Did you know there was a big coin show in Pittsburgh?
The National Money Show was held this past week in Pittsburgh with a rousing silence. There was no news. No announcements. Nothing.
It had to be one of the quietest shows in recent memory.
Although I could not attend, I was waiting for something to come across my email to let me know that the numismatic industry is alive, well, and enjoying Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh is a really nice place. It has shaken off its past as a result of the steel mills closing and has really turned itself around. Its redevelopment was well underway when I attended Carnegie Mellon for graduate school. It has only become better.
Since it is baseball season just two off-topic notes about Pittsburgh. Did you know that the last home plate used for Forbes Field is under glass in the main hall at the Pitt Law School? It’s not the exact location but close enough. Also, behind the Law School is what remains of the left field wall. It was left in tribute to the Bill Mazeroski game-winning home run against the Yankees in the 1960 World Series.
Did someone go to Pittsburgh for the National Money Show? Or did they go out and ride the Duquesne Incline, visit the Strip District, tour the Heinz History Center, or relax in Schenley Park? There are great places to eat on the South Side including at Station Square, but there was a show going on. What happened?
Instead of worrying about whether a kids-oriented set sold by the U.S. Mint is good for the hobby, maybe the hobby has to think about letting the world know that it still exists!
And now the news…
March 24, 2019
The Royal Mint unveiled its Peter Rabbit 2019 coin recently, with the new designs becoming available only last week. At the time of writing, three different designs of the mischievous Beatrix Potter character had been released. → Read more at express.co.uk
March 25, 2019
A commemorative 50p coin to celebrate Brexit has not been minted yet, in what must surely be the ultimate metaphor for Brexit. The coin was announced at last year's Budget, with the Treasury suggesting it would bear the date '29 March 2019' and be available from Brexit day. → Read more at mirror.co.uk
March 25, 2019
The single biggest hoard of Celtic coins ever found is now thought to be two separate stashes that were buried together. The Le Câtillon II hoard includes 70,000 gold and silver coins and 11 gold torques, or necklaces, and dates to the First Century AD. → Read more at dailymail.co.uk
March 25, 2019
This rare Irish coin could fetch thousands of Euro at an auctionWhyte's A rare Irish 20p coin could fetch up to $6,800 (€6,000) at an upcoming auction in the Dublin. Read More: A guide to valuing all your old Irish coins → Read more at irishcentral.com
March 27, 2019
A COIN fan who stabbed a fellow enthusiast to death and stole his collection has been jailed for life. Danny Bostock, 33, broke into Gordon McGhee’s flat and knifed him at least 14 times. SWNS:South West News Service → Read more at thesun.co.uk
March 29, 2019
From time to time, legislation gets introduced in Congress to eliminate dollar bills in favor of dollar coins. The lawmakers pushing the legislation always tout it as a way to save the government money. → Read more at fedsmith.com
March 30, 2019
KOLKATA: Winds of change are blowing over this 232-year-old church, tucked in one corner of Dalhousie, diagonally opposite Raj Bhavan. St John’s Church, which was the first cathedral the British built in the country and was the only cathedral till St Paul’s was built, is being thrown open to public programmes. → Read more at timesofindia.indiatimes.com
The world of numismatic news of the week centers around theAmerican Numismatic Association’s World’s Fair of Money that was held in Philadelphia this past week. Here are the top news items from this past week?
Eliasberg 1913 Liberty Head Nickel (Image courtesy of PCGS
- The Eliasberg 1913 Liberty Head nickel sold for $4.56 million at the Stack’s Bowers Auction to an undisclosed buyer. The coin graded PR-66 by PCGS is the finest of the five 1913 Liberty Head nickels. It is the highest price ever paid for a coin not struck from a precious metal.
1792 Washington President Gold Eagle Pattern (Image courtesy of NGC)
- The Unique 1792 Washington President Gold Eagle pattern coin was sold for $1.74 million by Heritage Auctions. The coin, graded XF-45★ by NGC, is from the Eric P. Newman Educational Society collection. Proceeds from the sale will benefit the Society. The coin was acquired by Newman from the Col. E.H.R. Green Collection in 1942. Aside from being one of Newman’s favorite coins, it was also believed to be Washington’s pocket piece.
