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My first coin show tomorrow...


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I've worked lots of book industry trade shows, but I'm still a little apprehensive about attending my first coin show - probably because this time I have no idea what I'm doing. It's a fairly small show (45 tables) and I doubt there will be much in the way of world coins. My main goal is to absorb as much information as I can without enraging any dealers or committing a major faux pas.

 

I know better than to monopolize a dealer's time, but is it generally okay to lurk on the sidelines and eavesdrop? Maybe I can keep retying my shoelaces in strategic locations.

 

I'm building a small want list, so I'll have a focus and won't be a complete mooch.

 

Are there any other aspects of coin show etiquette that I should know about?

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Only thing I do at a coin show is not buy anything until I have made a complete pass of the show and seen all the dealers first. That way you know who has the best prices and pieces. There have been exceptions, like I found a Christina 1 Ore from 1639:

 

swedenore.jpg

 

while still on the first pass, but I had to have it and these are hard enough to find in the first place.

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enjoy!! it should be a lot of fun! if you have been to a trade show before.... you'll be fine!!! and remember to have fun!

 

 

Ha, it did sound like I was expecting a root canal or something - but I will have fun. :ninja:

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Only thing I do at a coin show is not buy anything until I have made a complete pass of the show and seen all the dealers first. That way you know who has the best prices and pieces. There have been exceptions, like I found a Christina 1 Ore from 1639 while still on the first pass, but I had to have it and these are hard enough to find in the first place.

 

If I run across anything that beautiful, I'm not budging. But I'll try not to drool on anyone's inventory.

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Are there any other aspects of coin show etiquette that I should know about?

 

Ask before picking anything up. I've personally seen dealers flip out over someone touching a 10 cent coin in a junk bin without asking. It always helps to ask (being nice may get you a discount too). This has happened more than once.

 

Scottish makes a good point and it is something I do as well. At larger shows I'll bring a small notepad to write down notes on prices so I can compare them from dealer to dealer, tables to return to, and various other things. I see people with whole trappers full of notes from coin shows!

 

Just go have a good time. Try not to stay focused on one coin or type, you'll miss a lot of beautiful coins and deals that way.

 

Coin shows are just waaaaay too much fun. I can't wait for the MSNS show this month. :ninja:

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Marianne,

 

Well, don't leave us all in suspense! How was your first 'coin show' experience?? What did you buy? What did you simply drool over? Enquiring minds want to know!

 

Mine was so long ago [1967 or 68?], i can't remember it except that it was so much fun I'm still going to them.

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Marianne,

 

Well, don't leave us all in suspense! How was your first 'coin show' experience?? What did you buy? What did you simply drool over? Enquiring minds want to know!

 

Mine was so long ago [1967 or 68?], i can't remember it except that it was so much fun I'm still going to them.

 

It was a heaping bowl o' fun.

 

This was the NorCal show in Fremont, at an Elks Club. Admission was free. I arrived just before noon, and the place was packed. I sidled in and scoped the place out.

 

I definitely received some curious looks, either because I'm a woman or because I was wearing old-school basketball sneakers. There were a handful of other women there, and a few kids - but the kids seemed to be there under duress.

 

I saw some ancients (coins, not people :ninja: ). Only one dealer specialized in world coins, although a few had random pieces in their inventory. I was pleasantly surprised to see the enormous volume of un-slabbed coins in binders and in boxes, and even more surprised every time I correctly guessed the grade of a slabbed coin. It did happen. Sometimes.

 

Every dealer I spoke with was friendly and supportive. I wanted to look at VF/XF type 2 trimes, but they seem difficult to find in medium grades. Most dealers didn't have them in any grade. One had a raw 1862 trime with gorgeous gold peripheral toning and considerable luster, but it was AU55 and out of my price range. That dealer and the one at the neighboring booth (clearly old friends) pulled out a Greysheet and explained the bid/ask prices. They were a hoot, lowering the price and nearly charming me into submission. But I resisted. They, along with several other dealers, strongly recommended that I attend the Santa Clara show in a few weeks.

 

Another dealer told me, "Here's something you won't run into very often," and pulled out a 1797 half cent graded AG by NGC. Then a seller came along, and the half cent vanished before I noticed which variety it was. Sensory overload does kick in.

 

The world coin booth was run by father & son dealers from Southern California. I told them that I had pent-up world coin lust but didn't want to get in their way. They sat me right down and told me that I could stay there all day if I wanted. Every time I finished looking through a box, they'd replace it with a new one. It was bliss.

 

I'm more inquisitive than acquisitive right now, but I did want to give these dealers at least some business. (That's my excuse, anyway.) I ended up with:

 

Burma 1878 1/4 pe VF (the Lion of Burma looks like a rabid ferret)

Ceylon 1815 George III 1/2 stiver VF

Ceylon 1957 5 rupees AU

Ceylon 1968 FAO issue 2 rupees with pale blue rim toning BU

Ethiopia 1936 cent BU

India 1897a 1/4 anna XF

Madagascar 1948a 2 francs BU

Madagascar 1958a 1 franc BU

New Caledonia 1949a 50 centimes BU

New Caledonia 1949a franc BU

New Caledonia 1949 2 francs BU

 

All low-value coins with interesting designs. To top it off, the dealers gave me a 15% discount.

 

It was a great orientation to coin shows. Next time I might go on the last day, since I suspect I'd be able to have some longer conversations. My notebook is full of weird scribbles and I have a nice pile of business cards with more scribbles.

 

Marianne

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Glad you had such a good experience. Sounds like you got some really nice coins.

