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May 1-4, 2024: The Central States Numismatic Society Show in Schaumburg, IL



Team CRO is excited, no, make that de-lighted to be heading off to Chicagoland for another installment of the CSNS show. How come?

Well, aside from the obvious enjoyment we get from attending any show, this one has always been kinda special in several ways:

1. We really like this hotel and its esoteric collection of sitting devices.

1A. We like being in a self-contained hotel AND convention center such that your author can tumble out of the sack and be on the bourse floor minutes later.

2. We’ve historically done extremely well here both buying and selling.

3. Speaking of selling, we’ve had a number of crazy shows here through the years where some specific and unexpected area of numismatics is suddenly on fire. Which for us last year was weird world medals. A few years earlier it was French coins. But my personal favorite (for obvious reasons) was the time that everyone bought coins priced at $5,000 or higher.

No idea what will happen this time, but we’ll be ready for anything with a lot of cool, new, artfully arranged inventory, a ready and willing checkbook and the desire to do as much business as is humanly possible at our deluxe table #703.

And then blog all about all of it each and every morning of this show –

May 1st: Day 1

Remember last year’s CSNS Show, Day 1? Where we had to annoyingly camp out in the chairless convention center lobby in between the poorly planned 3 PM closure of the security room and the 4 PM opening of the show? Well we do, vividly, which is why we vowed that 2024 would be different.

Namely by us signing up for PNG day, thus allowing Team CRO to enter the bourse at 9 AM on Wednesday in sort of an extreeeeemely extended set up period where we would then roll directly into the “regular” set up period at 5 PM without ever having to leave the room.

We figured that convenience alone would be worth the cost to set up on this day, and that maybe we could do a little buying and selling as an extra bonus.

And that seemed to be coming to fruition when we sold a coin within about 3 minutes, then 4 more to two different dealers before the real action started.

Which eventually totaled 17 coins sold, and 14 cool NEWPs acquired on this day, which may sound like a lot of business because it actually was.

But never at a chaotic, frenzied pace, just nice and steady all day with dealers coming by throughout. Which also allowed your author to find time to properly scour the sparsely populated bourse floor (since only about 10% of the tables were actually occupied during this session) and find some cool stuff in unexpected places.

Including a coin we snagged here after narrowly missing it online a couple years ago, and something we saw recently on Instagram and did not realize was actually for sale. Spoiler alert: It was.

In all, I’d say it was an almost perfect day on the bourse floor save for a few minor glitches:

  • It was only about 45 degrees in the room.
  • Our next door neighbor has a safe behind the table so large that there is no room for any coin dealers, and if you swing the door all the way open it will actually hit your author.
  • We narrowly missed a cool medal that we probably should have bought.
  • In a scene which would have made Abbott and Costello proud, a dealer showed us a coin which he had just purchased based on our advice that it was worth $10,000 causing him to pay $7,000 which would have been really great except that we had actually told him it was worth only $1,000. A situation which numismatists refer to as “an extremely bad situation”.  I guess it could have been worse, like, for example, if my estimate was not entirely in writing which it actually was.

But despite that we had a great day overall before heading out to meet relatives in Evanston for dinner, getting back real late and immediately collapsing in a heap.

So of course we will be well rested for Thursday on the bourse floor during which all the remaining tables will be filled, the public will pour in and there will be, we hope, a lot more business to be done.

And if it is, or even if it isn’t, we will blog all about all of it right here on Friday AM.

Until then, then –

May 2nd: Day 2

Based on every single thing we learned at the show on Wednesday, we made some significant changes to our approach on Thursday. Namely by bringing a heavy sweater.

And that turned out to be a genius-level move, as it was once again inexplicably freezing on the bourse floor for the entire day as evidenced by several people who walked by our table wearing stylish down vests.

A fact that did not slow us down even a little as we bought and sold like crazy for a second straight day.

But while yesterday’s action was widespread across our numismatic categories, this was (unless I am forgetting something) entirely US coins both coming and going.

Including some choice early copper, nicely toned Capped Bust and Seated material, a wicked commem, a smattering of old gold and of course a couple of toned 20th century coins in mega-grades which are not exactly a specialty of ours but which we handle when the look and the price are right. And these were very, very right.

In and around which we submitted a gazillion coins for grading, scoured the bourse for more cool coins, intermittently worked on some spreadsheets for some XL deals we are trying to buy, took a bunch of phone orders, did a coupe of trades, delivered some coins ordered off our last EB(s) and generally were super productive for about 8 straight hours.

Until MaryAnn left to attend the Women of Numismatics meeting at 4:30, just as a large gold deal arrived at our table.

