March 7-10, 2018: The ANA National Money Show in Irving, TX
Greetings Road Report reader and welcome to this ANA preview typed right here in my Texas hotel room.
And after an effortless trip down from NE, and a nice dinner with some fellow Massachusetts dealers, we look forward to what we hope will be an action-packed event just like the last time we were in this state.
And how could it not be in a totally cool convention center which looks surprisingly like two haphazardly-stacked pizza boxes? Exactly.
Starting tomorrow at 9 AM with Kagin’s auction lot viewing, followed by dealer set-up at three and with it another opportunity for us to buy, sell, trade and schmooze epically.
With everything that epically happens to be described right here bright and early on Thursday AM.
Until then, then –
March 7th: Day 1
I admit that I’ve never fully understood the ANA show schedules.
Like on Wednesday here in Irving, for example, with show set-up starting at the surprisingly late time of 3 PM, giving us dealers a luxurious 6-7 hours of dead time during which a bunch of us started to assemble in the convention center lobby around noon and all ask each other why the show did not open until 3.
On the other hand, this did seem to generate a high level of anticipation, and so when they finally flung the doors open and let us all into the bourse room there was something of a high-octane numismatic vortex which resulted in a surprising amount of deal-making enthusiasm right off the bat.
Including at our table #511, where we sold a whole bunch of cool stuff to dealers who don’t usually buy from us. Thus emboldening your author (as if I even needed that) to then buy even more aggressively than usual, which I did to the tune of about 15 slabbed and raw coins of all types, from usual suspects and never-before-seen local dealers, with some of these items ready for market, and others which we will look to grade or cross or CAC over the next couple of weeks.
But, in a first for CRO, we did not furtively lock these all up in our back case waiting to reveal them on some future EB list, oh no, instead we unleashed them all in in our new NEWPs case in whatever form we acquired them – making for an interesting mélange of coins in shiny new holders, old chipped ones covered with sticker residue, some PCGS, and NGC, one ANACS, a bunch raw, etc.
And then sold a couple of them about 3 minutes later thus indicating that, hey, maybe this was a pretty good idea. Though of course it does force us to buy even more to make sure we have enough cool stuff to populate the next list.
Anyway, all this good stuff lasted just 3 hours, since the bourse closed real fast at 6 PM. At which time we headed out to the ANA show hotel shuttle bus like tourists, went straight to the bar like coin dealers and hung out with a bunch of guys who all seemed to have enjoyed a similarly active day on the bourse floor.
Then went to dinner at a local TexMex place which was pretty good if enormous before calling it an early night so we could be rested and ready for a full day of ANA fun on Thursday followed by the Kagin’s auction Session 1 right after.
And so I am confident there will be plenty of cool things to talk about in our next installment of the RR to be posted right here in just about 24 hours from now.
March 8th: Day 2
Enthusiastically your author boarded the shuttle bus whisking dealers (and collectors) from the show hotel to the convention center, arrived at about 8:30 AM to an already active room, yanked off our table covers, switched on the lights and pronounced ourselves open for business.
And things started off on an extreeeeemely high note when I casually mentioned to another dealer that there did not seem to be any place to get a cup of coffee and he pointed out that there was actually a free breakfast buffet in the back of the room of which I availed myself instantly.
One tiny quiche later I was ready for some numismatic business which would turn out to be an extended XL version of the kind of stuff that happened on Wednesday. Namely me selling lots of coins at the table interspersed with forays around the room where I seemed to be consistently able to find cool coins from a myriad of sources.
Like 3 cool, original and better date Seated Quarters from a local dealer who was very reluctant to even show them to me since in his words “You won’t be able to buy them”. Wrong.
And then a cool, colorful early date Capped Bust Half from a dealer who never seems to have things like that, a couple of neat, raw Cap & Rays Mexican coins, another old-holdered unc. Trade $1, the most affordable CACed 39-O Half I’ve seen, a crusty XF Pillar 4R, another Seated Dollar, etc., etc. Returning to our table, putting them out in the NEWPs case and selling some of them straight away in a numismatic rinse-lather-repeat sort of scenario.
Did I have a pang of regret about selling some of these coins before they could hit the website? Yes, but the alternative of not having any new coins at a show also seems pang-worthy. I think there is an ideal balance to be had and at this show we might be having it.
Also, cool stuff just kinda kept finding us, like the deal of old-holdered type that walked up to the table with a long-time customer in the mid-afternoon. That is of course ideal and something we’d love to happen more frequently, a view we try to reinforce by paying more than other dealers can for such coins and writing checks for them just like that.
With the last deals of the day the nearly simultaneous purchase of a super choice better date Barber Half and the sale of the aforementioned colorful early date Capped Bust Half.
