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The Anatomy of a Coin Thief-A True Story

November 2014

Dear Rare Coin Enthusiasts, Many of you may have wondered what happened to Vic Bozarth-The Rare Coin Road Warrior.  Sherri and I are still traveling 200 nights per year to coin shows and on coin buying trips all over the continental U.S.  We are still active rare coin dealers and our website and Ebay Store are both updated with new listings each week.  Stuart, our brother in law and office manager, is still busily processing coins, answering both phone and emails, and ‘holding down the fort’ at our office in Brenham, TX.

So what gives Vic?  Why did you quit writing your Rare Coin Road Warrior Blog?  Although I have searched for an answer myself, the truth is that I haven’t been able to put out a POSITIVE story for over a year.  Maybe this TRUE story will help explain ‘what is rattling around in my head’-HA!

Do you believe in The Golden Rule, Karma, or simply right versus wrong?  Both Sherri and I do.  We really try to treat others as we would like to be treated.  Sherri is an angel, but I have my shortcomings.  I have a short fuse and have often had to apologize for my transgressions.  Personally, I think one of the biggest factors in the ‘Right vs. Wrong’ dilemma is whether a WRONG results in anxiety, worry, or pain on the part of the perpetrator.  IF I have done someone wrong, I can’t sleep.  That is one of the ways I know I have done wrong and I try to make amends.

The story I am about to tell you is true.  The name of the perpetrator and the GOOD guys I will reveal in the story.  The name of the thief and details of the conviction are all part of PUBLIC court records.  Some of the bad guys will not be revealed, but they know what they have done and I hope their sleep is haunted sufficient to their wrong doing.  The neatest part of this story is HOW MANY GOOD GUYS are involved.

Most dealers will agree that the Whitman Baltimore Coin Show is the BEST (non-club) coin show in the U.S.  Not only do the folks at Whitman Publishing strive to put on a great show for the public, but unlike the ANA, they are dealer friendly.  I have attended every Baltimore Show since the early nineties as well as quite a few prior to then when the show was still in the old pavilion style building.  The Whitman Baltimore Coin Show is held three times a year-most often in March, June, and November.

During the November 2013 Baltimore Show we had eight coins stolen from our wholesale sell boxes.  Because Sherri runs an incredibly ‘tight ship’, we knew exactly WHAT was stolen by early Sunday morning after returning home from the show.  The eight slab coins valued at nearly $16,000 were ALL PCGS or NGC slabbed coins with unique serial numbers.  PLEASE NOTE that this fact is a VERY important part of the story.  Not only did we have a record of the unique serial number on each coin, we also had high resolution scans of each coin, as well as bar coded inventory stickers we use for our internal inventory control on each coin at the point of the theft.  We were able to narrow down the point of the theft to a very short window of time at the show.  In other words, we had a very good idea of who the thief was!

Let me back track just a bit.  During the late October Denver Coin Show two weeks before the Baltimore Show in 2013, Leonard Standley and Chick McCormick (both dealers from Colorado) had coins stolen by an individual who Mr. Standley thought he knew and Chick McCormick KNEW he could identify.  Mr. McCormick had a paper trail.  Unbeknownst to us, this individual who was so BOLD as to register at the Denver show with his name, address, and email address-to possibly win a door prize-also left a paper trail with the folks who run the Denver Coin Show-namely Jaben Broach who also owns Collectons Coins in Boulder, CO.

At the Denver Show an employee of Leonard Standley, a very talented numismatist named Sarah Miller-who has since taken a position with Heritage Rare Coins in their NYC office-also showed coins to this individual and both she and Leonard believed that he had stolen coins from their sell boxes by substituting less expensive coins (MS63 Morgan Dollars in slabs) for more expensive coins in similar slabs.  Mr. Standley and Ms. Miller could not prove this thief took coins from them, but they retained the knowledge to warn other dealers of this individual.

Mr. McCormick actually took a check from the thief for coins the thief bought, but the thief also took coins from Mr. McCormick-unbeknownst to him at the time-while using the other transaction to distract him.

At the Baltimore Show the thief approached our table initially with a proposed trade for a coin we had in one of our show cases.  Although I show coins to dealers I know well-in large double row slab boxes-we generally don’t show the public these more wholesale oriented sell boxes.  I will pull out specific items they are interested in.  This is just prudent security.  The thief proposed a trade for a coin in one of our show cases and wanted to trade a coin that was the EXACT same date and denomination, but in a lower grade.  This TRADE wasn’t unusual, but the numbers just didn’t make sense for him.

While it does make sense to upgrade your coin to a higher grade, these coins were both $20 Saints and the numbers were NOT favorable for the thief.  I was suspicious, but after sitting, talking, and explaining this deal wasn’t a great deal for the ‘thief’ I traded my coin for his coin and a couple of hundred dollars.  I wrote up a manual invoice detailing the trade and asked the thief if he would like to be on our mailing list?

Curiously, the thief, Mark White Miller of Montrose, Co wrote his name and email address on the top of the manual invoice and we consummated the transaction.  But, before he could leave the table, I asked him to SPELL his name-the writing was nearly illegible-and verbally confirm to me his email address.  What’s the point of having a name and email address if you can’t read it?  RIGHT!

Friday afternoons at the Baltimore Show can be hectic-especially the November Baltimore Show.  Roughly an hour later, the thief returned to our table and asked if he could look through our wholesale sell boxes.  I requested that Mike Clark, our staff numismatist who works all larger coins shows with both Sherri and I to SIT with the thief and show him boxes.  The thief had gotten me to ‘let down my guard’.  Because he had some coin knowledge and ‘talked the talk’, my suspicion was compromised.

What do they often call con men?  Confidence men!

During the time the thief was looking at our coins we had several customers approach our table.  We turned our back to Mr. Miller.  Mr. Miller, the thief, was the ONLY individual who looked through our wholesale sell boxes at the show who I didn’t know well, or who hadn’t been introduced to me by another dealer who vouched for him.

Because of the large amount of coins that we buy and sell, I wasn’t 100% certain what was missing, but I knew we had a problem.  We inventory all coins taken to and from a coin show before we leave for the show and after we return home.  Our inventory system allows us to put coins for a show in a different ‘location’ and then return them to our ‘office’ inventory location once we return home.  By early Sunday morning, after returning home from the show, we knew we had eight coins missing.  Early Monday morning we put a list of the stolen coins on several large coin information websites including the PNG-Professional Numismatists Guild website, The Certified Coin Exchange website, and the Numismatic Crime Information Center.

At 11:00 a.m. on ‘that’ Monday following the theft, I got a phone call from a fellow dealer (and incidentally a good friend) James Sego of JMS coins.  James said he was sending me an email and to please look at the attachments to the email and call him back.  How do you describe the feeling when you KNOW what has happened!  The two images James sent were of an individual I knew as Mark Miller who had looked through our sell boxes Friday afternoon.  Mr. Miller, whose name and email address we had, had SOLD two of our STOLEN coins to James late Friday afternoon for ‘as James explained’ LESS than what they were worth.

James Sego also told us that Mr. Miller had at least four of our other missing coins and had offered these to James too.  At this point I asked James where he got the two photo images of Mr. Miller.  James then told me the story of the Denver coin thefts and that Sarah Miller (NO relation to the thief Mark Miller of course) had taken these images because both she and Leonard Standley were virtually certain he had stolen coins from them in Denver (they were also aware of the Chick McCormick thefts at the Denver Show) and they wanted a picture of Mark Miller for Mr. McCormick.

James Sego also suggested I talk to Jaben Broach-the owner of Collectons Coins  in Boulder, CO.  Both Sarah Miller and James knew that Jaben might have more information on Mr. Miller.  I called Jaben, another friend and colleague, and he immediately pulled the registration information from the Denver coin show and asked me if I had anything identifying Mr. Miller.  I told him I had an email address.  BINGO, we were able to NOT only independently confirm that this was the SAME Mr. Miller who had stolen coins in Denver, but Jaben had Mark White Miller’s home address in Montrose, CO!

At this point, on Monday morning after the thefts, I had talked to Doug Davis with Numismatic Crime Information Center.  Doug, who is a retired Texas lawman, is the director of NCIC.  NCIC has and does a fabulous job of reporting, networking, and investigating numismatic crimes for the rare coin and bullion industries.  He had taken my call early Monday morning and immediately started to see if he could discern whether any of our coins had been listed ‘for sale’ on any of the many internet sales sights-including Ebay.  I called Doug back after talking to Jaben and James.  He noted the new information and told me he would continue his investigation on his end.

At this point, we had several phone calls, CCE-Certified Coin Exchange direct messages, and emails with information on our theft.  Evidently several dealers had seen at least one or more of our stolen coins Friday afternoon at the Baltimore Show.  In fact, at least one dealer, Phil Darby from Alabama told us Mr. Miller had stolen an 1893-S Morgan Dollar from him at the show.  He had also seen our 1891 Morgan Dollar in MS65 PCGS that Mr. Miller was trying to sell at a large discount.  Phil Darby’s 1893-S Morgan was later sold to Allen Rowe at Northern Nevada Rare Coins by the thief Mr. Miller.  Northern Nevada Rare Coins later returned this coin to Mr. Darby.

Most reputable coin dealers know stolen merchandise is taboo.  Stolen merchandise BY LAW is to be returned to the rightful owner with NO questions asked.  Often times, a dealer whose judgement is clouded by greed or at worst is just dishonest, will buy a coin he knows may be stolen because he can buy the coin at much less than market value.  Unscrupulous dealers like this affect the coin business like leprosy, by rotting the business from the inside out.

Late Monday afternoon (still the first business day after the Baltimore Show) we got a phone call from Doug Davis with NCIC.  One of our stolen coins had just ‘pinged’ in his internet searches and was listed on Ebay for sale.  The dealer, Steve Teal owner of Stateline Coin in Indiana, had listed one of our coins on his Ebay store.  Before Doug could give me any more information, I interrupted him and let him know that I knew Steve well and would call him.

I got off the phone with Doug after thanking him several times and called Steve.  Steve was, of course, flabbergasted!  Not only had he purchased this coin, a Proof Seated Quarter in a PCGS holder, from Mark White Miller, but he was pretty certain Mr. Miller had stolen coins from him while using the sale of our stolen merchandise to distract Steve!  In addition, Steve had purchased two other coins Mr. Miller had stolen from us-all on Friday afternoon around the time of Mr. Sego’s purchases.  He too had been offered our 1891 Morgan Dollar in MS65 PCGS by Mr. Miller.  Steve took our coin off Ebay and said he would put ALL three coins on hold to return to us.  I immediately called Doug Davis, with NCIC, back and let him know that with his help (and the help of the others mentioned above) we had already located five of our eight stolen coins.

During my phone calls Monday to set up listings of our stolen merchandise, I had left messages with Lori Hamrick with the Whitman Baltimore Coin Show and Kenny Mullins with Positive Protection, Inc. a security service who handles security at the show in coordination with the Baltimore Police Department.  Sometime Tuesday (both were in transit home following the show), I was able to talk to Lori personally and she was thrilled with the news.  She was able to contact Mr. Mullins too and we set up a time to talk on Wednesday.

Mr. Mullins-Kenny to most of the dealers on the coin show circuit-is a NO nonsense former NYPD detective who is well known and the VERY highly thought of head of Positive Protection.  Kenny recovered a computer bag for me nearly twenty years ago at a show in an Atlanta suburb, when I ‘flat’ forgot it while loading coins into my rental vehicle.  I was focused on the coins.  Needless to say, Kenny is the MAN.

Kenny and I talked Wednesday and he was thrilled and amazed that we had been able to make so much headway into our theft.  He also talked to Doug Davis and immediately called Detective Wayne Sponsky with the Baltimore Police Department.  Not surprisingly, Mark White Miller had been on their radar at the Baltimore Coin Show because of both Leonard Standley and Sarah Miller.  They were unable to actually CATCH him doing anything illegal at the show.  NOW we had a SOLID trail.

Sometime Wednesday after the show, I talked to Detective Wayne Sponsky for the first time.  WOW!  Not only does Detective Sponsky like and have an interest in rare coins, but he takes crime in HIS city personally-especially at the Whitman Baltimore Coin Show!  He is heavily involved in preventing theft and crime at the show.  After telling Detective Sponsky our story and what we had been able to learn, he confirmed our information with Kenny Mullins and Doug Davis and helped us file felony theft charges against Mark White Miller.  The total value of our stolen coins was just under $16,000.

This story is NOT over yet.  In early January 2014, at the best CLUB run coin show in the U.S, the FUN Show, we recovered the sixth of our eight stolen coins.  A Chicago area dealer, Brett Charville with Standard Numismatics saw one of our coins (the 1891 Morgan Dollar MS65 PCGS) in another dealer’s sell boxes prior to the show.  When Brett told Mike Bianco, a well known and respected California dealer whose coins he was viewing that this was probably the stolen Bozarth Numismatics coins, Mike immediately called me on my cell phone.

Not only did Mike return the coin to me the next day, he told me he had purchased the coin from STEVE CAMPAU with Renton Coin in Renton, WA.  Mr. Campau has YET to cooperate with us or Detective Sponsky with the Baltimore Police Department although he has been contacted numerous times.  Although we know this coin was stolen by Mr. Miller, we would like to know if there are OTHER parties involved in the handling of this stolen coin.  As a result, I would recommend avoiding any business with Mr. Campau.

The wheels of justice grind slowly, but the system works.  At the June Baltimore Show, we met with the Maryland State’s attorney Mr. Josh Felsen and one of his associates at the Baltimore Convention Center.  Detective Sponsky, Kenny Mullins, James Sego, and Steve Teal as well as Sherri and I were present.  James, Steve, Sherri, and I confirmed the facts of the case and Mr. Felsen let us know what our options were.  In the interim, Mr. Miller had been arrested on the Denver Coin Show theft charges for Chick McCormick.  He was convicted for the Denver charges and was ordered to pay restitution and received a suspended sentence.

On October 31st, Halloween Day 2014, a hearing was held in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City.  Mr. Miller pled guilty to the charges of felony theft.  He was sentenced to a five year suspended sentence, a payment of $15,974 in restitution, and a FIVE year ban on attendance at ANY coin or currency show.  Mr. Felsen, the Maryland State’s attorney has requested that we publish this photo of Mr. Mark White Miller.  Both Mr. Felsen and Detective Wayne Sponsky would appreciate ANY information on Mr. Miller if you see him at ANY coin of currency show.     I too would be happy to forward any information to Mr. Felsen on Mr. Miller.

As I have told so many of my colleagues, in regard to this theft, we were extremely lucky.  In nearly thirty years full time in the rare coin business I have only personally known of a handful of coin thieves that were apprehended and then ACTUALLY sentenced for their crimes.  With the restitution check we were able to repay in full all those victimized by Mr. Miller in our coin theft-even Mr. Campau.  Both Sherri and I would have preferred Mr. Miller serve some actual jail time, but this-IN NO WAY-is a criticism of the fantastic work that both the Baltimore Police Department and the Maryland State Attorney’s Offices were able to do for us.  Both Detective Sponsky and Mr. Josh Felsen are ‘ACES’ in our book.

Bozarth Numismatics Inc is a full service rare coin dealer.  We buy and sell PCGS, NGC, and CAC graded and approved high grade U.S. coins.  We sell coins at shows and on both our website and in our Ebay store bozarthnumismaticsinc.  Because of our extensive show and buying travel schedule we can often locate those ‘hard to find’ items.  We offer free confidential want list services and will call or email you ‘first’ if we locate an item for you.  Thanks and Best Regards, Vic Bozarth/The Rare Coin Road Warrior.

Collecting U.S. Coins by Design Type, Part One-Copper

December 2013

Dear Rare Coin Enthusiast,

As I have promised for the last couple of months, this month’s Road Warrior is Part One of my four part series on ‘Collecting U.S. Coins by Design Type’.  Part One is ALL about copper coinage.  Without getting too technical, I want to break down the different design types and what you, as a collector, might want to include in your Copper Type Set.

One of the most important and therefore integral factors a collector has ‘working’ for him when collecting by ‘type’ is complete freedom.  A type set can consist of the basic designs within a given series or denomination.  A type set can include ALL the basic type designs minted during a period of time-like a 20th Century Type Set.  A type set can include coins with specific design content like ALL Seated Liberty designs or ALL Civil War related Commemorative Half Dollars.  Because the possibilities are virtually ENDLESS, I believe collecting U.S. Coins by Design Type is the best option for the numismatist with varied interests.  Collecting Coins by Design Type also gives the collector and serious numismatist both the option of finding the ‘prettiest’ coin in a particular series without having to take the date into consideration.

Why?  Well, first you as a collector have limited resources in terms of both ‘time’ and ‘capital’.  You can structure a TYPE collection to fit your interests and resources.  I am NOT proposing giving up collecting sets of coins by date-like Barber Halves-for example.  What I am promoting is the flexibility that collecting by TYPE gives you as a numismatist.

Let me give you an example.  Joe is a collector who likes nickels.  He already collects Buffaloes, but he is down to a couple of really expensive dates and he is ‘stuck’ per se.  He wants to do something else, but he doesn’t want to fritter away the money he has saved for the KEY DATES in his Buffalo set.  He has a little extra money and thinks he might like to have a NICKEL TYPE Set.  Depending on his budget he can buy four basic coins:  A Shield Nickel, a Liberty Nickel, a Buffalo Nickel, and a Jefferson Nickel.  He can also ‘budget’ a cost by choosing a grade level that appeals to him yet remains within his budget.  If you want to collect the NICKEL types in MS65 go with the four major designs.  If you want the major varieties within each series you might want to buy your coins in MS63 or MS64.

The beauty of collecting U.S. coins by design type is flexibility.  You can start humbly and expand your collection as either your budget and/or interest increases.  Take, for example, the four-piece NICKEL Type set Joe has put together.  Once Joe has the four major design types in MS65 he decides he wants to add the Rays Shield Nickel, the No Cent Liberty Nickel, the Type One Buffalo Nickel, and a Jefferson War Nickel to his four piece set taking it now to eight pieces.  The beauty is that Joe can do whatever he likes!

The focus of my article today is Copper.  Collecting Copper by design Type can be easy or exceptionally challenging.  For example, you can put together a basic 20th Century Copper Set in MS65RD for under $800 because other than the Indian Cent, the additional coins in this small set are relatively inexpensive.  Conversely, if you wanted to build a ‘special’ Copper Type Set with ALL the major design types in MS65RD you might find it impossible because of both budget and practicality.  There are some sets that CAN’T be completed, many times, because of lack of supply.

Major Copper Design Types as listed in ‘A Guide Book of United States Coins 2014’-The Redbook include the following coins:

1793            Liberty Cap Half Cent/Head Left

1794-97      Liberty Cap Half Cent/Head Right

1800-08      Draped Bust Half Cent

1809-36      Classic Head Half Cent

1840-57      Braided Hair Half Cent

1793            Flowing Hair Large Cent

1793-96      Liberty Cap Large Cent

1796-1807 Draped Bust Large Cent

1808-14     Classic Head Large Cent

1816-57     Liberty Head Large Cent

1856-58     Flying Eagle Cent

1859-1909 Indian Cent

1909-1958 Lincoln Wheat Cent

1959-2008 Lincoln Memorial Reverse

Out of these fourteen major design types there are several neat sets one can start that include ALL the Half Cent Types, ALL the Large Cent Types, or ALL the Small Cent Types.  You can mix match and combine later to form a complete fourteen piece Copper Type Set and there are literally dozens of additional design type varieties that can be added to ALL of these sets.  When you budget what you can afford to pursue you can use the ‘grade’ to determine what coins are practical to search out.

Remember that $800 20th Century Copper Type Set I mentioned earlier?  If you added a Flying Eagle Cent you would have a complete Small Cent major design type set.  If you added one each of the later date Half Cent type and Large Cent Type coins you would have a VERY nice representation of the evolution of U.S. Copper coinage from Half Cent and Large Cents to our present day Small Cents.

One of the coolest parts of collecting by Type is the freedom to ‘upgrade’ or ‘change gears’ at you discretion.  For example, if you have built a nice MS64 type set and decide you want nicer coins, you can upgrade a coin at a time in your set as you find a superior candidate you REALLY like.  Your set remains intact, but you are upgrading a coin at a time as your budget allows.  In addition, because you have purchased ‘pretty’ coins, your duplicate will probably be very desirable to another collector.  If you are dealing with a reputable dealer who handles ‘nice’ material he will probably have an interest in your duplicate.

As always, a meaningful set is not ‘slapped’ together.  Collecting by Type allows you to keep you ‘powder dry’ so to speak for the ‘right’ coin.  Because you are NOT limited to a certain date, you have a much better chance of finding a PQ-premium quality coin that fits both the TYPE you want, but most importantly the quality you are striving for.

Over the years, I have seen a lot of collections, accumulations, and hoards.  These have almost all had some value attached to them, but…the meaningful collections and especially meaningful sets always bring more.  Recently, we saw fantastic prices realized in the Newman sale.  The foresight of a true connoisseur was evident in the quality of this amazing collection.  Admittedly not many of us have the resources or time to put together a collection of that caliber, but you can effectively narrow your collecting focus on quality coins.  You will reap the rewards later.

Find a dealer who is willing to work with you.  Let him know what you are looking for.  Once you have developed a relationship, let your dealer know what you already have and what you might be willing to trade or sell to meet your goals.

Bozarth Numismatics Inc is a full service rare coin dealer.  We buy and sell PCGS, NGC, and CAC graded and approved high grade U.S. coins.  We sell coins at shows and on both our website and in our Ebay store bozarthnumismaticsinc.  Because of our extensive show and buying travel schedule we can often locate those ‘hard to find’ items.  We offer free confidential want list services and will call or email you ‘first’ if we locate an item for you.  Thanks and Best Regards, Vic Bozarth/The Rare Coin Road Warrior

Dot’s Coins

Late November 2013

Dear Rare Coin Enthusiast,

While some might accuse me of being somewhat of a ‘coin snob’, it has taken a lot of years and millions of dollars in rare coin purchases to get to that point!  You see, when I was a kid I was fascinated by money-any kind of money.  Old coins especially held a special, nearly mystical spot in my heart and mind.  I had the ‘bug’ and I had it bad.

Whenever my family took a trip anywhere, I would have my coin wallet in my pocket with some of my coolest coins, as well as a few bucks in my wallet in case I found anything to buy.  I would visit antique shops, pawn shops, jewelry stores, and banks in search of old coins.  If I couldn’t find anything in the stores, I would find a bank or grocery store and buy rolls of pennies or nickels, find a place to sit comfortably and sort through them for a ‘good’ coin.

Most of the time, the stuff I would run into was pretty ‘run of the mill’.  Generally speaking, I might find some beat up wheat cents, an occasional Indian Cent or Buffalo Nickel (with no date), or once in a while a silver dollar or two.  For the most part these were ‘beat to heck’, ‘common as dirt’, and grossly overpriced, but….I still kept looking.  When you are ‘coin starved’ you will settle for almost anything.

The closest coin club for my buddies and me was in Sedalia, MO and still exists to this day.  Before finding out about the ‘club’, I had spent a little time in Sedalia.  When my folks or grandparents went to Sedalia to shop, I would find an excuse to search the antique shops and banks within walking distance of where my folks were shopping.  There were NO outright brick and mortar coin shops in Sedalia-I knew enough to check the phone book.  Sedalia is a small Midwestern town in West Central MO where some of the first cattle drives met the railroad back in the mid nineteenth century (before the railroad moved farther West).  Sedalia was a railroad town, but it’s biggest ‘claim to fame’ is as the home of the annual Missouri State Fair.

During the annual state fair in roughly 1974, I stumbled onto Dot’s Coins.  Dot’s Coins was a ‘mom and pop’ operation that operated mainly out of their small home by appointment.  During the annual MO state fair (always held in August), Dot and her husband had a booth in one of the trade buildings at the fair with hundreds of coins on display!!!  There were pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, and halves.  There were even some silver dollars.  They were ALL real shiny!

After spending ALL the money in my wallet on coins with Dot and her husband (I didn’t even have enough left for a coke), I got a business card and decided I would come see them in Sedalia when I had more money.  Another classmate (who was as nuts as I) convinced his dad to take us to Dot’s house a couple of months later one evening.  We had to pay for his dad’s gas and buy him dinner-of course we thought that was a bargain because we weren’t but 13 or 14 and couldn’t make the thirty mile drive ourselves.

I was still working on my Lincoln Cents and had decided I wanted to try and buy higher grade coins vs. ‘slick’ average circulated G/VG coins.  Dot and (I think his name was Bill) had a nice selection (did I mention they were ALL shiny).  After agonizing over dozens of pennies, I bought a 1909 VDB in BU condition.  It had FULL detail and great luster-or so I thought.  I think I paid $12 or $15 dollars because it was supposed to be Choice BU.  It was my best coin-up to that point-and I couldn’t wait to get home and show it to my dad.

It was a school night and I had to go straight to bed once I got home, but I left my purchases on the kitchen table when I got home because I wanted my dad to see what I bought.  I was really proud of myself and thought I was learning to grade as well as being more discerning in my collecting interests.  The 1909 VDB was ‘after all’ a one year type coin with the designer’s initials on the reverse of the coin.  The bottom line was that I was quite proud of myself and my coin.

The next morning over breakfast, both Mom and Dad asked about my evening and where we went for dinner.  They asked about my friend’s dad and whether I had thanked him for taking me along to Sedalia.  Then they asked what I had purchased.  Although my Mom was trying to be nice, she couldn’t have cared less.  Dad, on the other hand, knew about coins and his Lincoln Cent set had ALL but the 1909-S VDB.  He hadn’t actively collected for quite a few years and I was not allowed to ‘mess’ with his coins, although, he would sometimes get them out and show them to me.  By the way, I STILL have his intact set and IT will NEVER be for sale.

My dad was a great father.  He didn’t want his son to be taken advantage of, but….he let both my brother and I make OUR own mistakes because (many times) we often needed to learn the ‘hard way’.  First he asked what I had bought.  The few semi-key Lincolns for a buck or two each were ok, but he commented about them all being dipped?  I wondered about the shiny surfaces and he explained that they were shiny because they had been dipped in something.  Then I showed him my 1909 VDB.  First he asked me what it graded.   I told him it was a Choice BU!

That laugh of his was NOT friendly.  After shaking his head and settling down he told me the coin was at best VF or XF and that it had been ‘whizzed’.   Of course, I was devastated.  And, to make matters worse, I wanted to get a second opinion.  At 13 or 14 you often start to believe that you are smarter than your father.   How come you don’t realize what a ‘fool’ you were until your father is gone?

Of course, the coin had been ‘whizzed’.  Of course, the grade was a ‘net’ VF/XF, and of course Dot’s Coins ‘shined them all up’.

Interestingly enough, there were collectors and dealers I met at the Sedalia (Mid-America) Coin Club who I did business with for years afterwards.  I met and have kept in contact with some wonderful folks who shared their knowledge freely at the monthly meetings there through the mid and late seventies.  There are even a few who I still buy or sell an occasional coin with, but…I never did business with Dot’s Coins again.

Dot and Bill are dead and gone.  Their business model wasn’t markedly different from many dealers back ‘in the day’.  There is an old saying among unscrupulous dealers that goes something like this:  rip em, dip em, flip em, ship em!  Sound familiar?

Bozarth Numismatics Inc is a full service rare coin dealer.  We buy and sell PCGS, NGC, and CAC graded and approved high grade U.S. coins.  We sell coins at shows and on both our website and in our Ebay store bozarthnumismaticsinc.  Because of our extensive show and buying travel schedule we can often locate those ‘hard to find’ items.  We offer free confidential want list services and will call or email you ‘first’ if we locate an item for you.  Thanks and Best Regards, Vic Bozarth/The Rare Coin Road Warrior

Collecting U.S. Coin by Design Type


November 2013

Dear Rare Coin Enthusiast,

Over the last several decades I have started collections of quite a few different and varied items.  While maybe not a ‘hoarder’, I do enjoy searching for and acquiring different items.  Coins have been my ‘drug of choice’ so to speak for decades, but I also collect St. Louis World’s Fair items from the legendary 1904 fair.  In addition, I collect pre-prohibition Missouri Whiskey items.  While the whiskey items are somewhat esoteric, the SLWF items are quite popular and enjoy a fairly large following both in Missouri and nationally.  Collectors are different.  We enjoy looking at, handling, and most importantly searching for items for our collections.  In fact, the hunt is often the real joy, while the acquisition is anti-climactic.

One of the biggest reasons why many collectors lose interest in rare coins is because they get so far into their collection and either ‘hit a wall’ financially or logistically.  Many coin series are virtually impossible to complete because of either cost or availability.  Because the KEY dates are often very expensive, some collectors just can’t afford to complete their set.  Yet, the biggest reason most collectors quit collecting is lack of supply.  If you can’t find anything interesting for your collection, you lose interest.   When you lose interest, you either find other coins to collect or leave the hobby completely quite often out of frustration.

I have also encountered many ‘wannabe’ collectors who have completely unrealistic expectations.  Contrary to what many folks, who aren’t coin savvy, might think, ‘nice’ coins are NOT easy to find.  You can’t go out in the backyard and ‘pick one off a tree’.  Many times these unrealistic expectations are tied to the COST of a coin.  I frequently encounter collectors who think they will be able to buy an item for significantly less than the item sells for-even among dealers at wholesale levels.

As a kid, growing up in a small town in Missouri, I didn’t get to see a lot of coins.  Like many young people, I started with Lincoln Cents.   With a small ‘stake’ from lawn mowing money, I would go to the bank and buy rolls of pennies.  With my Whitman tri-fold album, I would search the rolls and try to find dates and mintmarks I didn’t have.  I also saved all the ‘wheat’ back cents and the occasional 1943 zinc cent.  At one point, there were roughly ten or eleven kids in my seventh grade class who were collecting Lincoln Cents.  What was a common denominator for our group was ‘lack of supply’, especially for San Francisco mint ‘wheat’ cents.

There were three of us who were more dedicated than the others and we all knew about a small country auction that was going to be held one evening locally.  The household goods and other items up for auction included a nearly complete set of Lincoln Cents including lots of the early semi-key S mint dates.  The three of us convinced one of our parents to drive us to the auction.  While the parent patiently sat watching, we ‘bid each other up’ far past the true value of these $5 to $10 coins.

During this auction, I realized ‘this wasn’t going to work’ and I either needed a new source of coins or I needed to collect something different.  I remember being upset at the time.  I was only able to afford one or two coins, because I had less money in my pocket than my two friends.

Sometimes the best lessons are painful.  One of my buddies, who had nearly $100 on him at the time (he had earned it himself), bought most of the dates we (all) needed.  But, although he was certainly ‘crowing’ about having a MORE complete set of Lincoln Cents, my other buddy and I both realized that he had  overpaid, and many of the coins had been cleaned.  We also realized that we didn’t want to ‘go down that road’.

Several months later, I was given a handful of type coins by my grandfather.  He had purchased the small group out of an estate.  There were two cent pieces, three cent silvers and nickels, large cents, and some barber coins.  He probably spent $10.  Although nothing special in terms of rarity or scarcity, I WAS FASCINATED!  You see, although I still really appreciate a ‘nice’ Lincoln Cent, ‘the train had left the station’ so to speak.  I was on to bigger and better things.

During a trip to Kansas City sometime later that year, I was able to buy a Whitman Twentieth Century Type Set tri-fold album.  I had already started my first TYPE COIN set, and was disappointed that the book store didn’t have albums for 19th Century Type coins.  Needless to say, with a Redbook, a few coins, and an album to put them in, I was ecstatic!

Do you remember the last time YOU were this excited about a coin purchase?

Collecting U.S. Coin by Design Type

Collecting U.S. coins by design type is simple.  You try and find one of each ‘type’ of different design and denomination.  There are dozens of different ways to collect by ‘type’.  You can collect by metal:  copper, nickel, silver, and gold.  You can collect by denomination.  You can collect by time period:  19th century, 20th century, etc.  And, you can even collect by grade:  low grade, high grade, mintstate, or proof.

One of the most interesting variations I have seen over the years was by a gentleman that collected high grade mint state type coins in two sets:  one slabbed and one raw.  This incredibly astute and interesting gentleman took his type sets a step farther and would alternate brilliant and gorgeously toned from one coin to the next in each set.  In other words, his raw coins housed in a custom Capitol Holder had a brilliant coin, a toned coin, a brilliant coin, etc.  The contrast was both lovely and striking.

