The recently concluded Las Vegas coin show could certainly be summarized by the well-known Spaghetti Western director Sergio Leone as “the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.” First, the Good. I wasn’t expecting much from this show. In fact I was expecting so little that I decided to cut my stay to just one night and to bring only a small group of coins that I wanted to blow out of my inventory as I thought they were tired.
The coin show turned out to be more active than I would have expected. Dealers were clearly looking to buy. I sold all of my coins to the first (and only) two people I showed them to and for what I thought were pretty strong prices. In my conversations with other dealers at the show, I got the feeling that some of the doom and gloom that was being bandied about in September might have been a bit premature. The market has certainly corrected in certain areas but I think the pronouncements of its impending demise might have been a bit premature.
I was actually able to buy a few interesting coins as well (all of which are now listed on my website with descriptions and images). I wouldn’t by any stretch of the imagination call this show a blockbuster but it wasn’t all that bad and was certainly worth it for people like myself who live on the West Coast.
Next, the Bad. Do we really need an ANA sponsored show in Las Vegas? Clearly, Vegas is not a “coin town.” There are a lot of reasons to go to Las Vegas but trying to buy coins is probably pretty low on the list. Plus, this show is less than two months after the September Long Beach and just a few weeks before the Santa Clara show held in November. Does the West Coast need a third show in the Fall? I would tend to think not and this could really hurt the future growth potential of the Las Vegas show.
Finally, the Ugly. The previous incarnation of this show was held at the Mandalay Bay hotel. Now I do not consider myself to be a “Vegas kind of guy.” But I love the Mandalay Bay and had really gotten to know my way around the massive grounds. At the Mandalay, a non-gambler like me could find plenty to do in the way of eating, drinking and people watching.
This time, the show was moved to the Riviera Hotel convention center. I didn’t know anything about the Riviera so I went online and checked out their website when I was deciding where to stay. I figured it was a bad sign when I read that I could get a room there for $74 and that their “signature” restaurants were a buffet and a coffee shop.
The Riviera Hotel turned out to be everything I hate about Old Las Vegas. 96% of the people in the hotel were chain smokers and it looked like the average age of the gamblers there was 76 years. Many of the people were wandering around the hotel in a zombie-like stupor and the whole atmosphere was pretty depressing.
Although I didn’t stay there (I wound up at the Wynn which was four times more money but worth every penny) I was told that the rooms looked like they had been last updated in 1974. If the promoters of this coin show are interested in attracting upscale collectors and dealers, I think they are going to have to present a nicer venue than the Riviera. It might have been a swingin’ good time back in the days of the Rat Pack but, today, it was just plain Ratty…