices piled up on the back table to a scary height.
  9. Another dealer came up to me 8 separate times during the show, said “I have something you’re going to want” and then handed me a coin, none of which I bought (I hope he keeps offering, though, since the next one might be a peach).
  10. By the end of the show I was flat exhausted.

But I will need to get recharged real quick, since I’ll have a very quick turn around before heading to the EAC show in Ohio from where our next Road Report will be posted later this week.

Until then, then –