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Back to Road Report Archive 2018

September 6-8, 2018: The Long Beach Coin & Currency Expo

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Comfortably camped in our Long Beach hotel room here on Wednesday morning we look forward to another excellent Expo.

With the festivities starting in just a few minutes at the convention center, first in the PCGS grading room, followed by some high speed Heritage lot viewing until the actual bourse floor opens to dealers at noon.

Where Team CRO will be in our usual primo spot near the door at Table #612.  And it figures to be as active as ever, as we have already lined up a loooong list of appointments with collectors and dealers bringing us many cool coins.  And while we can’t buy ever single thing that gets offered, we’ll do our best to make the kind of win-win deals that keeps everybody calling and emailing us before every show.

Plus it will be a mad dash to scour the bourse floor, as usual, for other cool things that we need / want / hafta have.

With every thing that happens to be described right here bright and early (on West Coast time) on Thursday AM.

Until then, then –

September 5th:  Dealer Set Up

Your author was up and out early on Wednesday AM, arriving at the convention center at around 7:30 and discovering that the place was all but impregnable with what appeared to be bicycle locks carefully wrapped around the handles of each of the 123 doors that line the outside of the building.

Except for one, so I slipped in that door like a cat burglar, found the Expos Unlimited and PCGS staff getting set up and then waited impatiently for them to be ready to accept my pent up show grading.

After which I raced over to the lot viewing room and proceeded to look through 6,000+ U.S. and world coins to the delight and dismay of the HA staff there who always enjoy my patented CRO ‘sonic boom’ lot viewing methodology.

As an aside, how does one view lots in the most efficient manner? It’s not that complicated:

  1. Know what you are looking for.
  2. Cool it with the chit-chat (unlike a lot of the other guys I see in those rooms).
  3. If you do not like the obverse, do not waste time looking at the reverse.

Which I did very efficiently, flagging our requisite couple of dozen coins to bid on, totally eliminating others I thought had looked promising based on the online images and then dissected the coins collectors had asked us to represent them on, most of which were flat out not nearly good enough to buy.

Finishing all of that by about 11:30 and then moving out into the convention center lobby where I arrived just in time to snag a 7-coin Doily deal that would not have happened had I been chatting away in the lot viewing room like a schoolgirl.

Then heading down to the bourse at 12, setting up as fast as possible and selling the day’s first coin (the one that appears in our current ad, coincidentally) moments later.

And while that might have portended a wildly action-packed day of buying and selling, it really didn’t pan out like that with merely decent selling and moderate buying on a dealer set-up day that seemed to be collectively feeling like we were maybe all there a little bit too soon after the recently concluded ANA show.

But of course, there was business being done, and we did our level best to be in the middle of it wherever possible.

Keeping in mind that many/most of the collectors who will be attending this event over the next couple of days (and the coins they’ll be bringing) were not in Philadelphia, and so we remain optimistic that we’ll be making plenty of good things happen here before week’s end.

With our last deal of the day the purchase and sale of a couple of cool colonials just before we packed up and headed out at 6.

Followed by a quick dinner down by the water before returning to the hotel to analyze and enter our various bids for the HA sessions which will be starting on Thursday at 1 PM at a time when we’ll need to be 100% focused on the bourse floor.

With the results of all of that activity will be described right here in just about 24 hours from now.

Until then, then –

September 6th:  Day 2

After a thoroughly invigorating stroll along the ocean where we encountered a motley crew of other coin dealers, exercise enthusiasts, people riding ancient bicycles with baskets on the front and one guy singing while drinking straight Kahlua, Team CRO enthusiastically headed over to the convention center for what we hoped would be an exciting Thursday at the show.

And for the most part it really was, with a lot of our long time local customers and friends stopping by the table to buy, sell, trade, consign, grade, schmooze or some combination of the above.

Interrupted intermittently by dealers coming by with coins to offer us, including a lot of cool old-holdered type, Gold CACs, colonials, wacko world coins and pretty much any other numismatic genre you can think of which has appeared on our site over the last 15 years.

Of which we bought some straight away, politely passed on others, countered when necessary and over the course of the day amassed, from all sources combined, about 35 EB-worthy NEWPs, most but not all of which were ready for prime time.

Which is good, because we did less well in the auctions, ultimately snagging just a few coins here and there, while at the last second deciding to cancel a proxy bid on an expensive colonial because it just didn’t seem like the best use of money.

Always an important consideration for any dealer, as just having neat coins is never enough, you also have to manage the cash flow and be ready to jump on good opportunities whenever they appear.

Like very late in the afternoon when a dealer walked up with another colonial which we very nearly leaped over the table to buy.

Before locking up and heading to one of our usual dinner haunts with some dealer friends and then returning to the hotel to work on some late evening U.S. and world coin auction prep for Friday where we hope to have a better yield than today.

And if we do, or even if we don’t, you can read all about it right here on Saturday AM.

September 7th:  Day 3

Ramping up.

Would be an accurate phrase to describe the trajectory of activity here in LB on Friday as we saw an increase in just about everything.

Such as the traffic level at our table #612, for example, and with it a high-powered boost in sales.

