June 29-July 2, 2022: The Long Beach Coin & Currency Expo
June 29th: Day 1
Having arrived in LB on Tuesday evening, Team CRO woke up rested and ready for action early on Wednesday morning. Very early, in fact, which was good, since I received a text from a customer at 6:14 AM saying that he would be in the hotel lobby to meet with me in about 45 minutes.
Where we discussed coins and then completed the handover of a heavy 26 coin consignment while most other coin dealers out here were most likely still sleeping soundly.
After which your author answered a bunch of email from east coasters, had a quick breakfast and then eventually made my way over to the convention center to drop off some additional show grading at PCGS, then headed on down to the Heritage lot viewing room to view the entire upcoming auction which I did (as usual) super efficiently, in sequence, with almost no waiting at all for a single box.
Finishing that just in time to receive a text from another dealer asking me to come see their NEWPs, which I did to the tune of 3 purchases in short order.
With all of that leaving about 30 minutes to race back to the hotel, grab our gear, and MaryAnn, eat lunch real fast and then head over to the convention center for the start of dealer set up at noon.
Where we had the booth ready to go with our usual efficiency, and then met with a bunch of national and local collectors and dealers, walked the floor, and, over the next 6 hours, sold a few coins and bought about 15 interesting pieces.
None more so than the cool pattern coin I spied in an unfamiliar dealer’s case. So I asked for his best price and as he pondered he said “Hey, were you the one who emailed me about this coin a while ago?”. Since I had never met this person before that seemed odd, but as he explained further I searched through my old emails and discovered that I had in fact emailed him about this item about a year and a half ago and agreed on a price subject to seeing it in hand. And then I never heard another word about it. Unbeknownst to me he had set this aside back then and forgot about it too. Until right before this show when he said he was surprised to see that he still had it and so he put it back into his show inventory. Where I walked up, saw it again and re-started this whole process. This time culminating with an actual purchase of a coin that CRO obviously was meant to own.
With most other purchases of the garden variety see coin-buy coin type, though we did have one other non-standard transaction where I sit down at an auction company table to view lots and my friend there immediately calls his buddy and says “John is here now, bring them over”. “Them” turning out to be a couple of toned world coins that my friend thought I’d want, and he was correct, illustrating once again that connections can be useful in this business to help find things you wouldn’t otherwise see.
With our last deal of the day the purchase of a group of choice Trade Dollars which will make a really neat row on an upcoming EB, and some other stuff I bought to throw directly into an upcoming auction, where if things go as I expect, they will bring waaaaay more than I would want to ask on the site.
And on that productive note we packed up, headed over to the Renaissance for a drink with some dealer friends and then made our way to dinner at a place called Ammatoli. Or rather we tried to, having to take a circuitous route since the police had just blocked off several streets due to some kind of train accident which we were glad to have missed.
Anyway, we made it unscathed and stayed out late, returning to the hotel just in time to collapse after what had by then been an action packed, jet lagged, 18 hour numismatic day.
But we’ll be rarin’ to go on Thursday with a number of collectors coming in to see us, and, we hope, lots of deals to be made.
Whatever happens we’ll be blogging about it right here 24 hours from now.
June 30th: Day 2
Thursday at LB would feature multiple loooong interactions with customers at the table looking to achieve different objectives:
Long time local customer brought in about 15 items to consign to auction, so we figured out what was what, talked through options, earmarked most for auction sales and determined that two of the coins could be best sold on our website.
Gentlemen came to the table to look at gold coins, identified one he wanted and then proceeded to engage us in a negotiation that went like this:
Him: How much is this?
Us: It is on our site at 1750.
Him: What would be the best price for a cash purchase?
Us: We would sell for 1650 here.
Him: How about 1500?
Us: Sorry, 1650 is our best.
Him: How about 1500?
Us: 1650 really is our best.
Him: How about 1500?
Us: We appreciate the offer, but no, we do not want to sell it for less than 1650.
Us: Sorry, 1650 is our best.
Him: Would 1500 work?
Him: What about 1550?
Us. We’ve given you our best price – it is 1650.
Him: How about a discount?
Editor’s note: This went on for about 10 more minutes on the exact same trajectory until your author frankly started to lose it and left MaryAnn in charge. Next thing I know this is happening:
Him: OK – 1650.
Us: Really? 1650? OK. Great.
Him: (While rummaging through his backpack for a while) I don’t have 1650. I’ll come back tomorrow.
Semi-local customer brought in a box of assorted world and US coins for sale or consignment, of which we recommended the latter so he would get a larger % of the eventual selling price. Lotta cool CRO stuff in here, including one epic coin we sold 15 years ago, and which later resurfaced in a super obscure Polish auction(!) where this customer snagged it. Making this not just a cool coin, but an extreeeeemely well traveled one too.
A collector came to the table and was pleased to show us an image of his new 1772 Machin’s Mills Halfpenny. Unfortunately it was not a Machin’s coin, but a regular British Halfpenny of the era which is worth considerably less. The coin in question was raw and came with an old card referencing a 1970s Bowers and Ruddy auction which did indeed include a 1772 Machin’s, which was plated in the sale, but was not the coin the collector owned. Honestly I hate when that happens, as I’d rather give someone good than bad news, but it is what it is.
New customer came to the table to look at world coins and ended up gradually migrating to our other cases and ultimately buying a bunch of cool US type coins. I did not see that coming.
