You Don’t Have To Miss A Thing

Posted on August 16, 2010 by

Coin shows are great opportunities to buy and sell coins, meet old friends (and make new ones), learn about coins, view great exhibits, and bid on coins at auction.

Twenty or thirty years ago, it was absolutely essential to attend coin shows if you were a serious dealer or collector.  If you weren’t there, you simply weren’t part of the action…or part of the fun.

My, how things have changed.  Thanks to the Internet and modern technology, missing a coin show does not mean missing out completely.  Here are some ways to participate in a coin show even if you can’t make it in person.

Coin auctions. Before the Internet, it was impossible to buy coins at auction unless you either viewed the coins in person or had someone represent you.  Pictures in catalogs were limited in size, thus it was difficult to see what a coin really looked like.  Also, you could not control your bids like you might have wanted to.  If you needed to adjust your bids as the auction progressed, it was difficult or impossible to do so.  Today, all of the major auction houses post their auctions on-line, complete with over-sized images that show the coin in great detail.  Most auction houses have sophisticated programs that allow you to bid online.  If you want to “stretch” on a coin you really want, keep hitting that BID button.  If you’ve reached your spending limit, turn off your computer.  You can do it all from the comfort of your home.

What’s happening? If you can’t be there, it’s nice to know what’s going on.  Today, lots of dealers and collectors post regular updates so that we know all about the show activity, the venue, the general state of the market, etc.  For example, I saw several posts about the recent ANA convention on the PCGS Message Boards, Facebook, and Twitter.  Dealer websites often feature interesting posts and updates (one of my favorites are the Road Reports on coinraritiesonline; another are the sometimes fiery commentary from Legend Numismatics).  Also, it’s very easy to stay in close touch with people at the show via email (most of today’s cell phones allow emailing and text messaging) or by cell phone.  Blog postings by our own David Hall and Don Willis kept us up-to-date on important happenings and announcements.  Finally, the same programs that run the coin auctions let you see the auction prices realized almost immediately after the sale.

“First shot.” Nothing can replace being the first person to view coins in a dealer’s case.  However, many dealers are quick to upload their new inventory so that those of us at home can still have a chance at coins we need or want.  For instance, Doug Winter posted on Saturday that he would have all of his new inventory listed on his website the next day and that all of the unsold coins would be imaged by Monday.  I would not be surprised if he sold most of his new purchases by the end of the week, because he has a big following of eager buyers who couldn’t make it to the show.

Being at home doesn’t mean you have to be out of the picture.  Use the Internet and today’s technology to enjoy a coin show almost as much as if you were there.  And, keep in the back of your mind that one thing hasn’t changed over they years: the expense, time, and hassle of travelling.

Have fun!

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