Tales from Our Numismatic Travels
May 12-14, 2022: The Early American Coppers Convention in St. Louis
One might think we have encountered most every numismatic or business scenario here at CRO after nearly 20 years, but we tried something new this week. Namely sending out an Early Bird on a Tuesday, and then immediately getting on a plane the next day and heading to a show.
In the past, we’d have delayed the EB until after our return from this event where we would have, in theory, an entire week to take calls, answer emails and texts and ship packages like crazy.
Unfortunately, with the schedule the way it is, our next available open week was going to be sometime in June, and that, my friends, was simply too long to wait.
So we bucked up, stayed up, cranked up, multi-tasked and got everything done in time to send out that list, expertly pack and not miss a beat prepping for this show, though we did have to take a bunch of calls in the airport, and we actually sold 2 coins while in the air en route to St. Louis.
Where you author is now typing this from the EAC Convention hotel while counting down the time until dealer set-up to begin 5 hours and 40 minutes from now. Wait, make that 5 hours and 39 minutes.
And CRO will have a fine table spot right near the door where we will display our entire inventory, including any remaining EB coins and some new auction purchases which, if all goes well, will be delivered to us at this show by our good friends from Heritage.
So if you are in the area we hope you’ll stop by and see us. We are also, as always, in a buying mood, so if you have something CRO-ish to offer, please do.
With whatever happens here to be described in vivd detail in our Road Reports to be posted daily from this show.
May 12th: Day 1
Picking up where we left off yesterday, your author hit the 95 degree gym, had a blueberry flavored RXBar for breakfast on Thursday (which was as unappetizing as it sounds), got organized and headed down to the hotel lobby where I encountered a bunch of other like-minded copper enthusiasts.
So we hung out, talked coins, looked at coins, made a couple deals for some coins and generally immersed ourselves in numismatics until lunch time and then eventually found our way onto the bourse floor sometime after noon.
Where we found everything expertly set up and ready to go, for which we thank show organizer Bob Kebler and Wayne Herndon who handles the floor set up at these shows and I am thrilled that he does, since in the days before his involvement setting up here was a crap shoot (and not in a good way).
Allowing us to arrange all of our coins into 5(!) cases as fast as possible, and then run around the floor trying to buy things with limited success. Sure, I found coins I wanted to buy, but as at any EAC, a lot of things here are display only which is cool to see and disappointing to not buy.
We ended up buying a few coins here and there though, including a couple of neat Seated Halves which one might not expect to encounter at a show like this, but based on past experience we pretty much always seem to.
After which we were delighted to receive our auction lots purchased last week in the various Heritage sessions and which were delivered here in an “above and beyond” customer service effort that we really, really appreciated. Since now we can offer some of these at this show where there are enthusiastic customers looking for cool coins.
Later we would have the chance to view many / most of the coins to be offered in Stack’s Bowers upcoming first installment of the Syd Martin Collection sale, including a few coins that looked familiar, and a few epic ones I have never, ever seen before and did not know existed. So that was cool.
And then had the same chance at the Heritage table where they were displaying the upcoming lots in the Gentleman Jim McGuigan Collection auction.
Some great stuff in both sales which we all know will surely realize some sky high prices. Maybe including some to us.
With things winding down around 5 and everyone heading for dinner at the always anticipated EAC reception down the hall which was excellent, and elegant and included some interesting discussions at our table, especially one told by another dealer about how he eventually succeeded to buy a coin after trying to do so for literally 27 years. Twenty-seven! I would also say that this story included some mention of the Iranian hostage crisis, but I’m pretty sure no one would believe that.
After which we all schmoozed for a while, headed to the bar, talked more coins, and dogs, and weddings and regular life stuff before the breakout discussion groups covering, variously, colonials, half cents and large cents in separate conference rooms.
Your author choosing the colonial room, where we got to see a recent unique Fugio snagged off Ebay by a customer friend, a rare American Plantation variety, some weird and wacky counterstamped stuff and a brief presentation by your author highlighting the (to me) interesting provenance history of many of those aforementioned Heritage lots which had come from significant prior sales forgotten by the consignor and thus not listed in the HA catalog. Hey, I love that numismatic sleuthing to find where all those coins had come from.
After which we talked counterfeit coins in the hall with some collector and dealer experts, and then finally called it a night after what had been by then a long, tiring but totally entertaining 18 hour day.
We’ll be back at it Friday starting real early, playing with coins all day and then writing all about it right here in this space on Saturday AM.
May 13th: Day 2
Getting back into a more normal show rhythm, I woke up at 4 AM on Friday, pored through countless numismatic websites looking for interesting coins, found a few, and bought 2 even before my first cup of coffee, a suitable beginning to an extreeeeeeemely productive day here in St. Louis.
