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Back to Road Report Archive 2023

March 1-4, 2023: The ANA National Money Show in Phoenix, AZ

PhoenixGold

Prologue:

Greetings numismatist and welcome to our first RR since waaaaay back in January!  Actually, that seems kind of amazing, since we’ve been as busy as ever so far this year and did not not even notice that we hadn’t flown anywhere in more than a month.  Wow.

And so we’re extra excited to be heading to AZ for our first coin show since, well, ever.  I was pretty sure we were in Phoenix for a show years ago, but since I can’t find any old Road Reports written from this fine city anywhere in our voluminous RR archives apparently I merely dreamt it.

Making this an exciting new experience which we intend to embrace in a giant numismatic bear hug of buying, selling, trading, grading and of course schmoozing, non-stop, start to finish, all day every day from our command center at table #520.

So if you are in the southwest we hope you’ll stop by and see us.

And if you’re not, check out our daily blogs posted right here each and every morning of the show in which we will relay every single thing that happens in excruciating detail.

Starting tomorrow.

March 1:  Day 1

We cut it kind of close this time.

For years Team CRO has been pretty conservative coin show travelers, heading out early and thus allowing plenty of extra time for any unforseen travel snafus, weather delays, uber misshaps, a dog on the runway (that did happen once), going to the wrong hotel (ditto), standing in line at the lost luggage office, etc.

Something we did not do at all on this day, instead booking a same day flight from New England which, under the best of circumstances, would get us to Phoenix with just enough time to get situated, have lunch and then head over to the show for dealer set up.

So when the pilot announced that we would be returning to our departure gate because the plane was “overweight” your author let out an audible groan.  It turned out the remedy would be to remove one single passenger.  No, not me, thankfully, instead it would be some dude in the back who enthusiastically volunteered.  Unfortunately, he turned out to be very skinny, and we’d be delayed an additional 30 minutes after that while they revved the engines and burned some fuel before finally getting us on our way for the 6+ hour flight out here.

Where we’d eventually make it to the hotel in the nick of time and head directly to the convention center where we’d grab some new IDs and then roll straight onto the bourse floor at 1 PM.

Finding our table #520 in excellent order, in a fine spot, right next door to our good friends from Eye Appealing Coins and then setting up (as always) like lightning.

After which I would race around the room like crazy (also as always) looking for cool coins and finding a bunch, including a killer early dollar, a choice RB Fugio, some nicely toned Capped Bust coins, a wildly toned Franklin 50c, a fantastic Seated Dollar and an epic stone cold original, full red early Half Cent among others.

To the tune of a robust 11 NEWPS, which is a very good haul at any dealer set up period, but something we’ve come to expect at these ANA National Money Show events where we seem to find well more than our fair share.

During which we sold 1 expensive coin (continuing a happy several week trend), showed a bunch of others and felt like this was going to be a pretty good show.

IF (and this is important) the public can actually find this venue, which based on our own experience trying to get from the hotel to convention center, was not obvious.  At all.  Maybe the signage will be better Thursday?  Here’s hoping.

With our last deal of the day the purchase of a wicked DMPL CC Morgan before we packed up and walked to dinner.  Actually sprinted to dinner, since by then an impressive rain was falling which would continue for hours, including the sprint back to the hotel afterward.

Still fun though, and an exhilarating cap to what had by then been an action packed 22 hour day.

With the show cranking up again early on Thursday where we’ll hope for more action, a good public turn out, a lot more cool coins to buy and sell, and maybe some better weather.

Whatever happens will be described right here on Friday AM –

March 2:  Day 2

I’m not sure about you, but when packing for this trip I was thinking 75 degrees during the day, maybe 60 at night.

And I’m pretty sure the people who designed this hotel had the same idea, which is why they made it so you have to walk outside to get to the gym.  And that would be fine under normal circumstances, less so in gym shorts when it is 48 degrees like on Thursday morning.

But after that brisk start to the day, we dressed more suitably as we headed back to the convention center, this time following a more direct route than yesterday, arriving just as the traditional ANA speeches and ribbon cutting ceremony were taking place, skirted that, headed straight to our table and began what would be a super productive, action packed day of buying and selling in all categories.

As we sold moderate to XL colonials, choice US type, some old gold, a couple of commems, a few world coins and 2 cool esoteric pieces.

And bought even better, both on the floor and in deals that walked up the table, including a bunch of choice US type, a cool error coin, a medium sized pile of gold coins, some Gold CACs and our 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th Liberty Seated Dollars at this show.  For those scoring at home, that is what numismatists call a lot of Seated Dollars.

With some of these NEWPs acquired for customer want lists, others destined for an upcoming EB or two, a couple we’ll send straight to auction, a few will be reholdered, or regraded and, in general, we’ll try to figure out the best course of action for everything.

