By David C. Harper
numismatic year opened with a bang Jan. 7-10 at
the Florida United Numismatists convention in
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
“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
“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
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
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
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
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
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
“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.