There are few shows like the thrice yearly Whitman Baltimore Expo. There are other large shows that are very well attended and Whitman is trying to expand their show portfolio to places like Philadelphia, but Baltimore supports this show three times per year. It is an amazing sight that has to be experienced to really appreciate.

I left home a bit late this morning after doing some work. With my backpack and cane, I drove to Baltimore. The drive to Baltimore was uneventful except, meaning the traffic on the Capital Beltway was bad. As I turned off the highway onto I-395 toward downtown Baltimore I had a sinking feeling. At the first traffic light I looked in my bag and realized I left the backing to exhibits at home. After taking the time to cut the backing to size, the feeling of instant panic was almost consuming.

Rather than go to the Baltimore Convention Center, I veered to downtown to find a place to stop and think. I looked at the iPhone and started to look up locations of craft stores. After finding a store not too far away and calling to confirm they had sheets of felt, I brought up a map with directions and drove to the store.

After purchasing four large pieces of felt, I rushed to the Sheraton Inner Harbor, where I usually overpay for parking, and hobbled to the Convention Center. After claiming my Exhibitor badge, I entered the large exhibit hall and found the exhibit area next to the Kids Corner. I was the last to set up, but I made it to my cases.

My exhibit is titled “The Bicentennial In Numismatics.” It is about one-third of my collection of numismatic-related bicentennial memorabilia put on display for all to see. Aside being a great milestone for this country, the bicentennial coinage marked the first time those of us at the tail end of the Baby Boom era experienced a change in design in our coinage. Numismatically, it is a fun topic. There were so many medals and tokens produced, it was difficult to reduce the number of items to fit in four cases.

As I setup my cases I realized that I left a few medals and a two dollar bill at home. I had one two dollar bill that was stamped in Philadelphia on the first day of issue, but I wanted a second one to show the reverse that was an engraving of John Trumbull’s painting “The Declaration of Independence.” Oh well… next time I will be more organized.

After I completed my setup, I looked at the other cases in the exhibit area. There were some differences between their cases and mine. Each had a different theme, but had a strict order to them. I felt that mine was not so much an exhibit but a celebration. In fact, I had a few people view the exhibit just after I set it up and commented as to how they remembered the coins, medals, and the celebration. Even if I do not win, I know that at least one person enjoyed the exhibit!

If there is one thing I do not like about my iPhone is the quality of the built in camera. Even with the glare of the overhead lights, I think I was able to capture images of the cases to give my readers an idea of my exhibit. The following is a slideshow of the cases as stored in a Photobucket album:

I will have more to say about the show in another post. But I wanted to mention that amongst the people I met, I had a nice conversation with American Numismatic Association Vice President Patti Finner. I met Patti at the Kids Corner where she was ready to talk about anything numismatics. I invited her to speak at my coin club the next time the Whitman show will be in Baltimore. She was very gracious, full of energy, and looking to help as best she could in making her talk a success for our club. I really appreciate her taking the time to talk with me.

Exhibits competition results will be announced at 11:00 AM on Sunday morning. Stay tuned!

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