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ACCent: The Monthly Newsletter of the Anchorage Coin Club

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Volume 9, Number 7

July 1996

July Membership Meeting
Wed., July 3, 1996 Central Lutheran Church

7:30 PM Meeting


 

FROM YOUR EDITORS

Our last count shows the club's YN (Young Numismatist) Program doing very well. We're up to 18 YNs in the club at this time.... and that is not counting the YNs that have graduated from high school as of this year. Of the original group of YNs that have since graduated, Mike Greer is now the club's President and other former YNs, such as Robin Sisler, have become very active in our club's activities. The YNs now represent a significant percentage of our club's overall membership (about 16%, with the majority in the 9 to 12 year old category). It's good to see such fresh perspective and watch our club evolve. The program continues to thrive and your editors want to commend the club members for their support of the YN Program over the years. Good job!!!!

The YNs had a fine time over at Mike Robuck's place of business, The Alaska Mint, at the June 14th YN meeting. There they saw how commemorative coins are minted. Thanks again go to Mike Robuck for allowing our YNs the opportunity to see the minting process in action.

We want to remind all of the YNs that Summer is now here and in keeping with our club's traditions, there will be no YN meeting held in the months of July and August. Typically, this time of the year has become a time for our YNs to enjoy the summers.

We will resume YN meetings again on the weekend of September 14th and 15th at the WestCoast International Inn. That September weekend will see J.T. Stanton instructing YNs and us adults on subjects covering the Minting Process, Coin Photography, Hobo Nickels, and Love Tokens.

Meantime....our coin club will still be having our regular membership meetings the first Wednesday of July (July 3rd and August (August 7th). The July 3rd meeting will feature a presentation by Larry Nakata, Mike Greer, and Mike Orr on Coin Grading / Part II. This particular presentation will focus on the differences between AU & BU coins, and techniques used to treat AU coins to make them look like BU (or uncirculated) coins. Your editors hope to see a good turnout by our membership for this meeting.

We have a new raffle coin, a slabbed 1972 doubled die ANACS MS-62 RB Lincoln cent. Raffle tickets will be $5 per ticket and should be available effective our club's meeting on July 3rd.

Seminar Update......Refer to the minutes of the June 19th board meeting.

 

MEMBERSHIP NEWS

Schedule of Events for the Month of July

1. Monthly Membership Meeting: July 3rd (Wednesday) at 7:30 PM at the Central Lutheran Church. Club members and general public welcomed. Presentation on "Coin Grading / Part II".

2. There will be no YN meeting for the month of July.

3. Anchorage Coin Club Board Meeting - July 17th (Wednesday) at 7:00 PM at the Central Lutheran Church.

June 5th Membership Meeting

There was a sparse turnout of about 10 members at the June 5th meeting. (Editors' Comment: It must be summertime and the fishing must be great. Still....we hope to see more members attend the July meeting.)

Larry Nakata and Mike Greer gave a presentation on "Coin Grading/Part 1". This presentation covered the basics of coin grading, with handouts to the members in attendance. Following a VHS tape presentation on "Collecting and Grading US Coins", both Larry and Mike discussed some the changes in grading that have occurred since the VHS tape was made in 1984. Among those changes discussed were differences between technical and market grading, certified coins (i.e. slabs), attitudes on cleaning of coins, and how ANA now provides authentication services in place of grading services today.

At the club meeting, Dean Pulver signed on as our latest coin club member. (Editors' Note: Jack Bohannon also signed on as our latest YN at the club's June 14th YN meeting.)

The door prize was won by Ramona Pulver (a 1967 English Penny in BU condition.... known as the last penny minted in Great Britain). The membership prize was won by Loren Lucason (a 1973 Proof Set). The raffle coin (an ancient...a Roman denarius minted between 134-138 AD during the reign of Emperor Hadrian) was won by member John Larsen. (Editors' Comment: A nice coin...sure wished one of us won that coin).

The membership meeting concluded at 9 PM.

