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EAC 2006 Diary
by Shawn Yancey

The 2006 annual EAC convention was held May 4-7, 2006, in West Palm Beach, Florida. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the convention this year, and here is a recount of my experience!

Prelude

Ever since I found out that EAC 2006 was being held in Florida, I planned all along NOT to attend. The simple fact is that I hate air travel. It's not that I am afraid of death, because I'm ready to meet Jesus, but the thought of widowing my beautiful wife and orphaning my three kids is so frightening. I know, I know - safer than driving. Anyway, four takeoffs and four landings combined with a suspicion of very poor show attendance was enough to keep me from going. But about two weeks before the show started, the copper bug bit me really hard and I simply could not fight it off. I was still able to get a table for the show, but the other arrangements were a little tougher. By waiting so long I missed out on the cheap airfare and the $120 per night EAC hotel rate, so I shopped around online for a couple of days and was able to get the airfare and 3 nights at the Mariott for just under $1,200. Okay, not the best start, but once I made that commitment, my excitement level went way up and stayed that way for the next two weeks. Now, if I can just make it until Thursday, May 4 . . . . . . .

Thursday, May 4, 2006

The big day finally arrived, and I was up late the night before packing for my 645AM departure from Springfield, Missouri. We had storms the day before, and we were promised more storms all day, so I was wondering if my flight would be cancelled. My father picked me up at 530AM to drive me to the airport, and I found out later that the storms broke out almost instantaneously with my safe departure - so far, so good. The first flight to Atlanta was a little rough and reminded me why I hate airplanes, but the flight from Atlanta to West Palm Beach was nice and smooth. I ended up hitting PBI airport around Noon, and made my way down to the baggage claim. Why did I even mention the baggage claim? You guessed it - one hour later I am the only one still waiting for my bags. Delta determines that my bags are on a later flight, and promises to deliver them to the hotel as soon as they arrive. Fair enough. Now to find the free shuttle to the hotel that is supposed to run every 30 minutes. After waiting 15 minutes, I call the hotel and they say the shuttle will arrive within 15 minutes. Another 30 minutes later, I finally give up and pay $11 for a 1-mile cab fare so that I don't have to sit at the airport any longer.

So at 1:45 PM I finally arrive at the Marriott West Palm Beach. Apparently my online booking got me the exact opposite room I asked for, which was a non-smoking double. After getting out of the smoking / king combination, I land a non-smoking double-bed room on the first floor, which turns out to be handy later. Without asking, the Mariott covered my $11 cab ride, so score one for the Marriott. In the hallway on the way to my room, I run into one of my customers and also good friend John and another EAC member, Bob. After saying HELLO, I find out that there was a false fire alarm in the middle of the night last night and the entire hotel was evacuated - glad I missed out on that one! I finally make it to my room and immediately turn around to get my coins onto the bourse and into a secured area. Dealer setup started at 2PM, and I was right on time. As soon as I get my table setup, I close the deal on an S48 starred reverse large cent that I had made arrangements to purchase the week before. This coin was a new discovery that was a $10 pluck from a dealer's junk box within the past several months. Why can't I ever do that? So within the first hour, I have a new S48 in my hands and I am thinking: "It can't possibly get any better from this point forward." Or can it?

About an hour into the dealer setup, the alarms start sounding. Yep, fire alarms! A hotel manager comes in and orders all of us to evacuate the room, but she is met with stiff resistance from everybody in the room. . . because none of the security forces have arrived yet! After several minutes, two guards are found, and we reluctantly evacuate to the outside, which is just a few feet from the bourse area. To myself, I am thinking: "Now if I was a thief, what would be the best way to steal some coins?" A fire alarm, of course, with no security in the room. Well fortunately that didn't happen, and a few minutes later we are cleared to return to the bourse to finish setting up. Glad that's behind us - or is it?

