The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 14, Number 37, September 4, 2011, Article 21


Howard A. Daniel III submitted this diary of his experiences at the recent convention of the American Numismatic Association in Chicago, IL. Thanks! -Editor

Howard Daniel and Mrs Seeley
Did David Seelye know his bride was at Howard's 2011 Chicago ANA booth?

I just manned a club booth at another ANA for NBS and other organizations like IBNS, NI, MPC Fest/Gram and others. This time it was in the Chicago area but outside the city near the airport in Rosemont's convention center. I drove in on Monday afternoon, parked at my hotel, and went to the convention center to locate my booth and start my setup. I was stopped at the door by security and told that club booth staffs were not allowed in until one hour before opening day (Tuesday) morning! I used to come to an ANA a couple of days early and help the staff set up but my time keeps being pushed back until now it is an hour before opening! I am guessing club booths will not exist in the foreseeable future!

The convention center was alright but getting back and forth with a cart full of stuff was a trying experience. I figured the loading dock was going to cost me money even if I did the work myself since the Chicago area has a lot of union labor, so I did not go to it. I parked behind the Hyatt Hotel and not in their garage. The roll from my vehicle to the convention center garage was over VERY rough asphalt! Then the skywalk to the convention center had metal connectors every 50 feet or so which required me to slow down and lift the cart over them. As a result of the trying roll, I brought over only one of my footlockers of stuff to give away. But I made sure I had my three gifts for Neil Shafer, Roger Urce and Brian Giese. Brian surprisingly did not show up from nearby Milwaukee but the other two men got their gifts.

The Hyatt was an OK hotel but about the same quality as the old Holiday Inn's before they refurbished them around the country into Holiday Inn Express's. One night I invited an NBS member/friend to dinner at the hotel and we were greatly disappointed with the quality of the food and the service. But the service, salads and coffee at their snack bar (called Perks) was top notch. I will write to the hotel about both the good and the bad.

The bourse layout was somewhat boot-shaped like Italy. I found the club booths were in the toe of the boot and as far away from the entrance as possible. We used to have bourse locations (I do not like being ouside the bourse because there is usually no security) so a lot of traffic went by us! The case and electricity was there as ordered. After about two hours, I was set up with what I brought on one cart. It took awhile as friends stopped by to say hello. I got breakfast/lunch, and first coffee too, around 11AM.

It was very quiet back in our area!! Over the entire convention, I gave away much less than 100 of the 400 packets of a world note and coins to YNs. I saw NO scouts, which is very unusual. As it turns out, the convention was scheduled during the opening week of school! Who scheduled this? The few YNs I had were home schooled or had skipped school. So I stopped men with wives and asked them to bring their "daughters" to me. Their wives loved it. And then I asked them if they had any kids, grand kids, neighbor kids they could give some packets to them. Most of my packets went out with these ladies. I am guessing YN activities will not exist in the forseeable future!

The Saturday morning IBNS (International Bank Note Society) meeting had about 20+ attendees. The show and tell had some interesting and new pieces, and lasted awhile, so I did not give my talk and we went into the (MPC) Mini-Fest part of the meeting with another show and tell of military monies and related items. Then there was a paycall where everyone was paid a Military Fest Certificate (instead of a Military Payment Certificate which we got in the military). The newbies were quite surprised with the MFC and we might have converted a few to collecting military monies. My NI (Numismatics International) meeting followed in the same room. Only four of us showed up so we pulled up some chairs and had a great numismatic conversation. I have a sinking feeling that some organizations will no longer have meeting rooms made available to them in the foreseeable future!

I renewed the membership of one person and signed up two new members during the entire convention! This is WAY below my normal numbers and it was all because of the non-existent flow of attendess. Most came within about five or six booths of us back in the club area and turned to another area.

But I had a few interesting people find me. One was a WWII era veteran from the Chicago area whose last name was Myers (no, not the Colonel Bill Myers who collects military and WWII monies) and he graduated from Japanese language school almost on V-J Day. He was sent to Tokyo and listened to Japanese radio broadcasts, among other things. I found an appropriate AMC 1 Yen note for him in my freebie bag of MPC/AMC for veterans and he stared at it for a LONG time. I am thinking it brought back a lot of memories. I told him about the MPC Gram/Fest and gave him the information on both. I hope he contacts us and can become a resource for the researchers among us. There were several other veterans stopping by the table but not like other shows.