David J. Ryder, Director of the U.S. Mint.
- Director of the U.S. Mint David Ryder announced that the Mint will introduce a gold coin series promoting the “Virtues of Liberty” starting in 2019. The announcement was given to Coin World who has not published the details of the program. One would think that an agency of the federal government would make this information generally available to the public and not exclusively to one publication.
2019 Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness Quarter (Idaho)
- The U.S. Mint publicly introduced the designs that will appear on the reverse of the 2019 America the Beautiful Quarters. National treasures being featured in 2019 include Lowell National Historical Park (Massachusetts), American Memorial Park (Northern Mariana Islands), War in the Pacific National Historical Park (Guam), San Antonio Missions National Historical Park (Texas), and the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness (Idaho).
My report on my time in Philadelphia is coming soon.
And now the news…
August 13, 2018
Michael Turrini, a memer of the Fairfield Coin Club, holds different types of currency from Africa, Sunday, Aug. 12, 2018. The cowry shells and iron cross are both used as money. (Susan Hiland/Daily Republic) FAIRFIELD — Treasure hunters came out Sunday to find the rare coin, and they brought their → Read more at dailyrepublic.com
August 13, 2018
Never miss a story or breaking news alert! Listen at work or while you surf. → Read more at kywnewsradio.radio.com
August 15, 2018
The World's Fair of Money is "an opportunity for our members and the general public to see a lot of coins they could never see otherwise […] plus, an opportunity to see some of the largest, most successful [coin] dealers in the country," said Douglas Mudd, Curator and Director of the American Numismatic Association Money Museum. The World's Fair will feature millions of dollars worth of rare coins- coins whose values were once less than a dollar. → Read more at philly.com
August 15, 2018
A Navy veteran recalls a sacred tradition for warships. → Read more at navytimes.com
August 17, 2018
Rs. 1 coins also hit; rumours about their discontinuation have been doing the rounds for over a year now → Read more at thehindu.com
August 17, 2018
The one of a kind George Washington gold coin, dating back to the 18th century, was sold for $1.7 million this week with all the proceeds going to charity, according to Heritage Auctions. → Read more at kitco.com
August 17, 2018
https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/730083/1943_Bronze_Cent.jpg?p=facebook → Read more at prnewswire.com
Good morning from the Pennsylvania Convention Center in beautiful downtown Philadelphia where the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money is being held. I made to Philly last night after closing shop and will be spending the day here. Tomorrow morning I will be attending the Board of Governors meeting as Chair or the Technology Committee and then will head back to the D.C. area.
First on the agenda this morning is the e-Learning Platform Presentations. For those who do not know, the ANA is looking to expand its educational mission by offering courses online, something that has been on my agenda for many years.
It is an open session in Room 122A of the Convention Center. While it might not be the most exciting of the sessions, it is important to the future of the ANA. The presenter will be Blackboard, D2L, and eINNOV8. I have heard and used Blackboard when I was an adjunct professor with the University of Maryland System. For me, it will be interesting to see what has changed. The others I have never heard of until this exercise. Seeing how they differentiate themselves will makes it interesting.
For the rest of the day, I will be live Tweeting @coinsblog from the Convention Center. I will try to post a summary tonight. Stay tuned!
All the news that fits, we print!
Trying to keep up with the news in the numismatic community has been like trying to keep up with the news in Washington. This week it was coming in fast. The bottom line is that next week is the American Numismatic Association’s World’s Fair of Money in Philadelphia.
Based on some of the press releases, here are some of the highlights for those who will be in attendance:
- The ANA Museum Showcase will feature the finest known 1792 Half Disme, formerly owned by the first United States Mint Director David Rittenhouse and other rarities.
- PCGS will display the “The J&L 144 Complete Set,” the All-Time Finest set of classic commemorative coins in the PCGS Set Registry
- The Numismatic Crime Information Center will offer a one-day training class on “Numismatic Crime Investigations” for local, state and federal law enforcement officers.
- PCGS will also display one of the 1787 gold Brasher Doubloons and seven of the finest known 1780s New York colonial era copper coins in an educational exhibit.
