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Back to Road Report Archive 2010

November 11-13, 2010: The Bay State Show & C4 Convention in Boston, MA


November 11th:  Day 1

With dealer set up at the Bay State Show not beginning until the unusually late hour of 4:30 PM on Thursday, I had plenty of time to get organized during the day in a leisurely, relaxed fashion before eventually strolling into the freshly renovated lobby of Boston’s Radisson Hotel in the mid-afternoon and seeing a bunch of coin dealers (and other people who looked like they might be coin dealers) already there.

And after a suitable period of greeting everyone, I elevatored myself to the 6th floor and then stood in that awful, cramped hallway (which has been extensively described in past year’s Road Reports) until the show organizers would allow us into the bourse to set up our tables.  Which today was fortunately just a very brief wait, allowing your author to go in, get the CRO showcases and lamps and get completely ready and open for business before our own Dave Wnuck (who was running late) had even crossed the Massachusetts border.

But when he did finally show up he brought an excellent excuse with him:  Since the Post Office was closed Veterans’ Day, Dave had to run out and mail today’s orders via FedEx before heading to the show.

And when he got here, he found another dealer camped out at our table patiently waiting (for at least an hour) to receive first shot at our latest federal NEWPs.  Which suggests that some people really, really like first shot.  In this case I’m not sure the wait was worth it for him, though, as he bought just one coin from us after all that time.

Which would turn out to be one of 6 coins we would sell during dealer set-up, including one colonial (which used to surprise me but doesn’t anymore, as even though this is a colonial-focused show, we usually sell a lot of federal coins here).

We also saw some cool stuff, including what is certainly the finest collection of Vermont Colonial Coppers ever (E-V-E-R) assembled, and a spectacular 1872 mint set at the table of dealer friend Ed Rodriguez.  Both of which we anticipate to be the veritable tip of the numismatic-display-iceberg, as this show is famous for exhibiting cool stuff and I’m sure we will see more great things over the next few days.

We also managed to buy a grand total of one (1) item (a neat piece of colonial currency) today before bolting out the door at about 8 PM and heading to the now famous C4 (Colonial Coin Collectors Club) reception on the mezzanine level during which we schmoozed, looked at coins, ate quite well and tried to drink enough so that the club would meet its liquor consumption target (seriously) and not be charged the minimum bar fee like last year.  And while I think that we at team CRO did our fair share, I am not positive it was enough in total.

Regardless, we’ll be back at it super early tomorrow AM for a meeting at the hotel restaurant, followed by a full and complete day on the bourse.

The details of which will be reported, right here, tomorrow.

November 12th:  Day 2

While Thursday’s late start afforded me an excellent opportunity to sleep in, Friday, not so much.

Instead, I woke up early and made my way downtown for a C4 meeting over breakfast in the hotel restaurant, then eventually headed upstairs to the show.

Where I found our own Dave Wnuck already at the table and well entrenched in commercial activities, (i.e. buying another bunch of weird tokens).

Which would become a recurring theme this day, as we bought Irish Gun Money, then Conders, then a complete date set of English George III Halfpennies, then some Pillars, then some medals, all widely varied but with one thing in common: They were all in superb condition, and will look extra good on the site.

We also had a pretty nice day selling federal and colonial coins both slabbed and raw, though none of the really “big ticket” variety.

Mixed in with a lot of interesting colonial coin related discussions that we always enjoy at this event.  Case in point, I asked resident C4 Voce Populi expert Stan Stephens a few questions about one of our new acquisitions in this series and received what I believe is the most comprehensive, detailed and accurate assessment and census ranking obtainable anywhere.  Thanks Stan!

Eventually, though, it was time to lock up and head out to dinner with a dealer friend during which I had the spiciest Cajun Ribeye I have ever had (or seen, or know about it) and which required 11 full glasses of water to finish it.

After which I fell asleep almost immediately, which is good since tomorrow will be a very long day with the show starting early, being busy (we hope) and then rolling straight into the C4 Auction in the evening which I predict will end somewhere north of 10 PM.

More later.

November 13th:  Day 3

Saturday began with a fast trip to the post office to pick up 3 giant boxes of stuff, including some NEWPs back from grading, a rare gold coin we received from another dealer on behalf of a collector, and a batch of customer coins sent to us for photography and entry into the PCGS Registry (and you will want definitely want to see these when they go up).

