Early Thursday morning I stopped by the United States Mint display (booth 705) to talk coins with the always friendly and helpful sales staff. These guys know their stuff, so when you visit, I encourage you to pick their brains and offer your opinions. Sales wouldn’t start until the general public was allowed on the bourse at 12 noon, so I made a note to come back later in the show and buy a couple medals for my collection.
A visit with bookseller Charles Davis to browse his selection of numismatic literature is always a highlight of any big coin show. Stop by booth 1062 and be prepared to be wowed by the depth and breadth of beautifully illustrated and well-researched books in our hobby. Charlie is a walking encyclopedia himself, so the conversations at his table are always interesting. I picked up a couple additions for my home library, and Charlie showed me some old Red Books with unusual features.
I enjoyed meeting and chatting with Byron Weston, one of the coauthors of the new book Contemporary Counterfeit Halfpenny and Farthing Families, a nicely illustrated and laid-out presentation of a rich historical subject. Published by the Colonial Coin Collectors Club (C4), the volume is printed on demand—a good use of modern technology for specialized publishing.
An important meeting with ancient-coin specialist Harlan J. Berk firmed up our plans to publish a second edition of his influential book 100 Greatest Ancient Coins. It was a pleasure to spend nearly an hour in far-ranging numismatic conversation with Harlan. After many, many years dealing in every aspect of the hobby, he has more stories than the old Sears Tower (a four-minute walk from his famous storefront in the heart of Chicago’s financial district). We’re excited to be updating his popular book to a new edition this year.
Back at the Whitman Publishing booth, I met up with Jeff Garrett, past president of the American Numismatic Association and longtime professional coin dealer, who this year has been named senior editor of the Guide Book of United States Coins. Kenneth Bressett is semi-retiring to the role of editor emeritus, with Q. David Bowers continuing in his position as research editor.
Unfortunately, Ken was sidelined in Colorado by the snowstorm that hit Baltimore earlier this week, and Dave’s flight from New Hampshire was also canceled. The crowds who showed up for their 2:00 and 4:00 book signings were disappointed but understood the situation, and were happy to have Jeff there to autograph the new 2019 Red Books that debuted at the Expo. We raffled off free copies of the hardcover and had delicious Red Book cookies to share.
There’s an unusual kind of energy on the bourse this week. Wholesale/trading business seems a bit slower than usual, but retail customers I’ve talked to are very happy. I talked with collectors who know that some hobbyists were stymied by the weather and weren’t able to make their way into Baltimore. Those who made it to the Expo are having fun and taking advantage of the wealth of offerings on the bourse.
Walking around the show led me to conversations with Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee chair Mary N. Lannin; Pennsylvania Association of Numismatists president (and ANA governor) Tom Uram; “Coin Dealers Helping Coin Dealers” director Rob Oberth; author and gold-coin expert Doug Winter; longtime Red Book contributor and coin dealer Robert Rhue; Flying Eagle and Indian Head cent specialist Rick Snow; writer and Americana dealer John Kraljevich; world coin and medal numismatist Allen G. Berman; dealers Andy Lustig and Julian Leidman; and others.
The 2018 Spring Baltimore Expo, like the bright sunny weather outside the Convention Center, is just warming up.