October 25-28, 2017: The PCGS Members Only Show in Philadelphia, PA
For the first time since 2012 (can that be right? yes, I believe it is) we are delighted to be attending a PCGS show, this time in what for us is a far-more-accessible east coast location.
And, if last April’s EAC show in this city is any indication, we expect pretty good things here, with a lot of east coast dealers and collectors popping in to buy, sell, grade, trade and, of course, schmooze.
And we will be ready for all of them at the CRO table with an assortment of our highly varied inventory, a locked and loaded checkbook and a strong desire to do business.
With everything that happens to be described right here each and every morning of this show.
October 25th: Day 1
Awakened by the requisite blasting downtown Philadelphia car horns early on Wednesday morning, your author leaped out of bed, drank all the coffee in the hotel room, answered emails, got organized and eventually headed down to the Ormandy Ballroom for the start of the PCGS Members Only Show.
Where we were immediately reminded that PCGS is an excellent host, as evidenced, first, by the lavish breakfast spread they rolled in.
So of course we partook with one hand while setting up the CRO table with the other, smack dab in front of the door in position 1-A.
And then finishing up our vast pile of grading submissions and turning them all into PCGS as early as we possibly could based on an historically unfounded though stubborn belief that hey, maybe if we do this earlier we’ll get better results.
Then taking a spin around the manageably-sized room to see what we could find, which turned out to be a half dozen coins just like that, all federal, mostly old-holdered, ranging from “hey, that’s kinda cool” to almost epic. While considering a few others we might go back for later depending on how things shake out here.
Then returned to the table and met with the first of a series of local collector and dealer friends who variously offered us coins for sale, picked up previous CRO purchases, bought new ones and consigned us some additional pieces for grading.
And while all of that was interesting, and most welcome, it paled in comparison to the old friend we last saw about 7 years ago who arrived unexpectedly in the late morning and told us of the mysterious world coins “he had discovered in his basement during a recent renovation”. And while that had me envisioning a treasure chest of Spanish pirate coins unearthed beneath some floor boards, it turned out to be a box of cool slabbed and raw world and U.S. coins he had apparently set aside 20+ years ago and then forgot all about. But here they all were, many in their pristine old-holdered glory, others neatly arranged in flips ready to submit, all representing exactly the kind of cool old deal that everyone hopes to find at a coin show.
Which explains why all this activity attracted pretty much every other dealer in the room to come poking around, see what was what and try to inject themselves into the middle of it as though your author was some sort of potted plant. Fortunately, we were able to stave all those other guys off and plow ahead, submitting some, sorting the rest and figuring out the best strategy to market everything.
Which took much of the day, as it turned out, leaving us just enough time to view the Legend Auction lots, consider a few other coins on the floor and discuss splitting a big coin with another dealer.
And then suddenly it was 5:40 and time to pack up and head out so we could be ready for the PCGS tour of the new Museum of the American Revolution. Which turned out to be fantastic (and not just because of the almost-endless hors d’oeuvres and open bar), culminating with a surprisingly interesting film and presentation about Washington’s war tent. Who knew? I didn’t.
After which we made our way back to the hotel for a late dinner before calling it a night in anticipation of a busy Thursday during which we hope to do more business on the floor before trying to buy some cool coins in the auction in the evening.
And if we do, or even if we don’t, you can read all about it right here in just about 24 hours from now.
October 26th: Day 2
Good news blog reader: Thursday would not begin with a blaring car horn. Nope. Instead it would be a piercing police siren that seemed to continue the length of Broad Street in what we imagine must have been a dramatic movie-style car chase.
This worked out well from a CRO productivity standpoint, though, as it woke us up early enough to finish all of our work and write yesterday’s blog in an unhurried fashion before heading over to the show at 9.
Where we right away encountered another epic breakfast buffet including (of course) some Philly cheesesteak breakfast burritos. Note however that if you were hoping for a delicious review of this item I cannot help you (since I went for the regular eggs on this day).
And then it was on to numismatics, starting by writing up and submitting 30-something cool Morgan toners along with a slew of other coins we brought here for office grading.
Then meeting with another series of collector and dealer visitors (including at least one person who surprised us by coming all the way from the Mountain Time Zone), selling a few coins, buying some and taking a couple of others on consignment.
And then turning around and selling two of those NEWPs within the next 30 minutes while not really trying that hard to do so. But, given the opportunity, we figured we’d just go ahead and make those deals despite our typical show M.O. of taking all new purchases back to the office so we can study them and carefully plot our next moves.
