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ACCent: The Monthly Newsletter of the Anchorage Coin Club
|Volume 10, Number 8||
|August Membership Meeting|
|Wed., August 7, 1997||Central Lutheran Church||
7:30 PM Meeting
The resignation of Mike Greer, as President of our coin club, has caused some internal turmoil. Mike has chosen to leave Alaska and go for greener pastures in Florida. For whatever his reasons for resigning and leaving, your editors wish him well in his future endeavors.
Ann Brown, as Vice-President, will take over the duties of President in accordance with our club by-laws. Luckily, our March membership meeting will see elections for club officers. Five positions are open this year. As of this newsletter, the following members have chosen to run:
• For President............Roy Brown
• For Vice-President.......Mike Orr
• For Secretary............Larry Nakata
• For Treasurer............Robert Hall
• For Board Seat........Bruce Gamble
In accordance with our club bylaws, Ann Brown will automatically step into the 2nd Board seating following our elections. Board member John Larsen still has another year to go as our 3rd Board member.
Members interested in running for these positions can still "toss their hat in the ring" at our club's March 5th membership meeting. Members are encouraged to volunteer and run for office.
Thanks go out to member Dean Pulver for his excellent presentation at our club's February 5th meeting. Since Dean was limited to a 30 minute presentation on "Cataloging of Error & Variety Coins", he was not able to do justice to the subject. As a result, Dean will be coming back at our March 5th meeting to give Pan II of his presentation. For you members who collect errors and varieties, be sure to attend this meeting.
The February 5th meeting also saw a very successful bullet auction on a limit of only 10 lots of coins. These lots were chosen using a lottery process from all of the lots submitted by our members. The lucky ones got the following lots auctioned:
• 1934-P Washington 25c AU
• 1876-P Liberty Seated 25c G
• 1985-P Washington 25c Broadstruck type variety ANACS-62
• 1921-P Mercury 10c ANACS-58
• 1974-S Washington 25c Proof
• 1919-P Lincoln 1c AU
• 1918-P Lincoln 1c XF/AU
• 1976-S Jefferson 5c Proof
• 1892 Columbian Expo 50c F
• 1866 Indian 1c VF/XF
A pretty good selection of coins. You never know what 10 lots will show up at each of our meetings. If you have coins which you would like to submit for the club's monthly bullet auction, bring 'em in........
YN Coin Auction. Your editors want to remind you that member Robin Sisler is looking for numismatic donations for our club's upcoming May "YN Coin Auction". This is a yearly event in which the proceeds go towards our club's Young Numismatist Education Fund. It is a worthy cause. Members wishing to donate material may do so by contacting Robin Sisler (eves; #243-2116) , any Board member, or writing to our club.
Accolades. A very special thanks to Nathaniel and Bartholomew's mother, Paula, for her generous donation of $100 to the YN Program.
YN in Eastern Russia
With Alaska's close relationship with our neighbor, Russia, member Bill Bredesen should be commended for his donation of coin albums to the young numismatists in Eastern Russia. The picture shown came from Russia with one of their YNs putting Bill's donation to good use.
Thanks also go to member Bill Hamilton, proprietor of Loose Change Coins, for his generous donation of coin albums to the Anchorage Coin Club YNs. These albums were distributed among the YNs who attended the February 14th YN meeting.
National Coin Week (April 20-26th). Members Mike Orr and Mike McKinnon have come up with a good idea and are in the process of organizing a coin show at the Northway Mall for the weekend of April 19th & 20th. This show is intended to celebrate National Coin Week and. as part of the event, we would like to "salt" the cash registers of the local merchants at the Northway Mall with common date type coins that are no longer in circulation. Donations of such coins as Lincoln wheat pennies are being sought for the event. Members can contact either Mike or any club Board member for donation of materials. Interested parties can contact Mike Orr (eves: #258-9100) or Mike McKinnon (eves: #248-0955) for tables at the coin show.
Editors Final Note: Thanks go to club member Ben Guild for his submittal of the following poem which your editors thoroughly enjoyed:(with Apologies to James Whalen)
Some people say I'm counterfeit;
While others contend I'm real;
And the Mint insists that in forty-three;
They only made cents of steel;
I've been analyzed, weighed and measured;
With instruments known to be true;
And they all come with the same answer;
I'm the same as a forty-two;
These experts claim I'm authentic;
And slipped through by mistake;
But the Mint says "NO! positively;
Not with the care we take."
Visitors stare and gape at me;
Whenever I appear at a show;
They look with doubt and disbelief;
Like. "I wonder if it's really so."
