Retail buyers were in short supply at the Central States Numismatic Society convention April 26-28, though wholesale business seemed to be as strong as ever.
“I thought the wholesale activity was pretty good,” said Indian Head cent specialist Rick Snow of Eagle Eye Rare Coins of Tucson, Ariz.
“As far as retail, it didn’t seem any better than past shows. It was average.”
Similar comments were made by Harry Miller of Miller’s Mint, Patchogue, N.Y.
“This show has been basically a wholesale bourse, very little retail business.”
Miller said that not much of a retail crowd was on the bourse floor.
When asked what was moving for him, Miller said, “Mostly oddball things that I just happened to pick up on.” He added that he was getting good activity from his buy list.
Larry Shepherd of SIMCO, Colorado Springs, Colo., said, “Business has been slow. I haven’t heard anybody talking about it booming.”
In assessing his experience, he said, “It was really quiet in here on Wednesday (setup day). The crowd picked up on Thursday. Friday it was slow.”
Dealer comments were similar outside of the U.S. coin field.
“It’s actually been pretty good,” said ancient coin dealer Nicholas Economopoulous, Pegasi Numismatics, Ann Arbor, Mich.. “Ancients in general are doing very, very well.”
But it was “mostly wholesale,” he said.
The arrival of third-party grading and slabs in the ancients field has helped the market. As a result he is doing a lot of wholesale business with U.S. dealers who are adding ancients to their inventory.
The wholesale nature of the show was also found in paper money.
Dealer Glen Jorde of Lake Region Coin & Currency in North Dakota said, “I’d say so far 75 percent wholesale and 25 percent retail. I’d like to see it balance out a little more, but it’s been fun.”
Working his way to retirement, Jonathan Kern of Lexington, Ky., said, “It’s easy selling coins if you don’t care if you’re making money or not.”
He said he was still buying things if he figured he could sell them in three months or less rather than his previous three-year window.
“We’re having a decent show,” said world gold dealer Kent Froseth of Minneapolis. “I bought and sold a few important coins. For foreign coins, the traffic just wasn’t here.”
Froseth noted that he had made a couple of big sales. “That’s what made the show for us.”
New Jersey paper money dealer Jesse Lipka of Numismania in Flemington said of the show, “It’s been a little slow, but its only because I’m going back and forth to the auction.”
Julian Leidman of Silver Spring, Md., said the coin market is Internet focused.
“None of the shows are any good. As for sales, there’s nothing really happening. I don’t make money at shows.”
Leidman said his primary purpose in being at shows is public relations. He said he talks to people, shows coins and buys them.
Iowa City, Iowa, dealer Dean Oakes said, “I had to push. They weren’t rushing up to my table. I had to go out and find them.”
He cited silver dollars and some gold as the focus of his efforts, as well as one piece of currency.
There were a couple of upbeat comments made by bourse dealers without a “but” following them.
Ron Sirna of Flint, Mich., said, “Business has been excellent at the show.”
Anthony Terranova of New York City said, “Business was very good. Collectors were on the floor.”
Certainly the major players were present at Central States and ready to do business. Perhaps it shouldn’t be considered unusual that they ended up conducting most of it among themselves.
This article was originally printed in Numismatic News Express.
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