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Category: Column: Rare Coin Road Warrior

Rare Coin Road Warrior Market Report

By Vic Bozarth – Bozarth Numismatics

What’s happening on the rare coin show circuit?

The Whitman Baltimore Coin Exposition was really ‘cooking’! In my opinion the Baltimore Coin Expo is the hottest show on the rare coin show circuit. The folks at Whitman know how to run a show. The Fall show is the best of the three shows that Whitman Publishing holds in Baltimore each year. Attendance is always heavy and the Bowers and Merena Auction is a big draw. Business was brisk and gold was the major culprit.

I will talk more about the Baltimore Coin Exposition, but first let me tell you why I write the Rare Coin Road Warrior Column each month.

My name is Vic Bozarth and I am the Rare Coin Road Warrior. My wife Sherri and I travel over 200 days a year to buy rare coins for our customers. We attend all the major shows as well as most of the larger regional and state numismatic society shows. We own and operate Bozarth Numismatics Inc. and our website is bozarthcoins.com. I have attended coin shows since the age of 13 and set up as a dealer at my first show at the age of fifteen. Of course, I love coins, but shows are where the action is! Because many of you don’t have the luxury of attending many coin shows, I like to share with you the news and market trends I have witnessed while attending and working the ‘bourse’.

The October Show schedule was grueling. Although the only major show was the Silver Dollar Show in St. Louis we actually attended four shows in total flying coast to coast twice. After the stellar Philadelphia Whitman Coin Expo in late September/early October we flew to Manchester, NH for the NH Coin Show. Although bracketed by the bigger Philly Show and St. Louis Silver Dollar Show, the NH Show was both well attended and well run. Ernie Botte does an excellent job with this show. The show itself is growing and we are among many who really enjoy visiting the Northeast during the Fall.

The Silver Dollar Show in St. Charles, MO, a suburb of St. Louis, is well run in an excellent facility, but there are several problems with the show. Maybe it is the economy, maybe it is the city, but the show just isn’t what it once was in years past. The Silver Dollar Show also faces some major hurdles next year. The new Pittsburgh ANA Fall Show is scheduled the week prior to the Silver Dollar Show next October. The ANA is like the 800 pound gorilla in the room-they stomp around with no regard for anyone else. (more…)

Rare Coin Road Warrior – October 2010

Hi, my name is Vic Bozarth and I am a Rare Coin Road Warrior. I have spent most of my twenty plus years in the rare coin business at shows or on buying trips all over the continental U.S. My wife, Sherri Bozarth, and I own Bozarth Numismatics Inc. and our website is Bozarthcoins.com.

In my first Rare Coin Road Warrior column for September I talked about the ANA Convention in Boston, MA held in early August as well as the Illinois State Numismatic Association Show in Chicago, the Long Beach Show, and the newer Whitman Coin Expo in Philadelphia. This month I will write about some of the news from Long Beach and Philadelphia as well as previewing shows in Manchester, NH, St. Louis, MO, Portland, OR, Stamford, CT, Baltimore, MD, and Boston, MA. As you might have guessed the Fall season is very busy with lots of big coin shows. We try to attend all the major shows as well as most of the larger regional shows.

The coin business is very busy right now with the gold bullion price hitting an all time high with each new day. Currently gold is at $1356 as I pen this article from my seat (20C) on a Continental Airlines flight to Boston. Although we are at an all time high price for bullion many rare gold coins are trading at a smaller premium (over melt) than at any time in recent memory. Prices are rising with both the higher bullion prices and increased demand, but good values are still readily available.

The Long Beach Coin and Stamp Expo is one of the largest and most successful shows in the rare coin business. Dealers have been attending the Long Beach Show since the sixties when there were two shows annually. Since the seventies there have been three shows each year generally in February, June, and September. Personally I have attended over 70 straight Long Beach Shows and wouldn’t miss one for the world. We love to visit CA and the Long Beach Show has hundreds of dealers in attendance plus a major Heritage Auction at each show.

