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

Spring 2016 - Message

It seems like just a few months ago that we were preparing for our 75th Anniversary Convention. Here we are now almost a full two years later heading into the final weeks before our 77th anniversary event. If everything is done right when you walk in the door at the Schaumburg Convention Center, it will look as if everything has just popped out of a box or materialized out of the ether. That really isn’t the case and our employees and volunteers spend countless hours behind the scenes preparing to make each convention a real event rather than just a big coin show. So I hope that you’ll take the time to peruse their listings in the convention program and thank them for their efforts.

So, just what do we have in store for you this April in Schaumburg? As is typical, there will be a roughly 300-booth bourse area with dealers from 30+ states offering just about anything numismatic that you can think of. In addition, Heritage Auctions will once again have two multi-session Signature Sales, one for rare coins and the other for paper money. Over the past several years, the Heritage auctions at our convention have consistently aggregated in the vicinity of $40 million - $50 million in prices realized. I can recall just a decade ago in St. Louis when Heritage first topped $15 million at a CSNS auction held at the America’s Center. I regarded that as a gargantuan sale, and it really was for the times. Our marketplace has changed considerably over the ensuing years, attracting substantial participation from additional buyers who have injected considerable sums of new money into the competition to acquire numismatic rarities. That is very much reflected in current price levels.

But our convention – by design -- still offers room for just plain regular people to take part. We price our booths to be affordable for dealers selling less than the stellar rarities that always seem to attract the most attention in the press because of the high prices that they command. Our bourse area is populated by dealers offering everything from modestly priced items selling for well under $100 aimed at the beginning collector, as well as those whose inventories contain rarities commanding six and seven figure prices. “Diversity” is a word that figures prominently in current political discourse. Our bourse area offers economic diversity. Whatever your tastes, financing level or area of interest, a visit to our 300-booth bourse area is almost certain to be rewarded with a new find.

For the first time in at least a decade the United States Mint will be participating in our convention with a large display and sales booth. The Mint is always a popular feature of any convention it attends. I know our attendees will welcome this special feature.

Our convention is about a great deal more than simply buying and selling and acquiring new things, regardless of how interesting or historically significant they might be. It is also about learning and acquiring new knowledge.

We've scheduled what I regard as an especially impressive array of educational programs. Larry Briggs of the SEGS Grading Service will lead off at 9 a.m. Thursday, April 28, with The Threat of Counterfeit Coins from China. Mr. Briggs has devoted considerable research to the subject matter area of his presentation. Although I've heard his talk now three times, this is such a fast-changing field that I've always come away with enough new knowledge to more than justify the time spent at his really captivating – and concerning – presentation.

Nancy Wilson will follow with husband and past CSNS President John Wilson at 11 a.m. Nancy captured the Ruhama and Leon Hendrickson Best of Show Award for her educational exhibit in 2015. The Wilsons' topic will be Secrets of Forming an Award Winning Educational Exhibit. The Wilsons are certainly more than well qualified to hold forth on exhibiting, having done so since the 1970's and holding more awards than they can likely even keep track of.

Professional Currency Dealers Association member Jeff Paunika will speak at 12:30 p.m. about Paper Money: a Confederate Perspective. I've heard this talk myself at another convention, and feel that whether you know a lot or next to nothing about the subject, you'll benefit from Mr. Paunika's perspective on this long- popular collecting specialty

Steve Roach, Coin World editor at large, will take the stage at 2 p.m. for a talk about Ten (or so) Trends That Are Shaping the Coin Hobby Today. I suggest arriving early for Steve's talk. He enjoys a well-deserved following for his always well-informed coverage of the hobby, so I anticipate a standing-room-only crowd.

Thursday in Schaumburg will also see a new Numismatic Editors' Forum and Workshop. Centinel Editor Gerry Tebben will preside over a panel discussion by Roach; David Harper, Numismatic News editor; Beth Deisher, former Coin World editor; and Wayne Homren, editor of the highly regarded E-sylum, the electronic newsletter sponsored by the Numismatic Bibliomania Society. It is perhaps indicative of changes in the world of journalism in general that one of our participants will be giving perspectives from the standpoint of a presentation source that didn’t even exist when my interests in numismatics first formed in the 1950s, electronic publishing.

