By William Shamhart – Numismatic Americana …….
I am an optimist. I really am. But at the same time I am a realist. The annual FUN show, usually held in the first week or two of the New Year in the resort town of Orlando, is a bell-weather of the year to come. After a month and a half long Holiday season most collectors and dealers are chomping at the bit to start the New Year and their numismatic quests. It’s no wonder that attendance records are set as collectors and dealers alike make the trek to Florida. Along with this comes the anticipation of a good and profitable FUN show from a Dealers point of view. But, and this is a big but, I had my reservations. There has been a lot of press lately about the fiscal (financial) mess and new tax rates coming down the pike. Usually there is a little trepidation with unknowns like this hanging around. Read on to see the outcome…
I arrived in Orlando early Tuesday morning and Christine (who had to travel across the country diagonally) landed later that afternoon. After attempting to check into my hotel, which I couldn’t do early, I went to the auction lot viewing to check out a few things for clients and inventory. Have you every done that? If you get the catalog for the FUN sales then you have a concept of what its like; it’s like looking through a New York city phone book, a daunting task to say the least, but even then you don’t really get the full experience. Try and visualize thousands and thousands of coins and a few hundred people at any given time trying to see them. Now remember that Mr. Murphy (of SNAFU fame) is an ardent coin collector and made sure that you had to wait for hours to see the boxes you need. He and some of his buddies are the consummate coin hogs. Perhaps they did that on purpose, perhaps not. It didn’t help the staff at lot viewing try to accommodate you buy with a little perseverance I was able to see everything I needed to and make the appropriate notes. Then off to dinner after a very long day.
Wednesday started with a few appointments (relationships, remember?) to buy some really fresh to the market pieces and then off to the auction for the first session, which started at noon. Christine and I sat through most of the first session waiting for the really cool Three Cent Silver pieces being offered. I know the dealer who helped assemble this collection (and respect his eye) and had some very strong bid on the pieces I wanted. We even had a client who sat next to us, anxiously waiting to buy one. Well we left empty handed. These coins went for prices that were off the charts. Both Christine and I have loved this series for many, many years and have several advanced collectors that we advise with their acquisitions. I have always said that “trimes” have a cult following, but after this I would say they shot to the top of main stream numismatics. Perhaps 2013 will be their year.
Right after the first session of the auction the bourse floor opened for dealer set up. There was a lot of “Happy New Years” exchanged, talk about the holiday season, and the usual pleasantries exchanged. With this many dealers and tables to view Christine and I tried to concentrate on buying for the first few hours, occasionally showing our inventory to other dealers and making a sale. As you can see from the new purchases that have been recently added to our web site we were pretty successful. After another long day it was off to a quiet dinner, just two of us.
The first full day of the show, Thursday, had the bourse opening at a reasonable 8:30 and we were there ready to do business. For the next hour and a half it was again dealer to dealer, until the collecting public was admitted at 10:00. After that there was barely any time to breath. From 10 until 7 it was non stop with at least 2 and sometimes 3 or 4 people at our table looking at or talking coins. Many old clients and customers came by as well as some new and potential ones. At times I felt like I was running for office as I shook what seemed to be ten thousand hands (if I ever ran for an office or something I’d like to think you all would vote for me). By the end of the day we were completely exhausted, but in a good way. Talking all day about something you love can’t be all that bad…can it? As tired as Christine and I were we were happy when we were invited to out to dinner with a few really great people who just happen to be clients as well. I can’t remember when I laughed that much, but that’s what this is all about isn’t it? Coins and camaraderie. An unbeatable pair.
Friday. What a day. It started off a little slow but by noon I have to say that I don’t remember a show like this in recent history, truly non-stop, with virtually every person who stopped by ending up walking away with a new addition to their collection. That coupled with numerous phone calls with those who, unfortunately, couldn’t make it to FUN this year. I’d like to take the time to again mention that NONE of this would be possible without the many relationships we have built over the years. I know that those are the most valuable assets I have; as well as the most cherished. As with the night before, Christine and I were invited out to dinner with two other great guys, and very advanced collectors as well. Again, laughter throughout the night!
Enough of that though…what about the coins?
Well we really did buy some “stellar” pieces. From the phenomenal 1836 Lettered Edge Half in PCGS MS66, to the unbelievably rare 1872-S Seated Half in PCGS MS65, I think this is one of the best selections we have acquired in a long while. Keep in mind that many of the coins we bought never made it to our web site as they were bought with specific customers in mind and dealers as well. Early on, as in before the show even started, we had the opportunity to by a really cool 1911-D $10 Indian. We didn’t have a customer in mind, but I knew a fellow dealer who might. We offered it to the dealer and they were happy to buy it, finally finding one for their very patient client. It’s great when you know that a collector finally gets their white whale, and that you were part of it.
I could go on and on about the coins we bought, but I think I’ll let Christine’s photos and descriptions do the talking. As I’ve always said, “If you like the photo you’ll love the coin”. Check them out and then give us a call (or email) if you see something on your wish list. We can have them to you before the weekend (and then you can have a play date with them and your collection).
And remember…we love to talk coins.