October 17-20, 2012: The ANA National Money Show in Dallas, TX
October 16th: Prologue
After a month+ since our last installment of the RR it’s finally time to hit the road again, straight to the Fall ANA Show in the heart of Texas.
And I will be ready for action, with many new coins to offer, plenty of blank checks waiting to be written and an extreeeemely positive attitude (which I believe will come in handy as I schlepp heavy luggage through airports crowded with infrequent travelers unfamiliar with current security procedures).
But since this is a venue we don’t often visit, I frankly have no idea what to expect. Will there be good attendance? Will I find really cool things to buy? Will they let me hang the CRO banner? Will I need a jacket? Does anybody know what I did with my ANA badge? Where is my bathing suit, I was sure I left it here by the window?
For the answer to these and other important questions please check out numismatic’s only daily show report which will be posted from Dallas, every morning, right here in this space.
October 17th: Day 1
I thought I would write today’s Road Report in the form of questions that readers might have asked me, but didn’t:
1. How come your alarm did not go off?
Wait a minute – how did you know my alarm did not go off? In any case, I have no idea. I actually set three (3) alarms, for 3 AM, 3:30 and 3:45 respectively, none of which rang. Of course I woke up anyway, and made it to the airport on time, but that is still annoying.
2. How come that lady was screaming at her husband in the airport this morning?
Apparently she had been waiting for him outside of security for 20 minutes, but had just then discovered he was actually sitting in Dunkin Donuts the entire time. I know this because that is exactly what she screamed at him from approximately 100 yards away, over and over again, in the loudest voice I’ve ever heard in an airport, all while a few thousand waiting passengers (including your author) watched in stunned silence undoubtedly thinking to themselves “I am glad I am not married to that woman”.
3. Is an ANA Fall Show (such as the one you are currently attending) really necessary?
Apparently not, since 2012 is the last year they are having one, with next year’s schedule including ‘only’ the ANA National Money Show in New Orleans in May (which should be a hoot), and the ANA World’s Fair of Money in Chicago in August (which should be just like every other show we have ever attended in that location).
4. Tell me about the auction?
If the number of people crammed into the lot viewing room on Wednesday AM was any indication, there is no lack of interest in this session. And I found plenty of things to bid on for CRO in all categories, none of which I will describe in detail prior to the auction lest I tip my hand, cost myself more money, or get outbid entirely.
5. Was business as slow at set up as some other dealers were predicting?
I too thought it would be slow (quiet, comatose, moribund, etc.) but I was wrong. I sold a dozen federal coins in a bunch of different deals to guys who came to the table, and bought a bunch of stuff, including a lovely early Large Cent and what I would characterize as ‘every good colonial on the floor’. Plus I have one 5-figure coin still ‘in play’, which in total was well worth the trip down here and the actual show hasn’t even started yet.
6. Were you able to hang the CRO banner?
Nope. I think it would be allowed, but at this show the standard issue signs that come with your booth are hanging from a steel rod that is too short to accommodate any of the four (4) CRO banner sizes I brought with me. Obvious conclusion: I need to make even more banners in every conceivable size attempting to anticipate the length of all steel hanging rods at every future show.
7. How was grading?
I never got the chance to even think about it, or fill out any grading forms or submit anything yet, which will be the first order of business on Thursday.
8. Probably you had a quiet dinner in your hotel room while planning your Heritage bids?
Um, no. Several hundred of my coin dealing colleagues and I were invited to a lavish party at the lovely and art-laden home of Heritage Co-Chairman Jim Halperin, which is about a 15 minute drive from the convention center and the downtown hotels. Which was a spectacular end to a surprisingly good day here in Dallas.
Thursday I hope business continues apace, though I am not sure what to expect in terms of public attendance at this downtown venue. I will be surprised if we see big crowds of collectors, but of course I have been surprised before.
In any case, and whatever happens, you can read about it right here on Friday AM.
October 18th: Day 2
First order of business of Thursday: Wake up late, hammer out yesterday’s RR in a new, never before attempted format, answer email, respond to a customer who called to ask if the eight 1922 Peace Dollars he had were worth “$100,000 each like the ones in the Redbook” (unfortunately no), grab a do-it-yourself oatmeal at the hotel coffee shop and walk over to the convention center arriving at a comfortable 9 AM.
Where I immediately noticed that Stack’s-Bowers had on display the soon-to-be-sold Cardinal Collection, most but not all of which I had seen before, as well as highlights of the Rob Retz and Ted Craig colonials scheduled for the November auction. So of course I sat there for 20 minutes and viewed the coins up close being careful not to get oatmeal (which was delicious, by the way) on any of the really expensive ones.
Next I parked myself professionally at the table and filled out a big pile of grading submission forms and walked all that stuff over to PCGS.
Then headed back and immediately sold 2 Hawaiian Quarters, in PCGS MS66 and MS64 respectively, and both CAC’ed, for the exact same prices. A very nice illustration that, as we all already know, grades and stickers are merely part of the equation.
Which would turn out to be one of several nice deals during a day in which retail traffic was better than I expected and 7 different people bought 2, 3 or 4 coins each, and not inexpensive ones at that. Including 2 gem Washington colonials, a lot of federal copper, nice gold and a smattering of esoterica (including one Conder that is on the site but which I did not bring with me since hey, I am only one guy here and I can’t carry everything for cryin’ out loud).
Somewhere in there was the Heritage auction, during which I bought a lot but not all of what I wanted at what seemed to me liked pretty decent prices.
Buying on the floor, on the other hand, was less successful during the day, and so I will try to ramp that up on Friday if (big if) I can find coins I like at prices that make sense to me.
And then late in the day I tried to sort out the disposition of the last remnants of a collection I had split with another dealer, concluding that we will go ahead and consign the whole group to auction since it’s not good enough for the website and will probably sell for more at auction than either of us could get on a wholesale basis.