The forum will be held from 10:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. In addition to the general audience at our convention, it is aimed at individuals involved in the preparation of numismatic periodicals and newsletters, whether at the local, state, regional or national levels. There will be considerable opportunity for questions and audience interaction with the forum participants.

Friday will see a number of additional meetings and presentations. Kathy McFadden, executive director of the Industry Council for Tangible Assets, will lead off at 8:30 a.m. with National and State Legislative Update. She'll be joined by ICTA Chief Operating Officer David Crenshaw and Minnesota attorney Jim Diracles, who'll share their perspectives on the Minnesota dealer registration statute. This meeting is being held prior to the 9 a.m. opening of the bourse to booth holders, as well as the 10 a.m. opening to the general public, in order to give as wide an audience as possible an opportunity to attend.

For the past four years we've held a well-attended Civil War Educational Forum on Friday and Saturday. This year we'll be shifting gears a bit and instead have a multi-presenter Chicago History Educational Forum. We've signed confirmed contracts with the Schaumburg Convention Center and Renaissance Hotel through 2021 and want to give our attendees an opportunity to learn about the cultural, economic and historical heritage of the area that will be our home at least until then.

The forum will get underway at 10 a.m. Friday with Robert I. Girardi's Dark Horse: The Nomination of Abraham Lincoln in 1860. The Republican National Convention was held in Chicago that year. Mr. Girardi will explore both the convention and other events that culminated in Abraham Lincoln's nomination. He'll be followed at 12:15 p.m. by Dr. Ted Karamanski, whose topic will be World War II on the Great Lakes: Arsenal of Democracy. 1:30 p.m. will see Mr. Girardi shift his focus form the 19th to the 20th century and from politics to crime with Shadow Over Chicago: Al Capone and the Windy City. Dr. Karamanski will close out Friday’s forum talks with a presentation related to a popular area of numismatic ephemera, The Great Fair and the Birth of Modern America: The 1893 Columbian Exposition.

The forum continues on Saturday at 11 a.m. with Dr. Ann Keating speaking on George Pullman: His Town and Industrial Chicago. The last of the six presentations in the Chicago History Forum will be by Dr. Dominic Pacyga at 1:30 p.m. on Exploring Union Stockyards: 150 Years of Spectacle and Innovation.

The 77th Anniversary Convention will also host a number of meetings by numismatic clubs. Women In Numismatics will meet at 9 a.m. Thursday. Friday will see the Fellowship of Christian Numismatists gather for a 7:30 a.m. meeting.

The Liberty Seated Collectors Club will convene at 9 a.m. Friday, while the Illinois Numismatic Association board of governors will meet at 10 a.m. Saturday. The Central States Numismatic Society will sponsor a Boy Scout Merit Badge Clinic from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Saturday, while the Chicago Coin Club members will convene at 1 p.m.

Our learning opportunities in Schaumburg will include a perennial favorite of our attendees, our extensive educational exhibit area. Jack Huggins Jr., who also serves as CSNS Chief Exhibit judge, will undertake his second year as Exhibit Chairman, having taken over from Fran Lockwood, who held that post since 1997. Jack will be assisted by Deputy Chief Judge Brett Irick. Our educational exhibitors always present an array of exceptional material presented in a manner that displays a considerable amount of research. One could easily spend an entire day carefully studying the exhibits. I hope that all of our attendees will avail themselves of the opportunity to review at least several of them in depth.

For all of you who take the time to attend our convention, I hope that if you have any suggestions for features you'd like to see added, you'll stop at the message center, where I can often be found, and share your ideas and opinions with me. Our bourse chairman, Patricia Foley, will have her own booth from which to oversee convention operations. I know that she’s also welcome interacting with you and hearing your ideas for the future of what is really your event.

See you in Schaumburg in just a few more weeks!

Kevin