Minutes of June 19th Board Meeting

At the board meeting, the main order of business centered on payment of club bills and renewal of the Anchorage Coin Club's incorporation papers. Mike Orr announced that the new raffle coin will be a slabbed ANACS MS-62 RB 1972 double die Lincoln Cent. The Board also selected member Ann Brown to fill the vacant Vice-President's seat of the Anchorage Coin Club.

Seminar Update........ Attendance to the club's September seminar will be limited to 20 adults. Taking into account YN attendance at the seminar, it is estimated that there may be approximately 30 people in attendance for the event. Costs have accordingly been predicated at 30 people. Mike Greer and Robert Hall, this year's dub organizers for this seminar, are in the process of collecting moneys from those members who will be attending the event.

Coin Shows.......Members Ben Guild and Loren Lucason have volunteered to help organize the club's future coin shows. At this time, they are targeting the months of October and November for the next two shows. More information will follow in the coming months as they formalize plans.

Other Issues Discussed.....Club President Mike Greer brought up the idea of a contest amongst our club members for best Numismatic article. Accordingly, Mike will be setting up contest rules in his next "Letter from the President".

Mike Greer and Robin Sisler brought up the need for a club photo album depicting the history of our club. It was pointed out that the Anchorage Coin Club is now 8 years old and that our members should have photos going back to the origins of our club. Accordingly, Robin Sisler has been designated our club's archivist and photographer. Robin is in the process of pulling together a club album and requests our members submit any pertinent club photographs.... especially photos of club events held in years past. Members can submit these photos to any of the board members or at the club meetings.

The Board would also like to recognize the following Anchorage Coin Club life members:

Mike Nourse (Member #94- Life Member #1 Club member since 4/92),

Carl Mujajic (Member #79- Life Member #2 Club member since 8/91),

Larry Nakata (Member #41- Life Member #3 Club member since 1/89),

Roy Brown (Member #8- Life Member #4 Club member since 3/88),

Ann Brown (Member #111- Life Member #5 Club member since 4/93),

Mike Robuck (Member #24- Life Member #6 Club member since 3/88),

Bill Fivaz (Member #110- Life Member #7 Club member since 9/91),

Ken Bressett (Member #230- Life Member #8 Club member since 9/92),

J.T. Stanton (Member #231- Life Member #9 Club member since 6/96).

Thanks go to each of these life members for their support of the club over the years.

The Board meeting concluded at 8:15 PM.

Editors Final Items

It's hard to believe we're 8 years old..........

 

THE YN CORNER
by Mike Greer

All eight YNs that showed up to the last YN meeting of the Summer were treated to one heck of a tour!

All in attendance were asked to show up at the church at as close to 7 PM as possible Handouts on the Minting Process were then given to everyone. After a short wait everybody headed over to The Alaska Mint to learn about the only mint in Alaska and to gel a behind the scenes tour of the Mint, courtesy of Mike Robuck (owner).

Although Mr. Robuck was not available for the tour, the Alaska Mint's Chief Minter was there for the occasion. The Chief Minter, Gary Smith, gave all the YNs and adults in attendance an awesome tour! After a fast rundown of the history of the Alaska Mint, Gary went on to give a special session on the art of die polishing. Mr. Smith then proceeded to tell everyone how dies are made and he also showed the YNs all of the machinery involved in making the dies. Then... it was time for the fun stuff! Gary hooked the Press up to make a medallion right in front of everyone's eyes! After all was said and done, all of the YNs walked away with free aluminum tokens as samples- Thanks Gary!

