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ACCent: The Monthly Newsletter of the Anchorage Coin Club

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Volume 9, Number 2

February 1996

February Membership Meeting
Wed., February 7, 1996 Central Lutheran Church

7:30 PM Meeting


 

FROM YOUR EDITORS

All of your editors are now back from their vacations and ready to tackle the new year. Hope everyone of you had a good holiday season. Now....onto 1996 and what it may bring for the 8th year of our club.

 

MEMBERSHIP NEWS

Schedule of Events for the Month of February

1, Monthly Membership Meeting: February 7th at 7:30 PM at the Central Lutheran Church, Club members and general public welcomed. Presentation by John Larsen on "Paper Currency".

2. YN Meeting: February 9th at 7:00 PM at the Central Lutheran Church. YNs, club members, and general public welcomed. Subject covered will be "Coin Grading / Part III" and a second session on "Surfing the Internet" in which the YNs will be working on finishing up the Anchorage Coin Club's WEB Page.

3. Anchorage Coin Club Board Meeting: February 21st at 7:00 PM at the Central Lutheran Church. Club members welcomed. Typically, the board meeting concentrates on club business issues.

January 3rd Membership Meeting

Mike Greer (our club's vice-president and YN) brought up the issue of our club hosting a coin seminar in September. Mike's proposal is that the seminar instructor be J. T. Stanton, who will cover the subjects of "Coin Photography, Hobo Nickels, Love Tokens, and the Minting Process". The matter was referred to the January 17th Board Meeting for further discussion and development of a plan before final vote at the next membership meeting.

Member Richard Bilak has proposed a project for the club for 1996. The Anchorage Museum of History and Art has 28 feet of display case space that can be made available for a coin display. Such displays are generally set up for a period of one month. The recommendation is that the Anchorage Coin Club put together a Numismatic display to coincide with the month of April (during National Coin Collecting Week). The Anchorage Museum of History and Art requires a plan and theme in order to approve use of the display case space. A volunteer committee consisting of members Richard Bilak, Mike Orr, Robert Hall, Loren Lucason, and Mike Greer will be working on this project. The proposal was unanimously approved by the membership.

Walking Liberty Half Dollar Obverse

The membership also approved a YN coin auction for 1996. Coins and numismatic materials for the auction to be donated materials. Mike Greer has volunteered to head up the YN coin auction.

Thanks go to member Mike Robuck for his donation of 25 aluminum tokens to the club. Mike is the owner of The Alaska Mint.

ANA Educational Awards were presented to Mike Nourse (for his presentation on Peace Dollars), Larry Nakata (for his presentation on the History of US Paper Currency), Robert Hall (for his presentation on US Commemorative Half Dollars), and Loren Lucason (for his presentation on Ancient Coins). All four members made these presentations at membership meetings during 1995.

Thanks go these individuals for their efforts.

Mike Greer concluded the meeting by making a presentation on "Errors".

Results of January 17th Board Meeting

With the upcoming March elections for club officers, a nominating committee consisting of Robert Hall, Bill Hamilton, and Scott Hornal was setup to encourage club members to run for club positions. As of this meeting, the following people will be running for the following offices: Bill D'Atri (President), Mike Greer (possibly President or Vice-President), Scott Hornal (Secretary), Robert Hall (Treasurer), and Mike McKinnon (Board seat), Members are encouraged to contact the nominating committee or any of the present club officers if they desire to run for any of these offices. The new club officers will be elected at the March membership meeting.

After some discussion, the board decided on a theme for the Anchorage Museum Display: "The History of Money". Guidelines are for the display to start with "Ancient coinage" and progress to the "History of Money in Alaska". The committee that was formulated for this year's project will make a visit to the Anchorage Museum and develop according plans.

Scott Hornal will be heading up efforts lo set up this year's coin shows for the Anchorage Coin Club. Possibilities discussed were the 5th Avenue Mall, Dimond Mall, Sears Mall, and Northway Mall for this year. A coin show to coincide with the Anchorage Museum Display Project in April is being planned.

