The ANA Atlanta Show, February 2014
Just a month after the Long Beach show, it was time to pack our bags once again and head off to the Mid-Winter ANA show in Atlanta! This was my first time visiting Atlanta, and while I can’t exactly say I saw any of the city as we barely left the hotel that is attached directly to the convention center, it was still a great experience. The show itself is hardly going to be show of the year, (for us or anyone else, from what we heard), but coins were still trading hands and there were plenty of sights to be seen.
Also, let me apologize in advance: I didn’t take nearly as many pictures as I should have this time! Be sure to check out the Coin Porn section at the bottom of the page!
Wednesday morning Mal, David Hunt, and I met up at the shop before heading off to LAX, where we had plenty of time to grab a bite to eat before our flight departed at noon. It left on time (shocking!), and we actually managed to get in about 20 minutes early thanks to a strong tail-wind. There was a long moment of panic at baggage claim as the carousel stopped turning leaving the 3 of us, and some 5 other people without any of our bags. The crisis was averted quickly enough as we all discovered our bags mysteriously lined up against the far wall, so we piled into a taxi and spent about 30 minutes on the road before we reached the hotel and convention center.
We checked in and paused just long enough to toss our bags inside our rooms before meeting back in the lobby to have dinner, as it was already nearly 8 o’clock. I was so hungry I ran back down to meet Mal and David with no makeup, hair in a bun, wearing my traveling yoga pants & shirt, so of course we ran into a bunch of people we knew. I was hoping to scrape by only seeing one or two familiar faces, but everyone was doing the exact same thing we were — dump the bags and forage for food.
Dinner was good but not great, the service slow but friendly; for most of dinner I was treated to fishing stories as told by Mal and David. David doesn’t even like fishing, but man can he tell a good story!
It wasn’t too long before Mr. Michael “Miles” Standish found us and stopped by for a good chat — I had spoken with him online before, but it was great to be able to really get to know him better in person.
After dinner, Mal went to bed but David and I were ready to hit the bar. I told him I needed an hour to shower, do my hair, and throw some clothes on and he seemed absolutely appalled by the the length of time I required. Sure enough, right about an hour later we hit the bar.
There were a fair number of familiar faces there, but it was Miles Standish who found us a short time later. He and David go way back (David’s been in the industry forever and a day, but hasn’t traveled to a show for some time), and the stories those two reminisced over … geez. All I can say is the 80’s were a hell of a time for rock-star-like coin dealers and all the shenanigans that implies.
With Mr. Standish was Nelly, his cute little black poodle / service dog. She was one of the most laid back dogs I’ve ever seen, and through it was super loud and noisy in the bar she was melting in his arms doing her best to go to sleep right in the middle of it all. Throughout the rest of the show I would catch glimpses of him taking her out for a walk, and it never ceased to be cute. Soon enough it was time for bed, and we parted ways with optimism for the next day.
Anyone who knows me at all knows that I am not a morning person. My idea of “the morning” is about 10am, which can make life especially difficult on the road in a different time zone. Nonetheless, I was proud (and everyone else was shocked) that I manged to make it down at 8:30am for breakfast with the boys; sort of. Mal and David were just getting up to leave.
I took over the table and ordered breakfast, and mere moments later I hear Michael of The KMJ Group calling to someone else “Sorry, Steve, I’m leaving you — she’s prettier than you are.” Mike pulled up a chair and we discussed metaphysics and the nature of absolute and relative truths over eggs and bacon before making our way over to the bourse floor.
Almost immediately, we were beset with computer/internet connectivity/printer issues. All three, all at once, and bad. I think it would be fair to say that I spent about 85% of my time over 3 days fighting with our tech in one way or another. Simple tasks that should have taken 60 seconds became 20 minute affairs as I alternately pleaded with, flattered (you’re looking great today, have you lost weight?), and threatened our equipment.
I also spent a great deal of time on the phone with not only our IT guy, but also Jenny Gulde’s. She may be the nicest human being on the planet, and around 3pm on Thursday she let us use her printer (it just so happens we use the exact same model) for the rest of the day as we ordered our spare printer over-nighted in.
Tech issues aside, the first sale of the show was a big one, and I’ve already seen our lovely coin reposted on several people’s Facebook walls. Our gorgeous 1895 Proof Morgan in NGC PF68 Ultra Cameo left us. My cell phone quick-pic can’t do it justice, but I tried!
As others have said, the dealer to dealer business was strong but there was essentially no public for the entire show. We all hoped that with the media frenzy surrounding the Saddle Ridge Hoard, there would be a good turn out on Saturday but sadly even that failed to materialize. We had maybe 3 retail sales the entire show.
Of course, I had stop by and see the Saddle Ridge coins for myself. They were front and center in a tall glass display case at Kagin’s booth, and by chance when I stopped by it was slow enough that David McCarthy (I’d gotten to hang out with him for a night at the FUN Show, he’s a great guy) was able to talk to us for a bit about them and the process they’d been through for the last year.
I also made my way through the ANA’s exhibits, the highlights of which had to be an 1804 Dollar and a 1913 V Nickel side by side in the same display box, as well as a ton of lovely certified Dahlonega gold.
The end of the day rolled around, and Mal and David and I all split up to go have dinner with friends. Jenny Gulde, Steven Schuch, Crystal Vick, and Jenny’s cousin Terra and I all met for a few rounds of cocktails in the hotel bar before wandering over to a fun sports bar attached to the convention center called Jocks & Jills for dinner. Dinner was surprisingly delicious, but that may also have been because I had skipped lunch entirely.
