This article was originally printed in Numismatic News.
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Coin dealers were looking to strike gold among at the American Numismatic Association National Money Show March 17-19 in Sacramento, Calif.
But California’s capital city just could not live up to the memories of the 1999 show when the public admission lines at one point wound out the door of the convention center.
The reality of 2011 was more subdued, but that didn’t mean good results weren’t being achieved, especially between dealers.
“We have had a wonderful show,” declared Bob Campbell of All About Coins, Inc., Salt Lake City, Utah, on the final morning of the event.
“It ran like clockwork. We sold an incredible amount of coins. I haven’t sold this amount at a coin show for years.
“Morgan dollars are super hot right now, (in MS-)63, 64, 65,” he declared.
On some Morgans, he explained, he got more for them than they were originally marked to sell for at retail.
He said he had brought six double-row boxes of coins to sell and he had sold the contents of three of them.
“We’ve sold Lincoln pennies to Franklin half dollars,” Campbell said.
Justin Fraughton of Provident Precious Metals of Lavon, Texas, was upbeat about his firm’s results.
“I think it has been great. Traffic has been pretty steady. There has been a flow of great people. Our biggest success is with bullion. We are a bullion dealer.”
What was most popular at Sacramento, Fraughton said was silver and copper.
“Gold’s been kind of a slower mover.”
Provident also was selling 2010 America the Beautiful 5-ounce silver bullion coin sets slabbed by the Professional Coin Grading Service at First Strike BU.
Fraughton said the sets recently were selling for $1,500-$1,800 each.
“We actually did sell a couple sets yesterday. We don’t have very many to sell,” he added.
Provident’s Josh Merrick showed off the copper bars and one-ounce rounds.
The one-pound copper bar with a Morgan head on it was priced at $9. He said these were being purchased by “the regular guy who doesn’t have a ton of money to spend at this show.”
Julian Leidman of Silver Spring, Md., called his business at the show “modest.”
“We had, I guess, a decent group of people here, but no checkbooks,” Leidman observed. There were collectors looking, casual looking, a nice group of Scouts and YN treasure hunters, but my only real business was with colleagues.”
Richard Snow of Eagle Eye Rare Coins, Tucson, Ariz., echoed Leidman’s comments about the show.
“A little light on the public,” he noted. However, he explained, “You get enough coin dealers together and they can make it a good show. It’s all about what you buy. I made some good purchases.”
Of his specialty area of Indian cents, he said, “if I can find good stuff, I can sell it.” He defined this as “problem-free XF on up to Proof-70” coins.
Mark Emtman of B.U.S.T. Coinage, Spokane, Wash., offered his assessment of how business was at the convention.
“I’d say in the middle somewhere for me. Dealer to dealer was better than the public. Coins over $800 were not selling well.”
Rob Anglemier of Beaverton, Ore., was pleased with silver dollars.
He said Morgans were “very hot – maybe very active is a better way to say it. Lower-grade common dates are very much in demand because of the silver market. It’s got to be influenced by silver bullion.
Dealers are paying $30 and better. That’s just anything VG and better.”
David D. Carruthers of Grand Gold Coins, Reno, Nev., called his results “very poor. It would have been nice to have some qualified buyers here. Attendance was very poor. Those who did attend weren’t buying.”
David Neita of American Heritage Minting’s Beverly Hills, Calif., office, was pleased with his convention results.
“If you have collector material, you’re doing fine. I’ve had a very good show. I’ve sold a lot of Mercury dimes, Bust halves and Lincoln and Indian pennies.”
Jack Beymer of Santa Rosa, Calif., said, “Not as much public came as I would expect at an ANA.”
His wife Sondra remembered the 1999 event and all of the enthusiasm generated for the convention by the clubs within 100 miles.
Donna J. Harlow of Robert S. Harlow, Townsend, Mass., said of the show, “It was slow. I mean it wasn’t like a bust, but slower than you might expect.”
But she was happy. “We get to see our daughter who lives in California.”
If anyone’s comments might be called a good summation of dealer results, it might be those from Scott T. Loos of World Coins, North Bend, Wash.
“Wholesale was good,” he declared. “Retail was kind of on the weak side. I sold an entire ancient collection, which helped.”
With the missing ’99ers, dealers did what dealers do, they made their own business.