Spending time at a non-coin convention
I've spent most of this weekend at a local gaming/anime convention that is held at my university every year. Before I started college, lost most of my free time and found coin collecting I was a gamer. This is great fun to me even if I don't get to indulge in it often. Ours is the largest and oldest student run convention in the country. This was the 40th year. Those of us that know what it is are quite proud of it.
We like discussing coin auctions here on this site. AggieCon (the name of our event) has a charity auction to benefit a local charity for abused children and an art auction (that one isn't for charity but it's still very fun). One occurs immediately after the other and it almost comes off as one continuous event. It's always funny to have an auction towards the end of a convention where about 80% of the participants are college students. I'm not going to say it's like trying to get blood out of a stone, more like a small rodent. It's possible, but don't expect much. It's funny to see items start as low as $4 in a live auction with the bidding increments sometimes as low as $1. The phrases "only on a college campus" and "poor college student" are used frequently, but laughter is plentiful, the behavior is outrageous, and great fun is had by all.
AggieCon is one of those times where you really see that everyone is just a little "unique" in their own way and we're all "characters" (or maybe it's just Texans?). It's great to see how the "normal" people that are just in the area respond to the con-goers.
Personally, I love the art show and the art auction. I think I've purchased at least 1 signed and numbered print at every (non-coin) convention that I've attended. I talk to and get to know the artists. There's an "Iron Artist" event where the guest artists have 45 minutes to make a picture with a mystery medium. Con-goers get to watch them draw and the pictures are sold at the charity auction. As I've commented before it's my love of art that makes me love the coins so much.
This weekend I also arranged the purchase of a 1989 NGC MS69 Panda. It's the first of the silver panda series to have been struck in 0.999 silver and weigh 1 ounce. I'll be very happy to be adding this coin to my sets when it arrives. The pandas have a high degree of prestige among modern coins; evidenced by the fact that the #1 ranked Panda set (one-per-date) has also been named a "Best Modern" set in 2 of the last 3 years. The pandas have really evolved over the years, changing incrementally. They make for a great set to collect and look at. I meant it earlier when I said "it's panda time." I will be pushing to expand my panda set over the next couple of months.
I'm attaching a picture of a 1990 Panda (another recent order which I hope to have in hand soon). The new holders are gradually starting to enter some of my sets. It's amazing to see these 38-40 mm silver coins in the new pronged holders. They clearly strain the limits of the holder design. The coin just can't get much bigger and still have room left for the prongs.