Wide aisles that looked empty and lack of an audible buzz for much of the event earned the Aug. 5-9 American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money in Los Angeles a mediocre rating at best from dealer attendees.
But a show is what you make of it, many dealers were at pains to point out.
“It’s been very brisk wholesale at the current levels,” said newly elected ANA Vice President Tom Hallenbeck of Colorado Springs, Colo.
“Retail has been definitely substantially slower than wholesale. We haven’t seen a huge volume. Just average sales on the retail side.”
Among Hallenbeck’s highlights: “Anything right now that is gold or yellow sells. I think I have three or four coins left. I’ve sold every $10, every $20, every $5 coin in stock. Gold is the hottest thing. Show me your gold.”
Both old and new customers came by to see Grant Campbell of Dalton Gold and Silver, Dalton, Ga.
“For me personally its been a good show,” Campbell said. “It’s not happened all at once. Overall, I’m well pleased.”
Selby Ungar of King of Carson City – West, Laguna Hills, Calif., saw lots of interest in silver dollars that were sold off initially in the 1970s from the Redfield Hoard.
“Redfields were hot here,” he said. “I sold a lot of them.”
In this kind of market it’s important for collectors to keep their eyes open, said David Sundman, president of Littleton Coin Co., Littleton, N.H.
He specifically cited a Colonial New Hampshire note that he had found.
“I was fortunate to find a previously unpublished 10-shilling note of 1742, redated 1743, redated 1744. That was exciting.”
He said it proves there are still finds to be made out there.
“From a dealer perspective, good collector coins are still hard to find,” Sundman said. “Demand is still steady.”
Sundman ranked the show as being steady as well.
“They weren’t beating the doors down to get to us,” he said.
Sheridan Downey of Los Altos, Calif., said the show was slower than past ANAs.
“I had strong bids in an auction I ran here in the high rarity coins,” he said. “It seemed that the attendance was down. I think because I cater to collectors I had a better show than a number of other dealers.”
For New York City’s Anthony Terranova, the show was OK.
“It was all right,” Terranova said. “It wasn’t gangbusters like most ANAs are. I am OK with it.”
Julian Leidman of Silver Spring, Md., opened the conversation Saturday morning with, “Let me give a better report tomorrow,” but then proceeded to describe his experience to that point.
“I’d say that the show has been not as well attended as I’d hoped and that consequently my sales aren’t as good as I’d hoped for, but I have made some good sales and hope to do more today and tomorrow,” Leidman said. “It’s not going to be a terrible show, just a disappointing show.”
Roseville, Mich, paper money dealer Fred Bart said the public attendance and overall activity seemed below par.
“Los Angeles lacked the electricity we anticipated,” Bart said.
World coin dealers seemed to have a brighter view.
“I’ve had an extremely good show,” said world coin dealer M. Louis “Mark” Teller of Encino, Calif.
Overall, he ranked the show as “on a par with some of our best.”
Former ANA President Bob Campbell explained that he was out working the bourse floor when things got slow at his table. He stressed that you couldn’t just wait for business to come to you, you had to go find it.
More of Campbell’s comments can be heard on www.CoinChatRadio.com Aug. 20.
So was it thumbs up, or thumbs down? It seemed to depend on your perspective.