By John and Nancy Wilson, ANA National Volunteers
On January 4-7, 2018, the Florida United Numismatists FUN – www.funtopics.com held their 63rd Annual Convention at the Tampa Convention Center. We classify this convention as the three B’s (Bigger, Better and Best) plus there is no admission charge. Wow, what a show the FUN organization arranged for all the dealers, collectors and visitors who came to the event. The 470 visitors waiting to get into the convention were treated to a masterful opening ceremony, and quoting the FUN web page: “Our opening ceremony had the posting of the colors by the AVAST Color Guard (Assisting Veterans of America Support Team). Music was performed by St Andrew's Pipes and Drums from Tampa Bay, and the singing of the National Anthem was performed by Luis Sanjurjo.”
We want to sincerely thank Convention Coordinator Cindy Wibker, President Randy Campbell, the FUN Officers and the Board for once again providing the American Numismatic Association ANA – www.money.org with a free table. ANA Staff Members at the table were: Cary Hardy – Membership Director, Donna Frater – Fund Development Manager, Jennifer Ackerman – Convention Director, Christie Vigil – Convention/Seminar Coordinator and Advertising Sales Representative and Sam Joseph – Exposition Manager. The show was very successful for ANA as we were able to sign up or renew 52 members. The staff was also successful with signing up dealers for the March 8 - 10, 2018 National Money Show in Irving, TX. A sincere thanks to Honor Coin and Stamp Dealer Steve Garvin, for donating $300 for the shipment of the coin show kit to FUN.
The General Chairpersons’ for the show were Bernie Ososky and Nancy Casey. The theme for the convention was “March to FUN.” Here are some the convention highlights. The well done FUN Show Guide contained 95 pages. The show had 1,000 booths set up, and with 18 aisles to walk down it was impossible to cover the event in one day. Over 600 were dealer booths. The convention also had club tables, a Coins & Kids area, a U. S. Mint Booth, Mike Bean and his Spider Press, along with the special print made for the show and the special Spider Press Intaglio Print free drawings held during the event, a Wizard supply table, Piedmont Gold Panners, a President Abe Lincoln booth and Ray Dillard the legendry Elongated Coin Roller. Ray did a special design for the convention. All the grading and authentication services were also set up at this important convention. FUN also had a page booth and message center. Whitman Publishing, LLC, and Coin World had booths at the show. Krause Publications sent copies of their publications for distribution at the event, which included the important 2018-coin show calendar.
A total registered attendance was 8,000 plus 2000 dealers. Florida United Numismatists sponsored bus transportation to the show for the, Greater Jacksonville Coin Club, Ocala Coin Club, Sarasota coin Club and West Hernando Coin Club. Photos of the members who came to the show from these clubs are on the FUN web page. The exhibit area had some outstanding exhibits and the difference between the various classes and best in show came down to only a few points. The FUN give-a-ways at registration were great. A cloth bag, a well-done enamel American Flag pin, a FUN Medallion Medal, and a special lighted pen. The large registration area is always staffed with FUN Board members and coin club volunteers. They do a masterful job and get all the registrants into the show in a very timely manner. The security was provided by Positive Protection Inc. (PPI). We heard of no problems at the convention, and no one does it better in securing and protecting a coin show than PPI. We will also mention PPI runs a continuous security room for the duration of the convention.
Of great importance to any coin convention are the numismatic auctions that are held in conjunction with them. Heritage Auctions, Inc. (www.ha.com) of Dallas, TX had what we would call a stupendous set of auctions. The coins and currency FUN sales realized a staggering total of 54,700,000 dollars.
The convention had many different activities that were held in conjunction with the show. FUN held their annual membership meeting on Sunday morning. President Randy Campbell, who handles the education programs had a great lineup of 15 speakers arranged between Thursday and Saturday. David Lisot covered the educational programs along with other events during the convention. The videos would be available at his site www.cointelevision.com. Charles Morgan also videotaped different events at the show and his site is www.coinweek.com. The Scout merit badge clinic was held along with a Young Numismatists - YN program. Dealer Richard Nachbar Rare Coins made available to FUN 100 NGG MS 65 Mercury 1943 and 1945 dimes for YN’s. FUN also sponsored a coin club lunch and meeting. Many coin clubs also held programs during the show including an MPC Minifest which had special Fest money issued to attendee’s. Industry Council for Tangible Assets (ICTA) besides having a club table, had several important meetings during the show including a security seminar. They also had a dinner cruise. National Silver Dollar Roundtable also had a club table (with silver dollar drawings) along with important meetings. NSDR also had an awards dinner at the Tampa Ruth Chris Steakhouse. ANA also held a District Representative meeting. Another highlight was the Ambassador Breakfast, formerly sponsored by Numismatic News and Krause Publications and now sponsored by the Florida United Numismatists. Handled by FUN Past President Tony Swicer the following received the coveted Ambassador Award, Steve and Ray Feller, Brad Karoleff, Tom Mulvaney, Dennis Tucker and Tom Uram. Clifford Mishler was the MC for the event.
What a great convention it was and we want to once again thank the FUN organization not only for the great location for the ANA table but also for their dedicated and hard work setting up, running and tearing down the convention. We look forward to seeing you at one of the following FUN Conventions. The 12th Annual Summer FUN Convention on July 12-14, 2018 at the Orange County Convention Center, and the 64th Annual FUN Convention on January 10-13, 2019 at the Orange County Convention Center. Yours in Numismatics, John and Nancy Wilson, ANA National Volunteers