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Back to Road Report Archive 2015

September 16-19, 2015: The Long Beach Coin & Currency Expo

rr2018 09lb


Hard to believe it’s been a month since our last event, but a quick perusal of the calendar (remove it from the wall, flip to August, turn the page to September) and indeed that is the case.

And we’re pleased to say that the hard numismatic work we’ve put in since – buying, grading, bidding, traveling to look at collections and individual coins, meeting with clients, working on deals, etc. – has paid off in the form of a fresh and totally cool new offering which will be unleashed, with great enthusiasm, on the left coast.

More specifically at our table #612, where we’ll hope to see many of you over the next couple of days.

But if you can’t make it, no worries, you can stll follow along from the comfort of home by reading our daily blogs which will be posted from Long Beach each and every day from the show.

More later –

September 16th:  Day 1

As is always the case here, the show would begin in earnest for us on Wednesday, starting with 3 concentrated hours of Heritage auction lot viewing in the morning, followed by a mad dash onto the bourse floor for dealer set up at noon.

Where your author numismatically rocketed to our deluxe corner table #612 right by the front door, quickly set up everything and then immediately bought a neat group of federal coins that another dealer had set aside for me.

The quick organizing of which was interrupted by the sudden sale of a gold coin of the sort I never have, but which I had acquired after a recent and extremely fortunate appraisal I did.

Followed by a few more US coins in short order.

All of which were precursors to the XL deal I consummated with a collector here for a big ticket colonial.

So I was feeling good as I made some late rounds of the bourse floor, snagging a few scattered coins among the dealers who were already set up (or partially so), but finding that many of the usual suspects I have bought from in the past were not here yet.

Which will leave me plenty of ground to cover on Thursday morning, right after a quick re-review of some last auction coins I am still on the fence about, all of which needs to get done so I can be at the table and ready to go before the public shows up at 10 AM.

And what happens after that will be the subject of our next RR to be posted here on Friday AM.


September 17th:  Day 2

As noted yesterday, I did have a well formulated plan for Thursday which would begin with leaping out of bed after a restful sleep and attacking the day with typical CRO energy and enthusiasm.

Of course this plan did not contemplate that my hotel room would be directly next door to a room in which they were filming an episode of Dance Fever, with loud screaming, Woody Woodpecker-style laughing and a full blown party spilling out into the hall which was interrupted only briefly by stern visits from hotel security at midnight, 1 AM and, for the last time, 1:30, before they finally shut those people up.

Fortunately, as an early riser, I was able to get even by blasting my own TV at 4 AM as I got ready in the morning. I did also verify with the front desk that these people were checking out today, which obviated the need for me to have a cow in the lobby and insist on changing to a different room on another floor (something I don’t recall ever actually having to do in decades of traveling).

Allowing me to focus on my first numismatic activity of the day: Checking out a couple of auction lots, deciding that they were not worth thermo-nuclear bids and then heading down to the bourse floor to look for any new coins at tables that were not set up Wednesday.

Unfortunately, some of my usual sources still hadn’t arrived yet (or perhaps weren’t coming at all), which was pretty disappointing.

Still, I ended up buying a few things bringing my total here to about 20 coins on the floor, the majority of which were federal issues with a couple of world coins mixed in.

Sales, on the other hand, were robust in value if not volume, including the cool 1803/2 $5 which had been the most looked-at coin at our table until someone finally pulled the trigger at midday.

But overall the traffic seemed pretty light compared to recent events here, with many of our local regulars not having made an appearance at the table (at least not yet).

So by late afternoon we were ready to call it a day, left a few bids for the world sale and headed out to Gladstones for a nice dinner overlooking the water before turning in early.

So I should be better rested on Friday and ready for the increased show traffic that I hope will find its way to table #612.

September 18th:  Day 3

I’m going to make an early call on this one.

In the category of “Shows that did not turn out at all like I expected” I am now going to place the September 2015 Long Beach Expo, an event that has had (at least so far) much lighter retail traffic than I thought we’d see. Equally surprising to me was our own invoice profile, as we wrote far fewer here than we typically do, but at a dramatically higher average value.

Which of course works just fine from a commercial perspective. Odd though.

But, rather than sit here and try to figure out why, how, who, etc. my view is that it is better just to take things as they come, offer coins in a variety of categories, grades and price points and go with the flow. Want nice, original US coins? Sure, we have them. Want some inexpensive but cool looking world coins? OK. Want to skip all that and drop 6-figures on high end colonials? I believe we can accommodate you. Based on how the market works, it’s good to be flexible.

Of course, all of this could change Saturday, and I might be singing a totally different tune at the end of this show since all it takes is the right one person to walk in the door. And maybe he or she will.

And if that happens, we’ll be ready, though by then I expect that we’ll be one of the few dealers still here with a full inventory on display as others were already packing up yesterday. Speaking selfishly, having no competition around ain’t a bad thing.

But if that person does not arrive, we’ll be using the time to pick up HA winnings, view some Pogue or Reynolds coins, bid in the HA final session, pick up all of our show grading, scour the floor for a few last hidden jewels, schmooze with some late hanger-onners and then head out for dinner before taking a late flight home.

From where our last installment of this RR will be written on Sunday AM.

Until then –

September 19th:  Day 4

Highlights and loooowlights from Saturday:

  1. It was busy enough in the AM that I never did get a chance to pick up my Heritage lots, went to get them around noon, found that they had already shipped all the coins home and will now not see mine for a week or so. Drat.
  2. I did however stay long enough to get all of my grading back, the results of which can best be summarized as totally uninspiring.
  3. My favorite NEWP of the show – a neatly toned US coin – walked up to the table at noon and was offered to me by someone I’d never met before.  I cannot tell you how much I like when that happens.
  4. I wish I hadn’t eaten that giant pretzel.
  5. The most crowded our table was for the entire show occurred Saturday at about 4, with three people all looking in different cases and pricing multiple coins at the same time.
  6. I unexpectedly bought 4 cool Mexican coins from a Chinese dealer at 5 PM on my way back from the men’s room.
  7. I finished packing up and left at 6 PM, at which time I was one of about a dozen people in the room who did not work for the Long Beach Expo or PCGS. Kudos however to the dealer with a bunch of jewelry and stuff in his case who had not even begun to pack up at all by that time.
  8. I arrived at the airport gate just as a fight between 3 guys broke out and a cell phone was chucked across the room narrowly missing another Massachusetts-based dealer. Fortunately, 82 security people showed up, delaying our flight about 30 minutes. On a more positive note, the plane also had some kind of mechanical issue, so by the time they replaced the nose gear we had been sitting there for a full hour.
  9. I did not sleep a wink on said flight due to the adorable screaming baby in row one.
  10. Now back, I can report that I am sticking with yesterday’s early summation of a show in which we wrote fewer invoices than in any previous LB Expo I can recall, but did more in $’s than we have done here in at least 2 years. Which is a trade-off we are willing to make anytime (though admittedly more invoices would be good too).

And now it’s time to rest up, recharge and start work on our next Early Bird which will be sent out on Tuesday at noon and will be, assuming no major coin photography glitches, a-b-s-o-l-u-t-e-l-y stacked.

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