- The U.S. Mint will display three 1933 Saint Gaudens Double Eagle gold coins including a previously undisclosed specimen that was voluntarily and unconditionally given over to the government by a private citizen who requested to remain anonymous.
- The finest known 1794 Flowing Hair silver dollar, graded PCGS MS63+ CAC, will be displayed at the Tangible Investments booth.
- ICTA’s Anti-Counterfeiting Task Force will exhibit a five-case display of counterfeit coins, precious metals bars, and grading holders on special loan from the Cherry Hill, N.J., office of Department of Homeland Security. These items were confiscated during their investigation of Jonathan A. Kirschner, who pleaded guilty impersonating a federal agent while selling counterfeit coins and bars and unlawfully importing counterfeit coins and bars into the United States.
- The ANA, Numismatic Literary Guild, and others will be presenting their annual awards during the week.
In other words, it will be a jam-packed week for the numismatic junkie.
Too bad the show cannot be live-streamed for those of us who either cannot attend or will only be able to attend for a short period of time.
I will attend the World’s Fair of Money on Thursday and will leave after the ANA Board Meeting on Friday morning. More on this later.
And now the news…
August 1, 2018
A gold coin from the time of Andronicus II and Andronicus III Paleologus (14th century) has been discovered during archaeological excavations at the Rusokastro Fortress site on Bulgaria’s southern Black Sea coast, the Regional Historical Museum in Bourgas said. → Read more at sofiaglobe.com
August 3, 2018
Tiny hands fly up, waving pastel green play money in the air as children offer up bids with high-pitched, eager squeals. “I have $6!” → Read more at houstonchronicle.com
August 5, 2018
Gold nugget discovery deemed museum quality DALLAS – An enormous, 40-ounce gold nugget, nicknamed “Lightning Bolt” for its jolting, bright yellow glow and rarity beyond any diamond found on Earth, could take top lot honors in in Heritage Auctions’ Nature & Science Auction Aug. → Read more at antiquetrader.com
August 6, 2018
It has been revealed that Lord Ian Stewartby, who resided near Biggar and died in March at the age of 82, left £1.8m worth of his nationally-renowned collection of ancient coins to Glasgow University’s Hunterian Museum. → Read more at carlukegazette.co.uk
August 7, 2018
It was originally worth five shillings but Australia’s rarest coin, believed to be discovered in a bushranger’s hoard, is on the market and expected to fetch more than $500,000. For the third time in its history, the “Hannibal Head” holey dollar, discovered in Tasmania in 1881, and presented to the Governor of Van Diemen’s Land, Sir John Henry Lefroy, is being sold by Melbourne coin house Coinworks. → Read more at thenewdaily.com.au
August 9, 2018
More than nine months after they stopped being legal tender, about 169m round £1 coins are outstanding. → Read more at bbc.com
Usually, I would have a bit of excitement as the Whitman Baltimore Expo is to be held this weekend. After my previous experiences, not only am I not excited, I am not going.
When Whitman bought the Baltimore Coin and Currency Expo, they did a good job making a destination show on the east coast. It looked like they added some resources and injected new ideas that make a good show better.
But it seems to have plateaued.
For the last few years, if you did not go to this show on Thursday or Friday, the number of dealers staying around has diminished to the point of not being worth attending over the weekend.
If you work or have other conflicts then you might want to consider not wasting your time.
The view standing In the middle of Hall A at the Baltimore Convention Center for the March 25, 2018 Whitman Expo.
The view standing between Halls B and C at the Baltimore Convention Center for the March 25, 2018 Whitman Expo
In my case, I have a lot of work to do in setting up a new business. I will be in the shop all morning and will be waiting for someone to deliver some display items in the afternoon. I have to finish setting up by Monday so that the final occupancy inspection can take place—the county wants to ensure that the place is accessible according to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). I cannot open the shop without this inspection completed.
I could take the time to go up on Sunday, but the last time I did that I counted less than 25 dealers. It is not worth the 42-mile one-way trip with the cost of gas going up and the tolls.
And it does not seem that Whitman is trying to improve the situation.
Sure, they added “**Limited Dealers**” to their schedule but that does not warn the visitor that in two or three convention center halls there will be less than 25 dealers.
