The new numismatic year opened with a bang Jan. 7-10 at the Florida United Numismatists convention in Orlando.
Underpinned by strong results at the Heritage auction, commercial activity on the bourse floor generated a steady buzz for most of the four-day run, including a portion of Sunday.
Attendance during the first three days reached the 8,500 mark and FUN public registration chairperson Donna Moon said Sunday morning that she had hoped the show could reach the 10,000 mark.
“Finally a good coin show,” Tiburon, Calif., dealer Don Kagin said with a smile when asked how business was going.
The recovery came quicker and sooner than he expected.
“There are people with money who still want to buy,” Kagin said, adding that “truly rare, nice material is setting records.”
There are areas of recent weakness, however.
“Graded rarities that aren’t as rare as when they were first graded are still down,” he said. “There are certain areas that seem to have reached bottom. Fractional currency, I noticed there were some good bargains there.
“Off-grade, cleaned and marked items are more or less still in the doldrums.”
For Eric Werner of the Lighthouse supply company based in Germany, the show was “phenomenal.”
“We have good attendance, great interest in the products and good sales,” Werner said. “It was just wonderful.”
Werner said he had a lot of new products at the show, including albums for the new America the Beautiful quarter series that begins this year. A high level of interest was shown in these albums.
Book dealer John Burns of North Huntingdon, Pa., was in a really good mood.
“FUN is a show where they keep giving me money ’til I leave,” he said.
Results seen by Mary Sauvain of New World Rarities, Hauppage, N.Y., were being given a boost by interest in the 2009 Ultra High Relief Saint-Gaudens $20 gold coins.
“We sold a fair number of them,” she said. “They are in the slabs.”
Graded MS-69 and MS-70, she said the coins were priced at $1,700 and $1,850, respectively.
Overall, Sauvain said, “It’s been a very active show.”
It was the same good story for Palm City, Fla., paper money dealer James Warmus.
“I don’t see any let-up in sales at all,” Warmus said. “It helps that I brought a couple of new collections. All the foreign paper money dealers that I talked to are happy with the show.”
George Vega of Twery’s, Greenacres, Fla., had gold on his mind.
“What’s active is the bullion and some generic gold. Generic gold softened up a bit even though gold is strong. There is still a lot of buyers. We had a good show. The collectors are here.
“The dealers that stayed liquid are looking for product,” Vega said. “We don’t find any fresh material. It’s impossible to find nice, fresh material. The coins are bringing very good money at auction. I think we’re out of the coin recession. Everything’s turned here. It’s all coming back.”
Looking at his table Vega said, “Yesterday we were three deep here.”
Bust half dealer Sheridan Downey of Los Altos, Calif., said it was an “extremely surprisingly active selling show.”
He said the atmosphere was close to electric.
“The auction was extremely strong in some areas, less so in others. Sell-through was much higher than usual,” said paper money dealer Allen Mincho, representing Heritage. “I think that the market’s recovering, particularly in large and small type notes.
“It’s been a very strong show for most of the dealers with extraordinarily high public attendance.”
Richie Self of American Coins in Shreveport, La., was sharing a table with his brother, Malcolm, from Southland Coins.
“Sales have been very brisk, especially with gold and silver bullion,” Richie Self said.
“We’ve been satisfied with the demand for paper money, although it has been a little bit softer than last year.”
He noted that his shop had a record year and record fourth quarter because of the bullion business.
“Coin Market” editor Harry Miller offered this snapshot of activity: “Moderate. Everybody’s looking for scarce dates, type coins, some bullion-related stuff, although generic gold is weak because some of the big buyers have pulled out of the market.”
It seemed impossible to find anyone who was dissatisfied with the results of the FUN convention.
“We had a good show,” said dealer Sondra Beymer of Santa Rosa, Calif. “Buying and selling were both good. There was a buzz from the very beginning.”
Participants hoped the show set a new and upbeat tone for the coin market.