Ten Things I Did at ANA: A Follow Up to "Ten Things I Want to Do at the 2012 ANA Show"

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 dwn@ont.com and let me know.

Ten Things I'm Looking Forward to Doing/Seeing at the Philly ANA

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!