In and around which we saw a bunch of old friends we had not seen since the ANA in Colorado Springs last year, sorted out some complicated grading issues with our friends at PCGS, got invited to one (1) concert, delivered one coin sold off a recent EB and tried to buy some fantastic coins from a dealer on the floor who informed us that his entire bourse case chock full of coins arranged in no particular order at all was for display only.  Oh well.

With our last deal of the day the purchase of a wicked 20c piece that had CRO written all over it.

After which we headed out with some dealer friends to Steak 44, purported to be one of the finest in the country which I would say was in fact delicious, and also notable for serving meals on the hottest plates I have ever encountered in any restaurant (or kiln, actually).

Returning to the hotel and immediately collapsing in a heap.

So we should definitely be well rested and ready to tackle whatever Friday brings here in Phoenix.

EOM

March 3:  Day 3

I would describe our expectations on Friday here at the show as “we had no expectations whatsoever“, an attitude which served us extremely well during a day in which we saw many local (and not so local customers) at the table, bought a lot more cool coins and sold a lot.  And I mean a lot a lot.

Including some things we’ve owned for a while, and other coins we bought as recently as Thursday.  And while it is never our intention to sell NEWPs right away (since of course we need fresh coins to populate our upcoming EBs), sometimes it just seems like the right move.  Such as when a good customer mentions that he is embarking on a new collecting direction which just happens to include a rare and seldom seen issue we had never owned before until we serendipitously purchased one yesterday.  Kinda felt like that was meant to be.

As did the sale of a wicked AU58+ CBH we also bought yesterday and sold to a gentlemen who I believe is our most well-traveled customer, since he seems to appear at the table wherever we are, from New Hampshire, to Chicago, to Long Beach to right here in Phoenix.  Good on you sir, and when we are set up in Europe next year I will not be surprised to see you there too.

With this sort of entertaining and productive activity continuing on pretty much non-stop until about 3 PM, when the room started to thin out and a dealer behind me said “this show is over” (coin dealer parlance for that point when it seems like the lion’s share of action at a show has probably already happened).  Actually I didn’t agree with that, which is why Team CRO will be here until late Saturday buying, selling, trading, grading and doing whatever business there is to be done.

At the very least we’ll be submitting a lot of grading, handing off customer consignments to the auction houses and cleaning up as many loose ends as possible before we head home.

From where our last RR will be written on Sunday AM –

Until then, then.

March 4:  The Exciting Conclusion

Now back home in New England it is time to recap the just completed ANA show through our series of random observations presented in no particular order.  Starting right now:

As usual, the ANA National Money Show did not disappoint, as we did a lot of business and had a nice time at a neat new venue.

We met several long time customers and a few long time PCGS chatroom friends here after interacting with them only via the internet for years now.  So that was fun.

Our total haul of new purchases at this show was 39 coins (including 2 more good ones on Saturday) in the following CRO categories:

  • 1 Colonial
  • 4 US Copper Coins
  • 4 US Nickel Coins
  • 15 US Silver Coins
  • 2 US Gold Coins
  • 2 Commemoratives
  • 11 Esoteric Coins

I know this because I was just reviewing our NEWPs spreadsheet and sorting it by category.

I ate an above average tuna sandwich for lunch 4 days in a row.

A customer came to the table 3 different times to view a coin on Saturday and then came back to buy it after we had started to pack up.  That was close.

We felt like we scooped up pretty much every cool CRO-style coin here at the show that was priced anywhere near our comfort zone, but one fabulous one got away when the dealer who had it decided to sell it on Instagram rather than offer it at his table with the rest of his inventory.  That hurt.

As is often the case for us as Massachusetts-based dealers at a western show, I spent a fair amount of time discussing Mass Silver Coins with customers.  Namely that they are not commodities, and there can be a wide range of values in a given grade based on what I call the “non-grades attributes” of shape, strike, centering, color, originality, die state, etc., as evidenced by a quick perusal of the Heritage or SB archives.  Not to mention that some die varieties are rare and sell for a premium, while others are common but extremely aesthetic and thus sell for a premium as type coins.  That sounds complicated even to me and I’ve been doing this since 1969.

A very polite gentlemen asked me on Saturday if the $20 written on the PCGS label of a St. Gaudens Double Eagle was our asking price.  I used to hear that a few times a year when I first got in the coin business – always on a Saturday at a show – but the last time I can recall that happening was at least 15 years ago.  When I explained that that was actually the denomination of the coin, and showed him that all of the other slabs had similar printing, he said “but it has a dollar sign followed by some numbers”.  At that point I let MaryAnn take over.

Our trip home was on time and uneventful, though we did get back at 1:27 AM, and our cab driver insisted on capping off the evening by showing us pictures of his family as we stood in our driveway.  At least he waited until after we had arrived to produce the photos, unlike that guy who drove us from the Baltimore show to Washington Reagan in 2021 while continuously turning around to show us pictures on his phone.

And now we’ll sort out the show paperwork, ship a bunch of coins to customers, catch up on everything that came in while we were away, send other coins to CAC and start getting ready for the Baltimore show which will start in just about 10 amazingly short days from now.