My table is between the "Boys of '94" and our EAC President, and my first purchases come from one of the Boys (Dan): a 1795 S78 large cent that is black and porous, but is double-struck with two full dates. Really a neat coin, and the two-date errors always seem to bring top dollar, so this one looks okay. I also purchase two 1804 Restrike large cents, an EF40 pedigreed back to 1930, and an AU55 with a much more recent provenance. The 1804 restrikes have really heated up lately, and these two are more affordable than the nice MS63 that I already have for sale at $1499. Dan also shows me a really cool 1793 S5 wreath large cent in a late die state with a small cud above LIBERTY - didn't even know that one existed!

I also learn that the Jules Reiver 1794 S20B might be for sale. That's incredibly interesting, because one of my customers had that exact coin or it's twin on my want list! I try to call him, but cannot reach him, so I make arrangements to have the coin sent to me after the show in case my customer contacts me and wants to purchase the coin. I also show off my new 1794 S17A head of 1793 large cent in my personal collection. It is greeted with a warm welcome, and a couple comments of "If you ever decide to sell that coin. . . . . . . . . ." No way - this S17A's a beauty!

I also have time to visit one of the big EAC dealers (Doug), and I quickly pick up a choice 1793 C2 half cent in FR2 with a visible but faint date and an AG3 reverse, just as nice as they can get at that grade. I also spot a 1796 draped bust large cent, variety S113, which I have always felt was under-rated and under-valued in Penny Prices. Turns out I am right because the new CQR that was released at EAC now lists the coin at it's most recent transaction prices, which are significantly higher than the PP values. I am glad that the S113 is getting the respect it deserves, but that also drives the price up on the S113 I am looking at, so I decide to think about that one. Before I know it, it's 5PM and time for the reception. Great - I haven't eaten all day!

The reception is under a tent right outside the bourse area, where we had previously gathered the hour before during that really cool and exciting fire alarm thing. The reception is generously sponsored by Heritage, and Chuck Heck introduces Greg Rohan of Heritage to greet the group. Heritage went all out, with first-class appetizers and a FREE bar. I enjoy a small 'rita on the rocks and some roast beef, and finally get something into my stomach.

I should mention now that the convention was put on primarily by Chuck Heck and Denis Loring, as well as March Wells, who was unable to attend the convention at the last minute. These guys did a great job, and the whole thing, at least from my perspective, went off with only a few small hitches, such as some lighting problems. To their credit, the guys resolved those small issues quickly and completely, so I have to say "Great Job, Guys!"

Midway through the reception, I spot my good friend David, who I know has brought his wife Carol along - somewhere. After shaking lots of hands and greeting lots of friends, dealers, and customers, I spot David and take the opportunity to meet Carol. Like I expected, she is just as fantastic as her husband, and I am excited that she shares some of David's enthusiasm for the coppers. David is one of those "half cent guys," and he's getting right up there in terms of varieties. He's got just a few tough holes left, and one of them might be filled here at the show . . . . . .

I meet some of my internet customers that I had not met before, Matthew, Bevin, and Ray, to name a few, so it's so nice to be able to put faces with names.

I am also pleased to meet Evan Kopald, whose collection is being sold by one of the big EAC dealers (Chris). Evan decided to sell his collection by fixed price list, and he handcrafted his own catalog complete with coin stories and even some political commentary. I tell Evan that I really like what he has done with his catalog, and mention that the S64 I just purchased for my collection was one of his coins (ex-John Ward, Superior 09/04, CC14 at VF35 net VF25). We visit a little bit about that coin and hear some of his other stories. I am pleased to learn that he still has the passion for large cents, and that his collection will continue, albeit in a different direction and at a different level. He even tells me that he kept some of his favorites - they were just too hard to part with! It always saddens me when people sell their collections and then sort of disappear from the hobby, so I am encouraged that Evan does not fit into that group. Evan struck me as a very intelligent and conscientious person, and I was pleased to be able to meet him in person.

