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Business year begins at FUN show

The bourse floor was busy. There was a buzz in the air. Results at the Florida United Numismatists convention Jan. 5-8 in Fort Lauderdale offered promise for the rest of 2017.

Though the market is by no means booming, dealers reported mildly positive commercial outcomes.


Pierre Fricke

“We’ve been busy,” said Boston, Mass., dealer Pierre Fricke.

“I’ve got the chance to sit down now, the first time today.”

He reported “quite a lot of interest in Confederate and obsolete paper money.”

He said he “sold a wide range of stuff from $15 to $20,000.” He described his passing clients on the floor as teenagers to age 70.

Confederate paper money has long been popular.

Presently, he said, “It’s solid. Some things are very strong. Some are very soft. Things that are rare, choice, colorful, are strong – or high end slabs.”

For what is soft, he said, “run-of-the-mill earlier stuff is a bit soft (pre-1864). 1864 is popular. Southern states notes are starting to stir here in the past few months.”

Coins are also in Fricke’s inventory.

“I deal in early American copper coins and high-end Civil War dated coins.”

He said, “Civil War dated coins are strong. Nice Red Book variety and date large cents are strong.”

For weakness, he said look to the varieties not listed in the Red Book.

Fricke said it is “a good time to start collecting Sheldons,” referring to the numbering system for early large cent varieties.

“Now you can get stuff that you couldn’t dream about 20 years ago.

Fugio coppers are a mixed bag,” he said. Red Book listed pieces are strong. The varieties are weak.

Vernon Oswald of Ossie’s in Port St. Lucie, Fla., said of the show, “For us it was pretty good. Not as good as last year, but good enough.”

He is a part-time dealer who attends eight shows a year by his estimate.


Larry Jackson

Atlanta’s Larry Jackson said, “The show is very active. There is a good hum.”

What was strong for Jackson was the Heritage auction results.

“I had a few consignments and I was very happy.” He was also a buyer.

He pointed to the page in the auction catalog for the 1815 gold half eagle. He said he had paid $88,000 for it. It is graded AU details by ANACS.

“There’s deals to be had out there. I have chased that coin. There are just 10 known and only six that are in private hands.

“Money’s a little tight,” he said. For examples of weakness, he said “CC common stuff is down a little bit. Modern stuff, -70 is weak.

He said he has a huge volume of bulk and junk at his store. There is a tremendous overhang of proof sets.

David Cieniewicz of Huntsville, Ala., said, “Business was very good. Even with the change in location, for FUN, it was still a very good show.”

“World paper continues to be very active. Choice older issues are becoming harder and harder to locate.

FUN is normally in Orlando, but last year it was in Tampa and it will go to Tampa again next year while this year’s venue was Fort Lauderdale.

Not every one reacted well to the change in location.

When asked how his show was, Gus Tiso of Salisbury, Md., replied, “Worst show ever. The change in venue every year, back and forth, like a yo-yo” was not to his liking. But he said he had just finished a December that had been OK.

San Francisco’s Mark William Clark, who was sharing a table with Cieniewicz, said, “yesterday was wonderful.” The majority of his business was wholesale. He said there is a strong Latin American market, especially Cuba.


Steven Musil

Steven Musil of Kearney, Neb., said, “I didn’t have great expectations for the show, but the floor has been very populated with collectors and business has been better than anticipated.

Bob Campbell said his results were “surprisingly good. A lot of the coins shows in the home state that I do are pretty slow.”

His firm, All About Coins, Inc., is located in Salt Lake City.

“Here it is like the good old days. The thing I like best is its like a family reunion. It makes me feel alive.”

Gold was the hottest at Jeff Garrett’s Mid-American Rare Coin Gallery table.

Tom Mulvaney said, “We did a good amount of business. He also pointed to type coins.

All in all, FUN provided the market with an underpinning at the beginning of the year. We will see where the rest of 2017 now takes us.

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News Express. >> Subscribe today

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