Chronicles: The Las Vegas Coin Show, April 2014
The Las Vegas Coin Show is one of my favorite shows of the year – and what’s not to love? A good sized little show just off the Las Vegas strip at the Palace Station, with lots of coins and cash trading hands on the bourse floor and down at the tables. This show does everything right, and I can’t wait for the next one!
Ah, Vegas! One of my favorite places on earth! I know it’s a little trite, but I do love Las Vegas and am one of those Angelinos who heads for a mini-vacation to the strip several times a year. This edition of the Coin Show Chronicles: Las Vegas is likely to get a little wordy, and I wouldn’t blame you at all if you skipped right down to the bottom of the page to check out the Coin Porn first. There are some absolutely stunning coins to drool over, so be sure to take a look!
Shelley and I flew in, landing about 1:30pm. The boys (Tyler and David Hunt) in the car were about an hour behind us, so we sat down for a quick lunch while we waited for them to arrive. Packing for this show is an unusual adventure, as we take jewelry, watches, and luxury goods as well as our normal haul of coins. We had a goal to get everything out and set up on setup day (something that rarely happens, we often have to finish the next morning as we have to stop frequently to handle deals), and spent lunch planning the setup.
Soon enough the boys showed up and offloaded everything, taking up two huge bellhop carts. We threaded our way to the show, and as soon as we walk in a que four dealers deep forms before we can even get our goods to the table. We barely had time for any hello’s. David took care of the dealers, while Shelley and I began the long setup process, and actually managed to get it all done just before they kicked us out for the night.
Alhambra Coin sponsored the show, and while we knew we would have a full page ad on the interior cover of the program, the lovely banner hanging over our booth was a pleasant surprise. It really brings the whole booth together!
Michael of KMJ (a recurring guest here in my Chronicles) took me and Shelley out for the night, and around closing he came over and enquired if I liked Thai food. I should have known this was a lead in to where he had made reservations, but I shook my head anyway – I am the biggest baby you will ever meet in the world when it comes to spicy food, and in my experience Thai food is so hot it’s nearly inedible! His face fell and I felt like a big jerk, and told him I was game to try anything.
We made our way by taxi off the strip to a local’s-looking shopping center, where we found Lotus of Siam. Michael ordered everything for us, and we ended up with a delicious sampling of dishes: one chicken, crab, fish, and duck. Catering to my spice-phobia, he ordered everything mild and he and Shelley got a huge pile of peppers on the side to sprinkle on to their liking. I have to say: it was amazing. I never thought I’d find myself liking Thai food! Thanks, Michael!!
After the meal, we decided to casino hop a bit on the strip, starting at the Cosmopolitan. Wandering aimlessly, we stopped at 2 art galleries (gorgeous, I should have taken pics), and made our way over to the Aria and their famous “3-story chandelier”. We continued to wander the strip, happening by the fountains of the Bellagio right as one of the shows was going off before skipping across the street and into Paris for a bit.
Around midnight, we decided to be responsible and call it a night. Once back at the Palace Station, I took a quick trip around the tables to see how many dealers were still up and at it. To my surprise, only I only saw two familiar faces. Looks like everyone was trying to be responsible this time!
Friday morning I hit the floor a little late with a giant cup of coffee in hand at about 9:20. So much for responsibility: a full half of the dealers had yet to show up. Normally dealers tend to be at the show at the crack of dawn, but Vegas is Vegas and the majority rolled in sometime around 10ish (or later).
It was nice to have everything fully set up and ready to go; but of course that meant we got to address the big backlog of paperwork (not one thing had been written up on setup day) and the piles of coins waiting to be priced for waiting dealers. It didn’t slow down from there: It. Was. Slammed. All day. The public flooded in, and hit the bourse hard. It was one of those days that was so busy you expect to look up and have it be closing time, but the day just kept going and going. It was fantastic.
Sometime around 4pm I asked the girls at the registration table if they had a general idea of how many people had come in, and they counted some empty boxes and arrived at a number: 600 3-day passes had been given out, and I believed it! It seemed everyone one of them stopped by our tables. David made a comment to the effect of “If Long Beach were like this, the coin industry would be an entirely different world.” I think people go to Vegas just expecting to drop lots of money, and it showed.
