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All Posts Tagged With: "Bill Shamhart"

November Baltimore Coin Show and Market Report

By William Shamhart, Jr.  – Numismatic Americana

I can figure a coin deal as quick as anyone. In fact I can sometimes just look at a deal and know that I am going to buy it. That is because I am a coin dealer and have been my entire adult life.
baltimoreNov2010
But writing…that’s a whole other story. I’ve had trouble all my life writing papers from grade school all the way though college. Hence my tardiness in getting this show report to you, our loyal readers.

Christine and I made the trip down to Baltimore on Wednesday afternoon. We had a few appointments set up and promptly got down to business. After looking at a few dealer’s inventory (and finding the same old “tired” pieces), I went to submit our numerous coins for grading to PCGS. (At the end of this show report, and up on our web site shortly, you will find the fruits of this.)

With an opening bell of 8:00 a.m. on Thursday, Christine and I were there bright and early and literally minutes after the doors opened we arrived at our table only to find a client waiting for us. While that was a great way to start the show, sadly it wasn’t going to last. We did some wholesale business from our inventory early on and then proceeded to set up our booth for the “early birds” at 10 and the public at noon. One of the best things about having a client base is that other dealers figure out quickly that you need to buy coins for them, so while neither Christine or I really got to spend a lot of time walking the floor looking for coin to buy, it was nice that there was a steady flow of dealers coming to us, wanting to show us their wares.

Getting to the meat of this report, I will tell you that Baltimore was definitely better than CoinFest, and way better than the Silver Dollar Expo a few weeks earlier. There are many more “collectors” in Baltimore than the aforementioned shows, and while they didn’t spend money like sailors on shore leave, they did spend. As I write this gold has broken the $1400 barrier, yet in Baltimore we didn’t have one person come up to us and ask for bullion, quasi bullion, or generic gold coins. Not one. Gem gold was in demand, stronger than it has ever been in recent history. And we sold virtually all that we brought with us.

Another observation that I came back with is how focused today’s buyers are. No longer do they settle for a lesser coin, they don’t buy something just to fill a hole. They will wait until that special coin, the one with the look that they have been longing for, appears. The collectors in the market place today don’t just have a want list with a denomination, date, and grade on it, there is also the “look” on their list. And some coins, no matter the grade, just won’t make the grade (no pun intended). They are fussy and they should be. I’ve always had the opinion that coin collecting should be fun. It should release the endorphins in your brain and not cause stress. It seems that the collectors I have met recently have learned from the common mistakes that one would make early on in a hobby. They have paid their dues and will wait it out until they get exactly what they want. While I generally agree with that philosophy, it can be a very dangerous double edged sword. Passing up on a truly rare coin, in anticipation of a finer piece showing up, can be, and usually is, a bad deal. If the coin in question is that tough to locate, then there will usually be another collector lined up behind you to buy it. How many time have you looked at a coin, walked away to think about, and then returned only to find it sold?

So what, besides Gem gold, was selling? Nice commems, MONSTER commems, and type coins, both proof and mint state were selling. MONSTER type coins that sold there went for numbers off the charts. Better date walkers, and yes, even proof walkers were also in demand.

Before you start to look over our new purchases, I’d like to remind you that the next show Christine and I will be doing will be the Money Show of the Southwest in Houston the first week of December. Don’t worry, we will still be buying coins and putting them up on the web before then. So while we won’t have any of show reports until next month, there will be plenty of new coins showing up on our site.

Coinfest 2010 Market Report

By William Shamhart – Numismatic Americana

After much anticipation, this years CoinFest has come and gone. In its third location in four years, I must say that this should be the permanent home for this show. Located in the recently renovated Marriott in Stamford, CT, the bourse itself was held in a “ballroom” atmosphere. With carpeted floors this gives a “warmer” environment to conduct business. Parking was plentiful for the attendees, and there are numerous quality restaurants within walking distance. My vote is to do whatever it takes to keep the show there.

Inside the bourse area there were, and are, many opinions as to how the show was. The local demographics, on paper, have all the making for a great show. For some it was, but for most it wasn’t. Let me explain. Unfortunately most dealers suffer from the “immediate gratification” syndrome. Not unlike most of America I suppose. If sales weren’t consummated there, and for large numbers, then some dealers look at the show as a bust. Many of the dealers don’t cater to retail on a full time basis. They set up at shows, looking for that big sale, and when it doesn’t happen then and there, they become disappointed. They don’t maintain websites, advertise in trade publications, have dedicated phone lines, or employ numismatists to handle questions. They live in the here and now.

