June 19-22, 2013: The Whitman Baltimore Expo
Let’s compare this summer installment of the Whitman Baltimore Expo to the spring and fall versions of this event:
Size: This one is a smaller, more intimate affair, with fewer dealers and tables (though I expect there will be more than enough coins on display to satisfy even the most voracious of numismatic appetites).
Location: It’s held in a different room in the convention center (which will look about the same once we are inside there).
Food: Still delicious.
Weather: It is of course hotter and more humid here at this time of year (great news for those hoping to see a lot of middle-aged dealers wearing unflattering Bermuda shorts).
Grading: None of it being done ‘on site’ by PCGS or NGC (which is disappointing)
Schmoozing: No change.
Auction: The Stack’s-Bowers catalog is thinner than the phone-book sized versions we are used to seeing here (though there is still some very good stuff to buy).
Competition: Less of it (since a number of dealers and collectors who might normally be in Baltimore are the ANA Summer Seminar instead – which is good news for anyone who makes the trip here and wants to buy something).
Which all told should make this another interesting show with plenty-o-cool coins to buy and sell and the continuing hope that something great will walk in the door.
And if it does it will be described, right here, starting tomorrow.
June 20th: Day 1
After some high-quality sleep on Wednesday night I awoke rested and ready for action on Thursday and dove into the first activity of the day: Try to figure out how to turn on the coffee maker.
Which proved considerably more difficult than expected (through no fault of your author) and eventually resulted in a replacement coffee maker being delivered to the room just after I no longer wanted to drink any.
The walk to the convention center, on the other hand, was also unsuccessful, as I got halfway there before realizing I left my phone in the room (something which seems to happen to your author fairly regularly). Which would not have been a real big deal except that I was also hauling my show supplies in a large, awkward bag slightly too wide for a standard doorway, and so passing through each doorway three times (out, back, and out again) was not ideal.
In any case, I did eventually make it to the show, stormed to my table, immersed myself in dealer set-up and then, within about 20 minutes, had dropped about 60K on new inventory (which is not bad for someone who has not had any caffeine).
I sold a bit too, but found buying to be especially robust, snaggng a lot of neat things in all categories from dealers all over the room, including some ‘finished goods’ (old-holdered coins which will go straight to the list), along with a bunch of raw world coins which will not make the website until they go through the grading process (i.e. long after I have forgotten I own them).
Also interesting on this day was the start of the S-B auction at 1 PM, during which I was a successful buyer on a few things, and a delighted seller (since the stuff I consigned sold for waaaay more than I expected) proving once again that, despite extensive study and careful planning, these sessions are pretty much always a crapshoot.
And then met a looong time PCGS chatroom participant in person for the first time, which was interesting since I have always wondered who the heck that guy was. Alas, he prefers to remain anonymous, and so I will not post his picture and social security number here in the RR.
A few more deals later and it was time to head out to a spectacular dinner at Cinghiale with a couple of dealer friends, which might be the best restaurant I’ve ever been to in this town (and that’s saying something). If you go there, I recommend the Chanterelle & Morel Mushrooms, Green Garlic Vinaigrette and Green Pugliese.
And then I called it a night in anticipation of an active Friday in which I expect to see some more collectors at the table and with them the continuing promise of cool new coins to buy and/or sell.
June 21st: Day 2
The good news is that since yesterday’s coffee maker catastrophe is now completely resolved, the hotel maintenance staff should have plenty of time to focus on the thermostat issue in my room (namely that it seems to have only two settings: 54 degrees or 91, neither of which would be my first choice).
So while they did that, I headed over to the show, got set up and then proceeded over the next, oh, 8 hours or so to sell decently and buy heroically.
Which is fine, since some days (or shows) are the opposite, things tend to balance out in the end, and IMO you really need to take it as it comes.
Such as the nice early silver type with rich, original color which came to the table in the morning. Or the cool raw Conders I was not specifically intending to buy. And the neat, original Pillars. And, of course, that coin with the Large Alpacas on it.
And then I took a bunch of those NEWPs and whisked them out to the photographer to the tune of 37 coins – and that does not include other new coins submitted for grading, our auction winnings and the coins I bought late in the day culminating with a fabulous early $20 acquired just before 6 PM.
Immediately after which I went to dinner at the Woodbury Kitchen, which was just about as good as Cinghiale, but very different, including the waitress with the spike (not a ring, mind you) in her nose which I personally found very hard not to stare at.
But that will not distract me from buying more coins on Saturday, or trying to finalize the deals for a couple of pending CRO XL items which might possibly be sold by the time I pen RR Day 3 from home on Sunday AM.
June 22nd: Day 3
Without wasting any time on Saturday AM I leapt out of bed, packed up, walked over to the convention center, suddenly realized I forgot to check out of the hotel, disgustedly trudged back (in what has become a recurring theme in this RR) and then finally boomeranged back to the convention center for what I hoped would be another productive day (and one which did not require me to walk back to the hotel again for any reason whatsoever).
And while the previous days saw OK sales but strong buying here in Baltimore, Saturday was, in fact . . . exactly the same.
Which on this day amounted to the sale of 4 moderately priced coins before noon, and more pretty-darn-good buying during the course of the day.
And since that was the way things were going, I did not fight it, instead scouring the bourse floor through the mid-afternoon looking for other interesting things at pretty much every (any) table that was still occupied (which was about 50% of them at that point) and finding the following:
- A super nice mint state 1847 Dime: Bought.
- A wildly toned, gold-stickered Morgan which unfortunately had some not-very-attractive spots on the back: Passed.
- Some dramatically toned Latin American silver: Bought.
- A lovely original Draped Bust H10c on a customer want list: Bought.
- A few extremely cool world coins which looked great in the case but failed the loupe test: Passed.
- Raw Capped Bust Halves with nice toning: Bought.
- A gem+ Talbot mule which I think I might have a customer for: Might buy later.
- A cache’ of old-holdered colonials: Bought.
Which again made the day a good one and the show a success (as it always is here in Baltimore), even though the mega-deals I thought might happen didn’t (at least not yet).
And now I have plenty to do here sorting coins into grading, CAC’ing and photography boxes before diving into intense EB preparations on Monday so the list will be ready to roll on Tuesday.
But before any of that your author will be engaged in some serious R&R, which will officially begin at the end of this sentence.