Central States Numismatic Society
Serving the Numismatic Community since 1939
From the Secretary - Patricia Foley
Summer - 2016
1896 $2.00 Education Note
It doesn't seem possible that our 77th Anniversary Convention has come and gone. With 300+ booths, a really great educational exhibit area, educational programs and seminars that I feel set the standard for others to seek to match, two significant Heritage auction presentations and just a lot of plain ordinary fun, I feel privileged to have been part of it all.
At the Wednesday, April 27 Board meeting, the Board of Governors took a couple of important actions, based at least in part on recommendations that I made in my capacity as secretary and bourse chairman.
One of my duties as secretary is to send out dues notices and collect membership dues. Doing this for the first time caused me to be more than a bit curious as to just how much of the support for the innovative educational and service programs that we provide to the membership and the wider numismatic community is actually provided by membership dues. I must admit to being a bit surprised to discover that the programs we provide and the infrastructure necessary to support them cost roughly $82 per member. In fact, six specific program or administrative areas each individually consume 100 percent of our total dues income: the cost of maintaining our elected Board, the cost of the secretary's office, the cost of our educational seminars and forums, the cost of the educational exhibit area, the cost of our author's research grant program and the cost of The Centinel. I recommended to the Board that membership dues be increased effective with the 2017 billing to $20 per individual, with commensurate increases for club, junior, associate, life and life club dues. That recommendation was approved.
Still, your membership will remain a real bargain, with each member being asked on an annual basis to provide only 25 percent of the cost of supporting the programs that directly benefit all of us. That seems like a pretty good deal to me. I wonder how seriously I'd be taken if I walked into any business and offered to buy their product for 25 percent of the cost of providing it?
Where does the rest of the money come from? These primary sources: our current convention profits, past convention profits accumulated by the Board and not spent, sponsorship and other donations and Centinel advertising. So, when a Board member contacts you, your business or your club as part of their duties to participate in the Board Sponsorship Project, they won't be crying wolf. I hope that you'll look with favor on their request for support. The real cost of maintaining each member by providing the services that we do comes to an amount that is roughly quadruple what you pay in dues as an annual member. In fact, if you became a life member when the cost of that option was only $100 (and CSNS did far less for its members) you come close to recovering that amount each year.
Another important decision made by the Board to help provide a revenue base sufficient to subsidize programs that are operated at a deficit, was to institute a convention registration fee effective for our 2018 event. The charge will be quite nominal, $5 for a single day pass or $10 for an event pass valid Thursday through Saturday. Our convention remains our only financial surplus generator. While it partially subsidizes the operations mentioned above that operate at a deficit, the scope and breadth of the innovative programs that the Board continues to authorize very simply need additional funding.
My understanding is that we've had a registration fee for early admission prior to the regular public hours for many decades. Expanding that to include our other attendees simply recognizes the fact that our convention provides a valuable service to everyone who walks in the door and that it is appropriate for everybody to make a contribution to the event that they derive a benefit from. I couldn't help but notice when attending the ANA convention in Rosemont two years ago that a collecting affair of a considerably different nature was taking place across the lobby called Comicon. The registration charge there was $60 per day and it was thronged with people. Our own CSNS convention in Schaumburg three years ago immediately followed a gluten free food show there. Their entry fee was $20 and I couldn't help but notice that their gate was actually superior to that experienced later the next week by our free event.
It is really difficult for me to think of any convention, trade show or public show where there is no charge at all to walk in the door and enjoy the benefits that the organizers of the event are providing for the attendees. Our Board adopting this quite modest registration fee will bring us in line with standard practices in the convention and show universe and help provide additional income to subsidize the expanded array of programs that the Board itself has championed.
Enough of the business side of my jobs for you. This year was the first in my association with CSNS that I've been able to remain for the entire Awards and Installation Breakfast. I was coerced into sitting at the head table, something I agreed to only on the condition that I wouldn't be required to speak. It did give me a perspective on what our convention and organization are all about that I hadn't anticipated.
First came the award of the Ray O. Lefman Medal of Merit to David Lisot. David occupies a unique niche in the numismatic trade, recording videos of happenings at numismatic conventions around the country, including the educational talks and seminars that are often part of such events. His library of offerings also includes interviews with many of the iconic names in the numismatic world who are no longer with us. As the convention chairman read his cleverly contrived announcement of the accomplishments of the awardee, designed to maximize the length of time it would take for David to realize that he would be the award recipient, I couldn't help but notice the look that came over his face when he did realize and the fact that I could see tears brimming up in his eyes when he came forward for the presentation. That really brought home to me how much the award meant to him and how richly he deserved it.
I've remarked in the past how I believe that we have hands down the finest quality educational exhibit area of any numismatic convention anywhere. Sitting at the head table I got an unexpected insight into just why. Being out in the audience one misses the looks on people's faces when their names are called out to receive their exhibit awards. Our gold coin exhibit awards really do incentivize exhibitors to do their absolute best, especially the prospect of potentially receiving the coveted best in show award, now named in honor of Ruhama and Leon Hendrickson.
I couldn't help but notice looks of unbridled happiness displayed by the award recipients as their names were called and they came forward to receive their recognition. The convention chairman leaned over toward me and remarked, "They look like you and your sister used to on Christmas morning." That really brought home to me just why we have the kind of exhibit area that we do. The people who participate just really take what they do more seriously than I'd ever imagined. Seeing their faces and the expressions of happiness on them from the perspective of being at the head table brought that insight home to me more powerfully than I'd ever anticipated.
I hope you'll make plans now to be with us next year in Schaumburg. I know that more and more people are into doing things on their computers or with their smart phones. When you do that, you aren't really there; you aren't really part of the event. Join us next year and you'll be in for an enriching experience of learning and friendship. When I turn my own smart phone on, the words "Life Companion" come up on the screen. Not mine. I want to really be there and rub elbows with real people.
Patricia Foley - Secretary
Central States Numismatic Society
P.O. Box 210710
Milwaukee, WI 53221