Sunday traffic to Baltimore was not bad. Even though the Orioles were playing the Atlanta Braves at Camden Yards (the O’s crushed the Braves 11-2), there was not a lot of traffic in downtown Baltimore. I was able to park in my usual overpriced location at the Sheraton Inner Harbor Hotel and hobbled my way through the lobby, up the escalator, to the walkway between the hotel and the Baltimore Convention Center.
I know that some dealers wanted Whitman to bring back Sunday hours, but when I was there the floor was empty. It appeared that more than half of the dealers left before the Sunday session but the number of people there appeared less than I saw before closing on Friday. Maybe this is not a good indicator of the potential for Sunday attendance because of the nearby Orioles’ game. Rather than regular parking rates, nearby lots charge “event rates” which may keep people away. The next Whitman Baltimore show will be November 12-15. The Baltimore Ravens, who play in nearby M&T Bank Stadium, will play on Monday night that week. We will see how Sunday hours do in November without competing events in downtown Baltimore.
The great thing about going to these shows are the people you meet. There are some dealers that it is great to talk with. They are wonderful, hard working people who make this a great hobby. These are also the dealers that I continue to buy from because not only do they deserve my business, but they also sell at a fair price, which all that we collectors can ask for.
Every show always has an underlying theme, a type of coin that seems to be more prevalent with the dealers and looked after by the buyers. This time it was interesting because nearly every dealer, regardless of what they were selling, had rolls or singles of the 2009 Lincoln Bicentennial cents. One dealer whose inventory contained a lot of silver coins as well as gold and silver bullion also had rolls and singles of the cents for sale. There were others with the D.C. & U.S. Territories quarters and Presidential Dollars, the 2009 cents were a dominant theme.
While talking with that bullion dealer I found very nice examples of the 2009 silver Maple Leaf and Panda. While the Maple Leaf was very full of luster and is a solid and consistent design, I continue to be amazed at the artistry and craftsmanship of Chinese Panda. Since they hired a new artist in 2001, the design of the Panda coins have been phenomenal. The artistry and the quality of the strike makes the Panda something really special to own.
As I looked over the shoulder of the buyers searching the cases, I noticed that 20th century United States silver coins were a popular choice. From early Washington quarters to Walking Liberty half dollars, I noticed quite a few people interested in silver. And not just silver coins, quality early issues of these popular series. Even some later series were receiving attention, like the Roosevelt Dime and Franklin Half Dollar. I think this is the first time since I have been attending this show that I observed the dominant coin was not the Morgan Dollar.
Even though the Sunday session was sparsely attended, I still had the opportunity to meet and talk with a lot of good people. I even found a Father’s Day present for my father that I know he will like. I also know he reads this blog so this purchase will remain a secret until he receives it next week!
In keeping with my tradition, I had to find that one “oh, neat” item. This time, it was given to me shortly after my arrival on Friday. Following the setup of my exhibit, I spoke with Patti Finner in the Kids Korner. While speaking with her, she gave me a card with a type 2 blank cent planchet and an uncirculated 2008-D Lincoln Cent. A type 2 planchet is one whose rims were upset, the last step before striking. The planchet and the cent are in US Mint-type blister packaging and attached to a card explaining the “Before and After” of the process. The card was produced by the US Mint in conjunction with the h.i.p. program (History In your Pocket) for teaching children about coins and collecting.
I will be talking more about my conversation with Patti Finner in another post, but I would like to publicly thank her for this neat card and our very educational conversation.
If you made it this far, I am sure you can guess that my exhibit did not win at the show or I would have mentioned it at the beginning. The exhibit that one was a person who collected half-cents that were clipped during the minting process in each of the positions of the clock. He presented 12 coins in the layout of a clock that showed each coin and their clip. It was a very interesting and fun exhibit. It was a very fun and educational experience. I learned a little about exhibiting and will be making adjustments in order to do better next time—and there will be a next time. At least I received an uncirculated 2009 Silver Eagle for participating.
I know that sometimes it seems that buying coins online either through auctions or dealers appears easy, but you should really try to visit a coin show. You should meet the people in the hobby. You should see the coins. There is nothing more fascinating than looking at a case full of shiny silver dollars or something you are not collecting. By being on the bourse floor, you can meet dealers and other collectors. You can ask questions. You can get a better appreciation for this hobby beyond just accumulating. It is a hobby of people bound by the this passion for numismatics and that makes for a fun day at a coin show.