April 27-30, 2022: The Central States Numismatic Society Convention in Schaumburg, IL
Your author has always had an impeccable sense of timing.
As was on full display last week when I chose that time, at home, in between shows, to get a horrendous cold and be basically out of commission for 4 days.
But now we’re back to full strength with only a tiny lingering bit of Kermit the Frog voice and ready to dive into CSNS 2022.
Normally I’d say this was one of our favorite shows, always with good crowds, and lots of business, held in an elegant self-contained hotel and convention center whose convenience is exceeded only by the cool chairs they have in the lobby:
But we think this year might actually be even better than the last time we came here waaaaaaaay back in pre-Covid 2019. Since now this show is being run by Larry Shepherd, and he has instituted major changes to boost the crowds and ramp this event up even higher.
So of course we’re expecting great things here this week, buying, selling, trading, grading and also schmoozing from our usual table right up near the door. We hope to see you too if you can make it.
But even if you can’t, you can follow along with everything that happens here in our Road Reports posted daily from the show.
April 27th: Day 1
We were able to hit the ground running on Wednesday, if by running you mean sitting outside the PCGS grading room at 8:45 AM patiently waiting for them to open.
But they did a few minutes later, we turned in our remaining grading (since most of it was shipped in last week), and then headed straight to Heritage lot viewing down the hall.
Where your author would numismatically park himself for the next 4 or so hours viewing or re-viewing the thousands of US and world coins to be presented in auctions next week.
And I did that mostly continuously, in sequence, seldom having to wait for a box in what was a very efficient session during which we ID’d plenty of coins to bid on for inventory, carefully scrutinized (often for the 2nd or 3rd time) coins on which we will be representing customers and got done everything we had hoped to accomplish just in time to race around the bourse floor for the PNG Day activity and try buy a few cool coins from the ~30 or so PNG dealers set up in there.
And I actually did better than I thought I would, snagging a dozen coins, all US as you might expect from these sellers, but in a variety of series, grades and price points that will all look good on the website, if they survive long enough to make it that far.
Concluding that escapade just in time to go eat a kale salad in that new restaurant in the lobby and finishing that in time to swing by security, get our coins and join the already exhausted-looking queue waiting for the start of regular dealer set up at 3 PM.
Where we would quickly set up (of course) while another dealer hovered over us waiting to see our inventory, snagged a few coins and then left, letting the next guy in line take over over. And while MaryAnn handled that, I was free to run around the now much expanded bourse floor, hit the hundreds of non-PNG dealer tables who were in various stages of setting up, vacuum up anything else I could find and place it in our back case where the growing pile of NEWPs now number 20-something. Like this one, for example:
In an around which we met with other dealers, discussed possible joint deals, talked to a local dealer back home about some new opportunity that had popped up, talked to customers about want list items and generally crammed as much numismatic activity as possible into one afternoon.
Continuing that frenetic pace until the place closed down at about 6 and Team CRO headed out to dinner with some local relatives at a nearby restaurant.
Returning on the early side and then collapsing after what had been by then another of our long and tiring but super productive days on the coin circuit 2022.
Tomorrow we expect another busy one, back on the bourse floor at 9 AM, with the public pouring in in droves (we hope) at 10.
With whatever happens to be described here in vivid detail first thing on Friday morning.
April 28th: Day 2
We arrived back at the show crisply at 9 AM on Thursday, unflipped our chairs, removed our high security plastic table covers, switched on the lights and announced ourselves open for business in a booming voice to no one in particular.
And then began a 9 hour adventure of buying, selling and trading with a loooooong line of collectors and dealers in what was generally a quite crowded room at least equal in number and enthusiasm to what we had ever encountered at this venue. So that was all good.
But – as is often the case on the coin circuit – the coins we sold were utterly unpredictable, including some recent auction acquisitions that while nice were not exactly in our wheel house, other things taken in trade that we probably would not have bought on our own and some other coins we have owned for a long time.
It sorta felt that way on the buying side too, as a lot of the things that caught my eye while walking around at this show were neat but often outside our normal targets. They looked cool, though, so of course I snapped them up anyway. Including some non-CAC (yet) US coins, completely obscure world coins and a few wild toners. Like this one, for example:
Which as we always say is a fun and entertaining part of the business, where we go with the flow with no particular pre-conceived notions and react to whatever we encounter at the table or out on the floor.
Grading, on the other hand, was kind of a slog, as we had multiple submissions in and added more during the day, and as we dropped off each one it seemed another group was finished with mostly just sort of OK results sufficient to be able to 1) Go ahead and list those coins on the site and 2) Submit something else. So we will, and we did.
Up until around 5:45, when we ran out of gas, packed up and met a group of dealer friends in the hotel bar before zipping off to the good Chinese restaurant down the street where we ate well and your author once again received a very depressing fortune cookie message. Honestly, I’m afraid to even open those things anymore.
