The Central States Numismatic Society convention is slated for this week. Of course the headlines it generates will focus first on the Heritage sale of the 1913 Liberty Head nickel, but the business environment as affected by the recent price swings in gold and silver will be on the minds of virtually every commercial player.
In 2011 the CSNS show was held as silver was touching its most recent peak price just short of the 1980 record of $50 a troy ounce. Gold was strong, too, though its movement during the event toward $1,600 a troy ounce was just a stop along the way to even higher prices later that year.
Firms that dealt with bullion-related items did a land office business then. The appearance of flat screen electronic monitors showing updated prices caught my attention at that show.
The Central States show historically has also been the scene of completely opposite business conditions. The 1980 event in Lincoln, Neb., is remembered as the show where the market died, that is the numismatic market players came to the realization simultaneously that the fall in gold and silver that had started in January was not going to leave the coin market unscathed.
There had been a hope up until that point that numismatics would decouple from bullion and that it would continue to be strong.
Unfortunately, that was not the case for the market. It was those of us who were in attendance that witnessed numismatics follow bullion’s lead.
Naturally, I will be curious about what will happen this year as I head down to the CSNS show on Wednesday.
A show that has basically proven to be the right place and the right time to get a firm sense of the market is worth monitoring closely. This I will be doing.
However, other things happen at CSNS that are not strictly commercial.
It is a great place to meet old friends and to see what is going on generally in organized numismatics. The Renaissance Convention Center in Schaumburg is a comfortable and convenient inside walk from the breakfast table at the hotel.
I have fond memories of CSNS conventions over many years. It was at the 1979 event in Dearborn, Mich., that I was asked to close my eyes and hold out my hand.
Naturally, as the new kid on the block that year, I was wondering what was coming my way.
What came was a great news story.
One of the new 1979 Anthony dollars was placed in my hand.
Wow. This was months before the authorized July release date.
What will come my way this year?
I can’t wait to find out.
Buzz blogger Dave Harper is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."