Here's a report on this week's F.U.N. show from Alan V. Weinberg. Thanks!
I'm back having attended from opening setup day thru Saturday. As I've long thought, this January Florida United Numismatists show is actually superior in all aspects to the summer ANA, which is at least twice as expensive to attend (bourse, hotel rooms, restaurants, etc). Not to speak of the FUN's setup day free sandwich buffet for dealers who've not eaten since breakfast and the daily coffee and fresh fruit / bagels & danish free buffet for dealers arriving at 8:30 AM.
I went home with some prized acquisitions for my collection, most notably a high grade gold brooch cameo of John Quincy Adams - who was initially President and son of 2nd President John Adams and later distinguished himself as the defense in the infamous Amistad slave smuggling trial - from dealer/collector
Rex Stark who acquired it in November from Skinner's auction of the JQA family descendants' possessions, the same auction containing JQA's gold Erie Canal medal. And a completely hand-engraved portrait shooting award silver medal from 1847 depicting Gen'l JS Taylor's full face image from Harv Gamer and a cased silver rare 1898 Agricultural award medal , which I've never seen before, from dealer/collector John Kraljevich. I've long believed the best dealers are collectors themselves.
The show was sold out with over 600 bourse tables. Literally mobs of people were there and they were spending.
The much anticipated StacksBowers Americana catalogue was not available at the show but soon as I got home late Saturday night, a splendid copy was waiting for me in the mail. Couple of days of good reading and careful selection coming.
I learned master numismatic photographer Tom Mulvaney is running for the ANA Board of Governors and I happily signed his election petition. He will be a breath of fresh air in the organization and has historically worked closely with one of the finest professional numismatists Jeff Garrett running for, I believe, the ANA Vice Presidency.
While acquiring the aforementioned rarities was very fulfilling, I must say the high point of my Orlando attendance was the opportunity to preview at Fred Holabird's bourse table a set-up copy of Karl Moulton's long-anticipated 900+ page Paul Franklin./John J. Ford, Jr. book. I wasn't about to lay out $250 pre-publication price before seeing the book. I'm as careful with the dollar as anyone in desiring real value for my $1.
I was mesmerized by the quality content of the 900+ pages. Not technical at all, not dwelling exclusively on the fake pioneer ingots, it is a study into the soul of probably the most fascinating and controversial 20th century numismatist and his business dealings with Norweb, the Stacks, Kosoff, etc. replete with numerous plates of his correspondence, both sent and rec'd. It is not at all stuffy or technical, more like a fly on the wall's view of prominent numismatists in the 1940-80's. Projected release in March, afterwards $295, I've just mailed my $250 check- money very well spent. Probably the most fascinating numismatic book I'll ever read.
As I have for over a decade now, I exhibited non-competitively at the FUN show- this time my five high quality 1793 Chain cents. Exhibiting gives me a lot of satisfaction, rather than have my treasures locked up in a dark bank vault. There are no headaches like having to abide by strict exhibition rules on labeling, etc. or having to remain at the show until the final hours on Sunday. Not if you exhibit non-competitively- you make your own rules and can arrange to disassemble the exhibit Sat afternoon. Fran Lockwood, FUN's longtime exhibit chairman, is very easy to work with if your exhibit is worthwhile. Heck ,it can even be one single case as mine was.
FUN was a happy and rewarding experience, once again.
Wayne Homren, Editor
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