January 5-8, 2022: The FUN Show in Orlando, FL
Good news everyone, Team CRO has arrived in Orlando on a thoroughly and completely uncanceled flight with a bunch of other Massachusetts-based dealers and is now camped at our hotel next door to the convention center looking forward to the week’s activities.
Which will begin with some intensive Heritage lot viewing on Wednesday AM, followed by dealer set up at 2 PM, and then the full blown show Thursday-Saturday.
From which we plan to extract all sorts of interesting experiences, see all kinds of neat coins, do as much coin dealering as possible and then post all about all of it in our daily Road Reports each and every morning of the show.
With our first installment to appear right here on Thursday, AM.
So you might want to keep an eye out for that.
January 5th: Day 1
Wednesday in Orlando began earlier than planned as your author woke up with a start at 3 AM, tossed and turned for another few fitful hours and then fell into a deep restful sleep just as the alarm fired off at 6 with the relaxing calm of an air raid siren.
So I leapt out of bed, had a large coffee from the hotel’s 24 hour mini mart, dashed off to the gym, ate breakfast while answering emails and eventually got ourselves ready to head over to the convention center where the show would be held in something called the “North/South Bldg Hall NB”.
I should point out here that we specifically selected our hotel based on its proximity to
“North/South Bldg Hall NB”. So it was of course disappointing to discover that 1) It was not that close, and 2) Getting there would require a combination of walking on the covered skybridge / bumbling around like an idiot / taking several escalators and/or elevators and then walking behind a building slightly larger than an airplane hangar.
But eventually we’d make it, drop off our bags, get our shiny new 2022 FUN show ribbons, and then roll right into Heritage lot viewing where we’d encounter many familiar masked faces.
Where we proceeded to view every coin in the 6 or 8 catalogs comprising this session over the next 4 hours or so, dismissing some coins we thought we’d like, ID’ing plenty of others to bid on, making copious notes, and then shoving all of those aforementioned catalogs into my now enormously heavy bag and schlepping it outside to cool my heels at one of the limited seating areas with a few other dealers to discuss everything that had happened since I last saw all of these people.
At least until MaryAnn arrived, at which point we ate a quick lunch and then joined the impressive queue assembled precariously at the top of the escalator waiting for the doors to be flung open for the start of dealer set up at 2 PM.
Which we navigated while almost being knocked over only one (1) time, quickly made our way to table 522 and, like a well-oiled machine, set up everything with coins on display and lights on in not more than 15 minutes.
Which was ideal, since our first customer arrived just then, pored through everything (including every active coin on our website and all sorts of new stuff introduced here) and bought 5 coins for about 10K. “Hey, that’s a good start.” I said to no one in particular.
Which turned out to be a harbinger of things to come, as we ended up selling 22 coins during set up in a room that, due to covid cancellations, was maybe 75% as full and active as it might have been in ‘normal’ times (whatever that means these days).
On a more positive note, that undoubtedly reduced our competition for some cool coins around the floor and we were happy to take advantage of that, buying up pretty much every CRO-style coin we saw, which by days end was around 30 in total including colonials, choice US pieces, pretty types and rare dates and a pile of world coins from 3 different sources.
Finishing up our last transaction of the day and returning to the table just as MaryAnn said “You know it’s almost 7 PM, right?”. At which point we packed up and walked over to meet some dealer friends for a drink at another hotel which I was pleased to see was even further from the show than our own.
Before heading off to an extremely convoluted dinner that required 1 Uber ride, at least 3,000 steps and then 1 cab ride, but ultimately culminated with some excellent company and some very good chicken enchiladas.
Finally getting back to our hotel at about 11 PM and then summarily collapsing after what had been by then an action packed, highly entertaining, commercially successful and extreeeeemely long day.
So of course we look forward to doing all of it again (except that convoluted dinner part) on Thursday. And then writing all about everything that happens right here on Friday AM.
January 6th: Day 2
We got smart on Thursday, avoiding that massive hike to the convention center and instead jumping into a waiting cab.
Allowing us to slide casually onto the bourse floor around 9:15, remove our table covers, click on the lights and then proceed to use all that energy we conserved by not walking to run around the bourse floor like crazy for the next 9 hours.
During which we managed to keep busy:
Sold 24 coins of all kinds, including some of the new things we just acquired here since we also have to keep an eye on the cash flow during this period where we have 2 shows back to back with no Early Bird until after next week’s NYINC.
Completed 4 numismatic trades with collectors.
Talked to several other dealers about coins that might be available in the near term thus greasing the skids for some future opportunities.
Spotted a neat coin in a case in the budget section completely by accident since I was looking for the concession stand at the time and that turned out to be on the other side of the room. So of course I bought it.
Ate lunch while simultaneously valuing another trade proposal and selling a coin to a customer as MaryAnn was helping 2 customers buy some tokens and I answered a question about auction representation from a 4th customer. So yes, it was busy. And we were glad to be good at multi-tasking and teamwork and also eating quickly.
Took an unusual early die state example of a colonial coin on consignment from a customer here thinking we know of one living customer who collects such things, called him, discovered he was actually here in Orlando, met him at the table, made the deal and felt good about the fact that we had, against all odds, achieved a win-win-win deal for all involved. Actually win-win-win-win, since the consignor then used the proceeds to buy another coin out of our case.
Answered 6 customer emails variously negotiating prices and/or valuing trade-ins on things that might work but have not yet.
