Happy New Year to Everyone! Sorry for the late report folks! Since I babysit my grandson when I’m not traveling, it takes me quite a bit longer to get things done. But he’s so adorable and I am very grateful that I get to spend so much time with this little guy.
Every year I especially look forward to the FUN show. It is so well run and attended, especially since the FUN show folks help subsidize the cost to bus collectors from various clubs around the state. I happened to acquire a couple nice PCGS collections, a complete Lincoln cent set 1909-1964 in PCGS MS64-MS67, and a complete Indian cent set all PCGS MS65 RB, so I had some nice fresh material to offer my customers and had a really good show, with lots of activity from the minute the show opened until late in the day. From what I heard, overall everyone said it was a very good show but as expected, quality material is harder to find.
I left warm sunny Orange County on Tuesday morning, flew into very cold Dallas for my connecting flight and ran into a few fellow coin dealers waiting for the same flight. We were about an hour delayed waiting for a replacement flight attendance, and when we finally boarded, they still had to de-ice the plane.
Soon we were off!
A few hours later we arrived in also very cold Tampa. I checked into the Marriott and had a beautiful view of the city from my room
The next day it was overcast, and about 40 degrees. Being quite wimpy when it comes to cold weather, I even brought my Baltimore coat and gloves with me. This is a beautiful view of the bay from the hotel.
Set up was a 2pm and I arrived a little early. Of course the massive bourse floor was quite empty while the dealers began lining up to get in.
Here are just a few of the folks who help make the FUN show the great show that it is (I borrowed this photo from the FUN show website).
As I mentioned, I had just acquired two large collections of coins so my inventory was pretty full and I hadn’t planned on buying a lot of new coins at this show. However, I’m a sucker for pretty pennies, and I ended up finding several more nice pieces throughout the show that I just couldn’t resist , including an upgrade for my own personal set.
This beautifully toned 1886 Indian cent is a nice upgrade for my personal collection.
I am always on the hunt for beautifully toned copper which is getting harder and harder to find, but I did acquire this very pretty purple toned Indian cent. Quality copper in rattler holders is also scarce (and this one must have gotten by the crack out artists) so I was thrilled to find this full red 1878 Indian cent in a rattler holder!
After set up, I went on a harbor dinner cruise put on by ICTA – Industry Council for Tangible Asset – which is an industry “watch dog” and helps fight counterfeiting and lobbies against numismatic taxation in all states.
They even took photographs of everyone who boarded the ship. This is me and my crew – Neil, Rick’s son Kenny, Rick and me
Even though it was quite cold, it was an absolutely beautiful night on the harbor.
The dinner was delicious, as were the desserts!
When I was getting ready for the show in my hotel room on Thursday morning, a nice commercial for the show appeared on the a major station on the tv!
On the way over to the show between the hotel and convention center is the lonely fellow who is permanently sitting on a park bench.
The convention center!
Thursday was the official opening day for the show, which opened with a nice ceremony of pomp and circumstance.
There was quite a crowd waiting to enter the bourse.
Those of you who know John Kraljevich know that he has the most unusual pieces in his cases, often very historical and unique. At many of the shows when I see John, he often has a little envelope with goodies that he set aside just for me. Whenever he presents this envelope to me, I get really excited to see what treasures he found. This time he had a neat little Indian cent celluloid encasement that he and I both have never seen before. It is from a very little town in Pennsylvania, and when I showed it to a couple other people, they too had not seen one like it before.
I can say I was very busy throughout the show and unlike other shows, the crowds didn’t dwindle until late in the day. Each day of the show went by very fast. I was finally able to open the bottle of wine I had brought around 5pm on Thursday.
On my way out, I stopped by the Heritage Auction room where there were quite a few people in attendance.
On Thursday after the show closed, Rick and I went over to the Hardrock Casino. I played all sorts of games but in the end I left a little lighter than when I started.
Friday morning I stopped by the NGC table to pick up some Conder tokens I had sent in for grading at the last show, including a rare pair of the same token in different die states. How can anyone not find these 3-d looking tokens amazing!
