February 16-19, 2022: The Long Beach Coin & Currency Expo
Greetings Road Report reader and welcome to this our first installment from the first of three LB shows in 2022.
And Team CRO is prepped and ready, with a giant assortment of cool new coins to display, a massive checkbook with which to vacuum up every cool coin we see and the extra super-high energy level necessary to go full speed each and every day out here.
Starting with the travel itself, which used to be a delightful non-stop flight for us straight into Long Beach, but now requires a trip into the bowels of LAX, a horrendous ride to the Uber and taxi parking lot on a bus in which everyone’s wheeled luggage careens around freely in the passenger compartment, and a loooong cab ride to our hotel where we could finally relax and get ready for what figures to be an extreeeeemely busy Wednesday.
With everything that happens there to be described in vivid detail in our next RR which will be posted bright and early on Thursday AM.
Until then, then –
February 16th: Day 1
Team CRO was up and out early on Wednesday, with our first stop the PCGS room in the Hyatt where we dropped off a few last straggler submissions for the show (since we shipped in the bulk of our grading last week).
Then met a long time local customer in the lobby to pick up a consignment.
And then headed over to the convention center where we schlepped up and down stairs and into various elevators looking for the carefully hidden security room, and then the top secret Heritage lot viewing room where we pored through several upcoming sessions, but only found about a dozen coins to bid on. Still, worth the effort.
Eventually returning to the lobby where we got our utterly massive new LB show badges, before stumbling into some dealer friends who handed us several boxes to look at from which we extracted a bunch of cool US coins to buy right then and there.
Getting us off to a good start just as the bourse doors flung open and everyone filed into the show at noon.
Where we zipped over to our table 802, quickly arranged our cases, plugged in our lamps, put out our wares and declared ourselves officially open for business not 15 minutes later, thus cementing our reputation as the “Fastest Setter Uppers in the Industry” (though this is an unofficial title, and of course we do not know how fast some of those guys in Japan can do it).
And then almost immediately sold 2 coins in the low 5 figures, continuing on with our good start and giving us some additional confidence that this show might turn out to be something special.
After which your author variously cruised around the floor or met with customers at the table, finding some neat US and world coins, selling some different US and world coins and generally having an extreeeeemely productive day on the bourse.
Which included several collectors bringing us cool coins, including some of the most original gold coins your author has ever seen (and your author has seen a lot).
In the midst of which we picked up some of those aforementioned submissions from last week and including a couple of coins that could best be described as (and I am not prone to exaggeration) “Hey, those coins are extremely nice”. Seriously, come by and we’ll show you.
With our last deals of the day the purchase of a neatly toned world coin and a unique 20th century US coin which I’m pretty sure no one else is going to be able to offer, well, ever. E-V-E-R.
After which we packed up and headed directly to the bar at the Hyatt with some dealer friends before walking to dinner at Thai District which is not to be missed if you find yourself in Long Beach (though I would not recommend going above Spice Level 2 there unless you are looking for trouble).
Finally returning to our hotel at about 10 and pretty much collapsing right away after what had by then been a kinda exhausting, jet-lagged, action packed day.
And of course we look forward to ramping that up even higher on Thursday with the arrival of the public, and a full day on the bourse.
The details of which will be posted right here in about 24 hours from now – so you might want to keep an eye out for that.
February 17th: Day 2
Thursday AM was an absolute delight at our hotel, with about a thousand high school-age kids in town for some convention now marauding through the lobby, gumming up the coffee stand and queuing for miles to get on the elevators.
But really that’s just a minor inconvenience for us and certainly better than the recent reality here where this very hotel was literally shut down for 6 months. As in not open at all. So it was good to see them back to pre-covid business levels even if it meant we’d have to wait 20 minutes for some avocado toast.
Especially if it meant that the show itself would see some similar surge in traffic.
Did it? It kinda did (though without the marauding), with good and steady business pretty much all day.
Including lots of sales in the world and US categories, many of which were of the big ticket, 5-figure variety. And while that’s of course good for business, we were just as happy to sell lots of less expensive coins at the table including some we acquired at the recent NYINC, and other cool US coins we bought here in LB just yesterday.
And we found plenty more to buy, including many nicely toned type coins, a colonial here, a token there and a neat, all original example of an early American medal we have not had in inventory anytime recently. So that was good.
Also good: The healthy lunch available at the snack stand, though you have to be quick since that one inexplicably closes precisely at noon, while the other snack stand selling chili dogs and Doritos of course stays open much longer. It’s like the universe conspiring against our effort to try to eat right, though at least on this day CRO was victorious.
With more good action in the afternoon, and a chance for your author to escape briefly and see the Tyrant Collection display where I concluded that the unc. 1793 Liberty Cap 1¢ with a dash of mint red is my favorite coin therein. It’s just astonishing to see one that looks that good.
After which it was back to the reality of buying, selling, trading, grading and generally running around the room like a crazy person.