Which is what we did do with the other new coins acquired on this day from a variety of sources, mostly federal, in a wide variety of grades and price points, some in shiny new slabs, others in ancient Doilies and Rattlers that always seem to find us at shows.
With those making excellent replacements for some of the coins we sold here, including an old-holdered RD Half Cent snagged by a specialist collector in what was our last deal of the day.
After which we re-reviewed some of the Legend lots of interest, entered our bids on the computer and headed out to dinner at a highly recommended place called Sampan, which we last visited 5 years ago, and which was notable not just for their excellent menu but also for the fact that, despite the ~52-degree weather, their outdoor tables were jam-packed with hearty Philadelphians.
And then headed back to the hotel to answer email and get ready for a Friday during which we expect to do some more buying, some more selling and some more grading while possibly also getting some of the coins we submitted here back.
With the good, bad and indifferent results of all of this activity to be described here bright and early on Saturday AM.
Until then, then –
October 27th: Day 3
I’ve concluded that people in the city center area of Philadelphia are actually trying to make as much noise as possible early in the AM, with indiscriminate horn beeping, engine revving, and, on Friday, a guy on a megaphone telling someone in a stern voice “HEY, GET OUTTA THAT TREE!”. I’ll admit I was sufficiently curious about that last one that I was tempted to jump out of bed and go look out the window, but since it was 4 AM and pitch black at the time, I resisted the urge.
Instead getting up at a more civilized hour and focusing on our usual blog writing and show prep before heading down for the last full day of the show here at 9.
Where things were noticeably less active, with some of the attendees having packed up and left already and others in the process of doing so.
Leaving team CRO and just a few other dealers with actual coins on display and ready to meet with the late collector and dealer arrivals, of which there were a few. Including the guy I first met with on Wednesday who returned on this day to complete our deal, which I am pleased to say that we did to good effect.
Raising our official total of purchases here to an amazing and unexpected 90-something coins, though most were of the less than $1,000 variety. Still, a lot of neat long-off-the-market things here that we were very happy to have.
Also notable was the return of a bunch of the CRO grading, which included some good but not unexpected results mixed in with some absolute hammerings.
Oh well, on balance I guess it worked out, but not really. Still, it did not stop me from filling out another 6 forms and submitting others coins for PCGS to take back to the office. Then bought one, last, late coin, packed up the CRO table, met with some dealer friends in the bar and then headed out on the town for dinner at some cool place called Maison 208.
Before getting back to the hotel real late and immediately going to bed in anticipation of another busy day on Saturday where we’ll pack up, check out of the hotel, break down the CRO table and then hang around until the rest of our grading is completed by around 1 PM.
And then heading to the airport for the flight back home from where our last summarizing RR recap will be written on Sunday AM.
So you might want to keep an eye out for that –
October 28th: The Airport Report
For the first time in ages we are pleased to present this fresh final tally of the PCGS Members Only Show written right here at the airport gate with just 9% battery life remaining on my laptop:
Sales: Decent overall at what turned out to be 11 coins, especially when one considers that most of the commercial activity that takes place at these shows is of the wholesale variety that is not a big CRO focus.
Purchases: Way, way beyond any reasonable expectations, including that load of fresh old holders, some cool stuff on the floor, another few neat pieces that walked up to the table and a grand total of one (1) coin from the Legend auction.
Grading: Kind of typical for any show where we submit coins, i.e. some things graded where we expected, while some were in our view shortshrifted. But none were backward in the holders and none were pended back to the office (a distinct possibility for a lot of the esoteric items we submit), so that was all good news.
Schmoozability: Good to Excellent, as we had a chance to hobknob with guys we don’t usually do much with, renew some old acquaintances and meet some local customers in an unhurried environment.
Location: We liked it. Easy to get to (for us, anyway), in fertile coin collector real estate, in a neat city we don’t visit too often, but when we do things seem to go pretty well. Also, as a special bonus, we were able to zip over to the Franklin Institute on Saturday morning while waiting for our last coins to come back and check out the traveling Terracotta Warrior exhibit which we would highly recommend to anyone who 1) Likes history, and 2) Doesn’t have time to fly to Xi’an to see them.
And so we sure hope PCGS will come back to Philadelphia in the future.
In the meantime, we’ll be shifting our focus to the Heritage auctions in Dallas this week, so if anyone needs any bidding assistance now would be an excellent time to let us know.