I also went by the PCGS table which was busy as usual.
A collector stopped by my table and offered me this Capital Plastics set of Indian cents that he had painstakingly put together over several years and finally decided to part with it. I asked him several times if he was sure he wanted to part with it because I could tell how much heart and time he put into this set. I graded it VF-Unc and paid him a very fair price for the set.
The Fly-In Club held it’s meeting at 1:30 on Friday. I always enjoy hearing what President Chris Pilliod has to say, as well as Rick’s comments on the Indian cent market, new varieties, his grading system, etc.
On my way back to the bourse floor, I stepped outside onto the patio next to the harbor. It was a gorgeous sunny day and even though it was chilly, I enjoyed watching the birds, the glassy water, and the bright blue sky.
While I was at the Fly-In Club meeting, my good friend Neil covered my table for me.
This is Greg, he collects love tokens with fancy designs
Tommy/Tommy44 stopped by and introduced himself to me.
Bobby B. brought by this very cool portrait of Lincoln that he created out of 864 Lincoln cents for another dealer. It was fascinating!
As many of you know, I collect penny exonumia and have several “pie cutter” pieces, including a couple with original handles. So I was intrigued when I saw this one in error coin dealer Jon Sullivan’s case. However, it was a bit pricey so I wasn’t able to add it to my collection.
A view of the harbor at night from the same patio outside the convention center.
After the show ended on Friday, we headed over to a dinner party thrown by my fellow copper weenies Greg Hannigan and Chris McCawley at a house they rented outside of Tampa. Greg loves to cook and prepared this wonderful Italian feast for us. What a tasty and fun evening!
Saturday morning I got up early to attend my WIN board meeting. This was a particularly special meeting as WIN had just received a surprise $10,000 donation from the Eric P. Newman Foundation and we spent the entire board meeting discussing ways to put the donation to use in a way that would also honor Eric P. Newman’s philosophy of numismatic education.
After our board meeting, we held our general meeting where John Kraljevich gave a fascinating presentation on African-American history and numismatics. If any of you have ever heard John speak, he is one of the most enjoyable speakers I have ever heard. He’s so knowledgeable and comfortable and speaks off the cuff as if he is just having a conversation.
When I got back to the bourse floor, I took a brief tour of the numismatic exhibits. The awards hadn’t yet been presented so I don’t know which exhibits won. Here are photos of some of the exhibits that I thought were interesting and different from the regular coin and paper money exhibits.
Soon it was time to pack up to catch my flight back home. Let me just take a moment here to add my comment about the age-old debate on coin dealers leaving a show early. For me personally, I would prefer to stay at a show through the end, but my experience throughout the years of attending coin shows has always been that being at a coin show on Sunday is not productive FOR ME and often doesn’t even cover the expense of the extra hotel night. Also, getting to be home on Sundays gives me that extra weekend day with my family after being away and that extra day to relax before the post show work begins. So, again, for me, my family, and my business, I have determined that not attending shows on Sundays works best for me. And as far as leaving early on Saturdays, for me that is completely dictated by the airline schedule. I reserve the very last flight possible to return to the Orange County airport (which has it’s own curfews) and, unfortunately, sometimes that means I have to leave earlier than I prefer on Saturday in order to make my flight. If I drive to a show, I am usually there the full day on Saturdays. I am not speaking for all dealers but just trying to give you a little perspective and a better understanding of why some dealers leave coin shows early.
So by the time I arrived in Orange County Saturday night, we were one of the last flights to land and the airport was completely deserted. After traveling around the country to many, many airports, the Orange County airport late a night is the only airport that I have ever seen so empty – it’s almost eerie!
That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Tampa, especially getting to see my fellow collector and dealer friends, but as always, it was great to get back home to my family, my very understanding hubby, my sweet little grandbaby, and of course, my mischievous kitty Penny. This is the first year that Penny decided to see what it was like to climb in our Christmas tree, and she was quite comfortable, falling asleep and nesting there for hours!
Next up: San Jose and Long Beach Coin Shows!