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Back to Road Report Archive 2017

January 11-15, 2017: The New York International Numismatic Convention

rr2017 01nyinc


I can’t believe it either.

Just 24 hours after getting home on our much delayed flight from Fort Lauderdale, we’ve barely had enough time to unpack, repack and head out to the door to what we expect will be an excellent event at the Waldorf Astoria, with a focus on the ~50% of the CRO inventory that does not include U.S. coins.

Truth is we’ve been looking forward to this show for months now, ever since we learned that in 2017 – unlike most previous years – it would not overlap with the FUN show in Florida.  So of course we signed up right quick.

And we’ll be here for the duration, selling, buying, schmoozing, viewing and bidding and, of course, blogging all about it here in our world coin-centric Road Report posted daily from this show.

So you might want to keep an eye out for that.

January 12th:  Day 1

That’s right, it’s time for one of our patented CRO Thumb Up/Thumb Down lists to describe Thursday here at the show:

Thumb Up: The Waldorf Astoria Hotel venue allows a dealer (like your author, for example), to leap out of bed, get on the elevator and be at the show in minutes without having to schlepp under a bridge in hot, humid weather like in Fort Lauderdale.
Thumb Down: No coffee maker in the hotel room means I’m not able to follow my normal routine here (which is of course to wake up and write the blog in my CRO pajamas while drinking coffee) unless I order some from room service for $38, or wander around Midtown looking for a Starbucks.

Thumb Up: An elegant bourse floor with a small number of dealers all offering interesting and diverse material.
Thumb Down: Said dealers are arranged in a series of small rooms and one bigger one, making it difficult to find everyone like at a typical event and resulting in your author completely missing two of the rooms until late afternoon.

Thumb Up: A good customer offered us a lovely coin at the table that we snapped up like lightning.
Thumb Down: He wouldn’t sell us one of the others he brought, which we’ve wanted for y-e-a-r-s now.

Thumb Up: The superb, authentic Gyro from the local Greek restaurant for lunch.
Thumb Down: Only one napkin.

Thumb Up: Lot of a cool Latin American coins from large collections being offered here.
Thumb Down: Hard to get first shot to buy the real nice coins you want unless you are willing to step up and also buy others you don’t.

Thumb Up: Cool coin at a Belgian dealer’s table.
Thumb Down: Would only take cash. A LOT of cash.

Thumb Up:  Wicked and wickedly rare 1716 Swedish Cannon Money:

Thumb Down: Weighs a metric ton.

Thumb Up: Made a big sale of a coin we’d never had on the site.
Thumb Down: Money now burning hole in pocket may cause us to be more cavalier and buy esoteric, unfamiliar items we otherwise wouldn’t and probably shouldn’t (like Swedish Cannon Money, for example).

Thumb Up: Swiss dealer brings us by far the finest example we’ve seen of a cool type we’ve always wanted.
Thumb Down: We can’t get past the small planchet flaw on it and have to pass.

Thumb Up: Many, many high grade examples of coins we like here.
Thumb Down: The majority are blast white and thus not for us.

Thumb Up: Dinner with my son who is a student in the city.
Thumb Down: Couldn’t do that and also attend the ANS Banquet honoring good friend and long-time dealer Tony Terranova, which I already regret missing.

January 13th:  Day 2

Great news everyone, our prayers have been answered: It turns out that this hotel will bring you a Keurig if you request it (though I did not ask how much it costs since I suspect that would have ruined my whole day).

But in the meantime, let’s drink coffee and write the blog! Editor’s note: Sharp eyed readers may have noticed also the bottle of wine in the background which was given to me by the bell staff here as an apology for losing my luggage for 7 hours somewhere in this building on Wednesday, a disillusioning event which ultimately had your author wading through the inelegant garage level bag rooms here at the Waldorf unsuccessfully trying to find it, before it turned up in the room of another guest late in the day.

Anyway, fully awake and with access to my luggage, I headed up to the show at about 10 AM on Friday and right way began another busy and pleasantly productive day on the bourse floor during which we met some good long term clients, made some new acquaintances, sold a bunch of coins and bought some great things. Including one coin which walked up to the table only because the collector who owned it was trying to find Sam Sloat Rare Coins (who apparently had our booth space last year). But finding me instead, we did a deal anyway, highlighting once again the utterly serendipitous nature of this business where you never know what you’ll find, where, how, or with whom.

Also illustrative of this point: My lunch. Since I never had a chance to go out and get any, I was delighted to have another dealer suddenly offer me half his Cuban sandwich out of the blue, which we were able to divide by hand, and which hit the spot.

Followed by some late lot re-viewing for the Stack’s auction which would start at 6:30, which I intended to bid live, but which proved impossible since I did not realize they were going to start with a few hundred ancient coins before my target coins came up.

