January 2020 FUN Show Report
Wow, it’s hard to believe that my 40th FUN Show has come and gone. The Orlando Convention Center is a great venue for the show with ample parking. The timing could not have been better for a winter show. The temperature every day was between 75 and 85 degrees with nice sunny skies. We were in the show from 8:30am– 7:00pm each day, so we didn’t get much of a chance to take advantage of the beautiful weather, but it’s nice to just be somewhere warm in early January.
Dave and I arrived on Tuesday at 10:30am and hit the floor running. The show itself didn’t start until Wednesday at 2:00pm, but a tremendous amount of dealer to dealer business is done before the show opens. This is the only show that we bring inventory to sell. Anyone that took a moment to look, raved at the quality of our coins. Most commented that the combination of eye-appeal and quality was great! A testament to the demand for quality coins was that we sold three times more coins than we bought. The only downside is that we need to buy coins to fill want lists and existing orders. However, the only way I can buy any quantity of coins now is to compromise my standards and I refuse to do that!
Even the auctions were disappointing. I view auction lots for our customers free of charge and spent a few hours looking at lots for clients. I couldn’t recommend a single coin that our customers asked me to look at for them. Even though most were CAC coins, I felt that they were too marginal for the grade. I keep telling CAC to stop stickering over-dipped coins but that’s a battle I am not winning. I looked at an 1831 Bust Half on the floor of the show in PCGS AU-55 CAC. The coin was as white as a brand-new Silver Eagle! How is that possible for a 200-year-old coin? Imagine though, dozens of coins to view in a great auction and I could not recommend a single coin for our customers to buy! That’s sad and scary.
On Tuesday, I was offered an old green holder deal of high-grade CAC $20 Saints. Talk about being excited, but alas, they were neat coins but most were hazy. I did not want to take a chance with the haze over time clouding the coins more than they were, so I bought the two best coins. The rest of the coins were so clouded I was surprised they received a CAC sticker. When I hit the show floor on Wednesday, I was kicked in the gut by the masses of over-graded coins in dealer cases. Coins that 15 or 20 years ago never would have been graded are now in holders and graded straight up, not details graded.
I hope we can hang on for a few more years finding the odd great quality coin for the grade. The best part of looking for coins at the show was that when I came back to our table, people were gathered complimenting us about our coins! Our 1875 20-cent piece in PCGS MS-66 CAC got a lot of attention along with the Continental Dollar. Our 1883 Trade Dollar in PCGS Proof-67 CAC blew everyone away and dealers came everyday asking to look at it. We had some nice offers but not enough to pry it from us. It will be on our website soon so you can pull it up and admire it.
It was a pleasure to see old friends come by the table. I spend a lot of time helping people with their grading and critiquing coins. In a lot of cases the coins were altered or disguised and telling collectors how to avoid coins like that can be difficult. One of our customers found us on Thursday night with about 30 coins as we were leaving the show. He asked if I could look so we opened the table back up and spent about 20 minutes going over his half cents and large cents. Since they were all certified, I was able to help him identify original and altered coins. Some of them were just camel hair brushed and others were cleaned, greased or resurfaced. One was obviously environmentally damaged, but still in a holder. He asked why don’t the dealers I buy these from tell me these things? I said there are a number of reasons, some dealers don’t know and others don’t care. Educating customers is something most dealers just don’t believe in. Their goal is to sell a coin, any coin. Some of our customers from many years ago came by to show me their coins and I was proud of what we had sold them years ago. They got the right foundation and now have great collections. We also met a couple of young numismatists that are on their way to greatness.
Overall, the show was well attended, but most buyers have no idea what they are looking at. Dealer to dealer business was a bit off, but our dealer business was as strong as Hercules. Buying coins is getting tougher and tougher. Over-grading is dragging down prices and yet nice coins still bring great money. We will keep plugging away and will get our new purchases up soon.