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

Summer 2014 - Message

Our 75th Anniversary Convention is now history. I hope that it provided all of you with as many memorable experiences as it did me. For the first time ever, we commissioned a special edition of the Red Book. All were distributed either by advance mail order sale or at the convention itself, and the only way to obtain one now is via the secondary market. Copies were being offered on eBay within a few days of the close of our event and selling for roughly 600 percent of the initial issue price of $15.

I especially want to take an opportunity to thank the all too often unrecognized people who played substantive roles in the production of the convention, our CSNS employees. As general chairman and Bourse Chairman Patricia and I have our names on ads, press releases and similar communications about our convention, in a sense we are the face of the convention and have the highest public profiles. We are assisted, however, by a group of people who take time out from their daily lives to spend a week at our event site in various capacities to ensure the competent fulfillment of specific tasks under our joint management which are fundamental to the quality product that we all strive to deliver. I think it is important to mention each by name and let you know what they do.

Our registration staff consists of Patti Finner, Marlene Highfill, Chelsea Highfill and Rhonda Burger. Especially if you are a booth holder, being able to promptly obtain your entry credentials, go to your booth, set up and begin your commercial activities with a minimum of delay are of particular importance. These four are the people who make that happen.

In the back of the house, where the organization and staging for the delivery and placement of cases and lights to the booths takes place, our properties chairman is Duane Foster, a retired U.S. Army officer. Duane keeps this seldom noticed, but vitally important part of the convention functioning in a well-organized fashion. His deputy properties chairman, Kristy Jagiello, plays an equally vital role, making sure that missing keys are reproduced, overseeing the fulfillment end of Duane's organizational responsibilities and just generally being his alter ego and backup. Also working in our properties area this year was Bruce Perdue, who also functions as our traffic manager at the rear entry dock, making sure that booth holders arriving there (and only booth holders) are admitted in an orderly manner. One of our security officers, Greg Oglesby, who also assists Bruce with his traffic manager duties, does double duty with Bruce putting out cases and lights. Also participating in the placement of cases and lights were Andrea Foley, Chelsea Highfill and Rhonda Burger.

Like our website. www.centralstates.info? Visit our Facebook page? They are both the creation of Bruce Perdue, who maintains and updates them as an important communications tool and source of information about CSNS in general and our convention in particular. The end product shows. The many hours of work he puts in are far less obvious.

Andrea also served as a sort of utility player in our infield, filling multiple positions, being especially valuable in assisting Bourse Chairman Patricia in processing the seemingly endless parade of 2015 bourse applications that dealers turned in on Friday and Saturday in order to secure their booth locations for next year. Our bourse area has once again entered a growth mode since we first came to Schaumburg in 2012. Just short of 80 percent of our 2014 booth holders renewed and paid for their 2015 space in full prior to leaving the 2014 convention. That is what I have come to refer to as "the checkbook survey," determining what people want based on their actual behavior rather than by having them check boxes on a form.

Patricia was successful in achieving a sold-out bourse for 2014 by mid-February, earlier than I can ever remember that happening since being associated with the CSNS Board in one capacity or another since 1980. I know that she won't be resting on her laurels, but will feel challenged to do even better for 2015.

Andrea was also the one who visited each dealer booth to deliver your complimentary copy of our 75th Anniversary Red Book - and, to the annoyance of some, making you sign for your one (and only one) per booth copy. Our 500-copy edition, either by advance mail order sales or complimentary distribution to our booth holders at the convention, is now completely sold out. As I mentioned above, the secondary market initially seems to be in the $90-$95 range on eBay.

After the cases were appropriately placed, our properties staff cleaned the glass of every one of them, 1,100+ - inside and out - so that our booth holders and educational exhibitors would not have their setup delayed by unsightly glass surfaces on their rental cases.

Special mention is due to the Ernst family: Mitch, along with wife Kim and daughter Emily. In addition to manning our message center, Mitch stood available to do virtually anything that was asked of him. Kim and Emily likewise functioned in a variety of capacities, primarily in the properties area, placing cases and lights on booths, cleaning cases and similar tasks - all functions that may seem quite prosaic, but if not attended to properly, can be a source of considerable annoyance to a dealer client who may have paid $1,000+ for the privilege of sitting behind an eight-foot table in a mildly uncomfortable chair for four days after spending another $1,500+ in expenses just to walk in the door.

Outgoing Board member Greg Allen, at a time when most of his dealer colleagues were already on their way home to their families, stayed behind on Saturday afternoon and evening and assisted with the pickup and reorganization of cases, lights, clamps, wiring and similar items. Like the Ernst family, Greg served as a volunteer. Like them, he was a valued member of our overall convention production staff, working seamlessly alongside our employees.

Tom Casper, a retired Milwaukee police detective and district attorney's office investigator, once again served as our security chairman. I first met Tom as a member of the Milwaukee Numismatic Society in the late 1970s. He has worked in a security capacity with me since 1982, beginning with the old MidAmerica Coin Convention at the former MECCA Convention Center in Milwaukee, the first numismatic event I managed.

Before and after the bourse opens, Tom is in our security room, giving his personal attention to the especially important task of ensuring the safety and security of the items stored there. During the operating hours of the convention he focuses on coordinating the activities of our security staff provided by Advanced Security Solutions. Tom maintains a detailed file of people who have been known to prey on the attendees of our and other numismatic events and helps ensure that such individuals are not admitted.

CSNS is especially noted for the quality of our educational exhibit area. Fran Lockwood has served in this capacity for each of the now 17 consecutive CSNS conventions that I have produced in my capacity as general chairman. Fran has done an exemplary job, been a pleasure to work with and now retires from her chairmanship, to be succeeded by Jack D. Huggins Jr. who has served as our chief judge for a considerable number of years. While I know that Fran has very much placed her personal mark on our exhibit area and truly established it as the standard for other numismatic conventions to emulate, I know that Jack will be opening a new era of continued excellence in that portion of our convention.

Our education director, Ray Lockwood, has been responsible for assembling the roster of speakers and educational programs that have become a particular distinction for CSNS, especially over the past three years with the advent of our Civil War Educational Forum.

One aspect of numismatics that generates constant expressions of concern is the question of where our future participants will come from. CSNS Gov. David Heinrich has served as our YN chairman for a number of years, ably assisted by Mitch Ernst, in order to organize events at our convention that will appeal to younger collectors and help ensure that there will be a reason to have a 100th Anniversary Convention.

Patricia, I and our entire convention staff hope that you will mark your calendar now to join us in Schaumburg April 22-25, 2015 for our 76th Anniversary Convention and the opening of our fourth quarter century of service to the numismatic community.

In closing, I would be remiss if I failed to mention two other populations that also are all too often overlooked when it comes to recognizing those who have helped make our organization what it is.

Do you like the fact that CSNS operates a coin club library donation grant program, a coin club speakers subsidy program, that we give especially generous educational exhibitor awards to promote excellence in educational exhibiting? How about our authors and researchers grant program, our exceptional freestanding educational seminars that we hold twice each year, our coin club DVD gift program, our ANA Summer Seminar scholarship program, our convention-based educational seminars, especially our Civil War Educational Forum? There might even be a few more that I am overlooking.

If you have ever wondered where we get the money to do these things, just look around our bourse area and our auction room. The money that enables us to be what we have become in our now 75+ years comes from our booth holders and our auction company, Heritage. Without their collective financial support we would not be in a position to do all these constructive things.

So….. thank you to all of the aforementioned. Each of you in your own way is an important part of what we are and what we have yet to become.