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I have never been to a coin show!!! I live in a small town in SC, on the coast! I know I'm young (I'm 18) and have plenty of time to get to one, but I want one now!! Haha. I guess if I waited long enough or searched hard enough, I might could find one that comes through Savannah or Charleston...

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I have never been to a coin show!!! I live in a small town in SC, on the coast! I know I'm young (I'm 18) and have plenty of time to get to one, but I want one now!! Haha. I guess if I waited long enough or searched hard enough, I might could find one that comes through Savannah or Charleston...

 

 

I became interested in coins right after the ANA held its giant coin show a 20-minute drive from where I live.

 

It's a wait, but here's one coming to North Charleston at the end of August:

 

http://www.coinshows.com/ladson_lccc.html

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Theres a show in Rock Hill April 14th and Columbia May 5th.

 

Too far?

 

Hm...Rock Hill yes, thats 3 hours away! Columbia wouldnt be so bad, its only 2 hours away. I live on the coast, all the way to the south of South Carolina. Its only about 45 minutes from the border with Georgia. I'm sure you've (more than likely) heard of Hilton Head...Well, I dont live on HiltonHead, but it is part of Beaufort County, the county I live in. But the North Charleston show, I'll definitely go to! I know right where thats at too, I have been there several times before!!!

 

 

At any rate, marianne, I didnt meant to hijack your thread! Congrats on your nice buys, and I'm glad you enjoyed your first show!

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Even scarcer at a coin show than a woman there of her own accord, is a female dealer - but I have seen them. There is one that attends the Detroit show and teases me with the ancient Roman bronzes that she won't sell.

 

The dealer I go to is a woman. :ninja:;)

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Actually my best experiences at shows are when the ankle biters come ~ stuff like my daughter finding a Moldavia-Wallachian 3 Para from 1772 and paying $10 for it, and it is worth much more, stuff like a well known dealer from Wisconsin selling my son a gold coin for $10 and all the freebies they get as they go through the bourse area, and me being told they are the most courteous kids the dealers have seen(they are always thankful for any numismatic goodies)

 

I would take my 2.5 yr old, but she would literally go into a frenzy as she absolutely loves money in all forms.

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amazing! its glad to hear you had a good time.... i have heard too many horror stories of people treated like crap at shows... not to scare anyone... but people usually only tell the bad stories... good to hear a good one

 

It is interesting to visit international coins and banknotes shows. I once stand beside a local dealer to see what he buys. After he left, I bought one piece of the same banknote that the local dealer purchased earlier ( the local dealer bought them in stacks ). I regretted buying only one piece which I sold it off after 17 years in my collection. I make a good money for the note which is about 12 times the orginal cost price.

:ninja:

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I would take my 2.5 yr old, but she would literally go into a frenzy as she absolutely loves money in all forms.

 

I have a similar problem with my nieces. The one most likely to develop an interest in coins made an entire album full of those fake credit cards you get in the mail. She also drew her own versions and included them. Maybe she's also most likely to become a counterfeiter... :ninja:

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It was a heaping bowl o' fun.

 

They, along with several other dealers, strongly recommended that I attend the Santa Clara show in a few weeks.

 

 

Marianne

 

Don't miss the Santa Clara show. Easy to get to (Great America Parkway off 101), at the convention center, but you park in the convention center parking garage. You go to the top (free parking) and into the center on the top floor. You find your way down to ground level and then work your way around to the other end. It took me a while to figure it out the first time. Its a good show (admission something like $5) with lots of dealers and there will be more than a few $100,000 on up gems on display.

 

Find Kagin's table and browse true rarities. I can't afford anything they carry, but they have no problem with you examining a $50,000 coin. They are all slabbed at those prices and they will suggest you could buy on time, but looking free. Sit down and ask to look. It is the only way to learn.

 

World and ancients along one side, US in the middle, and stamps and supplies at the other side. But, find Karl Stephens. He will have a full range of foreign in all price ranges. His table will be crowded. Wait your turn and then look through everything you can think to be interested in.

 

For ancient to medieval, find the Pegasi table and browse through their boxes, you will find cheap to expensive and lots of interesting coins.

 

My favorite is Tom Cederlind ancients. He is expensive, but you will learn more in a conversation with him than from just about any other dealer. Get to know him and if ancients is your thing, he will take very good care of you (and make a good profit). I always buy something from Tom. I go to him first, try to resist buying before I see the rest of the show, and always buy something, usually before I see anything else. He knows what I like and treats me well. I spend $500 to $1,000 and am treated the same as his customers who buy $25,000 ancient gold. I want to examine the $75,000 Brutus Ides of March denier, no problem. (It doesn't feel any different that a $150 denier in the hand, but its a thrill nonetheless).

 

Always ask the best they can do when you pick out the coins you want. Prices are almost always less than marked unless they have them listed in a catalog, have them on consignment, or have already eroded their margin with the pricing. Don't be afraid to array some expensive and some less expensive coins and ask for prices so you can make a choice. I always select more than I can afford with Tom and ask for prices. I then put together a selection that fits my budget. Some combinations of picks will sometimes come in less than the pieces individually. Sometimes he will look at my picks and select another coin that i can get at a lower price than he offered if I want it along with what I selected. I've known him long enough now that I know new pieces have less room to bargain, pieces that have been around for a couple of years are negotiable, and pieces on consignment are bound by what the owner expects to get. You don't know what goes into their business decisions so ask and decline if you can't afford it. If it seems fair, you want it, and you can afford it, go ahead and buy.

 

I'll be in Phoenix at the NASCAR race and will miss the April show, but do go. You will be glad you did.

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