US Coins

2017 FUN convention bustles despite shootings

The bourse floor of the Florida United Numismatists convention Jan. 5 to 8 in Fort Lauderdale was bustling with collector activity, as thousands of hobbyists made their annual pilgrimage to attend the bellwether show.

The numismatic excitement was tempered Jan. 6 by the fatal shootings of five people and the wounding of nearly a dozen more in the baggage claim area of Delta Airlines Terminal 2 at the Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport, not far from the convention. The chaos forced the shutdown of the entire airport for hours, trapping thousands of travelers, including many who were heading home after attending the convention.

Cindy Wibker, FUN convention coordinator, said the shootings likely had an effect on Jan. 7 attendance at the show.

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“The total was at 8,000 over the 4 days, she said. “Public attendance was down a little from previous years, but the dealers felt that those who came were serious buyers and told me they were happy with the business they conducted at the show.

“Saturday seemed particularly slower than a usual FUN show for the public, perhaps due to the airport incident that occurred on Friday. I don’t know how much that impacted attendance versus our change in location.

“Anyway, the dealers left happy so it all seemed to be okay in the end.”

The FUN convention was held in Tampa the last two years and has been held more often in Orlando than in any other location. Fort Lauderdale last previously hosted the FUN show in 2005.

Heritage Auctions’ public sessions of United States coins realized more than $42 million, spearheaded by gold bars recovered from the SS Central America, U.S. gold coins, and the only unbroken example of a 1942 experimental cent produced in glass that topped $70,000.

Error coin specialist Fred Weinberg said a collector stopped by his bourse table believing he had an example of the glass experimental cent.

Weinberg said the cardboard flip said “Hollenbeck/Kagin 1965,” but the person wasn’t sure if his father bought it in 1965 from the numismatic firm or acquired it years later.

Weinberg said the piece was one of the experimental pieces produced in plastic.

“The plastic color was yellowish, and it appeared to have three distinct ‘cracks’ on the piece, not ‘creases,’ ” Weinberg said. “I couldn’t take it out of the cardboard 2x2, so I can’t be certain if they were die cracks or something else.

“I told him to submit it to Professional Coin Grading Service or Numismatic Guaranty Corp.”

Lack of American Eagle silver bullion coins

Some bullion dealers lamented that 2017 American Eagle silver and gold bullion coins were not yet available during the convention; they weren’t offered for sale to authorized purchasers until Jan. 9.

Dealers indicated they could have sold tens of thousands of the new calendar year’s coins if they had been available earlier.

During the Jan. 6 meeting of the Liberty Seated Collectors Club, numismatist John Frost provided extensive details on a dangerously deceptive counterfeit 1872-S Seated Liberty half dollar for which he said at least four examples, all in About Uncirculated condition, have so far been identified.

Two of the known examples were graded and encapsulated as genuine by PCGS.

Mark Borckardt, senior cataloger for Heritage Auctions, delivered a nearly 90-year-old homemade coin album to David W. Lange, NGC’s director of numismatic research and a collector of early U.S. coin albums.

The homemade album was made by now-105-year-old numismatist Eric P. Newman when a youth, with his father, sometime before the 1930s, before commercial coin albums were introduced to the hobby.

Lange received the album from the Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society courtesy of numismatist Stuart Levine, who is overseeing the selection and dispersal of items from the Newman Collection, whose proceeds benefit the society’s philanthropic endeavors.

During the National Silver Dollar Roundtable’s Jan. 6 banquet cruise through the intercoastal waterway, numismatist John W. Highfill received the NSDR’s Lifetime Achievement Award that now bears his name, for 35 years of service to the organization he helped found.

PCGS held a luncheon on Jan. 6 and NGC on Jan. 7 for collectors with registry sets of coins from the respective services.

PCGS encapsulated 100 1977 and 100 1977-D Eisenhower copper-nickel clad dollars for distribution to attendees to the Jan. 6 event.

NGC encapsulated a number of 2016-D Kennedy copper-nickel clad half dollars for its luncheon attendees. 

More 2017 FUN Coverage:

Beards on coins exhibit‘Great Beards on Coins’ exhibit wins top award at FUN: Sam Gelberd is the recipient of the Heritage Auctions Award for Excellence in Numismatic for 2017 at FUN for “Great Beards on Coins.”

Fort Lauderdale airportFUN convention attendees caught up in the terror in Fort Lauderdale: Coin conventions, are annual gatherings of collectors and professional numismatists sharing mutual hobby interests. They can be chaotic, not life-threatening.

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