Saturday I managed to coordinate a bus trip to the Whitman show in Philadelphia. It is too far for me to drive, see the show and then drive back.
Arriving at the show at around 11 o'clock, I found a well organized show with some nice exhibits and talks. But, there were too many tables empty, without dealers. At 12:50 I came upon the table of a dealer who I thought would have some of the Continental notes (Baltimore February 1777) I went to buy. He was packing and had to get out of there for an event at home and couldn't show me what was sitting in his case.
I was very unhappy to have spent the money and time to go about a hundred miles to a show which was more than disappointing. Except for the forthcoming A. N. A. convention in 2012 in Philadelphia, that was my last Philadelphia show. It was one of if not my worst coin shows in almost 40 years in numismatics. And, I don't necessarily measure shows by how much I buy. If coin dealers complain about their business level at shows, one of them at this show likely lost $300 to $1,000 in sales.
Alan V. Weinberg writes:
While it is true that many dealers were packing up mid-afternoon Saturday while the public was still heavy in the aisles, the overall impression I received from strolling the aisles Wednesday-Saturday was satisfaction with the show and all its amenities (carpeting, lighting, nearby hotels and restaurants and the nearby wonderful Reading Terminal "indoor farmer's market" with its hundreds of ethnic eating booths, together with a heavy neighborhood uniformed police presence.
While I did acquire three superb related pre-1900 American silver award medals in a "hotel buy", the highlight for me was the superbly catalogued Stack's Americana auction which had numerous what I term "opportunity only" items - items that appear so rarely that all the money and contacts in the world cannot find a duplicate. You just have to wait for the "opportunity".
With the fairly recent dispersal of the Ford and Norweb material and some material coming out of museums and historical societies (like the Maryland Historical Society November 2009 Stack's offerings) due to the economic downturn, these opportunities are there. And they seem to bring out all the "oldtime collectors" who otherwise rarely attend shows with their slabs as far as you can see.
One of the premier highlights of the show was the Chinese counterfeit session and the attendant two-case display of the best (so far) American counterfeits. The quality was both jaw-dropping and scary.
The session I attended was heavily attended & highly educational and it was stressed that the fakes passed around at the talk are months behind the sophistication recently seen and that the future holds really deceptive technological advances.
One of the main concerns expressed was the complete indifference of the US Customs Office in permitting these superb Chinese fakes to enter the country. They just pass them on through - even fakes of modern circulating coinage in "error" form. The speaker at these sessions (so heavily attended that it seems they expanded the sessions to other days) Dr. Greg DuBay actually has visited and befriended these Chinese counterfeiters with the purpose of expanding American collector knowledge about what's to come.
The show atmosphere was upbeat, attendance of collectors seemingly quite heavy and the show was a much improved show overall relative to the recent Los Angeles ANA and Long Beach shows. I really liked this area of Philadelphia and thought it ideal for a future ANA.
The Whitman Expo man-in-charge David Crenshaw let it be known that the 2010 Philadelphia Expo would be held Labor Day weekend. Whoa! All sorts of protests developed and the last I heard, Whitman responded and promptly re-scheduled the show four weeks later. Bravo!
General Manager David Crenshaw said the Expo will be held September 30-October 2, 2010 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.