The board approved Mike Greer's plan for the seminar which is tentatively scheduled for September 13th, 14th, and 15th. Since 90% of the club's YNs fall in the 9-11 year old range, Mike has proposed that proceeds from the YN Coin Auction be used to allow all of the YNs attendance at the seminar. Mike pointed out that since our YNs cannot attend the ANA Summer Seminar (because of age considerations), the monies be used for this educational purpose. All YNs would then be able to benefit. Budgetary costs for the seminar attendance have been estimated at $175 for club members and $200 for non-members (which includes a one year membership with the Anchorage Coin Club). Final vote on approval of this plan will occur at the February 7th club membership meeting.

Final Tidbits

Member Bill Hamilton, owner of one of our local coin shops (Loose Coin Change Co. over at the 5th Avenue Mall), is starting up a Bid Board. Members and anyone interesting in submitting material for the Bid Board should get with Bill.

Your editors would also like to remind all club members that effective January, Associate Membership will only be recognized for those members living outside of the Municipality of Anchorage. With the exception of Senior Citizen club members, Disabled club members, and YNs.......  membership fees for all other club members living in the Municipality boundaries will be $25/year. Your yearly club renewal fees should reflect this change.

 

PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE

We have lots of January News: Our January meeting was well attended. We discussed a couple of new programs for this year. One was a proposal for the club to sponsor a display at the Anchorage Museum. Richard Bilak is our inside track on this project since he works there. This is a great opportunity for the club to be in the public eye as I requested and the members a! the meeting responded quite favorably to the prospect. This is also a chance for everyone to participate since we will be needing a lot of material to fill a 28 foot case. We will probably decide on a theme at the next meeting, so we will be asking for your ideas and thoughts.

Also, we have an opportunity to have J. T. Stanton come up and do a seminar this fall. As most of you know, he is an expert on errors and varieties. J. T. as I understand is an excellent speaker, so I encourage all members to consider seriously the opportunity of attending. Mike Greer will be making the arrangements for this event and we will be calling everyone about it. Speaking of Mike, I want to thank him for his presentation on one of his favorite subjects at the last meeting: "U.S. Errors". Good job Mike!!

Another fun event for the month was the YN meeting. We had 10 YNs in attendance and several adults. Needless to say we had our hands full but it was a lively and interesting. Larry had the kids grading circulated coin sets in teams of three. The team that did the best at grading got to take first pick of the sets for themselves...and so on until they were all gone. Nest the kids were able to access the Internet on Larry's computer and review the club's WEB page. Pretty neat stuff. Thanks go out to Larry for providing the computer. The YN meetings are growing larger as a result of his efforts. This meeting was no exception as we added three new YNs to the roster: Bethany Packel, Kyle & Travis Wilson. The club welcomes all of you and invites you and your parents to the main meetings as well. Larry tells me that we are going to do more work for the WEB page in the future, so all you YNs be sure to attend these meetings.

Last but not least, I want to encourage everyone to attend the February meeting. John Larsen is up to bat with a presentation on "Currency of the World". This is one area that I've been active in this last year. It's a very interesting field and the talk should be very informative. I hope to see a good turnout.

Also, don't forget the elections are coming up this March. I'm ready to pass the baton to the next president. I personally feel that Mike Greer is a fine young man who is dedicated to see the club succeed. His YN status is at a close and he assures me that he is ready to take on the responsibilities of the office of President. At any rate we will be taking nominations a the February meeting for the March election.

Until next month, .good luck and good hunting......

        Mike Orr.

 

THE YN CORNER
By Mike Greer (Your Club VP and YN)

No....your eyes are not fooling you!! You have just reached the Award Winning Column devoted solely to your Almighty YNs, by your SUPERNATURAL Vice President.

At the last meeting, Larry brought in his computer; he then proceeded to hook us onto the Internet! Within 5 minutes the YN's were driving on the Information Superhighway. Everyone was as happy as "pigs in slop" when we found the Coin department. It did not take long for the YNs to start pulling up WEB pages, led by Nathaniel Grabman, "the computer wiz". Some of the WEB pages included Gold Coins, Type Coins, and also Ancient Coins. The YNs also sent an e-mail message to an ancient coin collector / dealer Chris Connell, who in turn e-mailed back wishing us a nice Winter and offering any help he could offer on Byzantine coins.

