Updated: May 19th 5:08AM ET
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Back to Road Report Archive 2009

May 13-16, 2009: The Whitman Atlanta Expo


Day 1:

For those of you who complain that we always say that every show is a “blockbuster”, today is your lucky day:  On Thursday we sold absolutely nothing, and didn’t buy anything either.

Dealer set up was from 12 to 8 (which seemed like a long time to us), and we were there right from the start, setting up all the coins, artfully arranging the display and hanging the CRO banner, but while a few people came by the table, there were no actual numismatic transactions.

We also walked the floor multiple times looking for cool stuff, but didn’t really see much we wanted to buy.

Which left us ample time to review the auction lots, but there was not much for us there either in a session largely filled with average pieces, many of which looked pretty familiar.

So I had plenty of time to call my golf shop and order a new driver (Ping G10 with the Grafalloy ProLaunch stiff shaft), which I fully intend to use to hit the living crap out of the ball next week.

Then we chatted with some other dealers and the few public in attendance before heading out to dinner with a dealer friend at the Cheesecake Factory across the street.  That’s not my first choice of restaurants, but I must admit the food is pretty good, and the portions are large enough to satisfy even the hungriest coin dealer (and his entire staff, and his dog).

We look forward to Thursday and the arrival of the public, and with them the possibility of some actual coin buying and selling.

Here’s hoping.

Day 2:

Thursday actually started off in promising fashion:

1.  Woke up at a civilized hour.

2.  Answered a bunch of emails ordering coins off the site.

3.  Had a delicious cherry danish in the lobby coffee shop.

4.  Went to the show and sold a bunch of coins right away, and also bought 3 neat things.

But then it got very quiet.

It’s not that there weren’t people in attendance – there were.  Not huge crowds mind you, but quite a few people came to the table, asked to see coins and offered us some.  But very few transactions took place from about noon on.

But not for lack of effort.  We tried to work out a deal for the one interesting colonial we saw on the floor, tried to negotiate for a couple of coins in different dealer cases, saw two or three coins that looked promising but which had some hidden issues under a glass, etc.

So we were relegated to re-looking at the auction lots in hopes of finding something we could use.

Until 3 o’clock, at which time Dave skipped out to attend a presentation on the Whitman Encyclopedia of Colonial and Early American Coins by none other than author (and all around good guy) Dave Bowers.

And the room was surprisingly full for a talk of this nature at a medium sized coin show, perhaps because everyone knew that it would be a great mix of facts on colonial coin manufacturing, early American history, and many amusing anecdotes, including one in which Dave pointed out that a cow was legal tender in the colonies for quite a number of years.

The implication of which is that no colonial type set can be considered complete without an example of this animal.

Mr. Bowers also told of the founding of the Colonial coin specialty club in the early 1990’s by researcher and cataloger extraodinaire Michael Hodder, a good friend, neighbor and co-worker of Dave’s up in rural New Hampshire.   Mr. Hodder called this new club “C-4”, which stands for Colonial Coin Collectors Club.  Dave jokingly suggested a name to Michael for another coin club he was thinking of founding: “C-8”, his name for the “Certified Colonial Collectors Coin Club of Cos Cob, Connecticut.”

According to Mr. Bowers,  Hodder was not amused.

Anyway, then it was back to the bourse for a while before Dave would head off to the Stack’s auction, and I would go to dinner with my brother in law, from which I have just returned having no idea if we bought anything in the sale.

Tomorrow it’s possible we’ll see more visitors, but whatever happens, you can read the unvarnished account right here on Friday AM.

Day 3:

Friday kicked off with me watching the movie “Taken” in my hotel room, a Bourne knock-off remarkable for it’s non-stop violence and noteworthy for a scene in which the hero shoots some guy’s wife.

And while that got me fired up to attack the bourse with great enthusiasm, we unfortunately saw a continuation of the previous days’ trend.

Which is to say we saw many people milling about, and had a fair number of people looking at our coins, but few actual buyers of anything.

On the other hand, we did buy a bunch of coins, both on the floor and in the auction, picking up some pretty nice things for what seemed to us to be pretty reasonable prices.

And we did sell some coins to people who weren’t here (i.e. via the website), in deals that of course would have happened even if we’d stayed home.

Still as of end of day Friday, we’ve sold just enough here in Atlanta to justify coming here, which is why we went ahead and signed up for next year’s show (to be held in the new location in Nashville!).  And we’ve bought enough to have a pretty robust EB for next Tuesday.

And then it was time for a quick dinner at the the hotel and then off to the airport for me, while Dave holds down the show fort for us on Saturday.

Which explains why our next RR will be penned by our own Dave Wnuck and will be posted from New England this weekend.

Day 4:

It may surprise you to learn that Saturday was the most crowded day of the show.

Though a weekend crowd at most shows is typically one with a high percentage of parents with young children and others out for a look-see, and that was the case here.  Which meant that for us – as on the previous days – there just wasn’t much business to be done.

On the other hand, we were outbid on about 2/3 of the coins we bid on in the Stack’s auction, indicating that someone was buying something.

Just not so much on the bourse floor (for us, anyway).

And so we again had plenty of time to scout out the room, including the pretty cool CoinWorld display of Chinese counterfeits, ranging from the non-deceptive to a downright scary 1893-S Morgan $1 that was good enough to fool a lot of people.

And we were briefly jealous to hear that Julian Leidman had running water in his booth, until we learned that it was actually an impressive ceiling leak and not some kind of wet bar behind his table.

And that was about it.

So what can we conclude here?

1.  As noted previously, we did just enough business here to sign up for next year’s event.  Hey, they can’t all be blockbusters.

2.  Check the diagnostics very, very carefully next time you buy an 1893-S Dollar.

3.  You should always ask to check out the condition of the roof of the convention center before choosing your table location.

Our next RR will be posted from the Long Beach Show in about 10 days, and will feature (we hope) long stories about collections purchased and cool coins sold.

Hey, you never know.