With our last deal of the day the sale of a toned Morgan just before we packed up and headed out to 555, one of our favorite restaurants in town, where we had a nice time with some dealer and industry friends and of course discussed curling, which seems to be everyone’s favorite Olympic sport. I know it’s ours.
Finally returning to the hotel late and falling asleep almost right away after another long, extremely tiring, super entertaining and commercially successful day. Which we hope to repeat again on Friday.
And if we do, or even if we don’t, we’ll write all about it right here on Saturday AM.
February 18th: Day 3
Friday is always an interesting day for us in LB, as the first wave of attendees has by then mostly come and gone, and – if past years are our guide – a new group finds their way to the CRO table.
And that definitely was the case here, as we met with many long time and new customers at the table on Friday, wrote 20-something new invoices, bought more neat stuff and sold a whole bunch of coins in all categories.
Some of which were from existing inventory, but others that we found here in LB, or had just come back from grading in shiny new PCGS boxes.
Including one of those classic coin dealer experiences where a customer comes and studies a new coin in our case for several minutes from every conceivable angle, expresses great interest, and tells us he wants to walk around a bit before deciding, and leaves just as another guy walks up and buys it just like that. Hey, sometimes you have to be quick.
We also were pleased to see a local customer here who had ordered a recent Early Bird coin, came to the table to pick it up and found 2 more things to go along with it.
Which turned out to be sort of the norm, with many customers finding 2, 3 or more coins and making little stacks on our tables.
With other customers dropping off coins for us to send to CAC, or grading, or to consign for them to auction since they know we can get them better consignment terms than they could get for themselves, and winding up with more money in your pocket is, in our opinion, generally preferable to getting less.
The sum total of activity keeping us busy pretty much all day and contributing to what has become an excellent LB adventure so far, with one more day to go here.
And while many of our dealer friends will be leaving early on Saturday, Team CRO will be at the table for the duration ready to buy, sell, trade, grade, schmooze and generally do whatever business there is to be done before we head home.
So if you are in LB we hope you’ll stop by and see us –
February 19th: Day 4
Wow – that was exciting.
Another excellent LB show is in the books from which we can extract the following highlights (and a few lowlights) presented in no particular order at all:
We left LB with almost 4 PCGS boxes full of NEWPs (i.e. just under 80 coins) acquired from a variety of collectors and dealers starting before the show even opened on Wednesday and continuing on right through late Saturday afternoon. That, by any measure, is what coin dealers call a “real good haul”.
That last number doesn’t even include the NEWPs we sold here, sent in for grading or consigned to auction.
Q: Why would we consign a new coin to auction?
A: Because some things just seem to be do better in that venue, and we sometimes buy coins with that specific plan in mind. This is a commercial venture after all.
You can’t beat starting your workdays with a walk by the ocean amidst scenes like this:
Even the crustiest coin dealer has to feel pretty serene after seeing that. Right?
We continue to be delighted with our booth location here right up by the door where we of course see many customers we’ve known for ages, but also have plenty of new customers and random members of the public bump into us by sheer happenstance.
A long time customer from Hawaii came to the table where we finally got to meet him and his wife for the first time. That was fun, and these awesome gifts they brought us were a bonus:
Seriously, how nice was that? Extreeeeemely.
We had a few visitors to the table in LB attempt to engage us in discussions about Covid, so we were of course glad we had this handy booth sign with us:
Sales overall were pretty darn good at this show, including on Saturday which of course helped validate the long time CRO ‘hang around until the bitter end and take the redeye home’ strategy, even if it is frankly kind of exhausting.
A dealer on the other side of the room came into the show Saturday morning and discovered that someone had smashed the glass on one of the bourse cases on his back table and stolen a bunch of expensive watches and jewelry sometime during the night. I’ve never heard of that happening in 20+ years on the coin circuit, and would hope that show security would make such a thing impossible. That’s disconcerting, to put it mildly.
Plenty of CRO hat sightings out here, including on this coin collector head:
We sold every single Jacques Wiener Architectural Medal we had with us at this show. Hey, these things are hot, which is not a surprise to us since they look so cool. Don’t fret though – we have a bunch more due back from grading shortly.
Another dealer showed me some of his personal collection coins at this show which was sort of a murderers’ row of cool stuff. It’s always fun to see what people who handle cool coins all day everyday find worthy of keeping for themselves.
Someone at this show told me that the “lighting at the LB show is not good” which I found strange since it seems like they have the exact same kind of lights hanging from the ceiling and perched on bourse tables as every other show in the country. Not sure what to say about that, maybe someone needs to commission a study by GE and report their findings?
Of all of the buying and selling we did at this show, we still have a couple of other deals in play that might happen this coming week, any of which would turn what was an excellent show into kind of an epic one.
I think by next time we are back here in June it will be back to normal at the hotels, restaurants and on the bourse floor. Here’s hoping.
But first we’ll need to get some rest, recover and start taking pictures for our next EB which we are planning for one week from Tuesday on March 1st.
So you might want to keep an eye out for that –