Sorry guys, this is not a rant today, this is a report. This last week, Wednesday through Sunday I was down next to Chicago in Schaumburg, Illinois for the 74th annual Central States Numismatic Society Convention. It is the largest coin show and auction in held in the mid-west. It was glorious. I spent piles of money, got to handle thousands and thousands of dollars in coins, talk to some cool people and made some new friends. Here is my show report.
I arrived in Schaumburg for the Central States Convention about mid-day on Wednesday. I went ahead and scoped the place out and registered with Heritage to do some lot viewing on a couple of coins I was interested in. I didn’t pay the $75 for the early bird. I just figured I would go in Thursday morning.
On Thursday, I was able to register with no problems and start scanning the booths. I started at one end of the bourse and worked my way up and down the aisles taking time to look at the offerings on every table, without getting too in depth at any one table or getting into their inventory not already out. There were a lot of very nice type coins available, especially in higher grades and slabbed merchandise. I was there to shop for barber and bust halves for myself as well as pick up a nice set of PCGS 65 walkers for a friend and possibly a 1917 Ty1 SLQ in 65 FH (more on that one later). The barber halves and quarters were plentiful, but finding decent coins in my grade range (F-VF-some XF) proved to be rather difficult if you wanted nice original coins. I saw a lot of nice coins with cleanings, scratches, bad rim dings, detritus, etc. I did come across a very fresh quarter set and was able to snag two Vg/F quarters out of it for a reasonable price and later I did find some nice barbers, but those were found on the second day. Like I said, there was a lot of high end material in most cases. I saw one case marked, bargains under $500, which made me laugh a bit. But if you were looking for it, there were enough dealers at the show and enough dealers wandering the aisles that there was a good chance someone would have it.
After taking the 3+ hours to scan all the dealers, I started shopping in earnest. I was able to purchase most of the walkers I was looking for at prices that made me happy and were in line with what I had projected they should be priced around this time. The gold was still on the high-side in my opinion, but I was able to purchase two small pieces in NGC holders for somewhere near their current bid prices. The real problem came when I started pricing the ty1 SLQ. There were a number of the 17s at the show in 65 FH, and while heritage auction results show me the coin has been trading in the 750-850 range I was unable to find one lower than $950. I was prepared to pay extra for a coin that was superior but even the run of the mill 65 FH with weak rivets was quoted to me at $1150, which IMO was not a bargain. I honestly figured that most of the dealers had probably purchased the coin on the high side and were into it for too much, maybe they have decided if the coin will experience a bounce back and so want to remain firm on their pricing. I will continue to search for one I like that isn’t priced outrageously.
I was not happy with the bust half situation overall. There were plenty of halves there, but it felt like they were over priced or they had already been attributed and priced according to rarity and condition. I like to do my own research so I shied away from the already Id’d ones. but the prices were still out there, I managed to purchase a scratched 1819 for $40 because I like the reverse but there were cleaned and damaged ones in the $40-50 dollar range, the cheapest non-problem coins I found were $75+ for G-VG, if there were Fines available below $100 I didn’t see them.
Overall, the show was well attended as far as I could tell. There was plenty of action on the bourse floor and a good crowd of people both Thursday and Friday. I did hear a couple of dealers grumbling to each other about the organization of the show but didn’t hear all of it well, nor was I going to butt in and ask questions. There was another dealer who told me all the serious buyers had come on Wednesday and the only people left attending the show were the nice people who wanted to look and ask questions and maybe spend $100. I think it was more serious than that, but I didn’t argue with him. I also didn’t spend anything at his table either, so…
There was one moment of brief panic on Thursday when the fire alarm went off and the automatic voice told us to leave the building. Just about every dealer in the building laughed and continued their work while about half the crowd started for the exits. The alarm was LOUD and the flashing lights on the ceiling were annoying, but I was in the middle of negotiating a price on a coin, so I wasn’t going anywhere.
On Friday, I attended one of the lectures being given on Lincoln’s cabinet, which was interesting and informative and later, after looking at the educational exhibits met up with the Barber collectors near the message center to chat and show off purchases. They were a real nice group of guys and I’ll be mailing in my application for membership in the next few days.
Otherwise, the show was a success from my end of it and I think most everyone had a good time. Plus I got the chance to drive into Chicago (the safe side) and have a real deep dish pizza. I want to also give a great big thank you to my cousin Jennifer and her husband Eric. They put me up for the week and interrupted their lives to show me around the safe parts of Chicago and be all touristy.