The 72nd annual Central States Convention is in the books, by all accounts...
The 72nd annual Central States Convention is in the books, by all accounts a very productive and telling show. The CSNS staff is to be commended for presenting a top shelf event; a prime location within safe easy walking distance from major hotels near the geographic center of the Central States society may very well be one for the record books. Although the weather conditions for the majority of the show were more reminiscent of the famous Elvis Presley tune which lyrics include “On a cold and gray Chicago morn...,” there was much inspiring and illuminating activity, which kept things very warm. All during PNG Day, a distinct and hypnotic buzz echoed throughout the spacious Stephens Convention Center in the Chicago suburb of Rosemont. Much business was visually being conducted on both wholesale and retail fronts. Perhaps not all that surprising, quite a few NGC coins in the upper five figure range gleefully exchanged hands. Early high grade NGC proof gold of any denomination was one of the more desired targets. Several PNG dealers I spoke to confirmed that there was a consistent and productive level of trading going on, none of which had an iota to do with the strong metals market.
That sentiment, however, was not necessarily true during the public side of the show. With gold having closed over the $1,500 per ounce level for the last 10 days of the month and silver trading at or above $40 per ounce since April 8, these precious metals have been a dynamic duo for both metals and numismatics. Bearing that bullish sentiment, the consensus of many Central State attendees was that we’re probably not going to see any of the precious metals retreat dramatically in the near term. The sustained $40 level for silver has brought many individuals into the mix that were otherwise content to observe from the sidelines. For many numismatic newcomers and converts, Chicago was their baptism having come forward en masse and catching the onrushing wave of the bullion and numismatic market.
The first day of public attendance on Thursday seemed to only fan the flames even higher. Silver sizzled approaching the $50 benchmark for the first time in three decades. Attendees flew in, drove in and walked in from neighboring Windy City suburbs. I was able to meet up with individuals from each of the central states represented by the society who had made the journey by car. One gentleman that had motored in from Rapid City, South Dakota said it took him nearly three days because during his trek he was sidetracked by every antique, collectible, and mom-and-pop shop along the way. “I just had to check each of them out.” However, he said he still had plenty of cash for fresh deals at the show. Both young and old hobbyists were in attendance. A 90-year-young gentleman informed me that this was his 50th Central States and he has been an avid Morgan dollar collector for over 70 years and will attend as many more conventions as he can. On the other end of the spectrum, the youngest collector that I met up with was a lad by the name of Adrian Jellinek who, just shy of 11 years of age, had three numismatic exhibits on display and was also seen interning at a dealers table. When asked about his hobby, he said he has been collecting since about age 6 and is really eager to learn all aspects within the numismatic field. This aspiring young entrepreneur is also a professional artist and children’s book writer.
One well-known Indiana firm said the show was an enormous success exceeding even their boldest expectations. One of the firm’s representatives said that they came there to buy silver and indeed they did as I saw him more than breaking an ample sweat carting off tons of the white metal in bags and bars.
A well-known Southern California dealer informed me that the show was magnificent for him and said that “Peace Dollars and Walkers [half dollars] were all going absolutely nuts; I think I bought as much as I sold but I’m not complaining.” That seemed to be the consensus from most dealers that I was able to chat with. Most were either in the middle of a deal, just completed a deal, or were looking to co-broker a deal. On the NGC grading front submissions were extremely high at CSNS thanks in no small part to the inaugural offering of the new Silver Dollar Tier. Numerous dealers and collectors took advantage of this special that featured a five coin minimum of Morgan or Peace Dollars at the show special bargain rate of $30 per coin for same-day walkthrough service for coins submitted before the 11 a.m. cutoff.
The exquisite, esoteric and rare brought phenomenal results at the host CSNS Signature Auction and Platinum Night by Heritage. In total the seven session auction reeled in $23.8 million. The finest known 1862-S Eagle, which I mentioned in my last report, was a newly discovered piece that surfaced to numismatic circles and had been submitted to NGC at the Sacramento ANA in March. Graded MS 61 by NGC, this “bragging rights” coin realized an impressive $103,500 to an excited floor bidder. The third finest known 1803 Small Three Draped Bust Half Dollar, graded NGC MS 61 with phenomenal old time rainbow toning, raced to a new home after capturing $43,125. This actually was a very strong showing for the market, and NGC coins in particular, as no fewer than 243 coins realized mid-to high five figures and a Baker’s dozen all eclipsed the six-figure barrier. Listed below are many of the NGC highlights from this historic sale.