The YN membership has grown quite a bit in the past few months, and so has our YN meetings! In attendance were about 10 happy YNs. And they have good right to be happy because besides the INTERNET, the YNs had a grading contest and everyone walked away with some nice coin sets... compliments of Larry Nakata. The meetings have grown more and more interesting in the last months. I strongly encourage the adults as well as the YNs to participate. It is fun and educating for both young and old.

If all goes well, YNs will be going to the J. T. Stanton seminar to be held in September. In the past the YNs have participated with no cost, and it should be no different this year. I expect that the YNs will get none other than the front row seat (just kidding).

Also keep in mind that the YN donation auction is coming up in April. All monies raised will go directly into the YN Scholarship Fund. Since there is no YN of age to go the ANA Summer Seminar, the monies will fold over until next year (or so). Well....there is one YN old enough (me), but I would not feel right taking from the club considering all the times I have gone. However, a separate plan can be worked out with me. Anybody want to be nice and just buy me a plane ticket??

In summary, the YN group is getting larger and more educated. Pretty soon, we will be taking over the club! Just think!! We will be the future of the hobby, possibly even presidents of the ANA. Don't lose too much sleep over that thought..................

        Mike Greer

 

"SURFING THE INTERNET"

For those members who have Internet capability, your editors want to direct you to http://www.alaska.net/~nakata/ coin_club.html

What you will discover is the Anchorage Coin Club's WEB page. At this time, the WEB page is still undergoing a bit of refinement and is not scheduled to be officially listed until sometime next month. Check it out....nonetheless. A printout of our WEB page is shown further in this newsletter. Our YNs and Mike Paoletti (Member #43) have been working on the project. We hope to complete the project at the next YN meeting in February - Jim Susky (Member #70) may be living in Homer, but is still very much active in our club. Through Internet, Jim sent us the following article via e-mail. It's quite an article....

 

COINS OF THE DECADE: THE 1830'S and 1840's
by Jim Susky (Member #70)

The 1993 version of "A Guidebook of United States Coins" will be the primary source and be regarded as the authority for this article. Also known as "The Redbook", this reference is the standard compendium for federal and colonial coins. Unless noted to the contrary, references to varieties, quotes, and prices will use it as a source.

SCOPE: With few exceptions the coins covered will include only those standard Mint issues denominated from Half Cent to Dollar.

Bust Half Dollar reverse

OVERVIEW: The early years in the United States were marked by the poor circulation of Federal coinage. The Mint was popularly but unjustly blamed for this lack. Free circulation of U.S. gold and silver was greatly hindered by speculators who profited from the easy exchange of worn, underweight Spanish dollars for new U.S. silver dollars which were promptly exported. A favorable gold-to-silver ratio also made lucrative the export or melting of gold U.S. coins the result being that gold coins were rarely seen in circulation after 1800.

In 1804 (and again in 1806) Thomas Jefferson responded by suspending the production of silver dollars and gold eagles ($10 pieces). Except for those known as "Gobrecht Dollars", silver dollars were not struck again for circulation until 1840. With few gold coins or silver dollars, the half dollar became the coin of choice for large transactions, foreign payments, and bank reserves. Until 1830, halves circulated very little, serving until then mostly in bank-to-bank transactions.

According to the Redbook, there was only a negligible coinage of quarters, dimes, and half dimes from 1794 to 1834. It has been estimated that there was less than one piece for each person in the country in the year 1830. This period has been described as one of nondescript currency made up of banknotes, underweight foreign gold coins, foreign silver coins of many varieties, and domestic fraction silver coins. Notes of "wildcat banks'' flooded the country before 1830 and were much more common than silver coins.

The weight of standard gold was reduced by legislation passed on June 28, 1834, the effect of which was to place U.S. currency on the gold standard. This also reduced the incentive lo export U.S. coins. The law of January 18, 1837 extensively revised and standardized mint and coinage law. This resulted in the creation of the major Liberty Seated type.

One last general note: The Redbook has many FABULOUS PHOTOS of coins in fully struck and high condition.

HALF CENTS: The half cents of (he 1830s comprise the last of the Classic Head Type. Half cents are readily available only for the years 1832 through 1835 with VF pieces listed at $41.00 in the 1993 Redbook. The much rarer (and therefore more costly) 1831 and 1836 varieties were struck both as originals and as restrikes.

