From the Secretary - Patricia Foley

Spring - 2016

2016 dues notices also included your newly designed, permanent membership card. Issuing a more durable, permanent membership card will not only give each of you a more attractive product versus the old paper cards, but will result in a long-term economy in the conduct of the secretary’s office.

One of the more important duties of the secretary is to oversee the election process by which our members select the officials who will govern the Central States Numismatic Society for the next two years. By the time you receive this issue of The Centinel you should have received your ballot. It may surprise you to know that in our past elections somewhat less than one third of the members actually bothered to vote. Considering that it only takes a few minutes to discharge this important right and responsibility, this is a level of participation that should be a matter of concern to all of us. In quite a number of our past elections the difference between success and failure as a candidate has been fewer than 10 votes. In fact, roughly 20 years ago a vice-presidential contest was decided by only three votes. Sometimes at Board meetings important policies are adopted or rejected by just a single vote. Your participation or non-participation in our election really can actually make a difference in the policy decisions of the Board, so I hope that you will make time to vote.

By the time you all receive this issue of The Centinel, our 77th Anniversary Convention will be just a few weeks away. Neither I nor our convention chairman was even born when the Central States Numismatic Society was founded. Indeed, in my role as secretary I couldn’t help but notice as I sent out dues notices and membership cards that a fair number of you have been part of CSNS also since before I was born. It really is a privilege to be part of such a tradition.

Numismatics is at its heart really about history. Our organization has a history. Any organization is fundamentally nothing more than people who have come together for a common purpose. We exist as an organization today and have the convention that we do only because of the foresight and vision of those who came before us. Our Centinel doesn't exist because someone pulled a rabbit out of a hat a few weeks ago. Our convention isn’t one of the most important such events on the planet because a sorcerer uttered a magic incantation to conjure it up at some distant time in the past. What we are now is the result of the vision and hard work of people who came before us. What we hope to be in the future will depend on what we all do today.

I strive never to lose sight of the fact that in representing an organization that was an important part of people's lives before I even existed that I have a responsibility to ensure that the legacy is strengthened and enhanced by my efforts so that we remain a relevant part of people’s lives and a vibrant part of the changing numismatic scene and community. I hope you'll join me in that challenge and really become part of our activities and programs. That can be something as simple as just coming to our convention. As a member you are the core target audience for our event. It exists for you. It can't continue to exist without you.

There is really nothing like actually being there. There is an excitement about a major numismatic convention that simply can’t be duplicated by sitting at home looking at coin images on a computer screen. There is a palpable sense of excitement present during a Heritage Signature Sale. We also have an array of exceptional educational opportunities about both numismatics and Chicago history. If you peruse the convention Chairman's message on page 6, you’ll see a more detailed exposition.

One of my favorite parts of our convention is our educational exhibit area. Regrettably, I’m very much in a minority in that preference, as I can't help but notice the far lighter traffic in the exhibit area versus the bourse. I realize that the moneymaking opportunities of the bourse can exert a seductive and difficult-to-resist pull over anyone who comes to our convention. But really the best way to profit in any area of human endeavor is to understand it. That is what a visit to the educational exhibits can do for you -- help you perfect and expand your numismatic knowledge. Dozens, perhaps hundreds, of hours go in to preparing the educational exhibits at our convention. As bourse chairman I’m often in the convention hall well before and after the opening or close of the bourse. I like to devote at least some of that more quiet time to picking out an exhibit or two and really studying it in depth. I hope that all of you will take at least some time to do the same. Life needs a few breaks here and there. Studying at least some of the educational exhibits beyond just a casual perusal will pay dividends many times over by enhancing your appreciation for numismatic endeavors in general.

I hope that you'll be part of our convention experience in Schaumburg. When you do come, take a few minutes to stop by my bourse chairman's booth near the message center. I very much believe in leading from the front and being accessible. Don’t be afraid that you’ll be intruding on something important. Nothing is really more important than you as a member, so please do stop by and let me know who you are and share your ideas about our organization and convention.

Patricia Foley - Secretary
Central States Numismatic Society
P.O. Box 210710
Milwaukee, WI 53221