Talked about Fugios in depth with several different customers unfamiliar with the series but now interested to add an example to their US type sets.
Sold a bunch of Pillars and Portraits to half a dozen customers who variously collect these by type, date, denomination or totally comprehensively by every mint and denomination and date which is a most ambitious project.
In and around which we dropped off or picked up tons of PCGS show grading which generally came out where we expected (so far). So all of this stuff added to the cool NEWPs we acquired here should mean which are well positioned for our next EB. Or 2. Or 3. With still a couple of days here to add to the stash.
And if we do, or even if we don’t, we’ll write all about it in our next installment of the RR to be posted on Saturday AM.
July 1st: Day 3
I think it is important to begin this RR with the question everyone is asking:
Did $1,500 man return to the table on Friday?
Unfortunately he did not, thus depriving us of what surely would have been some real good RR fodder, possibly including an action video of your author leaping over the table at some point during another marathon, extremely frustrating negotiating session. Oh well, we’ll be here all day Saturday and so it’s still possible there will be a sequel.
In his absence, the day proved to be extremely busy and very productive, with long time customers and new friends visiting the table, often staying for long stretches, and in most cases working out various cash and trade deals in which we ended up buying some cool NEWPs, selling some neat coins and/or taking coins to consign to auction for them since we can get a better deal than they can.
One of my favorite parts of that last one is when someone gives us some coins to consign to an auction house and we see some opportunity to “expertise” them first – i.e. maybe upgrade a coin, or cross it or CAC it or otherwise make it more valuable for the owner before we send it to the auction house. Don’t you wish someone would do that for you?
We also managed to buy a few more coins on the floor, mostly US, including several we then immediately consigned to auction as has become a regular part of the CRO repertoire.
Not everything worked great though, as during the course of the day 5 or 6 other dealers came to the table with all sorts of different coins to offer us, perhaps 40 in total, including colonial, US and world issue, of which we were able to buy a grand total of 2. For the ones that did not work it was never a price issue, but rather a lack of quality or eye appeal that turned us off. I do feel bad about that, and I’d like to buy enough to encourage people to offer us other coins in the future, but they have to meet our standards.
We also got back nearly all of our prolific show grading, including some extreeeeemely esoteric material that likely would have taken months to grade if we had shipped it to the office, but which PCGS turned around here in 3 days on the show economy tier. I have to say that is really excellent service.
With our last deals of the day on Friday the sale of a neatly toned taler before we packed up and headed to dinner with some collector and dealer friends at Thai District, which we try to hit at least once every LB show, and which, as usual, did not disappoint.
Getting back to the hotel late and immediately falling asleep after another long, busy and exhausting day. With Saturday certain to be even more so, since we’ll be here on the bourse all day before heading off to the airport for a late flight home which we hope will not be delayed by weather, though it seems like that is a distinct possibility.
Whatever happens, we’ll eventually blog all about it from the comfort of home sometime on Sunday.
Until then, then.
July 2nd: The Exciting Conclusion
We were up at a more civilized hour on Saturday morning in an attempt to conserve energy for what we knew would be a looooong day of packing, schlepping, working all day at the show, packing again, schlepping everything again, heading to the airport and then taking one of those awful overnight flights home.
But then immediately used up some of those energy reserves talking to the airline ad nauseum to try to figure out why MaryAnn’s TSA Pre # would not print out on her boarding pass even though it is in the system and has always worked on all past flights. 45 minutes later we had our answer: They have no idea. So we gave up, finished packing and went to check out.
Expending more energy while responding to the nice lady at the hotel desk who made the mistake of asking us “How was your stay?”, since we don’t recall having worse service at any hotel in many, many years. I get it – covid, staffing, maybe El Niño – all making it hard for them to bring coffee or towels to a guest room even after we called 7 times from Tuesday through Friday requesting them and were assured each and every time they were on their way. Spoiler alert: Um, they weren’t.
Finally making our way to the convention center just before the show opened to the public at 10.
Where we unexpectedly had our best sales day of the week by far, with a steady stream of collectors coming to the table starting pretty much right then, continuing on until about 4 PM, and vacuuming up all sorts of US and world coins in between.
One of the buyers was a new customer for us who said he works Mon-Fri (like most of the country) and therefor can only come on Saturday, where he of course encountered lots of empty tables at the show since a lot of dealers had left by then. But not us!
Sometime during that activity we picked up more of our grading submissions and were delighted that only one coin was holdered backward, and only one was upside down in its slab. Ironically I had brought 5 such coins from previous submissions with me to this show because having them reholdered correctly here is much faster than mailing them back to the office, but these last 2 came back too late for me to get them fixed in LB. Oh well – maybe at the ANA?
We also snagged a few more NEWPs, including our last one at the surprisingly late time of 4:15 when I peered into another dealer’s case on my way back from talking to someone else and saw a neat piece that was not there earlier in the show. So of course I jumped all over it even though we were already halfway done packing up by then.
Finishing that up around 4:30, having dinner in the Hyatt lobby and eventually heading off to LAX where the young lady at the check-in counter solved that aforementioned TSA Pre # issue in literally 1 minute and sent us on our way.
Allowing us to finally get home relatively relaxed and unscathed on Sunday AM where we could reflect back on an LB show that was pretty good, not great, but one from which we left with a ton of coins of the NEWP and newly graded variety giving us plenty of ammo to sort and photograph for our next EB scheduled for Tuesday, July 12th.
So you might want to keep an eye out for that –