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FUN Show Plans Waylaid by Flu
By Bill Brandimore, Bank Note Reporter
January 15, 2014

This article was originally printed in Bank Note Reporter.
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The best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry, as the poet Robert Burns might say. So it was for me as the flu bug derailed my trip to the Florida United Numismatists show in Orlando.

Thus, I find myself writing this column from my sickbed instead of at the convention hall. This has actually only been my second worst flu experience. The worst occasion was in 1957 when, as a victim of the Asian flu, I was confined to the infirmary of Concordia College in Milwaukee; while my classmates were downtown celebrating the Milwaukee Braves stunning triumph over the New York Yankees in the World Series.

I had all sorts of activities mapped out for my FUN experience. I was going to enjoy visiting with readers and collectors at the Krause Publications’ table. I was going to go shopping for a nice Southern Rhodesia Queen Elizabeth II note I had previously looked at in dealer Ian Marshall’s inventory earlier in the year.

I was certainly going to go looking for small-size $5 Federal Reserve Minneapolis notes missing from my collection. I had also brought along a few coins I intended to sell in order to help finance any purchases I was able to make. I even had brought along three Colonial notes I was going to have third-party graded with a coupon I had for three free gradings.

Most of all, I was just going to immerse myself in the buzz of the FUN show along with the camaraderie of collector friends that always seems to be present at great shows. Now I have to shake off the disappointment and look forward, instead, to other terrific shows coming up in the near future.

One such show is the 75th anniversary show of the Central States Numismatic Society Show coming up in April at Schaumburg, Ill. There will be educational exhibits that will amaze, overseen by Fran Lockwood. While Fran is busy organizing the exhibits, her husband Ray is updating his 75-year history of Central States. There will be a few hardbound copies available and about 300 soft copies.

As a past CSNS president, I am always proud to attend this great Midwestern show. This year I will be finishing off a term on the board as a governor.

As usual there will be some exciting programs highlighting the ongoing 150th anniversary of the U.S. Civil War. The Abe Lincoln impersonator will be back and if you haven’t taken in his programs you really should take the time to enjoy his insightful comments. This will be the third straight year that we have had Civil War presentations and they have been attended in record numbers.

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I’ve never seen coin show presentations that draw up to 100 attendees. It is really great stuff, so check out this 175-table show. There will also be a large Heritage auction at the show. Look for more information on this show in Bank Note Reporter.

A month earlier, in Rosemont, Ill., Krause Publications will put on the 20th installment of its popular Chicago Paper Money Expo. What makes this show so special is that it is all about paper money. There are fewer tables than at CSNS, but the CPMX tables are all about paper money. Dealers come from all over the country to attend, and you should be able to find that elusive note you’ve been looking for. The smaller size of CPMX makes for a cozier environment. Lyn Knight will have the auction again and there will be lots of world currency as well as large- and small-size U.S. notes.

The show runs from March 6-9 at the Crowne Plaza Chicago O’Hare and I’ll be there along with Standard Catalog of World Paper Money editor George Cuhaj and Bank Note Reporter editor Bob Van Ryzin. We will be available to answer questions on currency and on the various collector publications offered by KP.

Keep these shows in mind and, of course, auctions from both shows can be monitored by computer. Poke around at the Heritage and Knight websites to get a feel for what will be offered.

What’s hot and what’s not? As always, large-size U.S. type leads the market and high grade notes in respected third-party holders bring top prices. Notes with problems or lower grade examples are not so hot.

More and more it seems apparent that if you’re going to make a serious investment in a nice note, you should buy a slabbed note from a preferred grading company. Your note will be easier to sell if you want to dispose of it at a later time and there will be no surprises.

Other areas of the market get some action as pricing on large-size type moves people in search of affordable notes. I like Military Payment Certificates and all the related material, such as prisoner of war notes and occupation issues, which add to the fun. With very little effort one can become engrossed in military history.

I continue to like Fractional Currency and Colonial issues. This material really is history in your hands. I always enjoy looking at the notations on many Colonial-era issues. Sometimes it is the name of a person the note was received from, and the exchange rate. I even have seen grocery lists.

Small-size notes seem mixed. There have been some bargains at auction recently on circulated Federal Reserve Notes, especially the 1928 and 1934 series and more modern rarities such as the 1988A $5 Minneapolis note, which is just about impossible to find.

Demand, I suspect, is limited and, as in National Bank Notes, once the small number of folks chasing these notes all secure one, they become bargains.

I continue to enjoy the interest in world currency. I must admit, since I discovered world currency I have enjoyed chasing Canadian and Queen Elizabeth II notes.

I have mentioned in the past that world currency is a great way to introduce youngsters to the hobby. They learn about geography, different cultures and even current events and history. As always, unless I have the flu, look for me at the shows I discussed or email me with your questions and comments at

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