I wish someone would clear my name;
Before I get much older;
If they don't, some Secret Service man;
Will tap me on the shoulder;
I want to be like other coins;
Not like a criminal character;
To be seized and confiscated.
(It should be noted that in a recent national coin auction; an authenticated
1943 U.S. "copper" cent sold for $38,000. Not bad for a one cent
Schedule of Events for the Month of March.
1. Monthly Membership Meeting:
March 5th (Wednesday) at 7:30 PM at the Central Lutheran Church. Club members and general public welcomed. Elections of club officers will be held at this meeting. Club member Dean Pulver will be giving Part II of his presentation "Cataloging of Error & Variety
Coins". A bullet coin auction of no more than 10 coin lots will occur. Members wishing to submit coins for the bullet auction can bring them to the meeting.
2. YN (Young Numismatists) Meeting: March 14th (Friday) at 7:00 PM at the Central Lutheran Church. YNs, club members, and general public welcomed. There will be a session on "Grading of Paper Currency". It should be a fun event.......
3. Anchorage Coin Club Board Meeting: March 19th (Wednesday) 7:00 PM at the Central Lutheran Church. Club members welcomed,
February 5th Membership Meeting
The membership meeting started at 7:30 PM.
President Ann Brown made the following announcements:
• The club's March 5th membership meeting will be election time for club officers. Volunteers are needed to run for these various offices. Interested members can submit their names right up to the March 5th membership meeting.
• So-far, the Board has received several coin designs for the coin club's 10th year commemorative coin (for 1998). More designs are needed from our members. Members are encouraged to submit designs throughout the course of the year. The winner of the best design will receive their own numbered set free in 1998 and get according recognition as the designer.
• Robin Sisler is organizing the "YN Coin Auction" scheduled for our club's May membership meeting. Robin needs donations for coins and other numismatic materials.
• April 20-26 is National Coin Week. The theme for this year will be "The Changing Face of Money". Ideas are needed on how the Anchorage Coin Club can best promote National Coin Week as an event. Members can submit ideas between now and the next meeting in March. The winner will be announced at the March meeting.
• The club's raffle prize is a 1922 $50 Gold Certificate federal currency note in Fine condition. Raffle tickets are $5/each.
Winner of the door prize, a 1975 Proof Set. was member Mike Gentry.
Winner of the membership prize, an Alaska Mint Ml. McKinley Silver Proof medallion, was member Bruce Gamble.
A presentation was given by member Dean Pulver. on "Cataloging of Error & Variety Coins". Dean covered planchet error & varieties. Dean will be following up with Pan II of his presentation on cataloging of Die and Strike error/varieties at the club's March 5th meeting.
Following Dean's presentation. 10 coin lots were selected by lottery for the bullet auction.
Following auction of these lots, the meeting adjourned at 8:30 PM.
Minutes of the January 15th Board Meeting
The Board meeting started at 7:00 PM.
In a demographic analysis of our club's 112 members, Larry Nakata found that 48 are regular/subscriber members, 8 are life members, 27 are associate members living outside of Anchorage, 22 are YNs, and 7 are senior or handicapped members. Our club grew in 1996 in associate and YN memberships. The club remained fiat in the remaining categories. Discussions followed on programs that can be implemented to increase adult membership in Anchorage.
The Board also discussed the club's 1997 budget. One area of concern was the club's liability insurance which is costing $1000 for this year. There is a recognition by the Board that club dues cannot, by themselves, cover operating expenses plus the $1000 liability insurance. Programs were discussed on how lo offset this S1000 projected deficit for 1997. Treasurer Robert Hall pointed out there are sufficient monies in the club's bank account to cover 1997 expenses.
The Board approved endorsements for Will Rossman / running for re-election on the ANA Board of Governors, A.M. Kagin / for Vice President of the ANA. and William H. Horton Jr. / for ANA Board of Governors.
Mike Orr presented a plan for celebration of National Coin Week (April 20-26). Mike Orr and Mike McKinnon are trying to organize a coin show at the Northway Mall for April 19th and 20th with the idea of "salting" cash registers of local merchants at the Northway Mall with common date coins that arc no longer in circulation. The idea met with the approval of the Board.
The final agenda item discussed was candidates running for office for the club's upcoming March elections. At this time, volunteers have been found willing to run for the available officer positions. The Board wants to continue encouraging club members to volunteer their time to help further the cause of numismatics in Alaska.
The meeting subsequently adjourned at 8:45 PM.
