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Show Report: PCGS Invitational & Palace Station Las Vegas Show including Photos!

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Just got home from Las Vegas last night after going hitting up two coin shows in two days and figured some of you may enjoy a quick show report. I don't have pics of everything I did since I was also having lots of fun and didn't always think to get out my camera phone every single time I did something, but I did get some good shots.


I usually don't travel too far for coin shows, but the chance to go to two shows back to back in Las Vegas was a bit too tempting. I also had some coins ready to send off to PCGS and figured I could just drop them off at their show.


Having decided to make the trip, I left the Los Angeles area just before noon on Thursday for the roughly four hour drive to Las Vegas! After a fairly uneventful drive through the desert, I made it to town at around 3pm. Here's a quick picture I took from the car of the city in the distance:




Once in town, I went straight to the Venetian hotel for the PCGS Invitational event. I know many here call it the "PCGS Show" but for those who have never been there before, it's unlike any other coin show you've probably been too, whether it's a 20 table local show or a 200+ table regional/national show. Don't get me wrong, it's still a neat event, but it's not a real coin show. Maybe 1/3 of the dealers that show actually have coins on display in a show case. Another 1/3 of the dealers seem to bring coins, but they are all boxed up and seem willing to show you coins if you ask. And the other 1/3 or so of the dealers don't seem to have any coins at all and are there for the PCGS grading. Here's a quick picture I took of the room while I was filling out some PCGS forms for grading:




Although not a traditional coin show, I did a little business with a couple of the dealers that I knew and have done deals with before and sold a few coins that I had brought. For dealers who have been in the business awhile and are likely to already know everyone in that room or for the upper-tier collectors who are on a first-name basis with most of those dealers at the event, it's probably a different experience than it is for an average collector or relatively newbie dealer.


I was also able to drop off a couple of submissions at the PCGS table including a restoration submission for a client of mine. We'll see how that turns out! I was also planning on taking a look at a couple of lots in the Legend-Morphy auction for another client, but by the time I got there the online pre-bidding already exceeded his max bid so I didn't need to look. Anyways, after a little over an hour at the PCGS event, it was time to head out and get checked into my hotel.


Before heading to Vegas, I booked the cheapest room available at Caesars Palace which is my favorite place to hang out and stay while in Las Vegas. I always just book the cheapest room because I almost always get a "free" upgrade when checking in anyways. When checking in they always ask for your ID and a credit card. Before they even ask, I put my ID and credit card on the counter, along with a $20 bill and then ask if they have any upgrades available. Almost every time, the hotel clerk immediately starts working really hard to get me a cool room. I was promptly upgraded to one of their newer towers, well worth the extra $20. When I first started going to Vegas, a friend told me to do that and it has worked probably 90% of the time. And every time except once, the hotel clerk doesn't take the cash if they were unsuccessful in upgrading. In any event, I also look at the situation as my first gamble of the night! Here's a pic of Caesars I took later that night:




Spent the rest of the evening doing a little gambling, lost some at blackjack and roulette, but made most of it back getting lucky at video poker. Went next door to the Mirage for awhile too and had some fun there. Also got quite a nice buzz after all of them drinks they kept bringing me!! Didn't stay out too late though since I was in town on business and there was another show in the morning.


Up bright and early on Friday, was really nice weather in Vegas. Sunny and around 70 each day. Here's a shot from the hotel window that morning before the Palace Station show:




Headed over to the Palace Station casino for the other coin show. I had been to this show the year before and remembered it as being a great one. Showed up a bit early and bought some raffle tickets from the local coin club set up outside of the show. Top prize was a decent looking $1000 bill so that was cool to see. They were also giving away a few small platinum pieces and silver eagles as secondary prizes. Hope I win one! Here's a picture of the entrance to the show about 15 minutes before it opened to the public with several people already lined up ready to make some deals:




I didn't take any more photos of the show since there was a big sign up front that said photos were prohibited. That said, the show was lots of fun. There's roughly 100 or so dealers and it's was very busy and the aisles were quite crowded the entire time I was there.


I was able to sell a few coins, mostly type coins. Wasn't able to sell anything gold though. Gold only dropped about $75 per oz. in the past couple of weeks but most of the dealers were acting like it dropped $400 per oz in the way they were calculating their offers on my gold, haha! Of course, the same rules didn't apply to their inventory!


I did buy a few coins, including a really sweet cherrypick of a tough variety, but I can't go into detail since I already have sold the coin pending attribution and I'm not sure the new owner wants me to share the details at this time. Also saw lots of dealers that go to all of the SoCal shows, including a few forum members, but there were plenty of dealers that don't make it to SoCal so it was nice to see lots of coins that were fresh to me. I was probably at the show for around four or five hours and it flew by.


