Baltimore June 2017: Day One (Thursday) free version (a.k.a. kids have the life)
My experience was a little different than our pal, @EVillageProwler so I'm starting a new thread. Yes, I am still alive - thank G'd - and have not been eaten by a yeti
Some of you may recall that I'm a musician. I was in Baltimore on Thursday and Friday for a gig (coincidence? ), and my family just happened to be tagging along. I got out of rehearsal at 3:30 PM, picked up my son, and we rode the Light Rail downtown. He loves trains (as do I) so this was great fun. Bonus, rides are free until 6/30!
By the time we arrived at the convention center stop, it was about 4:30 PM. Bourse closed at 6:00, so we had to move fast. There was an Orioles game that evening. Lots of energy on the street. This helped. Once inside, we ran all the way from the west to east end! Riding down the escalators, it felt very welcoming with daylight pouring through the many windows and skylights. The woman at the desk was pleasant. Registering was quick; no line. She saw my son's eyes peeking over the counter, asked his age, and handed him two free coins in cardboard 2x2 ... darkside! Win! Thank you! He placed them in his pocket and we trotted inside.
Straight b-line to the "Kids Korner." Sorry, @CIVITAS we jogged right past your table. I wanted to stop but my son wouldn't have it. The Kids Korner minder handed him a new Lincoln Cent cardboard album and a giant canvas bank sack. He went to town! Who doesn't love giant sacks of coins? While he worked, I grabbed a word search and coloring exercise for later. When he finished, I congratulated him and we began to walk off. "No, no" said the lady, "this is yours to keep!" Really?! Wow, thanks Whitman!
So we put that in our bag very graciously, and began to walk away. Then she added, addressing him directly, "would you like to reach into the treasure chest?" At this point, my jaw dropped slightly. They had a giant treasure chest box full of more - wait for it - darkside coins in 2x2s! She invited him to reach in, grab a handful, and keep whatever he could handle. I think he was just as surprised as me. He reached his two little kid hands inside and grabbed about 25 coins! We thanked them again, multiple times, and then ... she opened a glass case filled with slabs and US Mint proof sets, and asked if he wanted to pick one. Now my eyebrows are up. These are $5 items. Considering this show is free to the public, and this was not a raffle prize ... I felt it was exceedingly generous. So, naturally, my son opted for a shiny 5-coin 50 State Quarters proof set (2000s) instead of a single-coin NGC slab.
Now we really had to be moving on, because I was growing tired and perhaps a little uncomfortable from saying "wow, thank you so much!" so many times in that raised parent-talking-to-kids voice. We made it maybe halfway down the aisle before I saw one of my oldest friends, John Wilson.
If you're an ANA member, you'll recognize John and his lovely wife, Nancy. Two of the kindest souls I've ever met in the hobby and very active since forever ago. It was great to catch up, and see his passion for the hobby still going strong. It was inspiring. I registered my son for his first year of membership, and to my surprise John handed us a TON of stuff. Wooden nickels from past shows around the country, a wooden dollar bill, some paper notes, a stock certificate from Pennsylvania RR, and my personal favorite; the Wilsons' custom elongated nickel from the World's Fair of Money. Oh, and of course the latest issues of Numismatist and Coin World.
When we came up for air, I realized most dealers had left for the day. I wanted to buy something. Not because my son needed a souvenir - he was good! - but to pay it forward and keep things circulating. We found a dealer with Somalian car and motorcycle coins. Wish I could remember his name. My son picked out the red motorcycle. Done. He's super excited, I'm feeling a little better about walking around with a bag of free gifts. Then we made it to the bookstore, where I found a really neat "Search and Save" Abraham Lincoln book. Color photos, great history in kid vocabulary, and a mini cardboard album in the back hardcover. Deal.
Then I spot Don Kagin's table. Like the Wilsons, he's always been extremely kind to me over the past 25-30 years. Full of knowledge, always willing to stop and talk and give of his time. I always learn something from him. I missed David McCarthy, who is my talking-about-guitars-at-the-coin-show buddy. Hope you're well, David!
On our way out of the bourse, my son spotted a glass case with a light-up hat and glasses. "Look daddy! Blue glasses that light up!" When we approached to see, the dealer opened it up, grabbed a $5 casino chip, and handed it to me. I mean, really! This has to be the friendliest, most generous room I have EVER walked. Maybe I'm overstating, but this is certainly how it felt.
Friday I was in the recording studio all day, 10 AM - 6 PM, and Saturday my gig was in Chattanooga. My only regret is that I couldn't return to the show once more to visit all my forum friends and find some NEWPs for myself.
Thanks for reading!