7PM arrived very quickly and it was time for the "Happenings." I start out in the large cent room by dropping off the Smith counterfeith electrotype that I just recently picked up. It's a wreath cent, and a very nice electrotype. Looks like the real deal except for the edge, where the edge device is noticeably lacking and where some of the seem is noticeably visible. Then I move over to the half cent room and drop off my nice 1794 C8 in choice VG8. I expect that both of my coins will come in last in the overall grading scheme, but I am excited to have a couple of horses in the race.

The highlight of the half cent Happening was seeing a couple of Buck's coins, who has been one of my customers for a few years now. One of them is an 1800 half cent, early die state, with blatant large cent undertype, and the other was a 1797 C2 that had been either double struck or struck over a large cent. Cool coins, Buck!

The highlight of the large cent Happening for me was the 1794 S20B head of 1793 large cents. There were some really great coins in that group, but they were easy for me to rank nevertheless. As expected, the Boys of '94 made a strong showing here. Seeing all these nice heads of 1793 reminds me that I sure would like to pickup an S20B for my own collection . . . . . .

Around 8PM I break away from the Happenings to check the front desk, and am pleased to learn that my luggage has finally arrived - only 8 hours late. They bring out my two bags, and wait a minute - that one's not mine! Fortunately, my other bag is in fact there, so I grab my two bags and take them to my room. Everything appears in good order, so I grab my digital camera and head back to the Happenings to take some pictures. After taking 3 pictures and getting 3 errors, I discover that the CF card has disappeared from my camera. In disbelief, I call my wife to ask her if she took it out right before I left, which I knew she hadn't because we had just downloaded the photos and cleaned up the card the day before. And that's all done by USB cable, not by removing the card, so I knew she had not touched it. We quickly realize that the card has been stolen, somewhere between Delta, the TSA, the luggage delivery courier, and the hotel. No point in calling any of them - they will all just blame one of the others. Oh well, at least they just stole the memory card and not the whole camera . . . . .

I pickup my coins around 9PM from each of the Happenings, and make my way to my room. It's been a long but exciting day, and it's midnight before I drift off to sleep. Will the next two days be any easier?

Friday, May 5, 2006

I get up and shower and shave in time to arrive at dealer setup at 8AM, which is one hour before the bourse opens to the public. I take the time to visit Chris again about the Kopald coins so that I can pickup the coins I had ordered the week before. I am also carrying buy lists from 2-3 customers, and am a little disappointed to see that more than half of the coins we wanted are long since SOLD. I get less than half of the coins on my list, one of my customers gets 1 out of 2, and another gets 8 out of 18. Oh well, that's much better than nothing, and the coins that are still here look pretty nice and also reasonably priced. Oh yeah - one of the coins from my list that is still available is the 1794 S20B. My love for that coin was refreshed the night before at the large cent Happening, so I am pleased to nab this one. The 1795 S80 Jefferson Head electrotype is also available. I have a choice but also somewhat smooth PCGS AG3 in my collection already, so it's nice to be able to see what the coin is supposed to look like with more details. Score TWO for my personal collection!

Chris is also holding a nice 1793 S7 wreath large cent that I really want for my personal collection, so I am finally able to see the coin in person. It's definitely as nice as it's billing, and I am able to work out a creative trading and financing deal that will let me get the coin bought. It goes into my pocket and a smile goes onto my face. That's THREE for my personal collection!

But now for a moment of silence. To help make room for my new S7, I decide I must part with the 1794 S17A to one of the Boys of 94. The coin brings a fair price and is now in the collection of somebody that I really like and that I know will really like the coin, so the pain is bearable. Gosh, I hope I don't regret that 10 years from now, but the S7 is the stopper to the Sheldon wreath cents, and I think the sacrifice is worth it.

I would have starved both days if not for my good friend and customer Steve, who brought me fantastic Club sandwiches from the bistro both Friday and Saturday. We fight over who's buying lunch, and I ultimately lose the fight. Steve, you're my customer - aren't I supposed to be the one paying for lunch? I thought it worked that way, but Steve didn't seem to think so. Thanks, Buddy - I owe you!

