June 25-27, 2009: The MidAmerica Coin Expo in Schaumburg, IL
Aaaah the MidAmerica – notable for its fine location at the Renaissance Hotel here in scenic Schaumburg, Illinois, and also for the fact that at this show I am a regular old commuter, slogging through rush hour traffic on my way to the ‘office’ (since I stay with relatives here, borrow their car everyday and drive an hour each way).
And what did I find upon my arrival?
A nice, modern facility, and a bourse floor in which the CRO table is well placed in a primo location facing the door.
And we would use that location to fine effect, chatting up other dealers and the limited number of collectors who had coughed up $75 for a ‘Professional Preview’ badge on Thursday, including one guy who walked up to our table about 10 minutes after the place opened, saw that we were still laying out coins and remarked pointedly “Your still getting set-up?” in the exact same tone my mother used to use when I forgot to clean my room as a kid. In this case, I resisted the urge to make an unbelievably clever retort (which was not easy) and simply said “Yes”.
Aside from that minor annoyance, the day turned out pretty darn good, with sales of a few moderately priced federal coins and one of the 6-figure variety.
We had a little success on the buying side, too, picking up some nifty federal coins and a wholesome colonial on our tour of the bourse floor.
I also saw a guy with one of our CRO ads in his display case, which struck me as bizarre – especially since he was using our ad and referencing our asking price to try to sell his example of a different and more common coin for more money. But I guess we should be flattered?
Then, all of a sudden, it was time for Dave to run up to the Stack’s auction at 4 PM to bid on a whole bunch of cool, counterfeit 2 Reales from the Mike Ringo collection, which he did with considerable success, buying 15 or so for his own collection. I don’t know anything about those, other than the fact that they look cool in a crude way, and they are rare. So if you have any questions about them, ask Dave.
After that was over, we spent the rest of the day trying to work out a deal with a customer to trade one of our heady inventory items for a group of his coins – the kind of transaction that often gets complicated and changes multiple times before we can find a deal that works for both parties. But in this instance, we seem to be getting very, very close.
And that was it, as Dave then headed off to dinner with some dealer friends and I settled in for the long commute ‘home’.
Tomorrow the public will be let loose on the bourse floor, and we look forward to an action packed day during which we will try extremely hard to make sure we are fully, totally and completely set-up before anyone enters the room.
Friday began in relatively relaxed fashion with an unhurried drive down to the convention center via the non-highway route, through meadows, past a large number of leafy housing developments and seeing an enormous number of upscale strip malls, each and every one of which contained at least one Starbucks.
But when I got to the show at 9 AM we quickly morphed into heavy-duty wholesale haggling mode, trying to finalize another jumbo deal we’ve been working on.
And in the end, everybody seemed happy and CRO logged some pretty good sales for a regional show – and that was before most any of the collector attendees showed up.
Which they did at precisely 10 AM when the doors swung open to the public. It wasn’t a huge throng, but most everybody we know in the area did stop by the table at some point during the day, and many bought a coin or two.
But while the wholesale activity was churning on the 5-figure and up coins on this day, retail sales were focused on $5,000 and under items, of which we sold a whole bunch in all different categories. A variety of shapes were represented too, since one of the coins was square.
And I would be remiss if I did not mention the ‘French Factor’ at this show, whereby there seems to be a disproportionate (and surprising) interest in French and French Colonial coins at this venue. We noticed this last year, and so this time we came prepared, hauling our entire French related inventory to Schaumburg and, once again, selling some of it.
We also continued are generally productive buying as well, adding another wholesome group of federal coins mostly in that same $5K and under range.
And by the time the show closed at 6PM, we were pleased to have nearly filled the back case with invoices, and have amassed an impressively tall stack of checks (especially for a regional show of this size).
Which put us in a good mood as we headed out to dinner.
Tomorrow we expect things to quiet considerably, which should allow us time to sort through and organize the aforementioned paperwork, and submit our grading to PCGS. But you never know at these shows, and so we’ll be ready for (almost) anything when we head back to the table on Saturday morning.
Well, we were ready for something (anything) out of the ordinary on Saturday, but it turned out that wasn’t necessary, since it ended up being a lot like any weekend day at any show anywhere in the country. Which is to say that there were a few people walking around, but little serious activity at the table. In total, we sold 2 coins during the day.
But we managed to keep ourselves rather busy on the buying side, picking up a lot of neat things for the site in a several hour span. That seldom happens, actually, but we came across a group of things we liked and decided not to let them get away.
After that, we spent a good couple of hours on paperwork / grading / boxing up coins for shipment to various customers, occasionally stopping to shoot the bull with a few other dealers who apparently had just as much free time as we did.
And that was it.
In total, despite a characteristically slow last day, this show turned out to be about as good as we could reasonably expect for a Mid America, and a continuation of the almost entirely positive trend we’ve seen at shows this year.
Our next scheduled event is not until the ANA at end July, though we reserve the right to go somewhere cool and write all about it on this site if we feel like it. And if we do, we’ll be sure to let everyone know.
In the meantime, we’re going to start work on our next EB, scheduled for Tuesday at noon. And it will be a very, very good one.