Collecting by type can be done by first and last year of issue.  You can collect the highest grade you can find of the most common date in the particular design series, or…you can take it that ‘extra’ step and go for the KEY date of each type!  One of the coolest aspects of collecting by design type is that you can start small and expand your parameters as you continue to collect.

Although there are those who limit their purchases to ONLY raw, ONLY slabbed, ONLY PCGS or NGC, or ONLY CAC, I will concentrate on the contents of the collections vs. the ‘Holders’.  While I understand the preference by some to collect only ‘raw’ uncertified coins, my recommendation HAS and ALWAYS WILL BE to buy certified coins if you are spending a significant amount of money.  In addition, CAC approved coins not only provide the ultimate challenge currently, but the assurance of their ORIGINALITY is quite appealing.

Both PCGS and NGC have registry set programs available to collectors for their coins.  The PCGS Pedigree Set Program does a fabulous job of outlining collections by denomination as well as by Design Type, but ultimately YOU as a collector are limited only by what appeals to you MOST.  The PCGS Pedigree Registry merely provides the scoreboard.

Beginning in December and continuing over the next four months I am writing a four part series on Collecting U.S. Coins by Design Type broken down as follows:

U.S. Copper Coins

U.S. Nickel Coins

U.S. Silver Coins

U.S. Gold Coins

While some might argue that my humble beginnings in numismatics began with modern coinage, I am limiting my series of articles to coins produced up until the end of 1945.  Modern coinage also has endless opportunities for the ‘TYPE’ collector, but frankly these coins hold little interest to me and many are of little value (beyond their FV-face value) because of incredibly large mintages.

To summarize, collecting U.S. coins by design type is one of the most interesting and ‘personally’ directed means of collecting U.S. coins.  When it comes right down to it, your TYPE collection can be determined BY YOU.  Over the next several months, I am writing about the coins that YOU might choose to be part of YOUR set.

Bozarth Numismatics Inc is a full service rare coin dealer.  We buy and sell PCGS, NGC, and CAC graded and approved high grade U.S. coins.  We sell coins at shows and on both our website and in our Ebay store bozarthnumismaticsinc.  Because of our extensive show and buying travel schedule we can often locate those ‘hard to find’ items.  We offer free confidential want list services and will call or email you ‘first’ if we locate an item for you.  Thanks and Best Regards, Vic Bozarth/The Rare Coin Road Warrior

What Got You Hooked? Part One

Late October 2013

Dear Rare Coin Enthusiast,

Often times I reminisce about how much fun I have had both collecting and buying/selling rare coins.  The ‘fun’ hasn’t ALL been about the coins, because the ‘players’, many of which have been and are great friends are what make the experiences memorable.  Like a good friend and part time dealer once said at a show, ‘where can you go and have this much fun?’  My friend was referring to not only the fun we have ‘playing’ with coins, but the additional potential for profit now and  later.

Because we spend a major portion of our lives at shows, some of our closest friends are other dealers.  In addition, we have met hundreds of collectors over the years, many of which have become close friends also.  Over the years, I have often asked a dealer or collector friend what ‘got them hooked on rare coins’?  The stories are often quite similar and many times involve a parent, grandparent, or mentor.  How I got started cannot be traced to a specific incident, but many small acts of kindness or happenstance that encouraged my obsession with coins.

dairy_queenWhen I was a toddler-not quite 3 years old, I am told there was a very ‘telling’ incident involving coins which has been retold numerous times at family gatherings over the decades.

My baby brother Jeff (he’s 51 now) was asleep in the crib in the front bedroom of our small home in Warrensburg, MO that we shared.  Like today, even as a toddler I was an extremely early riser.  Just after dawn one weekday morning, I managed to crawl out of my baby bed.  Stealthily, I crept into the living room and snatched 3 silver dollars from a small stack of coins that my dad had been ‘playing with’ the night before.  I tucked the 3 silver dollars in my diaper, returned to my bedroom, pushed the screen out of the front window onto the porch, and crawled out the window.

With my ‘loot’ tucked into my diaper (yes, this is embarrassing), I hustled off the porch and proceeded down the street.  Roughly an hour later (no one really knows), my mom came into my bedroom and discovered one of her children was missing and the screen was hanging loose on the front window.  Frantic, of course, and close to panicking, Mom called the local police department and they immediately responded.

Where did they find me?

Fortunately it was Summer time.  During warm weather, one of our favorite activities (as a family) on Friday night was to go for a ‘treat’.  In Warrensburg, MO, there were basically two choices:  Dog ‘n Suds for Root Beer or the local Dairy Queen.  Dairy Queen was at the end of the block from our house.  At roughly 8:00 a.m. that morning, the owner of the local Dairy Queen found me sitting with my back against the wall under the ‘serving’ window of his store waiting patiently for him to open.  Even before having a conscious memory of the incident, I still KNEW you needed coins for ‘treats’.

Once I was returned home, my Mom found the 3 silver dollars tucked in my diapers.  My dad dabbled in coins, but was forced to put the hobby on the backburner because of family responsibilities.  I still own his original sets of Lincoln Cents and Mercury Dimes.  In the decades since, I have bought and sold several sets of both for well into six figures each, but the value of these much nicer sets pale in comparison with the value that my father’s sets hold for me.

The funny thing about coins is that you don’t know when the seed is planted whether or not it will grow.  Although I have had the pleasure of mentoring many over the years, there were those that just didn’t ‘get it’-HA!  Aren’t we among the fortunate few that ‘get it’!

Thanks and Best Regards,

Vic Bozarth/The Rare Coin Road Warrior.

Bozarth Numismatics Inc and our website stock and list hundreds of PCGS, NGC, and CAC certified U.S. Coins. We are constantly traveling to buy ‘fresh’ coins for our customers. Whether you are looking for one particular issue or need guidance in putting together a ‘meaningful set of U.S. Coins’ we can help you. Best Regards, Vic and Sherri Bozarth.

Freestyling -October 2013

Dear Rare Coin Enthusiast,
During the last several months I have taken a hiatus from writing my monthly Road Warrior.  Many have asked why?
The ‘break’ was not planned, but as one of my grandfathers used to say, ‘if you can’t say anything nice, keep your mouth shut.’  After writing several ‘negative’ articles (which I DID NOT publish), I decided to not write anything at all for a few months.  Although I have some serious concerns about the rare coin business and especially the American Numismatic Association itself, I want to focus on the ‘fun stuff’ Sherri and I get to do while traveling part of 40 weeks each year to coin shows ALL over the continental United States.  The secret to the ‘fun’ IS and always will be ‘the coins’.
Many of our trips are show related, but some are show and buying trips with a little fun mixed in.  When we schedule a trip to an area where we haven’t spent a lot of time, I call it ‘freestyling’.  I pull out my dealer directory, turn to the state we plan on visiting, and circle the names of the dealers I would like to visit.  Often times, I call ahead and introduce myself if I haven’t done business with a particular dealer in the past.  Like the word implies, ‘freestyling’ is a toss of the dice.  You just don’t know whether you will buy anything interesting or indeed buy anything at all.  Frankly, that is part of the fun!
This last week in Manchester, NH (at the NH Show) wasn’t really ‘freestyling’, but since we haven’t had the opportunity to attend this great medium sized show for a couple of years, I was reminded of the many times I have visited an area that was unfamiliar.  Being from the Midwest originally and making my home in TX, the reception we receive in different areas of the country is quite interesting.  Of course, all I have to do is open my mouth and the natives in some areas KNOW ‘I am not from around there’.  This is especially interesting in New England.
Because we have to eat, one of the biggest perks during our travels is dining.  In New England, the big ‘draw’ is the fabulous seafood-especially lobster.  Between the steamed whole lobsters, lobster rolls, and even a fried lobster dinner, we have sampled and partaken of more than our share of lobster this last week.  IT WAS INCREDIBLE.  During a lunch this weekend on a deck overlooking New Harbor, ME we had an excellent meal at Shaw’s while we watched a lobster boat unloading the day’s catch.  Add in the incredible autumn leaves and foliage and I would rate the trip an A.
During the last month and a half we had three trips out West including the Long Beach and Santa Clara Coin Shows.  In addition, we traveled to the ‘last’ Whitman Philadelphia Coin Exposition, as well as,   attending the New Hampshire Coin Show in Manchester, NH.  With the bouncing back and forth from East to West, our schedule has been particularly hectic, but we always try and take at least a day or two to relax in one of our favorite destinations every fourth or fifth trip.
During our travels, it isn’t unusual to see a couple of dozen different coin dealers in a particularly popular local restaurant.  In Long Beach, CA for example we love going to George’s Greek Café.  In Santa Clara, CA we are partial to an incredible sushi restaurant called ‘Sushi O Sushi’.  In Philadelphia, we will definitely MISS the Reading Terminal Market with the incredible selection of both food vendors and restaurants just across the street from the convention center.  OK, no more Food Channel news.  Are you hungry yet?
Currently, the rare coin business is pretty healthy.  Although bullion prices have been somewhat depressed, RARE coins continue to be more difficult to find as the months roll by.  Personally, I do not believe that we will see rare coins (except possibly the MOST generic items) at lower price levels unless the particular coin is a ‘DOG’.  Ugly coins have been a thorn in the side of the hobby/business forever.  Unfortunately, the pricing guides and grading services CAN NOT quantify eye appeal.  CAC has done a great job with their strict ‘line’.  Their ‘approved’ stickered coins not only sell faster, but for more money.  ‘Nice’ coins are harder to find and the lack of supply will only become more acute.
The rare coin show circuit has been interesting lately.  Early in September we attended a growing and very active Santa Clara Coin Show.  Since this show was re-opened a couple of years ago, the crowds have returned and dealers are pleased with both the reasonable table prices and attendance.  This is a ‘great’ show location (especially because of the history) and this show will continue to improve.  The Long Beach Show also continues to improve.  Although this show was nearly on ‘life support’ a few years ago, the huge bourse floor is nearly completely full with dealers.  And, although the sports celebrities signing autographs (brought in to boost attendance) has helped fill the bourse floor, the benefit to the actual coin dealers ‘paying the freight’ is questionable.
The big news of the Fall is the demise of the Whitman Philadelphia Coin Expo.  Frankly, I am disappointed.  We had good shows in Philadelphia and enjoyed visiting.  The problems were with the Philadelphia Convention Center itself.  The incompetence of the facility managers and staff was phenomenal!  Not only were there tables without electricity when the show opened, but dealers who had more than a briefcase or two were FORCED to use convention center employees to transport their stock and supplies to their respective tables.  Many dealers questioned NOT only the cost of this, but the security risks also.  Not only were some of the union rules unpleasant and completely unnecessary, BUT the big ‘kicker’ was the 3 TON safe crashing to the floor in the middle of the Heritage bourse tables only an hour into dealer set-up.
Fortunately, no one was hurt.
Whitman should be applauded.  Although they might be blamed by some for the venue, the fault was CLEARLY with the Philadelphia Convention Center and their incompetent staff.  Many dealers (including myself) hope Whitman will consider a show in a SUBURB of Philadelphia in the future.  Whitman had the courage, and good sense, to say ‘no more’.
Upcoming shows of note in October and November include the Silver Dollar Show in St. Charles, MO during the third week of the month.  During that same week, both NGC and PCGS are holding their Dealers/Members Only Invitational events in Las Vegas.  While Sherri and I attend the NGC and PCGS events in Las Vegas, our table in St. Charles will be manned by Mike Clark.  Later in October we will be attending the Denver Coin Show.  We will be represented by our new staff numismatist Mike Clark at the Indiana State Show in Indianapolis the very beginning of November.  The BIG Show of the fall is Whitman Publishing’s Baltimore Coin Expo.  This show has become a ‘must attend’ show for dealers and collectors alike.  Our show schedule for October and November is listed below.
Bozarth Numismatics Inc is a full service rare coin dealer.  We buy and sell PCGS, NGC, and CAC graded and approved high grade U.S. coins.  We sell coins at shows and on both our website and in our Ebay store bozarthnumismaticsinc.  Because of our extensive show and buying travel schedule we can often locate those ‘hard to find’ items.  We offer free confidential want list services and will call or email you ‘first’ if we locate an item for you.  Thanks and Best Regards, Vic Bozarth/The Rare Coin Road Warrior.

Buy High-Sell Low-May 2013

Dear Rare Coin Enthusiasts, The recent rare coin show schedule has been grueling.  In the last month we have had two major shows and recently visited Denver for the good regional spring show there.  Despite the drop in gold prices in mid April we are continuing to see STRONG dealer demand, yet our sales to the general public via our Ebay Store and at shows have slowed markedly.   Conversely, our website sales have been pretty steady, although we have had a large amount of new ‘high interest’ collector material which normally would have resulted in higher than average sales.
There are several factors affecting rare coin sales currently.  I am going to breakdown my observations in terms of wholesale and retail.  Wholesale sales are STRONG and have been very active since the FUN Show in early January.  Dealers are lining up to buy coins at shows and the wholesale dealer market is stronger than I have seen in more than six years.  There are some caveats.  For example, type gold prices are weaker because of bullion prices.  Generic price levels are somewhat questionable because there are plenty of these coins available, BUT…rare coins are NOT available in any quantity and DEALERS KNOW IT!
Conversely, our retail-to the general public-sales were quite strong through early April, but dropped precipitously after gold BULLION prices plummeted in mid April.  GOLD BULLION prices almost always affect RARE coin prices.  In addition, I believe that NOT only are both gold and silver bullion prices being manipulated, but that much of this has to do with the inflated stock market.  Personally I believe much of our stock market and our economy itself is nothing more than a ‘house of cards’.  Yes, we are seeing some positive signs, but who is doing the reporting?
I have seen market cycles, and although I am nothing but an armchair quarterback so to speak, something about this market stinks.  The stock market is booming and housing prices are improving.  The problem with this is that the stock market is at RECORD highs.  Is it a good time to buy when prices are at record highs?  Housing still looks good on a personal level, especially because of interest rates, but I question investment (for investment sake) in real estate currently-especially after some of the most active markets in the country have already recouped a large percentage of their losses.
What I really find CRAZY is the tendency of average investors to ‘chase’ an investment medium when that particular medium is at an ALL TIME HIGH.  Face it folks, you can’t fix stupid, but….this borders on insanity.
During our trip to Denver this week we had dinner with a friend who is a very savvy investor collector who explained how he had built his collection starting in the early eighties by using the monthly acquisition program a major dealer had available for their customers.  My friend began by investing $300 each month.  He focused on Choice AU collector oriented material like Indian Cents as well as Seated and Bust coinage.  Remember this is before PCGS and NGC and he was very careful to buy coins that were properly graded.  He also said he only bought coins he liked.  After returning a few coins over the first year or two, he and his ‘dealer’ were able to find a nice ‘rhythm’ and he kept virtually everything he was sent for quite a few years to follow.
Admittedly, my friend is quite savvy and his focus on undervalued Choice AU material was incredibly astute.  Not long after he started putting together his collection, PCGS and NGC came onto the scene.  Much of the focus of a huge percentage of the market in the late eighties was on ‘Investment Grade’ coins in MS64 and higher.  The problem with this focus was that much of the rise in prices on some of the more generic MS64 and better material was artificial.
Artificial?  Yes, artificial.  Much of the rise in price on common Walkers and Morgans, for instance, was artificial because demand far outpaced supply-the coins were out there, but the dealers and the grading services could not buy, send these generic coins for grading, and get them back to sell to their customers fast enough to satisfy the incredible demand.   Because the market demanded more product, the prices were PUSHED up significantly.  For example, common date Morgan dollars were trading at nearly $200 each at one point in the late eighties.
What does this have to do with the rare coin market today?  Markets WILL correct themselves over time.  The coin market has definitely returned to reasonable levels.  In fact, I believe coin prices are a bargain at current levels.  Will you make money buying coins at current levels?  Although I firmly believe that is the case, the truth is that NO one knows.  But….one thing I can guarantee is that buying anything at RECORD price levels is a formula for disaster.  If you want to lose money-buy high and sell low!
The rare coin show circuit has been quite busy this spring.  The CSNS Show in Schaumberg, IL-a suburb of Chicago-was quite active and improved over last year’s show in the same location.  Conversely, the ANA Spring Show in New Orleans was nothing but a giant ANA ‘show and tell’.  Many local dealers who could drive to the show didn’t bother attending.  And, many major dealers skipped the show also, because they remembered how terrible past shows in New Orleans have been.  In 1994 many dealers left early in the afternoon to head to the local casinos, because ‘at least there was some action there’-ha.  Rare coin shows depend on the public’s attendance to ‘make’ a show.  Unfortunately, the ANA board keeps putting ANA Shows in second tier cities.
One of the comments I read in a major coin publication last week said that the ANA Show in New Orleans was ‘OK’.  OBVIOUSLY, no one from that publication was at the show.  I am-IN NO WAY-disparaging New Orleans.  Personally, we had a great time, but….New Orleans for a major ANA show choice was completely incompetent!  Are you ANA Board of Governors members listening?  Unfortunately, the professional ANA staff is in the position of playing the cards they are dealt and usually suffer the brunt of the dissatisfaction.  As usual, the ANA staff performed admirably.
Interestingly enough, both major shows next month-the Long Beach and Baltimore Summer Shows- try and work with dealers and in fact each other.  Recently, there was a scheduling conflict between these two great shows.  The professionals with the Long Beach Show and Whitman Publishing who run the Baltimore Show worked out a compromise where one of the two changed their show dates to remove the scheduling conflict.  I expect BOTH shows will be successful.
Bozarth Numismatics Inc is a full service rare coin dealer.  We buy and sell PCGS, NGC, and CAC graded and approved high grade U.S. coins.  We sell coins at shows and on both our website and in our Ebay store bozarthnumismaticsinc.  Because of our extensive show and buying travel schedule we can often locate those ‘hard to find’ items.  We offer free confidential want list services and will call or email you ‘first’ if we locate an item for you.  Thanks and Best Regards, Vic Bozarth/The Rare Coin Road Warrior.

March 13-Ahead of the Curve

Dear Rare Coin Enthusiast, Every so often you hear a story you just have to pass on to others.  Because the gentleman who told me this story is a good friend and values his anonymity, I am going to cite nothing more specific than the actual historical events that made this story what it is.  The story involves a ‘leap of faith’ per se on the part of my ‘friend Bill’, but you can also argue it was an ‘educated risk’.  Bill’s ‘leap’ is kind of like the educated risk that one takes when investing in rare coins.
Bill is a sharp guy.  Over the last several years, we have talked every couple of weeks about his coin collection and have become friends.  He is also a customer, but we have shared interests, somewhat similar geographical background, and a lot of other things in common.  There is no question ‘Bill’ is thinking a ‘few steps ahead’ of the average crowd.  His collecting interests are varied, but after some less than satisfactory results buying a few raw/uncertified ‘bargains’ early on, he has built a really super nice PCGS (and mostly CAC) graded and certified collection.  ‘Bill’ has finished a few sets and has sharpened his focus on quality and value while being a little less specific in regard to exactly what coin he is looking for.  Basically he wants the nicest coin he can afford with potential.
During a recent conversation Bill told me a story about the year Mark McGwire broke Roger Maris’ season total home run record that had stood since the early sixties.  As many of you baseball fans remember, McGwire was an ‘animal’ that year.  Yes, he was using steroids, but that isn’t part of the story.  McGwire was at the pinnacle of his game and it showed in his massive strength, lightning fast reflexes, and incredible hand/eye coordination.  I remember watching McGwire early during that season hitting incredible ‘shots’ often to 475 or 500 feet-well ‘out of the park’ on most major league fields.
McGwire’s swing was a thing of beauty.  He was seeing the ball and getting the ‘fat of the bat’ on the ‘meat of the ball’ as if he were hitting against mediocre high school pitchers-not the elite professional pitchers he was facing every night.  My friend is a fan.  He was watching also!  Early in the spring of 1998 ‘Bill’ purchased several hundred St. Louis Cardinal tickets for each of a whole string of late season Cardinal home games.  Because he was buying in such huge blocks (and it was early in the season) he was able to amass a staggering number of tickets (I think around 2000 total at one point) for late season home games at an incredibly cheap price of $4 per ticket.  He was also able to buy a large quantity of playoff tickets later in the season.  These weren’t at the $4 each price, but you get the picture.
Instead of going to Vegas and putting money on McGwire and the Cardinals, Bill decided he would buy tickets to late season games because he BELIEVED that McGwire was going to break Maris’ record.    ‘Bill’ knew that not only was McGwire on ‘fire’, but also that the St. Louis Cardinals had a fantastic team and probably had a good shot at the playoffs-and the late season ticket demand surge-that usually comes with a winning baseball franchise.  Not only that, but “Bill’ was hedging.  He reasoned he only had $2/ticket downside because of tax considerations.
‘Bill’ MADE A KILLING!  Not only did he get huge numbers for almost all his tickets, he used some, kept some (because he is an ‘event’ ticket collector), and gave some away to friends.  He was even able to rent a private box for several of the playoff games with the proceeds and fly himself and quite a large group of friends and family to St. Louis.  At one point, ‘Bill’ related to me, he was selling the $4 tickets for $300 each and had to open a local bank account in the St. Louis area because he was very uncomfortable with all the cash he was holding.
The funny part of this story is that I too was following McGwire.  I remember the awesome power he displayed.  I too remember THINKING early in the Spring of 1998 when McGwire had maybe 15 or 16 homers that ‘this guy is going to break the record’.  Unfortunately, I didn’t take that thought a step farther like ‘Bill’ and act on it.  I didn’t take a ‘leap of faith’ or ‘educated risk’ because I didn’t put the ‘thought’ with the ‘action’.  ‘Bill’ saw an opportunity and acted upon it.  Like McGwire, ‘Bill’ was ‘ahead of the curve’.
Because buying rare coins involves risk, you are foolhardy if you don’t do your homework.  NOT doing your homework before investing in rare coins is a ‘leap of faith’.  Investing in coins because you BELIEVE (and most importantly have done your homework) that they represent good value in the long term, you are taking an ‘educated risk’.
Bozarth Numismatics Inc is a full service rare coin dealer.  We buy and sell PCGS, NGC, and CAC graded and approved high grade U.S. coins.  We sell coins at shows and on both our website and in our Ebay store bozarthnumismaticsinc.  Because of our extensive show and buying travel schedule we can often locate those ‘hard to find’ items.  We offer free confidential want list services and will call or email you ‘first’ if we locate an item for you.  Thanks and Best Regards, Vic Bozarth/The Rare Coin Road Warrior.

February 2013-Shows-Where It’s At!

Dear Rare Coin Enthusiast, When I started writing the ‘Road Warrior a couple of years ago, my goal was to talk about rare coin shows from a ‘dealer’s perspective’.  Because Sherri and I travel to ALL major U.S. coin shows and most of the larger regional shows, my ‘perspective’ and experience with coin shows is somewhat unusual and very inclusive.  Since my teenage years, I have absolutely LOVED coin shows.  Shows are ‘where it’s at’ so to speak and the action on the bourse floor, especially at the big shows, is often between the biggest ‘players’ in rare coins.  The dealers and major ‘players’ make decisions and buy and sell deals that are often written about for years.
Don’t get me wrong, lots of coin deals never make it to a coin show, but…..a very large percentage of the ‘big’ deals are consummated at shows.  Why?  Because most dealers and many collectors know that if their first potential customer passes, the room is full of other potential clients.  By far the biggest benefit of a ‘show’ is that the merchandise is (most often) there and can be physically viewed, graded, and bought or sold.  One of the biggest misconceptions that many collectors make is that dealers are at a show to sell coins.  WRONG.  Well over half of all dealers at any given show are there to BUY.  Bozarth Numismatics has a presence at shows and most often we have merchandise on display to sell, but ‘truth be told’ WE ARE THERE TO BUY!
With the internet the amount of business done online and through the mail has exploded.  The internet is great.  We sell thousands of coins each year on both our website and in our Ebay Store.  The problem is that buying coins through the internet is very difficult (albeit much easier since we have third party grading).  But, even with third party grading coins, especially PCGS and NGC coins, I still want to see what I am buying.  As I stated earlier, ‘Shows are Where It’s At!’
The Rare Coin Show calendar is pretty predictable.  All but the ANA-American Numismatic Association and the CSNS-Central States Numismatic Society Shows are held at about the same time in the same cities each year.  For example, the great FUN-Florida United Numismatists Show is held the first full week of each year in Orlando-for the most part.  Breaking down the biggest shows from the beginning of the calendar year through December is a pretty large task and for the sake of brevity, I will discuss only the ‘best’ shows through the Summer ANA in Chicago in August this year.
The major shows on the U.S. Coin Show circuit through August include the following:  FUN, February Long Beach, March Baltimore, ANA Spring in New Orleans, CSNS Show-Chicago, June Long Beach, June Baltimore, Summer FUN, and the ANA in Chicago in August.  There are also excellent regional shows in St. Louis, Chicago, Denver, Santa Clara, CA, Philadelphia, Manchester, NH, Boston, Ft. Worth, Ontario, CA and Pittsburgh during this time period.  There are also the PCGS Invitational Shows in Las Vegas.  Except for conflicts, we will be attending ALL of them.
The Long Beach February Show, held this last week, was a ‘barnburner’ of a show.  The lower attendance we have seen for several years, was replaced by bustling activity on the bourse floor.  We were pleasantly surprised with the larger attendance, as well as the obvious promotional activities of the sponsors Collector’s Universe.  Although the Laker’s Legends including Jerry West and Magic Johnson appearing for autographs is not coin related, there is no doubt the BUZZ in the room was significantly improved.  Maybe it was in anticipation of the Laker Girls-The LA Lakers Cheerleaders?  In any case, more attendance generates more buzz/business, and this was a VERY smart move by Collectors Universe and the Long Beach Show.
The Long Beach Show is a major show you must attend.  There are lots of hotel and motel options in the area, but plan early because this show (and hotels in the area) is booked months in advance.  The Fall and Winter Shows are best, but the early June show is good also.  This is a very well run show with fabulous displays and hundreds of dealers.  But for shortsighted California state tax laws (nexus laws) this show would be a lot more successful and the out of state dealer attendance would return in force.
The Spring Whitman Baltimore Show is an excellent show.  While the November Baltimore Show is the strongest of the three annual shows, the Spring Show in Baltimore is VERY active.  Whitman has done any excellent job with this show and has kept table prices at reasonable price levels while maintaining great attendance from the public.  Baltimore is a great city to visit and the convention center is surrounded by hotels and motels, BUT this is another ‘book’ early show and desirable hotels are most often sold out a couple of months in advance.  Because the convention center is right next to Camden Yards-the train station, there are lots of transportation options too.
April is going to be a busy month this year.  First the ANA is holding a Spring Show in New Orleans.  New Orleans is a neat city to visit, but this is NOT a COIN TOWN and memories of a dismal coin show in New Orleans 20 years ago when the ANA last visited New Orleans are still fresh in my mind.  Sales were dismal and many dealers left in the middle of the show to go gamble or party.  Why?  Parking and security are issues and people come to New Orleans to party, not go to a coin show.  This year the sales tax issue is VERY OMINOUS and along with a 4% state sales tax on numismatic purchase’s under $1000, there is a FIVE PERCENT New Orleans City SALES TAX on sales under $1000.
CSNS-Central States Numismatic Society is once again going to be held late this April in Schaumberg, IL a suburb of Chicago.  Although there were a lot of complaints last year about this venue, personally I prefer it over Rosemont (where most of the larger numismatic events in the Chicago area have been held).  The problem with Schaumberg is transportation.  The facility is nice, but it is hard to get to.  The exit off the interstate doesn’t take you directly to the show and you are almost forced to rent a car if you want to go out in the evening-taxis are virtually non-existent!  This is also a ‘book early’ show, because the Renaissance is at least four to five blocks from any other lodging and the traffic does not make walking a good option.   CSNS also has a limo ‘special’ between O’Hare and Schaumberg to take a little of the ‘bite’ out of transportation costs.
The rest of the major shows for June and July are Long Beach, Summer Baltimore, and Summer FUN.  All three share one common problem-SUMMER time.  Attendance at summer shows is slow at best with the ANA generally being the lone exception.  Summertime is for outdoors, vacations with family, and taking it easy.  Because overall attendance is lower at the summer shows, many dealers skip these shows or only come in for a day or two.  Many dealers are on vacation themselves.  If you have a choice of ‘when’ you can go to a Long Beach, Baltimore, or FUN show you will probably be happier with the shows in the colder months.  That being said, the Baltimore Show is still great although somewhat smaller and lodging is nearly impossible to obtain if the Orioles are in town during the show.
The ANA World’s Fair of Money Show in Rosemont ( a suburb of Chicago) should be interesting this year.  This venue was absolutely ‘white hot’ at the Summer show (in Rosemont) year before last (please note this had a lot to do with the market itself and $1975 per ounce gold).  Rosemont is easy to get to because of the VERY convenient location from Chicago’s O’Hare Airport.  There are numerous hotel and dining options.  Overall, the ANA has been wise in choosing this venue, because of the central location.  In addition, Rosemont/Chicago is a PROVEN show location.  There have been numerous good shows there.
I am going to disappoint some with my recommendation for attendance at major shows, but my opinions are based more on pragmatism than wishful thinking.  If you live in the West or are on the West Coast, you must try Long Beach.  Conversely, if you live in the East you can’t miss Baltimore.  In addition, CSNS and the ANA are MUST DO shows.  While the Winter FUN Show is another ‘must do’ show, the Summer FUN Show is mediocre and you might want to ‘keep your powder dry’ for the ANA or another show.  The same can be said about the ANA in New Orleans and the June Long Beach Show.
The information on websites for the sponsors of most of these shows generally includes hotel and travel options.  The biggest factor traveling to a major show is to plan ahead.  Be sure and check the show schedule too.  Dealers with tables are allowed into a show early.  ‘Earlybirds’ (many times dealers without tables) are individuals who pay an additional fee to get in during dealer set-up to get any earlier shot at the merchandise dealers have available.  Many times dealer set-up is the entire day before a show and the public IS NOT admitted until later.  Depending on your level of interest and budget, many advanced collectors pay for the ‘earlybird’ badge to get in early at dealer set-up.
One of the neatest aspects to attending a big show is that you should provide yourself the ‘time’ to properly attend a show.   If you are coming to a major show, plan on spending at least a couple of days.   There is just TOO MUCH to see.  Check out the exhibits, go to the seminars, and most importantly spend some time searching for some ‘cherries’ on the bourse floor!
Bozarth Numismatics Inc is a full service rare coin dealer.  We buy and sell PCGS, NGC, and CAC graded and approved high grade U.S. coins.  We sell coins at shows and on both our website and in our Ebay store bozarthnumismaticsinc.  Because of our extensive show and buying travel schedule we can often locate those ‘hard to find’ items.  We offer free confidential want list services and will call or email you ‘first’ if we locate an item for you.  Thanks and Best Regards, Vic Bozarth/The Rare Coin Road Warrior.