Followed by the sudden realization that it was 5:50 PM and the Kagin’s auction was about to start, so I quickly locked up, packed up and headed to the 4th floor auction room where I slipped into a back row seat with minutes to spare, bid a little and ultimately bought nothing. Oh well.
And then headed back to the hotel bar to meet some dealer friends before going to dinner at a local steakhouse which turned out to be a hoot. But not a late hoot, since by then I was exhausted and ready to call it a night knowing we have not yet hit the halfway point at this show and, based on what has happened so far, I think it might continue to be really busy here on Friday.
And if it is, or even if it isn’t, we’ll be back here to write all about it on Saturday AM.
March 9th: Day 3
Sometimes at these shows the bookkeeping can get away from you.
And it’s easy to see why, since most dealers (including the one writing this sentence) tend to do business with each other pretty quickly and informally with the understanding that invoices will be finalized and checks exchanged at some unspecified future time before everyone gets on a plane and heads home.
So if you do a lot of wholesale at a show – like we’ve done here – it can be hard to keep it all straight, remember who you still have to pay, or who has to pay you.
Which is the situation I found myself in late Friday, with a back case fully tornadoed with paperwork of the incoming and outgoing variety, a bunch of coins to be delivered, one thing held for a guy who committed to buy it Wednesday but who had apparently already left, and one invoice which was efficiently paid twice by the dealer buyer (once in cash, and then again by check).
So I was absolutely delighted to get all of that squared away on Friday, pay people, return the aforementioned extra payment, pick up the straggler checks and track down someone else at the company of the aforementioned Wednesday-hold-coin-guy and get a check from them minutes before they were also heading out the door.
In contrast, business with collectors is usually the breeze that it was here, with everything finalized in real time, coins handed over, checks written, hands shaken and no cryptic paperwork to try to decipher later.
Still, we are delighted to do business with both collectors and dealers, and with Saturday still to go we expect at least a few more opportunities to buy and sell coins before we close the book on the ANA here in Irving and then summarize it all in our final RR to be penned from the comfort of home on Sunday AM.
March 10th: The Exciting Conclusion
Now back in fully winterized New England it’s time to summarize the ANA show in Irving via another patented CRO list of utterly random observations presented in no particular order:
I was a bit concerned when I Googled the show hotel on Monday before flying down and saw that it was a mile from the convention center (since your author always likes to stay as close to any show venue as possible for security and convenience). But I have to say the ANA-provided shuttle bus was amazingly convenient and I never had to wait more than a minute or 2 for it going in either direction even at odd hours early in the AM or late at night.
This Irving Convention Center venue was about the perfect size for one of these ANA Mid-Winters, enough room to fit everything and everyone, but none of that airplane-hanger-sized dead space that seems to suck the life out of a show.
No more margaritas for me. I’m done.
I bought every single coin that I liked on the bourse floor or that walked up to the table since we’ve learned it is better to err on the side of being too aggressive than it is too lament the ones that got away.
Despite buying 41 coins we managed to leave here with fewer coins than we brought. That’s not easy to do.
I thought this collector’s custom-made Higley Copper bag was really cool:
Two serious collectors came to the table after 2 PM on Saturday, which in my experience is pretty late at any show for detailed discussions of colonial coins and Pillar Dollars.
I was delighted to have the opportunity to set that guy who had the case of mistaken identity with our 1828 quarter in Long Beach (as described in our RR from that show) straight, and then, my credibility vindicated, actually sell him a different coin here.
A cool collection of mostly high AU Barber Halves was being offered at the show, so I went through all of them and bought my favorite one.
No grading on site at this show, but I was able to hand in a few submissions and thus avoid the shipping cost of doing so from the office.
Massachusetts silver coins always draw a crowd in Texas in my experience, with many show attendees telling me they had never before seen one in hand.
I have to admit I was envious of the dealer at the table next to ours who brought only about a dozen coins to the show, was able to set up in about 47 seconds, sold about half, packed up late Saturday and walked out effortlessly with a small bag. Based on the prices of his offering, he probably did as much or more business than anyone in the room in what seemed to be about as relaxed a fashion as possible.
The last coin we sold on Saturday was to a collector who came to the table specifically to say hi to Dave Wnuck (who of course has not been behind a CRO table since the middle of 2012), looked down, saw a coin he liked and paid cash for it all within a grand total of about 8 seconds. Illustrating once again the utter randomness, serendipity and unpredictability of the coin business.
Our late flight home was about as easy as these things get at this time of year, ahead of schedule, no delays, first bag off the belt upon arrival, etc., but it still is a pretty tiring end to a looooong week of early mornings and late nights.
But now the fun begins as we’ll need to finish our 2017 taxes this week before gearing up for the Baltimore show the following week. Which means there will be no time for a full-blown EB this week. We still might do a mini-one though. And if we do, the schedule will be posted on our home page, as always, on Monday.