On Saturday, my fiance was celebrating a birthday and we found an overnight babysitter for the kiddies, so my time at the show was restricted to the morning. I also had promised a good friend of mine, a well-regarded wholesale dealer, and his lovely wife a ride out to the airport around noon.
I got to the show just before the public was unleashed Saturday morning and found what I always find at a Saturday Baltimore, the dealer exodus had begun. Many of the dealers leave Friday night or first thing Saturday morning, as the out-of-towners typically wrap up their business by Friday. Hurrying now to the airport to catch a flight, many depart the bourse no later than noon on Saturday. As the new landscape emerges, many of the dealers still inhabiting the bourse by Saturday afternoon and again Sunday are locals who hope to snag a few more last minute transactions before heading home.
My last hours of retail time featured a few wonderful Seated Dollar conversations, me giddy about confirming the 1847 OC-4 Reverse state B cud on Friday (I know, I’m a nerd!) and the sale of a really nice Seated Half Dollar to a good buddy of mine. Too soon was it time to wrap up business and lock up my wares, then off to BWI and the birthday festivities of that day.
Jens family had a nice birthday celebration planned for 3pm at an Italian restaurant just outside the city and, until my little guy Jack hit the grouchy, pre-nap toddler wall, I was quite enjoying the afternoon. Jack and I took a nap-drive, soon thereafter he was out and dreaming of trains and trucks. Jen and I somehow talked her younger sister into taking the kiddies for an overnight adventure and so we quickly planned an escape into the city for that evening.
We enjoyed our free night with a walk in the Inner Harbor, a stop at the Hard Rock Cafe and then a quick jaunt to Power Plant Live. Once there we enjoyed a few adult libations at Howl at the Moon before the piece de resistance, the Horseshoe Casino. At the casino, we mostly enjoy walking about and people watching. We played the penny and quarter slots. The entertainment of people-watching typically pays for itself. After a few games, and realizing a 3pm linner (lunch/dinner) would not hold us for the night, we started looking for a place within the casino to eat. We settled on the Gordon Ramsey steakhouse, which until we sat I didn’t realize was a close relative in pricing to Ruths’ Chris and the Capitol Grille. Startled but resolved to put a wonderful cherry on the top of her birthday, we enjoyed a fantastic, albeit expensive dinner .
Having finished up about 1am and coming to the realization that we had to wrap up at the bourse and pick up kiddies around noon the next day, we decided to play another hour and head to the hotel. I had given Jen a hundred dollar bill to gamble with for her birthday and so we hit the penny slots again, this time Jen found a slot she felt good about and I, her trusty shadow, aimed to keep her company while I milked my twenty bucks on the slot next to hers. Jen did well, got up to almost four hundred bucks before I finally convinced her to cash out with just over three-hundred. My twenty got to sixty before I cashed out at a penny! Unfortunately, the penny I received when cashing out was not a 55 double die. Oh well. We had a great time celebrating her big day.
Sunday morning we enjoyed breakfast before heading to the convention center to pack up and depart the show for good. Sunday is a virtual ghost town on the bourse. The show, which opened with nearly three hundred dealer tables, sported perhaps twenty or so dealers remaining as we left. Jen doesn’t always come to the show with me, mostly because finding a sitter is not easy and also because it is impossible when I travel. We have kiddies and kitties, so someone needs to be running the homestead at all times. Before departing we said hello to some of our local dealer friends who remained. I heard a neat story from a local dealer about an 1800 proof set he purchased on a Sunday in Baltimore which included all but a few of the gold coins. I’ve personally done about 5 Sundays in Baltimore and only sold one coin, a proof Trade Dollar, which was promptly returned to me two months later after not “crossing” into a PCGS holder. Although beyond the time allowed, I accepted the return to avoid internet chat room hostilities. Needless to say, I don’t set up on Sunday!
All in all, another good show put on by the fine folks at Whitman had come to an end. So long Baltimore! Central States is up next in late April. See you there.
Brian P. Cushing