January 13-16, 2022: The New York International Numismatic Convention
Good morning collector, dealer, industry professional and that person I spoke to yesterday, who I have known and done business with for 7 years, who informed me that they had “no idea” we had a travel blog on our website. Yes, yes we do and you are reading the very latest installment right now.
During which we will say that we are delighted to have arrived here in frigid NYC on a fairly typical flight, except for when the guy seated across the aisle from us asked the flight attendant for a cup of hot chocolate three separate times in 40 minutes. Not surprisingly (especially on the 2nd and 3rd tries) he was informed they don’t have any. In fact, in my entire flying career dating back to the mid 1960s, I don’t believe hot chocolate was ever served on any plane, even the ones originating in Switzerland. Can’t hurt to ask though, maybe multiple times just in case.
Unfazed, we arrived on schedule, Ubered it to Manhattan and settled in nicely at the Barclays Intercontinental show hotel which I would describe as comfortable, and elegant, with some impressively enormous in-room wall art:
Wow, those are some big boats.
Not the greatest sound insulation though, as evidenced by the guys in the room next to us who conducted a lengthy conversation of which your author could hear every single word they were saying. And I’m not the only one, since we eventually heard a lady (who I presume was on the other side of their room and thus two doors down from us) scream “HEY, I CAN HEAR EVERY SINGLE WORD YOU ARE SAYING” and then proceed to pound on the wall 5 or 6 times for emphasis. Hopefully not damaging that wall art in the process.
Fortunately, things would eventually quiet down and we could focus on the mammoth task at hand, part of which is to prepare for the 6 world auctions associated with this show while simultaneously bidding on the US coins that we viewed last week which are being sold at the same darn time. Sounds fun.
But that’s not all of course. We also look forward to the show itself which will start on Thursday during which we hope to buy and sell as many cool world coins as is humanly possibly. Maybe some neat US coins too.
With whatever we do to be described right here in our daily RRs posted from the show.
January 13th: Day 1
After 1.5 days of lot viewing, wholesale activity and general world numismatic schmoozing, Team CRO was extra-super ready for Thursday’s 8 AM start of dealer set up.
Where we would quickly find our table #808 amidst the labyrinth of world dealers stationed in two (2) separate small ballrooms and neatly arranged in the hallway connecting them and thus taking over the entire 2nd floor here.
Where we set up our wares right quick (no banner this time), switched on the lights and immediately sold 3 cool US coins to a US dealer specifically looking for such things (and likely not finding much else to choose from in a show nearly devoid of similar material) since the rules here as stated on the NYINC website explicitly prevent them. To wit:
Offerings at the New York International Numismatic Convention emphasize and are restricted to foreign and ancient numismatic items, United States material after 1815 may not be displayed. Antiquities: objects, statuary, vases, lamps and items of similar nature may be neither displayed nor offered for sale at the NYINC.
Bummer about the statuary.
After which we toured the room repeatedly, elegantly elbowing past other dealers to peer into interesting cases, picking out world coins of all types and amassing a decent-sized pile of NEWPs which would include a number of no-brainers (lovely toned example of popular types), some head-scratchers (rare and/or highly esoteric issues that we thought would do well on the site) and a couple of complete shots-in-the-dark (things we’ve never seen before but which looked cool and might have been a mistake). Lotta fun buying them all though, one of the big reasons we come here.
Another reason is of course to hob knob with the New York numismatic community, several of whom stopped by say hi, offer us coins, or buy something, including a long time customer we met up with in the hotel lobby before lunch.
Getting back in time to follow the Heritage FUN auction of US colonial coins starting at 1 PM and mostly watching things sell for astronomical prices, including one notable coin that brought 5x more than the exact same piece sold for in 2015. Wow, that’s a lot.
So we refocused our attention on sales on the bourse floor and continued to do pretty well during a day in which the only people in the room were other table holders, and those who forked over the $125 Professional Preview fee. Some of whom only spoke Chinese, so we were glad to have our Mandarin speaking daughter-in-law working the table here to help out.
With our last deal of the day the sale of a Pillar at the table, and the purchase of a different Pillar from another dealer which, at least so far, proved to be about the only CRO-style one in a room in which there were just a few on display, most of which were either impaired or unoriginal. Except at our table, since we have a bunch of pretty nice ones in stock.
Anyway, we’d pack up after that, hang out in the hotel bar for an hour or so and then head to dinner on St. Marks Street in the East Village which has a lot of neat restaurants we like.
Finally returning to the hotel at about 11 and diving straight back into some busy auction prep, since we have US and world sessions on Friday evening which will conveniently be going off at the exact same time. And since those will of course be preceded by the first open-to-the-public day of the show we expect to be pretty much flat out all day here.
Which at the very least ought to provide some interesting blog fodder for our next installment to be posted right here on Saturday AM.
Until then, then –
January 14th: Day 2
I really enjoy being in NYC, though there are certainly things that take some getting used to.
Like sirens blaring at 3 AM, for example. Or the sanitation department punting metal trash coins down an alley at 4:30. Or $50 scrambled eggs in the hotel lobby.
