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THE DENVER SHOW



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I just got home from Denver, where the annual gem/rock/mineral/fossil
show is being held. Actually, there are seven or eight shows
which all just happen to go on at the same time, one per hotel
or convention venue. Three of them said they had fossils.
The Holiday Inn had several fossil dealers, Regency had
zillions of them, and the other one had about four.

These shows are a madhouse. I'm used to trade shows where
they get a million-square-foot convention center and divide
it up into 10x10 booths and you wander up and down the aisles.
At the various shows in Denver, each dealer just rents
a hotel room and displays his stuff on the beds, furniture,
and rented tables. You wander up and down the hall looking
at the sign on each door (and sort of peering into the room)
to see if this one or that one has fossils or not. Even at the
three shows with fossils, from 60-90% of the dealers present
did not, as these are Gem-Mineral-andohbytheway-fossils shows.

What I did was to work my way down the hall with my notebook
writing down what each dealer had and the price. Then I took
a break and went down my notes, comparing prices and crossing off
items that would have been nice to have but more interesting
stuff was available and the budget was finite. So I passed
up a really nice $100 fossil crab to get $100 dromeosaur tooth.
And so forth.

Many dealers had plesiosaurs (tiny ones, about 9" long)
for $1200. (One dealer offered to sell his to me at the
dealer-to-dealer rate of $750.) Two dealers had those Chinese
birds I can't spell (Confusciornis or something like that)
for $4,000 each (several birds per dealer).

Years ago I paid $75 for a half-inch mosasaur tooth. At the show
I paid $18 for one that was 1.5" long and about as big as walnut.

One dealer had reproductions and I bought most of the species he had.

It took me one day to do all three shows, including the initial
survey and the final buying binge. Prize of the lot was a
6" "stan" that Black Hills Institute was selling.

Even if you think that buying/selling fossils is a mortal
sin, if you can get by the shows in Denver, Tucson, or Boston
you should go. It's like walking through a museum. There were
huge slabs of crinoids and other things, and one dealer had so
many hadrosaur bones laid out you could actually build a 25%
complete skeleton (and a lot of dinosaurs are named on less).
If you own a business that could, by any stretch of the
imagination buy and sell fossils (something that sounds like
an interior decorator would do) take your tax id# and business
cards and get discounts of 25%-50% from dealers who are eager
to sell and not picky about exactly what defines another dealer.
At least, most of the dealers were not. Some were really picky
about who was and was not what kind of dealer.