By the chance that there are some club members that have not heard of the Alaska Mint, I will tell you that the Alaska Mint is the only working mint in Alaska......and one of the only 30 or so in the USA. The Alaska Mint was started in 1990 by member Mike Robuck. Originally called the "Anchorage Mint", the "Alaska Mint" has one fully operational 200 ton converted Hobbing Press that strikes one ounce silver proof medallions at a pressure of 175 tons!! It is a slow press that double and sometimes triple strikes all one ounce proofs. Hence it takes anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute to strike an ounce sized coin. The medallions are then edge lettered and numbered on the edge lettering machine by the Minter, The medallion is then put into special packaging. The Alaska Mint also strikes silver medallions in fractional sizes: 1/2, 1/4, 1/10, 1/20 ounce. Gold medallions are also struck at the Mint in all the same sizes as the silver except the 1/4 ounce size. The Alaska Mint strikes hundreds of different medallions for many organizations and hundreds of different medallions for many organizations and individual people. Among the many are the Alaska State medallion, Alaska Railroad, White Pass Yukon Railroad, Iditarod, Fur Rondy, Yukon Quest, Russian World II Commemorative (an example of this coin was sent to Pres. Bill Clinton by Governor Knowles), British Petroleum, Anchorage Police Dept. and the latest is the "Wild Fire" fund raiser medallion. Plans are in the making for the 1997 New York Convention "Convention Dollar" medallion. The Alaska Mint will be producing this upcoming series for the American Numismatics Association.

The Alaska Mint is also a die shop capable of producing up to 20 dies a month. Christy Matthews, Chief Engraver, has carved dies for the Anchorage Police Department, and the Wild Fire Medallion to name a couple. The Mint produces dies and coins for individuals as a custom project. The Alaska Mint can put your face on a coin for about a thousand dollars!

All YNs be sure to attend the next YN meeting, which will be held at the West Coast Inn in September. All YNs will attend this J.T. seminar for free...... sorry, adults have to pay.

Also, special thanks should be given to Gary Smith, Mary Braddock, and Mike Robuck of the Alaska Mint. Be sure to visit The Alaska Mint on the comer of 4th Avenue and E-street.

 

THAT WAS THE YEAR THAT WAS -
1972 Yields Numerous Doubled Die Cent Varieties
by Michael Fahey

Editors Note: We came across this article in the June edition of Coin World. This article by Mike Fahey is on the 1972 Double Die Lincoln Cent. We thought this would be a great lead-in article on the club's upcoming raffle coin.....

March's column dealt with the 1955 Lincoln, Doubled Die cent. While this issue is understandably famous, the U.S. Mint only had one significant error in it's die making process. This is in sharp contrast to the year 1972. when the Mint seems to go out of it's way to produce doubled dies.

There are seven Doubled Die Obverse 1972 Lincoln cents currently listed and identified by ANACS. The strongest shift is on the Die 1 variety. This doubled die has been the subject of at least six counterfeits, most of which are excellent quality. Even me best of the counterfeits fails to precisely copy the genuine coin, especially some of the fine details.

1972 Doubled Die Obverse Cent characteristics

All genuine Doubled Die Obverse Die 1 1972 Lincoln cents will exhibit the following diagnostics. The easiest diagnostic to spot is a small raised spike of metal from the rim into the field above the D in UNITED. This spike occurred when a sharp instrument or something similar accidentally struck the surface of the die before the die was placed into service. This type of mark is usually referred to as a "die gouge".

As it is virtually identical to a rim spike on a counterfeit coin, this type of diagnostic gives numismatists a lot of trouble.

At least two counterfeiters attempted to copy this die gouge onto their dies. The first produced little more than a blob next to the rim. hardly deceptive if you have seen a genuine coin. The second counterfeiter carved his own gouge into his die, producing a raised line that resembles the genuine diagnostic, but not too closely.

Luckily, this counterfeit does not have any of the other diagnostics. The second diagnostic is a raised die polish line between the I and T in UNITED. Since this raised line is in a protected area of the coin, it usually remains visible even on a circulated specimen. I have never seen a counterfeit that even remotely attempts to copy this die polish line.

The last diagnostic is on the obverse of the coin. Just inside the rim, covering the area between 4 o'clock and 8 o'clock, are several dozen tiny raised die polish lines. These lines slant up to the left from the rim and roughly parallel each other. They typically can be seen only on Uncirculated pieces, and then only under good lighting and with a quality magnifier. Again, these diagnostics only appear on genuine coins, never on any of the counterfeits.

