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May 2-5, 2018: The EAC Convention in Traverse City, MI

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Almost unbelievably, we are in another airport and already typing another edition of the RR, this our EAC primer in which we set the scene about what we expect to encounter here:

  • The chance to meet up with many numismatic friends, some of whom we have not seen in a year (though admittedly there will also be people we saw as recently as last Saturday).
  • A small show with a high seriousness quotient, as knowledgable collectors and dealers come in for the annual celebration of early copper coins.
  • A plethora of numismatic educational forums.
  • Cool show and tell items.
  • Interesting and seldom-seen coins for sale.
  • Connoisseur-level buying.
  • The chance to see interesting displays unlike those at other shows.
  • Superb social events at well-selected restaurants.
  • Blogging all about it each and every day.

With our first installment to be uploaded right here on Thursday, AM.

May 2nd:  Day 1

Who’s ready for an exciting travel escapade RR like in the old days?  If your answer is “Yes!“, I have good news for you – read on:

So there I am sitting at O’Hare Airport in Chicago on Wednesday having arrived at about 8:15 AM on my delightful American Airlines flight and looking forward to my connecting flight to Traverse City at 11.

With plenty of time to kill your author had a leisurely breakfast, moseyed on over to the gate H1B and saw that the flight had been moved and would be departing instead from Gate L13.  So I schlepped the 5 miles (exaggeration, but not that much) to that new gate, answered a few emails, made a couple of calls and then looked up and wondered when we would be boarding.

And the answer was right now, but at a new gate G19, which as the alphanumeric ID might suggest, is about 9 miles (I think this is accurate) from L13, and takes a really long time to walk there.

So your author ran like O.J. Simpson (before his legal troubles) and arrived there just as the doors were closed and the plane pulled out of the gate without him on it.

Hmmm, that’s annoying” I thought to myself.

Fortunately, the American Airlines staff on hand was deeply concerned (i.e. could not have cared less) and especially helpful (not at all), though they did tell me I could go standby on the one other flight scheduled for Traverse City at 4:45, unless I wanted to try the 800 number and see if they could confirm me on it.

A few minutes (55 actually) of talking on the phone and standing around the customer service desk later I had my answer: Yes, there is one seat available on that flight, and yes, we can confirm you on it, but we’re going to have to charge you (wait for it, wait for it . . .) $1,037. And 1¢. Don’t forget the 1¢.

So, faced with no options at all, and seeing the futility of arguing with customer service people who all had a glazed-over look, I took it (in the shorts) and figured I’d let American Express sort this out later.

With my new, later (and very expensive) flight filled with other EACers (not surprisingly), and 3 dogs (somewhat surprisingly), landing only about 30 minutes late.  Just in time for me to find my suitcase (which had made the earlier flight) just sitting there on the carpet where it had been for about 5 hours (phew – I was thinking that might have been lost, stolen, had an XL Snapple spilled on it or shipped back to Chicago as a sort of ‘icing on the cake’ scenario.

Where I of course grabbed it, caught the shuttle bus to the hotel and strolled in just in time to see a bunch of other familiar faces and enjoy a late, casual numismatic dinner with some dealer friends and an industry bigwig.

So, to summarize, I’m delighted to be here, the town looks really cool, it’s great to see some old friends, the hotel looks nice, and, after I get home on Sunday, I will never, ever fly on American Airlines again unless they refund me the outrageous upcharge on the missed flight which I honestly believe was their fault.

With our next RR to include a detailed discussion of Thursday’s dealer set-up, and the always entertaining reception and coin discussions to follow, and no mention whatsoever of air travel.


May 3rd:  Day 2

Gloriously, and to the sound of a flock of seagulls (real ones, not the 80’s new wave synth-pop band who unfortunately influenced your author’s hair style in college), I leaped out of bed at 8 AM on Thursday, began work on the blog, uploaded it to the site and then discovered the website had suddenly gone down.

And then spent the next hours trying to revive it with the help of our crack IT staff, ultimately getting it back on its feet but without the ability to make any changes to it.

Which is kind of a shame, since we had a flurry of online activity in the AM and continuing through the day which would have been reflected with a bunch of HOLDs posted. Alas, they’ll be up soon enough. I hope.

In the meantime, I headed down to breakfast, met up with some EAC friends in the lobby, hung out for a while, looked through another dealer’s boxes, bought a cool 3¢ Silver in a CRO-style ancient holder, schmoozed, talked coins, delighted passersby with tales of American Airlines customer service and then went down to the bourse floor to check on the progress of the table arranging which by then was in full swing.

Allowing me to jump in and set up the CRO space just as we wanted so that we could hit the ground running right at the start of the 1 PM table holder set-up period. Which we did, putting out 4 full cases arranged just so, before checking out all of the interesting things everyone else brought.  Which at a show like this is never dull, including (but not limited to) plenty of choice copper of the colonial and early federal variety.

