The annual Summer ANA show is a highlight on any collector's or dealer's calendar. This is my 30th in a row to attend and I am very much looking forward to the show, especially as it appears to be the last ANA that will be held on the east coast for many years. Here's a list of at least ten things that I'm excited about doing and seeing next week in Philadelphia: 1. Having a Mystery Guest Sighting: Without fail, every year at ANA always brings out at least one "mystery guest." Typically, it's a dealer who left the market and have been unseen for years or it's a collector who I haven't seen since the late 1980's who has decided to wander in because he heard that the ANA show was close to his house. I wonder who it will be this year?
2. Attending the Battle Born Sale. I'm very interested in this sale for a number of reasons. I sold many of the coins to the owner and am curious to see how they do at auction. I am excited to go "head to head" with the sharpest rare date gold buyers in the business as we compete to buy coins for clients and for stock. In the not so distant past, it wasn't uncommon to have big specialized sales like this that all the big players attended in person. I'm hoping that during this sale I'm able to see who I am bidding against, and it will go a long way to answering my questions about the State of the Market for Carson City coinage.
3. Having Something Great Walk Up to My Table: Every dealer hopes this will happen at an ANA show: a well-dressed man walks up to the table with a run of 19th century proof sets that he wants to sell for his elderly parents or a little old lady walks up with an original roll of Saints. These things DO happen from time to time and the fact that we are in Philadelphia, the cradle of American numismatics, bodes well for something exciting walking into the show. So if you are reading this blog, great-grandson of James Longacre, please come to tables 805-807 first and ask for me by name!
4. Wearing Nice Clothes in the 95 Degree/100 % Humidity Philly Summer As excited as I am to spend a week in Philadelphia, I'm going to miss the nearly perfect summer we've had so far in the Northwest. It's been under 80 degrees nearly every day here and I haven't had the air conditioner on once. While I'd like to attend the ANA show in my typical Portland Summer Uniform of polo shirt, shorts and sneakers, I feel this wouldn't be appropriate and will, instead, be suited-up every day. Sigh...
5. Viewing the ANA Exhibits. One of my favorite things to do at the show every year is to take thirty minutes off and go view the competitive and non-competitive exhibits. I still am eager to learn about areas of numismatics I know little about, and to see great U.S. coins that I haven't viewed before. It is always fun for me to do this and I always learn which dealers are true coin weenies when I get a text(s) during the show telling me "you have to see (such and such) coin at the Smithsonian or ANS exhibit."
6. Going to The Barnes Museum. Is it wrong for me to admit that I'm actually more excited to see this art museum than I am to attend the coin show? If you have a teeny iota of interest in great 19th and 20th century art, you need to go.
7. Eating Breakfast and Lunch Every Day at Reading Market. Two words: Amish Breakfast. And I can already taste the Italian sammies I'll be chowing down on every day. Sure beats typical coin show food! (Let's not even begin to talk about Philly cheese steaks, South Philly noodles and gravy, the Belgian mussels and frites place I went to the last time I was in Philly, cheap and good Chinese food, etc. etc.)
8. Restocking My Depleted Inventory. Back in the day, I would save coins for the ANA show because June and July were typically dead months. Now, with the internet 24/7/365 having taken over all retail businesses, I typically go to ANA with very few fresh coins due to the fact that there is essentially no summer break for the coin market any more. I had an atypically busy July and am now in dire need to buy coins. As are, I would assume, most other dealers. That fact, combined with strong metals prices and a great east coast location, lead me to think that this year's show will be a very good to excellent one.
9. Experiencing the ANA Buzz. To use a sports metaphor, the ANA is the Super Bowl of coin shows. It's a whole lot more exciting for a dealer to be at the ANA for a week than its is to spend three days trapped in the purgatory of a slow regional show where you've realized within thirty minutes that there is nothing to buy but your airline wants $1,000+ to change to an earlier flight. (Note to self: continue to pay the change fees and chalk it up to mental health benefits...). Even though I've been doing this show for 30 years and it has becoming a bit of grind, it is still exciting for me every day to walk in, see the hundreds and hundreds of tables and wondering what will happen, good or bad, on this particular day.
10. Leaving the Show. As I hinted above, the ANA is a lot of work, especially when you are doing the majority of the buying/selling/bidding/schmoozing/running around/answering calls/scheduling...let's just say I stay busy pretty much every minute of the day from 8am until 10pm (or later on some of the big auction nights). I like the action and I love the up-side, but it is very tiring and I have to tell you that when my plane lands in Portland, I might be doing the Pope-kissing-the tarmac routine. Except for the fact that the Saturday, Sunday, and Monday after the show are all 12+ hour days...
See you in Philadelphia!