by Jon Sullivan
Originally from sullivannumismatics.com
The Baltimore Whitman coin show was a decent show this July, although as with all summer shows they aren't nearly as active as shows held at other times of the year. It was “as expected”, with moderate buying and moderate selling, but overall satisfactory with enough of both activities to make the show well worth attending. Some of our regular customer were there, although a good number were not in attendance--probably due to vacations and summer activities keeping coins on the back-burner for them. Also, the summer Baltimore show has no major auction, and that takes some of the excitement and buzz out of the show. But to reiterate, it was worthwhile, and if you have a chance to come next year, consider adding it to your show calendar.
Above: Our table at the show.
We purchased a few high end coins, and a moderate quantity of less expensive errors. These will be coming here to the website in the coming weeks. One coin of particular interest was a 1964 Lincoln cent struck on a cancelled India 1/4 rupee, which is excessively rare, and super eye-catching. A few off-metals, some minor off-centers and cheaper errors, and miscellaneous other coins rounded out our purchases. If you're signed up for our mailing list, we will send our customary email out when these get listed on the website.
Above: one of the coins we purchased at the show: off-metal 1963 Washington quarter struck on a silver Roosevelt dime planchet.
We were the only dealer at the show who specializes exclusively in mint errors, and that probably helped make it a decent show since we were offered most of the error coins that dealers or collectors were wanting to sell. In discussing the show with non-error dealers, the general theme seemed to be that buying was good, selling was bad (wholesale or retail), and that prices are soft for all but unusual or nice coins. Of course there are exceptions, and we had a few dealers tell us that sales had been surprisingly good, and they had moved a good number of coins. Overall the coin market seems to be soft but holding up reasonably well, particularly for nice coins. If a coin is relatively common (in other words, easy to find for sale), the prices are generally soft. This is a good time for collectors to be building their collections—as the saying goes “buy low, sell high”, and that is appropriate for the current state of the coin market. Buy selectively, but buy.
Above: The show was well attended, and there was a decent “buzz” of activity on the bourse floor.
There was a lot of talk on Thursday and Friday about protestors, which were supposed to be protesting about a block from the convention center on Friday at 7 PM. The coin show staff decided to close the show on Friday 2 hours early out of an abundance of caution, but even that turned out to be unnecessary, as nothing happened at all. After the rioting which happened a year or so ago (not at the coin show of course, but just in Baltimore in general), a number of dealers (maybe 1/5th) left the show this year early, afraid that events might take a turn for the worse. Their empty booths dotted the show coin show floor. However, nothing happened, and all they did was miss out on a decent coin show.
It was nice to see some of our regular customers, do some buying and selling, and talk coins with fellow dealers and collectors. In an age of coin collecting where most buying and selling is done online, it is great to go to coin shows and be around fellow collectors and dealers to do business and talk coins. If you've not attended a coin show in a while, take the time as there's nothing like it.
For those who will be at the ANA Convention in Anaheim, California next month, we look forward to seeing you at our table!