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Coin Shows, the Dealer Experience

Originally published on March 29 2016

As a coin dealer, attending a major show requires days of preparations. Since a coin show is part of a day to day business continuum, then attention to details is paramount since the schedule is non-stop and exhausting. Each customer has personal service expectations and ensuring that every individual enjoys their visit at the GFRC table takes preparations. Travel arrangements and bourse floor locations were previous settled so the focus shifts to ensuring that nothing is left behind when traveling to the show. Packing the best possible inventory mix is a foremost priority as what may sell well in Baltimore may not be optimum for Denver, as an example. Also important for air flight travel is carry on restrictions which limits the amount of inventory that can be brought to a show.

Then there are the business accessories including computer/barcode scanner, extension cords, receipt pads, case liners, business cards and small bill change purse. A check list is best to ensure nothing is left behind. So are the preparations done at this point? Probably not..... Certain customers request that their raw coins purchases be submitted to the TPGs at the show. Other customers request a show pick up of their purchase. TPG submission forms must be prepared along with receipts for the show pick-ups.

Great! Travel day arrives and transport to the airport takes place. Immediately, security becomes the top priority. Transporting inventory means never allowing bags to leave one's control. TSA screening at the airport is unpredictable. Allowing an extra 45 minutes for a private screening is standard procedure if carrying tightly packed larger denomination coins. Once at the destination, then transport from airport to convention center security is the next priority. Finally, the inventory bags are placed in security and then the attention immediately shifts to meeting with wholesalers for gaining "first shot" at their new inventory. Meetings take place with less than optimum lighting conditions and quick purchase decisions are made. If enough time is available, an auction lot preview may be in order for assessing the quality of new coins entering the market via that channel. The day ends typically with an important client dinner and back to hotel room to write the following morning's Daily Blog. Are we tired yet?

Dealer setup day arrives with attending dealer congregating for bourse floor access. Meeting fellow dealers is always a pleasure and then the door opens with the rush to access the bourse floor. Upon arriving at the designated table, a quick inspection determines if the show promoter was efficient. In the signage correct? Are the reserved number of cases and lights available? If so, I count my good fortunes and then immediately move into display case setup. While setting up cases, here come the vest pocket wholesalers asking for prices on coins as they are placed into cases. No pressure here as the coins are exposed to potential theft! These dealers are typically after PCGS OGH, NGC Fatty and ANACS old white holdered coins looking for the upgrades and profit!

Finally, the cases are populated and locked. The computer is powered up along with a mobile hotspot. Then the wholesale dealers trailing inventory in suitcases arrive asking "if you are buying". Maybe a colleague asked for a "favor" for a show turn TPG submission which means running to the TPG booth and hoping there is not a long line. All cases must be locked and hopefully, one does not misplace the case keys!

The bourse floor opens to the public and customers arrive. One hopes that the inventory is appropriate and that a profit will be made after all the show expenses and efforts. Manning the GFRC table (Table 818 by the way) will be a lot of fun after setup as many LSCC members will just hang out and share their coins among themselves.

Special Comments...If you attend a coin show as an Early Bird and start visiting dealers during their setup period, then please understand that dealers are not in a position to conduct small talk. If I'm placing inventory in cases, then please respect the fact that this task needs to be done quickly for security reasons. There is always ample time to chat once the bourse floor formally opens for business. And lastly, please don't bring the CDN or GreySheet to the GFRC table. Purchase expectations for quality early type at wholesale or below is unjustified and frankly, indicates a lack of respect for the dealer and all of his efforts.