Late January 2013 – Hee Haw

Dear Rare Coin Enthusiast,
As a ‘child of the sixties and seventies’, I grew up with Gilligan’s Island, Gunsmoke, and because there was nothing else to watch at that hour on Saturday evenings-Hee Haw.  During my formative years, we had three channels on our TV set-ABC, CBS, and NBC.  Sometime in the late sixties we got a fourth UHF station and expanded our horizons immensely.  The funny part of my memory of the ‘new’ UHF station was that it had programs we ‘really’ wanted to watch-mainly reruns of popular sitcoms.
Early on Saturday evenings especially, my brother Jeff and I were often bored and often migrated to the ‘TV Room’ because my Mom would NOT let us have a TV in our living room.  You know the line you probably heard from your mother-‘TV will rot your brain’-HA!  Saturday evenings were the worst!  You see we had two choices.  Two of the network stations had news-boring.  The third network channel and the UHF channel had the Lawrence Welk Show (totally lame and for REALLY old people) and Hee Haw which was almost as bad but at least they had scantily clad ‘Daisy May’ girls on the show.
At that point in our lives both my brother Jeff and I hated country music.  The problem was we REALLY hated Lawrence Welk music.  Regardless of the talent of the musicians on both programs, we just weren’t ‘with it’ and we usually settled on Hee Haw because the skits were sometimes funny and the music was more tolerable than the ‘Elevator Music’ on Lawrence Welk.  Although I clearly remember several of the musicians-especially Roy Clark-I will always remember the classic used car salesman-Junior Sample.  You remember the phone number-‘call BR-549’?
One of the things that has stayed with me all these years were the simple, yet incredibly enduring lessons that sometimes came with the skits on the show.  You see, everyone knew Junior, the used car salesman, was a huckster.  The beat up jalopies and wrecks on Junior’s car lot were JUNK.  You get what you pay for-right.
OK, I have steered everyone down ‘memory lane’ once again, but my point is that although we have an incredible amount of choices and information available to us, how much of that information is truly accurate and without bias?  Regardless of whether you are selling a ‘Vegamatic’ or a ‘Ginsu knife’ the secret to a good sales pitch is convincing the potential customer that they truly NEED the item.  The funny part about Junior Sample was that it was clear ‘to even a child’ that you DID NOT want to buy your car from Junior.
Coin pricing is SO deceptive.  I have written quite a few articles on the tips I use to determine the value of a coin.  I have also written articles about how deceptive and downright inaccurate many coin pricing ‘mechanisms’ are.  One of the advantages to being a dealer is I buy lots of coins.  Some of these purchases are winners and unfortunately some of them are losers.  While a dealer can average his ‘losses’ in against his ‘good’ profitable purchases, the collector doesn’t have that luxury.  So what is a collector to do?
I use my eyes and my training to spot coins that have ‘something’ going for them.  Once again, because I am a dealer, I buy lots of coins and often buy a ‘loser’.  One of the disadvantages to being a dealer is finding enough nice coins to satisfy my customers.  I too collect other objects and I use a couple of rules to guide my purchases.  These rules are pretty basic, but most often I put price last.
First, is this coin worthy of purchase-is it rare, scarce, or just unusual?  Second, does the coin have ‘eye appeal’?  Third, does the coin meet or appear to be ‘high end’ for the grade?  Last, and only after these other guidelines are met do I consider price.
Don’t get me wrong, it is human nature to have a price in your ‘head’ early in the transaction.  What I try to do is ‘price last’.  In other words, if a coin isn’t rare or scarce, or doesn’t have any eye appeal, or doesn’t meet the grade I AM OUT.  What is the point of even listening to a price?  If the coin is missing two of these three criteria, I AM OUT!  You are wasting valuable time on an item that is nothing more than ‘coulda, shoulda, woulda’!
The price you have to pay for nice coins is always the BIGGEST consideration-even if it is the LAST consideration.  When I find a coin that meets ALL three of the mentioned criteria, at a price I had in my mind already, I buy it.  If the coin is more, I reexamine all the positives and negatives about the coin.  What I have found as both a collector and dealer is that the coins I really liked, even when priced more aggressively than I would prefer, I often buy anyway.  Like a seasoned collector has told me on numerous occasions, “the coins I regret the most are the ones I missed, because I passed’.  Just be sure you aren’t shopping at ‘Junior Samples’!
Bozarth Numismatics Inc is a full service rare coin dealer.  We buy and sell PCGS, NGC, and CAC graded and approved high grade U.S. coins.  We sell coins at shows and on both our website and in our EBay store bozarthnumismaticsinc.  Because of our extensive show and buying travel schedule we can often locate those ‘hard to find’ items.  We offer free confidential want list services and will call or email you ‘first’ if we locate an item for you.  Thanks and Best Regards, Vic Bozarth/The Rare Coin Road Warrior.
December 2012
Dear Rare Coin Enthusiast, Often times I can’t help but reflect on ALL the FUN I have had over the years playing with rare coins.  Please don’t misunderstand what I am saying.  Once you are in the business, it is not all fun and games.  Business is business and if you don’t make a profit you don’t keep the doors open or the lights on-HA.  Conversely collecting coins is supposed to be fun.  Although many folks are both dealers and collectors, once you are a full time dealer, you are forced to look at a lot of aspects of the rare coin hobby/business in a different light.
At the age of 15 I realized I would never be able to afford to own the great coins I desired unless I bought and sold them as a dealer.  Although the ownership is somewhat temporary, I get to ‘play’ with new coins virtually EVERY day.  Recently a gentleman collector I met back in the seventies has decided he wants to become a full time dealer.  I jokingly asked him if he was ready to come over to the DARK SIDE.  Just like in the Star Wars movies there is an adversarial position between collectors and dealers somewhat like the conflict between the Federation and the Evil Empire.
Luke, Come over to the Dark Side…….
In fact, one of the largest companies in the country is referred to as the Evil Empire?  They are NOT evil, but they are very successful and success and jealousy breed contempt.   Frankly, I have come to believe that this jealousy and contempt is just about the money and the insecurity and greed that come with it.
One of the most interesting aspects of my friend coming to work in our business is how he has reacted to the dealer vs. collector controversy.  Although I am not making ‘light’ of this ill will, I have to laugh.  One of the first things he mentioned to me after one of his first shows working as a dealer is ‘how hard we (dealers) work’.  His comments went something like this.  As a collector when he came to a show, he strolled in at ten or eleven a.m., looked at coins for a couple of hours, had lunch with some fellow collectors, looked at coins for a few hours in the afternoon, and then went to dinner with some more collector friends.
Now, he joked he doesn’t even get lunch!
The ‘trade off’ so to speak is that as a dealer you get to look at LOTS of coins.  Some of the more common and lower grade coins become quite mundane and many seasoned dealers are quite standoffish!  Although we try and spend time answering questions from the public at shows, our time constraints just don’t allow it many times.  The old saying, ‘time is money’, is very appropriate for the rare coin business.   Most importantly for me and my friend is that a day ‘playing with coins’ beats working every time!
Over the last several years, I have had the time and wherewithal to pursue more ‘REAL’ numismatic material.  I am always looking for value, but in addition I am looking for RARITY.  Value and rarity often go hand in hand, but how about the coins that are both undervalued (especially in this market) and have true rarity.  Most early U.S. coinage series are loaded with ‘rare dates’ let alone the huge number of varieties.  The ‘balancing’ act is to find coins that have great demand too!  There are lots of truly scarce items out there in numismatics that fall into the CATEGORY-the customer is more rare than the coin!
The discerning numismatist recognizes demand and buys accordingly.
The rare coin show schedule has been very active this year with the addition of the third ANA show, as well as others, to the annual show schedule we had a very busy year.  Next year promises to be more hectic as both PCGS and NGC have announced multiple ‘Members Only Show’ next year in Las Vegas.  As usual we will be attending ALL major U.S. Shows as well as many larger regional shows.
Recently we attended the Houston Money Show at the end of November.   This year’s Money Show was a little ‘off’ business wise from last year.  Although attendance was good and the Houston Coin Club does a super job coordinating the show, we noticed a significant lull in activity.  Our show schedule for the remainder of the year includes both a PCGS Invitational in Las Vegas this week and a NGC Trade & Grade in Dallas next week.  Both will be interesting barometers of the coming year’s business.
Next month’s annual Florida United Numismatists Show in Orlando starts a little later in the month because of the calendar, but this HUGE show is always good.  Other shows of note in January include the San Jose, CA Coin Club Show and another PCGS Invitational in Las Vegas.
February is a busy show month with Manchester, NH and Long Beach, CA Shows being held the first couple of weeks and then both the St. Louis Numismatic Association Show and the Greater Chicago/Tinley Park Show being held the third week of the month.  I believe both PCGS and NGC have Members Only Shows scheduled for February in Las Vegas also.  Our show attendance for January through March includes:
FUN                                                                                 Table
San Jose, CA
Long Beach, CA
St. Louis, MO                                                                Table
PCGS Members  Only Show                                       Table
NGC Members Only Show                                          Table
Whitman Baltimore Show                                          Table
Bozarth Numismatics Inc is a full service rare coin dealer.  We buy and sell PCGS, NGC, and CAC graded and approved high grade U.S. coins.  We sell coins at shows and on both our website and in our Ebay store bozarthnumismaticsinc.  Because of our extensive show and buying travel schedule we can often locate those ‘hard to find’ items.  We offer free confidential want list services and will call or email you ‘first’ if we locate an item for you.  Thanks and Best Regards, Vic Bozarth/The Rare Coin Road Warrior.

Late November/Thanksgiving 2012

Dear Rare Coin Enthusiast, Turkey Day is upon us and I can’t wait.  Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday.  This is ALL about family, fellowship, food, and most importantly GRATITUDE.  Let’s face it folks, regardless of your political leanings, we live in the greatest country on the face of the Earth.  Just the fact that we are able to celebrate this wonderful holiday each year says so much.  You see, the early pilgrims didn’t have all that much to be thankful for, but…they realized they had their families, their faith, and the FREEDOM to make better lives for themselves.  We are SO fortunate.
This year Sherri and I are traveling to MO to spend the holiday with my family and I am like a kid on Christmas Eve.   You see, I get to deer hunt with my brother and spend time with my family.  Oh, and there are ALL those good things to eat.  My mom is a fabulous cook and I am eagerly awaiting the FEAST.  Sherri and I hope and pray you too are able to spend time with family and friends in an attitude of gratitude on this great holiday.
Last week’s Whitman Baltimore Coin Expo was fabulous.  This Fall/Winter edition of their three shows per year schedule in Baltimore is ALWAYS good, but this year’s show was better than we expected with the current economy.  Between Mike, Sherri, and I we had very little time to leave our table because we were busy from start to finish.  One of the commonalities we see in Baltimore is the huge number of avid collectors.  In this business there are hoarders, investors, and collectors.  Baltimore is ALL about collectors and many people in the Northeast especially try and make to at least the November Baltimore Show.  The ‘Bourse’ was packed and both the show and the Stacks/Bowers Auction were very well attended.
Recently we have seen a slowdown among coin buyers because (I believe) we are all worried about the economy.  I too have my worries and sometimes the lack of business at shows is especially disheartening.  We attend all the major U.S. Shows as well as most of the bigger regional shows and I can’t blame collectors for being both picky and frugal with their money.  Lately we have seen this more often than not with the ANA World’s Fair of Money, and the Fall show last month in Dallas being ‘slow’ at best.
The show schedule through the FUN Show in January in Orlando is going to be very active.  On the horizon the week after Thanksgiving is the growing great Southern regional major show in Houston.  The Houston Money Show wasn’t always a great show.  In fact, although I have been doing 35 to 40 shows a year for nearly 30 years, I didn’t attend my first Houston Money Show until 2002.  At that time the Money Show was being held in a shopping mall near IAH (Houston Intercontinental Airport) that the locals refer to as GUNPOINT Mall (the actual name is Greenspoint, but you get the picture).
This show has nearly tripled in size over the last ten years and this quite good large regional show is definitely a must for most Southern and many national dealers.  The show is held in the George R. Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston with easy access to lots of great hotels and restaurants.  Oh, and the security is WAY better also.
The week after the Money Show there is a good and growing small regional show in Ontario, CA, a suburb of LA.  This show is having some growing pains, but having a good show in LA besides Long Beach seems to me to be a ‘no brainer’ and the show should grow because of the super clean and nice facility.  The second full week of December is the PCGS Invitational at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas.  This PCGS sponsored, mainly dealer oriented show, is quite popular with many larger dealers because of the great security and the focus of the show-grading on site by PCGS.  This show is open to the public on Thursday and Friday December 13 and 14th.  We have a table at the PCGS Invitational.
The Florida United Numismatists Show is being held a little later this year because of the calendar.  Starting on January 9th the show is open to the public through Saturday the 12th.  This is one of the ‘go to’ shows on the circuit and I have attended 27 or 28 straight FUN Shows.  The activity at the show is very good and the dealers represented rival that of only the ANA in terms of quantity and variety.  Many dealers who are unable to get out of their stores for other shows make a point of attending the FUN Show often times to get away from the winter cold.  This is a great show.
We are excited about the shows on the upcoming schedule.  We are attending all the shows I mentioned here and hope to see you at one of these shows or at a show in your area some time soon.  Happy Thanksgiving, Vic and Sherri Bozarth

November 2012

Dear Fellow Numismatists, I really love playing with coins.  I love the search for dates, varieties, undervalued series and issues, great color coins, and all those coins that just have “THE LOOK”.  Although I don’t particularly enjoy the business side of rare coins, I am actively involved in the market which means I get plenty of both market trends and controversy on a daily basis.  One of the most important rules for dealers is to buy coins you must ALSO sell coins.
An individual would be foolish to sell a coin for less than fair value.  While paying too much for really nice coins many times works out surprisingly well, conversely many times the bargain purchase turns out to be a GOAT.  Knowing what you are getting is the key.  Selling too can be a challenge and just as buying nice coins can be an expensive endeavor, the cost and effort that it takes to sell coins must not be underestimated.  Both buying and selling coins is time consuming and costly.
Because there are dealers who are willing to SELL you something that isn’t that great, there are always going to be collectors and investors who aren’t happy with their purchases.  These unhappy individuals have every right to air their grievances, but there are a lot of people in the rare coin market that love nothing more than to STIR THIS POT to their advantage.
Most often the pot is stirred by a particularly annoyed individual who feels he didn’t get his money’s worth.  For the collector, dealer, or investor who has been bilked or defrauded due to misrepresentation or outright fraud, you have every right to be angry and demand either a refund or some type of consideration.  If the perpetrator makes a ‘habit’ of doing business in this manner, other collectors, dealers, and investors need to know.  Crooks need a bright light on them to make them scurry under another rock.
When the individual whether they be collector, dealer, or investor buys something which is properly graded and priced with a reasonable mark up, I don’t have a lot of sympathy.  None of us can do anything about the coin market itself.  Frankly, I have heard it all before.  Don’t get me wrong, I DO NOT sympathize with the unscrupulous dealer.  To the contrary, I wholeheartedly sympathize, but….didn’t you read that buying ‘raw’ and ungraded merchandise is risky.  Didn’t you read that the ‘grade’ is their opinion?  And, lastly DID YOU REALLY BELIEVE that you were getting something for 25% of dealer wholesale bid?
What is the ESPN segment they do?  It goes something like, “COME ON MAN!”.  ‘Come on Man’ basically equates to ‘ARE you STUPID?’   Don’t be foolish.  Don’t believe you are smarter than everyone else.  Odds are you are not.  Ironically, a well known dealer likes to address ALL his other colleagues as ‘GENIUS’.  He isn’t using this term as a compliment.  What he is doing is pointing out that although you may think you are a genius (AND SMARTER THAN EVERYONE ELSE), you are not.  He has called me a genius on many occasions-I am not!
Stirring this noxious pot of discontent are some dealers who believe ‘bad mouthing’ everyone else makes them look better than the majority of the other dealers out there.  I disagree.  While I often write negative comments about the rare coin market, I most often delete twice as much as I ever publish.  The temptation to ‘slam’ others is quite appealing, but in the long run and for the future of the rare coin business, making positive and educational comments and suggestions will almost always work better.
Let me give you an example.  Dealer X handles some of the most high end and expensive coins on the market today.  Dealer X has built an incredible business and has earned the respect due to an accomplished numismatist.  Dealer X has never met a controversy they didn’t have an opinion on.  Dealer X has a comment on virtually every forum known to the rare coin business.  How come Dealer X is the only one in the rare coin market with the coins nice enough for you?
One of the most important concepts I ever learned in the rare coin business was to ‘never speak negatively about another dealer’.  The temptation to do so is great.  There are always ‘some’ dealers who are willing to cut a corner, sell an over graded coin, or even commit fraud.  That being said, the truth is always the best medicine.  While I might know about an incident or the behavior of another dealer, reporting it or ‘bad mouthing’ that dealer is not my responsibility.  I will answer a direct question from a customer or another dealer, but I will not speak about the other dealer in public.  The rule IS that speaking negatively against ANY dealer reflects negatively on ALL dealers.
The forums and chat boards are great, but the comments and controversy generated on these public forums is very often negative and biased.  You must consider the motives of the writer whenever reading ‘blogs’ or comments on a public forum.  Make an informed decision based on facts, not hype or negative comments.  Dealers are in business to make money.  Find a dealer who has what you are looking for.  Do your research before spending your money.  Dealers who are in this business for the long term will price their coins with an eye towards the future and a ‘fair’ deal for you both without ‘Stirring The Pot’.
Bozarth Numismatics Inc is a full service rare coin dealer.  We buy and sell PCGS, NGC, and CAC graded and approved high grade U.S. coins.  We sell coins at shows and on both our website and in our Ebay store bozarthnumismaticsinc.  Because of our extensive show and buying travel schedule we can often locate those ‘hard to find’ items.  We offer free confidential want list services and will call or email you ‘first’ if we locate an item for you.  Thanks and Best Regards, Vic Bozarth/The Rare Coin Road Warrior.

September (late month) 2012

Dear Rare Coin Enthusiast, Remember that Rod Stewart song-Maggie Mae?  The lyrics of the song go something like this, ‘it’s late September and I really should be back at school’.
Strange as this might sound, the coin business is starting to get that back to school or work feel to it.  In just the last couple of weeks, mostly because of rising bullion levels and the uncertainty the upcoming election brings, we have seen a decided spike in activity among dealers.  Although our collector sales via Ebay and our website have been slow, dealers are ‘feeling it’.  I can’t even really quantify the ‘feeling’, but the market is moving and IT FEELS REAL!
O.K. Vic, cry ‘wolf’ again.  Yes, you may be right.  I might be wrong, but the feeling I have deep inside is that we are going to see some significant changes in the coin market this Fall.  With rising bullion prices, dealers seem to let out a sigh of relief.  Yes, for the most part, we are ‘believers’.  Believers in what, you might ask?  Well, I’ll tell you.
Since my introduction to rare coins in the seventies I have seen markets rise and fall.  I experienced the Hunt brothers attempt to corner the silver bullion market and their subsequent failure.  I have seen the beginning of PCGS and NGC and the mostly positive changes these two grading services have brought to the market.  I was there during the Y2K hype.  AND, I have seen the collapse of the coin market several times in the last 35 years, but…..I have also seen the market COME ALIVE on four separate occasions in the last 35 years!
The signs are all there.  Morgan Dollars in MS65 were as low as $115 on a wholesale level less than 60 days ago.  Currently wholesale levels are roughly $140 for nice white PCGS coins.  Generic $20 Saints and Libs. in MS62, 63, 64, and 65 have risen somewhere between 11 and 15% pretty much paralleling the rise in gold bullion prices.  BUT, and this is the biggest difference.  DEALERS want to buy coins.
Yes, dealers are, for the most part, always buying-we have to.  The difference between now and just a few short weeks ago is how aggressively dealers are buying.  Now, instead of one or two market makers grudgingly buying the minimum amount they are bidding for, there are multiple bidders pushing the prices up, especially on bullion related items, almost daily.  Collectors haven’t realized it.  For the most part the public hasn’t realized it, but dealers recognize the SIGNS and the market is moving up NOW.
Yes, I am hyped!  You see, as a true believer in the underlying value of rare coins, I have seen the markets come and go, but have never lost faith that IN THE LONG TERM rare coins are a great store of value AND in the present economy the SKY is the LIMIT.
I am not a bullion guy-I am a RARE COIN guy.  Although I like bullion presently and I believe it has tremendous upside, I believe rare coins have even more upside.  Why?  Bullion is mined and produced on a daily basis.  Depending on the price of gold or silver, more mines will reopen and more will be produced.  But as I talked about in my Road Warrior article earlier this month, it is ALL about supply and DEMAND.  Because the supply of rare coins is finite, once the available numbers of coins on the market are gone prices won’t rise slowly, they will EXPLODE.
The crazy part about rare coins is that we, as dealers, are jaded.  We see lots of neat coins.  We buy and sell them and become numb.  Most folks don’t see rare coins on a daily basis and only a small percentage have any idea how rare or scarce some items are.  Yes, we know as dealers, how relatively common certain items are.  But once again, I am going to reiterate HOW MUCH demand has to do with it.
Once the current supply of rare coins on the market are sold, prices have no where to go but UP!  In addition, only rising prices will bring more coins on the market.  My argument is that the prices must go up SIGNIFICANTLY before we have any big increase in supply.  Because many coins were sold during markets where prices were significantly higher, those individuals holding these older higher cost basis items are going to be reluctant to sell until the prices rise significantly which will PUSH the market even faster.
Don’t get me wrong, I have never been an ‘all or nothing’ guy.  BUT, I have ALL my eggs in this BASKET and the hen isn’t laying anymore.  Are you a BELIEVER?
Our show schedule for the next couple of months is as follows:
PCGS Invitational/Las Vegas, NV
Silver Dollar Show/St. Charles, MO
ANA Fall Show/Dallas, TX
Denver Coin Show, Denver, CO
Whitman Coin Expo./Baltimore, MD
Houston Money Show, Houston, TX
Bozarth Numismatics Inc is a full service rare coin dealer.  We buy and sell PCGS, NGC, and CAC graded and approved high grade U.S. coins.  We sell coins at shows and on both our website and in our Ebay store bozarthnumismaticsinc.  Because of our extensive show and buying travel schedule we can often locate those ‘hard to find’ items.  We offer free confidential want list services and will call or email you ‘first’ if we locate an item for you.  Thanks and Best Regards, Vic Bozarth/The Rare Coin Road Warrior.

September 2012

Dear Rare Coin Enthusiasts,
In this month’s RCRW, I am going to discuss some tremendously undervalued areas of the market as well as my regular discussion of recent shows and the next big shows on the horizon.  Most of you already know the coin market is slow as compared to the very active years from the late 90’s through 2007.  What many of you may not realize is how inexpensive, in terms of past performance, many blue chip investment grade coins truly are.  Many astute dealers, investors, and particularly savvy collectors know these coins are undervalued and are quietly taking substantial positions in certain areas of the market.
Collectors too see the ‘writing on the wall’.  Like all investments the ‘timing’, along with supply and demand, is the real difference between profit and loss.  Today I am going to reiterate an old saying from one of my most influential mentors in the rare coin business.  Fred Sweeney told me more than once ‘that the secret to a good promotion is a READY supply’.  While this is certainly true, the DEMAND for that item can prove or disprove this statement.
Truly rare coins are almost always in demand.  Yet, sometimes there are a limited number of buyers for these rare coins.  In this market, and our overall economy for that matter, money and cash flow are ‘King’ and investors, dealers, and collectors must all spend within their limits.  Currently there are quite a few popularly collected series in U.S. rare coins trading at (or even below) their 30 year low price levels.  Three of the most popular of these undervalued series include Walking Liberty Half Dollars, Morgan Dollars, and Classic Commemorative Half Dollars.
Admittedly some of these coins aren’t very scarce let alone rare.  But while my mentor Fred would laugh at my contradiction, he would also agree that these three series ALL enjoy a tremendous amount of attention from collectors which means most importantly of all-DEMAND!
Demand is what makes the rare coin market, and all markets for that matter, WORK.  Yes, there is demand for rare coins and many Walkers, Morgans, and Commems are truly rare.  But when you have a really rare coin with a graded population of just two or three, how collectible is that for the ‘average Joe’ like you and me?  If you locate one of these,   have the funds available, and the coin is available at a reasonable price YOU SHOULD BUY IT.
Practically speaking, this isn’t realistic.  Most high grade 19th century coins, except for the more generic Morgan Dollars, are scarce to rare.  Many high grade early 20th century dated coins are scarce to rare.  O.K. Vic, where are you going with this?
While you should always strive to buy RARE high quality numismatic material, you have to be practical about it.  If you are buying coins for both pleasure and investment don’t ‘pigeon hole’ yourself.  Recently, as an example, both Walking Liberty Half Dollars and Morgan Dollars in MS66 (PCGS or NGC graded) have dropped under $160 and $250 respectively on a wholesale level.  They are too cheap.  Investors with deep pockets are buying select quality coins like these, EVEN IF THEY ARE GENERIC, because they know DEMAND will win again.  You should too.  Remember, it’s all about the money.
The rare coin show schedule for the autumn months is pretty predictable, although this year we have a couple of interesting changes.  Last week’s Long Beach Expo was more active than we expected although there were quite a few empty tables.  Both the Goldberg and Heritage Auctions drew a considerable amount of interest, but the upcoming ANA Fall show in Dallas in October-with another Heritage Auction-might have hurt some of the bidding dollars from these two auctions as both collectors and dealers try to ‘keep their powder dry’ for Dallas.
This week the annual Illinois State (ILNA) Show in Tinley Park should be well attended.  There are three shows a year in Tinley Park, a suburb on the very Southern edge of greater Chicago, and this is generally the most active due to the association with ILNA.  Jim Paicz does a great job with this show and it is still growing.  Although the business at this venue has been somewhat spotty, mostly due to the market itself, the facility and location are nice and it will continue to grow.
Because of the ANA convention in Philadelphia this last month, the Whitman Philadelphia Coin Expo held the last couple of years in September was cancelled this year.  While the folks at the ANA did a nice job with the annual World’s Fair of Money Show this last month, sales and attendance were lackluster.  Personally I believe the market was the culprit although the Philadelphia Convention Center leaves a lot to be desired.
Late in September PCGS holds another PCGS Invitational Show in Las Vegas.  These smaller venue shows are very popular for both dealers and some collectors because of the smaller, less frenzied, and much more secure setting.  These ‘Invitational Shows’ have come to be one of our favorite destinations on the bourse circuit.
October has a pretty full show schedule with the newer ANA Fall Show in Dallas.  The month starts off with the Silver Dollar Show in St. Charles, MO.  This show is a nice medium sized show with a great location and has bounced back from some very slow attendance years recently.  Scheduling of the ANA Show in Dallas will hurt this show, but at least there are a couple of weeks in between the two largest shows in October.  Also in October are the MOON Show in a suburb of Minneapolis and the Denver Show.  Although we don’t attend the MOON Show, I have in the past and it is a good regional show.
The ANA in Dallas might be a good show.  The market is starting to move again with the $100 plus jump in the gold bullion price and active buyers trying to ‘catch the wave’ so to speak.  We are cautiously optimistic about this venue, but the timing could be a lot better with the date set just two months after the annual World’s Fair of Money in Philadelphia.
Other shows of interest in September and October include the good New Hampshire Coin Show near the end of September and both the Lakeland, FL and Sarasota, FL Shows in October.  Although we didn’t mention the C.A.M.P. Show in Monroeville, PA (a suburb of Pittsburgh) it is a good semi-annual show and was held last week.
Our show travel for September and October is busy and interesting.  If we are attending a show in your area, please stop by and introduce yourself.  Our show schedule for the next couple of months is as follows:
ILNA/Illinois State Numismatic Association/Tinley Park, IL
PCGS Invitational/Las Vegas, NV
Silver Dollar Show/St. Charles, MO
ANA Fall Show/Dallas, TX
Denver Coin Show, Denver, CO
Whitman Coin Expo./Baltimore, MD
Houston Money Show, Houston, TX
Bozarth Numismatics Inc is a full service rare coin dealer.  We buy and sell PCGS, NGC, and CAC graded and approved high grade U.S. coins.  We sell coins at shows and on both our website and in our Ebay store bozarthnumismaticsinc.  Because of our extensive show and buying travel schedule we can often locate those ‘hard to find’ items.  We offer free confidential want list services and will call or email you ‘first’ if we locate an item for you.  Thanks and Best Regards, Vic Bozarth/The Rare Coin Road Warrior.

August 2012

Dear Rare Coin Enthusiast, In this month’s Road Warrior I am going to discuss the latest coin show news from the Summer FUN Show, the PCGS ‘Members Only’ Invitational Show, and the Missouri Numismatic Society Show in St. Charles.  I also want to talk about the upcoming ANA Show in Philly, the great Fall Show schedule, and some of the news from the show circuit.
Despite the typical Summer ‘slow down’ we normally see each year, I am seeing a little more aggressive buying from other dealers at recent shows.  Although this is still a buyer’s market for more generic coins, high end quality, especially better date, collector coins are hot.  Dealers are always trying to buy certain coins.  At shows, ‘certain’ coins are snapped up within the first couple of hours of the show opening IF they ever make it to the show at all?
Certain series like Seated Liberty and Barber coinage are in demand in virtually all grades.  Collectors and dealers alike have always coveted the coins from these two series-especially the better date coins within each series.  Not only do collectors like the two series, but there are collectors that want Very Good or better coins and there are collectors who want only GEM BU MS65 certified PCGS, NGC, or CAC approved coins.  Most dealers recognize the scarcity of coins in these two great series because after buying and selling thousands of coins, they just haven’t handled many.
I really believe focusing on a specific area, whether you are collecting or specializing, is a wise way to pursue numismatics.  Focusing doesn’t have to be on a specific coin type either.  You can focus on ‘value’ also.  Compare mintages, populations, auction records and study the price levels.  When you are studying the numbers don’t forget demand and collector interest.  Factor in all this data and ‘target’ coins that fit ‘your’ numbers.  For example, you could focus on nice type coins in MS63 or MS64 that have huge price spreads to the next grade.  These are coins that both collectors and dealers pursue and because of their relative affordability they should perform nicely.
At recent shows, especially in Orlando and St. Louis, we saw a greater focus and demand for collector coins versus more generic items.  Yes, there are still large deals of generic items trading, but generic type gold coins especially are very slow because of the risk and small margins.  Dealers are focusing on value too.  At a recent show, we got to see a small group of original proof sets that came into a shop in the Midwest.  These were from the late 19th and early 20th century and had the original paperwork.  Needless to say, they were snapped up quickly.  Rarity and quality always sell.
The Summer FUN Show is a decent show, but the Orange County Convention Center leaves a lot to be desired.  This HUGE convention center has some parking issues and because of the size, did I mention HUGE, there is no way you can park close.  The Florida United Numismatists do a great job running this show, but personally I would love to see a new location.  Parking at this year’s show WAS a problem because of overcrowding from other conventions.
The PCGS Invitational is a great dealer’s show.  Dealer’s, although limited in number, like to attend because the venue is secure, comfortable, and fun.  The latest ‘Invitational was held at the Cosmopolitan recently in Las Vegas.  This is the first time for an ‘Invitational’ at this location and most dealers really enjoyed the hotel.  The show itself was very active and PCGS received a lot of coins for grading onsite.  This show IS open to the public on Thursday and Friday as long as you are a member of the club.
Last week’s Missouri Numismatic Society Show in St. Charles, MO was active, but not terribly busy.  Many dealers opted out because of the long ANA Show starting this weekend in Philadelphia.  Although there was a good Scotsman Auction the show itself was a typical Summer Show.  We left a little early Friday to spend time with family in Western Missouri over the weekend.
What can you say about the ANA?  Years ago when I attended my first ANA, I was overwhelmed.  This is the BIG ONE for numismatists.  Not only is this the show of the year, but it is the only show some dealers and many numismatists are able to attend each year.  I attended my first ANA in 1979 in St. Louis and the show did not disappoint me then.  Fast forward 33 years and I am attending my 26th ANA.  This year’s Philadelphia venue is really exciting to me.  In 1999 when the ANA was last in Philadelphia, I had an incredible buying show.
Philadelphia is the sight of our first mint and because ALL of our early U.S. coinage was produced in Philadelphia it is common sense that a good portion of those coins are still in the area.  In 1999 at the last ANA in Philadelphia, I purchased a set of Large Cents, a set of Bust Halves, and numerous other single rarities.  It was a blast!
This year’s event starts early Saturday morning the 4th of August with set-up for the PNG/ANA Pre-Show.  This is a mostly dealer oriented show and many larger dealers as well as lot of East Coast dealers will attend.  The Pre-Show can be VERY active.  Although last year’s Pre-Show was somewhat ill-conceived and poorly advertised, we had an incredible weekend.  In fact, we believe this Pre-Show will be more successful because of better advertising.
The ANA Show itself starts Tuesday the 7th with dealer set-up a day earlier this year than in the past.  Many dealers will work ‘straight through’ the Pre-Show into the regular ANA and once ‘set-up’ starts for the ANA itself the bourse floor is usually buzzing!  For diehards, the show is pretty much non-stop business, because the show is so large you can’t possibly see everyone.  Old friends and colleagues are everywhere.  Sometimes nicer collections or deals change hands several times.  The atmosphere is frenetic.
The Show Schedule after the ANA is kind of quiet, with only the Blue Ridge Numismatic Association Show in Dalton, GA and the new Santa Clara Show in Santa Clara, CA the week following the ANA.  The BRNA Show is well established and promises a good turnout.  The Santa Clara Show is a new ‘edition’ so to speak, as it is the replacement for the semi-annual Santa Clara Show held for years at the same Santa Clara Convention Center.  Although the new Santa Clara Show will be smaller, Scott Griffins is doing a nice job promoting the new show.
September starts with a bang as the Long Beach Show immediately follows the Labor Day holiday.  The Illinois State Numismatic Association Show in Tinley Park (Southern suburb of Chicago) is scheduled for mid September.  There are also September shows scheduled for Sarasota, FL, Manchester, NH, Portland, OR, Westchester, NY, and Fredericksburg, VA.  October begins with the annual Silver Dollar Show in St. Charles, MO followed two weeks later by the ANA Fall Show in Dallas, TX.  Other good shows in October include Lakeland, FL, Brooklyn Center, MN, and the Denver, CO show which is one of our favorite destinations.
In next month’s Rare Coin Road Warrior, I will have news from the ANA itself as well as the new Santa Clara Show.
Bozarth Numismatics Inc is a full service rare coin dealer.  We buy and sell PCGS, NGC, and CAC graded and approved high grade U.S. coins.  We sell coins at shows and on both our website and in our Ebay store bozarthnumismaticsinc.  Because of our extensive show and buying travel schedule we can often locate those ‘hard to find’ items.  We offer free confidential want list services and will call or email you ‘first’ if we locate an item for you.  Thanks and Best Regards, Vic Bozarth/The Rare Coin Road Warrior.

