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Baltimore Show Report Including Stinking Money and High Speed Adventure (Long)

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This thread is awfully late for a Baltimore show report. Once the report got pushed back a bit, I debated whether or not folks would even be interested in reading another thread about the show at such a late date, but decided to post these observations anyway. Typically, I attend the Baltimore shows from Thursday through Saturday, which requires the purchase of a super-bourse badge and donation to the Baltimore Children’s Hospital for $100. However, when I attempted to reserve a hotel room at the show rate the web-based system was indicating that all reserved rooms were already booked. Therefore, I stayed outside of Baltimore and cut the show down to only Friday and Saturday. This means that the show report, while representative of what I witnessed over the course of two days, does not have the level of detail of previous reports.


The drive from eastern Connecticut was fairly smooth, but the change in temperature was surprising since it had been 39 degrees at 1:30 PM Thursday when I left home, but at 5:00 PM in New Jersey it was already 74 degrees. That was a heck of a shock, and the weather would stay relatively balmy throughout my stay. Driving into Baltimore the next morning I paid a toll and received my change for a twenty. A little further down the highway I noticed that something didn’t smell quite right. In fact, something smelled downright nasty, like urine. Since I was fairly confident it wasn’t a new problem with incontinence, I rolled down my windows to air the car out, but the smell wouldn’t go away. The only thing different about the contents of my car from before the smell to after the smell was the addition of the money I received in change from the toll clerk. Sure enough, the ten-dollar bill stank like urine. Not just a little stink, but a big, whopping stink. If it was a one-dollar bill I might have let it “accidentally” float out the open window, but a ten-dollar bill would require a different strategy. I parked at the Sheraton, made a beeline down to the check-in counter and politely asked for change for a ten-dollar bill. Moments later I was the happy recipient of five one-dollar bills and one five-dollar bill, none of which stank any different than typical currency. Of course, I also immediately went into the restroom and washed my hands of the last traces of the offending ten-dollar bill. It’s amazing how little solutions to life’s problems make one feel satisfied.


The show was easy to sign into, but the badges were large, initially sticky nametags that had faulty glue. I quickly removed mine and no one seemed to care. The bourse appeared to be the same size as previous and had a stronger Whitman presence, which should not be surprising. I had several coins to sell that included two better date Washington quarters that were initially listed on the BS&T board as well as a nicely toned Merc. Within the first hour the coins were sold to dealers at the level that I had been asking on the BS&T and all the dealers seemed quite happy. The only odd thing was that the 1936-S Washington quarter graded PCGS MS65 was looked at by approximately six dealers before someone bought the piece. Everyone commented on how pretty it was, with terrific luster and very light obverse toning, but they also universally lamented that it wasn’t quite white enough for them to move the coin to one of their clients. In other words, it was too original even though it was quite pretty.


The bourse appeared lightly populated, but this is quite typical for early on a Friday, and I was able to make it through the myriad aisles quite easily. I stopped to speak with many familiar faces at their tables including Mike Printz, Sheridan Downey, Dahlonega, njcoincrank, BigMoose, Newmismatist, ColonialCoinUnion, CoinRaritiesOnline, Wayne Herndon and TBT among others. One person whom I spoke with at some length for the first time was poorguy and it became a small party when Mike Printz and airplanenut joined us for a while. Friday night was spent with Michael, chinook/cohodk and coindeuce before Michael had to leave and we three ended up woofing down burgers. It is always a pleasure to meet up with Michael and chinook/cohodk, but this was the first time I met coindeuce and it was the first time that a board member didn’t recognize my user ID and thought I was purely a lurker, which can perhaps put things into a different perspective. Saturday after the show I made the trip to supertooth’s house, which has become a Baltimore show tradition, and spent the night with the supertooth clan. Supertooth’s adult son, who is a collector but not a member of the boards, joined us as we poured through stacks of WLHs, Washington quarters and fantastic home-cooked food courtesy of Mrs. supertooth.


Sunday morning I headed back to Connecticut only to have an approximately eight-inch section of railroad tie eject from the bed of a pickup truck while driving through a high speed section of seldom used northern New Jersey highway, yes, there is such a thing, and have the railroad tie bounce in a crazy and unpredictable manner squarely under my front driver’s side tire. The resulting impact made all the change in my car slam into the roof, the glass bottle of iced tea in the cup holder fly into the windshield and the car heave up momentarily. I managed to stay in my lane and not hit anyone, but my steering wheel was misaligned by 75 degrees after that with the steering being quite soft and incomplete at certain angles and the suspension being very hard and unforgiving. Luckily, a Sears was open and two new tires were put onto the car to replace the tire with a five-inch long by two-inch wide bubble that was sticking out more than one-half inch. The struts were bent, and had to be manually and incompletely, bent back. The technicians at Sears were amazed that I didn’t drive off the road with the damage that the car took. After the three-hour odyssey I was certain the trip would be smooth until I came home to find out that my wife had been in the hospital ER all day with strep throat that our younger daughter had given to her. At least everything has been smooth since then with the car fixed and my wife and daughters healthy.


