FUN Convention 2020 – Orlando Florida

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.

FUN Convention Winter 2019 – Orlando Florida

This convention kind of snuck up on me and I thankfully found out about it a few days before it actually started.  FUN stands for Florida United Numismatists and they have two conventions a year, one in the winter and another in the summer.  It moves around to various cities throughout the state and this year luckily it was in Orlando at the Orange County Convention Center.

I’ve been to a few events in this convention center but wow it always amazes me how huge this place is.  If you make the mistake and park in the wrong area you could be walking for quite a while.

Once I found the right area of the convention center I checked in to get my name badge and was given a few special items for visiting.

The first one reminded me of a casino chip, and had the city of Hollywood Florida on the front, and the Florida United Numismatists on the back.

The second item was a beautiful medallion about the FUN convention host cities.  The back listed each city and the number of times it has hosted the event.  Before I go too much further I should mention that admission to this event was free, other than the cost for parking at the convention center.

As we headed towards the main entrance to the show there was a banner welcoming everyone to the show and even had some details on the other hosts sites which seemed to be a trend here.

Once inside I’m always blown away by how big these shows are and the number of vendors.

The tables are literally wall to wall with everything you could possibly imaging when it comes to collecting coins or any time of currency.

Many of the vendors were looking to buy as well as sell their own items, and there seemed to be a lot of transaction happening all over the place.

All the way in back was where the exhibits were where people have displayed some of their collection with a certain theme.  There are different categories and all are judged with the change to win your division.

I did come across some of the exhibits that had some elongated coins which I always love to take my time looking at.  The hard work and details they put into these are really amazing.

Below is one I came across that was about the FUN conventions of previous years.

After enjoying the exhibits we grabbed a quick snack in the food area, and then headed back to the aisle of vendors.  Eventually we found the TEC (The Elongated Collectors) Club table that was located right beside Mr. Raymond Dillard’s table.

Mr. Dillard was working both tables at the time we stopped by.  I had met him for the first time about 6 years ago at the ANA World’s Fair of Money convention in Philadelphia.  He is an amazing wealth of knowledge not just about elongated coins, but a wonderful man to just sit and chat with.

The TEC table had lots of information about the club including some recent issues of the new letter, pamphlets about the club, and of course applications for anyone interested in joining.

There was also a free pressed penny that they were giving out.

Mr. Dillard was also busy with his own table.  His manual coin press machine is always a visitor favorite.  I wonder how many coins have been pressed on that machine.

He was giving out a free pressed penny as well.

Usually if you have a special coin you want to press he will be more than happy to do so for you.  Otherwise the tray on the machine was filled with freshly pressed pennies.

This was another really nice looking design for the FUN convention.  As was the theme I mentioned earlier, the design listed all the host cities of the show.

Not only was he handing out free pennies, but his table was covered with lots and lots of pressed coins at very reasonable prices.  I could spend a lot of time going through some of those bins of coins.

We had a great afternoon spending time with Mr. Dillard and some other elongated collectors.  Eventually we were getting a bit tired and had a long walk back to our car still to make.

As we headed out I noted the next show would be in July and still in Orlando so we will be sure to come back them.  It was really a lot of fun and had lots of unique things to check out.

If you are not already a member of TEC you really should check it out.  I’ve been a member for about 10 years now and have thoroughly enjoyed being a member.  The cost is very reasonable, for 2019 the dues are $11 for a 1 year digital membership or $15 for a hard copy membership.  That just means you get the quarterly newsletter either digitally (PDF in an email) or a hardcopy in the mail.  Each quarter you also get a nice little package with pressed coins inside as well as the coveted membership coins each year.  There is a special editors coin you get if you submit an article to be published in the newsletter and also a recruiter coin if you help a fellow collector join the club.

On that note 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 I’m helping spread the word and sharing the adventure of elongated coin collecting.