By Charles Morgan for CoinWeek.....
The Central States Numismatic Society Convention is always a big show, but this year is special.
2014 marks the 75th anniversary of the CSNS, and the convention is going on right now at the Renaissance Hotel & Convention Center in Schaumburg, Illinois.
More than 200 dealers and industry figures were in attendance for the first day of the show. Show traffic was a little lighter on the first day than we've seen recently at other shows, but Thursday's Platinum Night auction features a number of important pieces and is sure to draw major interest. CoinWeek's Mark Ferguson reported on the sale's pioneer and territorial gold in an earlier report. You can read what Mark had to say here.
Show attendees have a chance to purchase a special edition Red Book produced to commemorate the anniversary. CSNS Convention General Chairman Kevin Foley stopped by the CoinWeek booth to drop off our copy. Only 500 copies of this unique Red Book were produced. About 200 are in the hands of attending dealers.
In addition, a limited edition reprint of W. Ray’s History of the Central States Numismatic Society is also being offered at the show. The 44-page (unnumbered) history documents the earliest days of the organization, which was the brainchild of the gathered members of the Chicago Coin Club. 75 years later, the Chicago Coin Club continues to play a prominent role in the national and regional scenes, while the size and scope of the organization has grown to levels F. Lee Hewitt and the founding members of the CSNS could never have dreamed.
Speaking of the Chicago Coin Club, the club will hold a meeting at 1pm on Saturday in Room Utopia D. At the meeting, numismatists Donald Kagin and David McCarthy will give a presentation on the Saddle Ridge Hoard. The 1,400-coin hoard of classic U.S. gold pieces-- including many finest known specimens--has captured national attention in recent months.
One notable absence from the show is that of the 1974-D pattern aluminum cent. The coin, the only D-Mint example known, was supposed to be one of the highlights of Heritage's Platinum Night. The coin was withdrawn from sale after complications arose concerning the coin's lawful ownership. The Treasury posits that the pattern coin was never officially released and is therefore the property of the United States Government. The logic of this position has far reaching implications for not just the '74-D but for all U.S. pattern coinage.
We asked senior officials at Heritage about the coin and whether there are any new developments. They referred us to the company's latest press releases on the matter.
Lincoln cent collectors do have some reason for excitement, even with the absence of this notable rarity, an immaculate 1942 Lincoln cent pattern (Judd-2079, also struck on aluminum) will be offered on Platinum Night. That coin last sold in May 2009 for $126,500. One wonders if the absence of the '74-D will dampen buyer enthusiasm for its World War II counterpart.
National Silver Dollar Roundtable founding member and author John Highfill stopped by the booth. John is one of the larger-than-life personalities that makes the numismatic hobby so enjoyable. We got to talking about his 1992 opus The Comprehensive U.S. Silver Dollar Encyclopedia and John's short career as a minor league baseball player in the Milwaukee Braves organization, where he played alongside Hall of Famers Warren Spahn, Hank Aaron, and Joe Torre.
CoinWeek contributing author Patrick Heller stopped by the booth to promote an independent film that he had a hand in. The film, entitled Alongside Night, will be showing at a nearby theater. Patrick had VIP passes to hand out to industry friends and showed off a copy of a graphic novel adapted from the movie. Heller even makes a cameo in comic form.
David Lisot shot a presentation given by the Industry Council for Tangible Assets (ICTA). ICTA is a lobbying organization that tries to advance the rare coin and bullion industry's interests through legislation on the state and national level. They've played a major role in protecting consumers against fraud and abuse, and have safeguarded the industry against burdensome regulation.
At the CSNS public board meeting, a moment of silence was observed for several members who have passed in the last year. One member was numismatic literature dealer John Burns. This year's educational exhibit award is being issued in Burns' honor.
Finally, I had a chance to catch up with Mark Ferguson on the eve of his major talk about the 1804 dollar. The presentation will be held Thursday at 6pm. I’ll be there filming the proceedings, clips of which will be posted online by the end of the show.
So that wraps up a busy first day. I'll check in throughout the week with more of my Central States Numismatic Society Show Report.
PS - Several CoinWeek readers have visited our booth already. We invite you, if you’re coming to the show, to stop by, say hi, and share your numismatic stories. You never know, you might get featured in a "Cool Coins" video or have your story shared with hundreds of thousands of CoinWeek readers.