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FUN starts year right

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?Show me the money!? Dealer Bob Campbell celebrates a successful FUN show.

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ANA President Barry Stuppler (left) joins FUN President Bob Hurst in cutting the ribbon.

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Hurst presents an Award of Merit to Randy Cambell.

Good business at the Florida United Numismatists convention Jan. 10-13 makes just about everyone an optimist as the year 2008 opens.

The usual club meetings, educational presentations and dinners occurred, but the true center of attention was the bourse floor activity and the official Heritage auction.

The buzz, which is the noise made by a crowded bourse floor with a high activity level, was clearly evident Thursday through Saturday. There was also some reluctance to vacate the floor as the 7 p.m. closing time neared on the first two days.

?It was a barnburner,? said Fred Schwan, a paper money dealer from Port Clinton, Ohio.

He ticked off the components for the show: ?Great time, good business, research discoveries, fellowship; it was everything.?

He pointed out that a Military Payment Certificate specimen set sold for $115,000, including the buyer?s fee, and for him it was the headline item of the Heritage sale.

?What was hot (on the floor) is plastic,? he said. ?Holders, third-party graded stuff is really moving.?

Brad Schiff of Pittsburgh?s Cybercoins, said, ?It was really good. The public came in. The noise in the room was loud. This one was smokin?. They brought the people in.?

He said everything was strong across the board and then specifically cited albums, modern commemorative gold, Morgan dollars, paper money, bullion, silver bars and medieval coins.

?I can?t imagine anyone criticizing this show,? his father Ted Schiff said.

?With the way silver and gold have been going up, it has been very positive,? said Mary Sauvain, a numismatist with Long Island?s New World Rarities. ?The public is coming in looking for coins to buy to put back. It?s been a good show.?

Western Springs, Ill., paper money dealer Tim Kyzivat said, ?It?s been a very good show. Solid business. I came here to sell and did well selling (and) buying what came looking for me at the table.?

?Business was wonderful,? Anthony Swiatek of Manhassett, N.Y., declared. ?Currency was selling. Gold was selling. Type was selling. Commems were a bit slow.?

?It was very well attended,? said Julian Leidman of Silver Spring, Md. ?Lots of activity. My sales weren?t that good. Gold going up had the gold business active.?

Leidman also commented about the auctions. He said there were ?gargantuan prices on many, many coins.?

Professional Numismatists Guild President Gary Adkins of Edina, Minn., was pleased.

?I think the show was phenomenal,? he said. He said attendance was great and that there is ?a lot of good support in the market.?

Former American Numismatic Association president Bob Campbell of All About Coins, Salt Lake City, Utah, was clearly happy with his results.
?Anything different or stood out, those were the things that sold the best,? he said.

Campbell called these things ?eye catchers? that sold to first-time buyers. He said gold nuggets, police badges and hobo nickels were examples of this kind of thing.

?That really surprised me,? he said. He also added a word of caution to the experience. He said market participants were ?all going around wondering when the music is going to stop. Who doesn?t get a seat when the music stops??

At Col. Steve Ellsworth?s table, John Koebert was assisting the Reston, Va., dealer. Koebert is the current president of the Virginia Numismatic Association. He said, ?It was great, absolutely fabulous. We had a great show. We did a lot in everything, half cents, large cents, bought a very nice large cent. Sold some gold, some type stuff. No one series outdid the others.

?Barber stuff seems to be doing very well,? Koebert continued. ?Mint State Washington quarters, Mint State Standing Liberty quarters. I can?t think of anything that didn?t do well for us.?

?I think it is the large attendance coin show,? Ellsworth said. ?It sets the tone for the year. If you want a barometer … we?re going to have a strong 2008.?

Coin prices are rising rapidly. Dealers and collectors have to chase them to get the deals done.

?We have to pay over price guide and sell for much higher,? Ellsworth said. ?Nice dates, key dates are stronger than the price guides indicate.?

A relative newcomer to the nation?s bourses is Eric Werner of Lighthouse, a supply house in Hackensack, N.J.

?It was good,? he said. ?We had very good traffic. Our new products have been well accepted.?

Though results weren?t universally good, they were about as close as it ever gets to the perfect coin show.

Whatever happens during the rest of 2008, it has begun well.

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