Although the social interactions were quite nice, I found the pickings on the floor to be slim, in my opinion, for coins that interested me. Here are some of the observations.


-The number of better-toned Morgan dollars appears to be drying up and this might be due to folks retaining the coins in their collections. Perhaps they cannot sell the pieces for an attractive price, or perhaps they are holding onto them for the long-term.


-An “original bag” of 1885-O Morgan dollars was for sale at $72,000 and perhaps three-dozen of the coins had been removed and put into individual flips to highlight the classic bag-toned appearance that these sometimes obtain.


-More original looking late date, mid-grade CBHs were on the floor than at recent shows and I do not think the asking prices were outrageous.


-Sheridan Downey had a fabulous 1795 Flowing Hair counterfeit half-dollar obverse die at his table. It was not for sale, but close inspection showed that the workmanship was fairly good even though there were only fourteen obverse stars included along the edge.


-Trade dollars and twenty-cent pieces in original, attractive VF-EF were not around, which should not be surprising, but at this show they seemed to be especially missing.


-The modern 2006-W bullion silver coins were at some tables, but I did not notice any of the corresponding gold issues.


-One dealer had seven certified Gobrecht dollars that ranged in grade from PF40 through PF61 and the two lowest graded pieces appeared by far to be the most original and attractive in the group.


-Sheridan Downey also had a unique obverse brockage 1806 quarter and a unique reverse brockage 1806 quarter. The two were quite cool when paired up with one another.


-The larger Spanish reales denominations of 4R and 8R were even tougher to find than typical.


-The PCGS and NGC booths were not hopping with activity when I checked them, which was in stark contrast to some shows I have attended.


-More dealers appeared to be selling coinage on consignment rather than through inventory; at least more dealers were telling me of this strategy.


-The many folks who write on these boards that they will enter the matte proof Lincoln niche had better be prepared to pay far higher prices than any guidebook or pricelist suggests if they intend to obtain an attractive example.


-Joe Kaminski of Kaminski Coin Company was handing out a full color article that he had written titled “Grey Sheet Pricing vs. Market Values”, which contained many images of coins that traded at premium, sheet or discount. This would be valuable for many folks to read.


-Two canvas Philadelphia Mint bags for double eagles were for sale, one bag from 1925 and the other from 1928, I believe. The bags, in different type face although only three years apart, appeared to be about six-inches wide by fourteen or so inches high and contained $5,000 in double eagles at time of issue.


-One dealer had a table almost entirely devoted to AT coinage, though there was no sign on his table to tell folks that the coins were severely manipulated.


-Nice classic silver commems were grossly overrun by dipped classic silver commems, which has been the norm for a number of years. This is a niche market that I think is undervalued if one can obtain the nicer coins at near-generic prices.


-Gold coinage with original skin was as rare as hen’s teeth.


-The unique Barber half reverse brockage was for sale and I examined the coin closely. To tell the truth, I thought the price quoted was quite reasonable for what was offered, but was far out of what I had to spend for such a coin.


-Currency seemed to be selling hotter than at recent shows and appeared to take more total space at the show.


-Several dealers commented that any post-1940 cent was dead, in their opinion, and that they had to almost give the coin away regardless of grade or TPG slab.


-The 1893-S Morgan dollar is still the most common key date coin, in my experience, that one might look for at any larger show. However, the 1916 SLQ appears to have taken over second place in that dubious list by nosing out the perennial second place finisher, the 1909-S VDB Lincoln. There were many of each coin available in nearly any grade (excluding MS 1893-S Morgan dollars) or TPG flavor one could want.


-Several dealers told me that not only did they have no early WLHs in stock, but that they would pay handsomely to obtain any for inventory and would buy as many as I could provide.


-My single purchase for myself at the show was an original, attractive, solid for the grade AG3/G4 1909-O Barber quarter.

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Thank you Tom for your observances. Late or not it is appreciated. For the ones of us not attending the large shows it gives us a feeling we have been there and also allows us to absorb information otherwise unattainable via normal means.


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Thank you very much for your show report Tom. It certainly gives us a "feel of the pulse".


I'm also glad that you made it through the car accident OK! thumbsup2.gif

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I did not post a report on Baltimore because I thought it was pretty unremarkable.