Which we worked on for an hour or so, consigned some straight to auction for the owner, and began figuring the rest for possible sale on the CRO site. We hope.

And that took us right to the end of the day, so we packed up and headed out to the hotel bar with some collector and dealer friends where discussion of coins and the triple jump would continue until ~10 PM.

After which we returned to the hotel and once again fell asleep almost immediately after another exhausting day here in Schaumburg.

So of course we are extremely excited to do it all again on Friday starting even earlier, since I need to work on a spreadsheet with another dealer before the show opens as we try to buy yet another totally cool collection.

Wow, the coin business. Who knew it could be this exciting?


May 3rd: Day 3

As promised, your author was at the show as early as was humanly possible on Friday (which turns out to be 7:30 AM, but only if you are industrious enough to get your hands on a yellow sponsor ribbon) so that I would have time to value a collection with another dealer before everyone else poured in.

And we achieved our objective, looking up tons of coins, debating values, and finishing up a comprehensive spreadsheet just as the rest of the dealer community arrived and all hell broke loose (in a good way).

Which for us started with some more US and world sales at the table, the purchase of the first of what would ultimately be four (4) more Early Quarters and general high octane numismatic activity until about lunch time.

During which, for the first and last time ever, your author ate a hamburger from the hotel restaurant with completely unnecessary “bacon & onion jam” on it. Consider this a public service announcement.

And then continued looking for cool NEWPs, selling some neat early copper and world coins and doing good business as the room gradually started to thin out, and a smattering of dealers started walking out with their rolled up banners and fancy Pelican bags.

But not us, since we kept at it all day, picking up some more cool NEWPS, and seriously considering a couple of other coins which we loooooved but could not buy as they were priced higher than we could ever imagine selling them for, even on our best day, with a strong tail wind.

A few others worked though, with our last purchase a neatly toned Seated Dollar we had actually bought and then sold at the ANA in Pittsburgh last year. So we are glad to have it back so we can actually list it on the website this time, unless we sell it here which is a distinct possibility.

Then we dropped off some late grading, packed up and headed to the hotel bar with some collector and dealer friends before we went to dinner at Wildfire, a nearby restaurant we’d never tried before which was remarkable for the fact that there was not one single other coin dealer in there. Seriously, that is a Rarity-7 occurance in my experience.

After which we headed back to the hotel and once again turned in early so we could be rested and ready for what figures to be another looooong, tiring day Saturday during which we’ll be on the bourse floor ‘til the absolute bitter end as is our usual custom and which served us extremely well at this event last year.

And then we’ll fly home right after, from where our last installment of the RR will be written from the comfort of home on Sunday AM.

So you might want to keep an eye out for that –

May 4th: Day 4

Now back home after yet another delay leaving Chicago, it’s time to recap the just completed CSNS show using our delightful series of random observations presented in no particular order:

This was an excellent show for us both buying and selling, and everything I heard from other dealers here echoed that sentiment.

By my calculation, the door to the men’s room at the convention center weighed at least 95,000 pounds, so I am assuming they installed that as one of the upgraded security measures at this show.

We sold our wicked, gold-stickered, old holdered 1859 Indian 1¢ at the table to a collector, which was very nice to see since a crackout dealer had been hounding me for that coin for weeks now.

The chicken sandwich at the snack bar was delicious except for the fact that they cooked it AFTER the pickles were placed on top. For the avoidance of confusion, NO ONE wants a cooked pickle.

After a 3 day dance with a collector, your author was pleased to acquire a cool collection of (mostly) PCGS AU58+ CAC gold coins at the show on Saturday morning. And then despite my best efforts not to do so (since the plan was to put them on the website), sold a bunch of them at the table within a few hours.

Our experience at the hotel was generally delightful, except for a 2 hour span late Thursday during which the entire population of Chicago suddenly all wanted to use the elevators at once, resulting in a mega-queue, causing the floor buttons to go haywire and delaying our appearance in the hotel bar by a good 30 minutes.

I’m not sure why, but I had a terrible time trying to get Wi-Fi signal at the show using my phone as a hotspot, which has worked literally everywhere else. Which meant that I had to figure a lot of deals at night at the hotel, which very nearly cost me the aforementioned gold collection.

Convention Manager Cindy Wibker and her team did a great job running this show, streamlined the registration process and did it all with an upbeat vibe as evidenced by this sign outside the show:


That was kind of a stark contrast from last year when the signs were focused was on thwarting theoretical bands of marauders.

The last coin acquired here was a colonial I randomly found while I was on my way to the snack bar in the case of a dealer I have never bought from before, proving once again that you never know what you will find, or where, and you truly have to be everywhere all the time.

Such as at the EAC show in Indianapolis, from where our next RR will be written just 10 days from now –