Central States Show – Fun and Profitable!

Pierre Fricke's picture

Central States Show – Fun and Profitable!

Joyce and I headed to the Chicago Illinois Central States Numismatic Society Convention in late April for the third time. Our debut was in 2012 where we were part of the 150th anniversary Civil War forum. There I presented an introduction to Confederate paper money to a large crowd, had a lot of fun and had a great show.  So we’ve returned each year since and plan on an expanded presence at a corner table in 2015.

The good thing about Chicago is its accessibility by plane to a large part of the country.  Direct flights and a good choice of travel times help greatly. We travelled Wednesday morning to be there for setup that day as well as to view auction lots.  This auction was special on two counts:  1. Wendell Wolka’s Ohio collection was being sold, and 2. there was a good run of Confederate money, in particular, the largest run of CSA T-39-40-41 military and place issued notes ever auctioned. Set up went uneventfully and shortly after we closed a significant dealer to dealer deal.

Thursday night would see the auction we came to attend. After a meal in the hotel bar, we entered the auction room about half way through the obsolete section. Ohio had not yet arrived and I had submitted bids on the obsolete notes I was interested in in case we did not get back in time for dinner. Over the past two years, we have expanded into obsolete currency, particularly the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and some Midwest.  We also do have some Southern notes.  We did win some lots and was pleased as we entered the Confederate paper money section of the auction.  I will say that Wendell Wolka did very well on his collection and we congratulate him on a fabulous collection and result.

The Confederate paper money sale was very interesting.  The market has strengthened for choice and rare type over the past 3 years with my 2012 and 2014 books helping generate even more interest. Additionally, this would be the first auction since the publication of rarity and prices for T-39-40-41 in my 2014 book with the help of Mike McNeil and others. Finally, there were a small number of major rare varieties in this sale that would help gauge that market.

Here are some of the notable results:

15417.  T-5 PF-1.  PCGS 62 PPQ, my grade Unc.                                                                  $3408

15433.  T-9 PF-12. PCGS 67 PPQ, Superb Gem Unc.                                                            $4994

                (I sold a T-9 PCGS 68 PPQ for slightly less money in 2013 which is unique as far as I know -             

                                There are a few 67s around.  I have a T-41 in 68 PPQ, one of only three CSA

                                Notes certified at 68 level, the third sold a couple of years ago at Memphis

                                T-66 Red $4600).

15439.  T-12 PF-1. PCGS 15 Apparent, minor rust stains, VG-F to me.                                  $1528

15440.  T-17 PF-1. PMG 63 EPQ.  Not quite choice to me, but a nice Unc+                            $4113

15443.  T-18 PF-5. Inverted XX error. PCGS 55.  Choice AU+ and finest known.

                                A record price!  (I have other things like this for sale at not a record

                    price, BTW!!)                                                                                           $7931 



15445.  T-19 PF-1. PCGS 30 HOC. F-VF or better – HOC to me.  Red date stamp.               $1880

15450.  T-26 PF-4. PCGS 58. Choice AU+ to me and finest known. Record price!                 $3055

15451.  T-27 PF-1. PCGS 15 Apparent, minor edge damage and fraying. If that were it,

                this note should not have been apparent graded, but grade VG-8 or VG-10.

                However, there was a well executed, but significant repair in the upper left

                corner that was undocumented! My grade VG+, net G-VG or VG-                         $15275

15452.  T-31 PF-1. PCGS 30 PPQ. My grade F-VF and above average.                                 $1528

Trains and Hoers

15458.  T-39 PF-2. PCGS 58 PPQ. Serial number 6.  AU+.                                                      $1528

15459.  T-39 PF-5. PMG AU-55 Net. John Boston and red printed back.                                  $588

15460.  T-39 PF-5. PMG AU-50 Net. AU. John Boston and green printed back.                       $353

15461.  T-39 PF-4. PCGS 35. Issued at Beaumont, TX. A new record for place issued.

                Texas notes are popular and Dallas remains untested on the open market.

                However, I believe the two most significant place issued notes are Vicksburg

                and Port Hudson due to the major battles and events that occurred there.              $3525

15462.  T-40 PF-1. PMG 53. Thomas Lanigan, Major and CS. A good deal!                            $999

15465.  T-40 PF-1. PCGS VF-20 Apparent. VG to me. James Maurice, AQM                           $881

15466.  T-40 PF-20. PCGS 35 Apparent. VF, net F-VF. J B Sharpe, Capt and AQM                $705

15467.  T-41 PF-59. PCGS 64. Gem Unc to me! James Paxton, a common military issue

                in an uncommon grade!                                                                                             $764

15471.  T-41 PF-16. PCGS 45 PPQ. XF to me. W.L.Wickham in red ink.  Cheap!                    $558

15472.  T-41 PF-20. PCGS 55 Apparent. XF-AU, net XF to me. G W Jones Major and AQM.

                This one also went low.                                                                                              $881

15473.  T-41 PF-59. PMG VF-35. Capt Tazewell Thompson. A record price!                          $2585

15475.  T-41 PF-11. PMG 25. Capt John Decker                                                                      $999

15476.  T-41 PF-50. PCGS 20 Apparent. W.F. Moore.                                                             $529

Other 1862-64 notes

15478.  T-49 PF-1. PCGS 65 PPQ. Gem Unc. A record price!                                                  $3055

15479.  T-52 PF-9IB. Inverted back. PCGS AU-58.  My grade Unc.  A case where

                PCGS found some micro handling or anomalies in the paper and called it AU.

                Undergraded.  Near the top of the condition census. Apparently at least two

                bidders agree with me!                                                                                              $3525   

There was a run of T-64s which have strengthened in price since my 2014 CSA $ book
was published.  These are especially rare, fully framed and/or in New 63 or better
Holders.  Finally, some IDRs, one of which set a record price…

15495.  Louisiana.  Unlisted in Tremmel, Fricke, Davis IDR book. AU.                                      $4406 (!)

I managed to buy some things out of this sale, but there was a lot of competition even as some things went a bit cheap. Major, condition census rare varieties and significant Train/Hoer notes are bringing record prices now. 

The show on Friday was quite busy at our table even if the aisles were not packed.  And we sold a major Confederate rarity, some other CSA and obsolete notes and a bunch of large cents.  Friday was a good day. Unfortunately, I did not have time to get around much nor see any presentations. Friday night would see Joyce and I go to dinner with good friends – 8 of us – to a great steak house.  We enjoyed the company of Brad Karoleff, Jim Matthews and several others for a great dinner, conversation and fun.

Saturday was a slower day; there was not much typical family retail traffic as there might be at some local weekend shows or ANA. But we did fine and I finally had time to get around visiting people. We ended the show on Saturday and travelled home Sunday, enjoying a night out in Chicago as well as some workout time in the gym and pool.

We look forward to 2015 and hope to see you there!

Pierre Fricke