If I wait until next Saturday I can go to a local show and see more than 25 dealers. It will be a shorter drive, no tolls, and the dealers are closer together so that I will not waste my time crossing empty aisles.
This is really sad because I have always considered this “my show.” My show is dying and I do not know if Whitman really cares!
If you are a collector of anything you know that the price of your collectible is based on both a market valuation and what you are willing to pay. There are a lot of market valuation tools for the numismatic collector. One of the more popular ones is The Coin Dealer Newsletter and associated publications that track market trends.
In 2012, I wrote a two-part series about how coins are priced (see Part I and Part II) where I discussed not only how the coins are priced by the different markets for purchasing coins. Last year I wrote about other venues to buy your coins and then earlier this year I added information about estate auctions. All have their audiences, which expands the buying options.
One important factor I discussed is how to negotiate. In “How Are Coins Priced (Part II),” I wrote about negotiating from the perspective of the collector. At the time, I had just started my collectibles business and did not have the experience from the other side of the negotiation table to understand from their perspective.
I thought about this when I stumbled upon an article in Sports Collectors Digest about negotiating. The author spoke to collectors and dealers about their negotiating styles and conditions for negotiating. While the information about negotiating from the collector’s perspective is not that different than what I originally wrote, the impression from the dealer’s perspective is what I have witnessed.
My experience and the article provides two aspects of negotiating from the dealer’s perspective that I want to highlight here.
First, I want to emphasize the concept of BE POLITE! While most people are polite, there have been times I have wanted to punch a customer in the mouth. While I do not mind a little aggressive negotiating being rude will not make me want to work with you on the price.
Second, understand that you are not only buying an item but selling each collectible comes with a cost. Aside from the cost of the inventory, the dealer has overhead. At a show, the dealer has travel expenses. In a shop, there are expenses with maintaining the store.
Even auctions have expenses. Seller fees can be from 25 to 50-percent of the sale price in many professional auctions. Even eBay charges a final value fee for selling on their site and sometimes there are listing fees. While you might complain about paying more than the postage for the shipping costs, there are labor and material costs for packaging your winning item in addition to the postage.
To highlight the issue, the author spoke with a baseball card dealer who said:
This dealer also wanted another “fact of doing business” relayed to others here. He wasn’t saying the mark-up on his items always came to 100 percent of his original purchase price for those items. Rather, if he buys a card for, say, $50, he has to sell that same card for roughly $100 because within that price would be his other costs (lodging, food, transportation, and so forth). Therefore, when the other expenses are factored in, in reality he may be making just 10 percent profit on that card.
The same thing could be said for numismatics as well.
Normally, I do not directly publish news items but this is important for the entire community.
Did you receive an email or call trying to sell you a Philadelphia World’s Fair of Money hotel room?
The ANA did not authorize this.
It has come to our attention that a third-party booking company inaccurately representing itself as our hotel vendor is contacting ANA members, dealers and exhibitors, offering to book you a hotel room at the ANA World’s Fair of Money; some even provide a promotion code or will misrepresent that they are calling from the hotel.
ANA is not utilizing any housing service vendors for the Philadelphia World’s Fair of Money. Nor has the ANA shared your email with anyone.
Room reservations for the Philadelphia World’s Fair of Money should be made directly with the Philadelphia Marriot Downtown (the show’s host hotel) either by phone – 1-888-236-2427 (mention ANA World’s Fair of Money to secure the group rate) – or via our website at www.money.org/worldsfairofmoney/lodging. Should you want to stay elsewhere, we strongly recommend calling the hotel directly or using a reputable online service such as Hotels.com or Expedia.com.
If you provide your credit card information to any of these unauthorized vendors, your card may be charged but you may not have a reservation when you arrive in Philadelphia. Unfortunately, this is a well-known scam perpetuated on unsuspecting conventioneers across the country.
If you have any questions about the World’s Fair of Money hotel block, or general questions about the show, please contact Jennifer Ackerman at email@example.com, Christie Cooper at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call the ANA Convention team at 1-888-448-3262. Complete information about the show is also available online at www.worldsfairofmoney.com.