There has been a lot of turmoil in our club this year. Members were angry and there was a lot of dissatisfaction within the club.
We have had three presidents this year. We need someone to fill this position that will be dedicated lo the club and the club's needs. Someone with ideas that will benefit the club and bring it back to the organization it once was. It used to be fun as well as educational. I know we can make it work with a little effort. We need more programs to educate and keep alive the coin club.
The YNs are really doing great and have come a long way in bringing young people together with their coins.
We have a good group of members on (he Board now and are looking forward to having a successful new year with the coin club.
If anyone has any ideas or suggestions on making this a good year, please feel free to offer them.
I have enjoyed serving as an officer of the Anchorage Coin Club. Thank your for the
privilege of serving you...........
At the YN meeting on February 14th. some 10 YNs and their patents sorted and cataloged some 88 lots of coins and paper currency sent by our sister club. The Tasmanian Numismatic Society, in Australia. The YNs had a great time with an assortment of Australian & New Zealand copper / bronze / silver / clad pre-decimal & decimal coins dating from the 1920s to present day.
At the end of the session, the lots were distributed among the YNs in attendance. They sure had a bunch of nice coins to add to their collections that evening
Special thanks go out to club member. Bill Hamilton, for his donation of coin albums to the YN Program. These coin albums were distributed, by lottery, among the YNs.
As an exercise, the YNs were asked to take their coins home and grade them for our next YN meeting.
The first part of the next YN meeting, scheduled for March 14th, will see how well our YNs graded their newly found coins. The second part will be a presentation by Larry Nakata on "Grading of Paper Currency".
Hope to see you YNs at the March 14th YN meeting.
P.S. For you adult members....remember that we have a YN Coin Auction in May. Robin Sisler, who is organizing the event, needs your help in getting donations for the auction.
A substantial bit of information is available about the rarity of US gold coins produced before a weight reduction in June, 1834. One can look at a number of books to find out which pieces are the rarest or most common from this era (relatively speaking of course) along with estimated number surviving to this day. Once again, these are rare items, worthy of big money as long as they do not have a hole drilled through Liberty's head!
The available literature becomes much thinner as we enter the 70 plus year stretch covered by the Classic head and Liberty head designs. Only the issues from the Charlotte and Dahlonega mints have received much coverage. However, we are not interested in rarities here- just scarce issues that are available for a minimal premium above the value of the most common type coin.
1856 $1 Gold Piece
For purposes of this discussion, we will be focusing on quarter eagles, half eagles, and eagles minted between the years 1834 (beginning with the Classic head design) and 1866 (motto added above eagle). In the $20 denomination, we will concentrate on the first Iwo design subtypes minted from 1850 through 1876.
We are skipping over the $1 and $3 denominations as they were only produced for 10 years or less and there is no clear way to divide them up between early / middle / late dates. The $1 piece was produced with three distinct designs. Only the second design, produced from 1854 - 1856 is scarce as a type coin. A measly 1 3/4 million pieces were originally made, and they are notorious for their "crappy" strike. The $3 pieces remained virtually unchanged from start to finish. Other than the common 1854, 1874, and 1878's, they are all scarce or rare in undamaged condition.
A quick look at Classic head quarter eagles provides an excellent example. The least expensive coin of the 10 date & mint-mark combinations is the 1836 with a price tag of $400 in EF and $590 in AU (all prices are from Coin World's Trends). The 1837 (if you can find one- they are tough to locate) is about 10 times scarcer but only costs 4% more than a 1836 in EF, and 23% more than 1836 in AU.
We now go from a good example to a poor example. In the case of the Liberty head quarter eagles, the highest mintage dates (though not the most common) occur in the 1850's and 1860's rather than in the 1880's through 1900's as is the case in the $5 to S20 denominations. However, as long as one steers clear of the very common 1851, 1852, 1853, and 1861 issues, one finds such items as the 1843 which is about 10 times scarcer for only 35% more money than the common 1853 in EF. In AU, the 1843 is twice as expensive as the 1853, but still a good deal. Another date that stands out is 1860 which is probably 25 or more times scarcer than the common 1861 but is only 38% more expensive in EF.
There is not much to say about the Classic head half eagles- each date is either common or rare. When choosing a piece for a type set, try for either a 1837 or 1838 as these are the least plentiful of the common issues.
The Liberty head half eagles, eagles, and double eagles provide the best examples of why a person should consider purchasing middle date gold pieces instead of the later dates. The later issues generally have a combination of higher mintages together with much higher survival rates. While a nice shiny BU late date specimen will have superior eye appeal over a much older piece in the EF to AU category, most numismatists will tend to focus on the older & scarcer pieces in a collection.