My new S48 starred reverse has a want list base of 5 different people, but #1 on the list (John) is right here at EAC. I have been searching for him for 2-3 years now, and am excited to have a coin that fits the bill. I share the coin and the price with him, and it's decision time. There's a couple of S48's on the floor here, and he is determined to leave with one of them. Whose will it be? Time will tell.

As I mentioned earlier during the discussion of the potential S113 purchase, Jack Robinson has released a new edition of CQR (Copper Quotes by Robinson) at this show, and I had grabbed a copy Thursday at 5PM on my way off the bourse. I quickly check the 1793's, S48, S80, 1799's, 1804's, and some of the other key varieties, and man does he have them pegged! Looks great from my perspective, but some more in-depth research is required. More on that later.

During the day, I have managed to purchase a 1793 S11c lettered edge wreath cent in nice VG8, and an 1801 S221 that's a little porous but has the reverse rim cud. I also pick up a nice 1807 C1 half cent in VF20+ that's a early-middle die state coin with lots and lots of denticles - that one should bring a premium. An 1802 S227 for a want list customer; a 1794 large cent filler that I buy for the date collector; a really nice 1795 C2a lettered edge / punctuated date half cent in G6; a nice 1801 S219 3-errors reverse in AG3; and a solid VG7 1803 S247 mumps obverse. I also go back and pull the trigger on the 1796 S113. I pay a handsome price for the coin, but it's a handsome coin, and with the new CQR showing an AG3 at $2,000, I should be okay with this G4+ at that same level. We will see.

There's a nice low-grade 1794 S66 in the case next to mine, and I make a buy bid. I've never owned one of those "split pole" varieties, and I have at least one customer on my "old" want list for that coin. I wonder if he's still interested? I'm wondering about that while the seller is wondering about my offer, which is more than the new CQR value. He's gonna think about it.

I have a little scare this afternoon during the show when my 1796 S104 LIHERTY PCGS F15 draped but large cent comes up missing. That coin has been in my personal collection for a couple years, and I had pulled it out of my case to get some buy bids to help pay for my new S7. The coin is nowhere, I've looked twice. It's not on the floor, it's not at the other dealer tables I had visited, it's not in my case. I'm getting ready to throw up now - better make an announcement. After the announcement, there's nobody headed in my direction with the coin, so I am wondering if it walked off. I had been incredibly busy all day long, and had coins in and out of 3 cases the whole day, not to mention in and out of my hands and pockets. I decide to search through everything in my possession, and praise the Lord, when I pull the Reiver auction catalog out of the bottom of my bag, it's thicker than it should be. Yep, the S104 is right in the middle. When I had pulled out the S104 to show it around, I had also pulled out the Reiver catalog to show somebody a photo or to check a price. When I was done with the catalog, I must have stuck the S104 right in the middle without thinking, and then put the catalog at the bottom of my bag. I'm not sure why I did that, but I AM sure that I was jumping for joy when I found it! Somebody else is jumping for joy, too: one of my customers that is interested in buying the coin. He asks me what the price is, and I have no idea. The coin is at least a VG10 and maybe even a F12 by EAC standards, and it is also choice or close to it by anybody's standards. The Reiver coin, listed in the census as VG10, just brought $11,500 in January, but that seems too strong for my coin. I know the person that has the Reiver S104, and he looks at my coin and says that he thinks his coin is a little better. Gosh, I hate to sell this coin, but I really need the money. The new CQR shows $11,500 for a VG10, and $3,500 for a VG8. My coin should fall somewhere in between, but that's a big in-between. I tell my customer that I will think about it and will give him a price tomorrow. Do I really want to sell that S104, and if so, what is a price that is fair to both of us?