Over the last several years the Long Beach Show has had some challenges. Attendance has slipped and many smaller dealers were, to put it frankly, just priced out of the room. I was pleasantly surprised at the September show to see some ‘new’ dealers set up as well as healthy attendance by the public. Indeed, prior to the show, the management of the show did a good job trying to fill the bourse by offering some more attractive table prices to both new attendees and those who had not had a table recently. Long Beach is cool and a lot of dealers make it a better show for everyone.

The Whitman Philadelphia Coin Expo is only in the second year of existence, but these folks know how to run a show. Philadelphia is the home of our first, and for many years only, mint. Philadelphia and the Northeast comprise a large portion of the original thirteen states and ‘old’ coins come out of the woodwork there. After all, the ‘old’ coins were made there. Not only is Philadelphia a great coin town, but it is fun to visit also. The Convention Center itself is conveniently located with lots of lodging and dining options. Public transportation is available too. We really enjoyed the Reading Terminal Market and the dozens of vendors and restaurants available there. (more…)

Rare Coin Road Warrior: Tales From The Road – September 2010

By Vic Bozarth – Rare Coin Road Warrior
This is a NEW Monthly Column by Vic Bozarth, the “Rare Coin Road Warrior” who spends over 200 days a year traveling to Coin Shows. We hope you enjoy Vic’s unique perspective on the coin collecting and the rare coin Market. – Editor

Hi, my name is Vic Bozarth and I am a Rare Coin Road Warrior. My wife Sherri and I own Bozarth Numismatics Inc. Our website is Bozarthcoins.com. Last year we spent over 200 days on the road on nearly 45 different trips. As a professional numismatist and buyer for other companies I have been a ‘rare coin road warrior’ for nearly 25 years. My wife and I attend all major coin shows, as well as most large regional or state coin shows.

Many fellow numismatists and collectors have expressed an interest in hearing about our experiences during our coin show and buying trips. Recently I decided to write a short article each month on the shows we attend as well as the coin buying trips we take to different cities across the United States.

Buying NICE rare coins at reasonable prices becomes more difficult each year. There are a lot of logistical and security considerations we have to plan for with every trip. Not only do we have flights to book, but we also have to find a comfortable and safe hotel or motel preferably close to the show. If we have appointments with customers or other dealers we often rent a car. Those are most of the logistical considerations. Security is the biggest concern. We do have one big advantage. Because we are most often able to travel together, one of us can always watch the coins. We never leave our coins unattended.

Although we have tables at most shows, sometimes I buy an ‘Earlybird’ dealer badge and just attend a show by myself to buy only. During weeks with no major shows, we often fly to a major city and ‘hit’ the shops and offices of the coin dealers in that area. Over the years, I have visited virtually every major city in the continental United States at least once. Fortunately both my wife and I love to travel, because the schedule can be grueling.

Last week we attended the Illinois Numismatic Association show in a suburb of Chicago called Tinley Park. A couple of days before the show we flew in to Detroit, rented a car, and did some business with other dealers on our trip west to Chicago. We really enjoy these trips. Although we experienced a flight delay out of Houston due to bad weather from a tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico, we were able to see several dealers in Michigan before arriving at the ILNA show in Tinley Park.

The weather in Michigan and Chicago is gorgeous this time of year. The summer heat has softened and the nights are cool and comfortable. The folks with the ILNA Show did a great job in putting on the show despite the construction to enlarge the current convention center in Tinley Park. ILNA moved to this location a couple years ago. They are to be commended for running a good show in a location that has both safe and reasonably priced lodging and good restaurants.

Business on the bourse floor is always busy during dealer set-up. Getting ‘first shot’ at someone’s inventory is the prize for those lucky enough to get there first. Basically ‘first shot’ is what we dealers refer to as the person (usually a dealer) who gets to look at another dealer’s inventory before any other dealer looks. Often times you will hear, ‘Joe got first shot, but I still want to look’. Many dealers attend only a few shows a year and their inventory is ‘fresh’ to other dealers. They have often purchased coins from collections or estates that other dealers haven’t seen, thus the desire to get ‘first shot’. (more…)