By Dr. Glen McClary
This was my 5th attendance at the FUN Coin Show in Orlando, Florida. As usual I had the hour and fifteen minute drive from the Space Coast to the Orange County Convention Center. Slightly shorter was my Friday AM walk from the parking lot to the registration center and the bustling bourse floor.
This visit would have the added feature of my attempting my first sale of coins for a close friend who had recently inherited them. Their individual values were not great but I was energized to find the best return for my friend. This was in the forefront of my mind.
Upon arrival registration was its usual efficient and friendly start to the day. The volunteers were plentiful and quickly addressed any and all needs of the registrants. I received my name sticker, a bag containing a commemorative pin, key chain and a lanyard. These items were supplied by Modern Coin Mart. Officially signed up I went down to the bourse floor with four purposes: submission of two coins for certification, selling my friend’s coins for a good value, seeing the various exhibits and purchasing something for my own collection. I also hoped to see a few moments of the Heritage Auction which was in full bloom.
For my coin’s certification I again went to ANACS. I presented my two coins, filled out the paperwork and made my payment. Complete with that task, I asked the ANACS representative if he might give me a ballpark grading on my friend’s coins. Fortunately they were not busy at that moment and he called over the senior grader there who generously took the time to look at each of the coins and give me a close grade and approximate value. They wished me luck and sent me on my way to purpose No. 2. I was now off to sell.
Before looking for someone to sell the coins to, I took an hour and moved around the floor exploring and getting a feel for the “pulse” of the show. As this was early morning of the second day of the show I was quite surprised at the volume of attendees. It seemed very busy, much enthusiastic conversation everywhere and this as later confirmed by many vendors, much buying and selling.
After the hour of meandering I zipped over to the exhibits/awards section. As in past years there were so many excellent items to view including a great set of Fugio coppers, several cases of die errors, a complete Lincoln collection from 1909 - 2013, several paper money exhibits, a portrait of power presentation and more too numerous to mention. Judges were circulating around each exhibit and grading them for a later presentation of prizes for winners and honorable mention. The public was invited to also vote on the People’s Choice. It was hard to judge neutrally as I leaned toward what coins I liked. I also was torn between the exhibits of the adults versus the wonderful presentations done by youth enthusiasts. I finally voted for the presentation that enlightened me the most with further knowledge as well as the superb quality of the coins. I am guessing the judges had a difficult time in making there own evaluations.
One additional exhibit caught my eye. The FUN Club sponsoring organization had a great presentation of memorabilia from the past 58 years of the show. There were high quality collectibles in this exhibit and reminded me to keep the pins I received the last several years I have been attending.
Leaving these exhibits I popped over to the ANA presentation of the 1804 gold coins where there was quite a crowd viewing the two coins and the check presented by Bebee’s Inc. for purchase many years ago. These three items were very majestic in their simplicity and importance. Everyone with a cell phone or camera, like me, took several photos of this unique display. My photos will be added to my coin collection as a truly excellent reminder of what special attractions this show allows its visitors to share in and I will be sharing them with my coin club members in due time.
It was now sale time. I went to four vendors that advertised that they were buying coins. One vendor from an Orlando coin store paid generously in cash for the coins. I am happy to report that this vendor was within a few dollars of my prediction of value that the ANACS folks determined. It was fun to do the sales and do a bit of bartering at the selling end. There wasn’t much haggling and the cash payment was a bonus.
Now it was my time to buy. I wanted a modest U.S. 3 cent silver coin, a U.S. 3-cent nickel, a large cent from the 1820s and a half cent of any year. Many vendors had what I wanted and were all cheerful and happy to assist me. Three dealers and four coins later I left to buy some display containers from Wizard Coin Supply. I wanted to house my slabs in something beside shoe boxes at home.
I stopped at the Heritage Auction for a few minutes to take in the ever changing price boards for the select auction items for that day. I am still awed by the unique coins and the prices they command. These were way above my collecting ability and finances but it was so interesting to watch the process in a quiet room where hundreds of thousands of dollars were being exchanged and I watched.
From what I saw I am sure that there were many happy sellers, buyers and of course happy Heritage personnel. The feeling was almost like the floor of the New York Stock Exchange without the high volume of noise.
It was time to leave and head home. I had accomplished all of my goals. What a great way to spend a Friday.
The day went so quickly and the convention was so satisfying. It again reminded me of the uniqueness of collecting coins and the special people that make this hobby what it is for all levels and ages. And of course, it was fun at the FUN. See you next year!
Dr. Glen McClary is a hobbyist in Satellite Beach, Fla.
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