1899 Morgan Dollar Obverse, Images courtesy of Heritage Numismatic Auctions      1899 Morgan Dollar Reverse, Images courtesy of Heritage Numismatic Auctions

Images courtesy of Heritage Numismatic Auctions

Bourse Chairman

Summer - 2015 Report

Our 76th Anniversary Convention marks the second full year that I've been privileged to serve as your bourse chairman. I've decided to have my own booth next to the CSNS club booth so that I can be as accessible as possible to all of you, and you can bring any comments or suggestions directly to me. One frustrating thing in life is that many businesses and government agencies make it difficult to know just where to go when you have what is often euphemistically referred to as "an issue." I'm it, so when the bourse is in progress, feel free to come up to my booth to let me know your pleasure.

Probably some of you who are devotees of talk radio listen to the Clark Howard Show. Callers often ask for advice with some sort of exasperating problem they are having with a variety of commercial transactions. The first question the host generally has for them is, "Have you called the customer non-service department?" Being "it" means that I'm the service end of our convention. Our product is service. I intend to do it right. If I don't, I'll fix it.

One thing that really made me feel good at our just concluded convention was how many of you - and it wasn't just dealers - took the time to come up to me and let me know how much you enjoy our event. The convention chairman and I really do try to "get it right" for all of you. It is certainly good to know that our efforts are noticed. Talking about efforts, while Convention Chairman Kevin Foley and I are necessarily the face of the convention, we have the support of a great group of employees who also "get it right."

Out front, Patti Finner, Marlene Highfill, Chelsea Highfill, Rhonda Burger and Brenda Sponsky rendered yeoman service, especially during the overwhelmingly busy booth holder and Early Bird registration periods, keeping the lines moving. Patti, Marlene and Chelsea come from professional numismatic families and understand that time is money when you are a dealer. They do their level best to issue your credentials promptly and help you get to where you really want to be, inside doing business.

On the properties end of our bourse, Duane Foster and Kristy Jagiello oversee fulfillment in the case and light area. They were assisted this year by three newcomers to our staff: Josie Hall, and Gary and Lori Haneberg, as well as veterans Rhonda Burger, Chelsea Highfill and Greg Oglesby.

In the security area Tom Casper, who has been our security director for more years than I can remember, ably functioned in that capacity again, assisted by his deputy, Greg Oglesby. The balance of our security staff is provided by a local agency, Advanced Security Solutions. Their efforts were also supported by our president, Bruce Perdue, who set up and oversaw the functioning of our security camera installation, as well as generally being our I.T. person. Bruce, for example, is our webmaster, an important position that gives the public and dealers a central place to go for up- to-date information about CSNS in general and our convention in particular.

I'd be remiss if I failed to mention Jack Huggins. Jack received his baptism this year as our educational exhibit chairman, a position he prepared for by serving as our Chief Judge for many years, a capacity he now continues in. Fran and Ray Lockwood spent endless hours, both prior to and at the convention, generally helping Jack see to it that the many details of his job were well executed. Brett Irick served as the deputy judge, a position he is well qualified for by virtue of his long experience as an exhibitor. At the Awards Breakfast on Saturday, Convention Chairman Kevin Foley mentioned that he feels we have the highest quality exhibit area anywhere in the known universe. I certainly agree with that.

Have you ever noticed that in any area of human endeavor some people do things to garner praise and be noticed, while others are endowed with an innate sense of humility and just do things quietly behind the scenes for the satisfaction of a job well done? We did have a volunteer worker at our event this year who fits squarely within the latter category. CSNS member Bob Fritsch, a long-time educational exhibitor, came to our event entirely at his own expense and spent most of his time in the exhibit area, generally helping and supporting Exhibit Chairman Jack Huggins. I feel that this is the kind of selfless contribution others ought to know about. Thank you, Bob.

Another feature of our convention that often gets overlooked, except by the people participating in it, is our Young Numismatists area, presided over by CSNS Gov. David Heinrich and his wife, Heidi. There are so many different things going on at our convention, many at the same time, and that makes it hard for me to see as much as I'd like to just as a tourist. I do want to mention that on Saturday I stopped over at the YN area. I don't think that Dave and Heidi even noticed that I was there. They were engrossed in an activity with children and their parents where the kids had foreign coins and were being challenged to identify them from an appropriate catalog. Their incentive was that they got to keep the coins. Talk about concentration. There is no better word to describe what I saw. I didn't want to interrupt what I was seeing and just left after a few minutes. It was just a plain good feeling to see families at our event doing something together and not being overwhelmed by all the larger activities going on around them.

For the last several years the advertisement that we've run most often in the numismatic press has included the slogan: "Chicago, a Central States City". Our organization was founded in Chicago 75+ years ago, and this was a way of emphasizing our deep roots here. In the months ahead, you'll notice a new theme statement in many of the ads about our convention, "A Welcoming Convention." We truly do our best to be an organization and to have an event where all will feel welcomed and valued, whether you are a beginner or an experienced numismatist. In short, we strive to quite simply be a friendly organization. That theme was especially evident during our convention in the CSNS club booth right next to mine that was operated by Gov. Francis Hawks and his wife, Karen. They extended a warm welcome to anyone who stopped to learn more about our organization and generally just did an engaged and top notch job of representing CSNS. Thank you, Francis and Karen.

Right now I'm at my office, recording the many bourse applications and payments that I received prior to the end of the 76th Anniversary convention. As I go through the stack of applications, it is really nice to look at more and more of the names listed for credentials and have a memory come back to me about something that happened between me and that person, either at this year's event or one prior, sometimes even many years prior. The convention chairman told me many years ago that one of the keys to happiness in life is to have a job that doesn't seem like a job. That certainly is the case in terms of my position as bourse chairman. I've gotten to know an exceptional and interesting group of people and have to say that I really can't wait to be part of our 77th Anniversary Convention next April 27-30.

Do come and do stop and introduce yourself. The reason I've decided to have my own booth from which to administer the bourse and to have it be out front is to be accessible. A convention is a function designed to facilitate personal interactions. I hope you'll be part of that model.