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Baltimore Show Observations

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I just got back from the Baltimore show and notice that Mark Feld has already started a thread on it. Since I want to leave impressions that are not influenced by how someone else saw the show, I will not read his thread until this one is posted.


The one-word description of the show: Disappointing.


I spent both Friday and Saturday at the show and was surprised by the light attendance by the public. Friday was not so surprising since it was a workday, and Saturday may have been hurt by the wonderful weather that we had. However, it was still a light turnout. Friday afternoon I spent some time with EVP and bigmoose, but never caught up with Mark as it seemed we were always running in opposite directions. I was also able to spend some good time on both days with Tonelover and we caught up on things. The food at the show, which is neither good nor bad, was almost non-existant. I don't know who planned the lunch, but when I went at 1:00 there was only one bottle of soda and only one hot dog left. The other entre did not look good. This is surprising since the show is always at this venue and one would expect that they would have planned better. IdahoGal and I had a long chat and she had some interesting things to say...


Friday night featured a nice dinner in Little Italy with EVP, bigmoose, Mike from ANACS and Nic, a good friend of bigmoose. After dinner we took in some of the B&M auction of Seated material and then headed back to my hotel to watch the Braves vs Phillies. I must say, given EVP's reaction to the crawler on the screen detailing the Mets comeback win over the Marlins, that EVP is a true Mets fan. I also think that the people in the adjoining rooms, those on the floor above and those on the floor below can also attest to that fact. When the game was over, beboplawyer (from the PCGS boards) came by with three friends of EVP, one of which I know and two whom I had just met. We spent two hours or so passing around some cool Seated coinage, along with a Morgan or Trade dollar or two. This was good for me as I do not specialize in this material and so was able to learn quite a bit. EVP explained some of the nuances of Trade and Seated dollar grading in the MS61-MS64 range and it actually made sense. I am certain that the importance of some of the coins eluded me as I was familiar with the absolute rarity of many of the coins but not the condition rarity of them.


Saturday was quite disheartening to me since about one-third of the dealers had cleared out their tables and apparently packed up for the show by noon. Remember, this was noon on Saturday. That's really early and I didn't like seeing it.


As for particulars of the bourse floor, here are the observations-

-Slabbed MS and PF Lincoln cents were one of the stars of the floor with many pieces available from PCGS and NGC.

-The "off-brand" holdered cents had a much higher rate of cleaned coins or re-colored coins in their holders without notation.

-There were an exceptionally small number of commems on the floor, either white or toned, and most of those that were available had little eye appeal.

-Lots of '36-'42 PF coinage, in slabs, was available and nearly all of it was white, indicating to me that this is a well-washed niche.

-One dealer had twelve '93-S Morgans in VG8-EF40 while another had eleven in the same grade range.

-Overall, I wasn't looking for '93-S Morgans but I counted thirtyone being offered from VG8-EF40.

-There were more '89-CC Morgans available than there were '93-S Morgans.

-Lots of gold was around, though I didn't ask a price on anything.

-As per usual, the slabbed Seated material was generally awful with many coins dipped and cleaned while still in NGC or PCGS holders.

-I probably saw as many slabbed Jefferson nickels as any other series save for Lincolns.

-In a probable conflict with the ANA summer course, some dealers were not there that usually attend Baltimore.

-"Fresh" toned coins were not to be found.

-The only attractive matte PF Lincoln on the floor was bought by bigmoose shortly before I would have seen the coin.

-I don't know if I saw even one nice two cent piece anywhere.

-A surprisingly large number of key date WLHs and Barber quarters were on the floor.

-If you are looking for a dipped Mercury dime, I know where you can find scores of them.

-There was a raw VF-ish '01-S Barber half on the floor, this is one of the big keys to the set, and the coin was scrubbed, dipped, scrubbed again, dipped again and then scrubbed one more time for good measure just to make it completely and inappropriately white.

-The grading services did not look busy and I was told that PCGS was getting their show specials done on time, which is quite unusual.

-The industry seems to have embraced the NGC concept of grading GSA dollars in the governemt issued holder as there were many of these around.

-One dealer had seven cameo IHCs and I can tell you from first-hand viewing that not all cameo IHCs are equal; not by a long shot.