Other dealers on the other hand look at contacts made as a possible client in the future. They follow up with emails, inquire about want lists, and basically cultivate the collector. Now I’m not looking at this through rose colored glasses, I realize that quite a few contacts made don’t pan out. In fact most don’t. Thing is you just don’t know which ones will and which ones won’t. At CoinFest we spent a lot of our time talking with collectors, some who bought something, some who didn’t. But I came away with a very positive feeling about the show. As I write this, I have numerous emails to return from people who I just met at CoinFest. I guess time will tell.

Sales: From a retailer view, they were somewhat dismal. The collector sales that were done were well thought out by the buyer. No impulse buying here. But that is good. At least the collector feels confident enough with what is going on in the world to continue their pursuit of numismatics. Polite negotiations, trades, and lay-a-ways were all done there. That’s okay. We try very hard to put coins in collector hands. Thank you.

From a wholesale point of view it was mixed. We did sell quite a bit to other dealers, mostly to retailers. No wholesalers and very little producers. That leads me to this thought. Other dealers, retailers in particular, don’t just buy coins to be buying coins. They have a thought process, perhaps another retail consumer (one that hasn’t found us yet). What I am trying to say is that when a coin trade hands wholesale it is done for a reason. Someone, somewhere, is selling the coin to a collector, that my friend is good it shows confidence in the market.

Buying: Here is where it gets interesting. None, and I mean none, of our usual contacts had anything special for us. But…there were a few deals (collections) that came to the show. And while we didn’t buy all of them directly from the original sellers, they found there way to us anyway. Most all of the coins we bought there were raw. That is they haven’t seen the inside of a grading room, ever, or a least until next week in Baltimore where we will submit them. Stay tuned, or shall I say check our web site often after Baltimore for these coins. These pieces along with our new purchases from Baltimore will make for a very special offering of coins.

Christine and I will be attending Baltimore this week starting on Thursday. If you are attending, please stop by and say hello, we are at table 1851. We’d love to chat and talk coins. And maybe even sell some…

Boston ANA Show Report by Bill Shamhart

William Shamhart, Jr. – Numismatic Americana

After months of anticipation and preparation, the ANA’s annual World’s Fair of Money in Boston is over. And while there are always little details that could use a little more attention, I must say that the staff of the ANA produced a convention that blew me away. Many show reports have been written about this year’s ANA, and I sure many more are to come, so let me get to the “meat” of this one:

Bourse floor:

Held on the second floor, actually third if you count the street level, it was set up into two rooms. I have never been a fan of spitting up the bourse floor of a show for many reasons; yet this year’s show seemed to work. Christine’s and my table was in the “main” room, centrally located. We picked this table for a reason. And it worked. Most collectors had no problem finding us (especially if they use the great program the ANA put together). It didn’t hurt that it was on a major thorough-fair into the next room either. Many collectors/dealers stopped at our table, and it was great to see many familiar faces and finally meet so many of our customers in person. The aisles were wide enough so that there weren’t any major traffic jams. This is great, especially in a room where most if not all the attendees had briefcases or rolling carts in tow. I’m sure that the ANA took this into consideration when they decided to use two rooms. I personally think it was a smart move. The only downside to this that I saw was that many of the collectors/dealers never made it into the other room! Seriously! There was more than enough quality material in either room to have a stand alone show in itself.

Bourse floor sales:

Collectors
After 30+ years of attending ANA summer shows, I can say without a doubt that this was our (my) best one to date for collector sales. I can attribute this to many factors, but one stands at the top. Christine Monk. She has been in the business for nearly twenty years and has met many, many collectors during that time. Collectors I knew by sight, but had never met in person. They came up and congratulated her on her new position, chatted like old friends, sat down, looked at coins, talked coins, and walked away with many new purchases. That was what drew me to this hobby as a child, and has kept me in it throughout my adult life. In Boston, Christine reminded me of this. Thanks Chris!