Including another very recent CRO ad coin, this the 1811 Peru 8 Reales featured in our September 3rd placement Imagined Bust / Imagine this Coin in Your Collection (which one collector obviously did).

Followed by what we call a ‘Fell Swoop’ transaction in which another collector came to the table, surveyed the scene and then bought all of our remaining anti-slavery pieces in one fell swoop.

Also selling here: More US type, some colonials (including one big boy coin), assorted world coins and tokens and a bunch of the NEWPS that had been in our photography box snagged by other dealers who would not be denied.

And while the floor sales were robust, we also ticked up our buying in the U.S. and colonial categories from a variety of collector and dealer sources.

Though of course we did not buy everything offered to us, including any of the many modern coins, Franklin Mint issues, reproductions and trinkets which tend to find us first based on our primo table location.

Still, it’s nice to be offered everything and we always hold out hope that the next guy who reaches into his valise for a coin box will produce an old Rattler deal, a Pan Pac set or maybe another 1854-S $5. Hey, I’m sure it will happen eventually.

Fortunately, at the precise moment we were explaining to a visitor that his enameled State Quarters were not worth very much, a bunch of our Heritage proxy bids were taking hold.

With those, our completed grading and our other remaining LB NEWPs now tipping the 40 coin mark in total meaning that (and this was frankly in doubt earlier this week) we now have plenty of ammo and for sure there will be an EB this coming Tuesday.

But before we get to that point we have one more day here at the show and with it we hope more purchases, more sales, more grading results and pretty much more everything before we pack up, head out and take a relaxing redeye flight home.

From where our final installment of this LB RR will be written bright and early (well, maybe not that early) on Sunday AM.

Until then, then –

September 8th: The Exciting Conclusion

Now back home it’s time to recap the Long Beach Expo in more detail than we usually do starting right now:

I don’t think there is any question that the timing of this show just 3 weeks after the ANA (essentially two weeks closer than it was in 2017 – a function of the later ANA schedule, not a change here) had a deleterious effect in several ways:

  • Not all the regular dealers and collectors attended
  • Many people are still paying for ANA purchases and were thus not here in mega-buying mode
  • Hard to build another mega-auction so soon
  • General coin fatigue

But, even if it wasn’t as robust as this show might have been if held a little later (or, again the ANA had been earlier), there are always deals to make and new coins to buy.

As evidenced by our final total haul of new purchases here (including the last couple at 3:30 on Saturday) of 54 coins in the following broad categories:

  • Things ready to be listed now which are off to photography (except for the few we’ve owned before which we already have imaged). Still, even among these ready for prime time items, there is some overlap/duplication meaning that we would not list them all on the same EB anyway.
  • Slabs which we’ll send off to CAC, including some recently graded items which we are 100% sure have never been, and a bunch of old holders which frankly we have no idea if they’ve been or not. But they looked good to us and seemed like they should at least green sticker. And even if they had been before and failed to sticker, CAC might take a second look and have a different view this time. Not impossible in our experience.
  • Raw coins which will be off to grading this week.
  • Assorted other stuff we’re really not sure what we’ll do with but will figure out in due time.

Of which a few in all categories came from the auctions here which were as noted a bit on the leaner side than usual. And when that is the case, the best coins present always seem to get outsized attention and become very difficult to buy at less than full blown stretch levels. An outcome we tried to avoid by entering all proxy bids at levels we felt comfortable with and letting the chips fall where they may. A strategy which worked well yielding a few things we’ll list this week, but others we bought as projects to cross or upgrade. Yes, we do that too.

Speaking of which, our grading results here were pretty good (meaning they came out about as we expected), all finished (which is not always the case), with the last few stragglers coming out at about 3 PM, a bit too late for us to have them photographed and ready for the EB, though we may still have the chance to use the TrueViews if those appear in time. If not, the CRO Superman ‘Image Coming Soon’ graphic is always a possible Plan C. We always sort all of that out much closer to the EB deadline – sometimes with mere minutes to spare.

So, in total, we have to say this show was a pretty good success for Team CRO, with some good business, a few more deals in the works, and a couple of other coins people were considering here which we might yet sell this week. Hey, you never know.

Plus we got to see some unusual things here at the show.

Including the numismatic displays like the latest installment of the epic Tyrant Collection – this the Italian coinage with a few things I am told were designed by Leonardo DaVinci:

Wacko “numismatic” items like these Spiderman and Velociraptor coins which I fear someone will bring to this show to offer to sell me about 5 years from now at which time I will be the guy to have to tell them they are worth 1/5th of what they paid in 2018.  Unless I am wrong and everyone who buys them becomes a millionaire:

Historic sporting memorabilia like these Olympic torches (including that one with a giant fat handle that looked impossible to carry):

Plus I got a chance to meet boxer Ernie Shavers who I vividly remember flattening Ken Norton in a 1979 fight. And while your author is not a nostalgic person or autograph hound, I have to admit it was pretty cool to get to talk to him.  More so later when someone else told me he was actually a coin collector.  Who knew?  Not me.

And now it’s time for some fast R&R before we start work on the Early Bird in just a few short hours from now.