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P0CKETCHANGE 2023 Winter FUN Show Report (LONG Read)


This was my third FUN Show, and the best yet. I attended three days, each with a different itinerary and objective. I had several firsts—HA lot viewing, holding a unique specimen, a live auction, meeting forum members, a newp in a new category, etc. Here’s a summary of the three day experience. Notably absent are photos (I’ll do a better job next time), but I did intersperse the text with emojis, although that’s possibly worse.

Pre-Show & Monday Jan 2
It’s remarkable how much preparation goes into making the most of a show like FUN. Even at the individual collector level, it began weeks in advance and included requesting time off from work, planning travel logistics, reviewing the associated auctions, mapping the bourse by dealer location, pulling together PCGS submissions, making buy/sell lists, and getting large stacks of cash 💵 from the bank while the teller wondered what type of illicit activities I was engaged in.

My objectives on Monday were simply:

✅ view the HA auction lots I was interested in
✅ check out the 1870-S $3

I wrote about this experience in this comment on the 1870-S thread, so won’t take up space with those details as this post is already a mini novel.

Thursday Jan 5
I had to work most of the day, and departed at my planned 3PM time to make the trek from Tampa to Orlando. If you’ve ever driven that I-4 corridor, you know it’s a mix of lunatics and confused tourists (and some lunatic confused tourists 🤪), which always invites rush hour chaos, but I packed a few snacks and a healthy dose of patience.

Arriving at the North Convention Center around 5PM, I heard angels singing as I was blessed with a parking spot very close to the entrance, as folks who started early that day had begun to filter out. My objectives on Thursday were:

✅ drop off my PCGS submissions
✅ meet up with @DeplorableDan
✅ attend the Heritage Bass auction live

In a rush after beelining to the PCGS tables, I grabbed a bunch of submission forms to accompany and began feverishly filling them out, only to realize I’d grabbed “Show” forms and not regular forms, so I had to rip them up and start over. My submission was 11 coins for reholder/TV, 1 coin for in-slab TrueView (it’s in an OGH w/CAC 🟢), and 15 coins for Reconsideration. I’ll make a post once the results are back.

With PCGS receipts🧾in-hand, I met up with @DeplorableDan who has the eternal honor of being the first forum member I’ve met in person. Dan showed me his early gold collection, which is a superb grouping of CAC-approved coins, and I appreciated examining them as I do not have any early federal gold in my collection. The only coin I had to show in return was my $20 Liberty, which Dan agreed was very flashy and could potentially go PL (I’ll try later this year).

We split off and agreed to meet back up at the Bass Auction. I arrived a half hour in advance, which gave me ample time to ruminate on my hunger (a planning/logistics failure). Miraculously, like Lady Liberty striding forward with torch in hand, one of the HA staff approached me and said they were serving dinner in the adjacent room. With this unexpected good fortune lifting my spirits, I feasted my eyes on a spread of hand-carved steak 🥩, chicken breast, and a vibrant salad bar. I immediately texted Dan and he arrived shortly thereafter, equally impressed.

Feeling satisfied, it was time for the auction to start. I felt there was some strategy to selecting where in the room a bidder should sit, but I got analysis paralysis and deferred to Dan to pick a spot. The President of HA gave a short introduction, and I then listened intently to the auctioneer👨‍⚖️explain how the various bidding methods (Internet, HA Live, Phone, Floor) would all interact with each other. I’ve always found HA’s multiple bidding methods confusing, and being present helped clarify a few things.

Without a doubt and unsurprisingly, the highlight of the auction was the 1870-S $3. A bidding war erupted between at least three parties, two phone ☎️ bidders (one who the President of HA was fielding) and one live floor bidder. In the end, bidder 462 (the one in the President’s ear) prevailed at $5.5M with juice. The energy simmered a bit after that as the auction plodded through the rest of the gold, and I was reinvigorated once the patterns started. I will note that I was disappointed that the auctioneer does not actually use a hammer or gavel to close out the lots.