On the other hand, we are right near what is billed as “Denmark’s Favorite Bakery” and based on the far more reasonably priced breakfast sandwiches we got there I can certainly see why.
And so we were feeling fine as we made our way to the show at about 9 and prepared for what we hoped would be the same sort of epic day we experienced the last time the NYINC as held in 2020.
But it didn’t really turn out that way, starting right away when someone announced that “the public is entering!” and then about 6 guys walked in. That turned out not to be some sort of mistake, or anomaly, but rather reflective of a much lighter crowd here than we have experienced in past years.
And, in what numismatists refer to as a double whammy, most of the attendees seem to be in more of the budget-minded category than we’ve ever seen here. Maybe it’s a Covid effect keeping the heavy hitters away? Not sure really.
Still, we managed to sell quite a few coins at the table, but nothing like the epic onslaught of 2020.
On a more positive note, we managed to buy a bunch of coins on the floor and from visitors to the table, including many choice original Mexican Pillars and Portraits, some of which we have owned before. Nothing singularly epic though – at least not yet.
With our last deals of the day the purchase of a Pillar from another dealer (literally the only nice, uncorrupted raw example on a bourse floor that contains myriad cleaned, damaged and screwed up ones), and the sale of a neatly toned Panamanian coin.
After which we headed up to bid in the Heritage Fun Platinum Night auction on one computer, while bidding in Stack’s world sale on the other which would be difficult enough if we were not also bidding in a Tokyo auction at the same time. So you want to be a coin dealer? I suggest you get good at multi-tasking.
Which I did moderately successfully, buying a few coins we really wanted, but getting trampled on others which has been a theme in the last few days with some utterly epic prices on all sorts of different coins.
After which I went to bed since I’d have to get up at 4 for the next Tokyo session, though it’s possible you can do that without even setting an alarm clock here based on those aforementioned NYC sirens. So that’s nice.
With whatever happens with that and on what we hope is a busier Saturday on the bourse floor to be described right here on Sunday AM.
January 15th: Day 3
Your author had hoped that perhaps the largest crowds of the week would be arriving here at the NYINC on Saturday, but unfortunately that did not happen as again we saw attendance at what seemed like 25% of previous year’s levels. Bummer.
Which we can attribute to two primary factors:
- Covid concerns, of course. Of all our shows that have actually been conducted since this whole pandemic started, this one seems to have been the most adversely affected overall. That surprises me, though maybe it shouldn’t have.
- Cold weather here in NYC. While a 19 degree high is not all that unusual for New York in January, it seemed to be a source of great consternation for the European dealers at the table next door, and was used as a lame excuse for not attending at all by a young local dealer friend who originally planned to be here to offer us coins. To which MaryAnn says “put on a coat you big baby”. Alas, even that gentle prodding did not help.
So, in a lightly attended room we tried to make the best of it and kinda did, scouring the bourse to fill a couple of customer want lists, working on consignment deals, talking website and advertising stuff trying to glean what we could from another dealer friend doing cool things, pounding on another dealer for a better price on an expensive coin in his case and re-reviewing our important target lots for the evening SB session, etc.
In and around which we sold sold 5 more coins (including the first one ever to a dealer I have known for 15 years and who has, to the best of my recollection, never even looked in our cases before), and snapped up a bunch of cool things that walked up to the table.
Which most unfortunately did not include this stunning gem Pillar 2R that the owner did not want to part with:
Oh well, maybe one day.
With our last purchase of the day a French gold coin, after which your author packed up and headed out to bid in Stack’s Bowers sale of the Pat Johnson collection, where we slugged it out with others for some fantastic Latin American coins and ultimately won significantly more than our fair share.
Finally finishing up with that about 11:30 PM before turning in for what we anticipate will be a similar Sunday on the bourse floor, though you never really know and maybe, just maybe, something a-b-s-o-l-u-t-e-l-y fantastic will happen.
And if it does you’ll be the first to read about it in our last NYINC 2022 installment on Monday AM.
January 16th: Day 4
After seeing how Saturday turned out here at the show, a lot of the other dealers started to pack up early Sunday.
So we did not expect to have an opportunity to do much on this day, or, for example, to buy another 11 coins.
But that’s exactly what happened as a collector who had been at the show throughout and had coins he wasn’t sure he wanted to sell, finally acceded and sold us 2 cool Pillars and 2 nice Portraits right when the show opened.
And then the dealer we had been trying to buy an expensive coin from for 3 days all of a sudden agreed to our offer.
Followed by 6 more coins from a dealer in the other room.
And while that was sorta shocking, it was easily explainable in two ways:
- The dearth of traffic here seemed to work in our favor in these cases, with collectors and dealers seeking to do some business before leaving
- Our persistence definitely paid off
So while we were disappointed with the overall show here, we worked hard to make it commercially worthwhile.
And when coupled with all of the auction viewing and bidding here (and continuing into this coming week), we should end up with a whole lot of neat coins for the list.
Might take a while for some of those to arrive here and be ready for prime time though, so we’ll have to do plenty of sorting and figuring over the next week to see what will make our next EB scheduled for one week from Tuesday.
So you might want to keep an eye out for that –