Carried along in part by the rising tide of gold and silver prices, the U.S. coin market demonstrated obvious strength at the National Money Show April 7-9 in suburban Atlanta.
Some thoughtful dealers while enjoying the success were also wondering how far the present trend of rising prices can go before a reaction sets in. Gold touched $600 and silver passed $12 as the convention unfolded.
When Tom Hallenbeck of Colorado Springs, Colo., was asked how he did at the show, he replied, ?Wholesale was extremely busy. Even retail was very brisk.
?It was very well attended. Those that came weren?t tire kickers. There were a lot of buyers. Any yellow coins were very hot, especially anything with an Indian on it.?
Here Hallenbeck explained that he had encountered dealers who were ?pulling Indians out of their cases to see what prices do in the next two weeks.?
This obvious sign of market speculation by persons who normally stake their business on a constant turnover of inventory could be a sign of froth. Hallenbeck however, had addressed that issue in a conversation earlier in the show about his own shop business. He pointed out that bullion was exciting activity, but presently it was pretty well balanced between buyers and sellers.
He did note that sellers tended to be older persons who had held on for more than 20 years through the long down market. Buyers tended to be younger. As long as buying and selling stayed balanced, Hallenbeck said he wasn?t inclined to worry about any speculative fever.
Hallenbeck commented also on the Heritage auction result. ?Some of those were just nuts.? For details of the $12 million sale, see the Auction Page 20.
?Bullion, actually I sold a fair amount of it,? said Julian Leidman of Silver Spring, Md. ?That?s been a good seller.?
Calling his overall show experience busy, Leidman also called attention to the ANA Treasure Trivia contest run for the benefit of children.
?Being part of the treasure hunt, lots of people come by. Seeing all the kids is good. It?s been a busy show,? Leidman concluded.
Error dealer Fred Weinberg of Encino, Calif., noted that there were a ?surprising number of people on Thursday and Friday. The market seems very healthy. There are the usual complaints of lack of material, even in the specialized areas.
?It is different than 1980,? he explained. ?It is much more widespread. Internet expanded the market far, far deeper than 10 years ago.?
Leon Hendrickson of SilverTowne, Winchester, Ind., when asked how he did said, ?Very good, very busy. A lot of sellers and quite a few buyers, too. (It) equaled out. One of the better ANA midwinters.?
Brad Shiff, of Cybercoins.net, said the show was ?not as good as far as selling, but very good as far as buying. Our location was better than normal.?
Wayne Herndon of Oakton, Va., said, ?It was a very, very busy show, at least for me.?
When asked what was moving, he replied, Bust halves, Buffaloes, Barber quarters, nice eye-appealing stuff. ?Common widgets (were) moving a little slower.?
?I did a lot of buying,? said Christopher Imperato of New World Rarities, Hauppauge, N.Y.
What was selling? ?If it is priced right, everything.? Then Imperato qualified his experience slightly. ?There is strength in everything but old silver commems.?
Teletrade of Irvine, Calif., was present to promote its online auction business. Irma Kane called the show terrific. ?Everything is great. We had a lot of viewing here.?
Teletrade President Ian Russell said, ?Customers came out to see us.
Mike Bobb of Mike?s Coin Chest, Torrance, Calif., said, ?Dealers were buying strong.? He labeled the public visitors who came by his table ?tire kickers.?
Selby Ungar of Laguna Hills, Calif., said, ?CC?s are really strong. I sold a lot of CC?s, graded and not graded ones.
?I just picked up two new people,? he said about two new clients he made contact with at the show.
?It started slow and picked up,? Ungar described the convention. ?Thursday was a dealer-to-dealer show. The public gave it a little buzz. It turned out to be a good show.
?A lot of people were here that wanted to get into coins, husbands and wives. I?ve been getting a few of them at other shows.? He said they were in their late 30s to early 50s.
Perhaps this signifies a new trend in the hobby. Historically, collectors have been one spouse or the other but rarely both.
Larry Brooks of Applied Scientific Devices, Tigard, Ore., described his show this way: ?There is a certain level of expectations and it exceeded that.?
Another supplies dealer, Florian Frank of Lighthouse Publications, Hackensack, N.J., also called the show ?better than expected.?
?Excellent,? said J.H. Cline of Palm Harbor, Fla. This longtime professional then explained that his wife can ?come within a few hundred dollars? in guessing his receipts ?just by my wording.? If he says a single word, she says, ?I know you?ve done well.?
?Most of the good paper money has disappeared from the marketplace,? said Jesse Lipka of Flemington, N.J.
Curtis Mease of Superior Galleries, Beverly Hills, Calif., said, ?It was good for us.?
Strong bullion. Strong coin sales. Disappearing paper money. It was clear at the convention that the numismatic market continues to set an active pace.
Perhaps Hallenbeck?s observations about bullion apply to the numismatic market generally and indicate that the uptrend in business will continue in the coming months.