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December 28, 2012: The Year in Review


Let’s see, with 2012 winding down and another fantastic FUN show just about to begin it must be time for another edition of The Year in Review – you know, the all-encompassing piece where we highlight the most memorable (though not necessarily good) things that happened to us in the past year.

And, as always, there was quite a bit to choose from, since we attended 15 major shows this year, bid in 111 auctions, launched 13 early Bird Notifications, had one (1) major company transition, handled (by my count) 6 Rarity-7 (or better) coins and 4 finest known coins, sourced coins from (literally) all over the world, ate some things I’ve never, ever had before and, on one especially windy Friday, had this site go down for about a day and a half.

And so, without further ado, let us begin . . .

Coolest Coin Handled
In a year in which we bought and sold some of our best coins ever (E-V-E-R), including the finest known 1788 Vermont Ryder-30 with the Backward C in Auctori, one of 3 known 1786 Immunis Columbia Large Eagles, an MS64+ Libertas America Medal, awesome US type, a staggering set of gem English Copper, an MS65 Pillar Dollar and some fantastical esoteric pieces, my personal favorite (perhaps surprising to some) would be this stone cold gem old-holdered proof seated dollar which we bought at Heritage in March, sent to CAC where it received a totally expected gold sticker and sold about a week later at the Baltimore show to one of several vying buyers (who saw it on display in our case against this jaunty pink backdrop designed by my daughter):

Too Hip for (some of) the Crowd Award
That would be the picture of the “CRO” Cargo Plane on our home page, which your author mocked up in Photoshop as what I intended to be an attention grabbing way to highlight the fact that we ship all of our coin orders overnight. And since I started with a picture of a completely over-the-top Russian Antonov An-225 Mriya (the largest airplane ever built and one which was designed to carry Russia’s version of the Space Shuttle) I assumed that no one could possibly think this is a real picture. I was wrong.

In fact, I received a call from someone in October trying to get me to advertise in an NFL Stadium (I’m not making this up) and who wanted to know the following:

  1. Do we actually own this plane?
  2. Or did we merely pay to have our logo painted on the side?

So, for the avoidance of any confusion, CRO does NOT own an airplane with 6 engines on it.

Biggest Corporate Switcheroo
Well, it might not have been the biggest in our industry, but it was the biggest one around here. That would be the well-publicized (including on this site in our August “Ch-ch-ch-changes” Point-Counterpoint Coin Commentary) decision by Dave and I to go our separate ways at the end of July.

And things seemed to have worked out pretty well so far, with both of us enjoying our new roles, continuing to do what we love, handling cool coins and remaining good friends in the process.

Best One-Armed Wallpaper Hanger Impersonator
Um, that would have been me at the 2012 ANA Show in August, my first solo show after the announcement above in which I discovered that working an extremely active major coin show by yourself, with a lot of inventory, can be very, very busy.

Of course, not being at a show is busy too, since I am averaging 18 hour work days through the 2nd half of the year here in the office. But I still would not trade it for anything!

Most Delicious Appetizer
I guess technically this was not an appetizer, but I did eat it before a meal and so I would argue that it rightly belongs in this category. I speak, of course, of the totally delicious and elegantly presented (on a cool square plate) dark chocolate covered bacon served to us at the PCGS Las Vegas show in July:

The good news here is that I read somewhere that dark chocolate can be good for you, so I know my physician would be pleased with my selection (which I am sure I shoved some broccoli out of the way to get to).

Most Unlikely Source for a Rare Coin
Knowing that we scour the globe for rare coins, from major venues and well known auctions to a junk box at a flea market in Modesto, California (for example), this year’s winner has to be this superb 1648 Netherlands Lion Half Daalder acquired by us from a seller in Riga, Latvia who knew exactly what he had:

Most Unusual CRO Hat Color Combination
No doubt it was the “Rocky Top” version, custom designed by us for a good customer in Knoxville, Tennessee who is a lifelong University of Tennessee Volunteer fan:

Worst Photo Shoot
When I was invited a few months back to be one of the PCGS Coinfacts Board of Experts, two thoughts ran through my mind:

  1. Hey, what a cool thing!
  2. Now I need to a picture of myself in which I do not look like a complete idiot.

Fortunately my son is an aspiring photographer, and only 178 shots later, we were able to find one that he deemed “marginally acceptable”:

Biggest Big Deal
That would be our June mega-trade of a Willow Tree Shilling, a Maryland Shilling and a couple of other coins in exchange for a collection of uber-gem English Copper, a Continental $1, several other colonials and a player to be named later.  A deal which took several days to consummate and involved a lot of slab stacking.  And though it seemed like it might not actually happen a few times along the way, in the end, it did – to the benefit of both parties – which is the kind of deal that makes this business so much fun.

It also helped make this the biggest, best, busiest and most exciting year in CRO history for which we owe our sincere thanks to all of our numismatic friends, loyal customers and coin colleagues.

All the best in 2013!

John & MaryAnn