June 2012

Dear Rare Coin Enthusiast, In this month’s Rare Coin Road Warrior, I will report on activity at the biggest shows over the last month as well as preview the upcoming shows for late June, July, and early August through the ANA in Philadelphia.  In addition to the current show news I want to briefly touch on the HUGE disparities we are experiencing in early collector material between published ‘wholesale’ price levels and actual trading levels.  In conclusion, I want to preview the “Old Time” Seated Dollar collection to be offered at the Baltimore Coin Show.
The Rare Coin Show ‘Circuit’ has been active this late Spring and early Summer.  During May and early June we attended the Long Beach Show in CA, the NGC Invitational in Las Vegas, and the Chicago area Tinley Park, IL Show.  Business has been somewhat spotty, but scarce collector oriented coins are selling as fast as we can locate them.  Investor based material, especially Type Gold is FLAT and premiums over the ‘melt’ values are at an all time low.
The Long Beach Coin Show, although reported as active by some other newsletters, was vas at best marginal business wise.  Dealers we spoke to commented on both lack of activity and poor attendance by the public.  The number of dealers attending this great show has improved, but several dealers reported that their bourse fees were being increased.  Unfortunately, at least six major dealers I spoke to voiced the opinion that the Long Beach Show was certainly on their ‘drop’ list if business doesn’t improve.  Frankly, this legendary show has shown improvement, BUT the improvements are marginal in the face of table price increases.
In addition, the Long Beach Show recently sent out long term contracts inviting attendees to sign up for future shows at a small discount.  Unfortunately, next year’s Long Beach Show in June of 2013 will conflict with the Whitman Baltimore Summer Show leaving dealers in a position of booking tables at both shows while only being able to attend ONE?
Other shows in June included The NGC Las Vegas Invitational and the Cincinnati, Oh show in Sharonville.  The NGC Invitational was active and business was good, but several dealers cancelled at the last minute because of time constraints at home.  Personally we did well and enjoyed the show.  Dealers we spoke to felt the return by NGC to Vegas was a GOOD move.  Dealers like attending shows in Vegas and more dealers from the West Coast will attend.  Reports from the Cincinnati Show were mixed.  Although one larger dealer reported he did well, a couple of smaller dealers told me business there was marginal.
Dealers are always buying, but the frequency of purchases is more about price levels than quantity in this market.  Dealers will put a ‘price’ on coins, but often times they are going to be ‘back’ of the published market because that ‘published’ price IS NOT current.  Dealers buy coins to make money.  Dealers WILL stock coins if they feel they can sell them, in a reasonable amount of time at a reasonable mark up, but….they won’t stock them at a PUBLISHED ‘bid’ price when coins are trading actively at much lower levels.
I have heard (and used) the argument that nicer coins are worth bid or more, but the ‘key’ word here is NICER.  In our current market NICER means super eye appeal ‘near breakout’ quality not just NICE for the grade.  This is truly a buyer’s market.  The SCARCE stuff is selling quickly because knowledgeable dealers know ‘what coins’ are scarce because they just don’t see them.  Unfortunately even the seasoned collector might not have a ‘handle’ on WHAT is scarce.
Take for example classic Commemorative Half Dollars.  Currently we are seeing this great series experience major lack of interest.  No one is promoting or marketing this series.  Yet, there are some great buys in the Commemorative series.  There are exceptions to every rule and the only real ‘word of advice’ I can give is to do your homework.  One of the most interesting aspects of coin pricing is the ‘VALUE’ of some of the early collector oriented series versus their published price levels.  While many traditional investor oriented coins ARE NOT worth their published prices, MANY Bust, Seated, and Barber coins are worth SUBSTANTIAL premiums over their published prices levels.
Ironically, a lot of these collector oriented series coins are WAY undervalued because both their supply and lack of demand has contributed to their poor pricing history today.  While these coins have enjoyed strong demand from collectors during this time period they were not pursued by bigger dealers because quite frankly there was never a large enough supply of them to be promoted.  Remember the ‘secret’ to a good promotion is a ready supply.
Seated coinage especially is HOT HOT HOT!  The funny thing is the pricing guides haven’t really picked up on this because ‘a coin here and a coin there’ trading is under their radar.  Yet, the reason these coins are trading for more than their ‘sheet’ price levels is because there are NOT enough of them available to trade frequently.  To buy nice and scarce Seated material I have paid as much as 3 times ‘sheet’ prices.  By the way, recently I sold a ‘three times sheet price’ coin immediately and had two inquiries later for the same coin.
Barber coins too are VERY strong in price currently.  Once again, these fall into the small supply/large relative demand category.  There are lots of collectors pursuing a handful of coins that are not often available.  Nice AU material is especially strong with nice coins bringing over mint state ‘sheet’ price levels on many sales.  Once again I must reiterate, bargains are out there for the astute numismatist, but the ‘trophy’ coins are not available long.  Nor are these ‘trophy’ coins available at ‘sheet’ prices.
The “Old Time” Seated Dollar Collection
Over the last several years I have attempted to buy, stock, and trade a larger number of early collector coins including Bust, Seated, and Barber coinage.  These early U.S. series contain an endless number of great rarities as well as a substantial number of completely undervalued dates.  Not only are many of the coins in these series undervalued, but the true rarity in comparison with the price levels of more popular collector series from the twentieth century make many of these coins an absolute BARGAIN.
Collectors have known about these series for decades.  Quietly and patiently many collectors have built nice collections with quality coins.  These coins are not all SLABBED because often times a ‘slabbed’ specimen of a particular date is just not available.  Take for example the Seated Liberty Dollar series.
Seated Liberty Dollars were produced between 1840 and 1873 with every year represented.  While the later Morgan and Peace Dollar series were produced more as a result of silver bullion mining interests than for commerce, the Seated Dollar was produced before the huge silver discoveries ‘out West’.  Seated Dollars were produced in surprisingly small quantities and did circulate while many of their Morgan and Peace Dollar cousins never left the vaults.
The factors that made Seated Dollars SO scarce included the growth and expansion of the United States itself.  During that 34 year span of time our country was growing from a mostly Eastern and Midwestern stated country to a truly coast to coast nation.   The nation itself survived a Civil War during this time period which also contributed to the scarcity of many issues.  Economic problems also were a factor in the survival of many of the Seated Dollar dates.  In fact, Seated Dollars pre-date the Transcontinental Railroad which was completed in 1876?
Recently Bozarth Numismatics purchased a substantial original Seated Dollar Set built by a very astute and exacting collector during the fifties.  The set, although missing a few, is mostly complete and exhibits a surprising eye for detail and originality not often seen.  The coins in this set are graded an average AU plus in condition by NGC with over ten Mint State examples.  The set contains 40 total coins with the 1851, 1852, 1858, and 1860-O dates missing.  All the coins in the set are graded and consecutively serial numbered by NGC.
The “Old Time” Collection Set is surprisingly well matched with even originally toned and mostly original surface coins.  There are some ‘NET’ grade coins as are to be expected in an old original set, but overall the quality of the coins is fantastic.  The “Old Time” Set will be displayed with the original Wayte Raymond boards Thursday at the Baltimore Coin Show subject to prior sale.
The “Old Time” Seated Liberty Dollar Set is being offered as a SET ONLY through Thursday June 28th at the show and on our website  Bozarth Numismatics is a full service rare coin dealer.  We buy and sell PCGS, NGC, and CAC graded coins on our website, in our Ebay Store bozarthnumismaticsinc and at ALL major and most larger regional shows.  Because we travel over 200 days a year buying scarce high grade U.S. coins we are often able to locate those hard to find items other dealers can’t locate.  We offer free and confidential Want List services.  We will call or email you if we locate an item you are looking for.

May 2012

Dear Rare Coin Enthusiast, As many of you already know, my name is Vic Bozarth and I am the Rare Coin Road Warrior.  In this month’s ‘Road Warrior’ I want to tell you a story about my first week in Texas. This IS a coin related story, but the story is a little long so please bear with me for the background information.  I call Texas home and although I am an import, and this is my chosen HOME.  God Bless Texas!
That being said, my first week in Texas was not very welcoming.  In my twenties, I was defiant, confused, wild, and arrogant.  You see, I thought I already knew everything I needed to know.  Despite all the best advice and example of my parents and grandparents, I rebelled and went to school sporadically and without enthusiasm.  I was convinced life was a big party and that party would last FOREVER.
I am not proud of my youth, but as my very dear and departed Grandma Ina always said, ‘have fun when you are young Vic, you won’t be young forever’.  I proceeded to do just that!  My folks weren’t as tolerant and frankly I disappointed them.  You see, I wanted to be a coin dealer when I was in high school, but ‘you can’t make any money doing that’ was the comment I got from most of my mentors.  I went to college because it was convenient and of course there were girls, parties, fraternities, and did I mention girls?  Because I spent a lot more time worrying about girls, parties, my fraternity, etc. I was a poor student.
I did realize that I needed money to do what I wanted and ALWAYS had a job of some sort.  I bussed tables, moved furniture, drove a truck, and did farm work, yard work, and construction work.  You get the picture- I was a big kid with a strong back and questionable intelligence. Generally the pay check was spent before I had it.  I really enjoyed construction work because you were actually able to see the ‘fruits of your labor’ at the end of the day.  I knew how to paint, roof, and had a smattering of knowledge on how to frame a house.
After a particularly poor semester in college, I went to work for a government contractor that specialized in roofing on military bases all over the United States.  My co-workers called me ‘college boy’ for weeks.  Because of my size and experience, I pretty quickly earned their respect.  I could (when I wanted to) roof faster, work longer, and party harder afterwards than they could.  Yes, this is a dubious distinction, but when you are 23 and ‘ten foot tall and bullet proof’ you obviously have your priorities screwed up.
In my year with Guarantee Roofing out of Janesville/Beloit, WI I had lived near and worked on military installations in MO, ND, WI, IL, AL, and I was headed to TEXAS!  The job I was sent to in Texas was on Red River Arsenal, an army installation that repaired armored vehicles.  The work was hard, the pay was marginal, and the facilities were always very low end.  The company put us up in a house trailer in a small town called Hooks, TX.  Hooks, TX’s only claim to fame, as far as I know, is being the home of Billy Sims, the great football running back.  Hooks, TX is one of those ‘blink and you will miss it’ towns along the interstate.
I will always remember my first night in Texas.  Because I was the fourth guy to arrive on the job, I was ‘odd’ man out in the house trailer.  Both bedrooms were claimed.  The couch was claimed.  I had two choices and they were both the floor?  I grabbed my sleeping bag and hit the floor in the tiny living room.  Sometime around two in the morning, I found myself screaming, scratching, and literally levitating ‘off’ the floor because I was covered by cockroaches.   Yes, cockroaches!  I spent the remainder of the night sleeping in my car after hosing myself off in the yard.
The next evening after ten hours on the roof of a maintenance building on the arsenal, I returned to the trailer park to find the owner/manager of this lovely facility.  Frankly, the fella was a pretty good guy.  It was after five o’clock and he offered me a beer.  He also offered to ‘bug bomb’ the trailer and we proceeded to ‘bomb’ the heck out of the trailer.  We also consumed several more beers and despite the warnings on the ‘bug bomb’, my colleagues and I spent the night in the trailer with all the, hopefully, dead cockroaches.  Oh, I had also borrowed a cot for my second night.
I can’t remember the name of the manager of the trailer park-it has been thirty years.  He was o.k.  The next evening I had an officer on the base buy us a case of beer at the PX because that part of Texas was ‘dry’ and the nearest liquor store was in Texarkana, AR a half an hour away.  One of my colleagues bought a case of beer also and we proceeded back to the trailer park and found our new friend, the manager, sitting in a lawn chair out front of his double wide with a beer.  He had extra lawn chairs and we proceeded to ‘drink’ our dinner that evening.  We became fast friends.
The next evening he had a fish fry for us.  We brought the beer, he fried and provided the fish, and we had a really nice time.  The remainder of the week pretty much followed this pattern.  We sat around, drank a lot of beer, and told a lot of tall tales.  On Saturday we were off and a couple of the guys drove home for the weekend.  It was too far for me and I was having too much fun anyway.  I did some laundry, watched some TV, and visited the tiny grocery store in Hooks.  After grilling some steaks and settling down for some TV my buddy Lanny Bianchetti (a Wisconsin native) and I were just hanging out in our trailer.
I think we were watching Saturday Night Live when were heard the first ‘boom’ and heard pellets hitting the side of the trailer.  Immediately following the shotgun blast we heard a voice scream “YANKEE GO HOME”, BOOM again from a second shotgun blast followed by “YANKEE GO HOME!” again.  I was stunned.  I looked at Lanny, he looked at me, and we both broke out in laughter.  Lanny was quick to tell me ‘Welcome to Texas’ to which I replied ‘I didn’t know I was a YANKEE?’.
Fast forward nearly thirty years and I am a full time coin dealer.  The passion for coins brought me back to the business and with the help of a great friend and high school classmate Bill Shamhart/Numismatic Americana, I was able to get into the business full time in the mid-eighties.  One of the things I love most about our business is the great people I get to meet ALL over the United States.
When I travel to different parts of the country, I love to try and get the local ‘flavor’.  Last week’s Texas Numismatic Association Show in Ft. Worth is a good example of local ‘flavor’.  This show has been a great mid-sized ‘mostly regional’ show for decades.  The show is held in the Will Rogers Exposition Center in Ft. Worth and the facility and surrounding area are incredibly interesting.  As a young man I also lived in the Ft. Worth area and was able to spend some time around Texas Christian University-TCU-The Horned Frogs and University Park just a couple of blocks from the show.  There are museums, art galleries, an arboretum, and the lovely park which borders the Trinity River.
Ft. Worth is such a neat and historic town with great coin history.  The great numismatist B. Max Mehl had his offices here for decades.  Yet, with all this great culture and history, Ft. Worth has always been like the unfavored step child to the more glamorous and uppity Dallas just 45 minutes East.  Don’t get me wrong, I love both Dallas and Ft. Worth, but Ft. Worth is my kind of town.  One of the highlights of this year’s trip was dinner one evening in the Ft. Worth Stockyard’s neighborhood of the city at an outstanding restaurant named The Lonesome Dove Bistro.  If you ever venture to Ft. Worth, you must try their elk sausage sliders with foie gras and blueberry jam-incredible.
The TNA Show itself is evolving and growing.  In past years, I would fly in or drive up to Ft. Worth and be done by noon on Friday.  Yes, the show was open on the weekend, but by Friday, I had seen ALL I needed to see and wanted to have the weekend off.  This year Sherri, Mike, and I decided to stick around through lunch time Saturday.  We were rewarded with not only some good business, but some great contacts.
Doug Davis is most recognizable to most numismatists for his outstanding work fighting numismatic crimes.  His website NCIC/Numismatic Crime Information Center ( is not only well thought out and very informative, but Doug himself is a REAL lawman and ‘walks the walk’.  Doug has coordinated the organization of the TNA Show for a couple of years now and the improvements are very noticeable.  Not only are there more dealers, but more out of state dealers are attending.  The facility is nice and although somewhat dated, it is more than adequate for the show itself currently as well as future expansion.  Next year you should really consider attending.
The rare coin show schedule in May has been somewhat hectic.  The month of May is filled with graduations and the end of school for many young people.  The weather is nice in most parts of the country and when folks have nice weather the desire to get outside is often stronger than the desire to go to a coin show.
Recently the American Numismatic Association held their Spring Show in Denver, Colorado.  Normally held in March, the new timing of the show might have been better.  Denver itself is a really cool city too, but the desire to do something besides hiking nearly a half a mile to the upstairs back of the Denver Convention Center hurt the turnout at this year’s ANA Spring event.
Although we didn’t have great expectations, the show was better than expected.  There was no major auction in conjunction with the show and although both PCGS and NGC had booths to accept coins for grading, both of these grading services decided to CANCEL onsite grading at the show.  As early as late March many dealers I talked to had grumbled about the venue and timing.  At the Central States Show several dealers told me they would not be attending.  In general, the biggest reason-TOO many shows and too much work in their shops or offices.  Fortunately there were people willing to attend and we had a decent show.  The comments we heard at the show were mixed.
For me, a show is both a buying and selling opportunity.  When sales are off, I buy.  When sales are brisk, I sell.  Fortunately, I was able to buy some neat coins, because sales have been off at major shows since the dynamite ANA Summer Show in Chicago last summer.  The biggest question is whether the ANA really understands that ‘stepping’ all over other (albeit smaller) established shows when they schedule a new venue is in the best interest of their collector base.  Especially of concern is the lack of interest in anyone else in our hobby, but the whims of the organization itself.
Take for example the Denver Spring Show held by Jerry Morgan each May for over three decades.  When the ANA decided to hold a Spring Show in Denver some time ago, they didn’t even attempt to contact Jerry.  Not only did they completely ignore Jerry, but they scheduled their show the week before Jerry’s show.  At least several ANA officers and governors were contacted in regard to the scheduling of the show.  Guess what?  They did nothing.  They didn’t even have the courtesy to call.
You know what’s funny about this?  Jerry turned the tables on the ANA.  Because he had flexibility with his venue’s location he was able to reschedule his show for the week prior to the ANA Spring Show effectively creating an ANA PRE-Spring Show.  Way to go Jerry!  Not only was Jerry’s show as well attended as I can remember ever seeing, but he signed up some new dealers who plan on regularly attending his Spring and Fall Shows in Denver.
The Summer ANA Show in Philadelphia promises to be a great show.  The venue is sound-after all virtually all the coins made in the U.S. during our first several decades of existence were made there.  The location is within a relatively easy drive for nearly half the population of the continental U.S.  The Fall ANA Show in Dallas does NOT hold that promise.  Frankly, another ANA show just two months after the Summer ANA is not only POOR scheduling but borders on incompetence.  Dallas isn’t the problem, the calendar is!  Come on ANA-get a clue!
Case in point is the Pittsburgh ANA Fall Show last year.  Pittsburgh is also a great city, but…..the ANA failed to plan for a weekend when THREE local college football teams ALL had games in the area on the Saturday of the Show.  OOPS!  Attendance at the Pittsburgh Show on Saturday was pathetic.  Go figure?
The upcoming show schedule for late May through the Fourth of July includes several great shows.  Long Beach will be held the week following Memorial Day.  This show continues to rebound with increased dealer attendance.  June is unusually busy this year with an NGC Trade and Grade show which is back in Las Vegas for the first time in several years.  This NGC T&G will be held at Caesar’s Palace on June 13 and 14th.  There is also a good regional show(the same week) in Sharonville, OH (Cincinnati) held each year by Paul Padget that we won’t be able to attend this year.  Also in mid June many dealers will be attending the Tinley Park (Chicago) Show held at the newly renovated Tinley Park Convention Center.  Jim Paicz does a great job with this good medium sized show and the attendance should be good.
The Summer Whitman Baltimore Coin Expo will be held in late June at the Baltimore Convention Center.  Although this is the smallest of the three Baltimore Shows, ALL three are very well attended and the business is brisk.  Unfortunately the great smaller Colorado Springs Show will conflict with the Baltimore Show this year and we won’t be able to attend.
Bozarth Numismatics is a full service rare coin dealer.  We buy, sell, and trade PCGS, NGC, ANACS, and CAC certified rare coins on our website and in our Ebay Store bozarthnumismaticsinc.  We travel 200 days each year buying fresh to the market rare coins.  We offer free want list services and because of our extensive show and buying trip schedule we are often able to locate coins other dealers cannot find.  Each month I write both the Bozarth Numismatics Rare Coin Market Report and this Rare Coin Road Warrior column.
The opinions expressed in both of these columns are mine and you are free to agree or disagree.  Numismatics are my ‘life’s work’ and the passion I have for our great hobby is immense!  Your comments are welcome.
Our upcoming show schedule for late May through August includes the following shows:
Long Beach Coin Expo
Tinley Park (Chicago) Show
Whitman Baltimore Coin Expo
Florida United Numismatists
St. Louis
PNG/ANA Pre Show
Santa Clara Show

April 2012

Dear Rare Coin Enthusiast,
In this month’s Rare Coin Road Warrior I want to discuss a couple of ‘key’ developments in the business.  First, I am going to ‘revisit’ my market report from earlier this month titled “GIGO”.  Second, I am going to talk about the news from the Central States Coin Show last week in the Chicago area including the new Ebay announcements and the ratification of PNG ‘bylaw’ changes in regard to ‘Coin Doctoring’.  Lastly, I am going to talk about the coin show schedule from a ‘dealer’s’ perspective.
Part One
Do you remember your first copy of the Greysheet?  Did you get a ‘copy’ from another dealer?  Did you get an older issue from a fellow collector?  I picked one up out of a trash can at a show.  I was probably 13 years old.  At that point in my numismatic ‘career’, I couldn’t afford a subscription and often carried around an ‘out of date’ Coin Dealer Newsletter for weeks.
Do you recall the feeling you had when you got that first ‘Greysheet’?  I do and the feeling was ‘pretty cool’!  I vividly remember that ‘feeling’ and it kind of went like this….Wow, now I have ALL the information that the other (because I was a dealer now) coin dealers have.  Remember the movie ‘The Jerk’ with Steve Martin?  The line in the movie was ‘The new phone books are here….now I am somebody’.  Although the analogy along with dialogue from the movie isn’t exactly right, I hope you get my point.  The Greysheet IS important to the coin business and always has been.
Earlier this month in my Rare Coin Market Report, I berated Coin Dealer Newsletter/The ‘Greysheet’ for inaccurate and ‘out of date’ information.  Although I am ‘sticking to my guns’ so to speak on what is wrong with the Coin Dealer Newsletter, there are a lot of things that are RIGHT.
We are part of the information age whether we like it or not.  In the mid-seventies when I was a teenager, the Greysheet was the ‘TELL ALL’ sheet of the coin business.  Fast forward nearly 40 years and the folks at the Coin Dealer Newsletter are still producing a quality product on a weekly basis that, more often than not, people depend on for pricing information.  Most dealers at shows readily welcome the ‘new’ Greysheets distributed by the show producers, although many larger dealers have the information at their finger tips on their laptops or I-pads and don’t consider the information ‘timely’ anymore.  Yet the majority of the coin market ‘still’ considers the Greysheet the point at which ALL negotiations start.
In this ‘what have you done for me lately’ world, the Coin Dealer Newletter attempts to satisfy this insatiable need for information.  The problem with ‘any’ information is interpretation and accuracy.
Part Two
The Central States Show has been a rare coin circuit BIGGY for decades.  The CSNS Show has seen incredible activity like the stellar show last year at Rosemont, IL to market crash in ‘Stinkin’ Lincoln in 1980.  The CSNS Show has often been a pivotal show for the rare coin business.  The CSNS Show brings out virtually ALL the major players.  Because of the “Central” location, the show itself appeals to both large and small dealers and much like the FUN (Florida United Numismatist’s) Show in January, brings out many dealers who don’t normally attend shows.  While the FUN Show has the big ‘sun and fun’ aspect going for it in the ‘dead’ of Winter, the CSNS Show has that ‘big shoulders’ kind of feel to it-PERFECT for Chicago right?
This year’s CSNS Show was held in Schaumburg, IL for the first time at a newer Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center.  The reviews in regard to the location were MIXED at best.  I will get into the specific ‘nuts and bolts’ parts to the show in part three later in my article.  Let’s talk about what happened at the show.
The Professional Numismatists Guild held one of their general meetings prior to the PNG Day at CSNS.   Only a few shows, like CSNS and the ANA, hold PNG Days prior to the general opening and set-up of their respective shows.  Ebay sponsored the luncheon at the PNG meeting and Gene Cook from Ebay addressed the PNG.  Ebay in cooperation with the PNG have made several significant and quite ‘HEALTHY’ changes in their respective policies over the last several months.
These changes have included measures to protect the consumer from counterfeit and fraudulent material that was being offered for sale on Ebay and elsewhere in the marketplace.  Specifically, Ebay announced earlier this year that ‘Replica’ and ‘Copy’ items would no longer be allowed for sale on Ebay.  In addition, Ebay has adopted additional measures to protect the consumer.  At the PNG meeting Gene Cook announced that as of May 31st, only PCGS and NGC graded coins (which incidentally met some minimum requirements for customer protection against fraud) could be offered at the ‘numerical’ grades if valued over $2500.
Other items can be sold, but cannot be described by a numerical grade if they are over this $2500 price limit.  One of the biggest reasons for this rule change is the ability by consumers to visit either PCGS or NGC websites to CONFIRM that the serial number of a particular item being traded ‘MATCHES’ the item described.  One of the other reasons is overall customer confidence and impartiality.  The bottom line is that Ebay wants customers to know they are getting exactly WHAT they are buying or bidding on.
ANACS quickly announced that they are making changes to meet the Ebay minimum requirements by the May 31st deadline.  Kudos to ANACS.  For specifics on the new Ebay rules, please visit Ebay’s website.
Change is good, although sometimes it is painful.  One of the sayings a high school coach used to say to us during practice goes something like this…’Pain is weakness leaving the body’.  Coin Doctoring is the subject that has resulted in a lot of ‘pain’ for many consumers in the past.  After months of deliberation and evaluation, the PNG approved changes to their bylaws that addressed these ‘Coin Doctoring’ problems.  This newly approved bylaw specifically addresses the ‘intent’ to defraud as the basis for the bylaw.  The change in bylaw was overwhelmingly approved.  Personally, I believe this has been a HUGE quagmire for the PNG and the coin business itself.  The new bylaw is brief, concise, and accurate and represents a great big step in the right direction for the consumer.
In several ‘one on one’ type meetings with Ebay representatives, myself and other members of the PNG, have voiced their concerns regarding consumer confidence and the overall improvement of the coin market.  Yes, coin dealers are here to make money-so is Ebay, BUT…the bottom line is all about customer confidence and long term goals that will correct old and often times bad behavior.  Both Sherri and I are THRILLED with the overall steps and processes that these new measures represent for our hobby and industry!  We are very supportive of these changes and believe that the rare coin business not only NEEDED to change, but that these changes will benefit both buyer and seller in the future.
PART THREE-Covering late March through mid May
Late March.  This morning Sherri and I are returning from a good small show in Milwaukee, WI-‘don’t cha know?’.  Although Milwaukee used to be a frequent coin show venue, the South Shore Coin Club Show we attended is the only three day coin show remaining in the state of Wisconsin.  In the year’s past there were three to five shows per year in Milwaukee usually held in downtown Milwaukee at the Mecca Convention Center.  The Mecca is no more and from what one of the South Shore Coin Club members told me, it is doubtful any shows smaller than a Central States or ANA would even be able to afford space at the new convention center.
Part of the problem is ‘CRAZY’ taxation policies in the state of Wisconsin itself.  Recently a show in Madison, WI was DESTROYED because of outlandish taxation rules.  Overnight virtually half of the dealers planning on attending cancelled their trip.  When will shortsighted politicians understand that ‘strangling’ business is like killing the golden goose?  California are you listening?
Over the last several years a couple of shows in the suburbs of Chicago have ‘taken hold’ and become quite successful.  Like the unfavored step child, Milwaukee has taken a back seat in terms of coin show activity.  To a certain extent this is unfortunate, because there are lots of great collectors in Milwaukee, but more collectors and dealers are willing to come to a show in the Chicago area.  Truth be told, like a lot of aspects of our lives, it is ALL about money.  The more potential collectors, the more money, blah, blah, blah…..
One of the newer show venues that have stepped up since the downfall of the Milwaukee show activity is in Tinley Park, IL.  The facility in Tinley Park (at the South edge of greater Chicago) is new and the parking is plentiful.  At the recent show in Tinley Park in late February, Jim Paicz did a marvelous job despite bad weather and the confusion surrounding a new show date.  This was the first time that this ‘third’ date in Tinley Park has been held.  The two other shows in Tinley Park will be held in June and September and we are excited to have tables at both.
This April is unusual in the coin business.  There is only one ‘major’ show with only a few regional shows of any size.  The Central States Coin Show in Schaumburg, IL in the second half of the month is one of the best shows of the year and the move to Schaumburg vs. Rosemont is, in my opinion, good thinking on the part of the CSNS organization.  Rosemont is worn out, overpriced, and crowded.  Rosemont has been a good example of ‘extortion’ gone amok over the years, but the convenient to O’Hare Airport location has made it a successful venue that is popular for business travelers especially coin dealers flying into Chicago from all over the U.S.
So Vic, then what is the problem with Rosemont?  The Convention Center itself is worn out and ‘dumpy’.  The parking prices are astronomical and often times there are a couple of conventions going on which make it VERY inconvenient for potential customers of the coin show to even park and attend.  Just last year, the ‘comic book’ convention hurt attendance and CSNS in Rosemont.
Hindsight is ‘twenty twenty’ they say-HA!  The Central State Numismatic Society folks did a great job of putting on this year’s annual show, but…attendance was OFF.  Because this is the first year for this new venue, I believe this show will improve over the next several years.  The CSNS Show will be held in this Schaumburg, IL location for at least the next three years.  Overall the facility was very comfortable, but ‘change’ can sometimes be painful and a lot of dealers WERE NOT happy with the venue.  Frankly, there are some shortcomings.  Unless you have a vehicle, restaurants and other hotels are very inconvenient to reach.  The trip from the airport to Schaumberg will ‘CLIP’ you for $60 to $70 by taxi and the location itself although very visible from the interstate IS NOT easy to get to.
The only other bigger shows in the month of April were last week’s Pacific Northwest Numismatic Association Show in Tukwila, WA and this week’s shows in both Dalton, GA and Dearborn, MI.  We heard good reports from Tukwila from a couple of dealers who attended.  This is a good regional show.  The Georgia Numismatic Association Show in Dalton, GA is a good show also, but the attendance at both this show and the Michigan State Show in Dearborn will be diminished because dealers, including ourselves, are just too tired to attend.  Unfortunately this ‘too tired because of too many shows’ feeling was voiced by several dealers in attendance at the CSNS Show last week in regard to the upcoming ANA Show in Denver in early May.
When the ANA decided to add a third show to their annual show schedule a couple of years ago, they moved the Spring show to a later date, in May, from the ‘normal’ year’s past March date.  This year’s Denver Spring ANA is the first time the show has been held this late in my numismatic memory.  Denver is an incredible city to visit and we attend both the Spring and Fall Denver shows as often as possible, but the show schedule is oversaturated and attendance might very well suffer.  Several dealers I spoke to at Schaumburg/CSNS last week told me they are cancelling.  All of these dealers are too tired and believe the timing is bad.
The success or failure of this new Spring ANA date remains to be seen, but we will be attending both the ‘PRE-Show’ held by Jerry Morgan at the National Western Expo Hall May 3rd through the 5th and returning the following week for the ANA itself in downtown Denver at the Convention Center the 9th through the 12th.  When the ANA originally scheduled this show, they ‘stepped’ all over Jerry Morgan’s Denver Spring Show by scheduling their show the week prior to his, but Jerry outfoxed the ANA and moved his show up two weeks.  Frankly, I have to laugh.  Because of the ANA’s arrogance, Jerry Morgan’s Denver ‘PRE-ANA’ Show will probably be the show to attend in May.  Why didn’t the ANA just try to communicate with Jerry?
Also the first week of May is the new date New Hampshire Coin & Currency Show in Manchester, NH.  Ernie Botte runs a quality show and we would love to attend, but for the conflict with Denver.  May now has two major shows with the Long Beach Show falling at the end of the month.   With the well attended Texas Numismatic Association Show in Ft. Worth May 17th to the 20th and the Garden State Show the same weekend the month is full.  Fortunately there are no shows the week before Memorial Day and the Long Beach Show the following week.
Bozarth Numismatics Inc is a full service rare coin dealer.  We buy and sell PCGS, NGC, and CAC graded and approved high grade U.S. coins.  We sell coins at shows and on both our website and in our Ebay store bozarthnumismaticsinc.  Because of our extensive show and buying travel schedule we can often locate those ‘hard to find’ items.  We offer free confidential want list services and will call or email you ‘first’ if we locate an item for you.  Thanks and Best Regards, Vic Bozarth/The Rare Coin Road Warrior.
Our Show Schedule for May and June include the following shows:
Denver Spring Coin Show       Denver, CO                   May 3-5                          TABLE
ANA Spring Show                     Denver, CO                   May 9-12                        TABLE
Texas Numismatic Assoc.       Ft. Worth, TX                May 17-19                     TABLE
Long Beach Coin Show           Long Beach, CA             May30-June 1               Attending
NGC Trade & Grade                Las Vegas, NV                June 12-14                     TABLE
Greater Chicago Show            Tinley Park, IL                June 20-22                     TABLE
Whitman Coin Expo                Baltimore, MD               June 28-30                     TABLE

