February 18-22, 2020: The Long Beach Coin & Currency Expo
Wow – what appeared to be a pretty long break on the schedule between the NYINC and now went by in a numismatic flash, and we are now just minutes away (1,080 to be exact) from the start of the first LB show of 2020.
And what are we expecting there?
While we never really know what will happen, the official CRO view is optimism informed by the very steady buying and selling we have experienced pretty much since we left NY and continuing until nearly this very moment (since we just shipped out a bunch more orders before heading to the airport from where this RR is currently being typed).
Of course it helps that we’ll have a lot of cool stuff with us, and the strong desire to buy every cool coin we find while there.
With whatever happens to be described right here in this space starting on Wednesday AM (with the usual reminder to our east coast readers to remember the time difference before you send off an irate missive asking us why we have not posted it yet. OK? OK!).
February 18th: Day 1 (er, sort of)
We had developed a pretty solid travel plan for Tuesday, namely to fly directly to LB, get to our hotel, meet up with some dealer friends, finalize a couple of purchases, deliver a few sales and generally clear the deck on a bunch of pending transactions before the show started in earnest.
A plan which was sliiiiightly at risk based on an iffy weather forecast in Boston on Tuesday, with a wintry mix forecast to move through at exactly the time of our scheduled departure (of course). Fortunately (and shockingly), that never really materialized and we were pleased to see our flight posted ON TIME and ready go as planned. So far so good.
So when we finally did board that flight, we really did not want to see this message posted on those newfangled seat back welcome screens:
But alas that turned out to be true – an unscheduled stop in Salt Lake for refueling due to fierce headwinds creating a delay ideal in duration to wipe out out all of our planned meetings. Bummer.
And while we would be remiss to skip an RR installment all together, the fact is that due to these unforeseen circumstances, this one has no concrete numismatic content in it. Double bummer.
A circumstance we are 100% sure will not be the case on Wednesday, as we hit the ground running here at the show, make up for lost time, view lots, drop off grading and then roll straight into dealer set up at noon without stopping in Salt Lake City, UT even one time.
With everything interesting that happens here to be described in our next RR –
Until then, then.
February 19th: Day 2
At precisely 8:51 AM, Team CRO headed over to the convention center on Wednesday and successfully conducted two (2) of the rescheduled meetings consumed by our time in Utah.
Then dropped off our US coin grading (the only ones they would accept prior to show hours) at PCGS, dipped into the wholesale room next door, viewed about 200 coins in 5 minutes, saw nothing that screamed CRO, left and headed straight to Heritage where we would proceed to park ourselves for the next hour and a half to view the entire auction both start to finish and soup to nuts (i.e. also including all of the large lots and internet session stuff).
At which point I had just enough time to eat a Thai salad for lunch before grabbing our gear from security and zipping into the show at exactly noon with just about every other national dealer in America and a bunch of local guys too.
Where we then of course began the now like-clockwork process of setting up the booth, laying out our wares, hanging the CRO banner and pronouncing ourselves open and ready for business at about 12:20. And then selling our first coin about 3 minutes later, this a gold coin we had taken in trade in a recent deal. “Hey, that’s a good start” I said to no one in particular.
Then spent the next 6 hours variously circling the room looking for cool coins just as they would be put out by less efficient booth-setting-up dealers, finding some, buying them (of course) returning to the table, meeting other dealers who stopped by to look at what we had, and then repeating the process over and over again.
Total haul: About a dozen coins. Total sales: About a dozen coins (but not the same dozen).
Which we thought was a pretty decent result on a day in which we saw a grand total of (carry the one, add the totals of column A and B) ZERO collector attendees and noted that only about 75% of the dealers were actually set up even as we were leaving the show to head for dinner after 6.
Where we joined a few dealer friends at Thai District, one of the best Thai restaurants we’ve ever been too and thus achieved our unplanned goal of only eating Thai food for an entire day, something I don’t recall doing since my last trip to Bangkok.
Another interesting thing about dinner: Everyone else at the table not affiliated with CRO was actually staying on the Queen Mary, and had nothing but good things to say about it, which was quite a contrast to my own less-than-satisfying experience there in September of 2007 which at check out I had vowed to never, ever repeat again. But apparently they have made some improvements since my last time there and we may have been quite literally missing the boat ever since by not going back. Maybe.
Anyway, we returned to our hotel on dry land at a reasonable hour, entered some HA lots, checked the status of current bids, eye-balled how our consignments were doing (since we have a bunch in pretty much every auction) and then collapsed in a heap after a long, tiring, jet-lagged but extreeeemely productive day in LB.
But not before we looked forward to the appearance of the public on Thursday, the start of the HA auction and a ratcheting up of the activity level here.
Which we will then blog all about in this space on Friday AM.
February 20th: Day 3
The show would open to exhibitors (i.e. us) at 9 AM Thursday and so one would think getting there at 9 would be as prompt as possible. You would be wrong though since a good customer was actually already at the table when I walked in. So we hastily removed our high security table covers and upside down chairs and got straight to work reviewing a potential consignment which soon turned out to be an actual consignment, though not before weeding out one coin that was, in our opinion, too good for the owner to divest.
The first of what would turn out to be many, many productive transactions of all kinds on a day that was delightfully busy and active from start to finish.
With the aisles crowded with attendees, most walking, but also including this young man zipping around the floor on a surprisingly fast motorized suitcase complete with handlebars and footrests:
And yes, that does apparently also come in an adult size.