1837 HALF CENT TOKEN: No half cents were struck in 1837. However, because making change was a necessity, a number of half cent sized tokens were privately issued in that year. The Redbook features a popular example which is listed: 1837 Token (not a coin). The obverse consists of an eagle which is copied from the reverse of silver coins of the time and the legend "U.S. STANDARD WEIGHT AND VALUE". The reverse sports a wreath, thirteen stars, and the legend 'HALF CENT WORTH OF PURE COPPER". The 1974 Redbook priced this token at $80.00 for a VF example. Nineteen years later, in the 1993 Redbook, this same token listed for $90.00 (again in VF).

The Coronel type of Half Cent commenced in 1840. Of all the dates available for this decade, only the 1849 Large Dare is listed as a business strike. It is available in VF for $65.00. Proofs and restrikes only bear the dates 1840 through 1848. with "common" examples priced at $3500.00 to $4100.00 in Proof-63 condition. 1849 Proofs and restrikes are also available.

LARGE CENTS: Twenty-four varieties of 1830s Large Cents, all falling within the major Coronet type, are currently listed in the Redbook. All but a few of these varieties range from $40.00 - $55.00 in VF. The key variety is the 1839 over 6, plain cords which is listed under the "Young Head" variety. Prior to 1836 the "Matron Head" variety was produced, the most costly of which is the 1830 Medium Letters variety.

Large Cent varieties of the 1840s number twenty. All are "Young Head" Coronet types. A substantial majority of these retail for $18.00 - $22.00 in VF with a few "keys'" listing at $38.00 (for the 1843 Mature, large letters) to $60.00(1844 over 81 variety).

Bust Half Dollar Obverse

SILVER COINS: Silver of all denominations was struck in two major types: the Capped Bust Type ending in 1837-1839 and the Liberty Seated Type beginning during the same period. The discussion below will use the terms "Bust" and "Seated" or "L. S.". It is notable that New Orleans or "O" mint dimes and half dimes first appear in 1839; half dollars in 1838.

HALF DIMES: Fourteen "Bust" and seven "Seated" varieties are listed for the 1830s. In VF. examples are priced at $46.00 and $27.00 respectively. In the same condition, the "keys" for the 1830s, the 1837 "Bust" and (he 1838 Small Stars (Seated) are both priced at $75.00. Variety 1 "L. S." (no stars on obverse) half dimes were minted beginning in 1838. Of twenty one "L. S." 1840s varieties (all "S. L. Var. 2" with stars on obverse), the 1846 half dime will cost a half-thousand dollars in VF. Common varieties go for $20.

DIMES: 1830s Bust and Seated varieties number twelve and seven in the 1993 Redbook. In VF, common dates are priced at $50.00 and $18.00 respectively; a key Bust variety, the 1830 over 29 is $200.00; the "L. S." 1838-O is $280.00, As with Half Dimes, "S. L." Dimes come in Varieties 1 and 2, with the same obverse design features and dales of mintage (see above). Seated 1840s Dime Varieties are seventeen in number. $300.00 will buy the key 1846 date in VF. Commons run $18.00.

QUARTERS: "Capped Bust Variety 2" (nine vars.) and "Liberty Seated Variety 1" (two vars.) are the major 1830s types. VF Bust Quarters are commonly available for $100.00. $125.00 will buy the key date, 1833. 1838 and '39 VF "L. S." pieces cost $50.00. The "L. S. Var. 1" comprises all of the 1840s quarters. The 1849-O lists for $1650.00 in VF with common pieces of the same condition going for $35.00 (the 1845 and 1847 dates).

HALVES: Four major varieties of 1830s Half Dollars are listed in the Redbook. Capped Bust Types are: the "Lettered Edge (twelve varieties ending in 1836), the "Variety 2, Reeded Edge, 50 CENTS" (two varieties, 1836-37), and the "Variety 3, Reeded Edge, HALF DOL." (five varieties. 1838-39). Common VF pieces are priced at $90.00, $75.00, and $85.00 respectively.

In 1839 the two sub-varieties of the Liberty Seated "Variety One-No Motto' were struck. The distinguishing feature of these is the presence or lack of drapery below Liberty's left (her left) elbow. The 1839 lists for $50.00 in VF; the 1839 No Drapery lists for $225.00.