5PM rolls around and it's time to close the bourse. Where did the time go? I have not been able to see most of the other dealers - only about three of them so far. That leaves about 10 more that I need to go and see tomorrow. Oh well, that's tomorrow.


I join Tom, Jan, and Gene for dinner in the hotel restaurant, and we have a nice dinner. There is a special lot viewing session tonight at 6PM for dealers only, and that's going to work out for me because I sure did not have time to look at any auction lots today, and certainly won't tomorrow either. We all comment that the overall quality of the auction lots is a little off this year, and wonder what the pieces will bring. I'm not too excited about anything in the sale, but do have some bids to place for customers, and also have 10 of my own coins consigned to the sale.

After dinner, we all venture back to the 6PM lot viewing, and find just a couple of other fanatics already there. I am pleased to buy a round of drinks for the few people that are there, and we have a great time just chatting it up and looking at coppers. Mark and Nicqui, thank you so much for running the lot viewing after hours!

Right at 8:30 PM, I get finished with the lot viewing in time to attend David Lange's speech on the US mint and it's coinage. Not too much in that speech for me, but it was interesting and David is a good speaker and a down-to-Earth guy. After the updates, it's about 9PM and I'm off to bed - or am I? I spot some guys headed to the bar, and I gladly join the bunch. Mr. 1793 is there, along with Bim and Scott, so it's a great group. In the course of conversation, Mr. 1793 mentions his theory about the 1793 S13 and the 1794 S63 sharing the same reverse die. Wait a minute - one has beads, the other denticles - how is that possible? Easy, he says: they just cut the denticles in over the beads. That's a great theory, Mr. 1793, and I mention that I know a way we could check it out: let's corner Jon Lusk tomorrow with the Numistudy project and see if we can do an overlay!

Naturally, I am eager to pick the brain of Mr. 1793 because I share his passion for 1793's. After all, I am making a good start with the S7, S12, and S15, so I have more than a passing interest in that date. The conversation turns to the Levick plate, which Mr. 1793 has also recreated with his own coins, and I mention that I have always wanted an original copy of that Levick plate. What do you know - Mr. 1793's got one for sale. He quotes me a price, and I make a reservation to get first shot at it in the morning.

I had a great time visiting with Mr. 1793, Bim, and Scott, and really got to know a lot about each of them. I am pleased to call them friends, and was just really excited to be part of that group that night - thanks, guys!

Without realizing it, it's 1AM and time to get myself in bed! I am asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow. . . . .

. . . . . . But my dead sleep is interrupted at 125AM with blaring sirens and two of the brightest strobe lights that the world has ever seen. The loudest, most irritating noise you can imagine, now double that, and factor in 125AM into the equation, and you get some measure of my excitement level. This is the third time in 3 days, and I am glad I got that first floor room. After all, if it really is a fire I can easily jump right out my window to safety. I call the front desk and they confirm that's it's just another false alarm - no need to evacutate. Well, the sirens have went off now after 10 minutes, but why won't these lights quit flashing? Oh yeah, the fire department has to come out and reset the system, so the lights will go off then. Until then, I cover my eyes with my arms and my pillow, and I can STILL see the lights! I don't even know how that is possible - I think they must have bottled the sun, or something. Anyway, 20 minutes later it's all quiet and all dark, and sleep returns to this boy. But not for long - it's almost time to get up now. . . . . . .

Saturday, May 6, 2006

After another late night and another early morning, I find myself once again on the bourse when it opens at 8AM. My first priority is to check out the original 1869 Levick plate that Mr. 1793 has for sale. It's a little frayed and in bad need of being re-bound, but it's the real deal and I am excited to see it. The plate is actually just one of the pages of the "American Journal of Numismatics," issued April 1869. I have no idea what it should be worth, but Mr. 1793's asking price is worth it to me, so we make a deal where I get the Levick plate and some cash, and Mr. 1793 gets my Smith counterfeit electrotype. We both walk away pleased.

