Chronicles: Central States, April 2014
It was time for Central States again! The CSNS show is always one of my favorites, and this show didn’t disappoint! Held in the Chicago suburb of Schaumburg at the lovely Renaissance Hotel, I was ready to sling some coins and catch up with friends. As is traditional, all the Coin Porn is at the bottom of the page, as well as in its new home in its own section on the site.
Our flight out to O’hare was at noon from LAX on Tuesday, and I for one was happy to not be up at the crack of dawn … anyone who has known me for more than 5 minutes knows I am definitely not a morning person. The flight was direct and uneventful, with nothing terribly interesting to report about being trapped in a tin can for 4 hours.
Once at O’hare we collected our bags quickly enough and headed outside to catch a cab. Apparently it was our taxi driver’s first day: he didn’t know where Schaumberg was, how to work his GPS, what rate he should charge, or how to use the credit card machine in his cab. Eventually it was all sorted, but not before we missed our exit and had to take four clover-loop turns to get back onto the right track. We decided that we’d just completed the four-leaf-clover tour, and took it as a good omen for the show.
We decided to allow 30 minutes between when we checked in and when we would meet for dinner to decompress a little, and I took the opportunity to wander around the hotel to grab a few pictures of the gorgeous ambiance while it was quiet. I love the way the hotel is set up, and it’s always a pleasure to have the convention center attached directly to the hotel.
We had dinner at Sam & Harry’s, the resident steak house of the hotel. I was very bad on my first night and couldn’t pass up the filet mignon with blue-cheese crumbles, but in my defense I defy you to find me someone who could. After a leisurely dinner, we headed back upstairs to prepare for setup day.
Shockingly, I managed to get down to the lobby at about 8:45 on Wednesday morning, early enough to catch breakfast with Shelley and Mal before heading over to the convention center. After the joys of acquiring a new photo-badge, we were able to get the bare basics set up before the usual swarm of dealers descended on us, and spent most of the morning showing coins and wholesaling to other dealers.
I looked up for the first time and was shocked to see it was already 1:15pm. I had no idea where half the day had gone; it was just a sign of how ridiculously busy we were. I took stock of our current “set up” – we had managed to get coins into exactly one case. The rest of the day carried on like that, and it was only when it started to quiet down around 5 o’clock that the three of us really buckled down to get all the coins out into the cases. We finished up right around 6:45 or so, and were more than ready for dinner!
Wednesday night we had dinner at Seasons52, a place I had discovered in Sacramento and love to death. Great food, dimly lit interior furnished with dark wood, and a singer/pianist in the bar. The food is always different and delicious. We had a pretty big party: Mal and Shelley and I, along with Rob Charmaosta, plus Shelley’s son AJ and Rob’s niece Cassie and her boyfriend, all of whom live in the Chicago area.
After dinner we all headed back to the “Gather Bar”, the main bar in the hotel where pretty much everyone filters through at some time each night. We split up a bit, each of us going to spend time with our own particular group of “coin show friends”, and a few hours later I called it a relatively early night to prepare to up at the absolute crack of dawn for a WIN board meeting the next morning.
Thursday morning came entirely too early, and I’ll admit that I wasn’t exactly on time to the WIN meeting. Not very Vice-Presidential of me, I know. The meeting was productive, and I was a little disappointed but I had to run as soon as the general meeting began at 9am.
And it’s a good thing I did – Thursday morning was just as crazy-insane-ridiculously busy as Wednesday morning. The day went by in a blur, and I didn’t even get to have lunch – it was that busy. Busy is good, but geez – a girl’s gotta eat!
When the end of the day came, I was super excited to hit the Gather Bar for the WIN Mixer (and appetizers!). There was a little bit of time to kill before the WIN Mixer officially started and the time we got to the bar, so we sort of split off into our own groups again. Mal and Larry were boy-ing off pretty hard, so I left them to it and ended up hanging out with Robbie C and his pals again for a while.
Once the Mixer actually began, we had a good little turn out for a first-time event! A good portion of the numismatically-inclined laides turned up, as well as a bunch of gentleman-dealers to show their support. All too soon it was time to head to dinner, and what a dinner it was.
