kranky's PAN show report
It's been over a year since I was out at a show, so being vaccinated and with protocols in place, I was eager to go. Worked at PTVETTER's table for the 3-day Pennsylvania Association of Numismatists show in Pittsburgh. I've been doing this for over 10 years at these twice-yearly shows and this one was one of the best ever. This is a great regional show - supply dealer, competitive exhibits, a big kids program, and eight educational presentations spanning Friday-Saturday. A new feature was having tables for national and area clubs. I have to give a shout-out to the Western Pennsylvania Numismatic Society - they are celebrating their 142nd year, founded in 1878 (one of the founders was George Clapp). You have to be solid to have an organization last that long.
Compared to the last one I attended, it was a LOT bigger - probably 20% more tables, ended up with 150 total. I don't think they could have squeezed in more than a couple more. Many dealers I hadn't seen there before. Dealers from as far away as Wyoming, Michigan and Florida. We were very busy and I spoke to two dealers who said it was their best show ever, and there were surely others as well. The attendance was a record, up 25% from a couple years ago. People were buying.
The exhibits were great as usual - a very large exhibit of Westinghouse Company exonumia and memorabilia, Alabama scrip, 12 examples of CC Double Eagles, many others. I was fascinated by the specialization of the one featuring Leprosy Coinage of Brazil from the Colonia Santa Teresa colony. I have no idea how someone managed to get a complete set of the tokens used there as currency.
I appreciated that a prominent dealer (thanks, you know who you are) let me ogle some fantastic pieces that he did not have displayed for sale - some super Barber halves (one was a 1892-S 67 CAC), and some pieces of California gold from 65 to 67PL. I had not previously seen any PL Cal gold, those were very cool.
Also saw this piece, had never encountered one like it before (sorry for the lighting glare):
The original owner actually MADE the holder. His hobby was making plastic holders, and I was told he had made many, many plastic holders for his coins.
Found it interesting that premiums for silver were quite beefy. A few people who wanted to buy some balked at the premiums but there were no bargains to be had, and many came back and bought anyway. There was a lot of interest in silver, a little less for gold. Morgans were also hot, a lot of dealers were buying as well.
Only unpleasant experience was someone wanting to sell a large quantity of 90% dimes/quarters/halves. We offered a price and the customer handed over roll after roll out of a small cooler he carried. We unwrapped every roll, counted each piece, pulled out some clad halves and gave those back. Wrote down totals, put each denomination into separate bags. Calculated a pretty big total. Then the customer said OK, picked up the bags after copying down our totals, and walked away to sell them to another dealer who apparently wasn't willing to do the 20 minutes of processing that we did. What can you do?
We typically sell a bunch of proof sets at this show but not this time. Not sure if the Mint's relentless price hikes are killing interest but a few years ago we would sell dozens at this show but this show I think it was just a handful.
Overall one of the best shows I can remember. They might need to find a larger venue for the next one.
New collectors, please educate yourself before spending money on coins; there are people who believe that using numismatic knowledge to rip the naïve is what this hobby is all about.