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Coin Show Report - Baltimore

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I just got back from Baltimore. This time the show was somewhat bigger than it was when I went for the first time in March 2002. One dealer said he thought they sold 350 tables - some of the biggest dealers had two or three tables and some of the smaller dealers were two or three to a table. Needless to say, it was one da*n big show - walking the entire floor was exhausting!


I rode down with TomB on Friday morning. We got to the show about 10:30. The floor was already busy and buzzing with activity. (The last time I went to Baltimore I went on Saturday. So much material was gone, along with several dealers, that I determined that next time I would go on Friday. I can now say: "Go on Friday if at all possible!")


It took me about two hours just to cover about half of the floor. Higher prices have really brought out the nicer coins. Bust dollars were everywhere, including slabbed Bust dollars. Seated dollars, on the other hand, while around, were not really in abundance - some dates weren't there. I only saw one slabbed 1844, for example. Also, most of the slabbed Seated dollars that were there were AU-50 or better. And, many, many of them (slabbed and raw) had been "messed with" - dipped, etc.


I saw a lot of rarities - an MS-65 1933 eagle, lots of proof US Coronet gold, 1796 quarters, etc. etc. I saw more no-motto O-mint gold than I saw at the 2003 ANA. (I saw considerably less C- and D-mint gold, however.)


However, I saw only ONE pre-Civil War S-mint half eagle (1855-S), an 1866-S no motto eagle (both slabbed), [also, one raw (problem) 1855-S half eagle], but I don't think I even saw one pre-Civil War S-mint eagle. Well, maybe I saw one, but I'm not sure.


Also, I didn't see more than one slabbed 1838-O dime. I don't recall seeing any 1839-O halves. Clearly, there are rare coins and then there are RARE coins.


Anyway, being denied a big purchase, I went looking for Seated dollars. After some searching, I nabbed an ANACS AU-53 1847. I think it's a nice coin, with dark gray toning (pretty even on both sides); next I snapped up a raw AU 1846 half. It, too, has even dark toning, but the reverse is gray and the obverse has a more coffee color - 893scratchchin-thumb.gifmn, perhaps not original toning, but nice surfaces (and the pre-1853 halves aren't common). The surfaces are very nice and smooth, however. Then, I wandered over to the world coins section and picked up a very attractive circulated George II 1758 shilling - lots of blue and rose color on it. It looks very original.


I had the opportunity to talk to njcoincrank, who let me look at his inventory - WOW! He was also kind enough to look at a coin for me and point out the hairlines of an old cleaning. He looked at the coin for about 30 seconds without magnification. He's good! (No wonder he teaches the grading course at the ANA summer camp.) Now I know what to look for, too!


After a very long day, TomB and I went to dinner with EVP and a couple of his friends. Oddly enough, we didn't talk about coins!


Following dinner, Tom and I did some "show and tell" at our hotel. He pulled out some coins he was thinking of selling and was kind enough to let me purchase an 1807 Bust half in an ANACS VF-30 slab. It's a very original-looking coin and is the small stars variety. (The "Bearded Goddess" is the rarest variety of that year and the small stars variety is more expensive than the large stars or the '50 over 20' varieties.) Gee, now I feel like one of the "in-crowd" - buying something direct, at the hotel room away from the show!


Saturday morning I was pretty wiped out, so I just wandered around. Tom had a migraine, so we left a few hours earlier than we intended. However, during my wandering, I wandered past the PCGS and NGC tables, looking for sample slabs. I didn't see any at PCGS, but NGC had two on their table. I confirmed they were giving them away, and then I grabbed one. It's a 2004-P "handshake" nickel. (Gee, my first actually free sample slab!) Speaking of slabs, I noticed that early NGC slabs were considerable less available than PCGS rattlers.


All-in-all, it was a busy show. A ton of coins got sold on Friday and were just not around on Saturday. (I can only imagine the coins that disappeared on Thursday!) Several dealers were gone by Saturday morning and several packed up during Saturday morning.


I'd say that a "bull" market is good in that higher prices bring the nicer coins out of hiding. Also, there's a big difference between a rare coin that you can find on the bourse floor of a big show and a RARE coin that even dealers can't find at a big show.


Also, going to a big show is the best way to really learn about coins - to see the difference between an original coin and a "messed with" coin, to find out where prices for a particular series really are - close to Bid or closer to Trends - and to really find out what kind of coins are available - just because it's listed in the Red Book doesn't mean that you can find one to buy!

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A very informative report. Thanks for taking the time to let us in on what was happening in Baltimore. Sounds like you had a great time and were very pleased with your purchase of the 1807 half. Also sounds like gold coinage draped dollars were in abundance. Any info on how the key dates were doing ?



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Thanks for the report. It appears as though the auctions at the Baltimore show did well also. The bull market seems to be continuing, despite all the sales recently.

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I didn't ask about any of the Bust dollars - I just gawked at them.


As for the gold and Seated dollars, all I can say generally is that I found that prices were a lot closer to Trends than they were to Bid.

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