I had one young (for me now 30s and 40s) man stop at the booth and stare at a sterling silver money clip with a dollar sign cut out of it. I asked him if he liked it and he told me he would feel like a rich man to have it around his paper money. I told him it was sterling silver and it would cost him only $5, which was below its bullion value. He jumped on it and slipped his paper money into it.

I buy junkbox coins and offer $6-8 per pound for them (and 10 cents each for paper money). The dealers usually sell their junkboxes to me and I pour them into a large Bank of America money bag. When I get home I go through them and often find jewelry and other non-numismatic items. If they have value, I sell them and buy more junk coins.

I asked the young man what he collected and he told me he worked for the Austrian Mint. I quickly grabbed one of my catalogs and showed him three NCLT coins for Viet Nam that are reported to have been minted by his mint but I had no confirmation of it. He said he would email them for me. The next day he told me they were not minted by his mint. Now, I have more research to do.

The most annoying part of the convention was the public announcement system! Most conventions do not realize how loud their speakers are but this time it was absolutely terrible. Most conventions do not have those speaking on their systems test their voices BEFORE opening. All professional events do these tests with everyone who is going to use them and adjust them to each person's normal speaking voice! One man who came on several times almost broke my eardrums with his shouting into the microphone! Many times, my neighbors and I had to cover our ears and completely stop talking or working on something even with the "normal" loudness. This is something that should be on the convention checklist of things to do and the speakers and sound system adjusted to a reasonable loudness!

This was the last ANA where I will set up a club booth because of the hassles and they are becoming less worthwhile of my time. There are additional "guidelines" put on club tables and now there is a cost of $150. This is not a problem for me because I usually donate $100 to all club shows for giving me a booth, but one possible new requirement was that I could only represent one society at the booth instead of the 5+ I represent now. The ANA also did not force FedEx to deliver/accept Ground shipments (as I requested) so my heavy footlocker(s) I ship when flying to a convention will be VERY expensive by air! And they did not tell me that FedEx would have to deliver to the Security Room instead of just to the loading dock. Leaving my footlocker at the loading dock can cost me almost another $200 for a union member to roll it a few feet to the club booth where it is left for anyone to take!

An ANA staff member also passed on to me that the ANA (who there was not said) believes people who staff club booths are freeloaders! I guess I was freeloading with my trip expenses usually between $2000-3000! But I will still be coming to ANAs to moderate the IBNS and NI meetings (as long as we can have them), meeting other collectors, spending my time attending other meetings, and actually having time to see every dealer I want to see on the bourse. I also plan to exhibit for the first time and take the judging class too.

Starting next year, I will be living in my home in Viet Nam (and traveling around Southeast Asia) from about October to March of every year. I will still be setting up a club booth at FUN but will have to switch from the January to their summertime show. I will continue doing the Memphis International Paper Money Show and probably one or more other shows like Baltimore, Central States and Blue Ridge, but I just set up my last club booth at an ANA. But I will walk the ANA bourse and work at recruiting for my organizations while I look for additions to my collection. This does not preclude any of you to setting up a club booth at an ANA to represent NBS and/or other organizations. Good luck to you.

Howard deserves a hearty round of thanks for all his selfless work in promoting numismatics and numismatic organizations like NBS. His club table will be missed. Perhaps another day another volunteer will pick up the mantle. Hopefully the "freeloader" impression of one uninformed person will be outweighed by others, making it easier and cheaper in the future for volunteers like Howard to serve the cause.

In fact, things are looking up already - just after I wrote the above remarks on Thursday, an email hit my inbox with a press release from the ANA announcing that "American Numismatic Association member clubs will once again receive free tables at the ANA’s three annual shows, the Board of Governors voted unanimously during its Wednesday teleconference meeting." Halleluiah, and many thanks to incoming President Tom Hallenbeck and the new Board of Governors. -Editor

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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