Before it gets too busy, I cruise the floor with my want list, and am able to purchase an S39 and an S248 for want list customers. I also pick up a neat 1801 S223 fraction 1/000 in late die state with a cud in front of the bust. My friend Brett finds that coin later and it never makes it home with me. Brett also shows me several other draped bust large cents in terminal die states - talk about a fantastic collection!

Around 1130AM, I meet up with Scott and Jon Lusk to get some questions answered about the Numistudy project. After Jon shows us a couple of tricks, we move on to the subject of overlays. Remembering the discussion from the night before, I suggest that we overlay the reverses of 1793 S13 and 1794 S63 to see if Mr. 1793's theory holds water. Jon shows us the intricacies of setting up the overlay process, and when the two reverses are "blended," the results are incredible: they are an exact match with absolutely no ghosting! The neatest part is that you can clearly see where the denticles used on the 1794 S63 reverse were perfectly cut just enough to cover the beads from the die's first use on the 1793 S13 reverse. There was a lot of excitement, and the discovery was announced over the microphone to the entire bourse. Somebody tracked down Mr. 1793 and showed him the results, and I think he was very pleased that his theory had been proven true. It was a great moment, and I was thrilled to be part of it!

The day before, one of my customers (Scott) had been looking at the nice 1793 S8 wreath cent ANACS VG8 that I had pulled out of my personal collection when I purchased the S7. He had been thinking about buying the coin, but we could not quite agree on the price. I make him a counter-offer right in between his number and my number, and he counters with just a little bit less. That's close enough for me, and we make a deal. Scott's getting down to the real tough ones on his list, and I was happy that I was able to fill one of the easier holes. It took me a long time to find an S8 that was nice, but my new S7 is definitely worth it. But that's now two coins that the S7 has squeezed out: the S8 and the S17A. And three more will be coming out for sale when I get home. . . . . .

Speaking of S7, there is another one for sale at Craig's table. He had just purchased it out of the John Wright collection, and quotes me an asking price that seems to be right in line with what I had just paid for my coin. His coin is a little sharper than mine, but with a few minor problems, and it's definitely a high CC coin. I mention the coin to Scott because that's one of the few holes still on his list, and he gives it a look. I wonder if it fit the bill?

Mr. 1793 shows me a middle die state S10 with the injured rim on the obverse and a small rim cud developing on the reverse that he is thinking about buying. He asks me what I think, and I think it's a nice coin, which is the truth. When he tells me the price, I am shocked: what is the decision here? It's a great coin at an even greater price, and he confirms that he has made the deal. Wish I had spotted that one first! He also makes a deal for the S5 late die state that was shown to me the day before. It's one of only a few in that die state, and it finds an appropriate home with Mr. 1793.

What about that S66 I had made an offer on? No news is not good news, and I find out that the coin has been sold at almost the exact price that I would have asked for the coin had I been able to buy it. Oh well, I still have never owned an S66, but I am sure the opportunity will present itself someday.

I jokingly ask everybody I see, "When are they going to open the doors to the public?" There is almost nobody on the floor the entire convention, and I think the dealer sign-ins totalled around 50, and the member registrations are somewhere around 100. That's about 150 people, maybe a little more, which is not surprising considering the location in the extreme corner of the country. The good news is that everybody there is hotly contesting coins, buying and trading and selling, and the activity for me is non-stop.

It's getting late and I make one more quick pass around the floor to study some of the dealers' inventory that I had only seen in passing. On the way around the room, I stop by the collector's table who was interested in my S104. There's great news to be found there, because he shows me his most recent purchase: a 1796 S96 with the bisecting reverse crack bold and clear. The coin is a real beauty, the nicest I have ever seen, and I can tell that he is pleased, too. He also has an incredible S103 LIHERTY that I comment on. His 1796 draped bust collection is on display, and just let me say, WOW! There were some great coins in there, including that S103, but the S96 was the A-list celebrity in my mind. With that new purchase, his interest in my S104 has eased, so I am relieved of the pressure of coming up with a fair price. That's good - let's just leave that one in my collection and see what happens.