In the more than 12 years of writing this blog, I never thought I would be writing about the pending death of one the great east coast shows. However, given the what I saw this past weekend and having discussions with what few dealers I could have, it is now time for Whitman to either fix the Baltimore Expo or get out of the coin show business.
First and foremost, if you are going to have a three-day show and open to the public on Sunday, then you should have more than 22 dealers across three convention center halls. After being stunned by the number of empty tables when I arrived at 12:30pm on Sunday, I counted the number of dealers that were still selling. There were 22 tables with dealers still selling while another six were packing, including one across from the entrance.
The view standing between Halls B and C at 12:30pm in the Baltimore Convention Center for the March 25, 2018 Whitman Expo
These numbers do not count the Whitman and U.S. Mint booths.
A dealer near the entrance is someone I know and have bought from in the past. When I complained about the lack of dealers he said, unapologetically, that I should have been there earlier. While this dealer is not known for having a warm-and-fuzzy personality, he does carry an interesting inventory and can be an interesting person to talk with on occasion. However, how dare he question my ability to attend? According to Whitman, the show is open 10am until 3pm on Sunday. At 12:30pm I expected more than 22 dealers!
But wait, you might exclaim. Whitman has “**Limited Dealers**” on their website.
There is a difference between “limited” and 22 dealers!
The view standing in the middle of Hall A at about 1:15pm in the Baltimore Convention Center for the March 25, 2018 Whitman Expo.
That is only part of the story. According to one dealer and one attendee who was there on Saturday, the number of empty tables exceeded the number of dealers before most of the dealers started to pack on Saturday afternoon. When I asked the attendee why he showed up on Sunday knowing it would be empty, he said he was looking for bargains but was disappointed with the number of dealers left.
Usually, I look forward to attending the show in Baltimore. I can always find something interesting and talk with a lot of interesting people. It makes the hour-long shlep worth the trouble. But when there was nothing available that I wanted and I spent more on parking and gas than I did at the show, then it was a waste of my time.
When Whitman bought the show it looked like they would work to build it up and keep it a first-class show. Unfortunately, it seems as if Whitman has abandoned their mission and may be on the verge of dying because of its neglect. It is clear that the competence they had before is not there now.
Unless Whitman can fix the problems and make it something that even a late attendee can get something out of, they may have lost this proponent and customer.
I did buy something
I cannot leave a show without buying something. There was one dealer with tokens who was really eager to sell. Since I cannot pass up a chance to search for tokens related to New York, here are the more interesting items I purchase:
125th Street Ferry Good for One Passage (NY630AG; 17mm)
1940 New York World’s Fair Metropolitan Life Medal (32mm)
Rockefeller Center Observation Guided Tour with Roof Access (18mm)
“Lucky Lindbergh Coin” by Whitehead-Hoag (32mm)
1986 Statue of Liberty Centennial Medal (28mm)
I did find one item that I bought because it was intriguing and I want to learn more about the backstory. The next image is a button with the portrait of the late Theodore Roosevelt and the legend that says “Women’s Roosevelt Memorial Association.” As a fan of our 26th President (and fellow New Yorker), I did not know this group existed or what they do. When I find out more I will post what I learn. In the meantime, it is an interesting button!
Women’s Roosevelt Memory Association Service Button (19mm)
Whitman Expo came to Baltimore this weekend to fill up three large halls in the Baltimore Convention Center. Like every Whitman Expo, dealers come from all over making it a must-attend east coast destination.
I was able to attend on Friday afternoon. It was not for long because I had to work half of the day. But it is always worth the trip.
Travelling to Baltimore on Friday is different than going on Saturday. First, the traffic between the Washington metro area and Baltimore is heavier. The traffic in Baltimore is also heavier especially on I-95 going through the city. And parking is a little more expensive because you compete with the business parking of downtown Baltimore. Someday, I will take the light rail that stops between the Convention Center and Camden Yards.
During a short visit to a show like Baltimore you either have to have a concise strategy or whatever objectives there are will not be fulfilled. This time I had no objectives and spent a lot of time talking with people.
Over the years I have met a lot of dealers and others while walking around I wanted to visit with some of these people. I also got to meet with one of the long-time readers of the blog. Bob is a frequent correspondent who came down from New Jersey on Amtrak to also visit the show. It was good to meet Bob and put a face on the real person behind the emails.