At the top of the list of what was selling was U.S. Commemoratives. I always knew that this series had a great following, and in Boston I saw it in person. Don’t be fooled though. Not all commems, or any coin for that matter, are equal (no matter what the label in the holders says). The coins we sold had that little something special that I always talk about going for them. Abundant luster, wild color, or outstanding eye appeal is and was needed. This doesn’t apply only to Commems though. Every coin we sold had to have it. (more…)

Nashville Show Report

By William Shamhart, Jr. – Numismatic Americana

The inauguration is over, now it is time to get down to work and attend to the things that need fixing. No, I am not talking about the political state of our country (and I never will), I am talking about the first annual Nashville show produced by the good folks at Whitman Coin and Expo.

We’ve all seen and heard of the devastating floods that ravaged the area a few weeks ago, nashville2010imgand while I didn’t see any standing water, the aftermath was evident everywhere. Coming in from the airport I could see where the river had crested fifty feet (50 feet!) above its banks. That’s pretty impressive, even for a Missouri boy who is use to floods of Biblical proportions. Disaster clean-up crews were working in the downtown area around the clock. Apparently a lot of the older building there with basements had serious water damage. Even with this disaster, everyone we spoke with was in good spirits. Tennesseans are a hearty lot; they rolled up their sleeves and got to work. No complaining, no blaming. I was impressed. Whitman expressed concern for the unfortunate timing, but realized (as I did) that there was nothing they could do. The show must go on. And it did.

The show itself was held in the adjoining convention center to the Renaissance Hotel where we stayed. This is good. I’ve always liked a show where you don’t have to walk outside to get from the hotel to the bourse floor. It just makes sense from a security point of view, as well as not having to haul your inventory around outside and possibly getting caught out in the elements (like the heavy rain present on Thursday). The show/hotel was held just one block off the “main” street in downtown Nashville, so dealers and attendees alike could enjoy the nightlife “Music City” is known for. This is a big “plus” as many dealers and collectors like to see the sights of the towns they attend. The nickname “Music City” says it all.

Set up for the show was at 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday. In my opinion this might have been a little early. This meant that most “National” dealers had to come to town on Tuesday evening and incur the added expense of an extra night’s hotel room. We also noticed that many of the local and regional dealers didn’t make it to the show until later that day, or even Thursday. Perhaps a set-up time in the afternoon would be better. Something for Whitman to think about.

We had bought a few deals in the past weeks that we brought to the show to wholesale out. This we did with little effort. While these coins weren’t exactly the kind we like to offer our clients, it seems that demand for coins of all levels is somewhat strong right now. And while this is good news, we didn’t need to travel to Nashville to find that out. Retail collectors are why we came here. There hadn’t been a “National” or even a regional coin show here in 35 years so we were interested to see what kind of collector base this area had. On Thursday and Friday we found out. There are serious collectors here, as we met some of them. But I can’t help but wonder if the above mentioned flood didn’t keep some away (cleaning up their homes, as well as helping their neighbors). (more…)

CSNS Coin Show Report

By Bill Shamhart – NumismaticAmericana.com

I just returned home after a short 1 1/2 flight from Milwaukee, and thought I’d write about the Central States Numismatic Society’s show that was just held. First off let me say that this year marks my 30th year as a Life Member of the CSNS. And I’ve attended at least that many shows of theirs. But this one was different.

I arrived on Tuesday to look at the inventory of some of my contacts, as I usually do. Not much to report there. I know it sounds like a broken record, but really nice coins aren’t available like one would think. Basically a wasted day. Centralstates2010Homepage On to Wednesday, PNG day. I was able to find a few morsels, but I sold at least two coins for every one that I bought. For the first time in a long time, every time I sold a coin I asked myself when (and how) was I going to replace it. Let’s give PNG day a B-. But it ended on a good note at a great restaurant: STANFORDS.

Thursday was the “official” set-up day for Central States. All dealers. All day. Unless of course the collectors wanted to pay a ridiculous fee of $75.00 for a “professional pre-view” badge. Which in my opinion was a bad move on the show management’s part. Serious collectors may have, or may not have, been at the PNG day and expected to attend the “show” the next day, only to find this arrangement. Every dealer we spoke with thought this was a horrible idea. I must say I agree with them. First off, no where was this publicized. Nobody knew of this move until they got to Milwaukee. Hopefully the board of Central States will learn a lesson from this blunder and NEVER do something like this again.

