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

Convention Chairman's

Winter 2015-16 - Message

As I write this in mid-November, the bourse area for the coin show that will be a central feature of our 77th Anniversary Convention April 27-30, 2016, in Schaumburg, IL is approaching a sellout, with just 19 of our 286 dealer booths still available. If you are a dealer and want to have one of the few remaining booths, the time to contact the bourse chairman is now.

If you already have a bourse application, you’d be well advised to complete and send it in right away. If you don’t, you can request one at foleylawoffice@gmail.com.

I know that in the past it has been possible to wait until a few days before the convention to secure a booth, but those days are in the past. Unlike many coin shows, ours is actually growing. We are at the practical booth capacity of our exhibit hall, so once the last booth is spoken for, there is really no way we can add space for procrastinators. So, do yourself a favor and secure a booth now, while space is still available.

While the commercial aspects of our convention, the roughly 300-booth bourse area and the two Heritage Signature Sales – one for rare coins and the other devoted to rare currency – are what most people think of when they talk about “the Central States Show,” our convention is really a whole lot more than the bourse and auction. We have a range of educational and social opportunities, as well.

Our educational exhibit area is the standard by which other such efforts are measured. To incentivize our exhibitors, we award gold coins to the exhibits scored by the judges as the first three in each category. With just nine separate judging categories, each one is always quite competitive, with multiple entries in each category. One could actually spend the better part of a full day reviewing the exceptional educational exhibits featured as part of our convention. I hope that all of you who come to our Schaumburg event will take the time to view the educational exhibits and study at least a few of them in detail.

The exhibit area collectively comprises what amounts to a graduate level survey of numismatic scholarship. The time that you spend there will be handsomely rewarded by an increased level of knowledge about and appreciation for the areas of scholarship presented there.

The educational exhibit area, with a total cost of roughly $45,000 is far from selfsustaining. I would be remiss in discussing the exhibit area if I failed to recognize the sponsors whose generous donations underwrite the cost of providing the individual category awards:

  • United States Coins: Heritage Auctions
  • United States Paper Money: Sandy Martin Memorial Awards
  • World Paper Money: Jack D. Huggins, Sr. Memorial Awards
  • Foreign Coins Prior to 1500 A.D.: SEGS Grading Service
  • Foreign Coins After 1500 A.D.: PCGS
  • Juniors: Mark Petty Memorial Awards
  • Tokens: Des Moines Coin Club
  • Medals: Milwaukee Numismatic Society and South Shore Coin Club
  • Miscellaneous: Brett Irick

In addition to the categories noted above, SilverTowne underwrites the cost of our coveted best in show award, named after the founders of the firm, Ruhama and Leon Hendrickson. SilverTowne also donates additional funds to further subsidize the general expenses of the educational exhibit area. In fact, all of our exhibit awards are now sponsored, with the costs underwritten by a range of donors. Some are businesses, some are individuals and still others are numismatic clubs in our region. The one thing that all have in common is the fact that they’ve made a special commitment to the field that they enjoy and have made a material contribution to enabling our convention to continue to produce the exceptional educational exhibit area that is a hallmark of our event.

For the past four years we’ve memorialized the Civil War with a two-day Civil War Educational Forum at our convention. In 2016 we’ll be shifting our focus a bit and instead will present on Friday and Saturday of the convention a Chicago History Educational Forum.

At its heart, numismatics is really simply an aspect of historical scholarship. Our convention is designed to be a total experience for our attendees, part commercial, part social and part educational. An important part of the educational experience next year will be our Chicago History Educational Forum. We’ll have a total of six presentations.

Four of the presentations will be on Friday and the final two on Saturday. Our Friday speakers will be Robert I. Girardi presenting Dark Horse: The Nomination of Abraham Lincoln in 1860. He’ll be followed by Dr. Ted Karamanski, whose topic will be World War II on the Great Lakes: Arsenal of the Heartland. Girardi will then present Shadow Over Chicago: Al Capone and the Windy City. Karamanski will close out the Friday talks with The Great Fair and the Birth of Modern America: The 1893 Columbian Exposition. Both Karamanski and Girardi spoke last year at our final Civil War Forum.

Saturday will see two new presenters, Dr. Ann Keating on George Pullman: His Town and Industrial Chicago. Our final speaker will be Dr. Dominic Pcyga who’ll hold forth on Union Stockyards: 150 Years of Spectacle and Innovation.

Attending some or all of the talks at our Chicago History Educational Forum will be a wonderful opportunity to increase your appreciation for the historical heritage of the larger community where our convention has been held since 2012 and is scheduled to return each year through 2021.

I’ve remarked in the past on multiple occasions that our convention is much more than just a big coin show. It really is a total experience. Whether you come primarily for the more commercial aspects, as I realize most of our attendees really do, I hope that you’ll also avail yourselves of the educational and social opportunities you’ll find at our event. There is a great deal of effort starting several years in advance that culminates in each anniversary convention. These events are produced for your benefit. If you’ve come in the past, I’ll hope to see you once again next April. If you’ve never been to a major numismatic convention, I hope that you’ll expand your horizons by joining us in Schaumburg.