Of which we found a few to buy, plenty to consider and others to simply gawk at in a relaxed social setting. Continuing on like that for 4 hours. Actually 3 hours and 55 minutes, since by then people were storming the EAC reception in a room down the hall which featured a superb buffet spread, a well-stocked bar and more excellent numismatic schmoozing with fellow EACers.

Followed by the “Happenings” (sessions on colonial, half cents and large cents) in meeting rooms down the hall which your author briefly participated in before the phone started ringing off the hook (in a good way) with a couple of long pending deals suddenly in motion both at the same time.

Which had me on the phone in the room with a California dealer trying to nail down the last details until about 1:30 AM.  The good news is that I did (or at least 98.6% of them). The bad news is that I might be slightly less perky early on Friday morning when I hit the hotel gym at 7 for the first time in waaaaaay too long.

And then look forward to more action on the bourse floor and whatever comes our way. With whatever that is to be reported right here in our next RR on Saturday AM.

Until then, then –

May 4th:  Day 3

Friday would begin with some early blog writing followed by more IT discussions which would ultimately resolve our website updating issues (polite clapping) and allow me to actually post that installment of the Road Report on our site (the important step 2 in the RR process, as otherwise it exists only as a Word file on my laptop thus requiring me to invite everyone in the world to my hotel room to read it).

But of course there was not time for that, since I had to race down to the gym at 7, then get back, get dressed and get ready to hit the bourse floor at 9 AM.

Where we enjoyed a darn productive day in which we bought more cool stuff, sold more colonial coins and saw, met, re-met and schmoozed with EACers galore.

Many of whom have, surprisingly, decided they want to start collecting colonial coins at about the same time.

So of course we were happy to help, with some high altitude overviews, more detailed explanations and, of course, presentation of a lot of cool coins.

Some of which sold here, some which were considered, others merely numismatically fondled in anticipation of possible future sales. Continuing like that pretty much all day until a bunch of us piled (literally) into a large van and headed to a cool restaurant near the water where we had a fantastic dinner / coin discussion which would continue into the hotel bar right after.

With your author ultimately calling it a night in anticipation of a loooong Saturday which will include another day on the bourse followed by the EAC auction in the evening where we will look forward to bidding for stock and on behalf of customers and, we hope, winning some cool coins.

And if we do, or even if we don’t, the results of all of this will be posted here on this site sometime on Sunday, probably from my airport gate unless they move that and I end up running through the terminal again since that makes typing more difficult.

In which case it will be up after I get home in the afternoon.


Cinco de Mayo:  Day 4

Based on popular demand, we’re going to conclude this EAC RR with one of CRO’s patented ‘Series of Random Observations Presented in no Particular Order’. Starting now:

Kudos to show chairman Terry Denman and the entire EAC organization for putting on a great event in a nice if slightly out of the way location. The downside to such a setting is that it’s harder to get to, which probably limited attendance of all but the hardcore EACers, exhibiting dealers and some local-ish midwesterners.

Still, that crowd alone was enthusiastic, deeply interested, studying, exhibiting, buying, selling, trading and schmoozing with alacrity and by all indications having a blast at every turn.

I’m genuinely surprised how many people have expressed a sudden interest in colonial coins.  Speaking of which, we’re disappointed that we won’t be able to list this new Bar Copper on Tuesday’s EB, since it sold at the show on Saturday:

At this show we brought a typical subset of our inventory containing an approximately equal number of colonial, federal and world coins (based on past experience here), and while we ended up selling a bunch of each, if we had it to do over again we’d of course have brought every single colonial coin we own.

Twice here I had an elegant dinner with a large group and twice a magnanimous EAC member graciously and unexpectedly picked up the tab. Thanks again Tom and Chris.

We did not pick up many coins here, but some of those we did are a-b-s-o-l-u-t-e-l-y epic. So stay tuned.

I’m surprised you couldn’t get any cherry jelly in the restaurant, since I was told that Traverse City is the Cherry Capitol of the World.

As I was watching the EAC auction on Saturday presented by Kevin Vinton and called by Lucas Baldridge I couldn’t help but think we were watching a little bit of the future of EAC. And if that’s the case the future seems bright.

As for the auction itself, I have historically found it extremely difficult to buy coins at these sessions as the prices on anything with hard surfaces and nice golden brown color seems to go absolutely nuts (even if those pieces have other shortcomings which keep them out of the choice category).  And history repeated itself on Saturday night, when our own aggressive bids on a few lots were trumped by others.

Dealer Greg Hannigan makes what is very likely the best guacamole and salsa I have personally ever eaten. Who knew?

At this event more than any other, we seem to face the situation where a collector brings a coin from another dealer to us to 1) Compare it to one we are offering, and/or 2) Ask us to render an opinion on it.  And while this could in theory be awkward (particularly at this show where the bourse floor is small and the other dealer may very well be watching us render said opinion), we decided just to tell it like it is and let the chips fall where they may.

And with that it’s time to close the book on the EAC for 2018 and dive directly into our next Early Bird, since we are at this moment exactly 24 hours behind our usual EB prep schedule and time is a wastin’.

The End