One of the activities that I have enjoyed in my return to numismatics has been going to coin shows. I started by going to smaller shows. In the DC area, there used to be a show in New Carrollton, Maryland. The show was held in a basement exhibition area of a hotel that was not the most exciting room, but the 50-75 table show was fun. It was great talking with the dealers and negotiating deals on nice fillers for my collection.
Then I found the Baltimore Coin and Currency Convention. It is the largest regular show in the area and is held in the Baltimore Convention Center. Even when I go on a Sunday during the summer when at least half of the dealers went home after Saturday’s session, I still meet very nice people and see very interesting coins and currency. Bowers and Merena made a respectable $3.7 million in two days.
Sometimes, I find it more interesting to see interesting items than some of my purchases. Sure, I found a nice Canadian Quarter collection in a Library of Coins album that will allow me to continue to build a respectable Canadian coin collection. But I saw two buffaloes that I find very interesting: the American Buffalo $50 24-karat Proof Gold coin and a 1901 Series $10 Buffalo United States Note.
The American Buffalo gold coin is beautiful. It is a copy of the 1913 Type 1 Buffalo Nickel with small modifications. On the American Buffalo coin, the mint mark was moved to the front to the left of the Indian’s neck and the composition is included on the mound. After I compared the coin with a 1913 Buffalo nickel side-by-side, I noticed that the elements on the gold coin does not extend all the way to the rim as on the nickel. Even before I compared the two coins, it appeared to me as if the legends were further away from the rims. It is still a beautiful coin!
If you are going to buy one of these coins, I would recommend buying the proof coin. The proof coin shows shiny fields and frosty elements that really shows off the design. The uncirculated coin that is intended for investment buyers is a nice coin but the matte finish is does not have the same impact of the proof coin. Looking at the coins together, eyes are really drawn to the proof. It is not the same as doing this comparison with the American Silver Eagles. Visit your local dealer to look for yourself. Note that some dealers are charging $75 more for the proof coin than if you would buy it directly from the US Mint.
There is something about the image of the buffalo on US coins and currency that I find appealing. The buffalo is a real symbol of the growth of the United States as a nation across the Great Plains. In 1901, the Treasury issued a $10 United States Note with the image of Black Diamond, a buffalo that was living in the Bronx Zoo, on the front with vignettes of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark on either side. Lewis and Clark helped shape the westward expansion over a land where bison roamed. The beautiful note is a fantastic representation of the early 20th century United States.
In Baltimore, I found a dealer who had one sealed in a grading service holder. It is a large note with very ornate engraving and a very compelling portrait of Black Diamond. I do not remember the grade because I was mesmerized by its beauty. It is one thing to see the note in pictures, it is quite another to hold one. The dealer who had the note said he would sell it to me for $1300. As much as I would appreciate owning one of these beauties, the price was a bit beyond my budget.
Circumstances will prevent me from going to Denver for the World’s Fair of Money in August. Hopefully, I will make it to Charlotte for the National Money Show next March. Until then, the next Baltimore show is in November. Maybe I should bring my camera to show everyone this show!