The spring/summer seasons are quickly upon us. While not a major factor in the hobby of numismatics, it is a perfect time to really go out into the show circuit and try your hand at some aggressive cherrypicking. As of this writing, the early spring Baltimore show just wrapped up. Many dealers reported brisk sales and a lofty attendance rate at this year's show. One thing's for certain, the cherrypicking masses were out in full force. Their ultimate goal?...to search through brand new inventory of coins and currency in the hopes of finding a great money maker. If you're in the hobby to collect, then it's hard to attend a show of this caliber with the mindset that it's work time, not fun hobby time. There are scores of collectors young and old that attend these shows to take part in what would be the next "big story" in the hobby.
*Build Trust- Cherrypicking can be somewhat frowned upon, especially if you look through dozens of boxes without making a purchase. What is even a more detrimental to the customer/dealer rapport building process, is using plain old ignorance. What I tell most "first timers" to the show circuit, "Really get to know who you're dealing with, most of these guys have ties to some of the most powerful people in the hobby. One day this dealer can be your biggest advocate, so don't ignore them. Engage them with a good spirited, hello!" These guys are ready and willing to make a sale to recoup the loss of money it takes to buy the space at the show. In many cases, thousands of dollars are the norm. Dealers at these big events vary in their respective specialties. So going into a show, focus your interest with the dealer that sells those coins. Not only will it be a tremendous time saver, but you'll show respect to the dealer by working with his wares that also interest you. Makes for a great ice breaker!
*Research- Please, no carrying of books to the shows! No self respecting dealer appreciates a cherrypicker who is simply out to pick through his/her stock without making a purchase. And the book reference is all they need to know about your intent. Do your research in advance, feel free to jot down a selection or range of dates from your favorite series to work off of. The dealer will think you have a grocery list of coins you're looking to get, rather than something that might insult mister nice guy. And oh, please do carry your smart phone with you, with favorite sites that are bookmarked for quick reference.
*Magnifier- Carry a good one at all times. A 10x power Hastings Triplet glass has everything a cherrypicker needs to identify most varieties in all series. Mint mark variety experts should carry a 20x or 30x to be able to make out an RPM or Over Mint Mark varieties. And best of all, make sure it stays clean. There's nothing worse than having an oily magnifier. It's just that much more tougher to distinguish certain elements of a coin.
And most important of all, Focus on the Excitement of attending your first show. It might be overwhelming at first, but it will good practice to get your cherrypicking juices flowing. Bust your cherry!!
Keep on Hunting!