Featured There and Back Again, My ANA Chicago 2014 WFM Tale

Discussion in 'Coin Chat' started by Travlntiques, Aug 13, 2014.

  1. Travlntiques

    Travlntiques Well-Known Member

    Another ANA Chicago World's Fair of Money report?!
    Yes! :) Normally I wouldn't write, but this was my first major show aside from Long Beach and the atrocities endured were far too many to not discuss! I knew it would be a tremendous pleasure and the chance to have the flight and lodging paid for with 1 or 2 gold Kennedy's made it justifiable. I booked a flight that landed at 5:30 AM on the 5th, which seemed like a perfect time to grab a cab and get in line for my credentials and then pop into the Gold line! We drove past the Convention Center on the way to Motel 6 and the cab driver couldn't believe all the crazy people lined up; he laughed and said it's never, ever been this bad before. My stomach churned a little as my chances diminished....but it would still be fun! I walked back from the Motel to get in line just as a few people were doing headcounts, I was around #660. No gold today, but still needed the "creds". The people in front of me were very nice and mentioned that they were being paid $300 for this, but didn't know anything about coins. I told them they had sold their soul and to throw away that contract ASAP! They were still great company, told me a few things (like how the first folks in line had time stamps written on their hands) and let me have the last doughnut that was being passed around by their employer.
    The line in front:
    The line in back:
    After a few hours I finally jumped into the line for ANA credentials and received a free magnifier and AMOS half dollar slab. Freebies!!! I decided to wander the bourse floor and traded a Baseball HOF Clad that I had brought with me for a nice (but cleaned) EF+ 1864 2 Cent Piece, lightly toned EF 1906 Indian Cent and a 1945 AU War Nickel. Great trade and the dealer was happy to have the Baseball for his table too. Having slept only 2 or 3 hours on the red-eye, I started back to the motel, but stopped to sit for a while and remembered the Mint booth was going to be selling the Kennedy Clads! Time to recoup some expenses. The lines were tricky; 1 to view products and place your order, another to pay for it. I was in front of some annoying dealer/profiteers that made me realize how big this had become. They were bribing others to get in line and trying to buy some "jade" tickets from the people in the gold Kennedy line. The ones I saw were green tickets on day 1 and were called "jade" instead of "green" or "emerald" because of the nationality of the people that were bussed in to get so many of them. Not my words. I went through the line twice before sell out, bought 4 Clad sets for $40 and ran them over to SilverTowne for $160. Time for bed, there were already a few people lining up for tomorrow, but I couldn't hack it! Before leaving, I asked a police officer what the protocol was going to be for tomorrow; he said the line would start no earlier than 6AM. At 10:00 PM, I heard a bunch of commotion outside of my motel room and saw the people had ANA credentials!!! I threw on my clothes and ran out the door just as some other folks were returning. They were going back to bed and told me "the guy" was numbering people and writing out time stamps. No need to stand in line! They received their stamps and "the guy" was around person #300, so I started running as fast as I could to get in line before #500! I found a fellow getting into his car and feeling out of breath, I gave him $20 to get me to the Convention Center. I could have been a crazy axe murderer for all he knew, but he said yes.....guess he could have been the crazy axe murderer for all I knew too. A nice group of ladies saw me wandering around franticly and pointed me in the direction of the "time stamp guy" who had been moved across the street by the police. He and his friends debated if I should be stamped. "The COPS aren't looking, give him one" said a