US Coins

2017 will get off to a FUN start for coin collectors

Each year the rare coin calendar starts with the Florida United Numismatists show in sunny Florida and this year’s FUN is set for the Fort Lauderdale Convention Center, Jan. 5 to 8. The show will offer more than 1,000 dealers and massive auctions by Heritage that will set the tone for the rare coin market in 2017.

Heritage’s FUN auctions are always packed with rarities and this year’s is no exception. One of the famed offerings at Heritage’s Platinum Night on Jan. 5 is an 1884 Trade dollar graded Proof 63 by Professional Coin Grading Service. It is one of just 10 examples struck and, amazingly, all 10 are accounted for today.

The Proof-only issue was largely unknown until the first decade of the 20th century and, while the exact circumstances of its production remain subject to debate, Heritage writes, “Today, the 1884 Trade dollar holds a place of honor in the pantheon of U.S. numismatic rarities. Its status is now assured thanks to [Carl W.A.] Carlson’s research and the resultant conclusions that the 1884 is, indeed, a legitimate product of the U.S. Mint.”

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The example offered at FUN has had some illustrious previous owners, including Egypt’s King Farouk and Ambassador and Mrs. R. Henry Norweb, and it even spent time in the personal collection of Coin World columnist (and hobby legend) Q. David Bowers. It last sold at auction in 2002 as part of Heritage’s offering of the Morris Silverman Collection where it brought $138,000, though in 2017 its price should be multiples of that. At the 2014 FUN auction, Heritage sold one graded Proof 65 — the third finest known — for nearly $1 million.

FUN also offers a robust series of educational programs and a chance to see some amazing coins. PCGS will be displaying a Specimen 66 1794 Flowing Hair silver dollar alongside some other important early dollars at its booth. Some believe it is the first silver dollar struck at the Philadelphia Mint, and it realized just over $10 million in 2013, making it the most expensive coin ever sold at auction.

While U.S. coins and paper money are largely the focus of the FUN auctions, those with more global interests can head north to New York City. The following weekend is the New York International Numismatic Convention at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, where many of the world’s top dealers convene for a weeklong series of auctions that start Jan. 8 and a bourse from Jan. 12 to 15.

In 2018 FUN’s signature winter show heads to Tampa, while NYINC moves venues, to the Grand Hyatt in Midtown Manhattan.

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