Some things never change, Irrespective of market conditions, the January Florida United Numismatists (FUN) Show ushers in a sense of optimism. Vendors start arriving at the beginning of the week, eager to trade coins out of inventory and replace them with new items to offer their customers. Essentially, the dealer community tries to predict their customers’ reactions, generally wagering that they too will react to the coin market with the same newfound sense of optimism. A new year equates to new reasons for hope.
Last year saw a stabilization of the coin market. The COVID/post-COVID meteoric rise in prices came to a halt, and some leading indicators (such as Morgan/Peace Dollars) even began to pull-back. This was a necessary component to a rising market. At some point, prices need to stabilize. Consequently, we were relieved to see a slow-down of the fast and furious price increases. We prefer to see slow and steady. Fast and furious is prone to crash and burn. Slow and steady has a much better chance to sustain. So, how did this scenario translate to the FUN Show?
One constant is that FUN runs a first-rate convention. They are one of the largest and best run coin organizations in the world, and their show is a constant reflection of the club’s viability. This year was no exception. FUN filled the Orange County Convention Center hall with wall-to-wall vendors, In total, over 800 tables were populated by approximately 1000 dealers from destinations around the world. Public admission was equally well represented, with the hall packed full of customers for the show’s duration.
What differed from last year’s venue was consumer behavior. In general, we did not see the free spending witnessed at the 2021 FUN Show. Collectors seemed more measured and calculated in their approach. Cross-shopping was more evident, as was price sensitivity. This is not to imply that collectors weren’t opening their checkbooks. They were, albeit in a more conscientious manner. We sold coins throughout the week, and there were no complaints in that department. But just as the market has pulled back a bit, so have the collectors willingness to buy today’s coins at yesterday’s prices. The trick to making this FUN Show work, was finding a market equilibrium. Although pricing is still a fluid component of this marketplace, the art of compromise seemed to allow business to flourish throughout the hall. For the dealers stuck on 2021 pricing, this was not a fruitful show. But for those of us resigned to changing with the times, ample business was done. At the end of the week, we had a very healthy FUN Show with solid sales and many fresh new purchases.
In conclusion, we believe that FUN provided us with a snapshot of what’s to come. We believe that 2023 should be a steady, and even prosperous, year for the hobby in general, but conditions will probably be more challenging. As we said earlier, this is not a negative, but rather a necessary stabilization to a fluid numismatic marketplace.