Keeping this in mind, lets take a quick look at the $5 Libs. One of these pieces in EF condition will show all major detail and still pass some luster. So we will focus on that grade. A common piece from the 1880-1908 era is valued at $160 vs. $175 for the most common date of the no-motto era. The extra 10 percent in price is a wonderful bargain once the huge difference in scarcity is taken into account. However, for just a little bit more expenditure we can get something several times scarcer yet. Such dates as 1849, 1855, and 1857 may only have 1/3 to 1/5 as many survivors as the 1861 type coin but are available for only 30% more money. Quite a bargain, eh?
The song remains the same as we travel to the $10 Liberty series. There are a number of grotesquely common dates in the 1880-1907 dates that we would like to avoid altogether.
Most of the eagles produced in the 1850's, IS60's, and 1870's are downright rare so there is less to choose from here.
Sticking with the EF grade, we find that the most common no mono $10 will cost about 40% more than with it's with motto counterpart. The large number of expensive no motto issues leaves us with few dates to look at. Once the really common pieces are eliminated we are really only left with the 1856 Philadelphia issue, available for less than 10% above the 1853 type piece but about twice as scarce.
The story changes a bit with the $20 Liberty. The type 3 variety, which features Liberty's head repositioned on the obverse and the denomination twenty dollars spelled out on the reverse, contains some of the most available of all US gold coins. A great many of the dates in the 1890's and 1900's were shipped overseas and thereby escaped the US melting pots in the 1930's. The result is that it is presently an easy task to assemble BU rolls of most of these dates (if one was so inclined and had the necessary funds).
Enough people are building complete date/mintmark sets of the ever popular $20 Libs that there are no specific dates that seem like great bargains. However, the selection process is quite easy as most of any type 1 or type 2 twenty is far scarcer than the later dates. About the only one that should be avoided is the 1873 Philadelphia issue which tends to be quite abundant.
In conclusion, the main point to remember is that a carefully chosen middle date US gold coin in a nice circulated grade is a far better value for your money than a common date later date BU specimen You get a coin that is many times scarcer for only a small increase in price. The appeal of the middle dates comes from their older age (120 plus years), lower original production, and much lower survival rates.
While Surfing the Internet this month, your editors came across this rather interesting article on the history of the small cent This article is also posted on: http://web.coin-universe.com/eagle_eye/articles/history.html
Back in 1857 the biggest change in the circulating coinage of the United States took place and the Flying Eagle Cent was at the center of all the activity. Since the early days of the country the circulating coinage was a chaotic system where virtually any precious metal coin from any country could be found. Silver was typically encountered with the Spanish and Mexican coinage being the most prevalent. Many of these coins were heavily worn or had been subjected to some indignity that kept it in circulation, bouncing from person to person like a hot potato. The Federal coins were seen to be sure, but only issues minted after 1853 when the specifications were lowered. The debased three cent silver piece, nicknamed "fishscales" circulated, but were a nuisance because of their small size. Chronically underweight issues would be accepted at a discount by merchants and not at all by the government, except that the Mint would purchase it at a fixed rate related to the bullion value and only in quantity. This was a new concept for the Mint since the passage of the Act of 1853 which stopped direct conversion of silver received at the Mint into coin. Due to all this chaos, an old profession regained prominence: The Coin broker.
These brokers would act in a fashion similar to the bullion dealer of today, advertising rates at which the various coins would be exchanged. Between 1853 and 1857 their role was mainly limited lo discounting underweight foreign coins presented by merchants and exchanging them for coins that would be readily accepted by wholesalers and manufacturers and of course, The Government.
The other undesirable coins in circulation were the copper cent and half cent. Regardless of how collectors love these coins today, at the time they were held in very low regard. They tended to accumulate and could not be exchanged in any kind of quantity. Merchants unlucky enough to get stuck with a load of these dreadful dirty copper pieces would take them to brokers in an attempt to get them exchanged.
All this would slowly change starting on May 25. 1857. On that day the Mint was to begin a major transformation of the coinage in daily use. The old copper cents and half cents would be exchanged for a convenient new coin made out of a new alloy never seen in our coinage previously. The new nickel cent was going to cure the ills of the currency and bring the nation's coinage into the modem era. or so it was hoped. In addition to exchanging copper cents and half cents at par for the new nickels, the old foreign silver was to be withdrawn and replaced with new federal issues. Within a short period it was hoped that all foreign coins could be outlawed from circulation.