The other 1972 Lincoln Doubled Die cents display a lesser amount of doubling, and are valued at only a fraction of the price of a Die 1 example. Due to this, counterfeiters have left these alone. Several of these doubled dies exhibit rather noticeable doubling, especially Die 2, Die 3 and Die 8.

Were it not for the strength for the doubling on the Die 1 variety, these doubled dies would be worth much more.

Interested collectors should acquire a copy of John Wexler's book, "The Lincoln Cent Doubled Die", for more information on all of the 1972 issues. (Editors' Further Note: If in case you are wondering, the raffle coin is of the Die 1 variety).

 

A (nearly) IMPOSSIBLE DREAM:
THE 1876 PROOF SET

by Mike Nourse (Member #94)

After reading the excellent article concerning the coinage of the year 1866 written by our Homer based collector extraordinaire, the Honorable Jim Susky, I decided to explore another 19th century endeavor. In this case, the building of a Proof Set from our centennial year will be the focus.

The year 1876, besides being ihe year in which General George Custer and his regiment were defeated by Sitting Bull at the Little Big Horn, was also the 100 anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. To celebrate this anniversary, a huge centennial exhibition was held at Fairmount Park in Philadelphia from May through November. It is partially due to sales at this exhibition that a fair number of proof coins were produced in 1876 leading to their relative availability and affordability today.

Back in the 1870's, the Mint divided the whole 14 piece set into three groups:

1. Minor Proof Set (3 pieces) = One cent through five cents.

2. Silver Minor Proof Set (5 pieces)= Ten cents through dollar.

3. Gold Proof Set (6 pieces) = One dollar gold through twenty dollars.

Looking first at the minor proof set, this is the smallest of the sets, and the most affordable, but contains three attractive coins displaying a nice variety of designs. Indian cents are an extremely popular series, and 1876 is recognized as one of the semi key dates of the set. This is one of those interesting cases where the scarcity of mint state specimens has led to a situation where Proof 1876 cents are actually cheaper than the mint state pieces. Actually a nice Proof 63 Red & Brown piece seems like quite a bargain at less than ten times the price of a well worn Very Good specimen.

We switch to a rather unique looking Liberty Head for the nickel three cent piece and a large ornate Shield for the five cent piece. There are two minor varieties for the nickel three cent piece involving the exact position of the date. There is also a recut date variety for the five cent piece.

How much will this classic trio cost? An attractive Proof 63 group would retail at around $750. A lot of money for most of us, but not bad for three scarce coins in a premium grade.

1876 Dime variety

In the next grouping of proof coins, the Silver Minor Proof Set, we lose some of the variety that we had in the first grouping, tut still have a nice set. The general theme throughout the five pieces is a seated Liberty figure on the obverse and, in most cases, an eagle on the reverse. In this set we have the basic dime, quarter, and half dollar along with !he now obsolete twenty cent piece and trade dollar.

The dime, quarter, and half all share a very similar seated Liberty figure. The twenty cent piece also has a very similar seated figure with the exception of the shield that Miss Liberty is holding. The twenty cent piece is unique in the fact that the word Liberty on the shield is in relief (raised) rather than incused (sunken in). The trade dollar has a completely different seated figure. Miss Liberty is facing the opposite direction and sifting on two bales of cotton or some other commodity rather than a rock. Also, rather than hanging on to a pole with a cap, she has a piece of vegetation (olive branch) in her hand. Incidentally, the trade dollar and twenty cent piece share the same eagle on the reverse.

1876-cc Dime variety

There are no major varieties of trade dollar proofs for the year 1876. The first, which is exceedingly rare, has a berry under the eagle's right claw (over the first 0 in the number 900). The vastly more common Type 2 proof trade dollar lacks this berry under the eagle's claw.

Business strikes are abundant for all of the silver denominations except for the twenty cent piece. In the case of the twenty cent piece, less than 16,000 were originally made including both proofs and business strikes, making this issue vastly harder to locate than it's low price would lead you to expect.

1876-cc Trade Dollar variety

On the subject of price, sticking with our Proof-63 grade, one should expect to pay about $5000 retail for these five pieces. Two thirds of that total go toward the purchase of the twenty cent piece and the trade dollar. Keep an eye out for attractive toning- 19th century proof silver coins can develop some truly spectacular coloration.

