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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 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’.

I was able to get ‘first shot’ with a couple of dealers at the ILNA show and bought some neat items including an 1877 Indian Cent in GEM Proof. I was also able to purchase a couple of Carson City Double Eagles, a Charlotte Mint Half Eagle, and a Dahlonega Mint Half Eagle. Earlier in the trip I was able to pick up both an 1889CC and 1893CC Morgan in high grade circulated condition. These are all ‘slabbed’ PCGS or NGC graded coins. I was also able to ‘cherry pick’ a group of 1900-O/CC Morgans in mint state originally from BU rolls. I do buy a lot of uncertified U.S. coins, but these are sent for grading and certification before I list them on our website.

September has a couple of other interesting shows including two ‘biggies’. The Fall Long Beach, CA show begins on the 22nd, while the newer Whitman Philadelphia Coin Expo starts on the 30th. We will be attending the Long Beach Show and have a table at the Whitman Philadelphia Coin Show. These two shows, on opposite sides of the country, are ‘back to back’ and pose some difficult logistical problems. Many East/West coast dealers are going to skip one or the other because of the timing. Indeed, the two major grading services (PCGS and NGC) have both changed their schedules to grade only at the show ‘closer’ to home, although, they will both be accepting coins at both shows.

In next month’s RARE COIN ROAD WARRIOR column I will write about both of these shows as well as previewing the great show in Manchester, NH put on by my friend Ernie Botte. I will also preview the Silver Dollar Show in the super nice convention facility in St. Charles, MO.

Our upcoming show schedule for the Fall is as follows
Long Beach, CA September 22-25
Whitman Coin Expo/Philadelphia, PA September 30-October 2
New Hampshire Coin Show, Manchester, NH October 7-10
Silver Dollar Show/St. Charles, MO October 13-16
PNNA/Portland, OR Coin Show October 22-24
Coinfest, Stamford, CT October 28-30
Whitman Coin Expo, Baltimore, MD November 4-7
Santa Clara, CA Coin Show November 18-20
Houston Money Show and PNG Day, Houston, TX December 2-4

If you have any comments or suggestions for a future edition of the RARE COIN ROAD WARRIOR please contact me at or visit our website at
Best Regards, Vic Bozarth

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