- 1877 Indian Cent NGC MS 65 RB $10,350
- 1884 Three Cent Nickel NGC MS 66 $29,900
- 1867 Rays Shield Nickel NGC PF 67 Cameo $63,250
- 1796 Draped Bust Quarter NGC MS 63 $138,000
- 1870-CC Liberty Seated Quarter NGC VG 10 $16,100
- 1860 Liberty Seated Quarter NGC PF 68 Cameo $25,300
- 1890 Liberty Seated Quarter NGC PF 69 Cameo $54,625
- 1896 Barber Quarter NGC PF 69 Ultra Cameo $29,900
- 1818 Capped Bust Half Dollar NGC PF 65 $100,625
- 1823 Capped Bust Half Dollar NGC PF 63 $80,500
- 1874 Arrows Liberty Seated Half Dollar NGC PF 67 Cameo $46,000
- 1921-S Walking Liberty Half Dollar NGC MS 64 $63,250
- 1871-CC Seated Liberty Dollar NGC AU 58 $37,375
- 1879 Trade Dollar NGC PF 68 Ultra Cameo $74,750
- 1881 Trade Dollar NGC PF 68 Cameo $80,500
- 1892-CC Morgan Dollar NGC MS 65 DPL $34,500
- 1895 Morgan Dollar NGC PF 66 $74,750
- 1921 Chapman Proof Morgan Dollar NGC PF 64 $37,375
- 1880 Gold Dollar NGC MS 69 $24,150
- 1802/1 Draped Bust Quarter Eagle NGC MS 64 $115,000
- 1808 Capped Bust Quarter Eagle NGC MS 61 $126,500
- 1831 Capped Bust Quarter Eagle NGC MS 65 PL $74,750
- 1864 Liberty Head Quarter Eagle NGC AU 58 $46,000
- 1859 Three Dollar Indian NGC PF 66 Cameo $80,500
- 1860 Three Dollar Indian NGC PF 66 Cameo $83,375
- 1867 Three Dollar Indian NGC PF 66 Cameo $69,000
- 1876 Three Dollar Indian NGC PF 65 Ultra Cameo $109,250
- 1879 Flowing Hair Four Dollar Stella NGC PF 65 Cameo $195,500
- 1813 Capped Bust Half Eagle NGC MS 65 $126,500
- 1842-C Small Date Liberty Head Half Eagle NGC MS 61 $69,000
- 1860 Liberty Head Half Eagle NGC PF 64 Ultra Cameo $63,250
- 1873 Liberty Head Half Eagle NGC PF 65 Ultra Cameo $63,250
- 1876 Liberty Head Half Eagle NGC PF 66 Cameo $74,750
- 1909-O Indian Half Eagle NGC MS 63 $69,000
- 1804 Crosslet 4 Draped Bust Eagle NGC MS 61 $69,000
- 1873 Liberty Head Eagle NGC PF 65 Ultra Cameo $112,125
- 1876 Liberty Head Eagle NGC PF 65 Cameo $100,625
- 1895 Liberty Head Eagle NGC PF 66 Ultra Cameo $74,750
- 1911 Indian Eagle NGC PF 67 $74,750
- 1913 Indian Eagle NGC PF 67 $86,250
- 1860 Liberty Head $20 NGC PF 64 Cameo $230,000
- 1866-S No Motto Liberty $20 NGC AU 55 $57,500
- 1870 Liberty Head $20 NGC PF 65 Ultra Cameo $345,000
- 1873 Liberty Head $20 NGC PF 65 Ultra Cameo $230,000
- 1905 Lewis & Clark $1 NGC MS 67 $37,375
- 1915-S Round Pan-Pac $50 NGC MS 64 $86,250
- 1915-S Octagonal Pan-Pac $50 NGC MS 64 $80,500
- 1881 Hawaii Five Cents NGC AU 50 $25,300
- 1883 Hawaii Eighth Dollar (12.5 Cents) NGC PF 63 Cameo $43,125
Jim Bisognani has written extensively on US coin market trends and values and was the market analyst and writer for a major pricing guide for many years. He currently resides in Southern California and frequently attends major coin shows and auctions.