Jim Bisognani: The Scoop from Summer FUN

Posted on 7/14/2022

The Florida show was hot, but coin prices were even hotter.

For many of us, this summer has been blazing hot. I like to think that Mother Nature is just happily replicating the state of the numismatic market. Speaking of heat, I have some insightful tales to share from those on the bourse at the 2022 Summer FUN Show in Orlando, Florida.

One coindexter reported that his first impression was that the bourse was rather small compared to the Winter FUN. Yet, given the reduced size of the venue, it was quite busy throughout the show’s run, and every dealer that my cohort encountered proclaimed it was a very good show for both buying and selling. I must admit that virtually every dealer whom I spoke to seemed to have a smile on his or her face and commented that business was brisk overall.

I asked if there was any deviation from that near primal modus operandi activity that we have been accustomed to on the bourse. My source quickly shot back: “Not in the least. The ferocity was ever-present. People still running around like chickens with their heads cut off, wheeling and dealing as quickly as possible.”

One of those attendees was hot on the trail of any available Carson City (CC) US gold in any of the dealers’ showcases, which is one of the market’s most robust and contested sections. “I found very little. When I did find anything, it was going for full-market retail price,” said a seasoned Michigan numismatist. “Carson City gold is super-hot.”

1880-CC Eagle from NGC Coin Explorer
Click images to enlarge.

Another who was scouting the bourse said that this coin market is still crazy, and people were ready to nearly cut each other’s throats to get any fresh deals.

A first-time visitor to Summer FUN from my neighboring Bay State, Massachusetts, was taken aback as he was greeted by the tropical, sauna-like conditions of Orlando. “It took a bit of getting used to as my glasses immediately fogged up each time I ventured out from the A/C-controlled environment of the bourse. I almost stumbled into a dealer’s showcase the first time.”

Another attendee observed that the only thing lacking was that a few major dealers had pulled out from FUN. “Don’t get me wrong. There were a decent number of major dealers who had a show presence. But the head of the said company was not there as they would be, such as at the ANA.” This collector just chalked it up to it being the Summer FUN installment and not an indictment of the market’s prowess.

A world coin aficionado was surprised and happy to relay that they observed that the NGC-graded ancient coin selections and dealer representation were quite large. “I would say a good 15 percent of the show were ancient [coin] dealers.”

Several bullion market-makers I conversed with said they were having “bang-up business,” both in buying and selling to the public. Any movement in the market relates to action and, in this instance, the lower spot prices for silver and gold during the show certainly were a catalyst for sales. Many deemed this an opportune time for buying during this perceived short-term lull in the market.

Although some collectors obviously felt that metals may have peaked a few months ago and decided to sell, the buyers believe there is still a substantial upswing left in this market and wanted to acquire Saint-Gaudens and Liberty Head Double Eagles. One trader said that the Liberty Head Half Eagles and Eagles in XF or AU condition are great values right now.

1907 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle from NGC Coin Explorer
Click images to enlarge.

“Regardless, no one can pick with absolute certainty when the market peaks or bottoms,” one major bullion trader stated. “Yet, this is great! Business is solid on both streets when a market is moving like this. I firmly believe in dollar cost-averaging whether on the buy or sell; that way, you will never get caught.”

Overall, the consensus from dealers on the bourse was that they had a very good show. Certainly, in many instances, it really depended on what type of material was showcased. Bullion people did very well, as did the collectible “meat and potato” dealers. Those selling problem-free midgrade keys within the $500-to-$2,500 range did especially well. Even the elite dealers and firms in attendance confirmed solid wholesale and retail business during the show’s run.

Rare coins, those in the $5,000-to-$25,000 range, were trading at retail prices with little effort. Dealers who were holding tables, as well as those canvassing the floor who possessed this desirable inventory, were grinning and very enthusiastic. However, the downside was sobering. According to a Midwest dealer, “the big problem is replacing this stuff.”

Keys and semi-keys in MS 64 and better are on many wish lists. One well-known West Coast specialist in Walkers concurs. “Fully struck, blazing white coins are bringing huge premiums. They are very difficult to replace.”

Another segment making noise is Standing Liberty Quarters Full Head examples graded MS 63 and better are pulling in very strong prices. The problem-free, original common coins are jumping— especially the coins in the $500 to $750 price point.

1917 Standing Liberty Quarter from NGC Coin Explorer
Click images to enlarge.

There are numerous choices. It is truly a great time to explore new and exciting collecting opportunities this summer. My fellow coindexters, keep cool while the coin market remains sizzling hot.

Until next time, be safe and happy collecting!

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