We found ourselves back in the Waverly’s bar, and the charming Preston from US Coins joined us. It was a fun night, but eventually the group broke apart. Right as I was pondering heading up to bed, I get a text from David Hunt saying he’s back at the bar. I turn around and sure enough, there he is with John Granger. The three of us ended up staying up until about 1:30am, long after they kicked us out of the bar, hanging out in the lobby while David told more stories. That man has the most ridiculous stories. I could devote an entire section on my site to those stories (and maybe I should after changing names to protect the “innocent”)!
Friday morning snuck up on me, and though I skipped breakfast I still didn’t get down to the floor until 9:20. This is what I mean about not being a morning person … and of course it has nothing to do with staying up until all hours the night before.
CoinTalker C-B-D aka John stopped by the table for a chat and I tried my best to persuade him to stick around after the show to see the other side of the show — the drinks and drinking-dealer side! If you’ve never been able to hang around after a show, you should find a way to make it happen. There’s usually one hotel where a majority of dealers stay, and quietly finding a seat in the bar of that hotel can not only lead to some awesome people-watching, but one can overhear the darndest things. And, of course, you get to meet and talk with the dealers outside of show-mode! We can be quite different people when we don’t have our Serious Business faces on!
Well, I wasn’t able to convince him this time, but one of these days I hope he’ll stay! Almost immediately after John took off I hear “You wouldn’t be Amanda, would you?” Thus I also had the pleasure of meeting CoinTalker Jody aka Jallengomez, and three other people from the Collector’s Universe forums (and unfortunately I lost the paper with their names and handles on it).
After a few more standard-but-not-thrilling show hours, Mal and David and I headed up to our rooms to change before meeting up for cocktails and dinner. I was the first one to make it back down, and almost immediately John Granger showed up with Corey Duke in tow. I’d met Corey in passing before, but sitting down and getting to talk with him at length was a real pleasure.
John and Corey accepted our invitation to have dinner with us, and the 5 of made our way to a place called the Blue Ridge Grill. Absolutely everything on everyone’s plate was to die for. The corn souffle was especially delicious despite its odd sounding name, and everyone was surprised that we ended up having the best meal of our trip there.
Once we got back from dinner, everyone was pretty tired from the festivities of the night before, and though I contemplated checking out the bar scene again I decided to pretend like I’m responsible and try to hit the hay early. Saturday morning would be my first Women In Numismatics (WIN) meeting, and my first meeting as the Vice President of WIN — and it was at 7:30am.
The board meeting ran Saturday morning from 7:30am to 9:00am, and it was a surprisingly productive meeting. To be honest, I was a little unsure about the status of WIN when I agreed to be Vice President, but I left feeling extremely optimistic — with Charmy Harker (aka The Penny Lady) as our President, we’re going to shake things up more than a little! I ended up ducking out of the general meeting a little early at 9:30 to hit the show room floor.
There had been virtually no public Thursday through Friday, but we had held out some hope that with the all the media attention, a decent crowd would turn up for the Saddle Ridge hoard. It didn’t. Saturday morning was extremely slow. Most dealers were doing what we were doing: tying up loose ends, and packing.
One thing that was nice about the slow-as-a-snail pace of Saturday morning was that I was able to take my time and wander around to say long goodbyes to friends. At one of my stops, a dealer who shall remain nameless who is normally very sharply dressed was wearing a hoodie and jeans, looking a little worse for the wear with a huge spread of junk food and 4 bottles of Gatorade spread out between him and a friend. Clearly I had missed out on a good night.
And of course, at last it was time to go home. The trip home was uneventful, and we were very happy to see the lights of lovely Los Angeles come into view. When all was said and done, it was your typical Mid-Winter ANA show: sluggish. Not spectacular, not horrible. And we certainly did have some good times!
And now, the “famous” bullet points.
- Jenny took her heeled boots off and was wandering around the hotel in her cute polkadot socks after dinner.
- Terra got a little crazy and threatened to wrestle with Jenny. Unfortunately, this did not come to pass.
- Crystal told us her assistant Terra is here at her first coin show, having only joined up with John Hamrick in December. Terra sold her first coin on her first day — for $20,000.
- I was at the bar buying a bottle of water and a gentleman I didn’t know started making fun of me for buying water. A lot of fun.
- The $1,000 tip incident: a dealer friend who shall remain nameless had tied on a few, and was attempting to leave a $1,000 tip on David Hunt’s bill at the bar. He kept scribbling
down and crossing out random hotel room numbers while attempting David’s signature, insisting loudly that he was going to figure out which room David was staying in. (He only had to try about 1,000 numbers, after all).
- The little subway kiosk gave Nina from Great Collections a “flatizzia” with no cheese on it. It was tomato sauce and bread. It was the most pathetic pizza I’ve ever seen.
- KMJ’s Michael endeared himself to me from the first, having made a serious effort to convince Shelley and I at a previous show that he was in fact a “genetic fluke”, and 100% Irish, complete with a spot on Irish accent. He’s also extremely bendable. If he ever decides he hates coins, he has another job waiting as a contortionist.
The best coin show joke of all time: How do you know when a coin dealer’s on vacation? ………………… all his chairs are on his roof.
- One night I went to change and then came down to the bar. I was down there at 5:47, no Mal, no David. Triumphantly, I texted the both of them and said “How is it the girl got back down first??” they text back at the exact same second “because we were supposed to meet at 6”. Sad face.
- Watching Gravity on a flight with mild to moderate turbulence is like being on a “Magic Motion” ride.
- I ended up being recognized by a total of 8-10 CoinTalk and Collector’s Universe forums, and on that note I have a suggestion: I wish people would use their real names as their handles!!