Home Call Home Call

News Article

Baltimore Show report

My apologies for being late to the dance!  I’ve been delayed for two different reasons, a surge of concern from clients about the banking crisis and customers that need information for gains and losses for tax season.  Phew, it’s been hectic. Coming in on Saturday and Sundays has only helped a little. Here’s my analysis of the show!
                Chris and I headed to Baltimore after changing our flights to Monday morning.  Three feet of snow later, that was a good call!  The airport was shut down on Tuesday.  Our new strategy was to spend Tuesday viewing auction lots.  That was a productive way to spend the day.  I was particularly interested in the Millholland Collection.  It’s always intriguing to hear of a fresh collection come out of the woodwork. I had visions of sugar plums in my head, at last, a fresh, original, old-time collection is in the market place. Alas, my hopes were a bit dashed.  There were some wonderful pieces, but I hope you weren’t a Bust half nut.  The lack of originality here was very disappointing. There were some very nice coins, but with all slabbed coins, do the work!  The coin is the important part inside of the plastic.  I noticed that the market is so starving for original coins that many knowledgeable collectors and dealers don’t examine things with a critical eye.  I encouraged a few collectors and dealer friends to re-examine their lots of interest.  We did manage to pick up a few lots, but many of the coins that I had an initial interest in, I crossed off my list.  Nice coins brought strong money and the market value of CAC approved coins is still very robust.
                Wednesday was the day to let the coin show fun begin.  We went to the early bird trading rooms and for the first time ever, it was crickets to start.  Those rooms are normally jumping!  A couple of hours in, it picked up a bit, but the lack of intensity was surprising.  By the way, where were many of the big players?  Baltimore is a major show.  We contacted one of the big boys and they said they were so busy in the office that they decided not to come.  I won’t tell you what was taking up a lot of their time, but it’s an area of the market that I personally feel is a major risk to both collectors and investors.  I feel it’s destined to lose money.
                Thursday was the opening of the show.  Dealers can set up and trade Wednesday night, but they are mostly the same dealers we saw in the trading rooms.  The first thing I noticed was that the bourse was probably 10-15% smaller than normal.  Many dealers did not show!  I went to a familiar long time dealer I normally acquire coins from and he had a case of Saints that he was unwilling to price!  His quote was, “I’m not selling these coins.”  So, were they there for display only?  I was surprised.
                The bank crisis had many dealers scared.  It was the first coin show I’ve gone to in over 45 years that dealers didn’t want to buy and dealers didn’t want to sell!  What’s that all about?  I made my rounds and bought what I could and Friday we were on a plane to snow bound New Hampshire.
                My thoughts are that the Silicon Valley Bank and others to follow put the fear of God into many people.  The effect it had on the show was shocking.  For years I’ve been telling clients to get ready, set up, and acquire the hard assets you can while they are available.  Many dealers took me to task for being such a strong advocate for clients to diversify and not just buy rare coins, but to include a bullion stash as well.  Consider it an insurance policy against calamity and hope you never need it.  However, your coins and bullion have performed very well over the years. Guess what? It should continue too!  There will be profit taking and ups and downs and market manipulation of gold and silver prices will continue, but the emperor really does have no clothes. Also, don’t get too comfy with bullion, diversify.  Nice coins are so hard to find with pent up demand.  We sold two thirds of our purchases to want list clients before anything was put up on our site.  Don’t lose sight of the fact that regulations could come down the road at any time to limit trading in bullion.  Continue to focus on the coins you love.  They are getting harder and harder to find nice.  I’m not talking about the slabbed swill that is always available!  Be discriminating and continue to focus on the best.  I think you’ll be glad you did.
                                                                                                                                                   Coin World
                I also want to thank you, our loyal friends, that took the time to vote for me as one of the most influential in numismatics.  I was informed by Coin World at the Baltimore show that I was selected by a landslide of votes!
                A representative of Coin World bumped into me at the show and said that I was nominated by past most influential winners.  That was very humbling.  However, it’s one thing to be nominated but another thing to garner enough votes  to be chosen.  My heartfelt thanks to all of you for your kind consideration and trust.  I’ve always believed in being a good steward for the industry.  I’ve tried to stay out of the limelight. I didn’t even know I was nominated because I didn’t open the Coin World e-mail for over a week after I received it!  When I found out, I said what the heck!
                I always try to spend as much time as I can with a collector or dealer that has any questions I can help with.  I never ask for anything in return, I just help.  I can’t sell the over-graded, altered surface, screwed up slabbed coins that many dealers do because I care and know better.
Please feel free to contact me anytime.
Thank you again,