My first Baltimore show was in the early 1990’s, when it was held in the old Fesitval Hall. It was demolished a few years later to expand the Balitmore Convention center to its current three block size. Back then, Camden Yard was just a dream on an old train depot and warehouses. Over the years, I watched the ball park go up and the Inner Harbor area thrive. Baltimore has so much to offer, it’s worth the trip for any of the three shows.
There is little doubt that Baltimore is a great town for a coin show, and the group at Whitman puts together a dynamite event with top notch speakers, seminars and a world class auction from the folks at Stacks-Bowers. With that however, the summer show is not what the Spring or Fall shows prove to be. It would be easy to blame it on the drop in gold and silver prices, but this is simply not the case. A few other factors come into play, notably the trend at shows toward less foot traffic more dealer activity and dealers and collectors alike are vacationing. Summer coin shows (ANA aside) are traditionally slower than their spring or fall counterparts. The internet has perhaps hurt overall traffic at most events, by allowing collectors who once made the efforts to attend show to buy directly from multiple dealers at a click of the mouse.
That being said, the Baltimore show was still a worthwhile venue. Traffic was steady and the bourse remained active until late Friday. The wholesale rare coin market is stuck in overdrive as dealers search the ever shrinking supply of quality coins to fill the needs of their clients. Close to the recent Long Beach convention, there were a lot of the same faces with the same material. Fortunately, we were able to ferret out more than our fair share of nice numismatic items to offer our discerning clientele. As always, the best part of our trip was touching base with our dealer network and customers. Dealing with someone in person makes is so much better than a phone call or an email. So while we will continue to complain a bit about "summer" shows, we will probably keep attending.