During the short time I spent on the bourse floor I learned a few things about the market:
- Sales are moderate but steady. Dealers are selling more online than in shows but see the shows as a valuable marketing tool. None of the dealers I spoke with are seeing the end of coin shows but can envision a reduction in the number of shows.
- Some dealers are diversifying their inventory from their core interests to other areas. One dealer noted that he was seeing more junk box searching than in the past. Although he thought that his sales were below average, he thought that the low-end sales would pick up on Saturday when younger people will attend.
- I thought there was a lot more silver than gold. One dealer that sells modern bullion coin such as American Eagles, Canadian Maple Leafs, and Chinese Pandas said that silver bullion was selling better than their gold counterparts. With silver trading under $17 per troy ounce, those interested in bullion are buying silver. He also attributed the interest in silver with some of the better silver issues like the Pandas and other non-circulating legal tender (NCLT) coins.
- Speaking of NCLT coins, I did not see a big selection. A dealer whose case included a few older issues said that the current NCLT issues may be too expensive for the market. It is one thing to issue themed coins that may be of interest but selling them has been a problem. Some people find it difficult to justify the selling of a one-ounce silver coin for more than four-times bullion value. This dealer thought that the licensing fees being paid for these images were probably driving up the price and driving their potential market away.
Another interesting aspect of the show is the number of non-numismatic items for sale. There were two dealers whose cases contained only jewelry. Most of the jewelry were quality items and estate pieces but I was surprised there were two dealers whose inventory was exclusively jewelry. A few dealers I have seen in the past also had cases of jewelry. One said that the rings he was selling were an accumulation of many years and found that the market was more receptive to the jewelry.
In addition to the jewelry, a dealer was selling used music compact discs (CD) and another had African artifacts including a beautiful silver necklace. Some of the currency dealers also had historical papers, letters, ledgers, and other ephemera that only has a tangential tie to numismatics.
Last week I asked how dealers would respond to the market. It looks like some dealers have turned to inventory diversity and including non-numismatic collectibles. If it helps bring in more collectors, it might be a good move.
I missed posting the Weekly Numismatic World News on Sunday because I was working. As part of my collectibles business, I work a show at least once per month. These shows allow me to interact with people and find out what interests them. Even if they do not buy from my inventory, I am able to learn about the market and try to predict trends.
What are the future of large coin shows like Whitman Expo?
Sometimes, I wonder if the numismatic industry does the same thing.
Next weekend will be the Whitman Baltimore Expo at the Baltimore Convention Center. I am curious as to what I will find.
Since Whitman took over the show, they have improved the experience and what I have been told, they improved the experience for the dealers. They have made it a destination for many east coast dealers and collectors.
But it looks like the show has plateaued.
This is not Whitman’s fault. Whitman provides the venue. What are the dealers doing to meet the new demands of the market? What are the new trends? Based on my last few visits to Baltimore, you would never know that the hobby is changing. New collectors are not collecting the same coins as their parents and grandparents. New collectors are not buying in the same way as their parents and grandparents. Yet, when I go to Baltimore I will find an environment that may have been more comfortable 10 years ago than it is today.
I am not sure what needs to be changed. I will think about it when I am walking the bourse floor next weekend. But for now, the industry needs think about how to evolve. Otherwise, we could be looking for the downfall of these shows and that would be a shame.
And now the news…
November 2, 2017
Australia’s new Remembrance Day $2 coin is racist and a national disgrace, Aboriginal activist Michael Mansell says. The coin, featuring rosemary leaves and purple flowers, is to honour Australians killed and wounded in military conflicts. → Read more at theadvocate.com.au
November 2, 2017
Rare coins, mostly Roman, are believed to have been collected by the Kent castle’s owner, Edward Hussey, and his son → Read more at theguardian.com
November 3, 2017
“There’s just a wide variety of things,” Rust said. “Money was issued by Mormons before they made it to Salt Lake, and then things that were issued once they were in Salt Lake.” → Read more at sltrib.com
November 3, 2017
Founding father saved first issue $5 with untold historical value → Read more at tetonvalleynews.net