Friday had been planned out with dinner and a show, both of which are two of my favorites: The Cut, and Absinthe. The Cut is at the Palazzo, and features the most amazing steaks you’ll ever try in your life. We were a little rushed for time unfortunately, and before long we were scrambling for a taxi to get to Caesar’s to make our show in time.
Absinthe, if you’ve never seen it, definitely isn’t for the faint of heart – they bill themselves as a sort of “anti-Cirque [du Soleil]”, featuring the same caliber of gymnastics and feats of strength, but instead of mystical Enya-like music and bizarre ethereal costumes, it’s all rock n’ roll, lingerie, and swearing. A lot of swearing. It’s brilliant though, and if you’re into that kind of thing it’s a mind-blowing show.
After the show, we headed into Caesar’s proper and played cards into the wee hours of the night. It was a late night. And the morning came much too early!
Saturday was busy again, though not to the same extent as the day before. It was a blur of public, a lot of wholesale, and nothing spectacularly interesting to report throughout the day aside from how busy it was.
Saturday night Shelley went off with another group of dealers, leaving David and Tyler and I on our own. I have a girlfriend who lives locally in town, so I invited her along to dinner, with another dealer joining us as well. My friend, Nusha, is a psychiatrist and I told her she’d have a lot to work with at a table full of coin dealers. The poor thing thought I was joking.
David booked us reservations at his favorite restaurant in Vegas: The Red Square, in Mandalay Bay. The ambience was great, with everything tinted a dark red. The bar was especially fun: about 1/3 of it was covered in a thick slab of ice, with neon red lights illuminating it from underneath.
The Red Square is famous for vodka and caviar, so of course we had to have a sample! This would be my first taste of caviar, and we got a caviar “flight” delivered on a gorgeous glass spiral stand. It turns out beluga caviar is every bit as good as everything I’ve ever heard. Wow.
After dinner the group’o dealers headed into the Venetian to try their luck again, but because Nusha drove in and it’s SUCH a pain to drive around the strip, she and I stayed at the Mandalay Bay and just caught up. All too soon it was time for her to head home, and for me to head back to the hotel to get some sleep before the last day of the show.
Even though I only made it to the bourse floor at 9:45 on Sunday morning, I was still practically one of the first people there. The place was barren. Saturday night was apparently a long night for everyone! The public presence was still pretty strong, though as always several dealers had already started to pack up. We continued to have a great show, and all too soon it was time to pack up and get ready to head back to reality.
I hardly got a chance to say goodbye to anyone – everyone just vanished like ghosts when it was time for them to go. The packing process was lengthy, but eventually we got it all squared away and loaded up. Though Shelley and I had both flown out, she elected to drive back with the boys so I was left with about 90 minutes to kill before it was time for me to head to the airport.
What else was I to do? I sat down at a blackjack table not only recouped my (minimal) losses for the four days, but walked away $350 up! I’m not a big-stakes gambler like some of the other dealers, so I considered my $350 a mega win!!
See ya next time, Vegas — I can’t wait to come back!
There isn’t a whole heck of a lot of the famous Bullet Points this time — after all, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, and who am I to break the Holy Code — but there’s a lot of Coin Porn to follow that I hope will make up for it. Enjoy!
I met Vegas Vic! I bought a coin from him, I sold a coin to him, and even acquired photographic evidence!
Logan was offended that I didn’t take his picture for my report (I’m trying to get better about taking pictures of people and not just coins!), and as soon as I picked up my phone he ran away — so I literally chased him around his booth until he gave up and stood still!
- The vicious guard dog protecting us at the show.
- On my flight back I was seated next to two pilots who were telling “funny” stories about their job that were NOT funny to a layman and especially not funny as we’re about to take off!
The Great Hard Times Token Debate …
The four of us at Team ACC had a pretty epic debate about what this particular token is worth. There’s very little information out there about it in Red, and the four of us assigned very different numbers to its value, all logically based and backed up by the few bits of information available. So, I thought I would put it to you, the readers: What do you think?