March 2012

Dear Rare Coin Enthusiast, This morning I am somewhere over the Rocky Mountains at 34,000 feet.  I have always loved seeing new things, meeting new people, and getting to reacquaint myself with old friends.  This week’s trip is strictly for buying.  I plan to visit several high end coin dealers over the next several days and see what I can buy.  One of the big misconceptions about the rare coin profession is ‘where’ the nice coins come from.  This month I am going to explain what I have experienced over the years ‘on the road’.
Many customers and individuals we encounter believe that our inventory came from a little old lady that had a bag of silver dollars in her sock drawer.  Yea, right?  Frankly, with maybe a half dozen exceptions in nearly thirty years of business, nice coins DO NOT walk into your store or office.  STUFF walks into your shop or office if you are a coin dealer.  Oh yes, occasionally something nice will walk in with a group of ‘stuff’.  Even more infrequently a nice collection will be offered or walk-in.  Advertising helps, but frankly I advise you put on your hip boots, because you are going to be wading through a lot of ‘stuff’.  Yes, there’s that word again.
Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with ‘stuff’.  STUFF makes the coin market run.  Scrap silver and gold, scrap jewelry, 90% silver, modern proof and mint sets, Franklin Mint stuff, even Home Shopping Network stuff walks into coin shops or coin offices on a daily basis.  What does all of this stuff have in common?  Well first it is just stuff.  In general there is nothing rare or scarce about it.  You are probably thinking ‘sure Vic, but that STUFF can be very valuable?’  Yes, you are right, but is it RARE?  Do others really covet or desire to own one?  Sure there are the investors and hoarders who amass huge PILES of STUFF.  And yes, some of these PILES of STUFF can amount to a staggering amount of money, but once again, is it worth owning?
Remember the old Wendy’s commercial about chicken nuggets, something about ‘parts is parts’.  Well, STUFF is STUFF.  One of the first lessons I learned in the RARE coin business was the secret to a GOOD promotion is a READY supply, i.e. plenty of STUFF.  The problem with almost ANYTHING promotable is that it is not RARE.  It may be expensive and even desirable, but it is still just STUFF.  One of my first mentors in the coin business was Fred Sweeney a K.C. area dealer who is now semi-retired.  Fred put it this way, ‘Vic, if you can buy a bucket full of it, regardless of the price, is it RARE?’  No Fred, it is NOT.
I deal in RARE coins and have to travel to find them.  Fortunately, my wife Sherri and I love to travel.  Travel can be stressful and we have dozens of not so pleasant travel stories, but the great adventures we have experienced FAR outweigh the crappy flights, crappy cars, crappy motels, and yes, crappy convention centers-HA!  The bottom line is that if I want to buy nice coins, I MUST go out and find them.
Over the years, with my extensive show schedule, I have come to realize that finding one really nice coin is great, but to buy enough NICE coins, I have to visit other dealers who buy nice coins.  Yes, they know what these coins are worth and I have to pay a fair price.  Yes, sometimes a dealer doesn’t want to sell to another dealer.  Over the years, I have developed a very nice list of dealers who not only will sell me coins, but almost always ask, ‘when are you coming back through this area?’.  There is a very defined ‘dealer etiquette’ that I won’t explain today, but one of the first things I try to do when buying from another dealer is to put myself in their shoes ‘so to speak’.
Although I am buying their nicest coins, I also buy other coins as well.  I don’t cherry pick their inventory and then ‘beat them to death’ on the price.  I try and buy every coin, priced reasonably, that I can make money on or at worst break even on.  Wow Vic, why would you buy a coin to break even?  Sometimes those ‘break even’ coins are nicer when you get home.  Sometimes you lose money, but bottom line is the dealer asking me when I am walking out of his establishment, when are you coming back?  You have to make it work for them too.
Unfortunately, we are in a market where the ‘bottom feeders’ are dictating the price levels because many dealers and collectors have no choice but to sell.  They need the money.  I have been there.  The problem is the first coins they sell are most often their WORST material.  Do you think the nicest coins available are coming onto the market at the current price levels?  There may be a few, but overall the coins available in this market are “CRAPPY”.  What are crappy coins worth?
Another K.C. area dealer also has a saying that he runs as a message on the Certified Coin Exchange, called CCE.  Basically, the saying goes something like this:  ‘do you want the oats before they go through the horse or after?’  Well, I want fresh oats, not manure.  Nice ‘fresh’ rare coins are difficult to locate, but easy to sell.  On my recent trip I was able to buy some really neat items.  Frankly, sitting in my office and hoping something nice ‘walks in’ is like watching paint dry.
Once again, my point is that buying nice coins is time consuming and difficult, but….nice coins sell quickly.
The show schedule for late March, April, and May is busy and includes four major shows.  Next week we will be attending the ‘dynamite’ Whitman Baltimore Coin Expo at the Baltimore Convention Center.  Week after next we will drop in at the South Shore Coin Club Show in Milwaukee.  The BIG show in April is the Central States Numismatic Society Show in Schaumberg, IL.  We are also excited to include three buying trips in our March and April travel schedule.
May is very busy with the late Spring ANA Show in Denver.  Prior to the Denver ANA Show, Jerry Morgan hosts the semi-annual Denver Spring Show held twice a year at the Great Western Center.  This year’s show will be somewhat like a pre-ANA, but with no affiliation to the ANA.  The ANA Spring Show is a new time for a show traditionally held late in the winter.  Although we love going to Denver, we are somewhat apprehensive about attendance.
The week following the ANA in Denver, the Texas Numismatic Association holds their annual show at the Will Rogers Center in Fort Worth, TX.  This is a great regional show that attracts quite a few bigger East and West Coast dealers.  We have upgraded to a corner table at the TNA and are excited about this year’s show.  The Long Beach Expo held the last week of May is the fourth major show in the next 12 weeks.  We expect Baltimore and Central States to be very active.  Bozarth Numismatics Inc show schedule for March, April, and May includes:
Whitman Baltimore Coin Expo.                                   March 22-24                     TABLE
South Shore Coin Club, Milwaukee, WI                     March 29 & 30                 Attending
Central States, Schaumberg, IL                                   April  18-21                       TABLE
Denver Coin Expo., Denver, CO-PRE-ANA                 May   3-6                           TABLE
ANA Spring Show, Denver, CO                                    May  10-12                        TABLE
Texas Numismatic Association, Ft Worth, TX           May  18-20                        TABLE
Long Beach, CA                                                              May 31-June 2                  Attending
Bozarth Numismatics is a full service rare coin dealer.  We specialize in high grade U.S. coinage independently graded by PCGS, NGC, and CAC.  We sell coins at shows, in our Ebay Store Bozarthnumismaticsinc and on our website  We add new listings to our Ebay Store weekly and add new purchases to our website twice a month to coincide with the publication of our blogs, The Rare Coin Road Warrior and our Rare Coin Market Report.  We offer free and confidential want list services.  We are always buying rare high grade U.S. coins.  Please contact us whether you are buying or selling.  We will also consider trades and sometimes offer special terms.

February 2012

Dear Rare Coin Enthusiast,
Our January was very busy although the show schedule was somewhat slow after the ‘dynamite’ Florida United Numismatists Show.  We took a long buying trip out West during the third week of January and bought some great coins from several dealers who could not attend the FUN Show.  We often follow a trip to the East Coast with a trip the following week to the West or vice versa.  The last full week of January we attended the good San Jose Coin Club Show in San Jose, CA.  This show has been relocated several times over the last few years, but the SJCC seems to have found a good new home at the Double Tree Hotel near the San Jose airport.
Attendance in San Jose was good.  The demise of the Santa Clara Coin Show will definitely boost attendance at the San Jose show in future years, but there is some encouraging news in regard to Santa Clara as a show venue.  Scott Griffin, a San Francisco area dealer, has a show scheduled in the same Santa Clara Convention facility for August of this year.  Scott is a sharp guy and has already sold quite a few tables at this ‘new’ venue.  Scott leased ‘half’ the space used for the ‘old’ Santa Clara Show and has done a good job filling the room.
Incidentally, Scott has also coordinated and run shows in San Francisco at the old San Francisco Mint in downtown S.F.  This ‘mint’ show was one of the coolest small venue shows I have ever attended.  Lots of dealers are quite excited to be able to continue attending a Santa Clara Show.  The ‘history’ and ‘familiarity’ with the area and the Santa Clara Convention Center should help this ‘new’ Santa Clara Show, although we are somewhat concerned that the ‘date’ will keep many East Coast dealers from attending.  The new Santa Clara Show is scheduled for the week following the ANA Summer Show held in August in Philadelphia this year.
The Long Beach show marked the third week in a row that we jumped on a plane to head out West again.  Long Beach is like an old friend.  I have attended over 80 Long Beach Shows in a row.  Many of the hotel employees and restaurant servers near the convention center are old friends.  I even have a couple of buddies at a local Gold’s Gym there.  Long Beach has ‘flip-flopped’ in the last couple of years.  Once upon a time, the back of the bourse floor was a ‘hodge podge’ of knick-knacks, stamps, curio, and empty tables.
The back of the bourse at Long Beach is cooking!  Many dealers who gave up their tables in years past due to poor attendance, increased table fees-up front, and insane California business rules have returned to Long Beach, but…they have taken reasonably priced tables in the ‘back’ of the bourse.  In the past dealers in the front of the Long Beach bourse floor got more business first.
Business in Long Beach has ‘flip-flopped’!  Many customers are walking right by the bigger dealers who don’t put out coins for display or sale.  In addition, because many of these bigger dealers are too busy to deal with the public, collectors are walking to the ‘back’ of the room first.  Business in Long Beach was quite good and we are pleased with the additional activity at this major show.
Just three days after returning home from the Long Beach Show we were on a plane again heading North to Missouri and the good St. Louis Numismatic Association Show at the Airport Hilton in St. Louis.  This show is always well attended and there is a ‘wait list’ for table space.  Unfortunately, the venue itself leaves a lot to be desired.  The bourse floor itself is crammed into a small narrow room-with nothing but curtains at one end to secure it-in front of a larger, but even more crowded ‘small’ ballroom.  Back up tables are about eighteen inches wide and must be shared with the dealer behind you.  The crowding in the aisles is chaotic.  Security is always an issue and unfortunately it takes a ‘backseat’ at this show.
Last week we attended a ‘dealers only’ show in Sarasota, FL.  This Numismatic Guarantee Corporation Show is held several times a year, mostly in Sarasota, for dealers to bring coins for NGC to grade as well as being able to trade with other dealers in a completely secure environment.  Although this isn’t a public venue, it is popular with dealers.
Professional Coin Grading Service also holds several Trade and Grade shows each year.  Most often these are held in Las Vegas and their next show is coming up at the beginning of March.  PCGS Collector’s Club members and PCGS authorized dealers are welcome and encouraged to attend as well as the public.  Once again, security is very good at this venue and dealers like to attend.
The first several weeks of 2012 have been quite eventful for Bozarth Numismatics.  We have expanded.  We have moved into new office space and are thrilled with the additional space as well as the additional service we will be able to offer to our customers.  Our new employees:  Stuart Bruning, Theresa Dominguez, and Mike Clark have all been a great help.  If you call our office you will most likely speak to Stuart or Theresa.  If you see us at a show, you will very likely meet Mike.  With the new office we are also keeping ‘phone’ office hours from 9:30 to 5:00 CST Monday through Friday.  If you have a question, please call or email us.
Normally I write both a Rare Coin Market Report as well as The Rare Coin Road Warrior each month.  Because our primary focus is BUYING high grade high end rare PCGS, NGC, and CAC certified U.S. coins, we travel.  Buying coins from images or photos on the internet is great, but frankly nothing replaces a good light, magnifying glass, and box of coins right in front of you.  I buy coins SIGHT SEEN and to do that I need to travel.  We will continue our aggressive travel schedule to allow us to buy as many GREAT coins as I can find.  Unfortunately, the February Market Report was a ‘travel’ casualty.
Upcoming shows of interest in late February, March, and April include a new show in Tinley Park, IL South of Chicago.  The small convention center in Tinley Park is very nice and newly expanded and renovated.  BUT, there are already two shows a year at this facility including the Illinois State Numismatic Show.  We will report later on the activity at this show.  March is somewhat quiet without the Santa Clara Show.  The month begins with the PCGS Las Vegas Trade and Grade and ends with the super Whitman Baltimore Coin Exposition.  Bozarth Numismatics has tables at all three of these shows.
April starts off with another PCGS Trade and Grade in Las Vegas.  We have really come to enjoy this venue, but unfortunately PCGS has scheduled this show just five short weeks after the early March Show during the week before the Easter Holiday weekend.  Although we will attend, five weeks is too short a time period between shows and attendance will, most likely, suffer.  Other noteworthy shows held in March include the Sarasota Coin Club Show in Sarasota, FL, the Tennessee State Numismatic Society Show in Chattanooga, the C.A.M.P. Show held in Monroeville, PA, and the South Shore Coin Club Show in Milwaukee.
The Central States Numismatic Society holds their annual show in late April in Schaumberg, IL at a lovely convention facility at the Renaissance Hotel.  I attended a show here a couple of years ago and we loved the facility.  One concern is that unlike events held in Rosemont, IL with easy access to public transportation, you will probably have to drive.  Personally, I DO NOT care for Rosemont and the move to Schaumberg is a big plus for security, parking, and the nice convention center itself.  Frankly, the Rosemont Convention Center is a ‘pit’.
Our show schedule for February through May is listed below.  If we are attending a show in your area, please make plans to attend.  We would love to meet you!
Recently, I had an epiphany of sorts.  I am not above ‘bitching’ about things I don’t like.  BUT, and here is the rub, I don’t particularly care to hear other people ‘bitch’.  Frankly, who does, right?  Yet some subjects need to be addressed.  So here goes…
A couple of years ago a very well known dealer named Julian Leidman was robbed after attending a coin show on the East Coast.  Julian is an ‘ambassador’ for the coin business.  Not only is he a nice guy, but Julian has helped a lot of smaller dealers over the years, as well as the many serious collectors he has built substantial collections for.
Julian is very well liked as well as highly respected.  After the robbery, a reward fund was established and lots of dealers very publicly made pledges to this fund.  No, we did not pledge or donate to this fund.  At that point in time, Bozarth Numismatics was just getting established and we didn’t have the funds to ‘pledge’.  Of course, virtually all of these dealers who promised or pledged reward money for the return of Julian’s coins did so in good faith.  At the time, I remember thinking that the best case scenario was that a coin or two might be recovered.
Guess what?  Not only were the coins recovered, but the perpetrators were caught.  A well known dealer in the Northeast went out of his way to help with this recovery when he was offered the stolen merchandise.  This dealer took an enormous risk to himself.  He did the right thing.  Unfortunately, word on the street is that these perpetrators are ‘connected’ in some way, shape, or form.  This dealer WAS directly responsible for the recovery of Julian’s merchandise.  HE DID the right thing without any concern about getting reward money.  He took the risk of retaliation from the perpetrators.  This dealer is a hero!
Sounds like a ‘made for TV’ movie right?  WRONG!  A significant number of rare coin dealers who pledged to this reward fund have reneged.  THEY HAVE NOT honored their pledges.  I will not name names.  Frankly, I am a little embarrassed that we didn’t donate.  BUT, do you want to do business with a dealer that won’t honor their promises?  I don’t!
Bozarth Numismatics is a full service rare coin dealer.  We offer high grade U.S. coins graded by PCGS, NGC, and CAC on both our website and in our Ebay Store under Bozarthnumismaticsinc.  Because we are constantly buying great rare coins we add new merchandise to our website at least twice a month.  We add new listings to our Ebay Store at least once a week.  We also offer a free confidential want list service.  Because of our extensive show and travel schedule we are often able to find coins other dealers can’t locate.  Please visit and Bozarthnumismaticsinc on Ebay.  You can also email or call us.
Bozarth Numismatics Show Schedule April includes:
Tinley Park, IL Show                                                        February 23-25               Table
PCGS Trade & Grade, Las Vegas, NV                            March 1st & 2nd Table
Whitman Baltimore Coin Expo., Baltimore, MD        March 22-25                    Table
South Shore Coin Club, Milwaukee, WI                       March 29-31                    Attending
PCGS Trade & Grade, Las Vegas, NV                            April 5th & 6th Attending
Central States/Schaumberg, IL                                     April 18-21                       Table
PNG Day CSNS                                                            April 18th Table

January, 2012

Follow the Money!

Greetings from the Road,
This morning Sherri and I are on the West or the ‘left coast’.  Over the years I have found lot of great coins in lots of unusual places, but the largest concentrations of the best coins are generally in biggest cities.  The East Coast, especially the Northeast, is a ‘hotbed’ of numismatic activity.  Frankly, the oldest coins were made there-mostly in Philadelphia-and many of these coins are still coming out of the ‘woodwork’ in 2012.  We lived in South Jersey near Philadelphia for many years when I worked for Avena Rare Coins.  Although both Bobby and Danny Avena travel extensively also, I was their ‘road guy’.
Like today, I traveled from city to city on a weekly basis mostly to coin shows.  Many of the great ‘contacts’ I have today were dealers I met years ago.  The West Coast is also a hotbed of numismatic activity.  Both Los Angeles and San Francisco are great ‘coin towns’.  The Long Beach Coin Show is one of the most well known shows on the rare coin show circuit.  In fact, the Winter Long Beach Show will be held in just a couple of weeks in early February.
One of the sayings you hear on some of the TV crime dramas is ‘follow the money’.  Frankly, the coin business is somewhat similar, but not in a criminal way.  The biggest concentration of coins is in the Northeast because that is where most of the population is centered along with most of the money.  California is also a great place to look for coins for the same two reasons:  population and money.  There are great coins in other parts of the continental United States, but the middle of the country is ‘spotty’.  There are exceptions like Chicago and the big cities in Texas.
The Midwest, Southeast, Northwest, and Rocky Mountain states have great collectors and great coins, but the population and MONEY-there’s that word again-are just not in the same concentration as in the more densely populated areas.  Because my goal is to try and see as many of the highest grade rare coins possible, I most often travel to the biggest shows and bigger cities.  Bigger doesn’t always mean better, but the odds are that I will find more nice high grade rare coins in bigger cities.
The show to attend in late January is the San Jose, CA Coin Club Show.  Although not the huge show, the San Jose Coin Club has consistently put together a great show for decades.  Now that the Santa Clara Show is gone, this is ‘THE SHOW’ in the Bay area.  Scott Griffiths, a Bay area dealer is putting together another show in Santa Clara to be held in August.  We are looking forward to this new Santa Clara Show, but are concerned that it is scheduled the week after the Summer ANA Show in Chicago.
The Bay Area has had some legendary shows in the past like the Jack Tarr Shows, but the success of a bigger show attended by lots of out of state dealers will be questionable as long as the state of California continues their lopsided and incredibly short-sighted taxing practices.  Like most out of state dealers that have stopped attending will tell you, ‘why create problems for myself?’  Why indeed?
The Rare Coin Show schedule for the Winter months has some great shows.  The first week of February the Long Beach Show will be held in the Long Beach Convention Center.  Over the last couple of years this show has shown some improvement with more reasonably priced tables and increased attendance.  Dealers who ‘just walked’ this show have come back and are taking bourse tables again.  We have noticed a significant improvement.
One of the best smaller shows in the country is in St. Louis at the airport Hilton the second week of February.  This show NEEDS to be moved, because the bourse facility is completely inadequate, unsecure, and flat out dangerous, but….the show does pack them in.  The area where the show is held leaves much to be desired also.  Several years ago the two other St. Louis Shows moved to St. Charles, MO to a newer, bigger, more secure, and MUCH cleaner facility.  Unfortunately this show doesn’t even appear in the Numismatic News’ Coin Dealer Calendar.
We will travel straight from MO after the St. Louis Show to the NGC Trade and Grade Show in Longboat Key near Sarasota.  This ‘dealers only’ show is a great little venue where dealers bring their best coins for grading and trade among themselves in a totally secure bourse area.  There are several other good shows in February including the Cleveland Coin Show, The Collectorama Show in Lakeland, FL and the Charlotte (NC) Coin Club Show.
We are attending a new show in Tinley Park, IL (a suburb of Chicago) the last weekend of February.  Although there are two other shows held at this nice facility South of Chicago, this is a new show.  March starts with a PCGS Invitational Show in Las Vegas.  Although somewhat similar to the NGC Trade and Grade events, this show is open to PCGS Collectors Club members and invitees.  We have been pleasantly surprised with business at this show and have had a table since late last year.
The big show of the month of March is the Whitman Baltimore Coin Exposition.  This show is great!  Because of the great location and dealer friendly atmosphere, the Baltimore Show continues to thrive.  Dealers LIKE to attend this show.  The hotels are plentiful, although you MUST book early, and the restaurants are top-notch.  The convention center is easily accessed and the event is heavily attended.  Unfortunately with all great events, the ‘bad guys’ KNOW about this show.  You need to be extra vigilant when ‘out and about’ especially in the evenings.
Other shows in March include the Sarasota Coin Club Show, the Chattanooga, TN Numismatic Society Show, the C.A.M.P. Show in Monroeville, PA and the South Shore Coin Club Show in Milwaukee the week after the Whitman Coin Expo.  There is nothing like the ‘bourse floor’ at a coin show.  At fifty plus years of age, the ‘kid in me’ comes out!  I invite you to attend a show in your area.  You gotta try it!
Bozarth Numismatics is a full service rare coin dealer.  We offer a large selection of ‘fresh to the market’ PCGS, NGC, and CAC rare coins on both our website and in our EBAY Store Bozarthnumismaticsinc.  We are always buying rare high grade U.S. coins.  Because of our extensive buying trips and shows we can locate many coins other dealers just can’t find.  We offer free want list services and will call or email you if we find a coin you are looking for.
In next month’s Rare Coin Road Warrior, I am going to introduce a new feature called ‘ROAD RAGE’.  Please see our blog in late February.
Our Show Schedule for the Winter Months includes:
Long Beach, CA Show, February 1-3
St. Louis Coin Show, February 9-11-TABLE
NGC Trade & Grade, Longboat Key, FL, February 13 & 14-TABLE
Greater Chicago Coin Show, Tinley Park, IL-February 23-25-TABLE
PCGS Members Only Show, Las Vegas, NV-March 1 & 2-TABLE
Whitman Baltimore Coin Expo, March 22-25-TABLE
South Shore Coin Club, Milwaukee, WI, March 29-31

December 2011

Happy Holidays Coin Enthusiasts!
My name is Vic Bozarth.   I am the Rare Coin Road Warrior and my wife Sherri and I own and operate Bozarth Numismatics.  We both love our coin show travel, but some days are better than others……
Here we sit once again stranded by United (Continental Airlines).  Don’t get me wrong, both Sherri and I love our business travel, but…..This morning we left for the airport at 4:00 a.m. for our 7:35 a.m. flight.  I don’t like to fight traffic (in Houston) nor worry about missing my flight because of traffic, lack of parking, or an accident on the freeway.  This morning, we were lied to by United/Continental from the get-go.  We were confirmed on our Continental/United flight in first class, but we didn’t have seat assignments.  We paid for our tickets three months ago and used frequent flyer miles to upgrade our seats to first class.
When we left our house this morning we got on the phone and called the airline to see what our seat assignments would be.  The customer service agent was very evasive and only said ‘nothing is guaranteed’.  She didn’t tell us the flight was overbooked, oversold, or that we weren’t going to have seats on the plane, let alone the first class seats they reconfirmed by email last week.  This isn’t the first time Continental/United has LIED to us.  We were stranded after the ANA Mid-Winter Convention in Sacramento earlier this year overnight without our luggage for over 36 hours.
One of my ‘pet peeves’ is dishonesty.  Frankly, I can tell tall tales with the best of them, but…when it comes to business, my word is my bond.  I expect others to honor their word also.  I just don’t tolerate liars and would rather forego business with a dishonest person or company than let my greed convince me that ‘it is worth it’ to deal with that LIAR.
This morning the Continental customer service agent we finally dealt with at the airport was obviously horrified by the way we were being treated.  The airline already had our bags and basically told us if we wanted to go to Los Angeles we would take what they had to offer and tough cookies.  Oh, but we will give you your frequent flyer miles back.  LIARS hide behind lawyers and ‘doublespeak’.  Most people can easily identify a liar.  Their mouth is open!
This month’s rare coin show schedule started off with a bang in Houston with the Houston Money Show.  Yes, I am biased-we live here.  But, this show is growing and business was brisk from Thursday morning during set-up through Saturday evening when the show closed.  The weather cooperated this year-the year before last year we had a ‘freak’ six inch snow fall the second day of the show.  In Houston that usually means wet roads for an hour or two.  The weather was great and folks were actively pursuing collector coins as well as gold and silver bullion related items.  We were busy for the entire three day show.
The second week of December dealers converged on the Ontario, CA Convention Center at the Eastern edge of greater Los Angeles.  The SoCal Coin Show is a growing venue and we believe this July and December Show will continue to grow.  The Ontario Convention Center is nearly brand new and the show hotel was only $69/night this year.  Yes, if you are looking for a Ritz Carlton or even a Hyatt you are going to be disappointed, but if you want to attend a good show and get a bourse table for a reasonable price in the largest population metropolitan area in the entire United States, Ontario is a great bet.  People are still learning about this show and we believe patience on the part of the great people Frank and Dawn who run this show will most definitely pay off in years to come.  After all, the Baltimore Show started out pretty small.
Who doesn’t love Vegas?  Although I am not much of a gambler, I will play a few hands of poker now and again.  Yet Vegas has so many things going on besides gambling including the great PCGS Trade and Grade Shows held here several times a year.  We were really pleased to have a table at this super show this month and hope to continue attending in the future.  The Professional Coin Grading Service is the gold standard for the coin grading industry and they run a ‘class’ operation.  Members of their collector’s club are welcome to attend this show and there are even refreshments.  The venue itself in the palatial Palazzo/Venetian Casino complex is absolutely incredible and one doesn’t need to leave the building to find virtually anything one’s heart desires.  The restaurants and shopping options are totally first class and this show ‘fits right in’.  Hey, you can even take a gondola ride!
And now we turn to the back page where we find the obituaries.  I am truly saddened by the ‘death’ of the Santa Clara Coin Show.  Santa Clara has been one of my favorite show venues for a couple of decades.  In my earlier years working for companies on the East Coast we would take an evening flight from Philly or Newark, watch a movie, relax, and six hours later land in San Francisco or San Jose with time to still catch a late dinner.  This show used to have a Wednesday afternoon set-up and lots of dealers, myself included, loved the schedule because we could work in our offices all day Monday and Tuesday, do the show Wednesday and Thursday, and still be home at a reasonable time Friday to have a decent weekend.
The Westin Hotel, later purchased by Hyatt, was so convenient with the connection to the convention center.  One of the best things about the Santa Clara Show was the great coins that came out of the ‘wood work’ here.  Multiple dealers didn’t fly from all over the country to attend for no reason.  Security was excellent and the business was good.  The Bay area is going to sorely miss this great show.  Santa Clara Rest in Peace.
Bozarth Numismatics is a full service rare coin dealer.  We buy, sell, and trade high grade PCGS, NGC, and CAC coins on our website and in our ebaY Store, bozarthnumismaticsinc, as well as at nearly 40 shows each and every year.  We offer free confidential want list services and are often able to locate hard to find items because of our extensive show travel schedule.  Listed below are the upcoming shows Bozarth Numismatics will be attending during the next couple of months.
FUN Show, Orlando, FL-TABLE
San Jose Coin Show, San Jose, CA
Long Beach Coin Show, Long Beach, CA
St. Louis Coin Show, TABLE
NGC Trade & Grade, Sarasota, FL-TABLE

November 2011

Including Baltimore Show Report

Dear Rare Coin Enthusiast,
Hi, my name is Vic Bozarth and I am the Rare Coin Road Warrior.  Rare Coin Shows are my life and I attend forty shows each year all over the continental United States.  My wife Sherri and I have the luxury of traveling together and we love it!  This week’s Baltimore Show holds a special place in my heart.  I proposed to my lovely wife here while attending the show nine years ago this week, and surprisingly-she accepted!
This week Sherri and I are attending the single best commercial coin show in the United States-The Whitman Baltimore Coin Exposition.  Why do I believe the November Whitman Baltimore Show is the best single coin show in the United States?  The answer my friends is attendance.  Baltimore draws the dealers and collectors in on a consistent basis like no other coin show.  Yes, this year’s ANA Summer World’s Fair of Money was an incredible show, but consistently year after year the November Baltimore packs them in.
Baltimore is a great city to visit and the proximity to nearly half the population in the continental U.S. has a lot to do with the success of the show.  Approximately half of the population of the United States are within a six hour driving radius of Baltimore.  You can drive here, fly here, or take the train here.  Public transportation is convenient with the train station within a few blocks of the convention center.  There is an Amtrak kiosk right in the convention center.  You can find a comfortable hotel close to the convention center or drive a little bit and find a less expensive motel room.  In the evening when the show is closed there are great restaurants and plenty of entertainment options to please nearly everyone.
Personally I think one of the biggest reasons behind the success of the Baltimore Show is the way Whitman Publishing runs the show.  While many larger show venues charge over $1000 for a bourse table, Whitman will still sell you space to display your coins to the public for $650.  Bourse space is sold out for the November Show quite frequently and the March and June shows also enjoy great attendance.  Dealers like to come to Baltimore.  Dealers ARE NOT penalized if they need to leave early.  In fact, the folks at Whitman encourage dealers with tables in the back of the room to move up into vacated tables near the front on Saturday and Sunday.  BUT, one of the most interesting aspects of this show is that dealers like Bozarth Numismatics want to stay longer versus leaving Friday.
If there is business to be done late Saturday and even Sunday dealers will stay.  If not, they are going to go home.  Whitman’s success with the Baltimore Show wasn’t all their own.  Both Gordon Berg and Ed Kuszmar who sold the show to Whitman several years ago built this great show from the ‘ground up’.  The Baltimore Show didn’t start out ‘big’.  The show grew over the years because it ‘attracted’ both dealers and the public.  Kudos must go to Whitman for not changing Gordon and Eds’ formula for success.  They didn’t ‘jack up’ table prices to run the smaller dealers out of the room, nor create a bunch of nonsense rules dealers have to abide by to attend their show.
Like I have often said, if there is business to be done, dealers would probably attend a show in a barn in the middle of the night.  HA!  I am not the only dealer who feels this way about Baltimore.  Lori Hamrick who works for the Whitman organization not only knows virtually every dealer attending the show, but goes out of her way to make sure dealers are comfortable and have what they need to conduct their business.  There are lots of great shows on the rare coin bourse circuit and two of the best are coming up in early December and the first week in January.
The Houston Money Show has gone from a marginal show held in Greenspoint Mall on the North side of Houston to the biggest showinf the month of December.  Unfortunately locals in Houston refer to Greenspoint Mall as ‘Gunpoint’ Mall and the show was never going to prosper with the underlying security issues surrounding both the location of the mall and the bourse room itself- an empty department store.  Fast forward several years and the show is now held in the lovely George R. Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston.  The Convention Center is right across the street from Minute Maid Ballpark where the Houston Astros play and is conveniently connected via skywalk to one of Hilton’s  nicest hotels in the United States-the Hilton Americas Hotel.  If you don’t have the Houston Money Show on your calendar you are missing out, because this is a growing show in the third largest city in the United States.
The FUN Show starts off the new year with a bang!  The Florida United Numismatists draws a lot of dealers that don’t attend any other shows, but have to get out of the snow and cold of the North to enjoy a little sun and FUN in the sunshine state.  FUN is a dealer friendly show which does a good job of balancing the desires of the members of the FUN organization with the needs of the dealers.  Advertising is extensive.  Orlando has something for everyone and many dealers bring their families.  I always try to emphasize the security issues at shows.  Because criminals view tourists as ‘easy marks’ Orlando can be dangerous.  Put your coins in security and enjoy yourself before the show.  There is plenty of time at the show to get your business done.
The rare coin show circuit has been quite busy this month.  Late last month we attended the Denver Show with great results.  We arrived to snow, but left wearing shorts.  Denver is such a great city.  We are excited about both the Spring ANA Show in Denver next May as well as the unofficial ‘pre-show’ being held the weekend before by Jerry Morgan who runs the two semi-annual shows in Denver.  In fact, we reserved a corner table at Jerry’s show because we expect it to be a great show.  Book your hotel room early for either of these shows, because Denver can be surprisingly pricey for hotels regardless of the time of year.
We heard good reports from the Indiana State Show in Indianapolis early in the month.  Last week’s show in Boston-The Bay State Show held in conjunction with the Coppers Collector’s Show was well attended.  Also on the show schedule this month were the Minneapolis Show and the Santa Clara Coin Show in the S.F. Bay area.  Santa Clara is a good show with scheduling issues this year and attendance will be down because dealers can only attend Baltimore or Santa Clara.  Although I have only attended the Minneapolis show a couple of times, I know from other dealers that it is a good little show.
We have not been able to squeeze the Chattanooga, TN Show into our schedule.  We have heard good things about this show and hopefully will one day be able to attend.  Over Thanksgiving weekend the Michigan State Numismatic Society holds their annual Winter Show in Dearborn at the Hyatt Regency Hotel.  There is a smaller show in Pasadena, Texas (a Houston suburb) over Thanksgiving also.  I don’t want to forget to mention the good show in Ontario, CA being held the second week of December.  This is a good show in a great facility that has ‘legs’.  This show will get bigger.
One of the newer coin shows on the ‘circuit’ is the PCGS Las Vegas ‘Trade and Grade’.  Although PCGS has been holding several of these a year now for a couple of years, we didn’t attend our first ‘Invitational’ until late September.  Not only were we pleasantly surprised with the amount of dealer trade, but we met several serious collectors and enjoyed ourselves immensely.  Don Willis, the president of PCGS, went out of his way to make us comfortable.  The Palazzo Casino and Hotel is luxurious and immense.  Connected to the equally luxurious and plush Venetian Casino this is a city in and of itself and is well worth checking out.  We have a table of our own for the December Show open to the public December 15th, 16th, and the morning of the 17th.   This show isn’t just for dealers only and PCGS members are welcome to attend.
Each month I write the Rare Coin Road Warrior Column to give you the reader an insider’s view on the rare coin show circuit from a dealer’s perspective.  I love coin shows and try to be positive in my comments, but sometimes the ‘foibles’ of an organization or individual running a show need to be exposed.  My comments are my own and you the reader are welcome to agree or not.  Most collectors have the luxury of attending only a couple of shows a year.  My goal is to try and give them some options about what shows are worth attending.

