I think this year's FUN show will reveal alot about the direction of the market for the year. On Wall Street, it's a known fact that if January is strong, the rest of the year is as well. I can't state this with total certainty as far as coins go but my experience is that a strong FUN generally means the rest of the year will be good as well. Early reports from the pre-FUN show (which I am not attending) are interersting. Some dealers clearly "get" the fact that the market isn't as strong as it was and that their coins need to be repriced to sell. Others appear to be in strong denial mode. If you notice minimal changes in your favorite dealer's inventory after this show, you'll quickly figure out if he or she "gets" it or not.
For me, a problem at past FUN shows has been a lack of material. I'm not sure this will be the case this year. I've already bought some pretty outstanding new coins and I have the feeling that buying this year will not be as hard as in the past. Plus there is always the looming specter of $100 milion+ in coins at the auctions.
Someone asked me the other day what the keys will be to a dealer's success (or lack of it) in 2009. I think it boils down to three simple things: ample capitalization, having good clients and having established programs to sell into. Any dealer who is weak in at least two of these three areas is in for a long year.
I'm not totally certain that the rare date gold market is going to be as easy to analyze post-FUN as is, say, the type coin or widget markets. None of the major auctions are especially strong in any of the important areas of dated gold. Early indications appear that nice pre-1834 gold seems to be doing fine, particularly if the coins have been approved by CAC. The Heritage sale contains an important collection of Indian Head eagles so we will, no doubt, get a feel for what gem examples of the rarities in this aerea are worth. But I'm afraid that areas like C+D gold, TYpe One and Two double eagles and Carson City issues won't be as easy to gauge; at least not for the next month or two.