Needless to say, the upcoming ANA Convention in Milwaukee is a major topic of conversation among dealers and collectors this week. How do I think this show will turn out and what are some of the trends I expect to see? Read on for some of my thoughts. 1. My gut feeling is that this will be a good but not great ANA show; probably something like a B or maybe even a B+ on the grading scale. I think part of the reason it won’t be a screaming success is the simple fact that the market is good right now but not as great as it’s been during the last few ANA shows. The second reason is the location. I know at least a few serious collectors who are not attending because the thought of a few days in Milwaukee isn’t as enticing as going on vacation somewhere exotic. And, of course, some people need to stay home and make enough money to pay for the new coins they will be buying after the show is over.
2. I can just about guarantee that every post-ANA market report you read is going to include a complaint about the lack of available material. I tend to approach major coin shows with a realistic approach these days. If I’m really lucky and all the stars align just right, I’ll be able to buy some really nice coins. If things don’t work out that well, I will buy a decent number of nice coins but not as many as I could have used. The bottom line is that nice coins are very hard to buy and even the number one show of the year isn’t necessarily going to pry them out of the strong hands they tend to be in these days.
3. The auctions are going to be strong. I spent a few hours yesterday looking through the Heritage sale on-line and compared the current bids to the numbers that I am willing to pay. My impression is that while a few interesting coins will sell semi-reasonably, many of the best lots in the sale are going to sell for exceptionally strong prices.
4. It will be interesting to see if certain dealers will be buying coins specifically in anticipation of the upcoming CAC launch. My guess is that the only dealers who will be able to create any significant positions are those with excellent cash flow. Most dealers do not have enough extra cash lying around that they can put away substantial numbers of coins for six months to a year in anticipation of a market swing. Plus you need to remember one thing about most dealers: we like the action of buying and selling and we need a continual supply of coins to sell in order for our businesses to be a success.
5. In terms of what will be in demand at the show, I think it’s safe to say that nice early gold will be actively sought and that most of the available pieces will be subpar for the grade. Better date 20th century gold will be active, especially in the Indian Head eagle series. I think the demand for branch mint gold will be pretty series-specific. By this, I mean the participants in this market will be on the lookout for better dates (such as 1861-D gold dollars and half eagles) or choice, original pieces in the $2,000-7,500 price range. New Orleans gold should continue its increased level of demand and I wouldn’t be surprised if Three Dollar gold pieces show greater activity than earlier in the year. Any coin that is extremely rare and which has a high “coolness factor” will be extremely easy to sell (hopefully I can buy a few coins like this!). But this, of course, is no surprise.