The third and final grouping of the 1876 Proof Set is the six piece Gold grouping. Prices for each of these coins are stratospheric due to the extreme rarity and desirability of these pieces. Forty five of each of the gold pieces were originally produced and today between ten and twenty of each still exist in their original proof condition.

The actual set includes the Type 3 Gold dollar, the quarter eagle, three dollar piece, half eagle, eagle, and the double eagle. Not only are the proofs rare, but in all cases other than the double eagle, the business strikes are also very scarce. Less than 4,500 of either the dollars or quarter eagles were made that year.

The three dollar gold piece is a proof only issue meaning that the total mintage for the year is 45. This coin is somewhat overshadowed by the previous year's 1875 proof which probably ranks among the ten best known American numismatic rarities with a total mintage of only 20, all proofs. Even though the 1876 proof is a bit more common than many of the other proofs, it sells for about triple the price of the others because of it's Proof Only status.

We return to the issuance of business strikes with the half eagle and eagle, through only in a very small way. In the case of the five dollar piece less than 1500 business strikes were made. The tens are even scarcer with less than 700 made. Anybody out there have a roll of either of these???? The only issue with a substantial business strike mintage is the twenty dollar piece with a production of over half a million. It should be noted that 1876 was the last year of production for the Type 2 twenty dollar piece. For the year 1877 the Liberty Head on the obverse was enlarged and given finer hair detailing. On the reverse the abbreviation TWENTY D. was fully spelled out as TWENTY DOLLARS.

This gold proof grouping falls into the category where if you have to ask how much it will cost, you probably cannot afford it. But for purposes of dreaming, I will put an estimated retail value of $90,000 on the six piece set.

If all of (he above does not seem difficult (or expensive) enough for you, there is still one more segment that may be added to make this a truly complete United States 1876 Proof Set: Patterns and Off Metal Strikings. Including these fascinating coins in our set adds a whopping 51 pieces for a total of 65 pieces!

The fifty one pattern pieces include 18 off metal strikings, which are impressions made from dies intended for regular issue coinage, obviously on a planchet made from a metal different from the regular coinage. There is at least one off metal strike for each of the fourteen denominations, which in itself would make for an incredible display.

Looking at actual patterns, which are meant to illustrate a proposed design, our complete set would contain 33 items. The first twelve are pattern silver dollars showing a Liberty head wearing a coronet on the obverse and a fairly standard looking wreath on the reverse. These twelve pieces gave minor variations in star and motto placement, edge design, and metal. Another group of five silver dollar patterns use a seated Liberty figure similar to that used on regular issue Trade Dollars except that Miss Liberty is sitting on a large globe. Three of these use the wreath reverse while the other two use an old no motto seated Liberty Dollar reverse. In addition, there are four trade dollar patterns and two commercial dollars (similar weight at Trade Dollars).

The other group of patterns are for twenty dollar pieces in preparation for transition to the Type 3 design. Two of the patterns use an obverse design identical to the 1877 and later obverse but with the standard Type 2 reverse. Three additional patterns have the full Type 3 design, obverse and reverse, with the 1876 date. Any attempt at putting a value on this 51 piece pattern set would be hopeless due to their extreme rarity, but it is safe to say that it would cost in excess of a quarter million dollars.

There is a look at the historical centennial Proof Set. if one has the funds available, the set from cent through trade dollar could probably be assembled in a year or two. Limited availability of the gold proofs means that it could easily take a decade to locate the six pieces. The vast majority of the 1876 patterns exist to the extent of one dozen or less.....so don't plan on finishing that set in much less than a century! However, the rest of us can enjoy reading about the coinage (and history) of the year 1876 in the many fine reference books and auction catalogs that are available.

Rip Off Alert
by Mike
Greer

OK, I am tired of it! I am tired of seeing those "Rip Off Ads" in just about every numismatic publication that I have read. You know what kind of ads I am talking about.

