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Back to Road Report Archive 2009

November 19-22, 2009: The Bay State Show & C4 Convention in Boston, MA


November 19, 2009:  Day 1

Here are the good things about the Bay State Show:

1.   It’s ‘local’ for us, so we don’t have to take a 5 hour flight to get here crammed into a middle seat next to an extremely large person who hogs the arm rest.

2.   Dealer set up begins at the civilized hour of 4:30 PM, so I could sleep in this morning, exercise, have a leisurely lunch and then start seriously getting ready at about 2 o’clock.

3.   This show is held in conjunction with C4 ( the Colonial Coin Collectors Club), which means that colonials can be found in about 75% of dealers’ cases here (compared to the 5% offering them at a “regular” show).

4.   Good restaurants right across the street.

5.   We get to schmooz with many colonial collector and dealer friends that we (almost) never see anywhere else.

6.   There is a nice reception held after dealer set-up, including some better than average meatballs and a well-stocked bar.

7.   We always find something totally cool and unexpected to buy, such as this afternoon when we bought a monster colonial, some cool tokens and split a medium-sized collection.

8.   I might get to bring one of my kids on Saturday.

9.   There are some interesting seminars, discussions and other colonial-related ‘happenings’ that are can’t miss affairs for the serious colonial collector.

10.  The show runs for 3 more days and includes an auction for C4 members only, which means we should have a lot of interesting stuff to report right here over the next several days.

So stay tuned for that.

November 20, 2009:  Day 2

Friday began crisply, as I arrived at the show at exactly 8:07 AM, immediately began a frantic search for the missing 3rd key, found it, opened the cases and officially declared CRO open for business in what was, at that point, a mostly empty room.

So I scouted around the few manned tables for something cool to buy before Dave would even arrive on the bourse floor.  But not because he overslept or something.  In fact, he was in his hotel room at that moment figuring a deal we’re working on, a task which involved an expensive loupe, years of experience as a numismatic appraiser, a vast spreadsheet with about 50 columns (which could not fit on a regular-sized monitor screen unless you shrank it down to nearly invisible 4 pt. font) and hours of looking coins.

But if by this you have concluded that Dave is doing the heavy lifting while I’m out having fun, you are mistaken, as I will get my turn to review this same deal Saturday night per our standard CRO tag-team approach to deal evaluating.

In the meantime, though, we would be focused on buying and selling coins on Friday, and, after Dave joined me at the table we did a lot of each, causing most of the day to fly buy at breakneck speed sufficient for us to forget to eat lunch until mid afternoon, at which time I went out to the lunch counter and discovered that it had been dismantled and removed not 10 minutes earlier.  That sucked.

I forgot about it pretty quickly, however, when I walked into the men’s room and saw something I’ve never before encountered at a coin show:  the off-putting sight of some guy in the stall on his hands and knees with coins spread out on the floor as he was carefully placing them in various Whitman albums.

Thankfully, I could only see his hands and feet (and all those coins), but I was sufficiently freaked out to turn around and leave immediately.

Anyway, back on the bourse floor things continued along nicely, seeing lots of old and new collector friends, making a lot of colonial sales to a wide variety of buyers, including both slabbed coins (of the sort we usually have on the site), and raw pieces (which we generally do not bring anywhere except to this show).

We also managed to buy some pretty neat NEWPs and, overall, generated a volume of activity that has already (and frankly unexpectedly) dwarfed what we did at this show last year.

So much so that by 6:30 we were wiped out and extremely hungry, so Dave and I locked up early and walked across the street to Legal’s for dinner, followed by the trip home and some extensive and aforementioned deal evaluating.

Saturday should be another good day at the show, with all the details to be typed right here in this space in just about 24 hours from now.

November 21, 2009:  Day 3

It was an excellent day on Saturday as well as a very long one, beginning on the bourse floor at 9 AM and culminating about 13 hours later with your author sitting at the front of the C4 auction room next to Bob Grellman (of McCawley-Grellman) entering bidding information into a computer like some kind of big shot.