GOBRECHT DOLLARS: Although the suspension of silver dollar production was listed in 1831, none were struck until late 1836. Christian Gobrecht's engraving from designs by Thomas Sully and Titian Peale resembles, on the reverse, the eagle used later for the "Flying Eagle Cent'". The obverse is similar to the Seated Liberty found on later "L. S." silver dollars. Altogether, only about 2,000 patterns and circulating pieces were struck, the least expensive of which were produced in 1836. VF examples are listed for $3,200 and up. Restrikes were later produced to meet collector demand. Restrikes in Proof-60 condition start at $23,000....

        Jim Susky

"SURFING THE INTERNET"

Other Neat Stuff Us Editors Found While Browsing the Internet

Here is a great article we came across recently. This particular article was written in May of 1994 by Michael Marotta and came up across a couple of WEB pages we browsed: http://www.coin-universe.com/library

 

ANCIENT COINS: TRAP OR SNARE?
by Mi
chael E. Marotta 21 May 1994

People say that there are lots of fakes in ancient coins. Actually, there are far more phony 1916-D dimes and 1877 cents. And it only takes a little experience to spot one, once you know what !o look for. So it is with ancients. If you aren't sure, ask the seller to have it authenticated by a recognized expert, such as David Sear. The cost is typically under $50.

Ancient coins are a very broad study that spans over 2100 years on three continents: 650 BC to 1450 AD, from the first coins, to the fall of Constantinople. "Ancients" include Greek. Roman, and Byzantine. Greek coins could be archaic, classic, or "Hellenistic". "Greek" coins could also be Celtic or Spanish, Indian satrap. Sassanian, Carthaginian or Judean. Roman coins are usually Republican or Imperial, but there are "imperatorial" coins from the Anthony-Brutus-Octavian triumvirate. Also, "Greek Imperial" coins were issued by Hellenic cities during the Roman Empire.

ancient coin

You can see why a collector who is a recognized expert in one field will be eager (o learn in many other areas. Yet you meet dealers who can't even identify the coins they sell. Dealers who don't know their coins assign wide dates to them. An Athenian coin labeled "480 to 420 BC" is like a modem coin dated "1800s". Weak dealers will also slide by with tags like "Roman" or "Ionian". (Imagine a modern coins labeled "North America".) Nationally-recognized dealers in modems will often drop the ball when it comes to ancients. Ancients take a lot of work and knowledge.

One way to judge a seller is by their library of books and catalogs. Books are expensive and we'd all rather own the coin than the book, but if you want to know your business, you practice your trade, unless you are just in it for the fast buck. Does the seller read Latin or Greek?

We never clean modern coins. However, after 2000 years in the ground, ancients often need cleaning But soap and water or even an industrial degreaser won't do to a silver coin what a buffing wheel or a night in DIP will. If a silver coin looks too shiny, it was abused.

Cost is another reason that people find bad bargains in ancient coins. Without a "Graysheet" it is easy to pay too much for a coin that is truly old and yet not truly rare. From 450 to 420 BC, Athens struck over nine million "Owls". They are by no means rare. With this coin, the key is not it's mere grade, though grade counts, but its centering and position. Cheap Owls are crowded, with no extra metal around Athena. A lot of them have test cuts.

If you aren't actively collecting ancients, don't buy a coin that isn't attributed. "Attribution" is more than giving a coin a name and date. It has to have a catalog number, preferably from Sear or the British Museum. SGC means "Sear: Greek Coins and Their Values". SRC is the Roman Coins volumes. BMC stands for the British Museum Catalog of Roman or Greek (or whatever) coins. In addition, there is SNG: Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, an ambitious project to catalog every major collection of Greek coins. SNG's have been issued for the Copenhagen Museum, Oxford, and Cambridge, the Von Aulock and American Numismatic Society collections. Finally, there are standard volumes of special issues, such as the book by May on "The Coinage of Abdera" (Abdera is in Thrace and was the home of Democritus who first publicized an atomic theory of matter. Carl Sagan called it "the Brooklyn of it's day".) Barren's "The Silver Coinage of Samos" or Svoronos' "Corpus of Athenian Coins" are other special references from which an attribution may be given.

