I was really concerned about making it to this show since I got stuck in Houston during last year’s March show and had to turn around and go home. With all the recent harsh weather especially on the east coast, I began to think it was going to be de ja vu all over again. But I am thrilled to say that I had no travel or weather issues whatsoever, it was smooth sailing all the way there and home!
I arrived at the John Wayne airport early Thursday – this is me very happy to be headed to Baltimore!
So I decided to start my trip off right with a delicious Bloody Mary.
Orange County had just been through a lot of heavy rain, but it was nice and sunny the morning I left
I can’t remember what part of the country we were over when I took this photo, but the white mountains were beautiful!
I changed planes in Chicago where it was really, really cold just groing from the plane to the terminal! There was still snow out on the tarmac in Chicago.
I finally arrived in Baltimore late Thursday night, went straight to my hotel and to bed because I had some early morning appointments, including to pick up a nice group of pennies in scarce old Doily holders that a dealer had called me about (I posted these in an earlier thread). The 1908 is especially nice, but I am very pleased to add these to my personal collection!
I also had appointments with other dealers, including Laura’s “super secret stealth seller,” and was able to find some great coins even before the show started! These are all the coins I found before and during the show:
After I finished all my buying on Wednesday and dropped my bags off at security, Rick and I head out to the Horseshoe Casino just down the road from the convention center. I ended up doing pretty well, so we had a nice dinner at their fantastic steak house, then it was back to the hotel so I could be sure to get up early for set up which started at 8am.
Thursday morning came way too fast! I headed over to the show which was located in a different hall, luckily right across from my hotel, and the lobby was packed with hundreds of dealers waiting to get in.
Set up went quickly, and I was able to do more buying for my customer want lists before the show opened at noon to the public. I took these photos before the public was let in.
At noon, there was quite a line of public who began streaming into the show.
A dealer who knows I collect encased pennies brought this really nice 1909 encased Lincoln cent from Chicago, which I didn’t have in my collection.
A gentleman came by my table and handed me a baggy containing this Lincoln cent bar of soap. I was pretty busy when he stopped by so I didn’t even get his name, but that was really nice of him!
I brought a bottle of Cab from one of my favorite Solvang vineyards, Bella Cavalli, and opened it on Thursday afternoon when things slowed down. It was a nice way to wind down the show.
Even with a decent crowd, Thursday seemed slower than usual for this show. I had some decent sales but there just didn’t seem to be the typical buzz for the first day of a show.
After the show on Thursday, we met up with our group for some drinks and I ran into one of my favorite hunky dealers, Dino!
Then we all squished into an Uber and headed over to one of the best restaurants in Little Italy, DiMimmo’s
Ron picked out a wonderful bottle of Ruffino Chianti – between the five of us, it didn’t go very far so we ended up ordering another bottle!
Everyone enjoyed the dishes they ordered. I had a chicken sorrentino with cheese and white wine sauce and it was delicious!
We usually stop at Vacarro’s for dessert which is right across the street from DiMimmo’s but unfortunately, there was a power outage on just that street and it was closed!
On Friday morning I looked out the window to see what the weather was like and was very surprised to see all this bright white snow along the street and on tops of the buildings! It was really pretty.
I walked over to the show early so I could take care of some paperwork, and walk around the show some more. These are some amazing coins that were on display at the Stacks Bowers table – they will be in one of their auctions I believe at the summer Baltimore show in May.
PCGS folks hard at work as usual!
As were NGC
and of course my bff Cindi at ANACS!
Also, the US Mint was getting ready for the new 2019-W Lincoln cent sale – I ended up buying a few myself!
This is Allie Byers who works for New England Auctioneers hanging out with the US Mint mascot!
The Whtman booth always has friendly and happy people working the show!
One of the foreign coin dealers with whom I attend our Black Olive dinner event with at each Baltimore show, Charlie, buys and sells shipwreck silver bars and he showed me this very cool silver bar he had just purchased.from the Dutch East Indiaman Rooswijk that he had just purchased. It was fascinating listening to Charlie explain about how the ship was discovered and the silver bars were recovered. Here is a write up from New World Treasures about this shipwreck:
“The Dutch East Indiaman Rooswijk, under the command of Captain Daniel Ronzieres, was lost on December 19th, 1739 after striking the treacherous Goodwin Sands off the South East coast of England in a heavy storm. The ship had just departed the Dutch port of Texel the previous day on her second voyage to the spice islands of Indonesia, carrying a large quantity of Spanish silver intended for trade and payroll in the Dutch East Indies. She sank with the lost of all hands. The shipwreck and her treasure was discovered 265 years later by Ken Welling, a British carpenter and sport diver, while swimming over the area in 2004. Salvage operations, conducted under the supervision of archaeologist Alex Hildred, has produced vast amounts of Spanish pillar dollars, cob coins, and silver bars most of which were returned to the Netherlands government.”
Al and Karl – my other foreign coin dealer friends who are part of our Black Olive event (I’m sure they are smiling because they were thinking about how much fun we will be having that night at the Black Olive!)
Overall, Friday was even more slower than Thursday. I had spurts of being busy, but there just wasn’t very heavy traffic throughout the day. I’m guessing the weather had something to do with it. But soon it was time to head out to the Black Olive for our wine cellar dinner event!
For those of you interested, here is the history (from their website) behind this amazing restaurant:
The Black Olive History
“The Black Olive Restaurant sits in quaint elegance on the
cobblestone section of Bond Street in old Fells Point. Though the
restaurant itself is only a few years old, the spirit from which it
springs holds a story that stretches through multiple generations. The
restaurant is owned by the Spiliadis family, whose passion for food as
art is grounded in a basic aesthetic principle: cook your food with an
eye towards simplicity and tradition, and use only the finest
ingredients, no matter what it takes to find them.
