Just this past weekend was the F.U.N. (Florida United Numismatists) Convention for 2020. It’s also so early in the new year I almost missed it. But thankfully I had thought ahead and added it to my phone calendar last year so I wouldn’t forget. This was my second year attending and it seemed to be bigger than last year. If you are interested in reading about my visit last year you can check it out here.
Once again this year it was over at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. This place is huge, and it seems like I’m walking miles just to get from the parking lot to the actual convention hall.
There are plenty of signs around to help you find where you need to go.
Eventually, you will come to the registration area. The convention is free to attend but they do like you to check-in and get a name tag.
The other perk of checking-in is they will give you a coin for visiting. These are different each year which makes them a fun collectible. This year’s theme was Walking with Liberty. The above picture shows the front and back of the coin.
Once you have your name tag you head upstairs to where the coin show is located.
As I entered inside I’m always taken back by just how big this event is. The number of vendors and clubs with tables can be a bit overwhelming at first. Thankfully you do get a guide book and the aisles are labeled with numbers to help you navigate around.
All the way in the back is the Educational Exhibits which I love checking out. I probably spend most of my time back here. The exhibits range from rare coins to special sets of currency, or even a specific theme.
I check out all of the exhibits but I’m always drawn to the elongated coin ones which are where I spend most of my time.
The time and effort people have put into these exhibits are unbelievable and I hope one day to enter one myself.
There were even some exhibits specifically about our club TEC (The Elongated Collectors). The above had some sample newsletters, information about the club and even an 1893 Columbia pressed coin which is usually considered the first pressed design available at the Chicago World’s fair.
Another exhibit for TEC showcased some of the special pressed coins available to our members like a recruiter coin, a merit coin and the Dillard exhibit aware, plus there was even a copy of the Yesterday’s Elongated book
After I finished exploring all the exhibits I started wandering up and down all of the aisle. It’s amazing what is available here. No matter what type of coin or currency you are interested in, the odds are there is someone here that would be able to help add to your collection.
Over near the U.S. Mint area, was where I found the tables I was really looking forward to finding. First was the TEC table and right beside it was Mr. Ray Dillard’s table.
Mr. Dillard was there with his trademark machine that he offers to press your pocket change for free.
This year’s design was keeping with the Conventions theme of Walking with Liberty.
Above is a picture of the pressed penny he was handing out to all visitors that stop by his table.
Then as a very special gift, he presented me with the same design but pressed on a US dollar coin. This was a gift for TEC Members attending the convention. It was really fantastic and I was completely caught off guard by his generosity.
Over at the TEC table, my daughters and I had a great time chatting with current TEC President Cindy Calhoun. I had met Cindy years ago at an ANA convention in Philadelphia and it was nice to catch up a bit. My daughters were so excited when she handed them each some pressed pennies for their own collections included the above “Join TEC” coin which I think is a great way to help spread the word about the club.
With our pockets full of some new pressed coins and plenty of handouts we were ready to head home. Even though this has only been my second year attending I do look forward to it and have 2021 already programmed into my phone so I don’t forget about it next year. Everyone we spoke with was very friendly and just so passionate about their hobby and personal collections they just love talking about it.
I don’t talk about it too often but if you are not already a member of TEC you really should check it out. I’ve been a member for over 10 years now and have thoroughly enjoyed being a member. The cost is very reasonable and you can opt for either a hard copy of the newsletter to be mailed to your home or you can get a digital copy emailed to you. Each quarter you also get a nice little package with some unique pressed coins you just won’t find at your average theme park, and you will also get the coveted membership coins each year. You can join by visiting the website www.tecnews.org and click on the Join/Renew coin. Be sure to reference member #4237 so they know you heard it from me as I’m always trying to share the adventure of elongated coin collecting.