Identifying a coin can be a challenge because many different towns honored gods such as Athena or Apollo. On a 15 mm bronze that has been in the ground 2000 years, it can be challenge to differentiate the nymph Rhodos in a laurel garland from the god Helioswith a crown. Consider that two different Roman emperors struck coins in the name Marcus Aurelius and the emperor Titus called himself Vespasian. You can see why attribution is everything.

Probably the most embarrassing transaction is the sale of the phony "Coin from the Time of Jesus". The "tribute penny" and the "30 pieces of silver" sell well at Christmas and Easter. But a lot of guys were named "Caesar" and the Bible says nothing about the coins that paid Judas, The "Widow's Mite" was the smallest, least desirable coin of local issue. If you find a cute copper in VG+, it isn't a "Widow's Mite". The coin you seek is an ugly bit of metal that only a Christian could love and only a specialist could attribute.

Ancient coin GC205

And yet, for all of this, there is no branch of numismatics that is rewarding as ancient coins. America's Liberty is patently copied from the many goddesses and nymphs of Greece. Imagine Athena, about 17 years old, her helmet pushed back, her bangs falling forward, as she appears on a Thessalanian Leagure issue. Washington and his Eagle were patterned directly after Ptolemy and his Eagle. The Saint Gaudens $20 and the 50c Walker are but flat shadows of the coins common to the Hellenic world, The artistry of the coins of Sicily and Southern Italy completely eclipse anything produced since. Modem commemoratives are left behind by the Roman Imperials whose reverses commemorate Felicity, Justice, Hilarity, Chastity, Victory, Piety, World Peace, a Happy World, Liberty, and Liberality, to name just a few. What is an MPC compared to a Legionary denarius struck to pay the troops of Mark Anthony before the battles of Philiipi or Actium Trade dollars are certainly as honest as government money ever gets, but the Rhodian drachma was issued over 200 years by a town that prospered on a voluntary 2% harbor fee.

When you hold a half dollar from 1850, you know that Lincoln or Calhoun, Bell or Morse might have carried it. When you hold an Owl, you can imagine it in the hand of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, or a dozen others whose ideas still form the basis of our civilization. A litra of Syracuse may have bought dinner for Archimedes. For $20, you can own a bronze from Pergamum, the town whose library gave "parchment" its name. Every ancient coin is a story.

And if you love historical research, ancients are an always-unexplored world. Very few coins, no matter from what seller, come fully attributed. You can always add a BMC or SGC number, find a coin in an SNG or special volume. Minor oversights abound. World-leading sellers let go of unusual bargains, not knowing what they owned.

In terms of price-to-rarity, ancients can be exceptional bargains. Nine million Owls is not a lot by modern standards. Most coins were struck in much smaller numbers. Varieties abound. Die-matching is an important part of ancient numismatics, as the reverse dies tended to break much sooner than the obverse, perhaps 5 to 35 thousand to an obverse and 2 to 15 thousand for a reverse.

In short, if you rely on other people's opinions, ancient coins are a flat out rip-off. If you take the time to do your research, you can find ancient coins to be thoroughly rewarding in many ways.......Michael Marotta.

 


The Anchorage Coin Club
 

Meetings:       Membership meeting - First Wednesday of the month, 7:30 PM
                        E-Board meeting - Third Wednesday of the month, 7:00 PM
                        Meetings held at the Central Lutheran Church, at the corner of 15th and Cordova

 

Club Officers

President-                     Mike Orr      Days: 258-9100
V. President-                Mike Greer          Eves: 344-1907
Treasurer-                      Robert Hall        Eves: 561-8343
Secretary-                   Mike Nourse       Days: 344-9856
Editors -                     Loren Lucason    Eves: 272-3700
                                    Larry Nakata
                                    Brad Webb
                                    Mike Nourse
                                    Mike Greer

Board of Directors

Mike McKinnon-            Days: 786-7490
                                        Eves: 248-0955

Roy Brown-                   Eves: 563-6708  

Larry Nakata-                 Days: 269-5603
                                         Eves: 563-1729

DUES

To save costs, members not responding to renewal notices within 3 months will be considered inactive.

The Anchorage Coin Club is a non-profit organization formed to provide information, education, and a meeting place for individuals having an interest in numismatics.

Correspondence Address: Anchorage Coin Club, P.O. Box 230169, Anchorage, Alaska 99523