This page features Show Reports, Travel Notes, and other Items of Interest as they strike my fancy.

Leonard Himes     Dealer in Fine Mineral Specimens

I encourage you to become members of the Friends of the Geology Museum of the Colorado School of Mines  one of our area's real treasures. The Friends sponsor monthly  lectures, field trips, and special events.

New Post June 30, 2019


If you have made it this far I'm impressed. I hope you find the blog  interesting.


The Chamber of Commerce in Tucson commissioned an economic survey of the 2019 Tucson Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase Expenditures –it is the first since the report I have above fro 2014

Here are some of the findings.

They estimate a total of $131,426,030 in direct expenditures resulting from the 2019 Tucson Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase. Lodging is the largest individual expenditure category ($45,831,096) – followed by Food & Beverage ($27,154,625). 

Out-of-town Buyers traveled to Tucson from 42 different states (as well as Puerto Rico) and 17 foreign countries. Exhibitors traveled from 45 states (including the District of Columbia) and 42 foreign countries. 

 The 2019 Showcase encompassed 48 individual shows and an estimated 4,882 Exhibitors. The 2019 total gate attendance was estimated to include 457,259 Buyers, each of whom visited 6.97 shows (on average) – for a projected attendance of 65,604 unique persons. 

 Fully 99% of Buyers purchased one or more items on-site at the shows, most often Gems/Jewelry and/or Rocks/Minerals/Fossils. Among international Buyers, two-thirds report cumulative on-site purchases in excess of $10,000.

They estimated that $13,028,205 in local taxes (including sales, bed and rental car taxes) were paid on $122,866,042 of taxable expenditures made by Owners, Exhibitors and Buyers at the 2019 Tucson Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase. 

My comment: Notice that none of this actually comments on the sales of specimens although that is reflected in sales tax collections, but only partly since wholesale purchases must exceed retail and are not taxed. If exhibitor purchases average $10,000 (real easy to do) in new merchandise that gets to $50 million immediately, and that only counts vendors who set up in Tucson, not the thousand or more who just come to shop! So Tucson is big business, my guess is at least half a billion dollars. No wonder the show is so much appreciated.

​                                           Tucson is changing.


2020 will be the last year for the "Inn Suites" show. It will move to much nicer rooms and ballrooms at the Hilton Conquistador Hotel/Resort. I toured the facility to see what it is like and it is beautiful and spacious with no muddy parking lot. The rooms are NOT moldy and the plumbing DOES work. I think it is a great choice. 

When I first went to that hotel, it was for John Barlow's party to announce his new book on his collection. I thought I was driving to Phoenix before I got there; it was north on Oracle way out in the country. Well, it is in the same place, but no longer in the country. It is about a mile north of Ina Road where Westward Look is located and will overlap dates with that Fine Minerals Show. That should be good for booth events. 


The other news is that the area of our Just Minerals Event at the corner of Oracle and Lester in downtown Tucson is now exploding into a major mineral center generally being referred to as Lester. We will continue in the Elks Lodge (northeast corner) for 3 days on opening weekend but starting on Saturday in 2020, rather than Sunday. Across the street are the Sun Gem and Mineral City venues( northwest corner) We also expect that the Jewel Tunnel remodel of the old LaFuente Restaurant building ( southwest corner) will be complete. Since Top Gem is already established adjacent to the Elks Lodge, this area is destined to be a major retail/wholesale venue for years to come.


The TGMS Main Show will continue to be the anchor of all the activity, of course, but early attendees in Tucson will have some excellent shopping options. Tucson is a wonder flu town. If you haven't Attended the show, pu it on your calendar or 2020!



​Graham Sutton was the driving force behind building the physical plant of the Mineral City Show. Graham has been a miner for Collector's Edge for years and is a major part of their Chinese operations and is also importing custom display cases from there. He has now acquired a former office business property across the alley from the back entrance to the Mineral City building. He has begun  remodeling the interior to house a number of top dealers. The two office buildings share a parking lot that is entered from one street north of Lester St. that is named La Plata Street. So Graham, assuming not everyone speaks Spanish, decided to call the show the Silver Street Show (la plata = silver). Cal Graeber, Isaias Casanova and Geoff Krasnov and I have arranged to have a double-sized room for a fine minerals retail venue. We will be ordering new room furnishings and planning a layout worthy of a major new show.The buildings has direct access to the original Mineral City building. The alley between the buildings will be paved and gated at the ends to make a pedistrian walkway between the show areas. In case the weather is warm as Tucson can be in February, this building will not only be heated, but also air conditioned. La Plata street will also serve as parking for many cars.


For Graeber & Himes this means some fancy footwork. Cal will manage the  wholesale activity at The  Just Minerals Event and I will be across Oracle in the Silver Street show room. We will still be at Westward Look with our finest specimens on our regular schedule, but we will be spreading ourselves between both shows. Early shoppers can see us at Silver Street. Collectors arriving later will see us at Westward Look. We will still have a presence at the TGMS, but we have decided to downsize there. We will be splitting tour 20x20 ft booth into two and sharing the area with Kevin Downey's Well Arranged Molecules. Stay tuned! This has all happened very quickly and is in flux.  Isn't it fun to live in exciting times!!!


​Without a doubt the Lester-Plata Street district will be come a major focus of the Tucson experience, so plan to come early to Tucson in 2020, the excitement there starts the last week of January, two weekends prior to the Main Show. And I thought that running three venues was tough!!!