The History of Central States
Part 24 - 1998 - 2000
by W.Ray Lockwood
As published in the 2008-09 (Vol 56, Number 4) Issue of the Centinel
The author of this History has made an arbitrary decision to end the series with the year 2000. Part 24 will recount events of 1998, 1999 and 2000 which include the 59th, 60th & 61st anniversary conventions.
As things worked out, Milwaukee was the site for back-to-back conventions: 1998 & 1999. The 1998 convention was noteworthy for one main reason: It marked a major change in the way CSNS shows were administered. A general chairman and bourse chairman were employed to manage all aspects of the shows. This was done to have uniformity and stability and allow Central States to go to cities with host clubs that would or could not put in the thousands of hours necessary to run a successful convention.
In his summer, 1999, Centinel secretary's report, Jerry Lebo stated emphatically "I hereby go on record as stating our 1998 spring convention in Milwaukee was best coin show I've ever experienced." Why? Pick from this list: 279 dealer booths were sold, public attendance was up considerably from 1997, almost all dealers reported brisk business, over 150 cases of high quality exhibits competed for gold awards, 100+ young numismatists attended an action-packed auction, over 100 Boy Scouts took part in a Coin Collecting Merit Badge clinic, seven well-attended educational programs were offered, 200 individuals attended the annual awards banquet and toasted "Mr. Fun's" 100th birthday. The superlatives for the 59th anniversary convention could go on and on. Suffice it to say, the first professionally managed CSNS show proved to be very successful.
1998 was also an election year. Winners included: President - Roger Winkelhake; VP - Ray Lockwood; Sec/Treas. - Jerry Lebo; and Governors: Bill Brandimore, Brian Fanton, Jack Huggins, Glen Jorde, Bob Kutcher, Marvin Mericle, Paul Padget, Ed Rothberg, Florence Schook and Harry Tileston. Jim & Karen Jach were reappointed as Centinel editors, and Rob Green from Columbus, Nebraska, became CSNS legal counsel.
The 1998 fall convention was held in the Harvey, Illinois, Ramada Inn - Sept. 11-13 - and was hosted by the Illinois Numismatic Association (ILNA). This 130 table show sold out very early. Kermit Wasmer managed a near-perfect affair attended by more than 1000 visitors. During the convention, the CSNS board accepted archives from our former historian, Kurt Krueger. They approved the elimination of return postage for mailing the biennial election ballots. A Speakers' Bureau was organized with a list of potential speakers for local club use. Past-President John Wilson suggested that all CSNS board members should contact their state governors to offer assistance in the new 50-state commemorative quarter program.
Although 1999 witnessed the return of Central States to Milwaukee, the 60th convention changed sites. The first-ever full-color cover of The Centinel revealed the entrance of the brand new Midwest Express Convention Center, the location of the April 22-25 convention. To state that the 1999 convention was a carbon copy of the highly successful 1998 version would be an understatement. Table sales, exhibits, public attendance and special YN activities equaled or surpassed the previous years' totals. Milwaukee lived up to its reputation as a great numismatic venue!
The 1999 CSNS board meeting provided glimpses of what makes the organization tick. Reports indicated a nice growth in membership from 1838 in 1998 to 1911 in 1999. Eighty-five "early bird" badges were sold. A committee was formed to review policy for supporting future candidates in ANA elections. A motion to designate two of the ten CSNS Governors seats for members living outside the 13-state region was defeated. The board approved a revision of the convention manual to appoint the president as the liaison with the convention committee. Governor Paul Padget announced the fall board meeting would be held for the last time in the Drawbridge complex in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky. Michigan State Numismatic Association president, Ray Dillard, announced that his organization was unable to secure dates for a fall CSNS convention in either 2000 or 2001.
The fall 1999 board meeting featured a discussion of what types of organizations and businesses merit free bourse space at future CSNS conventions. A motion to allow such space for Whitman, Coin World, Coinage, and Krause Publications was defeated and replaced by a successful motion to allow free bourse space to Krause and Coin World with any additional free space left to the discretion of the president, vice president, bourse chairman and general chairman. The Centinel, under the able editorship of Karen and Jim Jach, won Best Publication honors from ANA for the fifth straight year. Polly Pittman Roberts offered $2,000 to endow an exhibit award in everlasting memory of her father, John Jay Pittman. Her offer was accepted for the Most Educational Exhibit Award. The Board voted to NOT endorse any candidates for ANA offices. Approval was granted for the fall, 2000, board meeting to hold a fall, 2000, convention in Harvey, Illinois, with ILNA as the repeat host club.
For the fifth time in CSNS history, the annual spring convention was held in Minneapolis, May 4-7, 2000. That northern metropolis is supposed to be cool in early May; however, that was not the case. In fact, temperatures during the convention were in the nineties! Perhaps one of the "hottest" convention features was outgoing Governor Brian Fanton's YN auction. Seventy-five youngsters were given play money to bid on dealer-donated coins and currency. Great fun was had by all including many impressed parents. Public attendance was down from previous years but dealer participation was higher than expected with more than 270 occupied booths. Heritage conducted a $5,000,000 auction. Show personnel who made everything run smoothly were: Patti Finner - registration (Patti Jagger became Mrs. Rollie Finner just one week prior to the Minneapolis convention); Kevin Foley - show chairman; Jerry Lebo - bourse chairman; Fran Lockwood - exhibits; Dick Peterson - floor manager; Allen James - cases and lights; and Tom Casper - security. Cliff Mishler was MC at the awards banquet which saw the Bradfield Literary Award going to Saul Needleman, and Best-In-Show Exhibit Award to Minnesotan, Pete Smith.
2000 election year winners were: Ray Lockwood - President; Harry Tileston - VP; Jerry Lebo - S/T; and Governors Paul Padget, Florence Schook, Glen Jorde, Marv Mericle, Jack Huggins, Kermit Wasmer, Bill Brandimore, Don Charters, Bob Kutcher and Ed Rothberg. The board meeting introduced newly-appointed legal counsel, Rob Green from Columbus, Nebraska. He was able to work out legal problems prior to the Minneapolis convention. Specifically, the Minneapolis city council enacted legislation to exempt coin shows from certain restrictive ordinances. Three-thousand quarter boards were made available for distribution at the show and local club meetings. Future spring conventions were announced for 2001 - Indianapolis; 2002 - Columbus, Ohio; and 2003 - St. Louis.
Finale - The history of any organization is in reality a story of people interacting for common purposes and common good. Such has been the case for Central States. Our 70-year old club has had its share of ups and downs, personality conflicts, and a few tears. By and large, Central States has survived and continues to thrive as it serves numismatists of all ages.
Someone else will undoubtedly step forward in the years ahead to continue this Central States history. Let it be known to all who read my twenty-four parts that this has been a labor of love. In fact, it has been and continues to be a love affair with an organization that has always promoted numismatics as the King of Hobbies. I plan to see you all at a coin show or club meeting and share a story or two about where we've been and where we are going. Take care and keep smiling!
Editor's Note - And with that we say THANK YOU, RAY, and close the books on the first seventy years of Central States history and the year-by-year happenings of a grand old organization that was founded by the good folks of a bygone generation we knew and affectionately remember as pioneers of modern-day numismatics. Without a doubt another historian will come along in the future who will pick up where Ray left off and will tell us "the rest of the story."