Arranged to view a small but high value world collection next week in NYC.
Carefully considered but ultimately passed on a neatly toned commem on the floor that maybe we should have bought.
Sent 2 completely bizarre currently unlisted colonials to PCGS for a customer in hopes they would be graded. Hey, we’ll find out.
Viewed several coins that other dealers said were for us, bought a bunch, declined a few others which is almost always a decision based on quality and aesthetics and seldom on price, and that was again the case here.
Managed to buy 21 NEWPs in total, the single most expensive of which I am not quite sure about since, while totally cool, it is not exactly in our wheelhouse. But we never really know what will work and what won’t, so we sort of go with our gut knowing we have to act quickly before someone else does.
Made our last sale of the day at about 5:45 in the form on a neat Chilean 8R that I was a little surprised lasted as long as it did in our inventory.
At which time Team CRO was totally and completely out of gas, so we headed out to dinner at that Greek restaurant which my wife says is surprisingly authentic and I am certainly not going to argue with her.
After which we took the 30 minute walk back to our hotel so we could finally relax in anticipation of another looooong and super busy day on Friday. We hope.
And if it is, or even if it isn’t, we’ll post all about it right here in the next installment of the RR.
January 7th: Day 3
Since we’re on the every other day gym schedule here, and Friday would be ‘on’, we would have to get up extra early to accommodate our blog writing-gym visiting-breakfast having-uber riding schedule and still get to the convention center in time to 1) Make hay, and 2) Not miss anything important.
And I am pleased to say we did, and we did (at least as far as I know), jumping right back into action at the table during a morning which was from our vantage point impressively crowded at most every table as evidenced by this shot taken in ‘CROvision’ down our aisle:
During which we were pleased to sell a bunch more coins that had been on the site to a variety of collectors and dealers here, but also more new things which will now, unfortunately, never see the business end of a CRO EB.
Buying, on the other hand, became much more difficult, as by now I had pretty much vetted everything on the floor, bought what was most clearly buyable and now was really having to contort myself to make marginal coins work.
Or in some case not marginal at all, like a world coin at one dealer’s table that I liked and figured for about $400, only to see that he had it marked $5,250. Hey, maybe it’s a super rare variety I’ve never ever heard of before, but in any case it was pretty clear that deal was not happening.
Of course there are always new coins walking up to the table, or appearing in other dealer cases during the course of a show, and so that was where the action was for us on Friday to the tune of another 8 US and world issues.
With things eventually slowing down in the early afternoon, giving us time to plot grading strategies and submit a bunch of coins to both services for ourselves and for customers, consign coins on our own account and for customers to various auctions and do a bunch of other bookkeeping around the floor.
Concluding our last sale of the day at about 5 PM, followed by another deal to help a customer friend who is not in Orlando to buy a coin found here on the floor. Hey, we help when we can.
After which we walked back to the hotel and then headed out for a late and extremely loud dinner at Cuba Libre before finally getting back to the hotel at about 11.
So we’ll be well rested for a Saturday during which we hope to shoehorn in as much numismatic activity as possible before catching an afternoon flight home that we hope goes as scheduled since we have places to be.
Such as in NYC, from where the last RR of this show will very possibly to be written on Sunday AM just like we did in 2020 since we need to zip down there to view lots for the upcoming world sales associated with the New York International Numismatic Convention.
Until then, then –
January 8th: Day 4
OK everyone, let’s recap the 2022 FUN show starting right now with another series of random observations presented in no particular order:
We had no issues with our flights whatsoever coming or going, which is sorta shocking since 1) A lot of people gleefully predicted we would, and 2) We’ve had so many adventures leaving this show even in ‘normal’ years, most notably my former partner Dave’s famous ‘banana peel’ episode on our last day in 2008.
Disappointed that we did not ever get to avail ourselves of the Lazy River at our hotel. Too busy.
In total, I’d say that we did around 75% of the business (buying and selling) we might have done if there had not been any Covid-related cancellations. Still well worth coming, of course.
I felt like I did everything right during dealer set up – darting around the floor, getting first (or at least a very early) shot at many coins, buying some, passing on others. But I always wonder about the ones I did not buy and think maybe I let some good opportunities get away. Oh well – you make your decisions and you live with them.
The coffee at the show was considerably better and cheaper than the stuff at the Hilton.
In many ways this show had the feeling of events I attended in the early 2000s, where people we had never met before, and who had never been to our website, would walk up to the table, look at coins, stack up 3 or 4 and buy them. Not complaining though.
Maybe choosing a hotel because it is “closer” to the show but still not close doesn’t make much sense if you are just going to have to Uber it back and forth everyday anyway. So next time we’ll stay at one with better coffee.
It continued to be busy here on Saturday morning, as we sold in short order 4 commems, 3 world coins, an SLQ, a Seated Dollar and a Buffalo Nickel. Surprisingly, we did NOT sell a gold stickered $5 we had just placed in the case even though three different people asked to see it, expressed interest and said they’d be back. Few ever do though (unless they did after we left, for which I apologize).
Next time we go to Cuba Libre for dinner down here it will be when the band is not playing.
It turns out that world coins I saw on the floor on Friday priced 13x higher than I expected IS a rare date. I won’t make that mistake again, though I’m sure I’ll make plenty of other ones.
Maybe as soon as this coming week at the NYINC show from where our next RR will be written in just a few days from now.
Until then, then –