January 6-10, 2006: The FUN Show in Orlando, FL
We returned from Orlando late Saturday night after a nice week at the show and the related auctions about which we make the following observations:
Sales were very strong as everyone seemed to be in a buying mood. We do not know of any dealers who did not have strong sales at the show.
The Orlando convention center, where the show was held, has got to be the largest building I have ever seen in my life.
A dealer friend discovered a rare and unusual New Jersey copper in a dealer’s junk box of worn old coins, turning an investment of 5 minutes and $10 into several thousand dollars. We wished we got there first!
Much of the material in the auctions was recycled and rehashed, with what seemed to be plenty of tired coins from dealer inventories, with the occasional choice, fresh piece mixed in. Nevertheless, prices were strong on just about everything (even on some frankly not-very-desirable items) and exceptionally strong on better items. We were very selective in what we bought and focused on the select few nice coins. As an aside, we track the market very carefully and are always disappointed to see coins which are not attractive or desirable for the grade and which bounce around the market in search of a buyer for months or years appear in an auction where they are purchased by new or inexperienced or less-informed buyers at too-high levels. We cannot stress to our clients strongly enough that research and homework are essential in numismatics – just as they are in any other field – and we strive to help all of our clients make informed and responsible decisions about what to buy and how much to pay. It is possible, even in an auction venue in which there is apparently an enthusiastic underbidder, for a less-educated buyer to make a very costly mistake. At today’s prices, that statement is more true than ever.
It was 34 degrees in Orlando on Saturday morning when I woke up, and 35 degrees here in Wallingford, Connecticut. Something is just not right about that.
After considerable searching, we traced a coin owned by one of our clients to an earlier appearance in the 1890 auction catalog of the Thomas Cleneay collection. In this era of pop reports and crack-out upgrades, it is quite refreshing to see a rare and magnificent coin that was also considered rare and exceptional more than a century ago.
One of our best clients is now just one coin away from finishing his copper-to-gold US type set. This has been a multi- decade project. Bravo!
We attended the PCGS luncheon on Friday and listened intently to the panel discussion on the 100 point grading scale. We’ll reserve our detailed editorial comments for another time and place, but for now we are glad that no changes seem imminent.