So…how was the show after the public got in? Good. No, really good. We saw many familiar faces, met some new ones, and sold coins. Gem type coins and Commemoratives (both silver and gold) were in demand. Several collectors looked at pieces, said they might come back (and they did) only to find their items of interest already in the hands of another. I have always said, and will continue to say, that the time to buy the “right” coin is when you see it. I’m not talking about an impulse buy, or maybe a coin you have a passing interest in, but that special one. The one that you’ve been looking for for a long time. I know that when I see a great coin, I know that I will be buying it. It is just a matter of negotiating price. Collectors should learn that trait. Good coins sell themselves, and quickly.

The membership of the Central States Numismatic Society is a diverse one. Coins, paper money, medals and tokens, and Americana. There were collectors at this show looking for it all. In addition to our rare coin sales, we sold quite a bit of Numismatic Americana. Original memorabilia for U.S. Commemorative coinage was in “big” demand. In fact, we sold all that we brought. Items from the 1896/1900 election between William McKinley and William Jennings Bryan were also sought out. It’s great to speak with collectors and hear the “passion” in their voice when they talk. It reminds me of why I do what I do. (more…)

Highest Certified 1901-S Barber Quarter Breaks Coin Auction Records and Becomes the Star of a Coin Convention

by Greg Reynolds for CoinLink

On March 4, in Baltimore, B&M auctioned a 1901 San Francisco Mint quarter dollar, which was then PCGS certified “MS-68,” for $327,750, an auction record for a Barber quarter and for any business strike Barber coin. John Brush, acting on behalf of DLRC, was the successful bidder. While bidding, he was talking to John Feigenbaum, the President of DLRC, on the phone.

On March 25, this quarter was featured at the PCGS announcement of the SecurePlusTM program in Fort Worth, and had been regraded “MS-68+.” On March 26, Bill Shamhart negotiated with Feigenbaum to buy this quarter. During the following week, it was CAC approved, and Shamhart placed it in a private collection. Other than the Olsen-Hawn 1913 Liberty Nickel that sold during the FUN Platinum Night event, this is the most ‘talked about’ coin in 2010, so far.

I. This 1901-S sells at Auction and then Privately

Early in 2010, this 1901-S quarter remained in an NGC holder, with an MS-68 grade, and was submitted by B&M to PCGS for consideration as a ‘crossover.’ It did, in fact, ‘cross,’ meaning here that the PCGS also graded it as MS-68.

John Feigenbaum explains that, soon after this 1901-S was auctioned on March 4, the “PCGS was looking for a trophy coin to display during their announcement; so they contacted me to inquire if I would be willing to put this coin in their new holder. I was happy to oblige.” Technically, there is a new SecureShield insert in the same type of holder. This quarter became the first coin to be PCGS graded “MS-68+,” under the new system that allows for ‘+’ grades. On March 25, David Hall included this coin in his presentation, in Fort Worth, at the formal announcement of the SecurePlusTM program.

When PCGS officials contacted Feigenbaum about arranging for this coin to be a showpiece, “there was no discussion of the ‘+’ designation,” Feigenbaum reports, “that was a complete surprise. Frankly, I didn’t even know it was an option.”

On Friday, March 26, at the ANA Convention in Fort Worth, Bill Shamhart, [www.numismaticamericana.com] a New Jersey dealer and CAC consultant, arranged for one of his clients to purchase this 1901-S quarter from Feigenbaum, subject to verification of its grade by the CAC. During the following week, the CAC placed a sticker on the holder, and this quarter thus traded again. The CAC approved the MS-68 grade; the CAC will not accept or reject ‘plus’ grades. Shamhart’s client is a “lifelong collector” who desires American coins of “amazing quality.”

At auction on March 4, the firm of David Lawrence (DLRC) acquired this 1901-S quarter for inventory largely because the firm has specialized in Barber Coinage for more than a quarter century. Barber coins were minted from 1892 to 1916. John Feigenbaum’s deceased father, David Lawrence Feigenbaum, founded DLRC in 1979. David authored three books on Barber coinage, one book on each denomination, dimes, quarters and half dollars. In the late 1990s, father and son co-authored a fourth book that focused on Mint State and Proof Barber coins that were certified by the PCGS and the NGC. DLRC sells Proof, Mint State, AU and circulated Barber coins. (more…)