The January Florida United Numismatists show is one of the biggest
and best coin conventions in the world, and the summer FUN show is
gaining momentum. Much of this success can be attributed to the hard
work of Cindy Wibker, easily recognized by her orange FUN shirt
and big smile.
Coin World: How were you introduced to the hobby?
Cindy Wibker: Even as a young child I was interested in
coins. I would babysit for 50 cents an hour and would sometimes spend
my money on coins that I ordered out of the back of a Boys’
Life magazine. I had a Whitman folder for Jefferson nickels and my
rule was that I would never spend more than a quarter on a nickel for
my collection. I would look at the list from the coin company, make my
selection, write them a letter and tape my money inside the letter. At
that time I didn’t know that coin shops or coin shows existed. I
became seriously involved in numismatics through my ex-husband. He had
been a numismatist his entire life, and wanted me to “understand when
he spent hundreds of dollars on a penny.” He introduced me to Civil
War tokens in 1975, and that area was my passion for 20 years.
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Coin World: How did you make the leap to running a major coin show?
Cindy Wibker: Initially it was by default. I moved to
Florida in 1988 and became a FUN board member the following year. No
one knew who I was, but there were six people running for seven board
positions, so I was voted onto the board. I was appointed exhibit
chairman, which I loved, and when the FUN bourse chairperson, Ginger
Bryan, passed away unexpectedly in the early 1990s, I was asked to
assume her responsibilities. I was happy to give it a go. A U-Haul
truck pulled into my driveway early in October and nothing had been
done to plan the upcoming FUN show. I would stay up all night reading
files and typing letters and when the sun came up I would begin faxing
the letters out. I didn’t have email then, so I thought the fax
machine was a miracle. I slept an average of 3-4 hours a night, seven
nights a week, for three months until the FUN show began. Amazingly,
the convention went off without a hitch. I was asked to continue and
was happy to do so. Today the January FUN show averages about 625
dealer booths and we put through around 10,000 attendees during the
four days of the show.
Coin World: What’s the best and worst part of the job?
Cindy Wibker: The toughest part is working with the
hotels for contracts. Our goal is to get a selection of hotels with
varying prices, but ones that are conveniently close to the convention
center for security reasons. The best part is the people! I truly love
working with and for the coin dealers. I’ve met wonderful people
through judging exhibits and being part of specialty clubs such as the
Civil War Token Society, Token and Medal Society, and Women In
Numismatics. I’m very blessed to work with the FUN board of directors,
all hard workers who come together as a team to keep FUN #1. These
people are all extended family to me, my numismatic family.
Coin World: How do you keep your always-cheery
Cindy Wibker: My aunt said I was born with a smile on my
face, and “if you put me in a room full of manure I would start
shoveling until I found the pony.” I’m also an avid tennis player.
About a year ago I became a Nana and now have another interest —
spending time with AJ whenever I can.