28059HOT in Baltimore (Show Review)
- Mar 28, 2014I would have liked to write this late last night when I got home but this site wasn't working well. After all the travel, neither was I.
I Amtracked it ($98 R/T) through 5 states to Baltimore for the big Spring Whitman Show at the Baltimore Convention Center. It's was great to get out of the Northeast winter doldrums and meet friends (and an occasional non-friend). Here's my morning after take on it all:
The moment I got there, there were hundreds of people on a long line to a separate entrance. Yesterday was the release of the Baseball coins, and The Mint had a large booth with only 2 people working orders. On the line were children and wives too. This way any minimums would be spread amongst the family. The back of the line was 3-1/2 hours from the Mint's booth...a line going out the door and into the lobby, up the stairs and out onto the Pratt St. entrance. It was really unbelievable. A big win for coin sollecting, as a new base (no pun intended) of folks got introduced to the coin hobby. By midday, only the Baseball halves were left in stock but that did not deter the seemingly endless line.
I spent 1/2 hour at the NGC booth. They had a big sign - First Day Of Issue Baseball Coin Grading - $50 for the $5 coin and $30 each the $1 and $.50 coins. This messed me up, as many speculators took up NGC's resources and I waited long to have my error coins submitted. I never knew what difference it made whether first day or last of issue..the bottom line is the coin's condition. I remember a while back folks complaining of bag marks and poor quality on some first day issues of State's Quarters.
As for the show other than the Baseball Coins, it was much better than the sparcly populated Phila. show I went to in Sept. This time it was very well attended. Many collectors were busy filling empty spaces in their collections, and all dealers were busy. Aisles were well populated. And again, Slabs accounted for more than 50% of all offerings. Slabs rule. But I still don't know why you put a $25 coin in a slab.
In the error dept, only Glen Burger, Rich Schemmer, and Jon Sullivan had tables. Errors were again high end, and there was plenty of extraordinary eye candy to absorb. Bonded multicoin errors abounded, with Jon Sullivan having the most. At least 10 different bonded clusters of 10, 15, even 20 coins bonded together. Some were just eye popping, and you have to wonder how they got out of the mint; they were so large. They were just amazing! One cluster of 4 cents looking like a 2-leaf clover was slabbed in an NGC special holder, about 8" square and 1-1/2 inches thick! A giant paperweight! The others weren't slabbed due to size and shape I guess. For me, great museum pieces but by far out of my range$.
A non-error dealer had a raw 1942 (non-silver) nickel double struck in collar with 60 degree CCW rotation. This put the first date onto the truncation, and super details obv and rev. It was raw and circulated (about VF), and he wanted $1250.
Another non-error dealer had an Anacs slabbed cap clash on a cent, but it was labeled 'Struck on a Split Planchet'. It was MS60 and dark Choc. brown, looked Cu but no weight. I couldn't do the $125 he wanted for it but my offer of $75 was rejected. He wouldn't haggle. I just hate it when an error is so mis-diagnosed by TPG's. I had to walk and did not tell him it wasn't what the slab says. (I did not want to appear as if I was trying to underpay, as I thought my offer was OK). If it was red, I might have popped for it.
I'm glad I brought my own lunch as the concession stand was meager. Anyone who goes for a whole day should consider this.
I spent $250 and came home with some nice coins, and it was a great day unlike last September experience in Phil.
It's always good getting to the show and handling hundreds, or thousands of coins. The best way to learn is BEING THERE, seeing, and asking questions. At least once a year every collector should take in a large trade show like this, or the ANA, or Long Beach, etc.
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