The last blog I wrote was about ten things I wanted to do at the then-upcoming 2012 Philadelphia ANA show. So did I fulfill my numiswishes? Yes and no. I didn't do everything I wanted but I got a lot done, including buying oodles and oodles of good coins. Let's compare what I did to what I wanted.
1. Meet a Mystery Guest. I didn't see anyone who made my jaw drop (at least at the show) but I did have a few cool table visits. I'd say the most interesting was a collector of branch mint gold who I had sold some great coins to about twenty years but who fell out of touch. Yes, the first question out of my mouth (after "How's the wife and kids?") was, "Do you still have your coins and would you like to sell?"
2. Attend the Battle Born Sale. For collectors of Carson City gold, the sale of the Battle Born collection was a highlight of this or any show. I did attend and it was an event. Prices ranged from kind of reasonable to nuts. I'm going to write a detailed coin-by-coin analysis in a week or so, after I am caught up with listing new coins, sending coins in for grading, making deposits, and the dozens of paperworky things that I have to do after any ANA.
3. Have Something Great Walk Up to the Table. At the last Philadelphia ANA, I met a collector who sold me some great coins and I have since spent over a million dollars with him, purchasing some amazing items. I had hoped that I would have something comparable walk up to the table this year but no luck. I asked other dealers if they had the little-old-lady-with a-box-of 1880's Proof Sets scenario that I hoped against hope for. No one said they did. But one dealer made a point that I thought bears repeating: the hotel buyers that have invaded nearly every city in the U.S. have made these sort of deals even more unlikely to find.
4. Wear Nice Clothes in Very, Very Humid Conditions. Every time I ask myself "why did I move to the Pacific Northwest," all I have to do is spend a summer week anywhere other than Portland. Virtually every day of the show saw 90+ degree weather with brutal humidity. I would have been sweaty even in my typical shorts and t-shirt summer garb; in a tie and jacket it was just brutal. My dry cleaner would likely give Big Ups to Philadelphia's weather but I was dying...
5. View Exhibits:. I'm embarrassed to admit that not only did I not view the exhibits, I don't think I even made it across the room. That's what happens when you work your fanny off for ten hours a day in a room that's about the size of a football stadium.
6. See the Barnes Collection. I went to the Barnes Museum on Monday and it was without a doubt the highlight of the trip. Utterly fantastic and a collection that has amazing lessons to collectors of everything, even coins. In fact, I am going to write an article soon about "what I learned from the Barnes collection." If you are ever close to Philadelphia I urge, urge, urge you to see this amazing museum!
7. Eat at Reading Market I did. Every day. Sometimes for breakfast and lunch. I ate Amish doughnuts. I ate Italian sammies. I had clams. I had pizza. I gained weight. But it kept me sane and kept me away from the convention for a few minutes every day. It was great.
8. Restocking Inventory. I wound up buying over 100 new coins and spent more than a million dollars. The first group of new purchases are up and listed on my website (www.raregoldcoins.com) and the next wave will hit in about a week. How was buying at the show? Brutally hard. It was a ton of work to find these coins but I am proud to offer some great fresh pieces in price ranges that go from cheap (around $1,000-1,500) to expensive ($25,000 and up).
9. Experience the ANA Buzz. Was it a great show? Yes and no. It was well-located, well-run, and massive. I'd go back to Philadelphia for another show although I much prefer New York or Boston for an eastern location. My biggest complaint was that it was too long. With the pre-show (and I could make a great argument for nuking it) and the regular show it was a very long week. I got so tired one night at the auction I actually had to go outside and get fresh air, fearing that I was about to have an out-of-body experience. ANA Week is clearly a marathon and, I'm afraid, I've become more of a middle distance kinda guy in my middle age.
10. Leaving the Show. I was supposed to leave the show on Friday but my flight was cancelled and I had to stay until mid-day on Saturday. It worked out just fine in the end but, yes, it was great to get home except for the fact that I have been working ten+ hour days since then catching up.
How was your ANA experience? Did you find what you were looking for? Contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know.