Actually, mine was the ‘second shift’ in this endeavor, as Dave handled the first half of the sale for team CRO.

It was pretty interesting, too, as we got to see the sale from the perspective of the auction house for the first time, see how many different people bid on each lot (which can sometimes be hard to tell from the crowd), watch the guys who use the ill-advised ‘Statue of Liberty’ technique, see bidding patterns, etc.

In all, it was an invaluable educational experience, a lot of fun and something we will probably be doing more of going forward with these C4 auctions.

Before that we had a nice dinner at the hotel with a dealer friend during which one of the guys (that would be me) ordered the largest chicken pot pie any of us had ever seen.  I’m serious.

But I needed it, since I got very hungry during what turned out to be a wild day on the bourse floor on the selling side, then the buying side, then the selling side again when we placed, intact, a collection we bought about 2 hours earlier.

Interestingly, while Friday was filled with mostly colonial activity, Saturday was a mostly federal day, including the sale of the single most expensive coin we had in inventory to a collector who had never been to our website, had never before seen the coin in question and just walked up to the table and bought it.  And that sort of thing that doesn’t happen all that often.

Not everything worked exactly according to plan, though, as another federal deal we tried to buy fell through.

Oh well.

Tomorrow we’ll be wrapping things up here, picking up auction lots and, possibly making a few last minute deals with customers who were waiting to see what happened at the auction last night before pulling the trigger on some coins.

Our next RR will be posted late Sunday from my couch, and will, for the first time, contain guest comments directly from collector attendees at this show.

So you might want to check back later for that.

November 22, 2009:  Day 4

Well, after much activity on the previous days, and a late night at the auction on Saturday, we were pretty tired on Sunday.  Fortunately, we got to rest this morning since the show didn’t open ‘til 9:30 for dealers, and the floor was pretty quiet when it did.

And, once the doors opened to the public at 10:30, it didn’t get all that much busier.

Still, we did sell 2 coins during the day, and bought one really cool gold one, then picked up our auction lots from last night, took a coin on memo from another dealer, wrote a few last minute checks, met a new customer, and then packed up and left at about 1 PM.

In all, this, our last show of the year, might have been the best one of all.  Not just from a commercial perspective, but also based on the fun and camaraderie shared by the community of colonial coin collectors and dealers at this event, and as expressed by some of the comments we heard from attendees:

“Colonial people are anxious to share their knowledge, and during the past decade I have made a lot of friends and learned a lot about these special coins.”

“The diversity of interests in the club is amazing; more amazing is that everyone seems to genuinely appreciate everyone else’s coins – even if one person collects gem uncirculated type coins while another is working on a set of well worn Connecticut Coppers by die variety.”

“The (C4) convention is something I look forward to each year.  The talk isn’t about slabs or upgrades or ‘population’ figures, it is all about the coins themselves.  Great show and tellsl; good seminars by the top researchers in the hobby who give their thoughts, ideas and latest research out freely.”

“The members-only auction is great.  Hundreds of lots of just colonials in all price ranges  –  from $30 to thousands per coin.  There really is something for everyone and I have always been able to add a coin or two to my collection every year.”

“There is a wonderful inclusive nature to the Colonial Coin Collectors Club quite unlike that which I have experienced in any other numismatic club of which I have ever been a member.”

“I look forward to this event all year – to meet with old friends, see the exhibits, attend the seminars, find new things for my collection on the bourse floor and in the C4 auction and generally spend time with people who share my interest in colonials.”

To which we would only add that we couldn’t agree more, and we are already looking forward to next year’s event!

In the meantime, though, we have lots of work to do.  We won’t be on the road again until 2010(!) at the FUN show, but before then we’ll be as active as ever in the office and here on the website, chasing down interesting collections and individual coins, and cranking out our next EB on December 1st (after everyone has sufficiently digested Thanksgiving dinner).