4PM now and the sands of time are passing quickly. It feels like I just got here, and I still have so much left to do! I swing by to see John and he gives me the YES on the S48 starred reverse. That's great news because I have been looking for that coin for him for a couple years now, so I am happy that I was the one to find the winner. Thanks, John - it's always a joy to see you and your lovely wife, and I appreciate your business and friendship. John has also bought a nice 1794 S66 in VG10, so that's another one I can mark off his list.

4:30 PM now and I have just 30 minutes left to wrap things up. I quickly take a look through the rest of Evan Kopald's fixed price list coins, and don't see anything else I can use for stock or want list customers. I make a deal to purchase 10 new copies of the CQR from Jack Robinson, and it's now time for me to pack up. I frantically get packed up while people continue doing some last minute business, and I can barely get my things back into their bags. I pack up the coins securely, and carry all of my things over to check on a 1796 C2 half cent that I had spotted the day before. I make a quick consignment agreement, and the coin goes into my pocket to be shown to a want list customer once I get home. I think he will like it - it's a nice AG3 with a visible date and good color, and priced below the CQR value. A handshake later and I am out the door, complete with two bags and my coins in a secured hardcase.

I head to my room to drop off the two bags and to get ready for dinner and the auction. I take my coins, my new CQR, and the auction catalog and bid notes, and off I go. I spot Don, Rod, and Joan, and join their group for dinner in the bistro. There's a lot of talk about auction lots, and again the comments come up about the overall low quality of several of the auction lots. Maybe there will be some bargains? By the time we are finished eating and talking, it's 7PM and time to get seats for the 7:30 PM auction.

Things start off horrible for me. I am carrying a buy bid on the very first lot, a Voce Populi colonial, and my bid and another person's bid behind me are not recognized before the lot is hammered closed, well below the bid I am carrying. The person behind me makes a quick protest, but the reply is "Sorry, get your hands way up so I can see your bids." It's a bad situation, and I feel sick about missing the coin - sorry, Mark. Lot 3 is also a buy-bid situation, but my bid is not the winner and it hammers to somebody else a couple of bids above my cap. It's a bad night for my customers, because NONE of my buy bids are successful. One of my customers really liked the low grade 1801 NC3, which is the R6 example of the 1/000 fraction error with just 14 coins known. The coin goes just beyond our limits, so no luck there, either. But I know where another 1801 NC3 is hiding . . . . . . . .

I have 10 lots consigned to the sale, and my first lot, the 1797 C3b lettered edge half cent that is the Breen plate coin for die state I, does not meet it's reserve. But my 1804 C4 and 1804 C7 M5.0 both sell, as well as my 1853 C1. The 1809 C1 does not meet my reserve, but it's a problem coin so no real surprise there. That variety definitely seems to have cooled off lately . . . I wonder what the new CQR reflects? All of my other auction consignments sell, including the S38, S94, S112, S116, and S293. In the end, 8 of my 10 consignments have sold, so I'm pretty happy with the results.

My hand only goes up a few times in this auction for stock coins, and I am only successful on three lots: a very nice 1796 S114 (lot 124) draped bust large cent in G4; a 1797 S139 (lot 138) draped bust large cent that is dramatically double struck with two dates and bold doubling on both sides; and the nicest of the three 1798 S180 large cents (lot 173). All three of the S180's in the sale are problem coins, but the first one still has decent eye appeal and also the reverse cud, so I feel like I took down the best of the three. I don't have that coin on my new want list, but I do have a people signed up for that variety from a year or so ago - maybe they are still looking. If not, it's an R5+ and a tough variety, so I will be happy putting it in stock.

The early dates end around 10:30 PM, and I am beat. During the break, I say my goodbyes to everybody in the room, and make a deal on the 1801 NC3 I had spotted earlier. My customer got shut out on the one in the auction, but this one is a much better coin with a bold fraction - maybe he will like it at a moderately higher price.