But while CRO was among those merely walking, we did manage excellent sales of colonial, U.S. and world coins in a variety of price points, including some of the so-new-they-never-made-it to-the-website variety, but others we’ve owned for a few months. And purchases were just as good, as we found a lot of neat U.S. type, a few heady colonials and a very cool stack of better date Mexican coins perfect for a CRO EB list.
Though unfortunately we did not buy this incredibly cool, we-did-not-know-there-was-such-a-thing copper pattern Pan Pac 50¢ at a world dealer’s table:
Or a couple of early gold coins we’d be seeing here for the first time that turned out to be not good enough to buy. Ditto an early dollar we really wanted to like more than we did.
Still, with 2 days to go here, and despite selling a whole bunch of coins, we’ve managed to fill our back case to the point that it will now barely close. Though of course that will not slow us down any, and if absolutely necessary we’ll ship some things home if we have to. With our last deal of the day here the purchase of 4 U.S. coins at about 5:45 PM, right before we packed up and grabbed an Uber to Manhattan Beach for dinner. Yes it is a jaunt from LB, but we’ve been going up there for one night for the last several shows here and find it absolutely worth the effort.
Getting back to the hotel real late and then summarily collapsing on the bed after what had by then been a completely exhausting, super productive 20 hour day here at the LB Expo.
We expect more of the same here on Friday, plus the start of the HA auctions of high interest to us in the afternoon. So we anticipate plenty of exciting RR fodder for our next installment to be posted right here on Saturday AM.
February 21st: Day 4
Taking advantage of the glorious weather and proximity to the beach here, Team CRO was out early on Friday AM for a looooong invigorating walk past the marina down to the pier before heading back for breakfast and then to the show.
Eschewing most of the dealer set up period, we arrived just a few minutes before the public would be coming in at 10. Which turned out to be plenty of time at the show on what was an extremely busy, sometimes frantic and incredibly productive day at Table #612.
Starting almost right away we sold a bunch of colonial coins, lots of U.S. coins and a pile of world coins ranging from around $400 to $26,500 to many different collector and dealer buyers. Some we’ve known for years, others we had just met on Friday, some carefully scrutinizing coins for a while and bringing in friends for a 2nd (or 3rd or 4th) opinion, others making decisions in a flash (if not sooner) in the typical range of coin-buying techniques we’ve always found fascinating.
With some purchases outright by check or cash, others via trade or partial trade of CRO-style coins we’ll eventually list on the site, or using regular old coins or bullion which we then flipped right here at the show. With all that working well for us. As we’ve said before, we’ll take pretty much anything of definable numismatic value in trade and try to make a win-win deal – so keep that in mind if you see something of interest on our site or in our cases like these guys did.
Buying was pretty darn good for us too, as we were offered a number of choice old-holdered U.S. type coins by collectors and dealers who by now know to bring them to us. And while not every single one turned out to be for us (some missed for quality, others for unpopular grades like MS60) we bought a whole bunch of really nice coins of all sorts.
Also good on this day: Grading, as we now have back many of our recent purchases (including, finally, many world coins from the NYINC show) and will be ready to market all those before too long. As an aside, it is always a complex exercise to coordinate all the NEWPs into the various grading / CACing / photography queues and march them steadily toward their EB introduction. Knowing that we always like to have a reasonable mix of colonial, U.S. and world coins on each one and thus have to manage the buying and market timing on all of them.
So by around 5 PM we were about out of gas just as a guy we’ve never met before arrived at the table and began stacking up coins in what turned out to be a giant deal we did not see coming. Followed by a long time collector friend who bought three coins, including one he then gave as a gift to a young numismatist right there at the table which was one of the coolest things we’ve ever seen at one of these shows.
And then we were done, but not before I walked across the room to deliver an invoice and stumbled upon a cool high grade Australian coin which I was unable to pass by. So we bought that too before heading to dinner at Gladstones on the water before calling it an early night so that we could be ready for what figures to be an extremely tiring Saturday during which we’ll work all day at the show, catch the redeye home, land at 5 AM and then roll straight into our local show back in Devens, MA on Sunday.
Wow. I’m exhausted just typing all that. I’m also not sure when we’ll be writing and/or posting our next RR but rest assured it will be as soon as I can physically do it.
February 22nd: Day 5
With a start your author exploded out of bed of precisely 5 AM on Saturday, re-set the alarm for 5:30, woke up at 5:13 and was immediately in high octane coin-dealering mode.
First by answering a bunch of CRO email that came in overnight and in the east coast early AM, then reviewing HA bidding results and current bid levels, then cranking out yesterday’s RR before hitting the gym hard, eating breakfast and then packing up and checking out on our way to the convention center.
Where we arrived precisely at 9 and like lightning completed two old holder deals pending from yesterday afternoon. And we were pretty psyched about both since the coins are super choice, long off the market and have never been to CAC (until next week).
Then we raced around like crazy writing straggler checks and picking up others, including the one for that 1823 Patched 3 50¢ sold Friday making for an impressively nice haul at a LB show where we managed to do in the not-that-low 6-figures.
Also not bad: Our total NEWP count of 57 coins, including the aforementioned (and other) old holders which will be variously off to photography, grading or photography next week.
But I think the most satisfying thing about Saturday might have been our grading results, since we got everything back at the show, crossed a lot of well deserving coins and got what I thought we deserved across the board (which is really all we ever ask).
With our last transaction of the day at about 3 PM, after which we packed up and headed over to the Hyatt for dinner before catching a cab to the airport for our loooong redeye flight home.
And since we have an even busier week coming up, we’re going to sign off from LB on that note. But don’t despair – we’ll have another RR up shortly to recap the Devens show on Sunday.