To be perfectly frank, I hate coin show reports. I hate to write them. I hate to read them. I don't care what restaurants a dealer went to and what they ate and I don't really care that Dealer X spent this much money on those coins at the show. That said, I also know that the ANA is the show that everyone who didn't attend wants to know about. So, with these people in mind, I thought I'd share a few random observations about the ANA. On a scale of 1-10, I'd rate this show as a solid 6; possibly a 7. Overall, I'd say a was a tiny bit disappointed. I was expecting the show to be an 8 or a 9 because of the fact that it was the first ANA in Boston since 1982 and the fact that Boston is within a few hours of huge numbers of serious collectors.
I go to coin shows primarily to buy and from a buying standpoint I was reasonably pleased. I bought some great coins. These include an 1854-O double eagle in PCGS AU55, the Garrett specimen of the 1808 quarter eagle (graded AU53 by PCGS) and over fifty crusty original 19th century gold pieces, most of which have already found their way onto my website. I would have liked to buy more but, hey, that's what I say at every show; even when I'm wondering how I'm going to sell all the great coins I just bought. And, yes, this paragraph is self-promotion.
Attendance seemed good and the mood among dealers and collectors seemed upbeat and positive. I didn't have any little old ladies walk up to my table with a New England shilling in a cigar box (a fella can dream, can't he?) but I was fairly pleased at the number of fresh coins that I was able to purchase on the floor.
I participated in three auctions. The Stack's sale contained an interesting fresh deal of Liberty Head eagles and prices were amazing (more on this in a future blog). The Bowers and Merena sale was reasonably strong but prices were mainly reflective on the quality of the coins. In other words, nice coins brought good prices while schlock sold cheaply, if at all. The Heritage sale was strong although prices didn't seem as off the charts as in years past. With the exception of the eagles in the Stack's sale the coins brought basically what they were worth. That sounds trite but, in past ANA sales, many coins brought a lot (stress a lot) more than they were worth. A lot.
In the area of rare gold, I noticed some definite market trends. Early date (i.e., pre-1834) gold was almost non-existent. Even the low end, overpriced stragglers that had been overhanging the market seemed to have disappeared. I can't remember an ANA at which I saw fewer early gold coins nor a major show that I purchased fewer.
There was extremely strong demand for Type One double eagles. The coins that nearly everyone seemed to want were common and somewhat better dates in AU50 and up, especially in the $2,000-7,500 price range. Demand was also strong for interesting Type Ones in the $10,000-20,000 range. Its hard to say what demand was like for expensive, really great Type Ones as there were almost none to be seen at the show.
Branch mint gold also was in demand. I bought and sold a few interesting pieces of Dahlonega at the show and had quite a few people come to my table with specific wants. I searched through dozens of dealers' inventories in a Quest for Crust and was unable to find more than a handful of truly DWN-worthy coins.
Another area that suddenly seems strong is Carson City double eagles. I sold a number of interesting CC Twenties and was pleased at the prices they bought. I tried to buy an amazing 1872-CC in NGC MS62+ that was far and away the finest known for the date but was outbid despite figuring it for nearly six figures. Congratulations to whoever purchased this coin; it was sensational.
Off the subject of coins for a second. I hadn't been to Boston in about a decade and it was great to return. What a fantastic city. Great places to shop, small and compact with wonderful walking, fantastic architecture; my kind of place. I was able to leave the show early one day and went to the Gardner Museum. The Rembrandt self-portrait and the two Botticellis were breathtaking, to say the least.
So, another ANA show has come and gone. After nearly 30 years of ANA's, I don't feel the excitement that I used to but this is clearly THE show of the year and the 2010 edition was memorable.