Baltimore Show Report

Baltimore more than lived up to everyone’s expectations this last week.  We were extremely pleased with both overall attendance and sales at the show.  Sales at the November Baltimore Show are almost always good, but with the ‘softer’ rare coin market and pre-show drop in gold bullion prices most dealers were a little apprehensive about their prospects when the show opened Thursday morning.  Although I try and get around the bourse floor to both buy fresh coins and see old friends, I was busy at our table from early Thursday morning until we packed up to fly home at noon on Saturday.  Fortunately I have quite a few dealers who bring me deals and I was very pleased to be able to bring home over 200 fresh new purchase coins.
The Stacks Bowers auction was well attended and both dealers and the huge number of serious collectors that attend the show were aggressively buying.  I have written extensively over the last year about the relative bargains in rare coins at the current market levels.  One dealer friend voiced my sentiments exactly when he said, ‘Vic, I really don’t mind paying a premium for nice stuff at these levels, but where do I find it.’  Finding nice high grade certified rare coins is becoming more of a challenge with each show we attend.  Dealers who have felt the pinch of the ‘slower’ economy and coin market over the last few years are not as likely to sell a coin at the bid levels NOW as they might have just six months to a year ago.  They know they cannot replace that coin at current levels.
While Baltimore is thriving, conversely the Santa Clara Show is done.  Due to lack of attendance, by both dealers and the public, the LAST Santa Clara Coin Show was held last week in Santa Clara, CA.  Personally, I have always liked this show.  Unfortunately there have been several factors which led to the show’s demise.  First and foremost in my mind was the short-sighted ‘Nexus’ legislation which basically forced non-California dealers to limit their in California Show days to twelve or less each year or be forced to be taxed as a California corporation.  Second, although bourse table prices have been reduced in the last couple of years, a lot of dealers who left because of the increased fees, found someplace else to do business.  This year the Santa Clara Show dates conflicted with those of the Baltimore Show.  Guess who won?
Bozarth Numismatics Inc. is a full service rare coin dealer.  We travel to forty coin shows a year to BUY ‘fresh to the market’ PCGS, NGC, and CAC coins for our customers.  We also buy raw-ungraded coins to submit for grading and then sell.  We buy, sell, and trade rare coins at shows, via our website and also in our eBay Store bozarthnumismaticsinc.  Because of our extensive show travel schedule we are often able to locate coins other dealers can’t find.  We offer free want list services and have had the pleasure in helping to build some really incredible sets of certified U.S. coins.  We add new coins to our eBay store every week and we update our website with our BEST coins at least twice a month.  If you are looking for a ‘hard to find’ rare coin, check us out.  I always tell customers, ‘if the coin isn’t nice, I won’t waste your time (or mine) sending it to you’.  Thanks and Best Regards, Vic Bozarth-the Rare Coin Road Warrior.
October 2011
Dear Rare Coin Enthusiast, My comments in this month’s Rare Coin Road Warrior have been written at two points in time.  I wanted to share my thoughts both before the show and after the show without my ‘pre show’ comments being ‘tainted’ by my experiences at the show.  My ‘post show’ comments are included at the end of this article and I think you will find my conclusions interesting.
This afternoon, Monday October 10th, I am at 35 thousand feet on a Continental flight to Pittsburgh for the NEW American Numismatic Association Fall Show.  Both Sherri and I are excited about this new venue on the rare coin show circuit, but whether or not this show proves to be successful is still anyone’s guess.  Although the ANA Summer Show in Chicago was a fantastic show, we have seen some sluggishness in the market since August.  With the drop in gold and silver bullion prices there is definitely some uncertainty as to the direction the market will go.
Over the last several months I have been pretty vocal about the booming rare coin market to come.  Personally I still believe the coin market is on the edge of a ‘great run’.  The question is when?  With the uncertain metal markets my prediction of a market run is definitely questionable.  Yet, I believe the coin market is poised for great things.  Why?
Let me tell you what the rare coin road warrior has seen recently on the road.
After the metals market took a big correction nearly thirty days ago, I am certain many of us had the ‘here we go again’ feeling.  Is this just a correction or will gold and silver continue to fall?  The manipulation of the marketing of the metals itself is quite interesting.  Although my specialty is high grade U.S. certified coins, the biggest factor in the metals market today is physical supply.  What is the old saying ‘he who has the gold makes the rules’.
Unfortunately our government is printing ‘green gold’ as fast as they can.  But, dealers who actually have a physical supply (or ready access metals) still make the markets.  For example, just because gold is down doesn’t mean you can buy bullion gold or Saints at the lower levels.  Yes, there are coins available, but not in any huge quantities.  AND, the premiums dealers charge on bullion has increased pretty dramatically percentage wise.  Why is that?
Many believe the market is taking a ‘breather’.  When I asked a major dealer at the PCGS Trade and Grade Show in Las Vegas what was going on with the $20 Saint/Liberty market, he was quick to reply ‘no one has any quantity’.  And, he said…….’those that do, won’t sell them at these levels’.  What I am seeing is higher premiums for the type gold coins that are available.’   My friend is a buyer for one of the largest type gold market makers in the country.  He is at the top of the market.
Let me give you another example from a smaller dealer here in Texas.  This gentleman does 35 shows a year, although some are one day shows with as few as 25 tables.  When I bought some other rare coins from him recently the topic of the supply and pricing of type gold came up.  His comments were very similar, albeit from a different angle.  He said, ‘last week I had a customer who wanted 50 Saints in MS64.  Over a three week period where I attended three smaller shows, I was able to buy ten.  I was forced to buy the remainder from one of the ‘big boys’ because there were NONE available at the shows I attended.’
Don’t get me wrong, if you want to buy 50 Saints in any grade up to MS66 it can be done.  But you are going to have to pay a bigger premium.  Not only isn’t there any physical supply at the smaller shows, but if you really need them you have no choice but to pay the premium.  Wouldn’t the premiums be smaller if the market was SOFT?
Increased demand for high grade U.S. rarities is a fact.  This rare coin market is different than it was just a couple of short years ago.  At the Vegas Trade and Grade, our wholesale inventory was picked over.  In the previous three weeks we had attended both the Long Beach Coin Show and the Whitman Philadelphia Coin Exposition.  My expectations for sales at Las Vegas were mediocre at best.  We had lots of coins in the system for grading or CAC approval, but we had very little fresh material.
Much to my surprise, our sales were good to very good considering our overall inventory.  Dealers were stocking coins I would best describe as average-I would not have listed them on our website.  All of these guys (dealers) and I are on a first name basis-we talk.  When I asked one close dealer friend what he was buying, his reply was kind of funny.  He said, ‘I am buying the nicest coins I can find and they aren’t very nice’.
One of the biggest draws for PCGS at their Trade and Grade Shows is the ‘fresh material’ dealers get back from PCGS after being graded at the show.  These are great venues for dealers because we can submit our coins and find fresh material without the distractions and security risks associated with bigger shows like the ANA in Pittsburgh this week.  Ironically, I found one of the biggest benefits from doing the show was selling ‘old’ inventory.  Nice coins just aren’t out there in any quantity and average coins are selling quickly-doesn’t sound like a DOWN market to me?
The show news is good.  The autumn months are traditionally some of the most active in our business.  This month the two biggies are the ANA Fall Show in Pittsburgh, PA and the Silver Dollar Show in St. Louis, MO.  Unfortunately, similar to the September schedule, having the two biggest shows of the month on back to back weeks ‘hamstrings’ both shows.  Of course, the St. Louis Show will take the biggest hit because it is second on the schedule and it doesn’t have the benefit of the marketing and membership of the 800 pound gorilla-the ANA.
Now I would like to fast forward six days and share my experiences after attending the ANA Fall Show this week in Pittsburgh.
I am sitting in the comfort of my lazy boy recliner this morning with a huge cup of strong coffee and ESPN on the TV in the background.  It is Sunday October 16th and Sherri and I pulled into our driveway about ten o’clock last night after a grueling week on the road.  Needless to say, Sherri and I are very happy to be home.
We had a good show.  The ANA and the local Pittsburgh coin club volunteers went out of their way to make the first ANA Fall Show a success.  Our business was steady from start to finish at the ANA show itself.  We were very pleased and personally I would grade the show:  B-.  Were all the dealers I spoke to at the show Saturday happy with the show?  NO.
We heard several very negative comments about sales at the show.  One dealer commented that this show was only the third ‘loser’ for him in his last fifty shows.  Another commented that his ‘retail’ sales weren’t enough to cover his airfare let alone the table expense, food, and lodging.  All I can do is share MY impressions from the show.  We are definitely experiencing some sluggishness in the market, but…..RARE COINS ARE SELLING if you can find them.
Tuesday evening the Professional Numismatists Guild had dealer set-up for the PNG day being held Wednesday.  Granted the convention hall was huge, but the ‘buzz’ in the room usually experienced at least during the first few hours of set-up was just not there.  PNG day itself was DEAD!  When the doors opened to invited guests at ten a.m. the few numismatists through the door could best be described as a ‘trickle’.  Around lunch time a few more people ‘trickled’ in, but overall the PNG day was very disappointing.  The PNG sold 38 tables for the PNG day in Pittsburgh.  Most PNG dealers I talked to shared the same opinion-there are just too many shows.
Pittsburgh itself is a really picturesque, historical, and vibrant city.  There is money in Pittsburgh and the 2003 Summer ANA was one of the best shows I ever attended.  The convention center and show hotels were adequate and there are lots of neat places to eat as well as entertainment options galore.  Personally, we very rarely get past room service or dinner in the hotel restaurant at shows.  We are at shows to work.  Although there was a potential problem with a ‘Wall Street’ protest march being held in downtown Pittsburgh Saturday, it did not adversely affect the show, but the three big sporting events, including a Penn State football game, did not help.
Overall, I have to say the show was a success.  B- is a passing grade in any school-HA!  The ANA did a good job with the show, although, the lack of postal facilities at the show itself was both a security concern and major inconvenience to a lot of dealers.  The ANA had no control over the post office ‘backing out’ of having a facility at the show at the very last minute.
Sales are usually the biggest factor in ‘grading’ a show, but for us purchases are the most important.  Pittsburgh was one of the best ‘buying’ shows I have had in the last year.  Most of these great coins will appear on our website, or in our eBay Store, bozarthnumismaticsinc  in the next several days.
This next week we are off to the Silver Dollar Show in St. Charles, MO.  This is a great more regionally oriented show held in a great facility in a suburb west of St. Louis, MO.  Our show schedule for the remainder of the year includes:
Silver Dollar Show, St. Charles, MO                 TABLE
Denver Coin Expo., Denver, CO                        Buying only
Whitman Coin Expo, Baltimore, MD               TABLE
Pasadena, TX                                                         Buying only
Houston Money Show                                         TABLE
Ontario, CA Show                                                 Buying only
PCGS Las Vegas Trade & Grade                          TABLE (pending)
FUN Show, Orlando, FL                                        TABLE
Bozarth Numismatics is a full service rare coin company.  We offer new ‘fresh to the market’ rare coins on our website, at least two to three times per month and we constantly add new coins to our eBay Store, bozarthnumismaticsinc.  We are PCGS, NGC, and CAC authorized dealers and offer both free want list services and portfolio/collection consultations.  Because we travel over 200 days a year buying coins, we can offer more NEAT rare coins than most other dealers.  Check us out.

Coast to Coast – September 2011

Hi my name is Vic Bozarth and I am the Rare Coin Road Warrior.  This morning I am writing from my hotel room in Philadelphia where I am attending the Philadelphia Whitman Coin Expo.  The show opened this morning for dealers and the public was admitted at noon.  Attendance has been fair to good considering that the Long Beach Show, on the opposite coast was just last week.  Frankly, a lot of dealers couldn’t ‘reload’ in just four days.  While there is no question that both Long Beach and Philadelphia lost attendance because of scheduling, all the ‘diehards’ were here and there!
After an outstanding ANA Show last month in August at the Rosemont Convention Center in Chicago, we had expected a better Long Beach Show.  Attendance was lackluster and the drop in gold bullion price levels preceding the show really put a damper on business.  A lot of dealers have returned to renting tables in the last couple of years and there was still business to be done.  Part of the ‘reality’ of the coin business is that just attending a show doesn’t guarantee you will find what you are looking for.
New ‘fresh to the market’ coins just aren’t available with any consistency.  I try to look at as many high grade coins as time permits.  Attending the larger shows gives me access to a large quantity of high grade U.S. coins, but you have to go through a lot of average coins to find the ‘keepers’.  Today I was excited to buy a nice little group of raw BU Indian Cents at the show.  Although the coins are not all that rare, they are highly desirable and just not available ‘fresh out of an original set’ very often.  Most coins I buy are already slabbed by PCGS or NGC.  They often have CAC stickers or I send them to CAC myself.
I am always looking for coins with exceptional eye appeal.  Lovely coins always sell.  Finding enough nice single PQ-premium quality coins isn’t easy.  Within the trade dealers call average ‘slabbed’ coins ‘Product’.  If you are just looking for average ‘product’ coins will work.  Nice PQ coins aren’t easy to find, but are less a function of price and more a function of quality and eye appeal.  Product coins are more a function of price first and average (acceptable) quality second.
Buying coins is cyclical in that more coins come onto the market when sellers perceive that dealers are willing to pay more.  Dealers are willing to pay more for nice coins, but there are two major obstacles to more nice coins coming onto the market.  First, knowledge that coins are bringing more money hasn’t trickled down to the collectors and/or investors that have coins to sell.  Second, prices just haven’t risen ENOUGH to make it worthwhile for those same sellers.  In any case, there are coins that always sell regardless of timing or market conditions.  I call these ‘already sold’ coins.
Some coins are already sold when you buy them.  Some coins are in such demand at all times that there are multiple customers for that particular coin if and when it is becomes available.  In other words, if you find a nice one at the right price level the coin is already sold for a fair profit.  Most of the key date coins from the major collector series fall into this category IF they are nice.  You can almost always sell a 1916D Mercury Dime or an 1889CC Morgan Dollar.  When you find a nice example of either date at a fair price you just buy it.  Even if a small hoard of key date coins comes on the market they will be absorbed very quickly.
Collectors who have want lists with one or more trusted dealers’ usually get ‘first shot’ at coins like the 1916D Mercury or the 1889CC Morgan.  They never appear on a pricelist or website.  They are ‘already sold’.  Admittedly, I might find half a dozen coins like this at a big show.  If someone is building a set you might find more, but those ‘already sold’ coins don’t grow on trees.  As a dealer I am always hoping to walk into a forest of ‘already sold’ coins.  To that end, I am attending as many shows as I can fit into my travel schedule this Fall and hope to find some ‘goodies’.
Our extensive show schedule this Fall includes trips to all the major U.S. coin shows, as well as several good regional coin shows.  The ‘new kid on the block’ this Fall is the ANA Fall Coin Show in Pittsburgh, PA.  This is a new venture by the ANA.  With the ANA’s backing and extensive publicity I am excited about the show, but only time will tell.  Like many ANA shows held in the past, hotels in the immediate vicinity of the show are hard to find and pricey.  Transportation is also a big negative factor.  If you don’t have a ticket yet-good luck.  Prices to fly into Pittsburgh are quite outrageous from most markets especially after US Air closed their Pittsburgh, PA hub.  Indeed, I was trying to attend the good C.A.M.P. pre-show held by John Sarosi in Monroeville, PA the weekend before, but decided against attending after being quoted over $1000 for airline tickets.
The Silver Dollar Show in St. Charles, MO is being held the week following the ANA Pittsburgh Show.  This is no longer a major, although NGC still grades ‘on site’ there. The Silver Dollar Show is a pretty good show but it is not what it once was, and the ANA scheduling their new Fall show the week prior will really hurt this show.  All you have to do is look at the example of the Long Beach and Whitman Philadelphia Shows this month to see what will happen.  There will be empty tables at both shows.  We are also attending a good regional show in Denver in late October.
November is a great coin month normally, but this year both the Whitman Baltimore Coin Expo and the Santa Clara Coin Expo are scheduled on the same week.  This is very unfortunate, mostly for the Santa Clara Show, because the Whitman Fall Show is the best commercial show in the country and the empty tables will predominantly be in Santa Clara.  Also in November are great regional shows in Indianapolis and Boston, MA.  The Indiana State Show is a great show that I just can’t seem to fit into my schedule, although I want to attend.  The Bay State Show is a good show that is being held in conjunction with the early Copper Show.
There are two good shows in December including the Houston Money Show which is as major a show as December has to offer.  This show is growing and will continue to grow.  We are somewhat biased because we live in the area, but you won’t be disappointed because the show has great attendance by both dealers and collectors.  The Ontario, CA coin show the following week is growing.  Although we don’t take tables at CA shows, we do encourage others to attend this good show in the greater Los Angeles, CA area.  There is also a PCGS Trade and Grade Show being held in December in Las Vegas which we will be attending also.

August 2011

Greetings Fellow Numismatists,
My name is Vic Bozarth and I am the Rare Coin Road Warrior.  Each year, my wife Sherri and I attend 40 coin shows all over the continental United States.
Another ANA’s World’s Fair of Money annual convention is now behind us.  Often touted as ‘The Numismatic Event of the Year!’ this year’s ANA truly lived up to all the hype and expectations of both collectors and dealers in attendance.  Indeed, I have often had less than complimentary things to say about how ANA conventions are run.   This year’s ANA event was not only the biggest in recent memory, but it was the best ANA that collectors and dealers have attended for quite a few years.  Personally, I must admit publicly ‘I was wrong’.
The ANA staff deserves the highest of compliments.  Not only did they pull off the largest numismatic event of the year, but they did so with an unusual and quite welcome balance of consideration for both collectors and dealers.  Larry Shepherd the ANA Director, Rhonda Scurek the ANA Show Coordinator, and the entire ANA staff did a wonderful job with this year’s show.
Admittedly, balancing the desires of collectors and the needs of dealers is most often a thankless task.  Yet, the convention venue in Rosemont, IL was more than adequate and the events and exhibits were top notch.  Yes, there were some ‘snafu’s’.  BUT, overall the resounding majority of both collectors and dealers left the show with a smile on their face.
We arrived at Chicago’s O’Hare airport on Thursday the eleventh.  The pre-show event schedule included a large Heritage Auction at an off-site Hotel near the Rosemont Convention Center.  Attendance was good and bidding was aggressive.  On Friday the 12th the PNG/ANA pre-show opened with a PNG membership meeting and early dinner at the convention center.  The PNG meeting was very well attended.  Activity during the two hour Friday evening dealer set-up was quietly frenzied because the bourse hall was incredibly large and the 80 PNG dealers with tables were spread out all over the room.
This year’s cooperative effort between the ANA and PNG didn’t start off perfectly.  There was some miscommunication on both sides and only PNG dealers were allowed to set-up Friday night while the other 30 non-PNG dealers who had tables were not allowed to set-up until noon on Saturday.  This ‘exclusivity’ was wrong and resulted in the ANA being able to sell only 30 pre-show tables.  Indeed, the membership at the PNG meeting overwhelmingly voted to invite ALL ANA World’s Fair of Money pre-show table holders to be able to set-up at the same time at next year’s convention in Philadelphia.
This serious oversight was addressed and new rules agreed to by both representatives of the ANA and PNG will allow ALL table holders to set-up at next year’s pre-show at the same time on Saturday morning.  Once again, I must say I am quite pleased with the cooperation shown by both the ANA and PNG.  My feelings personally are that both the PNG and ANA need to act proactively to ‘attract’ all dealers to all shows.  The more people who attend bring more coins which allows more business which is, in turn, better for all involved.
The pre-show was held non-stop through Monday afternoon when the ANA Show dealer set-up started.  Although the room dwarfed the approximately 110 tabled dealers in attendance, virtually all pre-show table holders reported they had good shows.  Another convention, Comicon, for science fiction and comic book enthusiasts was being held at the Rosemont convention center during the pre-show.  Attendance for Comicon was staggering with lines to get into the show stretching outside and around the convention center itself.  Parking and hotel space were completely overwhelmed and many coin dealers and pre-show attendees were unhappy with the parking shortage.  Fortunately the Comicon convention ended prior to the start of the full ANA show.
Dealer set-up for the ANA itself was busy from the start.  Buying on the bourse floor as well as the Stacks Bowers ANA Auction was strong and often frenzied.  Rising gold bullion price levels are fueling brisk dealer to dealer trading.  Although trading was very busy throughout both shows, nice numismatic material is in quite short supply.  Both dealers and collectors were hard pressed to find any quantity of scarce material.  Rare and desirable items went quickly and more often than not at above dealer wholesale levels.  In fact, the general feeling among dealers is that prices must go up to force more material onto the market.
Rising bullion prices are bringing more common type gold coins and bullion related items out, but scarce numismatic items are in very short supply.  Sales were brisk throughout the show and I expect this to continue at least through the end of the year.  The bullion frenzy is pushing our market, but collectors and dealers alike know they must buy good material now because it will likely cost more next time around.  Demand for coins is much higher now than the supply of coins available at current market prices.
Next year’s ANA Summer Show will be in Philadelphia which hosted a dynamite ANA World’s Fair of Money in 2001?  We are looking forward to next year’s show in Philadelphia, but we are quite pleased that the ANA will be returning to Rosemont, IL for their annual Summer Show for the 2013, 2014, and 2015 conventions.  Rosemont/Chicago is a great centrally located show venue.
Our upcoming Autumn and Winter Show schedule is exciting and busy.  Listed below are the dates and locations of the shows we will be attending.  Part of the fun of attending coin shows is the great people we get to meet.  Please stop by our table at any of these fine venues and introduce yourself.  Because we attended both the ANA and ANA pre-show and spent nearly 80 total hours on the bourse floor we were able to buy quite a few nice coins.
Bozarth Numismatics Show Schedule for September through December includes:
Long Beach, CA-Buying Only
Phildelphia, PA/Whitman Coin Expo.
Las Vegas, NV-PCGS Trade & Grade
Pittsburgh, PA-ANA Fall Show
St. Louis, MO-National Silver Dollar Show
Denver, CO
Indianapolis, IN
Dallas, TX/NGC Trade & Grade
Baltimore, MD/Whitman Coin Expo.
Pasadena, TX
Houston, TX-The Money Show
Ontario, CA-Buying Only

July 2011

What I did on my Summer Vacation (between coin shows)

Dear Rare Coin Enthusiast, The Dog Days of Summer are here and we are hiding from the heat in Colorado.  Our home in Texas is hot, dry, and although lovely, pretty uncomfortable during the Summer.  This Summer Sherri, my wife/boss and co-owner of Bozarth Numismatics, and I decided we would mix things up a little and take our travel schedule somewhere cooler.  This evening I am writing my monthly Rare Coin Road Warrior column next to a Rocky Mountain stream in a condominium in Estes Park, CO.  Yes, we are spoiled, but seriously we have taken two weeks of vacation between three shows.
Coin Shows are our life, but the travel and people we meet along the way are the reward.  In this month’s RCRW I am going to write about some of our experiences along the way.  Please bear with me, I will get to the coin show news.
Although we fly to virtually all the shows we attend, we decided to drive to Colorado this summer.  The drive itself is pretty grueling, but we were amazed with the scenery and vistas we encountered on our trip.  Contrary to what many would think, North Texas, Northwest New Mexico, and Southeastern Colorado aren’t ALL desert.  We drove through some incredible farmland.  One of the most surreal impressions from our trip was the wind farms we passed along the way.  These wind farms are made up of HUGE windmills usually placed on a ridge to catch the dry hot winds of the region.  The windmills themselves are over 100 feet in height and you can see them for miles and miles and miles.  Unfortunately, several local residents we talked to along the way informed us that the primary reason for the windmills wasn’t power generation, but most importantly the control of water rights in this arid region.
When you first enter Colorado from the East you are on the high plains where the elevation is already around 4000 feet.  The high plains are really scenic although very sparsely populated.  Occasionally we would pass the drive to a big ranch although the homes were very rarely in sight from the road.  Incredible vistas greeted us as we drove through miles of scrub brush, mesquite, and interesting rock formations.  We saw deer, antelope, coyotes, fox, and lots of cattle.  As we continued north into Colorado we saw the shadow of something far to the west.  If you have ever driven west across Kansas or northwest from Oklahoma and Texas your first view of the Rockies is almost like a dark cloud on the horizon.  When you first see this ‘cloud’ you are still nearly 100 miles away from just the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.
During our trip we were able to ‘hit’ a couple of coin shops along the way.  Towns and people are scarce in these parts, but the people we met along the way were very hospitable.  Our destination was Estes Park, Colorado which is the gateway for Rocky Mountain National Park.  Estes Park is at 8000 feet elevation and the area is picture postcard perfect.  Our first night in Estes Park we had two huge bull elk on the patio of our rental condo lapping sugar water out of a hummingbird feeder!   During our trip we also saw a cow and calf moose on the West side of Rocky Mountain National Park and more deer, antelope, and elk than we could count.  Needless to say, the trip has been fantastic.  Now let me get to the coin show news.
Although I try to avoid coin shows on both the Fourth of July and Thanksgiving weekends, we decided to attend the Colorado Springs Show held each year on the Fourth of July weekend.  This is a well run show and there are a lot of varied collectors and dealers who attend.  Not only are there attendees from the ANA Summer seminars, but there are also lots of dealers from across the country and the region.  Ken Byrd and the Colorado Springs Coin Club held the show in a Crown Plaza just off I-25 on the Southern edge of the city.  The location is new and the facility is convenient, clean, well secured, and there is plenty of parking.  From what I understand the show is going to add some space next year for more dealers and dealers liked the new location.
The week following the ‘Fourth’ we attended the Summer FUN Show in Orlando, FL.  The FUN organization is probably the ‘best run’ coin club in the U.S.  Although the Summer Show is smaller and not as well attended as their winter extravaganza, the business was good and we were pleasantly surprised with our total sales as well as the coins we were able to buy.  The great people with FUN-Florida United Numismatists organization, led by Cindy Wibker, are real professionals.  After all, they have been running the largest coin bourse in the United States for quite a few years.  This is the largest show for the month of July and most dealers I spoke with were pleased with the attendance.  In fact, many dealers come early for the Fourth of July weekend and attend the Clearwater, FL show on Fourth of July weekend.
We also heard mixed to good reports about the new Summer Show held in Tinley Park, IL, a suburb of Chicago.  The Illinois Numismatic Society has their annual show at this location in September and the facility and attendance there are good.  This summer show is new and should prosper because it is filling a ‘void’ left when the Mid-America Summer Coin Show was discontinued.  Personally I would like to see this show being held a week earlier to avoid conflicts with both the Colorado Springs and Clearwater Shows.
The middle of July we are attending the Ontario, CA Show.  The Ontario Show is held twice a year in July and December and it continues to gain support.  Although there aren’t a lot of East Coast dealers in attendance, the nice facility, reasonable bourse tables, friendly show staff, and cheap show hotel rates will help this show continue to grow.  Ontario, CA airport is also a convenient option for those flying in because the show is just a mile away.
One of the biggest show successes of the last year or two has been the PCGS Trade and Grade Show in Las Vegas.  The PCGS Trade and Grade Shows are held several times each year, the show itself is sold out as far as bourse space, and dealer reviews have been very positive.  Vegas itself has never been a great coin show town-the public is busy with Vegas-but this mostly dealer oriented venue draws most of the major players in the country and dealer to dealer business is brisk.  This month’s show should be very busy, and although we can’t attend, we will be at the next T&G.
The St. Louis Show at the end of July is a big draw for numismatists because of the substantial amount of dealers that attend and the good Scotsman Coin Auction.  I have been attending coin shows in St. Louis since the mid-seventies and this show location in St. Charles, MO is in a very nice newer convention center connected to a very nice Embassy Suites Hotel.   St. Charles is a Western suburb of St. Louis convenient to the airport.  There are three larger shows in St. Louis each year and we are pleased to hear that the ‘February’ show will also be moved to the St. Charles Convention Center.  The St. Louis Airport Hilton where the February show is held is short of space and parking, and most dealers not only dislike the facility, but also the area is just not very secure.
The ANA is fast approaching!  Chicago is a logical and mostly equitable choice for the ANA annual convention.  Although the Rosemont Convention Center is kind of ‘dumpy’ and many of the hotels are just ‘tired’ the close proximity to the airport, availability of flights, and most importantly central location are hard to disagree with.  Frankly, I think this is one of the best decisions the ANA has made over the last several years.  After the mismanagement debacles, lawsuits, and infighting of the last decade the ANA seems to be moving in the right direction.
Larry Shepherd, the ANA director and a dealer himself for decades, is a good guy who knows what works for dealers.  Unfortunately he is just one man and he has to deal with the ‘board’ of governors who, for the most part, have never had to travel the bourse circuit.  Tom Hallenbeck, the ANA President, is a great guy too and between the two of them, I am cautiously optimistic about the direction the ANA is taking as far as convention planning.  Putting ANA conventions in major cities should help.  Unfortunately the Sacramento show in March was horrible.  The Fall Show in Pittsburgh will be interesting.
During our trip home we had a pleasant and bitter sweet experience when we stopped at a small BBQ restaurant called ‘Smokin Oak BBQ’ in the tiny town of Milano, TX about an hour’s drive South of Waco, TX.  We eat out a lot and I love trying new foods, especially BBQ and Sushi (yea, quite a difference).  We had stopped at this restaurant once before and really liked it.  I know BBQ and enjoy smoking meat myself almost as much as eating it-HA!  Rarely do I eat at a restaurant where I like the food more the second visit than the first, but….WOW!  This place is the bomb!
The food was fabulous, but the story behind this cozy little BBQ joint is what really pulled our heart strings.  We were the only people in the restaurant and the owner, Tammy Storey, and I exchanged BBQ stories.  After a few minutes of getting acquainted, Tammy told us her story.  A couple of years ago her husband had just about finished renovating and decorating an old building where they were going to open their new restaurant when he was tragically killed.  Tammy and her husband have four small children.  Tammy’s husband was a big good looking Texan and she showed us a family photo.  You could see the love in her eyes as she told us about all the work he had done building the restaurant-it was his dream!
Tammy told us that she cried for six months after her husband was killed, but….she wasn’t going to give up.  Her kids needed her and she knew how to cook.  She opened the restaurant two years ago and is starting to find some success.  Milano is a small town, but Tammy’s BBQ brisket is the BEST I have ever had!  Once a big food channel personality finds ‘Smokin Oak BBQ’ she is going to be amazed at the success her little restaurant is going to achieve.  I couldn’t help but think, as we walked out the door into the incredibly hot Texas sun, that her husband was upstairs smiling down on Tammy.
Each month I write the Rare Coin Road Warrior Column about coin shows held across the United States from a full time dealers’ perspective.  My wife Sherri and I travel 200 days a year to all major coin shows and many larger regional coin shows.  One of the things I have learned about coin show travel over the years is that you have to ‘stop and smell the roses’ along the way.  July is for vacations, or so I have been told, but coin dealers are coin dealers and they just have to do ‘some business’.  With the neat locations of some of the July shows you might consider combining a pleasure trip with a coin show trip.  With shows in Chicago, Colorado Springs, Clearwater and Orlando, FL, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and St. Louis you have quite a few interesting choices.
Bozarth Numismatics Inc. is a full service rare coin company.  Because of our extensive coin show travel schedule we are able to locate hundreds of fresh coins each month.  We list hundreds of new purchases each month on both our website as well as our Ebay store, bozarthnumismaticsinc.  If you are looking for a particular item or want to put together a meaningful set of U.S. coins give us a call.  We would love to hear from you.  Thanks and Best Regards, Vic Bozarth.

