January FUN Convention cancelled

The Florida United Numismatists (FUN) has announced its annual winter show – slated for Jan. 7-10 in Orlando, Fla. – is cancelled due to the ongoing surge in COVID-19 cases south of the border.

It would have been the 66th annual event held by the Florida organization devoted to serving collectors of coins, paper money, medals and tokens.

“The FUN board has worked hard to make this show a reality, desperately wanting to provide a venue for our dealers to get back to what they love and have our numismatic community be able to convene again,” reads a statement issued by the FUN board of directors in early December. “However, it has become clear that the ‘cons’ far outweigh the ‘pros’ at this point in time. The COVID virus is spiraling out of control and the predictions are that will continue to get worse through the dates of the FUN show.”

Earlier this year, the FUN board agreed to continue planning the show if the percentage of positive COVID-19 tests exceeded no more than 10 per cent locally; however, as of Dec. 4, the test positivity rate hit 14 per cent, and organizers decided any safety precautions – such as mandatory masks, hand sanitizer, temperature checks and physical distancing – would be insufficient to protect show-goers.

Last week was particularly dire for the United States, where a record number of COVID-19 deaths was set each day from Dec. 1-3. Aside from the “Great Galveston Storm,” which destroyed two-thirds of the Texas city and killed an estimated 8,000 people on Sept. 8, 1900; the 1862 Battle of Antietam, which saw 3,600 deaths in a single day during the American Civil War; and the 9/11 attacks, which took nearly 3,000 lives on Sept. 11, 2001, Dec. 1-4 were the deadliest days in U.S. history—topping even Pearl Harbor.

On Dec. 2, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield warned the United States is facing “the most difficult time in the public health history of this nation.” He estimates total COVID-19 deaths could hit 450,000 – up from about 286,000 today – by February.

“The reality is, December and January and February are going to be rough times,” Redfield said in a recent talk with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. “I actually believe they’re going to be the most difficult time in the public health history of this nation.”

“Another issue was that FUN had 60 dealers cancel their booths in 7 days during this time, dropping us from 400 booths to 340 booths,” according to an updated statement issued by organizers yesterday. “The January show has been hovering at 600 booths in recent years. All cancellations were COVID-related. Either age and health factors prevented them from attending, or the regulations of their local area did. Most of those from the northeast U.S. and the west coast would be forced to quarantine for 14 days after returning home from the FUN show.”

Due to these pandemic-related issues, the upcoming convention “was destined to be a financial failure with lost income and increased expenses” set to cost FUN an estimated $300,000 US-$500,000 US, according to organizers.

The next FUN show is slated for July 8.

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