The story of the Black Olive begins in Northern Greece, over a century ago, when a family who for generations had been notorious for their good cooking and unabashed hospitality, made a trek to Istanbul, Turkey, where many Greeks were living and doing business. The family built a hotel and restaurant on the coast of the Black Sea, and the business bloomed. The stories of those days, at the turn of the century, are still conjured up at family gatherings, and one can imagine the bustling city of Istanbul, a crossroads of culture and history, the busy hotel and restaurant, the sea, the smells, the laughter and shouts echoing. One story tells of how the sea became rough one day, as a storm approached, and as the waves became higher and higher, fish suddenly began to be hurled onto the beach by powerful waves. Everyone rushed down to the beach gathering as many fish as they could hold, carried them up to the hotel (for it was common knowledge that no one could prepare a fish better, and commenced with a feast and celebration that lasted for days.
When the Greeks were forced out of Turkey in the 1920’s, the family moved back to Greece, and eventually opened up a taverna in the city of Patras. The notoriety of Spiliadis cooking continued and grew, and many of the same recipes used at the Black Olive Restaurant today were cultivated and honed in those years. In 1956, Stelios Spiliadis, the grandson of the original Istanbul hotel owners, came to New York to attend Columbia University, where he studied philosophy, working at the Sheepshead Bay restaurants, waiting tables to pay the rent. After graduating from Columbia, he moved to Baltimore to attend Johns Hopkins University, and when a pretty young librarian there charged him for an overdue book, he offered to take her out on a date instead. She agreed, and before too long they were married. In 1967, Stelios and Pauline had their first son, Andreas, and in 1970, Dimitris came along.
Stelios’ younger brother, Costas, had also come from Greece to Baltimore, where he stayed for a while before moving to Montreal, Canada, to attend McGill University. Stelios became a social worker and Pauline continued working in libraries, but Costas decided to carry on the family tradition and opened up the now famous Milos Restaurant in Montreal. Stelios and Pauline, meanwhile, honed their cooking skills at private parties thrown for any and every occasion, and their friends continually urged them to open up a restaurant. The spark of this idea intrigued their youngest son, Dimitris, and during the summers of his college years, he interned at his uncle’s restaurant, learning the trade and getting his feet wet in the business. It was his early initiatives that would serve as the catalyst for what has become the Black Olive Restaurant.
Renovations In Fells Point
In 1994, Dimitris renovated a row house in historic Fells Point, finding out as he uncovered layer upon layer of wallpaper and floor tiles that the house was over two hundred years old. The project caught the interest of the whole family and soon the idea of renovating a nearby row house on Bond Street to turn into a restaurant became a reality. In March of 1997, the renovations of the Original Fells Point General Store was complete and The Black Olive opened it’s original 35 seat Greek Fish Tavern. Pauline, Stelios and their son Dimitris began to make a name for themselves by serving only the freshest food. The rest, as they say, is history.”
We started upstairs with some wonderful white wine while we waited for everyone to get there.
Then we headed down to the cellar where our host had chosen several different wines for us.
Even though I have only been attending this event for about 5 years, several others in the group have been going there for at least 15 years, so the folks who work there know just what wines to have ready for us.
We started off with homemade pita bread and this tray of various dips, as well as a few plates of their specialty – octapus (forgot to take a photo of their very yummy octapus).
This is Dimitris who took care of us the entire evening. What a very charming, knowledgeable, hard working young man!
Here are some of the wines we had
Except for me, they are all “dark siders”! 😉 Even though she too was a dark sider, for the first time, we even had another female join us!
The menu had changed from the last time we were there, but not the quality of the food – it was all so good that I forgot to take photos of some of the dishes!
Dimitris was showing us some of the wines that had been there for a while and brought out this amazing bottle of 1990 Ridge from it’s original crate. It was $250 a bottle, and I remember having this same wine several years ago when we would do wine tasting dinners in Long Beach with Alan Kreuzer, my coin and wine mentor (but it didn’t cost $250 a bottle back then!). Any way, we drooled but decided it was a bit too much, so Al very graciouisly treated us all to that wonderful bottle of wine!
Their specialty and most popular dessert is their delicious homemade baklava ice cream – which is what everyone had!
Dimitris also treated us to the wonderful dessert wine – it had a hint of butterscotch flavor too it. It was so amazing that I went online and bought 4 bottles right then and there! They’re due to arrive any day now – I can’t wait!
What an amazing evening of great food, amazing wine, and wonderful friends!!!
Not surprisingly, after a late evening like we had, with all that fantastic wine, Saturday morning came too early and I took my time getting to the show. Saturday was typically slow but I actually had a very good day sales-wise. I even went through my inventory and was able to sell a nice group of “stale” material to another dealer which helped clear up some space in my double row boxes for all the new material I bought. Soon it was time to once again pack up and head to the airport. All in all it was a successful show for me in spite of the lower attendance. But whether it’s a good show or a slow show, I always enjoy Baltimore’s amenities and Whitman does a great job putting this show together and trying to keep all the dealers happy!
As I mentioned, I was very lucky that I didn’t have any flight issues, but it was a long day and I was very glad to get back to my own bed. Since my hubby was away on a trip to Thailand with a friend, my neighbor was taking care of the kitties. Both my sweet Penny (and her mean sister Sierra) were eagerly waiting for some scratches on the head and more food in their bowl.
Next up: Buena Park show this weekend, PNNA Tukwila/Seattle next weekend, then the ANA Pittsburgh NMS the end of the month!