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Collectors Find Success at ANA Show
By David C. Harper, Numismatic News
August 16, 2013

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News.
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Some people go to an American Numismatic Association convention knowing exactly what they want and are simply going and getting it. Others sail wherever the current takes them and then take advantage of unique and unexpected opportunities.

Both types of behavior could be found at the Stephens Convention Center Aug. 13 in the Chicago Suburb of Rosemont.

Collectors who knew what they wanted formed a long line at the U.S. Mint booth to obtain the new 2013 reverse proof gold Buffalo one-ounce coin. The price was steep at $1,640 apiece, but many took the maximum number allowed, which was five pieces.

They did so because they smelled profit. The Mint had only 1,000 coins on hand. Numismatic Guaranty Corporation offered a special label with the notation on it “Chicago ANA Release.” The labels would also feature the standard grading information as well as description.

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By the middle of the afternoon, the Mint booth had sold out its supply. Word was they were attempting to ship another 1,000 examples in.

But whether the special label ultimately is affixed to 1,000 coins or 2,000 coins, the overall figure is very low in a program where the Mint will strike as many as its customers desire in the approximately one-month long order period that ends in early September.

What of the other kind of convention-going, that of moving with the current of business on the bourse floor?

Col. Steve Ellsworth of Butternut in Clifton, Va., an early coppers authority, was displaying a complete date set of large cents 1793-1857 sealed in a specially made plastic holder.

In the early afternoon of Aug. 13, he said he had found it by chance and purchased it from dealer Andy Reiber of Jade Coins of Chicago, who had discovered the set in Alabama.

Ellsworth bought the set and was offering it for sale for $25,000. “It will probably be gone by the end of the show,” he said.

He even had the original mailer in which the plastic holder had been shipped. It was created by A+J Plastics Co. and was mailed to Harry W. Graham, whose name also appeared in gold letters at the bottom right of the rectangular holder.

Who has more fun at an ANA convention? Is it the hobbyist going after the known treasure, or the one who takes advantage of unexpected opportunities?

It is probably a tie, but every show is different and that’s why it is important to attend. Active collectors take advantage of every opportunity.

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