The San Jose Coin Show, January 2014
Well, as of this moment I’m on the plane heading back to beautiful Los Angeles from San Jose. If this show is to be any indication of how the rest of 2014 is going to go, we’re in for an amazing year! Be sure to check out all the Coin Porn at the bottom of the page (drool-worthy coins we brought with us)!
I arrive at the shop to meet Shelley and Tyler right about 10am on Thursday morning, and with the debacle that became of our travel plans to the Concord Coin Show still fresh in our minds, I was satisfied that I had crossed all my t‘s and dotted all my i‘s.
…That notion was shattered in minutes as I discovered that we weren’t staying Thursday through Saturday like we normally do, but were staying an extra night over into Sunday. Whoopsies! It’s a good thing I just happened to bring an extra set of clothes in case it turned out to be colder than the weather forecasts were letting on.
Well, no big deal — that just meant I was getting an extra fun-filled night in San Jose! We pile into the car and head out at about 10:30, and fly all the way down to Burbank with virtually no traffic (unusual), valet the car and walk right up to curbside bag check (the place was deserted), and then walk right up to the front of the line for security (very unusual), and run our bags though the screening machines without getting pulled aside for extra security (shockingly unusual). We must have made it from the shop to the gate in about 40 minutes all told!
We make it to the little restaurant right by our gate (Burbank is tiny, so that little restaurant is pretty much right by all the gates) with plenty of time to spare for a bite to eat. Soon enough it’s time to line up for boarding, and as we’re in the A group we’re among the people crowded up in the very front. And then we wait. And wait. And wait some more.
Of course, all of that ‘no fuss, no hassles’ stuff had to come to an end eventually, and though they thought it was a good idea to line us up in our boarding group, they didn’t actually let us on the plane for about 20 minutes. Instead, we were treated to the lovely spectacle of a “mom” and her “three sons” boarding and disembarking all the way up and down the giant ramp over and over and over for a commercial they were filming. Once on the plane, the flight was half empty which really made the little 50 minute hop up north fly by. No one sat in my row, no kids screaming, no sick people coughing … just a quiet little ride with plenty of room to spread out.
We picked up our bags, which we could already see rolling along the carousel as we were entering baggage claim, picked up our rental car, and headed over to the DoubleTree hotel which is about a whole one-quarter of a mile away from the airport. After checking in and dropping our personal bags off in our rooms, we meet in the lobby at 3:00 to try to get some lunch before setup begins at 5:00.
I said “we tried”, because for some unknowable reason every single restaurant and bar in the Double Tree (there’s like 3 of ’em) is closed until 4pm. I don’t think I’ve ever been to a hotel where they were desperate to take your money and ply you with liquor before, but I suppose there’s a first time for everything. It wasn’t exactly the worst situation I’ve ever been in: we killed an hour in giant overstuffed chairs in front of a fireplace in the lobby, chatting to dealers as they wandered by and people watching.
As was the case the last two times we’ve been to the San Jose show, they were having a ballroom dancing competition of some sort, and it made for great people watching. Ladies in full stage makeup with the most elaborate hair do’s you can imagine, and gentlemen in spats and vests practicing in any available space all over the hotel. Just about every time we had a meal, it came with a show!
… also as was the case last year, we were let into the room about two-and-a-half hours late for setup. There was a flock of dealers in the hall and lobby, loaded down with carts and boxes and lamps, unable to go anywhere without hauling their entire inventory along with them. So they mostly just congregated. It was an odd sight, the herd of dealers pressing up to the dancers. We finally make it in around 7:30, and nearly everyone stayed late to not only get set up but also do some deals.
Right as it’s starting to die down, Charmy (also famously known as The Penny Lady) stopped by the table and filled me in on all the happenings with WIN (Women In Numismatics, she’s the incoming president for 2014), and much to my utter shock asked me if I would be the Vice President for the year. I haven’t officially said yes yet, but I think I’m going to. I’ve always thought it was a fantastic idea for an organization, and being offered a position of leadership is a real honor!
We left around 9 and went to have dinner at Spencer’s, a nice steak house right in the Double Tree. After dinner, Tyler and I hit the hotel bar and met up with Charmy, Logan and Cindy of VAMs & More, and Jim the Error coins guy. We had a great time with lots of laughs, until someone looked at their watch and realized it was 12:30! The little party broke up, but it was really nice to get to know everyone better.