You are an un-educated collector. After saving as much money as you could, you decide to order that 1955 doubled die that you have always wanted. After turning ONE (1) page in Numismatic News, you see that your dream coin is not only listed, but on sale too!! You receive your $400 "Brilliant Red Uncirculated" with delight. As you review your wonderful specimen, you wonder at the thousands of tiny incused lines in your coin. A month later when the return policy expires, you go lo a coin show to show off your prized coin. As the dealers and other collectors examine your piece, you watch as their faces turn from smiles to "Cringes".

"Aww", says one. "Too bad", says the other. You then turn your proudness towards collecting coins, to a nasty grudge. You have learned that your good deal is nothing more than a HARSHLY CLEANED VF/XF, one of which a dealer would only pay $200, if he/she even wanted it.

Why is everybody so narrow sighted? All I hear when I mention these things is: "Grading is an OPINION". Is cleaning an OPINION too? I call B.S. - Grading is a science, and it should be treated as such. Furthermore with the cleaning of a coin, we all know when a coin has been cleaned. We all know that harsh cleaning can de-value a coin. We all know that the detection of cleaning is not an OPINION!!!!! Then why can some advertisers sell un-original coins without making any mention of the cleaning? This is misleading to anyone. If you set aside grading in total, this is still FALSE ADVERTISING.

All I can say is read the return policy at the bottom of each advertisement very, very carefully. Most "Rip Offs" do not list grading as part of their policy. Some "Rip Offs" have the nerve lo twist the word "Grading" into their ads. For example: At first glance you would think the sentence would read "All coins guaranteed by Photograde", but instead it says "All coins guaranteed genuine grading by Photograde." What the heck does that mean? Does it mean that the grading was "Genuine", or does it mean that they graded out of a "Genuine Photograde Book"???

A "Rip Off' will never advertise a certified coin certified by one of the 3 major third party grading services (PCGS, NGC, ANACS). You will be hard pressed to find a "Rip Off' that has the word "Strict", or "Satisfaction" listed somewhere in the ad.

I think the return policies on "Rip Off ads are very amusing. They are also very, very misleading. For that reason, I have made you a "Policy Decoder For Rip Off Ads". If you spot an ad that you think may be a "Rip Off', use the key listed below to help you translate what they are really saying. Policy Says:

Add $2 postage and handling to all order,

All coins unconditionally guaranteed genuine.

Full 14 day return privilege from day you receive your coins.

All prices subject to change.

VISA and Mastercard are accepted.

Any single coin removed from its holder may not be returned.

Decoder Says:

Save $2 postage & handling to return all orders.

We only sell our counterfeit coins to non-valued customers.

Full 114 day refund privilege from day we receive your coins,

All prices subject to change, when you try to sell them.

We are not stupid!

Any single coin removed from a PVC holder may not be returned.

The reason I will be writing this series of articles is to hunt these "Rip Offs" and expose exactly what they are selling. I will order one or two coins a month from various dealers, suspected "Rip Offs" and non-suspected "Rip Offs". The coins will be examined by a panel of knowledgeable collectors and dealers. When all is said and done, I will label the dealer as either a "Rip Off or a non-Rip Off. I will then report my findings, in my articles, in full, to all Newsletter Receiving Members in the club, as well as on the INTERNET! I will expose any "Rip Off Dealer" by name verbally to any who asks me. But I will NEVER publish the "RIP OFF" Dealer's name in any of my articles.

But remember, you need to travel from coast to coast to find a good dealer. But in your coin travels, never stop at Sims City to buy coins........

 

 


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 Greer          Eves: 344-1907
V. President-                Ann Brown          Days: 563-6708
Treasurer-                      Robert Hall        Eves: 561-8343
Secretary-                   Scott Hornal        Eves: 243-0149
Editors -                     Loren Lucason    Eves: 272-3700
                                    Larry Nakata
                                    Brad Webb
                                    Mike Nourse
                                    Mike Greer

Board of Directors

Mike Orr-                        Eves: 258-9100

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

John Larson-                    Eves: 276-3292

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