-There were quite a few potty dollars to be had, with some potty Seated halves, too.

-Two potty dollars had the olive sprig in Ms Liberty's outreached hand re-worked into an anatomical gift and one of these gifts was so large that she could not hope to do anything with it save for holding it.

-There were a larger number of '16 SLQs than I normally see, this issue has really taken off in price so this may reflect some profit taking.

-There was a PCGS multi-coin holder holding the platinum bullion issues.


In general, nice coins were tough to find, and those that were nice carried a healthy price tag. Many folks won't buy these coins because they will buy the bargain piece and will end up paying in the long run. I've written this before and I think it needs repeating; my fear is that there might not be enough high quality coins becoming available to sustain the market, since there is money on the table but the coins aren't. This is independent from gradeflation because no matter what the slab says, we are ultimately looking at the quality of the coin.


No doubt I have forgotten much and may have to add more later.

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I second the lackluster feeling of the show. We did not sell much. A few regular dealers did not attend, and we didn't feel the usual "buzz" of retail customers walking around. Given the relative paucity of activity, we felt little incentive to stay until even the end of Saturday.


The B&M sale generated a lot of collector interest, especially amongst the Seated aficionados. But, that didn't translate into stupid money for many of the better dates.


Overall, this show performed somewhere between a typical regular "Baltimore Coin Conv" show and a typical "Mid-Atlantic" show.



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EVP explained some of the nuances of Trade and Seated dollar grading in the MS61-MS64 range and it actually made sense.


You poor man .... and you actually lived to tell about it? grin.gif

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thanks for the great report please keep then coming tomb!


i really enjoyed it


so do you think that if someone brings some really monster one of a kind coins with extraordinary eye appeal to a show to sell fresh coins even with lack of dealers and a slower market due to not any really choice coins to buy they can get strong money ? at the summers biggest show?

i mean way over sheets?



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Thanks for the great report, Tom. I'm also glad you survived EVP - but more for his Mets enthusiasm/mania than his explanations of trade dollar grading! wink.gif



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Thanks for the report.


I think that Laura had commented that "dealer exhaustion" might result in a weaker than expected Baltimore. It'll be interesting to see how the NY Invitational is on the 23rd/24th, after all those auctions.


With so many '89-CCs being available, I wonder if it's time to sell mine?

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I agree about the lack of people. My wife and I were there on Friday and had no problem keeping tabs on the grandkids because of the open space. We picked up a nice large cent for Will (grandson) from Tonelover. Will loves the coin!



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I think your report, John, certainly does illustrate that you have been out of the show circuit for a while. This last show would blow the doors off of anything in 1996, but was quite a bit slower than anything in the last two years.


DaveG, I thought about you when I saw all those '89-CC dollars, and thought about Whilborg and his '93-S. I don't know how well they were selling, and don't know how aggressive the prices were; but if I were in the market for one of these pieces, I would be quietly confident that I would be able to get a decent one from somewhere while holding the upper hand.


There were a few things I forgot to mention previously-


-There was a way cool '21 Peace dollar struck twice in collar so that it was rotated about 15 degrees.

-One of our board members was kind enough to show me not one, but two approximately 10% off-center Buffalo nickels each with outstanding neon iridescent colors, and these weren't common dates as they were a 1916-D and 1917-D graded MS65.

-A friend of mine, who also is a dealer who had a table, has a 23-year old daughter and he showed me pictures of her with her good friend at a beach. Her friend happens to be Beyonce Knowles and the pictures featured them in her private jet and then on the beach in impossibly small bikinis!

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"impossibly small bikinis"



I've never seen an impossibly small bikini. Please illustrate with pictures. thumbsup2.gif





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Thanks for the reports Tom and John. I almost felt like I was there.




Re: Matte proof Lincolns


How did you think the pricing was on even the average looking coins?

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OK, then. I guess I'll go crawl back into my hole.

Only as long as that hole has internet access so you can post to the boards! smile.gif


As for the matte proof Lincolns, chinook asks an excellent question and I am afraid that I wasn't diligent enough to ask for any quotes on the material that I didn't like. This wasn't so much because I was lazy, but more because I didn't want someone to think I was actually interested in the pieces. Perhaps I should have asked. 893scratchchin-thumb.gif

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