Three times a year the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Expo is held at the Baltimore Convention Center. For many years I have attended each and every one, except for March of this year when my flight was canceled due to weather.
The most recent show was last week, opening for dealers on Wednesday afternoon and for the public at noon on Thursday. The bourse was completely sold out. Stack’s Bowers Galleries held multiple auction sessions covering just about every aspect of American coins, tokens, medals, and paper money. The highlight was Joel Anderson’s $1,000 1890 “Grand Watermelon note” which crossed the block at $2.04 million, or about twice what Mr. Anderson paid for it in 2005. At that earlier time, Tom Denly represented him and purchased it for slightly over $1 million, the first note in world numismatic history to cross that mark.
The Colonial Coin Collectors Club, nicknamed C4, held its annual meeting at the Expo, including a fine dinner with presentations by several speakers, and a lot of camaraderie at the C4 booth. Complementing this was the Archangel Collection of early American coins and other related pieces in the Stack’s Bowers auction. The auction sessions also included federal Proof notes from the Caine Collection, fiscal paper from the John Herzog Collection, and federal coins from half cents to double eagles to commemoratives—something for everyone.
Whitman, with its three yearly expos and with the publication of over 300 book titles since 2003, has been one of the most dynamic influences on the rare coin hobby. Today in 2018 the market is very strong with lots of buyers, although many prices are slightly down from the market high in August 2013. Most buyers today are not investors but are serious collectors.
Here is a secret: Over a long period of years serious collectors who carefully acquire and study coins have fared far better in price appreciation than have buyers whose only interest is investment and who have not learned numismatic basics.
Enjoy the week, and Happy Halloween!