Thursday night we’d decided on Yu’s Mandarin, a favorite haunt of ours, and when we got there we weren’t too surprised to see another table full of dealers! It was a semi-rowdy group over there, with 6 or 7 of ‘em. After a fantastic dinner and wonderful conversation, both tables were getting ready to leave at the same time. They told us to cancel our taxi, as they had requested a complimentary shuttle from the hotel that would be more than big enough to seat everyone.
We cancelled our taxi, and we waited. And waited. And waited. It was comical how long we were all there, standing around the entrance of the restaurant cracking bad jokes and joking about getting seated again. Some 40 minutes later, the shuttle finally arrives. It was a long wait, but it was worth it just for this pic:
Afterwards, we all headed back to the bar where we once again slowly split up and wandered off to make merry with our various friends. Good times with good friends!
Friday morning I was late. Not my usual 10 or 15 minutes late, but like late. It wasn’t good, and I walked into a storm of activity when I hit the bourse floor about 9:45am. It was once again mind-bogglingly busy from the moment I got there until the moment we left, with a lot of coins changing hands.
The incredible octogenarian Dr. Vic stopped by, and was more than happy to take a picture with Shelley and I — and his baseball, signed by the entire 1953 Yankees’ team!
As the day was drawing to a close, Miss Nina Phan of Great Collections and Ryan Moretti of Stacks Bowers and I decided to have dinner together, just the three of us. By this point in the trip, we were all a bit worn out and decided just to stay in and have dinner at Sam & Harry’s (the steakhouse in the hotel) rather than venturing forth. It just seemed like too much effort at that point. We headed to the Gather Bar for a pre-dinner libation and ran into another group of young numismatists we love; unfortunately we decided to part ways as they were all stir crazy while we were tired of going out, but we knew we’d probably find each other in the bar again later that evening.
Sure enough, after an amazing dinner we wandered back across the bar and there was the other group of “cool kids”, as I call them. We pushed some tables together and proceeded to have a real party there in the bar. I stayed up much too late, but it was worth it, and it was after all Friday night. Everyone knew that this was the last big hurrah, and that tomorrow would bring a lot of good-bye’s.
Saturday morning was pretty laid back; it seems a lot of people look at Saturday as almost purely a travel day. We wrapped up a few loose ends, sold another handful of coins, and then packed up and waited for Brinks while playing Words With Friends with eachother. Once Brinks made off with our inventory, we had about 90 minutes to kill before we had to head to the airport so we made our way to the little café inside Gather for a quick bite to eat.
Eventually we found our way to the airport, and on the other side of security we once again had a fair amount of time to kill. We must have been quite the sight: the three of us sitting in a row, heads all bowed over iPads and iPhones as we once again played Words With Friends with each other in a round-robin of games.
Before long we were on our way back to warm and sunny southern California. Another successful coin show down. I can’t wait for the next one!
And now, the not-so-famous bullet points! Tidbits of random things that I thought were funny and/or amusing:
- On Tuesday evening after dinner and after my shower, I decided to sneak back downstairs for a minute with (gasp) no makeup. I am ninja, and went undetected.
- Discovered my coat had a hole in the pocket, and my company credit card was gone. Panicked. Retraced my steps and found it in the hallway between the hotel and convention center. Crisis averted.
- This budding coin collector hitching a free ride.
- I was starving one day, it was 3pm and I hadn’t had any food yet. I run and get a Caesar salad, as the cafe was out of everything else ready-to-go. Shelley finally arrives and has brought me lunch! … another Caesar salad.
- A long-time friend and coin dealer known for his incredibly crude (but funny) language and jokes got mad at another coin dealer for using “inappropriate language” in front of me. Irony!
- On the way to dinner at Yu’s Mandarin Thursday night, the group kept talking about how sick they were of steak and how nice it would be to have something different. First world problems, right?
- This old 45, given to us by another coin dealer at the show! Check out the name of the song!
- On the flight home, a lady asked me to switch my aisle seat for hers so she could sit next to her husband. As soon as I sat down, I knew the seat was broken. It was like sitting on a rock, if rocks had extra bumps were bolts were sunk into them. Luckily, I only had to fly half-way across the country like that. On the positive side, the attendants felt sorry for me and gave me lots of free stuff.
- Met forum members Tom B and Mike Nottelmann! Wish I would have thought to take pics!
- This incredibly sweet gentleman displaying an old press, who also game me $25!!
And now, the Coin Porn!