After the show, I decided to go to one of my favorite places in Las Vegas, the Pinball Hall of Fame! If you like pinball and/or classic video games, then you must stop by the Pinball Hall of Fame when you're in Las Vegas. The place is a couple of miles off the Strip and it's just awesome. They have a few hundred pinball machines there, everything from the old wooden machines from the 1950s to the modern favorites. They also have many other classic arcade games too. Best part is that you can play them all!! Really fun to try out some of those games from a few decades ago and waste a bunch of quarters.

Here are a few pictures of my visit to the Pinball Hall of Fame:








They also have an old Asteroids machine there that I had to play. We used to have one of them in our house when I was a kid and I played it quite a bit. Got the high score too, even though the score wasn't that impressive to me:




Before heading back to the Strip, I decided to check out the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop where they film the Pawn Stars show.




None of the stars of the show were there and some of the people there said that is common. Inside you can see some of the items they bought on the show and most of them are marked for sale at pretty high prices, way higher than they paid on TV. They also had a couple of cases of coins, all of which were too overpriced for me. Here are a couple of pictures of some of the coins they had in their case at the pawn shop:








While there, I thought it would be interesting to see what they would offer on a few of my coins. I offered them a couple of common date average looking NGC MS64 Morgan Dollars. They offered me $35 per coin after telling me that they have to send all of their NGC coins to PCGS because that is what is necessary (even though they have some NGC in their case for sale). I also offered them a raw $20 gold Liberty which was XF or so. Gold spot was $1575 per ounce so they offered me $1475 for the coin. They have the same thing in their case for sale at $2000. Anyways, I didn't accept their offers! Here is a picture of the inside of the pawn store which is much bigger than I thought it looked on TV, but more than half of the shop is basically a large gift shop selling Pawn Stars souvenirs:




Instead of going to the Strip right away, I made a detour to Downtown Las Vegas since the Pawn Stars shop is not far from there. Stopped into the Golden Nugget where they have the World's Largest Gold Nugget on display:




Directly across from that massive gold nugget is their Gold ATM. I was seriously considering buying a small bar or coin for fun, but the premiums were just way too high that it would have ruined any fun from the experience so I passed.






After playing some blackjack and some more video poker at the Golden Nugget, I headed back to Caesars. A couple of years ago, they got rid of their famous steakhouse Nero's. That place was so good and I was really surprised when they announced they were closing it up. Of course, it turns out they were really just selling out to a bigger name that would pay to have their steakhouse in the same location and they seemingly were obligated to keep some of the old menu including my favorite, the lollipop ribeye. Just a massive piece of meat and quite tasty too! I took a pic below and even put a nickel on the corner of the plate for scale (and to keep it coin related):






After dinner, I resisted the urge to just crash after all of that meat and stayed out and had fun for a few more hours. Fortunately, I did ok with the gambling so I didn't have to run back to the Pawn Stars shop and sell that gold, haha!


Slept in a bit yesterday morning, checked out and then got on the road for the drive back to L.A.




If you've never done the drive between L.A. and Las Vegas, it's not that long, takes around 3-4 hours depending on what part of L.A. you are going to. But the drive is very boring as it's mostly desert. Although a boring drive, some of the scenery is impressive. This one was taken on the 15 just into California, you can see the road ahead for probably 20-25 miles.




At Victorville, I decided to cut through the high desert instead of driving through all of the urban sprawl that stretches nearly 100 miles from San Bernardino to the San Fernando Valley. It's another boring stretch of road, but lots of cool scenery. It got a little dark and cloudy for a bit, but here is a shot of some of the joshua trees along the road:




Finally, since I was pretty close I made a quick detour over to the Vasquez Rocks before going home. It's just a really neat place with the huge sandstone formations pushed up at the San Andreas Fault. Might look familiar to you as well as the place has been used as a filming location for over 100 years. Most famously, Star Trek used the location quite a bit and the main rock outcrop is now called Kirk's Rock. Really pretty just before sunset:





If you made it this far, thanks for looking! Another show in Buena Park next weekend!!




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Enjoyed the report. A short drive basically from LA to LV

and I can see why you go. I found it very interesting about

the PCGS Invitational show... It's a "boutique" type show &

really not suited to the average collector.


The Palace Station show made it worth your while I would imagine.



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Thanks for the covert photos of the secret Area 51-7/8. Most of them don’t look like aliens although some could be from Texas or Kansas.

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Thanks for the report here and elsewhere!


On the "Pawn Stars" show biz and the actual reality, my thoughts are that these guys are under lots of pressure to perform on camera as it is super weird to have cameras pointed at you with the expectation you are going to follow a -script that they can use.

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hmmm Mike did you know that BNB is in one of your photos? Can't wait for your next show report, lets see, more pics of members, dealers, and coins pls! Some food pics is good too hahaha

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