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US Coin Shows – FUN Show Never Disappoints Coin Collectors, Dealers

The annual winter FUN SHOW is changing cities next year

By Jeff Garrett for Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) ……
Few conventions on the coin show circuit are as eagerly anticipated as the January FUN show each year. The show is put on by the Florida United Numismatists (FUN) organization, and is held in different locations around the state.

For many years, the show had been held in Orlando, but recently that venue had not been available. This year, the show was held in the Tampa Convention Center. The 2019 FUN show will return to Orlando, pleasing those who love combining their hobby with an opportunity to visit theme parks.

I have been attending the annual FUN show since the early 1970s. I grew up in Florida, and have many fond memories of the early conventions that were held in the old Fort Harrison Hotel in downtown Clearwater, Florida. Many who attended these conventions remember some of the great characters of the era such as Robert Hendershott and Doug Brown. Robert lived to be 106 and had the great distinction of having lived in three different centuries!

Since its beginnings, the annual FUN has been a huge success each year. The FUN show is considered a bellwether event for the rare coin market. Most rare coin dealers and collectors look to the show for market strength and direction. I believe this can be a mistake, as I have never had a bad FUN show, and the rare coin market can sometimes be soft shortly thereafter. The FUN show is uniquely positioned for success each year.

First, the timing of the event is ideal. December can be a slow time for the rare coin market. There are very few (if any) major rare coin shows. Demand for new material builds over the holidays, and quite a few dealers save coins for the January event. In short, there is a lot of pent-up business just waiting to happen. Dealers and collectors are also excited to visit somewhere warm during one of the most frigid parts of the year – although that was hardly the case this year, as the temps in Florida plunged into the 30s.

The winter FUN is also one of the most heavily marketed shows in the country. The FUN organization is blessed with bountiful revenue from bourse fees and auction revenue. Because they have a very small permanent staff and the revenue does not have to support other expenses, the FUN organization can spend aggressively to promote the show. They even pay for buses to bring members of coin clubs from around the state to attend the convention.

The winter FUN convention is also one of the anchor auctions each year for Heritage Auctions. This year, their sale brought in revenue of over $25 million. The large auction attracts collectors from around the country and helps increase foot traffic for the bourse floor as well.

One of the highlights of this year’s auction was an NGC PF 67 Cameo 1880 Flowing Hair Stella that sold for $750,000. The coin is one of the finest known examples, and sold for a price that is usually more associated with the Coiled Hair examples of the type. Heritage also sold thousands of coins and paper money in a wide range of prices. Most participants reported very strong price results across the board.

For those looking to attend an exciting event with lots of coins to choose from, none (other than the ANA World’s Fair of Money) compares. There are over 1,000 rare coin and paper money dealers in attendance. There is everything, from the mom and pop coin shop to the mega-rare coin companies. This mix of dealers is what many find attractive about the show. There are specialists from around the world selling everything, including Colonial coinage, early copper, ancient coins, paper money, tokens and medals, and just about everything else that has ever been used as money.

Like most, I’m hoping the success of this year’s FUN show will continue well into 2018. The recent run up of the stock market has many feeling flush with newfound wealth, and the country, in general, seems optimistic about the economy. As I have stated in recent articles, many rare coin prices are at depressed prices, and now may be a great time to add to your holdings. Next time, I will highlight some of the areas of the market that have seen the biggest declines.

For now, the top end of the market is getting the most attention and price increases. Hopefully, the rest of the rare coin market can gain steam in the very near future.

Contrary to what you may read in the numismatic press, I can attest that some coin shows are as strong as ever. Attending a numismatic convention is still one of the best ways to fully enjoy the hobby, and well-run shows like FUN will be around for a very long time.

Jeff Garrett
Jeff Garretthttps://rarecoingallery.com/
Jeff Garrett, founder of Mid-American Rare Coin Galleries, is considered one of the nation’s top experts in U.S. coinage — and knowledge lies at the foundation of Jeff’s numismatic career. With more than 35 years of experience, he is one of the top experts in numismatics. The “experts’ expert,” Jeff has personally bought and sold nearly every U.S. coin ever issued. Not a day goes by that someone doesn’t call on Jeff Garrett for numismatic advice. This includes many of the nation’s largest coin dealers, publishers, museums, and institutions. In addition to owning and operating Mid-American Rare Coin Galleries, Jeff Garrett is a major shareholder in Sarasota Rare Coin Galleries. His combined annual sales in rare coins and precious metals — between Mid-American in Kentucky and Sarasota Rare Coin Galleries in Florida — total more than $25 million. Jeff Garrett has authored many of today’s most popular numismatic books, including Encyclopedia of U.S. Gold Coins 1795–1933: Circulating, Proof, Commemorative, and Pattern Issues; 100 Greatest U.S. Coins; and United States Coinage: A Study By Type. He is also the price editor for The Official Redbook: A Guide Book of United States Coins. Jeff was also one of the original coin graders for the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS). He is today considered one of the country’s best coin graders and was the winner of the 2005 PCGS World Series of Grading. Today, he serves as a consultant to Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC), the world’s largest coin grading company. Jeff plays an important role at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Numismatic Department and serves as a consultant to the museum on funding, exhibits, conservation, and research. Thanks to the efforts of Jeff and many others, rare U.S. coins are once again on exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of American History. Jeff has been a member of the Professional Numismatic Guild (PNG) since 1982 and has recently served as president of the organization. He has also served as the ANA President and as a member of the ANA Board of Governors.

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