June 2011

Greetings Rare Coin Enthusiasts, My name is Vic Bozarth and I am the Rare Coin Road Warrior.  My wife Sherri and I attend nearly 40 shows a year to buy fresh to the market coins for our customers.  We attend all major U.S. Coin Shows, as well as most large regional and state coin shows.  I am a ‘bourse floor’ dealer.  I have never worked in a coin shop and the ‘action’ on the coin show bourse floor is rarely boring.  During the last three weeks we have attended two of the biggest rare coin shows the country has to offer.  Both shows were busy, but let me try and fill you in on the news from the ‘floor’.
Both the Long Beach, CA and Baltimore, MD Shows are held three times a year.  And, of the three shows held in each location, the Summer Shows are generally the slowest with the lowest attendance.  At both shows there were some dealers on vacation.  Weddings, graduations, and vacations are usually the biggest culprits for lower attendance in June, but this year most were pleasantly surprised with the good business done at both shows.  In addition, both the Heritage Long Beach Auction and the Stacks/Bowers Baltimore Auction were heavily attended and bidding was brisk.
Good shows are good shows more often than not and the improving coin market is helping.  Indeed, I have been writing for a couple of months about increased demand from dealers ‘stocking’ coins.  Most coin dealers stock merchandise, but the trend for quite a few years has been to just buy product that can be readily sold or coins that are always in demand.  Many dealers have gone from stocking a resale inventory to just bottom feeding on coins they can buy back of bid.  As the old saying goes, ‘the times they are a changing’.
Dealers are actively looking for coins to STOCK.  Prices AT THESE LEVELS are very attractive to dealers.  In other words, dealers feel coins are poised for a big move.  Would you rather have cash or would you prefer a nice collection or group of rare U.S. coins.  Dealers are buying coins to both stock and/or hold.  Lots of dealers who have predominantly done bullion business for the last several years are buying nice coins because they have seen bullion levels quadruple (or more) and rare coins remain relatively unchanged in price.
At Baltimore sales were good.  What we really noticed was the demand FROM OTHER DEALERS for coins at set-up.  Our usual brisk wholesale business was nearly double.  While the price levels are not moving demand is accelerating.  Collectors too were out in strength looking for particular coins, but we had three different collectors come back to find the coins they had looked at had already been sold-to other dealers!  We don’t ‘blow out’ new fresh inventory at bid-we can’t replace it.  Knowledgeable dealers were willing to pay a premium for NICE FRESH coins.
I worked the floor in Long Beach from set-up through Friday afternoon and the story was the same.  During set-up dealers were two deep at tables of dealers known to bring fresh inventory to the show.  At Baltimore also dealers were elbow to elbow vying for the best NEWPS-new purchases.  Most dealers we spoke to commented about the lack of nice coins available for sale at both shows.
Last week (between Long Beach and Baltimore Shows) we attended the Sharonville, OH Show held each year by Paul Padget.  Paul runs a great regional show and this year was somewhat smaller but well attended.  Being bracketed between Long Beach and Baltimore didn’t help either.  In any case, we were able to buy some nice coins both before and during the show.  There are lots of coins in the Buckeye State.
The Summer Show Schedule tends to build until the ANA World’s Fair of Money Show held this year in Chicago in August.  There are several great shows on the Summer Schedule including the Summer FUN Show in Orlando, shows in Chicago, Colorado Springs, CO, Clearwater, FL, Ontario, CA, St. Louis, MO, and Manchester, NH.  We will be attending the Colorado Springs, CO Show, the Summer FUN Show in Orlando, FL, the Ontario, CA Show, and the St. Louis, MO Show near the end of July.
The Summer ANA Show is ten days of non-stop coin action.  We will be there for the duration in Chicago for the middle of August.  We will have tables at both the PNG/ANA Pre-Show and the main event ANA Show.  Both of these shows are being held at the Rosemont Convention Center near O’Hare Airport in Chicago.  This year the PNG/ANA Pre-Show is being held in the same facility as the ANA.  For the most part dealers are optimistic about Chicago.  Most feel Chicago is an equitable and viable location for the ANA annual show and this year’s show will be a big indicator of future success in Chicago.
We often take traveling to a show for granted.  We do it professionally.  If you have the luxury of having a good show in your area you should definitely attend-you’ll enjoy it.  If you plan on traveling to a larger show out of your area please make your arrangements in advance.  Most large shows sell out of the ‘show rate’ rooms at least a couple of months in advance.  We often book at least three months or more in advance for the larger shows.
May 2011
Hi, My name is Vic Bozarth and I am the Rare Coin Road Warrior. I travel to 40 coin shows a year. I have never worked in a coin shop. I have always been a ‘show’ guy. I had my first table at a coin show at the age of fifteen with two other classmates. We called ourselves VDB Coins, which stood for Vic, David, and Bill. Something magic and somewhat extraordinary happened to me at that show. I fell ‘head over heals’ in love with the ‘bourse floor’. The hunt, the negotiation itself, the ‘players’ on the field-ugh I mean ‘bourse’. Seriously, coin shows are an addiction for me. I still get butterflies in my stomach the night before a big show. In fact, the feeling I get is almost like the feeling I used to get the night before a ‘big’ game back in school. At 50 years of age, I still get the biggest charge out of walking into a show! This year’s Central States Show was a real BARNBURNER. Wow!
Rising gold prices pushed action on the bourse at the Central States Numismatic Society Show in Chicago’s Rosemont Convention Center. Over the decades the Central States Show has been very pivotal in regards to what direction the market will take for the remainder of the year. In fact, one of the most infamous shows in the rare coin business was ‘Stinkin Lincoln’ Central States Show in Lincoln, Nebraska in April of 1980. The coin market, partially from the huge bullion market collapse, collapsed-BIGTIME!
At the 1989 Central States Show in Overland Park, KS ( a suburb of Kansas City) the coin market was RED HOT. The market was just weeks away from another collapse. Just four short weeks later, the crash occurred at the Long Beach Show.
This year’s Central States Show was highly anticipated. The bullion market is ‘finally’ spilling over into rare coins. Like the ‘frenzy’ in the coin markets of 1979 and 1989, buyers were driven. We haven’t seen this ‘buy it now or it will be more later’ mindset since early in the last decade, but this was different. The ‘frenzy’ has spread to dealers that are predominantly bullion dealers. The rare coin market is driven by confidence and belief that the market is going UP. The bottom line is that I haven’t seen this level of ‘dealer buying confidence’ at this level since early 1989. This rare coin market is MUCH different than the coin markets of 1979/80 and 1989.
Dealers have seen markets change quite rapidly and they don’t want to ‘miss the bus’. Bullion dealers especially need to put their profits in something-right? Bullion dealers are buying RARE coins because they know the rare coin market has largely been flat through the rising bullion market. What happened in 1979. Coin and Bullion dealers, who were profiting immensely in the metals markets bought rare coins. The thing is though, dealers are dealers and most often they immediately sell the better rare coins to another dealer who offers them a bigger profit than they can refuse.
The whole key to this frenzy is that the supply of really rare coins is finite. In 1979 dealers that bought really nice coins didn’t have them long. There just weren’t enough really nice coins to be bought. Average and low end coins went up in price because frankly there just weren’t enough nice coins available. You have to buy something-right?
O.K., I will get to the point. Coins are hot. Let me give you an example. Recently both Morgan and Peace Dollar common dates in PCGS and NGC holders have appreciated more than 100% in some grades. That’s right, generic dollars more than doubled in the last several months. Remember there are literally thousands upon thousands of generic PCGS and NGC dollars. Guess what, when some, albeit huge, orders hit the market dealers couldn’t buy enough MS65 Morgan dollars at $125, then $150, then $180, then $200, and finally at the Central States Show $214! From a recent low of around $115 Morgans rose nearly 90% in three months. These are GENERIC dollars. What does this mean?
Rare coins are poised for a tremendous push. Bigger dealers are quietly taking ‘positions’ in several different key areas. Coins with proven demand in investment grade are being bought and stockpiled. What is different now than in 1980 and 1989? The amount of money itself is staggering while the supply of coins is finite. There is so much more money coming into rare coins now the potential is really amazing. Nowhere is this ‘push’ this ‘frenzy’ more evident than on the BOURSE.
May is a not a big coin month. May is bracketed by the aforementioned CSNS Show and the Summer Long Beach Show. Other shows of note in May include good shows in Pittsburgh, Denver, Ft. Worth, and NJ. We started our May show travels with a NGC Trade and Grade in Sarasota, FL. NGC and PCGS grading services both host invitational shows several times a year. This month, NGC hosted a T&G at the Ritz Carlton Hotel. Although attendance was down somewhat, the business was great and this is a great venue for dealers to get coins graded and available for sale and trade with other dealers in a totally secure environment. This is not open to the public.
The Denver Show is held twice a year at the Great Western Exposition Center. Because of scheduling conflicts in the last several years this show as well as the TNA/Ft. Worth Show, the Garden State Show, and the PAN/Pittsburgh Show were all in conflict. It hurt them ALL. The scheduling this year was coordinated to a certain extent and the PAN/Pittsburgh Show, The Denver Show, and the TNA/Ft. Worth Show all found different weeks to hold their shows. Because of this and the stronger market all three were active and well attended shows.
Jerry Morgan, the Denver Show promoter, does a great job and this year his normal active bourse was very active with quite a few East Coast dealers in attendance that would normally attend the show closer to them. Although I was only in Denver to buy coins, I witnessed very strong sales and was able to buy a couple of very nice ‘fresh’ deals. During a conversation with Jerry, he let me know that his show next Spring will be the week before the ANA’s Spring Show scheduled for Denver also-kind of like a pre-ANA? The ANA had arbitrarily scheduled their new Spring Show the week before Jerry’s show originally. Jerry has moved his date. Touche Jerry!
The ANA continues to act like an 800 pound gorilla in scheduling their shows without much regard to local shows that have been held, in some cases, for decades.
This week, my wife Sherri and I attended the Texas Numismatic Association Show in Ft. Worth, Texas. This is a good show! The folks with TNA and most importantly Doug Davis, the show coordinator did a great job this year. The facilities at Will Rogers Exposition Center are really neat. This facility and the adjacent museums, galleries, and arboretum are all located in the Ft. Worth Cultural Neighborhood. The TNA Show has hosted their annual show here for quite a few years. There is plenty of parking, security is good, and the area has lots of other attractions. This show has always had a strong following. Dealers from all over the U.S. attend, but this year the bourse was bigger and more active.
The Long Beach Show at the beginning of June is growing again. This is the second of three Long Beach Shows held each year. Ron Gillio has promoted this show for over a decade and lots of dealers who were ‘more or less’ run out of California by spurious and absurd tax regulations are starting to come back. Ron lowered some bourse fees, added some less expensive tables in the back of the huge bourse hall and dealers have responded by coming back. The February Show was excellent. The June Long Beach has a really strong Heritage Rare Coin Auction and buyer and bidder activity will be brisk. Remember, this is the first major show being held since Central States.
The June Show schedule is going to be fun. In addition to the Long Beach Show, we are attending the Sharonville, OH show in a suburb of Cincinnati, the Whitman Baltimore Coin Expo., and the Colorado Springs Show at the end of the month. With both the Long Beach and Baltimore Show, June will be extremely active. In fact, I expect Long Beach to be very active because dealers are short on nice inventory. Unfortunately we will not be able to attend the new Chicago Summer Show which conflicts with the Colorado Springs Show. The Mid-America Coin Show held the last several years in June at the Rosemont Convention Center is no more. We hope to attend the ‘new’ Chicago show held in Tinley Park in the future.
Bozarth Numismatics Inc. is a full service rare coin dealer. We travel 200 days a year to buy ‘fresh’ rare coins for our customers. Our new purchases are listed on our website on a regular basis and we have list hundreds of PCGS and NGC coins in our Ebay store. We offer free want list services and are often able to locate coins others can’t find. You can contact us at [email protected] or via our website or Ebay store. Thanks and Best Regards, Vic Bozarth.

April 2011

Dear Rare Coin Enthusiast,
In this month’s RCRW, I am going to discuss shows just concluded in March as well as upcoming shows in April and May. In addition, I am going to discuss some critical tax issues as well as an extremely interesting dealer survey recently taken by the forward thinking folks with the Florida United Numismatists (FUN) organization.
Spring is here and the rare coin show schedule is starting to slow down for the Summer vacation season. March was a busy month. Both the American Numismatic Association (ANA)-Midwinter Shows and the Whitman Baltimore Shows are behind us. The only two major shows for the next couple of months are the Central States Show in Chicago in late April and the Long Beach Show at the end of May.
Although the Sacramento Mid-Winter ANA Show was flat, the action picked up at the Whitman Baltimore Coin Expo last week. Dealer to dealer business was brisk during the dealer set-up hours Thursday morning. The show itself was very busy with brisk dealer to dealer trade and hundreds of collectors looking for coins for their collections. As usual, Baltimore did not disappoint and indeed the show itself continues to be the strongest commercial show in the U.S.
The proposed repeal of the sales tax exemption for coin and bullion related transactions in Maryland has been TABLED. The reports from the Baltimore Show itself were that HB 206 remained in the House Ways and Means Committee at the end of the show and the legislative session is scheduled to end April 11th. Whitman publishing which sponsors the show was probably most responsible for the bill being stalled in committee. Indeed, we heard that Whitman had threatened to move the show out of Maryland. This is very good news for the rare coin business and the Baltimore Show itself.
The Stacks/Bowers Auction was very well attended and indeed finding a spot at lot viewing meant waiting in line before and during the show. Stacks/Bowers Auctions should learn from Heritage Auctions and have a large conference room for lot viewing to allow for more room for more customers to view lots. Evidently computer problems caused the first session of the auction to last until after one a.m. in the morning also. The auction itself featured some outstanding rarities and the prices realized were very strong. Stacks and Bowers are holding the ANA auction in Chicago this summer and that event promises some really incredible consignments.
Also in March we attended a good show in Boston. The Bay State Show is well run and well attended. There are a large variety of mostly regional dealers, although, many dealers attended from other areas of the country. We heard good reports also from the new C.A.M.P. Show in Monroeville, PA.
The April Show schedule includes some good regional shows as well as a great Midwestern Show. The Central States Numismatic Society (CSNS) Show is really a great show. Central States Numismatic Society encompasses eleven Midwestern States. Only the FUN and ANA Shows are bigger than the CSNS Show, although the Fall Baltimore Show is arguably right up there. This year the CSNS Show is being held in the Rosemont Convention Center just a couple of miles from Chicago’s O’Hare Airport.
Although I am not a big fan of Rosemont, no one can argue about the overall convenience and availability of both lodging and dining choices. Yes, prices are too high, parking is OUTRAGEOUS and the hotel rates aren’t anything special either, but the show itself is worth it. Like the aforementioned FUN and ANA Shows, many smaller dealers and especially shop owners who only attend a couple of shows a year, attend CSNS. This show has as good a mix of both Midwestern dealers and national dealers as any show on the rare coin circuit. CSNS is a must attend event for dealers and serious numismatists and the CSNS auction is being held by Heritage Auctions.
The Santa Clara Show just an hour South of San Francisco is a great Western Show. Although Santa Clara isn’t as well attended as it once was, the show is growing again. Dealer attendance is up and the move to a Thursday opening has encouraged more dealers to stay until at least Saturday morning. The Bay Area is a natural for good shows with the proximity to both the San Francisco mint and the incredible gold strikes of the 19th century. Coins come out of the ‘woodwork’ there. Try it you’ll like it!
May is a strange month for coin shows. Admittedly, people are busy with their lives. Kids are either starting their summer vacations or graduating. Although Whitman tried a show in May in both Atlanta and last year in Nashville, the attendance and dealer reviews were mediocre at best. There are quite a few good regional shows, but for the last several years three different shows couldn’t get their respective acts together and schedule their shows on different weekends.
Thankfully, the Pennsylvania Association of Numismatists, the Denver Show, and the Texas Numismatic Association Shows are on different weekends this year. Unfortunately the Garden State Numismatic Association Show conflicts with Denver, but quite frankly where were they to go? The Pennsylvania Association of Numismatists Show is on the first weekend of the month. The Denver and GSNA Shows are on the second weekend of the month and the TNA show is on the third weekend of the month. Last year all four of these shows were on the same weekend. Whether this great rescheduling was a result of planning or coincidence, the result should be a boon for both dealers and collectors.
The only major show in the month of May is the legendary Long Beach Show held the week of Memorial Day. Long Beach has always been a great show, but a combination of CA tax laws, high table prices, and lack of promotion hurt the show for several years.
Let me say without any equivocation. LONG BEACH is BACK! Not only was the February show well attended, but the ‘buzz’ was back in the room. The room was full of tabled dealers and many dealers who had just ‘walked the floor’ for the last few years have taken tables once again. This is a natural coin venue and personally I have attended nearly 80 straight Long Beach Shows. Long Beach is held three times a year-I am not Methuselah. For anyone in the Southern CA area, this is a must attend show. The area around the convention center in Long Beach has really improved also. There are dozens of restaurants and very nice hotels along with the Long Beach Aquarium and the stately Queen Mary.
Although I have made some negative comments about some shows in past articles, virtually all the clubs, numismatic organizations, and individuals or companies that put on coin shows across the United States do a great job. The logistics of putting on a large show are very complicated and there is always a battle between what collectors want and dealers are willing to DEAL with.
Recently Cindy Wibker with the Florida United Numismatists sent out a dealer survey to all the dealers who had tables at their show in Tampa in January. Not only was the survey well thought out, but a third of the dealers surveyed actually took the time to fill out the survey and return it. I am no statistician, but I think those numbers are very good. Dealers care about the how, what, where, and how much that go into a show. We have to be concerned, after all, because those factors affect our business.
The survey results were quite interesting. In fact, I found I wasn’t such a ‘lone wolf’ after all. Let me give you a few examples of how dealers responded to the questions the survey asked. Personally, I really liked the Tampa location. Interestingly enough most dealers agreed. Not only did they like Tampa, but a large percentage polled responded that they would like to see the January FUN Show in Tampa at least every other year. Indeed, the survey concluded that there was ‘overall tremendous support to return to Tampa’.
The survey also questioned dealers about ‘Early bird’ dealers and mandatory Sunday show attendance. In regard to the Earlybird dealer program the survey found: “There was total, overwhelming support to keep the early bird program at FUN shows. Many dealers wrote comments that “they depend on early bird business to make a show very successful for them”. Recently I wrote some negative comments about the ANA elimination of the Early bird dealer program at their shows. Are you listening ANA?
In addition, the survey polled dealers about mandatory Sunday attendance and the results showed: “The vast majority of dealers do not want to attend the FUN show on Sundays, or at least do not want to be forced to attend.” The ANA has dealt with this in a pretty equitable manner by eliminating Sundays for their shows, although I absolutely disagree with imposing a “FINE” to dealers who leave early under any circumstances. The FUN organization now has the dealer opinions to act accordingly.
When it comes right down to it, dealers would set-up in the middle of the night in a parking garage if they thought they could make money! Sunday attendance at longer shows HAS NEVER been an economically feasible option for dealers-PERIOD. Frankly, the expenses are the same, the time spent is the same, but the sales are virtually ZERO. The ANA has gotten this right.
The differences between the two organizations, as I see it, are as follows: FUN is dealer friendly and the ANA IS NOT. FUN listens to dealers, yet the ANA continues to ignore dealers on several critical issues to the detriment of their shows. Yes, membership opinion counts, but the problem is the ANA members are not ‘paying the freight’, while the dealers are!

MARCH 2011

My name is Vic Bozarth and I am the Rare Coin Road Warrior. My wife Sherri and I attend forty coin shows a year to buy scarce and interesting coins for our customers. I have always been a coin show guy and have never worked in a coin shop. I love coin shows and I would urge any and all to attend a show near you. The opinions and observations expressed in this article are my own. You are free to disagree or agree-HA!
The ANA Mid-Winter Show just concluded last night at the Sacramento, CA convention center. Unfortunately it wasn’t a great show. In fact, it was kind of a dud. The ANA had the usual displays and programs, but the dealers just weren’t there. Oh yes, most of the major companies were represented, but there were empty ‘no show’ tables and indeed the room was smaller than many mid-winter ANA’s we have attended in the last several years. The 1999 mid-winter ANA which was held in the same location in Sacramento was a great show. The public attended, but they kept their wallets in their pockets. What was different?
The ANA has said it will not schedule shows in California any longer. The shows scheduled by the ANA before the current administration took control are still dragging both the ANA and the industry as a whole down. When a state, like California, makes doing business in their state TOO HARD there MIGHT BE A PROBLEM. Regardless of your politics, the taxation issues are going to take a toll on your bottom line. Fortunately, the ANA won’t be having shows in the former great state of California anytime soon.
As usual with ANA events there was a scheduling problem and instead of the one p.m. set-up for dealers Wednesday afternoon, the show didn’t set-up until three p.m. A couple of years ago the ANA, in it’s infinite wisdom did away with Earlybird dealer badges. An Earlybird badge is a dealer’s badge that allows that dealer, who doesn’t have a table, to get into the show during set-up hours for a fee. The fees collected over the years have theoretically offset some of the table holder dealer table fee increases. Set-up was FLAT. Some blame can certainly be placed on the economy. After all, Sacramento has been hit harder than many.
Let’s take a look at attending an ANA Show from a smaller dealer’s perspective. Dealer Bob attends thirty shows a year. Most of the shows ‘Bob’ attends are smaller regional shows, but he also attends nearly half the major shows if, in his words, ‘it makes sense’. Like dealer ‘Bob’ stated, ‘How can I go to an ANA when my airfare, table, lodging, and food will cost me over $2000 before I sell a coin?” How indeed?
With an ‘Earlybird’ badge the dealer, like dealer ‘Bob’ still feels like he is part of the action, but cuts his overall expenses by nearly half. The tabled dealers get to buy or sell coins to this ‘Earlybird’ dealer. The Earlybird dealer buys coins and sells coins to tabled dealers. Guess what ANA, the Earlybird dealers help make a show and your shows are becoming marginalized because you can’t see the forest for the trees.
Quite a few years ago I considered becoming an ANA life member. Frankly, I won’t give them anymore money. I feel, as many dealers do, that we are already giving more than our share in table fees for shows that are extremely expensive to attend and poorly scheduled or timed. The ANA has always had the philosophy that they can put the expense on the dealers and we will have to ‘pony up’ regardless. Sometime in the next year or two (I don’t keep track) I will probably be eligible to receive a 25 year ANA pin. In fact, I was a member as early as 1978 while still in high school, but missed a few years while in college. Am I excited? Whoopee! I think I would rather sleep. In my years of ANA show attendance, I have attended no banquets, award ceremonies, or presentations. Do you know why? I am at the ANA show to work. Don’t get me wrong-I love my work.
In years’ past, I have worked for other companies and have had the responsibility for being at the show from the opening bell through the bitter end of the day. Frankly, attending a banquet or ceremony after ten or eleven hours of work doesn’t do much for me. I’m sure this year’s dinner at the Sugar Mill Restaurant was a nice event, but I had absolutely no interest in attending. I am also certain that the riverboat cruise was nice too, but guess what ‘I was working’. Of course, what the ANA doesn’t tell you is that if you aren’t ‘manning’ your table they will levy fines against your company. Hey ANA, get a clue!
Now let me talk about a real coin show. The Whitman Baltimore Show at the end of March promises to be a barn burner! The Whitman staff won’t be running around trying to see if we have purchased our tickets to the Sugar Mill dinner. No, they will be making sure we have everything we need to do business. If we have to leave early or want to take an hour away from the show for lunch we can do so without being FINED. Whitman is running a show for everyone including dealers, because, maybe you guessed it, we have already paid for our table and there aren’t any penalties or politics.
What is the big difference between the ANA shows and a show like Baltimore? The difference is the number and diversity of dealers period! If the dealers don’t attend and they don’t bring their coins, you don’t have a show. Baltimore continues to pack them (dealers) in and consequently the public are lined up out front to get in every morning. There are big dealers, small dealers, and in between dealers. There are weekend warriors and smaller dealers that come in for Saturday and Sunday and take tables already vacated by bigger dealers who have all the time on the road they can stand. The difference in why dealers WANT to attend the Baltimore Show and feel like they HAVE to attend the ANA Shows is a matter of attraction.
Dealers want to attend the Baltimore Show and many of us (dealers) dread the ANA Shows. If you want to add a person to your table at Baltimore you are going to pay for it, but you can do it at the show. If you want to add a person to your table for an ANA Show, not only will you pay for it, but you better do it two months in advance, and have a note from your MOMMY.
Many commented on the lack of business at the ANA this year. Maybe the ANA should ask itself this question. Are you running the largest traveling coin museum with the largest staff or are you running a coin show? The museum is in Colorado Springs.
The show schedule for March also includes shows in the Pittsburgh area and Boston, MA. John and Kathy Sarosi are having a show this next week in Monroeville, PA open to the public Friday through Sunday. Ed Aleo is having his semi-annual Spring Bay State Coin Show at the Radisson Park Plaza Hotel near Copley Square in downtown Boston. We will be attending the Bay State Show and really look forward to seeing old friends.
There are several shows in April, but the two big shows for the month are the Whitman Baltimore Show at the very beginning of the month and the Central States Numismatic Society Show at the end of the month. In between there are several shows of note including the Santa Clara Show in California in the middle of the month. The first full week of April there are five shows spread across the U.S. including Michigan State, South Shore/Milwaukee, PNNA in Tukwila, WA, Dulles Coin & Currency Show, and the Central Florida Club Show in Orlando, FL.
Needless to say, five shows in one week dilutes the amount of good material that could possibly be at anyone of the five shows. We won’t be attending any of the five, but will attend Santa Clara the following week. Kind of a funny observation, but there aren’t any shows of any size Easter week before the CSNS Show. Seems to me somebody from one of the FIVE shows on the same weekend might have realized this and scheduled their shows accordingly.
The CSNS Show in Rosemont, IL is a great show. The Central States Numismatic Society is somewhat like the ANA with politics and back stabbing galore, but they do run a decent show and more often than not dealers attend in droves. Having shows in Michigan, Chicago (the International), and Milwaukee just a couple of weeks before CSNS doesn’t help, but the larger venues like CSNS and the ANA can’t worry about the smaller shows? Right?

