Archive for January, 2010

F.U.N. or FUN

Posted on January 11, 2010 by No Comments

The Florida United Numismatists have been hosting one of the best numismatic conventions in the country for decades.  I grew up in Florida (1960-1981) and the FUN convention was an annual treat.  It was more of a regional show back then, but we were proud to have it in our “backyard.”  People like Bob Hendershot, Mary Leuww, Grover Criswell, Roger Bryan, and Randy Campbell were some of the movers and shakers back then (Randy still does a phenomenal job of lining up educational seminars for the show).  Dealer friends like Jeff Garrett, Marc Earle, Brian Beardsley, Mike Joyce, Dave Goldsmith, and I met at the “big show”, some of us taking tables, some of us walking the floor, but always getting together for a long weekend of coin trading fun.  Prices were a lot lower then…I remember buying gem rolls of prooflike silver dollars for $80 and having a tough time selling them for $5 each!  As prices have increased over the intervening years, so has the level of fun.

I just spent two great days in Florida at the FUN show.  Although the weather was a little colder and brisker than usual, it was great to join up with old friends and make new ones.  Most of my time was spent in the grading room working with our photographer, but I had a couple of opportunities to get onto the floor and join the action.  Most of the dealers reported brisk activity and good sales (I’m amazed at how recession-proof our “industry” has become).  The PCGS Set Registry luncheon on Friday (put on by Registry queen BJ Searls) was a big affair of great food, important announcements, and our way of thanking all the people who have made the Registry such a great success.

Today, the FUN show is bigger, more exciting, and more FUN than ever.  Be sure to make it next year if you can.

Friday night I jetted up to New York for the NY International Coin Show and George Kolbe’s sale of the Stack’s family library.  The NYINC is a much different show than the FUN show, but it is just as FUN.  Dealers and collectors congregate from all over the world for what is perhaps the biggest and best world coin show (certainly in the US).  The Kolbe sale set new records for numismatic literature and it was poignant to watch Harvey Stack auction off some of the first lots from a collection that was near and dear to him.  I was fortunate to pick up several lots from the sale, much of which will soon be added as great content to the PCGS CoinFacts site.

As fun as the shows were, the after-hours socializing was even better.  Wednesday night was dinner with family at Downtown Disney; Thursday night was dinner at a Brazilian churrascaria with Marc Earle and friends; Friday night was an unexpected dinner at the airport with PCGS President, Don Willis (both our planes were delayed); and Saturday evening was a sushi dinner with German dealer (and great friend) Dirk Loebbers.  Additional good times were had at breakfasts and lunches with other close friends and associates.

Now I’m on a plane back to San Diego, where I’m looking forward to returning home and being with my family.  I’m carrying some great memories of a FUN week.

Until next time!

Ron Guth

Filed Under: News

Three MDCC coins sell at Heritage auction, including one new member of the club!

Posted on January 8, 2010 by No Comments

By David Hall…live from the FUN show.

Thursday, January 7, at the Heritage auction held in conjunction with the annual Florida United Numismatists (FUN) coin show, three coins sold for more than $1,000,000, including a coin that did so for the first time. To have a million dollar coin sell at auction is always something special. But to have three different million dollar coins sell the same night is truly extraordinary.

The first MDCC coin to come to the auction block that night was one of the finest examples of the 1927-D $20 St. Gaudens gold piece, a PCGS graded MS66 (PCGS coin # 9187). This coin sold for $1,495,000, a price that I personally consider very reasonable. In fact, I almost put my hand up to bid, but I hadn’t really thought about it before the sale as I was actually thinking about the other two ultra rarities in the sale. The buyer was Laura Sperber of Legend Numismatics.

The second coin to sell was what would become the newest member of the PCGS Million Dollar Coin Club, a PCGS graded PR65 Deep Cameo example of the famous Bickford $10 gold pattern (PCGS coin # 61677), one of only two known specimens. The coin sold for $1,265,000…and I must admit I was the underbidder at $1,200,000, and I have to say it really hurts to come in second place on a coin like that. We’ll have to include the Bickford $10 in the Million Dollar Coin Club listing as soon as we write the story and add it to the PCGS Million Dollar Coin Club section of our website.

Finally, the most famous U.S. coin of all appeared on the auction block when one of the five known examples of the 1913 Liberty nickel (PCGS coin # 3912) was offered. This example was the Olsen specimen, the second finest of the five, grading PR64. The final price was a very healthy $3,737,500.

Congratulations to Heritage Auction Galleries for selling three million dollar coins in one night.

Visit the Million Dollar Coin Club at