June 20-23, 2018: The Whitman Baltimore Expo
Phew – that was a close one. We were just about to head down to Baltimore on Tuesday morning when, in a cursory last minute check of our hotel reservation, realized we didn’t actually have a room for that night, AND were booked at the wrong hotel. Which I guess is an unfortunate bi-product of traveling all the time and often making these arrangements in the middle of the night.
So we cancelled that old one, made a new reservation (yes, in that high-risk sequence), pushed back the flight one day and will now head into Baltimore early Wednesday AM with still plenty of time for lot viewing, wholesale activities and all the other stuff we usually do before the show starts on Thursday.
And then blog all about it, as always, starting tomorrow right here in this space.
So you might want to keep an eye out for that –
June 20th: Day 1
Arriving in the inner harbor at about 7:30 AM, your author was at the convention center by 8:45, firmly planted in lot viewing at 9 and pretty much finished circling all target lots and making small, indecipherable notes in the margins of my catalog by 11.
Then touring some wholesale rooms, looking at 65,000 coins, finding just a few of CRO interest, selling a few others and completing some high powered schmoozing with many dealer friends.
Followed by a quick trip to the security room, getting our badges finalized for this show, zipping over to the Sheraton for lunch and then heading back to the convention center for a full afternoon camped just outside the lot viewing room holding court with the usual procession of dealers and show attendees who all wander past that spot at every one of these Baltimore shows.
Though admittedly it was a pretty light crowd on Wednesday. Many regulars were slow to arrive, perhaps still reorganizing after the just-ended Long Beach show, with others currently out at the ANA seminars in Colorado and the majority of collector attendees I know planning to be here later in the week.
Still, we managed to make a few deals, renew some old contacts and generally keep ourselves busy until 6 when we all headed to dinner and completely avoided anything that even resembled a carbohydrate.
Then called it an extremely early night after what had been, to that point, a long and tiring 22 hour day. So we should be extreeeeemely well rested and ready for the start of what we hope is a busy and active dealer set up on Thursday at 8 AM.
And if it is, or even if it isn’t, you can read about everything that happens right here in this space in just 24 hours from now.
June 21st: Day 2
After a totally delicious omelet in the hotel restaurant, Team CRO was on the move, arriving in the convention center lobby at about 7:45.
And, after wondering where the heck everyone was yesterday, we were delighted to find the typically huuuuuge crowd of other dealers already assembled there, all patiently waiting to burst into the bourse room.
Beginning precisely at 8, as the security guards cracked open one narrow doorway and then siphoned the huge throng of dealers schlepping bags, hauling Pelican cases and pushing awkward carts into the room. Including us, as we darted straight to our table #442, quickly set up the booth, hung the banner, clicked on the lights and began doing business like crazy. Or tried to, but frankly it was kinda slow out of the gate, with nothing too exciting happening until about mid-morning.
At which time things changed dramatically and continued on that way for pretty much the entire rest of the day, as we sold a number of expensive coins at the table, including two coins which were in separate incidents considered, eyeballed, louped and fondled by two different dealers, and then ultimately purchased by two other dealers about half an hour later.
Then a bunch of world coins, a wacko token, a couple of colonials, a small deal of US type just back from CAC and a cool Pine Tree Shilling which we were frankly surprised had survived as long as it did in our inventory.
Purchases, on the other hand were leaner, partly by design (since we stocked up pretty well in LB last week and in various recent auctions), partly because we just didn’t find as many coins in our wheelhouse here as we would have liked. At least not yet.
With our last sale of the day concluded right about 6, after which we packed up, dropped our bags at the hotel and headed out for dinner with some dealer friends at the Hyatt before calling it a pretty early night so we would be well-rested for what we expect will be another pretty busy day on Friday.
More later –
June 22nd: Day 3
As we’ve said before in these RRs, we really don’t know what’s going to happen at these shows. And today we can add that we really, really don’t know what’s going to happen on Fridays.
In that we can generally expect the first day at any show to be pretty busy, and the last day to be on the quiet side, but Fridays seem to run the gamut from epic to average to sloooow with no indication what we’re going to get at any particular event until we’re actually at the show and in the middle of it.
But we had a pretty good feeling about this one right out of the gate, as a serious, Early Bird badge-wearing collector arrived at the table a full 15 minutes before the show opened to the public and started going through some pretty serious coins.
Followed by a nice procession of collector and deal buyers stopping buy, looking at colonials, world coins and US type, buying cool coins we figured would sell quickly, other coins that have been on the site for a while now, new things that we didn’t intend to actually offer here, etc.
Making offers on others, proposing trade deals, trying to sell us other coins and generally keeping us busy until the mid-afternoon when things started finally started to slow down.
Which worked out really well, since by then we needed to start getting NEWPs organized for photography, a collector’s consignment ready for auction, submitted some take-home grading to PCGS and NGC and tried to get all of our in-process inventory organized, collated, boxed up and on the move.
Just in time to start focusing on the Stack’s-Bowers Auction which would kick off at 5 PM.
Ultimately deciding to proxy bid, set our max numbers and go have dinner, lest we fixate on certain coins, follow the proceedings live and end up in an irrational bidding war which can sometimes happen.
Instead we had a nice time at Petit Louis Bistro across town, got back to the hotel late, were delighted to read our “Congratulations! You were a successful bidder in The June 2018 Baltimore Auction” email and then called it a night in anticipation of a long, tiring Saturday here at the show in which we’ll need to check out of the hotel in the AM, work a full day on the bourse floor, pack up late, head to the airport and get home at about 11 PM.
And then have a real fast turn around, since we’ll be off to our local show Devens, MA first thing in the AM.
Wow. I’m getting tired just reading that. But it still should be fun, with all of the details of all of it posted here on the site just as soon as we can get it there.
June 23rd: Day 4
Like a well-oiled numismatic machine, Team CRO was packed up and checkout of the hotel early on Saturday, thoroughly breakfasted and back at the convention center by 8:30 AM.
Where we briefly compared notes with other dealers queued in the lobby, hearing mostly positive feedback on this show that had – to that point – paralleled our own hearty experience.
Then headed back to the table precisely at 9, rebounded straight to the 3rd floor to pick up our auction winnings (including the one coin in this catalog we simply had to have), then came back and settled in for what turned out to be a pretty decent Saturday with many visitors to the table.
Including some long time customers we’ve known for years, some new people who had been to the website and were familiar with the kinds of coins we offer, but also a first time visitor to the table who was extra-super aggressively looking for the cheapest example of any particular issue he could find on the bourse floor.
And while we weren’t successful offering anything to that last guy, we did well with the others, including selling a few more coins we had earmarked for the next EB, but others which had been on the site for 6 weeks or more.
Buying was good too, as we snagged a few late old holdered coins around the room, bought a neat large cent that walked up to the table, followed by a wicked toner late in the day as the room began to thin out in earnest.
And pretty soon we would join them, packing up and heading off to the airport to catch our evening flight back, being told by the airline that it was delayed about 45 minutes, then miraculously finding out it was on time again and that we needed to hurry up quick and get on board.
Allowing us to get back to New England at a decent hour and then almost immediately begin sorting inventory for the local Devens show Sunday (since we always bring a very different mix to that event, it’s not going to sort itself, and someone has to do it).
But not before we paused to relax and reflect on what turned out to be a better than average summer Baltimore Expo in what has been to date an excellent numismatic year.