February 2011

Dear Rare Coin Enthusiast,
In this month’s Rare Coin Road Warrior I will briefly discuss the strong bullion market and how it will affect the rare coin market. In addition, I will try and give you some insight into what is happening on the ‘Bourse’ floor at the major rare coin shows across the United States. First let me make a correction in last month’s Rare Coin Road Warrior.
Last month I mistakenly listed the PAN/Monroeville, PA Show, held twice a year in a suburb of Pittsburgh, as being held in a suburb of Philadelphia. I apologize to John and Kathy Sarosi who did a great job hosting this show for years. The PAN Show is held twice a year. John and Kathy Sarosi are holding a new Spring show in Monroeville, PA March 24-27 called the C.A.M.P. Show in the same location as the PAN Show. Let me explain my mistake. For several years I did a Sunday only show in Montgomeryville, PA (a suburb of Philadelphia). Montgomeryville vs. Monroeville. I am pretty sure the show that was held in Montgomeryville has since moved to Fort Washington, PA and is put on each month by Allen Brock. All three of these shows are worth attending.
Now let’s get to the coin show news.
Gold is nearing an all time high price with the spot price at $1411 at this time. Silver continues to climb and has reached a thirty year high of over $33 an ounce. Are you surprised? I’m not. I am not a bullion or metals dealer, but the signs have been there for several years. Although the stock market has been performing well recently most other traditional investment mediums have been ‘in the dumper’. Real Estate and C.D.’s, two typically sound investment mediums, are terrible. If you want to have your nest egg eroded by inflation put it in a C.D. Real Estate looks good at these levels, but beware boys and girls because the foreclosures are still occurring in record numbers. The low interest rates we see advertised are mostly ‘smoke and mirrors’ because even those with excellent credit are being denied financing or refinancing.
Can you avoid the news? The Middle East and North Africa are boiling caldrons nearing explosion. Personally, I hope we see some new leadership in some of these countries. BUT, and here is the rub, can the U.S. avoid getting entangled in this mess. I think not. Unfortunately we are already involved. What does that mean for us? Gold prices are back up recently because of this unrest. The U.S. dollar, once the blue chip of world currencies, is worth no more than the paper it is printed on. Gold prices will continue to rise and fall, but I believe they will mostly rise.
I like gold. I don’t like it enough to put all my investment dollars in gold, but I have a substantial position both personally and in our rare coin inventory. I have continued to write about the disparity between the premiums classic U.S. Gold type coins once carried vs. the little to no premium they carry in this market. Recently huge hoards of classic U.S. gold coins have been liquidated in Europe. These supplies will be absorbed. First we saw the premiums evaporate for double eagles-U.S. twenty dollar face value gold coins minted before 1933. Lately the premiums for U.S. eagle ($10 face value) and half eagle ($5 face value) gold coins have evaporated also. With gold at $1411 the bullion value for $5, $10, and $20 classic U.S. gold coins are $341, 683, and $1365 respectively. Once these European hoards are absorbed in the market the premiums will rise again. The cream always rises to the top.
Don’t buy junk. Yes, it has gold value. Yes, the premiums are very small. Spend a little more money and buy MS63 and better classic U.S. gold type coins in denominations of $5, $10, and $20. I also like $1, $2.5, and especially $3 U.S. gold coins too, but the premiums on these lower denomination coins have remained pretty strong. Currently you can buy classic MS63 $20 gold coins in the Liberty or Saint Gaudens design for under $2000 and $1650 respectively. They melt for roughly $1365. Spend a little more for better date material and you will profit later. This is a NO BRAINER.
For several months now I have been recommending better date and type gold coins and now it is time for me to get off the ‘soapbox’. As the old saying goes, ‘you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink’.
The rare coin show schedule in February started with a really good Long Beach Coin Show. The bourse floor at the Long Beach Convention Center was nearly full. This is a huge room and several islands of new tables were occupied by lots of returning dealers as well as some new faces. Activity at the show was unusually strong also. Most dealers are complaining that ‘fresh’ material is just NOT coming into their stores or at the shows they are attending. What that means is that people (including dealers) are only selling those coins they either HAVE to sell or culling out their less desirable coins for current sale. Evidently not only dealers believe prices are going to go up. Indeed, the non-dealer public are holding their best coins because they believe prices are going to RISE.
Sales at Long Beach were strong and that trend continued through both the NGC Trade and Grade in Sarasota, FL and St. Louis coin shows week before last. Both NGC and PCGS hold several ‘Trade and Grade’ shows each year. For the last couple of years NGC has held these shows in Sarasota, FL while PCGS have their ‘Trade and Grade’ Shows in Las Vegas. We attended the NGC T&G and were pleasantly surprised with our overall sales. Although we didn’t attend the PCGS T&G reports from other dealers said sales were strong, but many dealers went home without their ‘walkthrough’ grading because PCGS got too many coins and had to take coins back to CA to grade them.
We also attended the Great American Coin Fair which most dealers know of as the St. Louis February Show. This show is held at the airport Hilton across from, you guessed it, the airport. The hotel itself has been renovated recently and is very nice, but the show itself is just TOO crowded. The bourse floor is WAY too small, the tables are very crowded, and walking the floor is difficult. Mike Orlando has done a great job running this show for years and the show itself always sells out to dealers, but the room is just too SMALL. Business at St. Louis was good. The lack of good ‘fresh’ material was very evident because dealers were falling all over themselves trying to buy and sell during the Thursday afternoon and evening set-up.
The upcoming show schedule includes two great shows in March, as well as several good smaller regional shows. The ANA Mid-Winter Show in Sacramento promises to be a great show, but the Baltimore Show at the end of the month will be excellent. The ANA continues to put shows in California although it is one of the most dealer UNFRIENDLY states in the country. The ‘nexus’ situation in CA basically wants to tax dealers who do more than twelve days of business at CA shows as CA businesses in addition to the taxes the company pays in their own state-kind of like double jeopardy. The ANA did schedule this show several years ago, BUT this is a real problem. I know of quite a few major dealers WHO WILL NOT ATTEND because the show is being held in CA. To their credit, the ANA is aware of this problem and they are trying to schedule future shows accordingly.
The Baltimore Show faces a similar problem. Recently the state of Maryland has plans for eliminating the bullion and coin sales tax exemption for transactions over $1000. As with many states, the shortsightedness of their respective legislatures knows no bounds. This is a real threat to the Baltimore Show and I would urge any and all concerned to write letters of protest. We have written letters ourselves and the Industry Council for Tangible Assets as well as the Professional Numismatists Guild both have ‘template’ letters and addresses for you to use to fight this legislation.
Baltimore has grown into the best commercial coin show in the United States. Yes, the F.U.N. Show is bigger, but the business in Baltimore is fantastic. There is a great Stacks/Bowers coin auction and the public attendance is huge. The problem with the sales tax issue is twofold. First, margins on bullion and rare coin transactions are often small percentage of two to five percent. Add the sales tax and the only people selling these items profitably will be the ones cheating the state out of the sales tax. Second, moving the show to another ‘more business friendly’ state would disrupt the show and indeed hurt public attendance severely.
In addition to the two larger shows in March there are several other noteworthy shows in different areas of the county. This week there is a show in Sarasota, FL. The Chicago Paper Money Expo is being held the 10th through the 13th the week prior to the ANA-Midwinter. If you are in the Minneapolis area there is a good smaller show in Brooklyn Center the 18th through the 20th. There are two good shows the week after the ANA Midwinter show in Sacramento which is being held the 17th through the 19th. Both the C.A.M.P. Show in Monroeville, PA (a suburb of Pittsburgh) and the Bay State Coin Show held at the Boston Radisson Hotel are scheduled for the 24 through the 27th. The C.A.M.P. Show is new, but the promoters, John and Kathy Sarosi, did a great job with the PAN Show held at the same location for years. Ed Aleo has been putting on the Bay State Show for most of four decades and there are always lots of neat coins and serious dealers in attendance.
The March Show schedule closes with the Whitman Baltimore coin show held the 31st through April 3. This is a must attend show for dealers. The April Show schedule includes shows in Chantilly, VA and Orlando, FL held the 8th through the 10th. The following week there are the shows in Chicago and Santa Clara, CA both being held the 14th through the 17th. There are no big shows scheduled for Easter week, but one of the best major shows of the year closes the month with the Central States Numismatic Society Show held in Chicago April 27th through the 30th at the Rosemont Convention Center.
The professional associations and friends I have made in the coin business are wonderful. There is a comraderie among fellow numismatists that transcends age and social background. If you have the opportunity, attend a show and join the fun. Listed below are the shows we will be attending in both March and April.
March Schedule:
ANA Midwinter March 17-19th
Bay State March 24-27th
Baltimore March 31st –April 3rd
April Schedule:
Santa Clara, CA April 14-17th
CSNS/Chicago April 27-30th
Bozarth Numismatics travels thousands of miles each year in search of high quality U.S. Coins.

January 2011

In this month’s RCRW I am going to talk a little about the rare coin market before previewing the rare coin show schedule for the next two months.
The rare coin show schedule follows a pretty predictable timetable each year. Many dealers and avid collectors schedule their lives around the coin shows they attend. For example, dealers and collectors alike know the Florida United Numismatists Show starts the show schedule each year. For decades now, the F.U.N. organization has held their annual show the week following New Year’s Day. The Florida United Numismatists Show is the largest coin show in the United States. This year the F.U.N. show was held in the Tampa Convention Center instead of the Orlando Convention Center with the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus performing next door. The answer is yes, we did revert back to our childhood and attended the circus one evening!
Because the F.U.N. Show is the first show of each year, many dealers and collectors are very conservative with their purchases. They want to see what direction the market is headed. In addition to the tentativeness I witnessed at the F.U.N. show among both dealers and collectors, the overall economy has certainly affected overall sales. Discretionary income is down. A well known dealer commented that ‘people aren’t buying coins when they are worried about their mortgage’. Although the bullion business has been very active and some selected rarities have brought record prices, the overall coin market is soft. Ironically, most dealers would have thought record gold and silver prices would have resulted in record coin prices.
How can I take advantage of this rare coin market?
Don’t bury your head in the sand. Shop frugally, use your numismatic knowledge, and focus on value. These are sound principles for buying rare coins. What most of us overlook is what we can do for our collection or portfolio besides buying more coins. Manage your collection/portfolio wisely. The current coin market is fertile ground for the astute buyer. Obviously we all want the most value for our dollar as we can get. Of course buying in a ‘soft’ market is very beneficial, but there are other ways to manage your collection or portfolio for future benefit. One note of importance: DO NOT BUY UGLY COINS BECAUSE THEY ARE CHEAP. Ugly coins do not sell.
Two of the biggest ways you can reap future benefits from your collection or portfolio are to take profit in some coins and sell the ‘dogs’. Whether you are buying coins strictly as a collector or an investor, taking a profit on coins or bullion items frees up money for coins you really want or coins that have more future investment potential. Both gold and silver bullion have risen considerably over the last couple of years. Many coins have dropped in price. You get the picture – reposition your assets. Selling the ‘dogs’ is very important also. Yes, you are probably going to take a loss. BUT, the nicer coins you purchase with the proceeds of your ‘dog’ sales will certainly exceed the performance of the ‘dogs’. The bottom line to this recommendation is to cull out the ‘dogs’ and reposition your collection or portfolio for better future performance.
The February and March rare coin show schedule includes several big shows as well as a couple of really good regional shows. The first Long Beach Show of the year starts this Wednesday (to dealers) the second of February. The Long Beach Show seems to be growing again. More favorable table prices and better advertising should help this great show recover some of the luster it has lost over the last several years. The smaller dealers are taking tables again and some new dealers are attending. The Heritage Auction is a huge draw also. For those who haven’t attended, this is a really pleasant venue for a show. Long Beach is a neat town, the weather is terrific, and there are lots of lodging and dining choices.
The week after the Long Beach Show there is a smaller show in Charlotte, NC held by the Charlotte Coin Club. The third full week of February we are attending a Numismatic Guarantee Corporation Dealer Invitational in Sarasota, Florida. This is a dealer’s only show where on-site grading is offered and dealers are able to trade coins in a super secure venue. Both NGC and PCGS hold these shows periodically and they are quite popular among many dealers. PCGS is also holding their ‘Trade and Grade’ in February in Las Vegas. The St. Louis Show in mid February is a really solid regional show. Mike Orlando has run this show for quite a few years and he always has a waiting list for tables. The Airport Hilton where the show is held has been renovated and there is a Scotsman Auction held during the Show. Because of the airport location, transportation options are plentiful as are lodging choices. I have personally attended this show since the seventies and wouldn’t miss it. Other shows in February include shows in Virginia Beach, VA and the Collectorama Show in Lakeland, FL.
March is a good show month. Not only is there a really hot Baltimore Show, but the ANA Mid-Winter Show visits a new city each year. We love Baltimore. The city is a lovely and friendly place to visit and the show is dynamite. For several years the three Whitman Baltimore Shows have been the premier East Coast Shows. Although the Summer Baltimore Show is somewhat smaller, both the Spring and Fall Shows are huge. Lots of dealers of all shapes and sizes attend-HA! Because of the convenient location, Baltimore draws smaller dealers from all of the middle atlantic coast and northeast dealers. These are the smaller dealers whereby ‘half the population’ of the U.S. Coins come out of the woodwork in Baltimore. Virtually all major dealers attend also. The new Stack/Bowers and Merena Auction Company will hold their first auction in Baltimore this March.
The American Numismatic Association Mid-Winter Show is being held in Sacramento, CA this year. The last ANA Mid-Winter Show held in Sacramento in 1999 was dynamite. Lots of neat coins ‘walked’ into that show. The location, just hours from some of the richest gold strikes in history and the shows proximity to the San Francisco mint are factors that promise a great show. Because of the higher gold prices, I would expect some rare gold coins to ‘walk’ in!
Other shows in March include Sarasota, FL and Chattanooga, TN Shows held the first week of the month. There is a good smaller show in Brooklyn Center, MN (a suburb of Minneapolis) held the same week as the ANA Mid-Winter Show. The Bay State Show in Boston is the week between the ANA and the Baltimore Shows. Ed Aleo, the show coordinator, has run this show for several decades at the Renaissance Park Plaza Hotel. There is also a newer show in Monroeville, PA (near Philadelphia) the same week as the Bay State Show. Although I haven’t attended the Monroeville Show, I have attended the P.A.N. Shows held in the Pittsburgh area twice a year. These shows are run by John Sarosi who does a nice job keeping both dealers and the public happy.
This morning I am completing this article from Long Beach, CA. While most of the country is blanketed in snow, Long Beach is 65 degrees, sunny, and really pleasant. I have been ‘addicted’ to the rare coin show circuit for years. Some of my most pleasant show memories are of the Long Beach Show and the friends and professional associations I have made here. I would encourage any rare coin enthusiast to attend a coin show in your area. If you have the wherewithal try and schedule a trip to a BIG show like Long Beach (held three times a year), Baltimore (held three times a year), or even the ANA events which are now also being held three times a year. Not only will you get to see some really incredible coins, but you will have the opportunity to meet some of the most interesting people in the rare coin business.
Bozarth Numismatics specializes in high grade PCGS and NGC graded coins. We also offer a large assortment of CAC approved PCGS and NGC coins. We offer free, no obligation want list services

November 2010

What’s happening on the rare coin show circuit?
The Whitman Baltimore Coin Exposition was really ‘cooking’! In my opinion the Baltimore Coin Expo is the hottest show on the rare coin show circuit. The folks at Whitman know how to run a show. The Fall show is the best of the three shows that Whitman Publishing holds in Baltimore each year. Attendance is always heavy and the Bowers and Merena Auction is a big draw. Business was brisk and gold was the major culprit. I will talk more about the Baltimore Coin Exposition, but first let me tell you why I write the Rare Coin Road Warrior Column each month.
My name is Vic Bozarth and I am the Rare Coin Road Warrior. I have attended coin shows since the age of 13 and set up as a dealer at my first show at the age of fifteen. Of course, I love coins, but shows are where the action is! Because many of you don’t have the luxury of attending many coin shows, I like to share with you the news and market trends I have witnessed while attending and working the ‘bourse’.
The October Show schedule was grueling. Although the only major show was the Silver Dollar Show in St. Louis we actually attended four shows in total flying coast to coast twice. After the stellar Philadelphia Whitman Coin Expo in late September/early October we flew to Manchester, NH for the NH Coin Show. Although bracketed by the bigger Philly Show and St. Louis Silver Dollar Show, the NH Show was both well attended and well run. Ernie Botte does an excellent job with this show. The show itself is growing and we are among many who really enjoy visiting the Northeast during the Fall.
The Silver Dollar Show in St. Charles, MO, a suburb of St. Louis, is well run in an excellent facility, but there are several problems with the show. Maybe it is the economy, maybe it is the city, but the show just isn’t what it once was in years past. The Silver Dollar Show also faces some major hurdles next year. The new Pittsburgh ANA Fall Show is scheduled the week prior to the Silver Dollar Show next October. The ANA is like the 800 pound gorilla in the room-they stomp around with no regard for anyone else.
The problem with the ANA Fall Show and the St. Louis Show comes down to proximity of dates. Like the Whitman Philadelphia Show and the Long Beach September Show this year, the grading services will with all likelihood opt out of one of the other shows. The ANA, the 800 pound gorilla, will probably win the grading war. The ANA Fall Show is the week prior to the St. Louis Show. In my opinion it is doubtful that both grading services will grade at both shows. Logistically the grading services can move their equipment from Pittsburgh to St. Louis, but will dealers and collectors have material to submit for grading at St. Louis? Will the auction at the new ANA show overshadow the Scotsman Auction held in conjunction with the Silver Dollar Show? We will attend both shows, but on a personal note, I grew up in Missouri and my family still live there. I have attended shows in St. Louis since 1976 when the Central States Numismatic Society held a show there. I will continue to support and attend the show, but the ‘draw’ just isn’t there as it has been in the past.
This year we tried something new and attended the Willamette Club Show in Portland, OR instead of the PAN Show in Pittsburgh, PA. Why? you ask. Both of these shows are good shows, but some scheduling issues led us to try this show for the first time. I was pleasantly surprised with both the large number of dealers and the attendance of the show itself, but there were some problems with the set-up and the host hotel was completely sold out early. We will try this show again in the future. The show coordinator Scott Loos and his wife really work hard making this show work. We enjoyed meeting them both.
The Coinfest Show held in Stamford, CT is one of the best retail coin shows in the country but……the show itself probably won’t exist next year. The news from the show was really odd. The Coinfest advertising campaign has been one of the most effective show promotions I have ever seen. Stamford, CT is convenient to New York City, the upper Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states. The hosts for the show tried to make people comfortable and the security was top notch. MOST IMPORTANTLY there are customers there who want to buy coins!
So what is the problem? The show has been moved twice. The facility used in years two and three was bigger and in my opinion nicer. The new facility in a Marriott in downtown Stamford was just too small. Because of the new facility many smaller dealers who attended in the first three years weren’t even sent contracts for the show? Table prices were also increased. Unfortunately this is one of the best shows in the country that is probably doomed. I fervently hope this show can survive, because the concept is sound, the advertising is good, and most importantly the customers are there.
One of the problems with the Coinfest Show is scheduling itself. So many people want to have their shows during the Autumn months. The Baltimore Show is the ‘King of the Hill’, so to speak. The Baltimore Show is both very well attended and well run. When Whitman bought the show a couple of years ago, there were some doubts that the show would continue to flourish. Not only has the show continued to flourish, but table space is very much in demand and there is often a waiting list for at least the Autumn Baltimore Show.
The Baltimore Show features a Bowers and Merena Auction. The location is fun and convenient with lots of lodging and dining choices. One tip: book your hotel room early, because we have heard rumors room availability will be limited in the Spring due to competing conventions. There are hundreds of dealers including virtually all the big dealers in the country. Whitman does an excellent job of advertising the show also.
The Boston Bay State Show followed the Baltimore Show during the second full weekend of November. Ed Aleo runs a good show and you should try and attend. We didn’t attend this year’s Autumn show due to a scheduling conflict, but we always enjoy Boston. There are lots of good coins that come out of the ‘woodwork’ in the Northeast.
The Santa Clara Coin Show is currently the second biggest show in November. Santa Clara has been shrinking. The attendance has really fallen in recent years. Dealers have cancelled their table contracts and many leave early. What is the problem? The overall economy has hurt this show. The Silicon Valley has felt the recession and that has spilled over into both slow sales and attendance. The loss of the Superior Coin Auction didn’t help either. Ron Gillio, the show sponsor, is trying to entice new dealers into the ‘bourse’. He changed the show schedule roughly a year ago to set-up on Thursday versus Wednesday to encourage dealers to stay longer. He has also lowered some table prices. This year’s show was better than any we have attended in the last couple of years. There are still some ‘holes’ in the bourse floor, but the Bay area is one of the venues for a coin show in the country and we did notice some improvement in attendance.
There are two larger state shows on Thanksgiving weekend. The first is the very well attended Michigan State Show in Dearborn at what was once the Hyatt Hotel. Evidently the hotel ownership is changing, but the show location should remain in the same location. I have had good shows in Dearborn, but I decided several years ago that I won’t set up at a show on Thanksgiving weekend-family is just too important. You will enjoy the Michigan State/Dearborn show if you attend.
Fortunately we have an alternative for Thanksgiving weekend. There is a good show in Pasadena, TX held Friday through Sunday. Although this is smaller than Dearborn and it is not listed in Numismatic News Coin Show Calendar, there are lots of dealers who attend, parking is plentiful, and the location is conveniently located in a suburb of Houston. Although I drive in for the show on Friday, I don’t set-up. The only shortcoming for this show is that it is currently held the week before the Houston Money Show.
The Houston Money Show is growing. Of course, everything is bigger in Texas-right! Yes, I have some regional bias. We live in the Houston area. Karl Schwenker has done an extraordinary job in both promoting this show and scheduling a Heritage Auction and a PNG-Professional Numismatists Day prior to normal dealer set-up. We had an excellent Houston Show last year. Attendance is growing. The hotels and restaurants in Houston are excellent. December is a lovely time of year to visit Houston and indeed we have another dealer couple staying with us for a couple of days after the show. The first PNG day at Houston started last year and although it was relatively small, we were pleasantly surprised. This show is growing and you would enjoy attending.
What else is going on in December? We will be attending the Ontario, CA coin show during the third week of the month. There is also a PCGS invitational in Las Vegas. Frankly, I send coins to the PCGS invitational for grading, but I have found attendance at the PCGS Trade and Grade shows to be a waste of time-don’t make a special trip.
Last but not least, I wanted to mention the FUN Show being held in Tampa, FL this January. The Florida United Numismatists Show is the biggest show of the year. It eclipsed the annual ANA Summer Show in attendance several years ago. The move from Orlando to Tampa this year has been explained as scheduling conflicts with the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. Cindy Wibker, the show coordinator, does a fabulous job running this huge show.
The problem with the FUN Show is Orlando itself. The venue is dangerous. Robberies are a major problem. Yes, Orlando is a desirable venue for many dealers and collectors to bring their families, but this ‘place’ scares me. Take advantage of the show security facility. If you aren’t doing any business before the show, go directly to the security room, secure your coins, and go have some FUN.
I attend coin shows to buy coins for my customers. When we started our website several months ago we wanted to offer our new and fresh coin purchases to the general public. We currently list approximately 500 coins on eBay at any given time, but we wanted to list our best coins AVAILABLE TO ANYONE in a venue without the ridiculous eBay fees. Recently we have started to ‘batch’ our best new purchases to appear on our website twice a month. Most often our new listings will be ‘up’ roughly three days after a major show. Check them out. Best Regards, Vic Bozarth, The Rare Coin Road Warrior.

October 2010

Hi, my name is Vic Bozarth and I am a Rare Coin Road Warrior. I have spent most of my twenty plus years in the rare coin business at shows or on buying trips all over the continental U.S.
In my first Rare Coin Road Warrior column for September I talked about the ANA Convention in Boston, MA held in early August as well as the Illinois State Numismatic Association Show in Chicago, the Long Beach Show, and the newer Whitman Coin Expo in Philadelphia. This month I will write about some of the news from Long Beach and Philadelphia as well as previewing shows in Manchester, NH, St. Louis, MO, Portland, OR, Stamford, CT, Baltimore, MD, and Boston, MA. As you might have guessed the Fall season is very busy with lots of big coin shows. We try to attend all the major shows as well as most of the larger regional shows.
The coin business is very busy right now with the gold bullion price hitting an all time high with each new day. Currently gold is at $1356 as I pen this article from my seat (20C) on a Continental Airlines flight to Boston. Although we are at an all time high price for bullion many rare gold coins are trading at a smaller premium (over melt) than at any time in recent memory. Prices are rising with both the higher bullion prices and increased demand, but good values are still readily available.
The Long Beach Coin and Stamp Expo is one of the largest and most successful shows in the rare coin business. Dealers have been attending the Long Beach Show since the sixties when there were two shows annually. Since the seventies there have been three shows each year generally in February, June, and September. Personally I have attended over 70 straight Long Beach Shows and wouldn’t miss one for the world. We love to visit CA and the Long Beach Show has hundreds of dealers in attendance plus a major Heritage Auction at each show.
Over the last several years the Long Beach Show has had some challenges. Attendance has slipped and many smaller dealers were, to put it frankly, just priced out of the room. I was pleasantly surprised at the September show to see some ‘new’ dealers set up as well as healthy attendance by the public. Indeed, prior to the show, the management of the show did a good job trying to fill the bourse by offering some more attractive table prices to both new attendees and those who had not had a table recently. Long Beach is cool and a lot of dealers make it a better show for everyone.
The Whitman Philadelphia Coin Expo is only in the second year of existence, but these folks know how to run a show. Philadelphia is the home of our first, and for many years only, mint. Philadelphia and the Northeast comprise a large portion of the original thirteen states and ‘old’ coins come out of the woodwork there. After all, the ‘old’ coins were made there. Not only is Philadelphia a great coin town, but it is fun to visit also. The Convention Center itself is conveniently located with lots of lodging and dining options. Public transportation is available too. We really enjoyed the Reading Terminal Market and the dozens of vendors and restaurants available there.
The October Show Schedule is pretty grueling. Early October starts with the New Hampshire Coin Expo in Manchester, NH. Ernie Botte, a dealer and the show promoter, does an excellent job with this show. Not only has it grown, but the new facilities are much improved. New Hampshire is a gorgeous state, especially this time of year. If you have the opportunity I highly recommend this show for a combined coin show/vacation trip.
The largest show in October is arguably the Silver Dollar Expo in St. Charles, MO. Both PCGS and NGC grade ‘on sight’ at this show and there is a Scotsman Rare Coin Auction. The Silver Dollar Expo moved to St. Charles from St. Louis several years ago and it has been a great improvement. The show itself is held in a new convention center connected to a very nice Embassy Suites. Although this show doesn’t have the attendance it once had, it is an excellent show and most of the major dealers as well as many Midwest dealers are represented. One note of interest is the new ANA Fall Show that will be held in Pittsburgh, PA the week following this show next year. The question is whether the grading services (PCGS and NGC) will try and grade on sight at both St. Louis and Pittsburgh next year on back to back weeks.
We are trying a new show in Portland, Oregon this year. The Willamette Club Show is held in Portland, OR at the Doubletree Hotel in downtown Portland. This is a new show for us although I have attended it a couple of times over the last ten years. Because this is a new show for us, I will have to hold off on any comments until next month.
One of the neatest shows to start in the last five years has to be the Coinfest. Coinfest has used some interesting, albeit quirky advertising flyers to promote their show. We attended our first Coinfest a couple of years ago and just ‘walked’ the bourse floor. Last year we took a table and this year we upgraded to a corner table. Coinfest is held in Stamford, CT which is an easy drive from the NYC metropolitan area. The show is just off I-95 and all the bigger East Coast dealers, as well as many from other parts of the country attend. This year the show is being held in a new facility at a Marriott Hotel near the Hilton Hotel show location from last year.
For those of you in the Rocky Mountain states, the Denver Coin Show held the last week of October is an excellent show. We have attended this show and enjoy it thoroughly, but a scheduling conflict between this and Coinfest forced us to skip this year’s Denver Fall Show.
The November show schedule starts off with possibly the best show being held in the U.S. annually. The Whitman Baltimore Coin Expo has developed into a must attend show for most dealers in the country. The facilities are more than adequate. There are lots of hotels, but you must book a room early. Baltimore’s Inner Harbor area, where the convention is held, is cool both historically and for just having fun. Public transportation is available with rail lines dropping off passengers very close to the convention center. Bowers and Merena Auctions hold a large and well attended auction in conjunction with the show also. The Baltimore Coin Expo is held three times a year, but the Fall show has always been the best of the three.
Although we probably will be unable to attend this year’s Fall Bay State Show in Boston, MA, I wanted to put in a good word for Ed Aleo and the work he has done running this show for several decades now. Ed has managed to schedule his show around lots of bigger major shows without getting stepped on time wise. This year’s show is the second week of November. The Bay State Show is held twice a year, in the Spring and Fall, at the Radisson Park Plaza Hotel just two blocks from Boston Commons. Boston is a cool city as most who attended the recent ANA convention there will attest. Boston has really given itself a makeover in recent years. As an added bonus, there is a Legal Seafood Restaurant right across the street.
There are dozens of coin shows every week somewhere in the U.S. We try to attend the larger shows, but I want to emphasize that we just can’t attend them all. There are lots of excellent shows we can’t attend. Unfortunately there aren’t enough weeks in a year. In next month’s Rare Coin Road Warrior I am going to list a few of the shows we don’t attend that I have heard good things about. As an example, Dave and Ginger Pike run several really good shows each year in Grapevine, TX, a suburb of Dallas. Dave and Ginger go out of their way to make dealers feel welcome and when we haven’t had a conflict with another show we have really enjoyed their show. If you have the opportunity you should attend.
Also in next month’s RCRW, I will discuss news from the October Shows we have attended as well as previewing the November Show Schedule. Bozarth Numismatics upcoming schedule includes the following shows:
New Hampshire Coin Expo, Manchester, NH October 8-10
Silver Dollar Show, St. Charles, MO October 14-16
Portland Coin Show, Portland, OR October 22-24
Coinfest, Stamford, CT October 28-30
Whitman Coin Show, Baltimore, MD November 4-7
Santa Clara Coin Expo, Santa Clara, CA November 18-20
Houston Money Show, Houston, TX December 1 PNG Day
Houston Money Show, Houston, TX December 2-4

September 2010

Hi, my name is Vic Bozarth and I am a Rare Coin Road Warrior. My wife Sherri and I own Bozarth Numismatics Inc. Last year we spent over 200 days on the road on nearly 45 different trips. As a professional numismatist and buyer for other companies I have been a ‘rare coin road warrior’ for nearly 25 years. My wife and I attend all major coin shows, as well as most large regional or state coin shows.
Many fellow numismatists and collectors have expressed an interest in hearing about our experiences during our coin show and buying trips. Recently I decided to write a short article each month on the shows we attend as well as the coin buying trips we take to different cities across the United States.
Buying NICE rare coins at reasonable prices becomes more difficult each year. There are a lot of logistical and security considerations we have to plan for with every trip. Not only do we have flights to book, but we also have to find a comfortable and safe hotel or motel preferably close to the show. If we have appointments with customers or other dealers we often rent a car. Those are most of the logistical considerations. Security is the biggest concern. We do have one big advantage. Because we are most often able to travel together, one of us can always watch the coins. We never leave our coins unattended.
Although we have tables at most shows, sometimes I buy an ‘Earlybird’ dealer badge and just attend a show by myself to buy only. During weeks with no major shows, we often fly to a major city and ‘hit’ the shops and offices of the coin dealers in that area. Over the years, I have visited virtually every major city in the continental United States at least once. Fortunately both my wife and I love to travel, because the schedule can be grueling.
Last week we attended the Illinois Numismatic Association show in a suburb of Chicago called Tinley Park. A couple of days before the show we flew in to Detroit, rented a car, and did some business with other dealers on our trip west to Chicago. We really enjoy these trips. Although we experienced a flight delay out of Houston due to bad weather from a tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico, we were able to see several dealers in Michigan before arriving at the ILNA show in Tinley Park.
The weather in Michigan and Chicago is gorgeous this time of year. The summer heat has softened and the nights are cool and comfortable. The folks with the ILNA Show did a great job in putting on the show despite the construction to enlarge the current convention center in Tinley Park. ILNA moved to this location a couple years ago. They are to be commended for running a good show in a location that has both safe and reasonably priced lodging and good restaurants.
Business on the bourse floor is always busy during dealer set-up. Getting ‘first shot’ at someone’s inventory is the prize for those lucky enough to get there first. Basically ‘first shot’ is what we dealers refer to as the person (usually a dealer) who gets to look at another dealer’s inventory before any other dealer looks. Often times you will hear, ‘Joe got first shot, but I still want to look’. Many dealers attend only a few shows a year and their inventory is ‘fresh’ to other dealers. They have often purchased coins from collections or estates that other dealers haven’t seen, thus the desire to get ‘first shot’.
I was able to get ‘first shot’ with a couple of dealers at the ILNA show and bought some neat items including an 1877 Indian Cent in GEM Proof. I was also able to purchase a couple of Carson City Double Eagles, a Charlotte Mint Half Eagle, and a Dahlonega Mint Half Eagle. Earlier in the trip I was able to pick up both an 1889CC and 1893CC Morgan in high grade circulated condition. These are all ‘slabbed’ PCGS or NGC graded coins. I was also able to ‘cherry pick’ a group of 1900-O/CC Morgans in mint state originally from BU rolls. I do buy a lot of uncertified U.S. coins, but these are sent for grading and certification before I list them on our website.
September has a couple of other interesting shows including two ‘biggies’. The Fall Long Beach, CA show begins on the 22nd, while the newer Whitman Philadelphia Coin Expo starts on the 30th. We will be attending the Long Beach Show and have a table at the Whitman Philadelphia Coin Show. These two shows, on opposite sides of the country, are ‘back to back’ and pose some difficult logistical problems. Many East/West coast dealers are going to skip one or the other because of the timing. Indeed, the two major grading services (PCGS and NGC) have both changed their schedules to grade only at the show ‘closer’ to home, although, they will both be accepting coins at both shows.
In next month’s RARE COIN ROAD WARRIOR column I will write about both of these shows as well as previewing the great show in Manchester, NH put on by my friend Ernie Botte. I will also preview the Silver Dollar Show in the super nice convention facility in St. Charles, MO.

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