October 18, 2013
I have always had an interest in other cultures. It was really something to experience the dramatic change that is felt immediately when getting off of the plane in China. Besides the fact that I was the only non-Chinese person in the airport, everyone seemed focused solely on what they were doing while not paying any mind to others around them. In the States you can't take five steps without some guy hopped up on an energy drink sparking up a conversation with you to complain about how far the restrooms are. I know this because I'm usually that guy.
I'm one of those people who doesn't like surprises and if I'm going somewhere new, I have to know everything about it and what to expect. So, naturally I read every horror story the internet had to offer and was completely freaked out by all the crazy tourist trap stuff you'd typically see in the movies. A co-worker had also told me that once I got out of the airport to only take a taxi that's in the taxi stand line and try to avoid the red cabs. I get outside of the airport and walk straight to the taxi stand line to wait my turn. There were 3 other people in line in front of me and four cabs pull up. There were three regular city cabs and one sketchy red one. Guess who gets the big guy in the purple velour track suit driving the sketchy red cab? Yep, me. The whole time I was taking mental photographs of different landmarks just in case I had to tuck & roll out of this thing and find my way back. After about 10 minutes the driver said "you going to be study soon?" I felt a lot better after I figured out that he was simply inquiring if I was in China for school and not telling me that I was "going to be bloody soon." Besides the slight overcharge and second hand smoke the guy was totally fine and the situation was the first of many misconceptions I had about China.
With the big Beijing coin show not starting for another two weeks, I wanted to go through and photograph any of the inventory that was in-house. This way I'd have time at the end to train a few people so they'd be all set to go before I left. Back in the office I would always try to pass along the really large coins on to someone else, only because it was a pain to adjust everything, switch lenses, etc., especially for just one or two coins. Well, guess what filled the majority of that vault? Nothing but large coins!! After the first couple hundred it wasn't a big deal, but those kilo coins are quite heavy and I'm talking about orders of 20 - 30 of these things.
After 10 days, I missed my wife, son, and unrestricted internet very dearly and was eager to get home. I've always tried to make everyday a learning experience and I can honestly say that this trip was an experience and that I learned a great deal. Even seeing all of those coins you really get a glimpse of China's history. With that and how much China appreciates its history, it also champions the proactivity of business growth, which is why I believe that a PCGS expansion in these ambitiously evolving parts of the world is a no-brainer. Coin grading and authentication in China is still quite new, which gives it the fresh and exciting feel that it gave us Americans in the late 1980s. Since PCGS' official launch in Asia, the numismatic community and coin market as a whole have welcomed coin grading with open arms and we're very much looking forward to a promising future ahead.