Friday night I had dinner with two of my close friends and their two young boys; they drove all the way down from Danville (about a 45 minute drive each way), and though I hardly ever get to see them I tried to talk them out of making that sort of haul just for dinner! They ignored me and came anyway, and I’m so glad they did — even a couple hours spent with good friends can really reinvigorate a girl! I went back to the bar after they left and hung around for about an hour doing some work on my iPad (writing what you’re reading right now) and to see if any familiar faces would float by. A couple of drinks later, I went back up to the room to get ready for Saturday morning.
Saturday morning started off slow, but by 11 o’clock we were slammed. We bought a metric ton of really fun stuff (see the Coin Porn section at the bottom), and sold a bunch as well. By Saturday afternoon I knew that this was going to be a record breaking small-show for us, and indeed it was. We didn’t have a chance to even look up and forage for food until 4:30 that afternoon, when it got considerably slower. The public had mostly filtered out, and a significant number of dealers were packing up to head home that night like we usually do … staying through Sunday is a real anomaly for us. Charmy kicked up the music, and it basically turned into a coin dealer party with a lot of idle chatting and goodbyes.
Tyler and Shelley were both giant pansies wiped out, so they went to unwind in their rooms for a while I, once again, found myself in the bar. I know it sounds like I’m in bars 24/7, but in my defense I’m usually working (albeit with a drink in hand). I found Charmy again, and we talked about her great ideas to breathe new life into WIN – including a “Women In Numismatics Calendar” that could be sold as a fundraiser!
I discovered that WIN did a calendar for two years in the late 1980’s, and that our very own Shelley was on the cover of one! Speaking of, if anyone out there has a copy of that calendar, I would kill for a copy of it. Charmy seemed to think that I belonged on the hood of a black Ferrari – I told her I’d consider it if she’d let me know several weeks in advance so I could just stop eating altogether.
It was actually a good thing we had lunch so late, because the restaurant we wanted to go to to celebrate was booked until 9 o’clock. It was so worth the wait. Left Bank Brassiere is in downtown San Jose’s adorable Santana Row. They block off traffic, and let people meander through the streets between all the high end and boutique shops and restaurants; and there’s a giant median in the center of the road, with little “pocket bars” under light-strewn trees.
Perhaps the best part of the night was a conversation we had that was inspired by a conversation I had had with a CoinTalker. I had mentioned to him that I was making an effort this time around to take more pictures in general, and especially of coins when he quipped something like “coin porn is always cool”. I told Shelley and Tyler this at dinner, because it had almost killed me at the time – COIN PORN! Why didn’t I think of that?! Tyler then blurts out very loudly “I LOVE PORN!!” It fell silent for a few beats as everyone in the nearby area turned to look at him. He had meant coin porn, but that didn’t stop us from laughing at him for a solid 5 minutes.
Sunday morning was slow and lazy, and we hit the bourse floor all packed up and ready to go straight to the airport. There wasn’t any public to speak of, and only a scant few coins trading hands … mostly it was just people who had been too tired or had too long of a trek home to make it Saturday night, and their only purpose for staying over to Sunday was to make their travel day easier, not particularly to do any more business. And thus, Sunday rolled to a leisurely close; we got to the airport several hours early and had lunch and relaxed in a restaurant immediately across form our gate. An easy day, and a nice way to end another great coin show!!
As before, here are a few random bullet points of things I thought were humorous and/or interesting that didn’t really fit in anywhere else:
Cisco (Dozer’s father introduced from the Concord Show) was there at the show once again; he’s the least scary guard dog I’ve ever seen. Sweet as sugar. Logan said with disdain “he’s a crotch sniffer.” Jaime the security guard pipped up and said “I taught him well”.
Shelley made Justin/Daniel from Concord blush furious red and cough and sputter and hide behind his folder for 10 full minutes when she leaned forward and said “Anything for you”. All the dealers around us were laughing at his unending blushing.
- Young Numismatist Ben regaled us with the tale of the hole in his knee and his 11 surgical staples. By the end of the show he was hobbling around on crutches, but still wheeling and dealing. You go, boy!
- Call me paranoid, but I am immediately suspicious of anyone who walks into a coin show wearing a parka that looks like it belongs in Antarctica when it’s 75 degrees out. He was receiving evil-death-glares from nearly every dealer, but seemed oblivious.
- Apparently Charmy bought a coin from Tyler on the condition that he would talk me in to agreeing to be the VP of WIN.
The security guard crew (Marilyn, Jaime, Mandy and “new to me guy”) were all very interested in the fact that I not only have a blog now, but that I talk about them and Cisco in it! They seemed surprised that I would bother to include them, even though they’re an integral part of the shows and always friendly. I know the truth though: people want to see more Cisco!