member of the gaggle. "Ok", as he pulled out a Sharpie; "10:30 #350, now you can go back to bed". I asked if this was official and if he worked for the Mint. "We're going to all come back in the morning and join the line in this order" he said.....but something smelled fishy. Pacing around I saw one of my line-mates from earlier that day, they tried to get a stamp too and see what was going on. We heard that the "guy" wrote #1 on his hand and so we figured it was most likely bogus! They gave me a wet-nap to wipe the ink off in case the Mint would call me out on it. Can you imagine all of those people who went to bed that night thinking they were SET, 300+! And the first line was forcibly removed! The line still couldn't form in front of the convention center legally until 6AM, so we sat in front of the Hilton and told stories. The line was starting to grow at both ends and complaints arose, we wanted the police to know where the front was, but around 2:30am the police just said "OK, everyone cross now". The worst thing you could say to a crazy crowd!!! Everyone RAN and I fell and skinned my knees, but didn't get trampled thank goodness. I went from #8 in the unofficial line to #300(+/-) which wasn't fun, but under 500 means..... GOLD!!!!!! The line was pretty rowdy and the police had to shout "Out of the street or back of the line", they even threatened to cuff a few of the complainers. After a little sleep and staring blankly for a few hours, the sun came up and we were herded into the cattle line for our gold. I was between a commune of yoga people and a former trader from the Chicago MERC. We all did some buddhist chants to get our chakras in order or some such thing. After some free sandwiches from the yoga folk's employer and more cattle prodding, by 1:00PM we had GOLD. I sold mine and went straight to the motel. By 7:00PM it was back to the line, this time my line-mates were former ANA President Gary Lewis & his Son who flew in from Florida! We were in "the #300 club" and guaranteed gold. It was a blast talking coins with him during our 13 hour odyssey and @Amanda Varner came by at dusk to check the front lines, it was great! But around 2:30AM they turned the sprinklers on and everyone was hit, our sidewalk was soaked and the ground was mud, so most elected to sleep in the street at this point. We were joking that this is what our lives in Numismatics had come to! We were honestly deciding whether we wanted to sleep in the mud and freeze or sleep in the street and risk getting run-over. One of our new friends slept in the street with a white blanket, which his brothers quickly pulled over his face whenever a video camera came past. It looked like a refugee camp and we were throwing our dead that had sucome to the elements into the street. Many plans were made to flash-mob and dance "gangnam style" when cameras came by. As dawn broke, Mr. Lewis and I went up the street collecting trash in the black garbage sack I had slept on, but 1 bag was not enough. The line began to move, I told another line-mate that if you felt dead inside, that meant we were almost at the end of our journey and we survived as a band of brothers and sisters together. A small glimmer of hope shined in our life-less stares, our bodies were there, but our spirits were not. A 2nd Gold Kennedy brought back some hope, but after selling it, exhaustion had set in, I needed real sleep and walked back even though I saw a line starting to form already for tomorrow. After a couple hours I struggled with the idea of dragging my corpse back to the line. It was too good to pass up, but upon my arrival, the line was gone!
    A joyous message was posted, we were free:
    I took a cab this time back to the motel. The driver said she heard a guy was robbed at gunpoint in the bathroom (likely false), and a kid had turned purple in the line and needed to be taken to the hospital! I finally ate some real food that night and couldn't wait to actually SEE the show in the morning! I bought a few new additions:

    A weaker strike, but this Franklin has the most brilliant luster I'd ever seen, it has obviously never been dipped.
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2014
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  3. Travlntiques

    Travlntiques Well-Known Member

    This little gem is headed off for professional photography to accurately capture the stunning colors:
    Also picked up a couple of Wayte Raymond pages and some foreign currency for fun. :) I visited with our very own @C-B-D aka El Cheapo and forgot that @jaceravone was with him and must have taken this picture (I'm so sorry Joe!):
    And ran into my new friend, former ANA President Gary Lewis:
    Took a 2 person "selfie" with @Amanda Varner on her phone......which I was going to ask her for, but maybe she might post it here? :)
    And took a couple shots of the next Kennedy Coins:
    At the airport I found Gary Lewis and his son again! Small world, it turns out we're going to Dallas together! He told me that after a few back room meetings, the ANA decided that these new releases at shows should never happen again.
    Goodbye Rosemont!
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2014
    Savy, dwhiz, Mainebill and 6 others like this.
  4. Amanda Varner

    Amanda Varner Well-Known Member

    Great write up!! I've tried to tell people of the utter chaos/battle ground that the street became, but I think you did a better job of it than I did!

    And of course, the pic!
  5. Amanda Varner

    Amanda Varner Well-Known Member

    I was just off to bed when the alert popped, I'll be back tomorrow and hopefully have my own write up to go with yours! :)
    spirityoda and Travlntiques like this.
  6. illini420

    illini420 1909 Collector

    Cool report, thanks for posting it. I was around 125 people in front of you with my sister on the first day of sales (Tuesday). We ended up being about 20-25 people short of getting the coin, what a buzz kill!!! All of those folks hired by Minshull who cut in line really screwed it for us that day.

    I went back Tuesday evening/Wednesday morning and I too went from about #75 in line to around #350 after the mad rush caused by the Rosemont Police, but at least I got the coin. I kept mine though :) I can't believe you were able to do it again the next night, I needed sleep!

    I thought the guys writing numbers/times on people's hands were pretty funny. I suspected it was done by one of the big dealers or employees of one of the big dealers just trying to get people out of line so that their folks had better chances of being in the first 500! Saw lots of people upset the next morning when they learned the numbers written on their hands meant nothing.
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  7. josh's coins

    josh's coins Well-Known Member

    Sounds like a weekend of misery to hit the motherload. I don't think I could have sat there all night and slept in the streets.
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  8. Travlntiques

    Travlntiques Well-Known Member

    Amanda, I find that picture to be the perfect metaphor for the blur of those few days! LOL :)

    Michael, I can't believe we were so close! I would have gladly moved back a few spaces to have talked coins with someone.....and avoid smelling the hippie folks. If you were ahead of me, it wouldn't have been so easy to visit you though..... "BACK OF THE LINE!!!!!!" :) What an amazing night!
    Amanda Varner and josh's coins like this.
  9. josh's coins

    josh's coins Well-Known Member

    A dealer like that needs a good kick in the teeth. I'm kinda surprised that the mob of people didn't track him down and beat him half to death.
    illini420 likes this.
  10. Chiefbullsit

    Chiefbullsit CRAZY HORSE

    Good report TRV and some nice newps. The WL and nickel have nice color

    A ride down the road..............$20
    A gold Kennedy..................$1240
    A hug from Amanda.....PRICELESS
  11. Travlntiques

    Travlntiques Well-Known Member

    One more night, Josh! Just one more night and you would have seen him cannibalized and roasted over a makeshift tribal bonfire.
  12. josh's coins

    josh's coins Well-Known Member

    That would be a sight to see on the news. Good thing the ANA got angry at the mint and discontinued sales.

    Was the line really that bad?
    Travlntiques likes this.
  13. josh's coins

    josh's coins Well-Known Member

    Too bad you didn't have a go pro camera. That would be footage worth watching.
  14. jensenbay

    jensenbay Well-Known Member

    Money can make people do some strange things.
    Amanda Varner and Travlntiques like this.
  15. Travlntiques

    Travlntiques Well-Known Member

    I watched people play stick ball using a walking cane and a pine cone at 3 o'clock in the morning while a man urinated on the tree behind me...
    No big deal, but it was weird. lol :)
    Amanda Varner likes this.
  16. Jwt708

    Jwt708 Well-Known Member

    It was interesting to read the perspective of someone in the line. Glad it all worked out for you!
    Travlntiques likes this.
  17. spirityoda

    spirityoda Coin Junky Supporter

    I would not have stayed in line for kennedy gold. you said you sold them both ? what price did you get for them ? meeting Amanda must have been great. :cool:
    Travlntiques and Amanda Varner like this.
  18. josh's coins

    josh's coins Well-Known Member

    Yeah that is definitely pretty weird. I thought it was bad as in people were murdering eachother for bread.
  19. aubade21

    aubade21 Well-Known Member

    Thank you for the writeup and pictures!
  20. bdunnse

    bdunnse Who dat?

    This is not coin collecting. Animal behavior, feeding frenzy, barbaric, shameful...all of you.
  21. geekpryde

    geekpryde Husband and Father Moderator

    Every single report that has been posted here, and elsewhere, says it was. Kind of hard to ignore the overwhelming first-hand reports.
    Amanda Varner likes this.
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