I’ll put it out there: the Central States Numismatic Society’s annual convention is my favorite coin show each year. The reason is simple: the many volunteers at CSNS who make a large show feel intimate and familiar.
If there’s one person that comes to my mind when thinking about CSNS, it’s Fran Lockwood, who in her long-standing role as head of CSNS educational exhibits, has turned the CSNS exhibit hall into, perhaps, the top exhibiting venue in the country.
This didn’t just happen by chance. Sure, gold prizes serve as a solid inducement to exhibit, but likely just as many people exhibit because of Fran’s personal encouragement.
I remember her in 1994, when I was just getting started in our hobby, at the CSNS show in Indianapolis. It was my first time exhibiting at a CSNS convention (actually, my first time exhibiting outside of Michigan) and my dad and I were driving there from the Detroit area.
Fran — who I had never met before — gave my dad and me a big hug when we entered the exhibit area and I’ve been getting hugs from her for the past two decades at coin shows around the country and even on top of Pikes Peak at an American Numismatic Association Summer Seminar.
Along with her husband, Ray (they’re approaching their 50th anniversary), Fran is one of those people who makes our hobby run, and puts some heart into it.
With Fran’s encouragement, I kept exhibiting and learned a lot in the process that serves me well today. The gold coins that I received as prizes helped pay for my first semester of college.
As she retires from her role as CSNS exhibit chair, longtime exhibitor and expert judge Jack Huggins will take over for her. He’s up for the challenge, but inherits a very high standard set by Fran.
Volunteers for coin clubs and organizations are central to our hobby and deserve our thanks.
Thanks, Fran and Ray, for making my dad and me feel welcome exhibiting in 1994, and for being wonderful friends since. And, thank you from all of us at Coin World, to the hundreds of volunteers at coin clubs around the country that make our hobby run.