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Old May 28, 2006, 02:08 AM   #1
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Report on S.F. ancient coin bourse

Dropped in on this coin bourse today (whatever the hell a "bourse" is), and thought I'd share my impressions:

There were about 10 dealers in attendance. I made two rounds for initial inspection and then a third to search through boxes of coins not on display. It took less than 45 minutes to see everything. Unfortunately, I only found two coins that fit my collecting interests and they had both seen better days. It's a shame too because I had a fat wad of cash burning a hole in my pocket.

There was plenty of high end gold and silver, but not much late Roman bronze material which is apparently the Rodney Dangerfield of ancient coinage. Those, like me, who came to the show looking for something specific were probably disappointed; those who came just to see a lot of very impressive coins or to buy whatever struck their fancy probably went away happy.

On the plus side, after this event and the one at the Moscone Center last year, I can now put some faces together with the names of various dealers I've bought from online. The atmosphere was jovial with lots of animated discussion going on between dealers and the customers(?) who were parked in front of their displays. Trying to squeeze in between them all to get a look at what was for sale, I became privy to some interesting dialogue, the most memorable of which went like this:

Dealer: "Good food, good wine and ancient coins--that's everything a man needs."

Customer: "Yep...that and good travels maybe."

Dealer: "Yep..........and women."

Ahhhhh, the epicurean insights of the dealer-philosopher. (can't say I disagree with him).

So it was interesting but in two events in San Francisco, I have now struck out twice and have yet to make a purchase. I'm thinking maybe I need to just plan on travelling to one of the bigger US shows. Can those of you in the know clue me in as to which show would be the most worthwhile to attend. Is it the NY show, the one in Chicago or some other one?

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Old May 28, 2006, 06:13 AM   #2
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I have never been to the Chicago show. The NY show is the biggest; here is a list of last year's dealers:
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Old May 28, 2006, 07:25 AM   #3
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I went to the NY INT this year - my first ancients show. I went primarily to see if I was missing out on any great coins by not going, and came away feeling that the answer was no. It was an interesting experience though, and not quite what I expected. I was thinking it'd be more of a "moving crowd" enthusiatic environment when in fact it was a rather subdued/serious environment with what seemed close to 1:1 dealer-customer ratio - dealers/customers faced off seated at individual dealer tables. The dealers didn't seem to be having much fun - this was strictly business, and most seemed bored. There's not really much chance for browsing - you're either seated with a dealer going through his stock or not.

One thing I found a bit surprising was that of the dealers I talked to none said they had stockpiled any material for the show (the stuff I was thinking I might be missing out on by not going) - they just brought whatever they already had in stock at that time. CNG even told me that as far as finding LRB that keeping tabs on their web site was going to be more rewarding than going to a show.

Having seen the NY INT, I get the feeling that perhaps the smaller less grandiose shows might be more fun - have a bit more life to them.

I think you're right about LRB - it's obviously not what pays the bills.

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Old May 28, 2006, 08:54 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by bbridgwater

I think you're right about LRB - it's obviously not what pays the bills.


That's good! I genuinely prefer LRB's...not because of their cost either (that's just a nice side benefit). I simply find them more interesting. I also feel that, someday relatively soon, LRB's will be what "pays the bills" as more and more collectors enter the hobby.

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