I usually go on Fridays but since I had work responsibilities, I went on Saturday. I also went later in order to take care of some things at home. But when I arrived at 2pm, to say it was empty was an understatement. The number of tables and dealers were reported to have grown but the number of dealers at their tables by 2pm was less than half.


I saw the usual dealers I like to buy from, including one who's a weekend dealer that also works for the Maryland tax collector during the week. He's a lot of fun to talk with. I usually go through his junk box cherry picking items I know I can turn over on eBay. After picking some items, I moved on.


I did not see a lot of foreign coins. Usually, in the section to the far right of the door, there is a section of foreign and ancient coins. While the ancient coin dealers were there, I saw very few foreign dealers. I was looking for early Elizabeth II era Canadian dollars. I did not find any.


At the time I was there, I found ONE dealer with non-US bullion. That one dealer had all of the popular foreign bullion. I purchased two Britannias, one for me, one for pendragon1998. I like the design but I wish the Royal Mint made it more proof-like with frosty devices.


Wayne Herndon was still there when I arrived. I said hello after speaking with him in Charlotte and purchased the Somalia Motorcycle coins. A good set of pictures of these coins can be found here. Wayne was doing a lot of business.


Like Charlotte, there were a lot of Morgan dollars. I was also looking for early Mint State Red cents. There used to be a few dealers I could count on for nice raw red cents, but they were not at the show. Sure, they had tables, but they were not there when I arrived!


There are a few issues I would take up with Whitman:

1. I don't care how much dealers pay for their tables, but if they are going operate a show and advertise that it is open until a certain time, then the public deserves to be able to attend the show with the dealers present. I read that the NY Internation Coin and Currency Show is now fining dealers for leaving early for this reason, maybe it's time to do it here.


2. Whitman did not advertise as much as previous owners. Since Gordon Berg is from the DC area, he made sure there was some advertising in the DC media. I heard and saw nothing in the DC area. Baltimore is not that far of a drive for those of us in the DC area. I do it for every show.


3. Change the auction to have a session on Saturday. Aside from keeping people around, those of us who cannot make it to the weekday sessions and want to bid on items after the online auction closes (or just be there to participate), we can at least have one session.


I wish I could be more positive. But to be honest, I had a better time at the smaller ANA National Money Show in Charlotte than this Baltimore show!


Scott hi.gif

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Hi, TomB


I enjoyed your Baltimore Show report on various coin types you observed. Looks like you enjoyed meeting and sharing information with fellow board members here and ATS!


Also I busted up on your unfortunate acquiring of a micturated $10.00 story. You may have become the hotel clerk's anecdote punch line! 27_laughing.gif


It is never too late, Tom, for a well written coin show report, thank you! laugh.gif



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Peter Boyle, 10/ 18/1935 – 10/ 12 /2006 thanks for all the great roles Peter.


Great wirte up Tom, sorry to hear about all the problems encountered to and from...I once ran over a gravestone laying in the middle of the interstate (at night, 70 mph) it will wake you up for sure, marble slabs do not give. I can't believe I did not wreck...blew the 2 tires on the passenger side, so I had to get assistance. The guy behind me hit it also, he dragged it off the highway as best he could, he only lost 1 tire, so he was lucky.


One thing about coin shows, you never know what's going to be hot and what's not. One good thing about shows, you can hold prospective purchases in-hand before deciding.


Thanks again, you get A+

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Whew! Tom, I'm amazed at how you maintained such control going over a railroad tie. I'm glad that you're alright but sorry that the bug got your family. frown.gif


Great report! I'm amazed at your level of perception. But, I'm sure that part of that is the scientist in you rearing it's Phd head. thumbsup2.gif

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For me, I am just glad that my friend, Tom, made it home in one piece. Isn't it strange how thirty seconds of a person's life can alter that life dramatically?? Keep your eyes open folks and you wits about you. Bob [supertooth]

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T'was good to see you Tom.


Very sorry to hear of your trip home and homecoming. Glad to see you are a-ok and I hope the family is recovering.

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Thanks, Tom! You should check your hotel bill carefully and make sure there isn't a mysterious $10 surcharge on it. A bag of '85-O's, huh? Why didn't you buy it for me? You know I would have paid you back someday.



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superb report Tom, wish I was there. and yes, I'm glad you made it home ok and your family is now well.


Yes, currency is growing in popularity and demand for several years now and I think the future for it is astronomical. Mind you, I refuse to look at any currency auctions for fear that ....

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Hey Tom,


The heck with the coin show report, I’m just glad you made it home safe and everyone is doing fine. I do think we’re going to have to start calling you calamity Tom though. wink.gif



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