The History of Central States
Part 8 - 1953-1954
by W.Ray Lockwood
1953 was historic for Central States, in at least four respects!
1. The first official publication, The Sentinel, was born.
2. The first convention medallic convention badge was issued to convention registrants.
3. The first awarding of Past President and Medal of Merit Awards.
4. The first Interim/Fall meeting of the board of governors was held.
May 1-3, 1953, were the dates of the 11th Anniversary Convention held in Chicago's LaSalle Hotel. Chairman Glenn Smedley announced that the registration fee of $1.00 was a “depression rate to combat inflation” The registration fee did include the first-ever medallic badge, good looking oval-shaped golden design featuring the CSNS logo on one side and the location and dates on the other. Four-hundred badges were contracted and all were handed out by the morning of May 2.
Glenn Ostrander, exhibit chairman, announced that all exhibitors would have their names printed in the official convention program. He stated: "No collector of numismatic material will deny that outside of owning certain items, the greatest pleasure derived from collecting coins comes from exhibiting." He further advised: "Again, a reminder, not how much or how rare, but how attractive and how described is important."
The convention featured a two-session auction conducted by R. Green of Chicago and included the collection of Ragnar Cederlund, former ANA vice- president. Among the 44 dealers who manned the bourse were: Art Kelley, Aubrey & Adeline Bebee, the Kagin brothers (Art and Paul), James Kelly, New Netherlands Coin Co., and the Numismatic Gallery (Abe Kosoff) of California. The 44 dealer number set a record with the closest being 36 at the 1950 / Milwaukee ANA convention.
The convention was held in the LaSalle Hotel, in the heart of Chicago. A large room was reserved for the ladies, complete with a television receiver! The ladies also participated in a field trip to world-famous Marshall Field’s department store.
The 1953 Chicago Coin Club's Bulletin declared that the CSNS convention was the "most important event in the recent history of the Chicago Coin Club." It listed convention statistics such as: attendance, 499 from 32 states; a banquet which included a beef dinner and bottle of wine at each table, attended by 245 guests. During the banquet, the first-ever silver medals were presented to eight Past-CSNS Presidents, and six first-ever bronze Medals of Merit were awarded to Lillard Culver, Earl Brown, James Curtis, Paul Ginther, Glenn Smedley and Richard Yeoman. Lee Hewitt, "founding father" of Central States, was given a gold medal inscribed "Honorary President".
At the Sunday business session, Milwaukee was selected as the site for the 1954 - 12th anniversary - convention. According to an article in Volume One, Issue One, of the new Sentinel, two innovations were to appear in Milwaukee. First, a complete listing of members would appear in the Convention's Official program. Second, a display case housing the Past-Presidents’ Medals and the Medals of Merit would be found in the exhibit area.
Prior to the 1954 Milwaukee convention, two issues of the new Sentinel were published. The first issue, dated October, 1953, noted these membership statistics: "CSNS is growing: May, 1952 - 109 members; May, 1953 - 160 members; August, 1953 - 207 members. CSNS President James W. Curtis promoted a goal of 400 members by May, 1954. Regular members were urged to purchase a life membership for $15.00! The first Sentinel editor was Elston G .Bradfield of the Chicago Tribune staff. And the first-ever interim CSNS board meeting was held on Saturday, Oct. 31, 1953, at the Chicago Coin Club’s annual show.
The 1954 CSNS convention was held in Milwaukee’s Hotel Pfister, April 30-May 2. Registration fee was again $1.00 which included a medallic badge. Banquet tickets were on an actual cost basis with all other activities free. Forty-two members attended the business meeting. The Central States treasury showed a balance of $400 with a membership of 278 (224 regular, 51 life and 3 "corporate" - ).
Convention registration totaled 506, a new record, with 54 dealers, also a new record, and an auction called by Numismatic Gallery of California. Twenty-six exhibitors used 57 cases. The first place exhibit winner was Verne DeRemer for his "Development and Manufacture of Coinage." The CSNS plaque for Best in Show went to James Curtis for his exhibit of articles used as money during the past 2000 years.
Other than the usual numismatic activities, the convention featured tours of the city and its world-famous breweries, a night Milwaukee Braves baseball game, and programs for the ladies. The bronze Medal of Merit was bestowed on Elston G. Bradfield, Sentinel editor and assistant editor of ANA’s The Numismatist.
New officers elected were: President C. C. "Tim" Shroyer of Toledo; vice president – Erwin Gerber of Milwaukee; and secretary-treasurer Earl Brown of Chicago. The new board of governors included Harry X Boosel, Harold Brown, James Buchbinder, Ivan Ebling, Lloyd Gettys, Sol Kaplan, Richard Kenney, Mark Nelson and Glenn Smedley.
The Fall, 1954, interim board meeting was again held in conjunction with the Chicago Coin Club’s annual show, and the 1955 convention was awarded to the Detroit Coin Club.