Jim Bisognani: Summer FUN Has Finally Returned

Posted on 7/8/2021

A major coin show makes a triumphant return, with dealers ready to accommodate large turnout and offering key coins.

Finally, the great American Independence Day holiday was more like the celebration that we have longed for these past 18 months. There was festivity and interaction, which was so welcome after being under the veil of the pandemic, I say!

I can also state that the first major show to be attended by live dealers and have live collectors trolling the wares is scheduled to commence as this report goes to press! That’s correct, my fellow coindexters, Summer FUN marks this momentous return to the national coin show circuit, running July 8-10 in Orlando, Florida.

FUN is rather a suitable homecoming as the Winter FUN show of 2020 was the last major coin show held publicly, for all intents, until the Summer FUN 2021 was given the green light. It has been a long time coming: finally, a return to numismatic pseudo-normalcy is a breath of fresh air (or shall I say, tropical air?).

Where to start?

For those attending this numismatic event, there is a major caveat. The key difference is that every attendee must sign a waiver before entering the hall. Yes, my fellow coindexters, mandatory safety protocols remain in place, with ominous-appearing verbiage that every attendee must sign before entering the Orlando Orange County Convention Center. The full Hold Harmless release waiver (F.U.N. Convention COVID-19 Agreement, as it is called) can be viewed here in its entirety.

I guess for me, line 4 is most telling as to the current situation:

I KNOWINGLY, FREELY, and FULLY ASSUME THE RISK OF INJURY, ILLNESS OR DEATH, including both known and unknown risks, related to COVID-19 or other infectious disease, arising from my participation in, and being on the premises of the F.U.N. Convention. EVEN IF SUCH RISKS ARISE FROM THE NEGLIGENCE OF THE RELEASEES or others, I assume full responsibility for my participation.

The show must go on!

Compounding matters was concern over Hurricane Elsa, which set her sights on the Sunshine State. Yet, even Mother Nature spared Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center.

According to Cindy Wibker, the FUN Convention Coordinator, the ribbon-cutting ceremony went off without a hitch on Thursday morning. The scene then shifted to an orderly, hardy and coin-deprived public making their ascent on the booths. I asked the coordinator if Summer FUN was up to her expectations. Per an enthusiastic Cindy, “Well it is the largest Summer FUN show we have ever had!”

There was plenty of activity on the floor of the FUN Show in Orlando on Thursday, June 8.
Click images to enlarge.

I guess so and then some! The Summer FUN usually houses an average of 200 booths, and this one numbered 282 staffed booths, which equates to a 41% increase! In fact, all the booths were sold out for some time and they had a waiting list. To put it mildly, both dealer and public attendance have been excellent.

Ms. Wibker went on to state, “Some of January’s dealers who don’t really do a Summer FUN… I started getting applications from them. So, I knew the show was going to grow. I actually had to increase the size of the floor twice to accommodate all the dealers.”

Although weather concerns held a few dealers up from attending Wednesday’s dealer set-up day, the business conducted from dealer-to-dealer was brisk.

“I talked to several dealers as they were leaving set-up yesterday and two dealers told me they had done enough business”, said Cindy. “And if they wanted to, they could pack up, go home and they would have had a successful show.”

My words of advice for all those attending: Enjoy rubbing proverbial elbows with your coin comrades, but employ common sense.

Collecting these cents makes sense

While there is no major auction held in conjunction with or during the same time as Summer FUN 2021, Heritage Auctions will conduct the Summer FUN Signature sale slated July 13-15 at their Dallas offices. In total, two live floor sessions and a third internet session feature a total of a scant yet diverse 664 lots. I scanned the sale, ferreting out a handful of great coins that offer great opportunity and value, that target key dates and superb type.

1877 Indian Head Cent

Unsurprisingly, some coins that I selected have already attracted strong bids and views. Take this coveted and wildly popular 1877 Indian Head Cent. This coin is currently at $2,100 with buyer’s premium. A bit of research reveals that this is already 45% higher than a similarly graded NGC XF 45 yielded just three years ago! Coins of this caliber are still in most collectors’ financial wheelhouse.

1877 'Indian Head' Cent graded NGC XF 45 BN
Click images to enlarge.

Conversely, this rather stunning 1877 Indian Cent graded NGC MS 63 RB is already courting significant action with 21 registered bidders eyeing her, and stands at $7,200 with buyer's premium.

1877 'Indian Head' Cent graded NGC MS 63 RB
Click images to enlarge.

1829 Classic Head Half Cent

Another copper, which happily captured my eye, was this fantastic 1829 Classic Head Half Cent graded NGC MS 66 RB — a designation that places her at the top of the NGC Census — tied with another at this lofty grade. Truly, a champion of a coin like this that is so close to full “red” is still a bargain anywhere near the present $8,700 bid!

1829 Classic Head Half Cent graded NGC MS 66 RB
Click images to enlarge.

1926-S Buffalo Nickel

One of my favorite US coins is James Earle Fraser’s iconic Buffalo Nickel. This key date 1926-S graded NGC MS 61 is a significant rarity in Mint State, as is this coin’s beguiling color palette! In this market, key dates and exemplary eye appeal equal top dollar and then some. This tremendous Buffalo is already bid at $7,500 with buyer’s premium, which is 82% higher than it realized at a public sale just 5 years ago.

1926-S Buffalo Nickel graded NGC MS 61
Click images to enlarge.

1859 Seated Half Dollar

Always a popular type of coin is this 1859 Seated Half Dollar graded NGC MS 65, which caught my eye. By no stretch is this half dollar, produced to the tune of nearly 750,000 coins at the dawn of the Civil War, rare in Circulated grades. However, in Mint State choice and better, coins are scarce by their lack of number.

Currently, according to the NGC Census, only 7 coins appear in the MS 65 column (with a single coin designated MS 66). A bit of research shows that the last example of a like NGC MS 65 appeared at public venue back in January 2006! The present example is a wonderful gem, displaying an abundance of natural satiny luster and solid strike.

1859 Seated Half Dollar graded NGC MS 65
Click images to enlarge.

1911-D $2.50 Indian Head

Then I noticed this 1911-D $2.50 Indian Head. Typical, yet abundant, satiny, matte-like luster envelops this superior, borderline Mint State key to the Quarter Eagle Indian Head series. In fact, after my inspection, this has to be the best-looking AU 58 I have seen. Interestingly, according to the NGC Census, of the 5,190 1911-D examples graded by NGC, the majority (29%) are designated as AU 58! The next-most-populous designation is MS 62, accounting for 18%.

Anyway, if you are in the market for a 1911-D, keep an eye on this one. As this is the stopper to the ever-popular 15-piece series, here is a grand opportunity to whisk away a relatively affordable and choice example for the grade for your collection!

1911-D Indian Head $2.50 graded NGC AU 58
Click images to enlarge.

Summer is in full swing with more live shows on the horizon. So enjoy and good luck hunting for that key date or merely rummaging through dealers “bargain” boxes.

Until next time, be safe and happy collecting!

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