We are not, however, afraid of what we’ll encounter Friday since we expect another busy day on the bourse floor with the potential for more unpredictable results which we will react to accordingly, and then write all about in here on Saturday AM.
Until then, then –
April 29th: Day 3
Let’s dig deep into a coin dealer snippet:
So I’m about to submit a “World Economy” crossover package to PCGS at the show on Friday which requires a 5 coin minimum not to exceed $2,500 each. But I only have 4 suitable coins remaining and I really want to submit them here. And thus our mission is clear: Race around the bourse floor like an idiot, find one more suitable world coin that I actually like, and want to buy, already in an NGC slab, at the right price point, that seems like decent value. And do it fast. Ready? Go.
First stop is the world section where I pore through a bunch of cases, ask to see a bunch of different coins, and then come across some guy with raw US coins, get totally sidetracked, look through all of those, find one wild toner that seems really nice, buy that instead and go back to our table and stick it in the back case.
Then try again in a different aisle, again quickly perusing options, stumble across a fantastic old holdered Walking Liberty Half Dollar, buy that, head back to our table and drop that off.
Third foray, different aisle, this time sidetracked again, this time by colonial coins, spend a bunch of time looking through those, find a reason not to like any of them enough to make a purchase, start poking around elsewhere, get a call from MaryAnn that I need to return to the table, abandon the world coin project, and get deeply involved in a trade deal involving unrelated coins.
Make one last attempt out on the floor, stumble into a dealer I have not seen in years, have a long conversation, discover he is considering selling a neat collection we had last discussed in 2014 or 2015, agree to follow up on that next week, and forget all about what I was actually doing in that aisle to begin with.
Right after which I return to the table just as a collector walks up, asks if we are buying coins and then produces a really cool toned Pillar coin, in an NGC slab, at that right price point, which I very nearly injure myself leaping over the table to buy as fast as possible, complete the deal, add it to our grading package and drop the group off at PCGS.
Where they all cross, as hoped, and are now ready for prime time – i.e. to be offered to show-goers here on Saturday, or perched on our next EB in a neat grouping.
About which I can draw the following sweeping conclusions:
- We actually have plans here.
- Those plans often get derailed.
- Those derailments can lead to other good things in interesting and unpredictable ways.
- Not everything ends up working out.
- Most of them do.
- This is fun.
We’ll be back at it Saturday ready for whatever happens, though with one eye on the weather here which looks horrendous with a massive storm moving through and almost certainly derailing our late flight home meaning we may have to move that up, or get stuck here just like we did at the last CSNS in 2019. Aaah, the memories.
With our next RR to be posted from wherever we happen to be and describing whatever happened up to that point.
April 30th: The Exciting Conclusion
Team CRO slept in until 7 AM Saturday, packed up, checked out of the hotel, hauled everything over to the show and prepared for what we figured would be a slow day on the bourse floor.
Turns out we were wrong (not about the packing, or checking out – that was spot on), but about what we would encounter at the show, which turned out to be a pretty busy day for us during which the following things happened:
Met with another dealer who was camped out at our table first thing itching to buy something I had described to him the previous evening. “OK, that’s a good start”, I said to myself as he wrote the check.
Sold two toned world coins to a collector who walked up and made his decisions in no time flat. Note to self: Put more toned coins in the cases since they always seem to attract attention at these shows, often from a person casually walking by who does a quick double take and then boomerangs himself back to the table.
Tried to explain to a different collector what CAC is, but without much success. I knew I was in trouble when I directed him to their website and he said he did not have a computer.
Picked up a slew of straggler checks from various people for deals done earlier in the show.
Overheard a guy complaining about the price of hotdogs at the concession stand which led me to conclude he had never before attempted to buy food at any convention center. Or airport. Or baseball stadium.
Sold a cool world coin to a long time collector friend who knew exactly what he was looking at.
Sold two raw coins that I had bought here with every intention of slabbing them.
Made our last sale of the day at about 3 PM, a Doily holdered piece that had been on the site for a little while.
Then packed up and headed to the airport hoping we’d actually be able to fly home. The good news is that yes, we could, but it would be the next morning, on a different airline, and leaving from a different airport which we hastily booked after the first flight was delayed 4 times before ultimately being cancelled. I’d also mention that giant flying cockroach that landed on my hand during the 3 hour wait to get our luggage back from the first airline, but that might sound like I made it up if not for the fact that the also delayed team from PCGS was waiting there for their own luggage, witnessed the entire horrifying event and helped subdue the insect. Go ahead, ask them.
Anyway, we are delighted to be back home with our luggage, and no roaches, where we can calmly reflect on another good show in Schaumburg during which we sold a ton and came home with 53 new coins.
Which we will be photographing like crazy this week in anticipation of our next EB which will go out on Tuesday, May 10th.
So you might want to keep an eye out for that.