Monday, February 11, 2008

Good for you!

Good for you!, originally uploaded by livingplanet.

I ran out of quota at Google's photo website so I placed photos of today's visits to the shows at La Quinta, Days Inn, and Ramada Inn in my Flickr account. The link is at the side bar.

Quick roundup:

As the last week unfolds, the dealers continue to visit each other's booth or room to trade, barter, sell, or buy. As I walked in to the Days Inn show, I saw two Indians load a number of drums into an American's station wagon. It looked like a trader-to-trader deal. Over at Ramada Inn, a German fossil dealer continued to negotiate with two beautiful Russian ladies on the mammoth tusks they were selling.

Some dealers had a good show, the photo above suggested. A German dealer from whom I purchased a crab fossil for a relative was packing up, a full week from the end of the show. A few rooms down, a dealer was packed up as well. Last night, an artist told me he sold his lot of 40 dinosaur paintings at the TEP show. I congratulated him, but he laughingly replied it was bad, because now he is using his earnings to go shopping. Such is life..

This year, although with fewer shows, I noticed more Russian and Chinese dealers with some beautiful specimens. Some are also very affordable. Pyritic ammonites seem to be very popular and complement the fossil mammoth tusks. The Chinese brought in many different minerals including the show popular fossil vase. We were fortunate to meet a retired chief geologist of a major Chinese province, who is now a dealer.

Rumors are the organizer of the InnSuites show kicked out 19 dealers. Where this 19 dealers transfered to, I still have to find out.

One fossil dealer said that his earnings from the Tucson show enable him to live comfortably for the rest of the year. He only goes to this show because of the volume of sales he makes here compared to other shows.

A Moroccan dealer cautioned about the flood of fake fossils coming out of Morocco. Shells or bone are ground up. Shark teeth, for example, are then glued to a matrix and then sprinkled with this ground up powder to "age" it. Work with a trusted, reputable, and ethical dealer he noted.

A dealer is estimated to spend a minimum $3,000 on his/her hotel for the two-week show. Add to this one's transportation, shipping, specimen, fees, other supplies, insurance, etc. expenses and the investment is sizable. This must be recouped.

Bigger dealers have set up warehouses in Tucson and in Arizona to house unsold items. A Madagascar dealer said that their supply of good specimens were practically sold out by the first week. Good for him too.

Petrified wood is increasingly being used as furniture. The past few years, they were used as stump-chairs, coffee tables, landscape pieces, office table, gallery pieces, and book ends. This year, a northern California dealer came out with a $400-700 sink and sold close to a dozen of them. I passed by his room and he was selling one Indonesian petrified wood sink at $275, a show giveaway.

A friend connected with a gold nugget dealer said that there were numerous parties around sponsored by different dealers. It would certainly be interesting to be a fly in the wall in these parties.

I am uncomfortable seeing stalagmites being sold by a Chinese dealer at the Ramada. In many countries stalactite and stalagmite mining are banned. How did they bring this in? Is this the reason why the person manning their room banned me from taking photos. Is it because the specimens they had were of questionable source?

One more week till the greatest show on earth ends.

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