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Rare Coin Road Warrior – Coin Shows

By Vic Bozarth – February 2011 – Bozarth Numismatics

In this month’s RCRW I am going to talk a little about the rare coin market before previewing the rare coin show schedule for the next two months.

The rare coin show schedule follows a pretty predictable timetable each year. Many dealers and avid collectors schedule their lives around the coin shows they attend. For example, dealers and collectors alike know the Florida United Numismatists Show starts the show schedule each year. For decades now, the F.U.N. organization has held their annual show the week following New Year’s Day. The Florida United Numismatists Show is the largest coin show in the United States. This year the F.U.N. show was held in the Tampa Convention Center instead of the Orlando Convention Center with the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus performing next door. The answer is yes, we did revert back to our childhood and attended the circus one evening!

Because the F.U.N. Show is the first show of each year, many dealers and collectors are very conservative with their purchases. They want to see what direction the market is headed. In addition to the tentativeness I witnessed at the F.U.N. show among both dealers and collectors, the overall economy has certainly affected overall sales. Discretionary income is down. A well known dealer commented that ‘people aren’t buying coins when they are worried about their mortgage’. Although the bullion business has been very active and some selected rarities have brought record prices, the overall coin market is soft. Ironically, most dealers would have thought record gold and silver prices would have resulted in record coin prices.

How can I take advantage of this rare coin market?

Don’t bury your head in the sand. Shop frugally, use your numismatic knowledge, and focus on value. These are sound principles for buying rare coins. What most of us overlook is what we can do for our collection or portfolio besides buying more coins. Manage your collection/portfolio wisely. The current coin market is fertile ground for the astute buyer. Obviously we all want the most value for our dollar as we can get. Of course buying in a ‘soft’ market is very beneficial, but there are other ways to manage your collection or portfolio for future benefit.

One note of importance: DO NOT BUY UGLY COINS BECAUSE THEY ARE CHEAP. Ugly coins do not sell.

Two of the biggest ways you can reap future benefits from your collection or portfolio are to take profit in some coins and sell the ‘dogs’. Whether you are buying coins strictly as a collector or an investor, taking a profit on coins or bullion items frees up money for coins you really want or coins that have more future investment potential.

Both gold and silver bullion have risen considerably over the last couple of years. Many coins have dropped in price. You get the picture – reposition your assets. Selling the ‘dogs’ is very important also. Yes, you are probably going to take a loss. BUT, the nicer coins you purchase with the proceeds of your ‘dog’ sales will certainly exceed the performance of the ‘dogs’. The bottom line to this recommendation is to cull out the ‘dogs’ and reposition your collection or portfolio for better future performance.

The February and March rare coin show schedule includes several big shows as well as a couple of really good regional shows. The first Long Beach Show of the year starts this Wednesday (to dealers) the second of February. The Long Beach Show seems to be growing again. More favorable table prices and better advertising should help this great show recover some of the luster it has lost over the last several years. The smaller dealers are taking tables again and some new dealers are attending. The Heritage Auction is a huge draw also. For those who haven’t attended, this is a really pleasant venue for a show. Long Beach is a neat town, the weather is terrific, and there are lots of lodging and dining choices.

The week after the Long Beach Show there is a smaller show in Charlotte, NC held by the Charlotte Coin Club. The third full week of February we are attending a Numismatic Guarantee Corporation Dealer Invitational in Sarasota, Florida. This is a dealer’s only show where on-site grading is offered and dealers are able to trade coins in a super secure venue. Both NGC and PCGS hold these shows periodically and they are quite popular among many dealers. PCGS is also holding their ‘Trade and Grade’ in February in Las Vegas.

The St. Louis Show in mid February is a really solid regional show. Mike Orlando has run this show for quite a few years and he always has a waiting list for tables. The Airport Hilton where the show is held has been renovated and there is a Scotsman Auction held during the Show. Because of the airport location, transportation options are plentiful as are lodging choices. I have personally attended this show since the seventies and wouldn’t miss it. Other shows in February include shows in Virginia Beach, VA and the Collectorama Show in Lakeland, FL.

March is a good show month. Not only is there a really hot Baltimore Show, but the ANA Mid-Winter Show visits a new city each year. We love Baltimore. The city is a lovely and friendly place to visit and the show is dynamite. For several years the three Whitman Baltimore Shows have been the premier East Coast Shows. Although the Summer Baltimore Show is somewhat smaller, both the Spring and Fall Shows are huge. Lots of dealers of all shapes and sizes attend-HA!   Because of the convenient location, Baltimore draws smaller dealers from all of the middle atlantic coast and northeast dealers. These are the smaller dealers whereby ‘half the population’ of the U.S. Coins come out of the woodwork in Baltimore. Virtually all major dealers attend also. The new Stack/Bowers and Merena Auction Company will hold their first auction in Baltimore this March.

The American Numismatic Association Mid-Winter Show is being held in Sacramento, CA this year. The last ANA Mid-Winter Show held in Sacramento in 1999 was dynamite. Lots of neat coins ‘walked’ into that show. The location, just hours from some of the richest gold strikes in history and the shows proximity to the San Francisco mint are factors that promise a great show. Because of the higher gold prices, I would expect some rare gold coins to ‘walk’ in!

Other shows in March include Sarasota, FL and Chattanooga, TN Shows held the first week of the month. There is a good smaller show in Brooklyn Center, MN (a suburb of Minneapolis) held the same week as the ANA Mid-Winter Show. The Bay State Show in Boston is the week between the ANA and the Baltimore Shows. Ed Aleo, the show coordinator, has run this show for several decades at the Renaissance Park Plaza Hotel. There is also a newer show in Monroeville, PA (near Philadelphia) the same week as the Bay State Show. Although I haven’t attended the Monroeville Show, I have attended the P.A.N. Shows held in the Pittsburgh area twice a year. These shows are run by John Sarosi who does a nice job keeping both dealers and the public happy.

This morning I am completing this article from Long Beach, CA. While most of the country is blanketed in snow, Long Beach is 65 degrees, sunny, and really pleasant. I have been ‘addicted’ to the rare coin show circuit for years. Some of my most pleasant show memories are of the Long Beach Show and the friends and professional associations I have made here. I would encourage any rare coin enthusiast to attend a coin show in your area. If you have the wherewithal try and schedule a trip to a BIG show like Long Beach (held three times a year), Baltimore (held three times a year), or even the ANA events which are now also being held three times a year. Not only will you get to see some really incredible coins, but you will have the opportunity to meet some of the most interesting people in the rare coin business.

Bozarth Numismatics specializes in high grade PCGS and NGC graded coins. We also offer a large assortment of CAC approved PCGS and NGC coins. We offer free, no obligation want list services and you can see our inventory on our website or our Ebay store.

Thanks and Best Regards,

Vic Bozarth.

Vic Bozarth
Vic Bozarth
Vic Bozarth is a member of the Professional Numismatics Guild (PNG), the ANA, the CSNS, FUN, and many other regional and state coin clubs and organizations. Vic has extensive experience buying and selling coins into the mid-six-figure range. Both Vic and his wife Sherri attend all major U.S. coin shows as well as most of the larger regional shows.

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  1. I have a 1951 D cent that I first believed was on a dime. I took it to a jeweler friend and he said he did not believe it to be a dime, as the ridges on the edge of this lincoln cent slant downward instead of following a straight pattern around the edge of the coin. Any info on this type of edge design would be appreciated.
    Respectfully, Lisa Cox


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