Then I made a beeline for the show hotel, arriving before Dave (even though he is staying there for cryin’ out loud, and simply needed to tumble out of bed and get himself to the elevator).

But once we were both at the show, business continued to be very good, as we sold (in no particular order) a nice set of English Halfpennies purchased here yesterday, a nice Libertas Americana Medal purchased last week, and other assorted neat stuff purchased recently from all different sources (including that rare Voce Populi variety about which we received chapter and verse from Stan Stephen yesterday.  Thanks again, Stan!).

We also managed to find a few more things to buy on the floor, and pondered a few larger deals which may very well happen over the next several weeks.

And then, after a day  during which we wrote about a dozen invoices and had very few dull moments, we zipped out for a quick dinner at the hotel restaurant with a dealer friend before heading down to the C4 auction on the mezzanine level starting at 6:30.

Which started with a giant group photo in the back of the room surrounding a prominent NY dealer (since that same prominent NY dealer refused to come up to the front of the room as the photographer had requested), and which included all of the typical snide remarks about the lens cap being on, several instances of the tried and true ‘horns behind the head’ maneuver, and other things that always seem to happen anytime anyone takes a group picture of anybody, regardless of their age.

Once that was completed, though, the sale ran extremely smoothly, mostly thanks to the assistance of our friends at Stack’s who ran the book expertly, allowing us to sail through 475 lots of colonial coins (plus another dozen or so lots of related ephemera and custom made coin cabinets and the like that had been donated to raise money for the club) in less than 3 hours.

And by all accounts it was a success, with widespread bidder participation and lots of people adding neat stuff to their collections.  Even our own Dave Wnuck got into the act, purchasing one of the donated lots consisting of several of the giant posters used as part of the colonial coin display a this year’s ANA show (and which Dave plans to use to decorate his dining room, though I do not believe he has yet discussed this idea with his wife).

And then we left, preparing again for a busy day on Sunday which will begin with us handing out lots to the winning bidders starting at 9:30 AM on the bourse floor, then doing a little more business (we hope) before the show turns into the flea market  it does every year on Sunday when the show organizers rent any of the now vacant tables to other vendors selling all sorts of stuff, including toys, beanie babies and a surprisingly large quantity of Marilyn Monroe photographs (which also might look nice in someone’s dining room).

Our final recap of this event will be posted late Sunday, after we get back home and have had time to sort everything out.

Until then, then.

November 14th:  Day 4

In past years on Sunday at this show we’d stroll in around 10 AM with a coffee and a donut, pack up all of our stuff, say our good-byes to all of the C4 guys we only see once a year, and then leave.

But this year Sunday was an actual work day, as I arrived extremely early, searched frantically for 15 minutes for our show case keys (eventually finding them in a pocket I had already looked in 53 times), then headed over to the hotel restaurant for an 8:30 breakfast meeting with Dave, long-time C4 member Dennis Wierzba and the fine folks from Stack’s to discuss the auction recap.

After which we would all head up to the show at 9:30 AM to hand out the lots to the winning bidders from last evening.

And when I say “we all”, I mean everyone except me, since I left the other guys to do that while I manned the CRO table.  Affording me an excellent opportunity to discuss the future direction of the Club with newly minted C4 President Jim Rosen, make a few last minute deals with a couple of different people, tie up some loose ends, finalize all of our invoices, say our goodbyes and then pack everything up and hit the road.

At which time I could reflect on this event, concluding that it was very good for us, with some pretty decent sales, just enough new purchases, some entertaining conversations, and a new insight into the inner workings of an auction.  And while it did not make us want to go out and start a new auction company, I must say that it gave us a much greater appreciation for the hard work that it takes to run a numismatic auction successfully.

And with that, we have now concluded our official 2010 CRO show schedule (though we reserve the right to go somewhere else if we feel like it).  But if we don’t, our next RR will not go out until about 45 days from now at the 2011 FUN show in Tampa.

In the meantime, however, we will be very, very busy with customer meetings, getting all of our new inventory sorted out, making grading submissions, sending coins for photography and, starting tonight, putting the finishing touches on our next Early Bird Notification to go out this coming Tuesday.

So you might want to keep an eye out for that.