February 15-18, 2017: The Long Beach Coin & Currency Expo
February 15th: Day 1
After shoveling snow off my roof in New England on Monday and Tuesday of this week (sorry – no photos), I was perhaps even more ready than the average coin dealer to head to warm and sunny southern California for the first of three annual Long Beach shows.
Not that I would get much time to enjoy the weather here on Wednesday, as I woke up early, sorted and wrote up about 20 grading packages, schlepped them over to PCGS at the convention center and then headed over to Heritage for our usual high speed, pre-show lot viewing in which we attempt to ID the coins in every session we just can’t live without.
Which by my count was maybe 6 so far, though admittedly we still have plenty of additional viewing to do.
And then joined the aggressive queue outside the convention center door champing at the bit to burst into the room and start doing business as soon as the doors flung open at noon.
At which time I sprinted slowly over to our deluxe table 612 and started setting up like crazy.
So that not 10 minutes later another dealer could stroll by and say “Wow, you really do set up quickly.” Yes. Yes we do.
Allowing us to make some pretty heady sales in short order, including a couple of expensive things frankly we would not have expected to sell here. Interspersed with our usual buying forays which I would deem reasonably successful on this day, as I found about 15 cool US coins, a neat colonial and one wacko world issue I’d never heard of before in various dealer cases around the room.
And then headed back to the table to work on an XL deal for a coin I wasn’t really planning to sell here, but when someone specifically mentioned the issue I thought best to strike while the iron is hot per the sage advice given to me by dealer friend Anthony Terranova about 15 years ago: “The best time to sell a coin is when someone wants to buy it.”
After which I packed up and headed down to the water for an outdoor dinner with a group of dealer friends on what turned out to be a pretty brisk evening which seemed downright balmy compared to my experience earlier this week.
Eventually returning to the room for some unplanned marathon email and phone conversations with several different customers before turning in real, real late.
But we’ll still be ready for Thursday as the show opens to collectors, the auctions kick off and your author employs his best efforts to buy, sell, trade, grade and schmooze on the floor.
The results of which will be posted here in great detail on Thursday AM.
February 16th: Day 2
Your author enjoys getting up early as much as anyone, which on Thursday would be precisely 4:48 AM PST per a schedule carefully planned to allow me to finalize HA bidding, respond to overnight emails, write the blog, hit the gym and still get to the show for the 8 AM start of dealer set up.
A plan which would have worked perfectly if the show did not actually open until 9 AM, which it did (a reminder that perhaps we should follow our own advice more closely, namely the part about carefully reading the show schedule in our March, 2009 Coin Commentary “So you are going to a coin show, eh?”).
Meaning that I would have to impatiently cool my heels in the convention center lobby for a while before they would let us in to the bourse floor.
But when they did, things continued at the same exciting clip as yesterday, with another nice assortment of new purchases, a half dozen of which walked up to the table during the course of the day, while we found others in various dealer cases on our many circuits of the room.
Sales were pretty steady too, in all categories, ranging in price from a few hundred dollars to the unexpectedly high, high end.
Also on this day we received back the first of our grading results here, including many things acquired in the previous weeks, among them the raw coins we bought at New York International show which we will now be ready unleash on our next Early Bird this coming Tuesday.
With our last transaction of the day finalized at about 5:30 PM just before we began to pack up and head out to dinner with a couple of dealer friends who are top notch coin guys, but frankly not very good Uber passengers (since we all managed to get into the wrong car after dinner and take an impromptu tour of Long Beach before any of us realized what the heck was going on).
Fortunately, the guy who picked us up was not a creep or criminal, we all eventually got back to our hotels and we will all be back on the bourse floor when it opens on Friday, which I am assured will be 9 AM.
February 17th: Day 3
That would be a good word to describe the weather forecast here in Long Beach on Friday, with an expected deluge of nearly Noah’s Ark-ian proportions accompanied by crazy high winds sufficient to sway even the sturdiest palm tree / coin dealer.
And that’s pretty much what happened, as evidenced by some guy who walked into the show at midday looking like he had just stepped fully clothed out of his shower (literally completely soaked from head to toe), and some impressive leaking of the convention center roof in the afternoon (not over our table #612, fortunately), but enough to force some dealers to relocate and the Expos Unlimited staff to run around like crazy installing rain buckets strategically around the room.
So of course attendance would be waaaaay down, right? Well, not exactly. There was a decent enough crowd here, and a lot of the people that did brave the elements to make the trip ended up staying pretty much all day.
Resulting in some quite decent sales for us (and others, we presume) on a day that was from our perspective commercially hard to distinguish from normal both selling and buying.
With our NEWPs equally spread among world and U.S. coins, culminating with a charming golden brown VF 1794 Half Cent at about 5:30 PM.
What was disrupted was our usual dinner plan, so we headed back to the hotel and ended up packed in the little lounge with nearly every other coin dealer in the world eating very average appetizers on smaller than average-sized plates.
During which I might have stumbled into a new deal opportunity that would not have been possible if the weather was better.
Illustrating once again that you never know what might happen at these shows, deals can spring up nearly anywhere and you pretty much have to be everywhere all the time lest you miss something good.
Which is why we will be at table #612 all day Saturday loooong after many other dealers have already packed up and left.
With everything we see, do, buy, sell, trade and grade to be described in detail in our last LB RR which will be posted from the comfort of home on Sunday AM.
Until then, then.
February 18th: Day 4
After the massive storm of Friday, Saturday began in epically pleasant fashion with a gentle seaside breeze, some birds chirping and your author’s latest very positive grading results posted online.
Good vibes which would continue through much of a surprisingly crowded getaway day in LB (as crowded as we’ve ever seen), as apparently some would-be attendees who couldn’t navigate the flooded streets yesterday came back in earnest on this day. I guess?
And a lot of them were apparently there to do business, including at our table #612, as we were able to buy some more cool coins from visitors, sell a few new and old items at the table, and try to work out the sale of a cool, new, never before seen highfalutin colonial in the early afternoon.
With that last one being one of several close calls at this show, i.e. transactions that looked like they would happen here, but didn’t quite, though I think at least a few of them still might over the next few weeks.
Leaving just some last grading to pick up, which was to our surprise and delight all completed by about 2:30 (since at previous shows coins kept coming back into the late afternoon/early evening here), and was with just a very few exceptions a continuation of the good (i.e. objectively reasonable) results we’d seen earlier in the show.
With those newly slabbed coins contributing to the 82(!) items we sent off for photography from LB.
Before concluding the show as we always do with dinner at the hotel restaurant, a cab to the airport, an overnight flight, a very early morning arrival and (almost) complete and utter exhaustion.
From which we’ll need a quick recovery so we can start to compile our next Eary Bird as soon as I am finished typing this sentence.