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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:

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.

Gem type coins, both mint state and proof, were also in demand. Many collectors choose this way of type collecting. I like it. By collecting an example of every coin, whether copper, nickel, silver, gold, or all of them, collectors increase their chance of finding that special piece.

Better date coins within a series also sold. If a dealer had an exceptional example of a tougher date in a widely collected series, it sold. One particular piece we had, and out of respect to the collector’s privacy, I won’t say which piece, only it is tougher than nails to find. The collector saw ours, looked at it, wanted it, and then told us his problem. There were coins in that night session of the auction that he had come to buy, and if he didn’t get them, he would be back for our piece. The next day he came back. And while he was successful in the auction, he knew he couldn’t pass up our coin. Advanced collectors know that the opportunity to purchase certain coins can be scarcer than the coins themselves. I can’t stress enough that collectors need to learn how to “pull the trigger”. Not just with me and Christine, but with any dealer who has the “right coin”.

In addition to sales, we were able to acquire many want lists from our customers. Keep in mind that a great many of the coins we sell are done through want lists. So if you are looking for any thing in particular, give us a shout.

This is where it got dicey. As you may, or may not, already know, I was a wholesaler for over 30 years. My “customers” included EVERY major retailer in the business. They got used to coming to me to replenish their stock, and find that “special” coin. That has all changed now. The best coins we have are now held back for you, our customers. Some dealers didn’t like that, while others took the approach that they would take what they could get.

Bourse floor purchases:

As many of the attendee were buying from us they sometimes asked if we would take coins in trade or buy them outright. We were always happy to look. And while doing so I noticed a trend. Most of the coins offered to us were a little off in quality or eye appeal. I can’t help but think that the sellers knew this. They were save enough to get rid of “C” quality coins, in exchange for “A” and “B” ones. Today’s collectors are demanding more “eye appeal” of their purchases. Good job!

After decades of building relationships with virtually ever major, and semi-pro, dealer in the business, I am happy to say that we were able to use these alliances to acquire some great coins and Americana. Chris is busy, as I write this, sorting, imaging, and listing them on the web. So make sure to set your alarm for every few hours, and check our web site often. We bought some wild coins this past week, and look forward to talking with you about them.
I’ve listed a few highlights below:

1835 Capped Bust Dime PCGS MS65
1869 Seated Dime PCGS PR67
1884 Gold Dollar NGC MS67
1904-O Eagle NGC MS65

2000-P SAC$1 PCGS MS 68 “Cheerios” Dollar FS-401. An unusual piece that come with some VERY interesting paperwork. All I can say is it is a true example of “Numismatic Americana”. More information to follow.

2000-P SAC$1 Ungraded (at this time). Again, a special piece. One of the first coins to be struck during a special ceremony at the Philadelphia mint. Official documents accompany this piece. More information to come.

Personal archives of John F. Tillman, Register of the Treasury from 1893 to 1897. Including pay for the last two days he was in office. That encompasses:
1 1896 $1 Silver Certificate FR 224, PMG graded 64.
2 1891 $10 Silver Certificates, Fr 299, PMG graded 64 and 66!

It will take a little time to sort through all of the Tillman material, so be patient.

ANA Exhibits:
Okay, I’m embarrassed. I am a true numismatist. I love coins. Their history, beauty, you name it. From what I am told there were some outstanding exhibits in Boston. Unfortunately, or fortunately, I wasn’t able to see them. We were just too busy at the table. I know, that isn’t a good excuse. I’m sorry. Not just for my excuse, but for not taking the time and looking at them.

Boston Itself:
Not exactly an easy town to drive in. Maybe that is why it is probably one of, if not the best, towns I’ve seen to walk in. Everything you could imagine was within walking distance. Outstanding dinning, shopping, and history were only minutes away on foot. Truly a great city! If you couldn’t make it to the show itself, you owe it to yourself to make a trip up there. You won’t regret it

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