Eventually finding my way to the bourse floor at 8:30 where I would encounter many friends and long time customers, some of whom came to the CSNS show a couple of weeks ago and others who have not attended any show for 3 years or more.
In all cases it was good to catch up, re up, talk coins and make deals, which we did, large and small, for about 8 straight hours.
With sales in all categories – colonial, US, world coins used in early America and yes, even esoteric issues too.
Buying was similarly spread, as I found a few cool colonials, nice large cents, neatly toned silver, old crusty CC gold, a couple of wild world coins and some neat tokens to cap things off. And while that may seem like a surprising haul at an EAC show, it was not to me since I’ve always been able to find cool coins of all kinds and compositions at these shows. And then vacuum them up like an enormous Hoover.
Somewhere in there I managed to complete a couple of pretty big trades too, talk about some bigger deals which might yet happen here, help some collectors with grading questions, re-review some of the most important upcoming SB and HA auction lots and then have a long discussion with Colonial Coin Collectors Club President Craig McDonald about the club.
After which it was quittin’ time, so I packed up and headed to dinner with some dealer friends at that surprisingly good Italian place nearby.
Returning just in time to sell a couple of coins off the website before elegantly falling asleep with the lights and TV on, which was pretty much my SOP before MaryAnn started traveling to these shows with me. And since she is not here this week, I figured why not revert to old form? Indeed.
But I will be rested and ready come Saturday, looking forward to do business of all kinds with all comers, including you if you come to the show.
With whatever happens to be described right here in just about 24 hours from now.
May 14th (and 15th): The Exciting Conclusion
Saturday at EAC turned out to be another excellent day characterized by additional sales in colonial and US coins, 1 trade, the receipt of 16 coins on consignment from 3 different long time collector friends and the purchase of 4 more coins on the floor from 3 different sources.
Interestingly, sales included one of last week’s EB coins which the first interested party dismissed as too expensive and the second described, literally, as a “no brainer” at our asking price as he bought it. Actually, that’s not that unusual in my experience, as coin prices can sometimes seem to be all over the place based on published guides which generally try to commoditize items which – unless they are moderns or maybe white Morgan Dollars – are not commodities, and thus result in average values which are by definition too high for the least desirable coins in any holder grade and too low for the best ones. Add in toning, or strike or other non-grade attributes and it only gets more skewed.
Anyway, that particular coin found its correct owner and so everyone is happy.
With all of our activity on this day generally spaced out enough to allow for an unrushed pace during which we also squeezed in time to schmooze with other collectors and dealers and do some epic showing and telling of NFS items, with your author sometimes the show-ee and sometimes the show-er.
So your author was having fun into the late afternoon when I began planning dinner out with some collector and dealer friends, right up until I suddenly realized that my flight home was not scheduled for 2:30 PM Sunday like I thought – it was actually at 10 AM. A 4.5+ hour difference which meant I needed to pack up Saturday and be ready to go in the AM, and not wait until Sunday as I originally planned.
At which time that relaxed pace evaporated and I packed up everything ASAP only to be interrupted twice (in a good way) by collectors offering consignments, and one making a purchase of a new coin which had never been on the site.
That change in schedule also necessitated my eating dinner at the hotel which was fine, and all seemed good as I wheeled our supplies out of the bourse at 5 PM Saturday, had dinner with friends at the hotel bar and then turned in for a leisurely evening planning to sleep in before heading to the airport in the AM at a civilized hour which turned out to be maybe the worst idea ever.
Since I chose Sunday AM to wake up at the relatively late hour of 5:43 AM (unlike every other day this week) and only then see that the airline had actually emailed at 4:13 AM notifying me that my 10 AM flight had been cancelled and I had been helpfully rebooked on a new flight leaving at 7 AM – i.e. exactly 1 hour and 17 minutes from then.
So your author leaped out of bed, packed up in literally 8 minutes flat, checked out of the hotel, amazingly jumped on the waiting 6 AM hotel airport shuttle thinking “hey, I might actually catch this flight” just as I received a new email from the airline telling me this new 7 AM flight was now delayed until 2 PM. The Good News: At least I would not need to O.J. it through the airport.
Instead, I found an alternative flight through Dallas where I am now seated at my gate typing this and watching with dismay as they have now delayed it 3 times to the extent that it is starting to feel eerily similar to our oft delayed and finally cancelled flight him from CSNS a couple weeks ago. Please no – not again.
And while this travel stuff is of course a bummer, it’s really not that big a deal, and of course doesn’t change my view that this was another totally excellent EAC show with many friendships renewed, cool coins seen and plenty of good business being done.
But now I’m going to get home (eventually), relax and take the remainder of Sunday off (which figures to be about 12 minutes worth by that time) before diving back in Monday and packing and shipping last week’s EB coins to buyers.
Aaaah yes, the coin business, it sure is relaxing.