I had made a couple of advance bids in the patterns section, so as those lots neared I gripped my bidder paddle tightly and started to get anxious. I knew I’d already placed my max bid on my first lot, so there was really nothing to do except let the chips fall where they may. It ran up a bit from the opening bid, but I prevailed! I was officially walking away with a piece of the Bass collection!

The second lot was the bigger one, and while I placed a healthy bid in advance, I knew I may have to defend it live (and had a max bid in mind) and readied my paddle. One bloke—who was seated next to me and shall remain nameless 🙃—placed his first bid of the auction, to my astonishment! There was a verbal reprimand, some confusion and laughter, and in the meantime the lot closed in my favor without the need for a live bid. Score #2! I’ll write a separate NewP post about each coin.

✅ win a coin from the Bass collection

Friday Jan 6
Friday started off with yet another drive to Orlando. I’d seriously considered a hotel, and there were plenty available, but after the auction Google estimated it’d only be an hour and 15 minutes home, which was well worth the price to sleep in my own bed. Arriving at noon on Friday, the Heavens did not part for a close parking spot, but I had a nice walk in lovely weather. Fresh off the high of last night’s auction, my goals for the day were:

✅ walk the bourse
✅ check out the @winesteven exhibit
✅ meet a few more forum members
✅ settle and pick up my lots from HA

The bourse was packed when I arrived. I had a list of a dozen dealers’ tables to visit, so I hopscotched between them and literally could not get in front of any of them. I altered my strategy and decided to walk the floor numerically, and that I’d either hit these dealers along the way or come back in the later afternoon.

Having blown most (read: all) of my budget already, I didn’t feel any buying pressure, as the show was already a success. I narrowed my focus to two coins I need to complete sets (1935 Peace in 65 or 65+, and a 1937 Proof WLH in 66 or 66+). Perplexingly, I could not find a single example of either to even consider! It seemed like every case I went to—even ones with many Peace and WLH proofs—had just these dates missing. @DeplorableDan was looking for me also, and said the same. I found one ‘35 Peace in 64 (too low) and one in 67 (too high), but none in between. I counted at least a dozen examples of the key date ‘36 WLH Proof, but no ‘37s. 🤷‍♂️

Having completed my rounds, I made my way to the Educational Exhibit section where Dan and I found @winesteven🍷 sequestered about 20 feet from his exhibit, behind the table barriers of Wizard 🧙‍♂️ coin supply. Steve explained that the organizers take exhibit voting and judging fraud very seriously and required the presenters to keep their distance during the judging process, lest they try to influence the outcome. It made for a funny scene. We were quickly joined by @Catbert @2windy2fish and @Walkerguy21D and had a meet & greet and discussion (great meeting you guys!).

After a quick BBQ platter lunch during which I regretted not getting a Nathan’s hot dog 🌭 and spilling mustard on my shirt, I cast a vote for Steve’s excellent IHC collection and went upstairs to settle with Heritage for my lots. It was a seamless experience, as I traded the cashier’s check I got earlier from the bank for the two lots. I also picked up another copy of the auction catalog, because I wanted one in “mint” condition to keep along with the coins.

After that I spent a little more time walking the bourse, this time much more causally as the crowds had abated, just looking for something that might catch my eye. Witter Coin had a very nice, originally toned seated 25c in proof 63, CAC-approved in an OGH. It was priced fairly and Seth even took a bit off, and I made a firm counter-offer which was amicably declined. It was the only coin I made an offer on at the bourse during the entire show, but I really didn’t need it at all as it would have been a duplicate for the seated proof 25c in 63 CAC that I already own. With that, I was on my way home.

❌ buy a coin on the bourse

If you’ve actually read this far, PM me for your prize, a 1973 1c (mintage: 3,728,245,000)

Nothing is as expensive as free money.



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