It's been non-stop from the moment I set foot in Florida, and there have been no breaks for me other than two dinners and a late night of cocktails. I make my way back to my room, secure my coins, and hit the pillow. I am totally worn out. Please, Lord, no fire alarms . . . . . . . .

Sunday, May 7, 2006 The Lord said "OKAY" and the night is "fire-alarm free." That's great because I have a 530AM wakeup call. I quickly shower, packup my last bag, and hit the front desk at 6AM to checkout. Perfect timing, because the first shuttle is waiting outside the door to leave for the airport. I climb aboard and by 615AM I am in front of the Delta counter. I always make sure to arrive more than an hour before my flights, because when you are travelling with coins, there is a good chance you will be pulled out for inspection. The Colonel has a great article about airport security on his website, and I put it to good use with my business card that cites the regulation that allows me a private inspection to protect myself. The card does the trick, because the radar people could tell what was in my bag once they knew what they were looking for, and I am spared the trouble of private inspections here just as I was on the way out to Florida. I wait an hour and a half for my flight, and climb on a big Boeing 757 for the flight home. Perfect takeoff, smooth ascent, cruising along above the clouds, and I wonder why I really hate to fly so much. Then 30 minutes from Atlanta the Captain comes on and reminds me why. Well, we have been circling twice now in a holding pattern because there are severe storms in Atlanta. But good news: they see a break in the storm, and they think we can land before the next big storm comes in behind it. Good news - NOT! That's about the last thing I wanted to hear, other than "We've lost an engine," so I pull my strap tight and wait for a bumpy ride. A couple of very hard bumps on all 3 axes reminds me quickly why airplanes suck - pardon my French! A couple of ladies let out some yelps, but for the most part, those two or three scary bumps are the only interesting moments on the way down. Except for the landing! The clouds are so thick and low that we don't see the ground until we are almost on it, and the plane bounces so hard on the runway that when we finally get all the wheels on the ground, the plane is bumping like it is rolling on square tires. Wonder if we blew a tire or something? I praise Jesus and make my way off the plane and to my connection an hour later. The storm has moderated now, and it's just a steady rain with minimal wind and no lightning. I wonder if my connection home will be cancelled or delayed? Delta says no, and I look outside to see a very small commuter jet - no problem, at least it's not a turbo-prop. We board the plane, and promptly wait 45 minutes on the runways before we takeoff. Apparently, the earlier storms had delayed about 40 takeoffs in front of us, so by the time we get airborne, we are 45 minutes late. Surprisingly, the final leg home is somewhat smooth. The light even rain and low wind has made the takeoff and ascent pretty smooth, and once we get above the clouds, the sun is shining and the skies are smooth. We make up some time in the air, and after a smooth landing we are just 30 minutes late. I make my way to the baggage claim, and to my delight, my bags travelled on the same plane as I did this time! Yeah! I grab my bags, walk out the door, and Kim and the three kids pull up just in time. It's hugs and kisses all around, and I am finally back home. Now all I have to do is stock coins in, stock coins out, take about 40 photographs, update my website, contact want list customers, ship out coins, answer 100 emails, check my ebay bids, write up my sales and purchases, update my website, and share my EAC story. It's okay, I can handle all of that - there's no airplanes involved, after all . . . . . . .

In Closing

That's it! I hope you have enjoyed my rambling account of EAC 2006. I tried to take a few notes and to remember everything that took place, but this is as much as I could get down in writing. I have used only first names to keep the players' identities private, but if I have referenced anybody's name that does not want to even be mentioned, please contact me and I will edit you out. As you can imagine, I had a fantastic time at EAC, and it was so great to see all of my old friends and new ones, too. If I have left anybody out, I am sorry - send me a reminder and I will add to our story here. To everybody else, you missed a great convention, but I hope my story has given you a feel for what it was like from my perspective. So long!

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