After which I called it a day, went back to the hotel and worked on website updates (hint hint) for the next several hours before going to bed so as to be well thoroughly well-rested for what I hope is another good day on Friday.
October 19th: Day 3
There were long periods early on Friday where not much happened, and your author began to think that this ‘show was over’, coin dealer parlance for that palpable moment when commercial activity has seemingly ended even if the schedule says the show doesn’t officially end for, oh, another day and a half.
But then it sort of started up again, with a series of retail sales to collectors who had each specifically sought out the CRO table to purchase a coin they had seen on the website (which is always a high point of any show for me), and a spate of wholesale business with people who had not stopped by earlier in the week.
So by the time Friday ended, I had what is for CRO an impressively tall stack of invoices (wonderful), and checks (delightful) and a seriously decimated website (good, but of course also creating some extra-urgency to make sure I had suitably reloaded for Tuesday’s Early Bird).
Which at this moment I am pleased to say that I have, through a combination of auction purchases, carefully considered floor finds, cool trade-ins and, in my favorite deal of the day, a nice piece that walked up to the table at around noon.
That last one was one of those classic numismatic happy ending stories, since the collector bought it years ago partly based on my advice, kept it for a while, and then offered it to me first when he decided to sell, a classy move much appreciated by your author.
I am also pleased that on Friday I successfully worked through a massive headache, which came on at about 1 PM, got worse, and then faded away after Melissa at Stack’s-Bowers gave me a fistful of Advil. Kidding aside, when you are solo at a show, feeling under the weather is a real problem, since of course I won’t get much work done if I am back in my hotel room taking a nap. It never got to that point though.
And so, by the day’s end, feeling fine again, and having bought and sold at a healthy clip (pun intended), it was time for dinner with some collector and dealer coin friends during which I watched as my table mates bought a coin in the auction via HA Live, had some interesting conversations about current numismatic topics and ate a delicious Red Snapper all on the outdoor patio on a pleasantly room-temperature evening in Dallas.
Saturday I will be buying anything new and interesting I can find, possibly selling coins to any collectors who are still here at the show, picking up my grading submissions (I hope, since so far I have gotten only one of about 10 back), paying for my HA Session 2 winnings, collecting a couple of last checks, and then hitting the road just in time to get home for the Head of the Charles Regatta in Cambridge, Massachusetts which my wife has informed me I am attending on Sunday morning.
So if the Day 4 RR (which I would normally be writing at that time) is a little late, you will know why.
October 20th: Day 4
Since I have about an hour before my flight home, let’s go ahead and crank out this last report from Dallas right here at the airport at one of the convenient FREE INTERNET stations they have along the wall which offers an electrical outlet, a sign that says FREE INTERNET, a tiny child-sized desk, an uncomfortable, flat bar stool that keeps spinning around like crazy and a view of a concrete wall (in other words, an ideal set up for almost any act of creative expression).
Such as this sentence, which explains that Saturday began in the most unfortunate of fashions, with your author awakened at 4:12 AM to the unmistakable sound of the guy in the next room vomiting. Now, while I know this is not exactly a typical topic for a numismatic website, I figure if you’ve read this far, through the years, you know that the raison d’etre of the Road Report is to provide an “I want to feel what it was like to actually be there” experience, for better or worse. Much worse.
And frankly, this sort of thing can be a positive, since it made me feel like I was at least doing better than that guy, and I was now wide awake and ready to leap into high octane work mode.
Where my first order or business was to enter a plethora of HA bids in the Saturday internet session, since I almost certainly would have forgotten about it if I waited ‘til later (been there, done that).
Followed by writing a lot description for one of our coins in an upcoming auction.
Then responded to all the email that had come in overnight which is always a lot, and always surprises me since I figure that not too many people could be staying up later than I am or getting up earlier unless they are in a different time zone (Thailand, for example), but many of these people aren’t. So kudos to them for their round the clock numismatic commitment.
Then packing up the room, checking out of the hotel and walking over to the show, during which I saw a whole group of what appeared to be very athletic Amazon women also heading to the convention center.
Alas they did not stop at the coin show, instead walking straight past the door without so much as even looking at the 1804 Dollar in the exhibit area (which has remarkably beautiful toning by the way) and continuing into another room to attend a meeting or show that I assume was extremely entertaining. I could not find anything mentioned in the schedule though, and never had time to go check it out.
Anyway, once inside I was able to re-focus my attention on numismatics, which would include significantly more new purchases than I would have predicted for a Saturday, including two lots of raw colonials snagged judiciously on the floor, a delicious Capped Bust Half Dollar that will image very well, and more gold. Much more gold.
After which my grading submissions started coming back fast and furious (by which I mean in a slow trickle), but I was happy to have them in any which way. I was also happy to see that most of the grades were right where I expected / needed / wanted them to be except one coin that is absolutely driving me nuts (since I see MS62, and the grading service sees AU55).
Overall, though, I really can’t complain. I also picked up some grading for a dealer friend who left earlier, and based on a cursory review, I did better than he did.
By the time that was done, and I consigned a few more straggler coins to auction, and picked up the last few checks, it was time to start packing up which I accomplished in about 1 hour, carefully hunted around the booth area to make sure I hadn’t dropped any coins, and then hit the road at 3ish.
Eventually finding myself at the aforementioned INTERNET STATION where I can now summarize this show succinctly as follows:
It was better than I expected on both the selling and buying side. And attendance was decent, affording me the opportunity to see some good local customers (which is exactly what I always hope will happen at these shows) and meet some nice new people (ditto). For what it’s worth, reviews from my dealer friends were generally positive too, so I think we can say this show was a success.
Except for that guy in the hotel room next to mine.