Which of course meant they’d be selling during my dinner at a Turkish restaurant with the New York Numismatic Club, yet another excellent meal during which the participants would pass around coins as diverse as this wildly toned H10¢:

And this Incuse Ancient:

With your author intermittently bidding using the Stack’s-Bowers app which was admittedly very rude, but which worked flawlessly allowing me to acquire the coins I wanted while eating Sigara Boregi.

Before we headed back to our hotel stopping at a bar for – and I think you may have seen this coming – more coin talk, including a more detailed view of the neat Half Dime collection assembled by a friend which represented amazing bang for the buck (since these were the unusual combination of spectacular but not very expensive):

Yes, you could spend 10 (or 100) times as much chasing pop tops, but I doubt you’d build a prettier set or one you’d enjoy more.  And this was just one such collection of which there are undoubtedly endless possibilities which some might say would make an excellent topic for an upcoming Coin Commentary right here on this site. Hmmmm.

More later.

January 14th:  Day 3

OK, I’ll take it.

Said your author, buying one of the expensive coins I’d been pondering here on the floor, after being emboldened by some continued strong sales at the table on Saturday AM. Not that there always has to be a direct connection between the two in real time at the same show, but psychologically I’ll admit that it helps.

And continued to help, as I systematically went back and bought every ‘on the fence’ coin I had been eyeing here except for two: A rare and highly demanded issue in top grade that did not quite have the look that we seek, and a fantastic, beautiful, original piece of Latin American gold priced at darn near double what I thought it should. Too bad about that last one.

Also too bad: Still haven’t figured out the lunch plan here, which necessitated your author either ordering room service for big bucks, or locking up the table and stepping out for 20 minutes to get something down the block. Alas, there was never really a suitable lull where I felt comfortable to do that and risk missing something important at the show. Which could have been a good customer looking to buy something from us, or someone offering us something great, or, just as importantly, a new contact to meet, hand a business card and potentially build something for the future.

With that last category being very active at this show as measured by the fact that we have about 5 business cards left out of the big stack I brought with me. Including one customer who lives right near us in Weston, MA but who we have managed through years on the circuit never to encounter before.

And then, late in the day, we focused attention on the evening’s Stack’s-Bowers session, bidding on my last few target lots again using their excellent (and highly recommended) app while in an Uber on the way to a dealer friend’s elegant cocktail party in Brooklyn.

Returning to the hotel real late to be ready for one more day in NYC during which we’ll pick up our auction wins, do whatever last business presents itself and quite possibly make one last run at the aforementioned gold coin we like and see if we can’t make a deal.

To see how we make out with that (and everything else here), you’ll have to check our final RR installment of the NYINC to be penned from the comfort of home on Monday AM.

Until then, then.

January 15th:  Day 4

First order of business on Sunday: Meet my son for breakfast in the juuuuust slightly dated Bull & Bear Restaurant here at the hotel where we availed ourselves of the lavish buffet while being serenaded with Frank Sinatra music. A LOT of Frank Sinatra music.

Then checking out of the hotel, very, very hesitantly leaving my suitcase at the bell desk (they couldn’t lose it again, right?) and then heading to the show to do what last business could be done here during the 10 AM to 3 PM scheduled hours.

Starting with auction lot pick up at Stack’s-Bowers where we snagged our few successful lots before returning to the table to meet, greet and do business with another impressively steady stream of show visitors. And while not everyone here was looking for the kinds of things we brought with us (a lot more people seemed to be looking for ancients on this day), we also met our fair share of people seeking the Reales and Escudos so close to our heart.

Also interesting were the half dozen people who came here specifically seeking US coins, who did not know this was a world show and who almost certainly regretted schlepping all the way downtown to find out.

But to them and others we passed out the last of our business cards, toured them through the website on the computer and told them to check us out going forward. Hey, we’ve already seen serendipity in action here, so I see no reason why a person who came to the show by mistake couldn’t turn out to be a good customer going forward anyway.

Then, after a few smallish purchases, a handful of sales and some last second coin imaging, it was time to pack up, retrieve that aforementioned bag without incident and head to the airport for the quick flight home. But my personal airline on time performance being what it is of late, I was not surprised at all to receive that text telling me we were delayed 4 hours.

Allowing me to sit in the bar and watch the game among a stream of die hard Green Bay, then Dallas, then Green Bay fans who variously high fived each other and shouted things at the screen, including one guy who vociferously insisted that it was illegal to call a timeout before a field goal attempt.  No, it isn’t.  And then caught the second game too in mostly silence.

Before finally getting home, once again, at about 2 AM.

Which gives us precious little time to reflect on the successes at this show before we’ll have to clean up some loose ends leftover from the FUN show (which seems like about a month ago now) and then dive into the Early Bird which will go out at noon east coast time on Tuesday no matter how tired I am.

So you might want to keep an eye out for that.