To get the foreign silver out of circulation quickly, a generous exchange rate was offered to the public. Spanish silver coins could be exchanged for Federal silver coins at 80 cents for each Spanish Dollar or its fractions. If you wanted a better deal, your old Spanish silver dollar could be exchanged at the Mint for a 100 new nickel cents! In 1857, Mint Director Snowden had estimated that about $3 million worth of foreign silver was in circulation. This may have been so at the time, but soon millions of dollars of additional silver coins were smuggled into the country, mostly through southern ports. New Orleans was inundated with Spanish silver and made a good job of cranking out coins (mostly half dollars) throughout the period.
The cent exchange went along quite well with record numbers of nickel cents being made each year. On that first day of the redemption in Philadelphia, a structure was set up in the Mint yard offering "Cents for Cents" and "Cents for Silver". Bags of 500 bright new Flying Eagle Cents were exchanged for piles of the dirty old coppers and worn foreign silver. The rush to exchange the coins was enormous. So maddening was the crowd that the first people in line could do a brisk business with brokers in the streets making as much as 20% instantly.
The old coppers were turned in at a frantic pace. I estimate that 3/4 of all nickel cents issued up to 1861 were redeemed for old copper rather than Spanish silver. If this is so, then fully half of the entire mintage of large cents and half cents were melted up during this period. The Report of the Director of the Mint for 1861 stated that in that year the entire mintage of 10 million nickel cents was generated by copper coin redemption.
1857 Flying Eagle Cent
Soon the novelty of the nickel cent wore off and they too started to accumulate in the same fashion as the old coppers. Small bags of 10, 20, and 50 pieces would commonly trade in place of larger denomination coins. By the 1860's there was a glut of nickel cents in the economy. Like the old coppers before them, the nickel cent had no legal tender status, so they could be refused if so desired. What was once a cure was now a curse. Of course this would all change with the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861.
At first the hostilities between the Southern states and the North was believed to be short-lived. In early 1862 Gold payments were suspended by the Government. In its place a new paper currency, or "Greenback" as they were called, started to be placed in circulation to finance the war. These held their value as long as there was little worry about the war widening. But by the middle of 1862 after a year of fighting, both sides began to worry. This worry brought about widespread hoarding of silver coins. Ever increasing rates were made for gold and silver in terms of the greenback. The nickel cent, although not a precious metal, also garnered a premium. By 1863 hard money was a real rarity. In addition to greenbacks, private script and notes of dubious origin circulated. There were derisively called "shinplaster"- better to line your boots with them then to take them as currency!
The Mint, believing the cent would circulate if more and more were produced, set about producing record numbers of nickel cents during the war years. The truth of the matter was obvious in the larger cities. The nickel cent was too good to circulate while there was a war on In place of nickel cents, private manufacturers were commissioned by merchants to produce tokens to fill the void left by the disappearance of the cent. These thin copper tokens were successful for a time, but when news of larger issuers failing to redeem them surfaced, they started to lose favor. The government stepped in 1864 and made the issuance of tokens for circulation illegal. Not unaware of their initial success. Mint Director James Pollack recommended also that the official cent should be made in a similar format of the tokens. The bronze cent and its sister coin the Two Cent piece made its appearance in mid-year. The new coin stayed in circulation. Record numbers were made in 1864 and again in 1865.
After the war ended in 1865 the nickel cents began to flood back into circulation along side the newer bronze cents. The nickel cents were slowly culled from circulation by banks and redeemed by the Mint. All that got turned in were remelted and recoined into three cent and five cent nickel pieces. The need for additional pieces slowed during this period as there were plenty of cents to go around.
The perennial problem of cents accumulating was dealt with in 1871 in a rather unusual way. To move the coins out of the sub-treasury were they accumulated, the Mint would buy in the coins, melt them down and issue new ones. Millions upon millions of bronze cents and two cent pieces saw their demise in this way. This accounted for a large portion of the mintage of cents between 1871 and 1873.
As the redemption continued it was realized that the Mint could save itself much work by simply reissuing most of the coins it received alongside the newly struck cents. The Min! acted as a clearinghouse for cents, taking in unwanted hoards from the Treasury and redistributing them back out to the banks.
The total issuance of cents from the Mint in 1875 was over 17 million pieces, of which 13.5 million were new coins. In 1876, 13 million were issued of which almost 8 million were new. In 1877 only 10 million cents were shipped out with only a little over 850,000 of them newly minted. If you were a collector in 1877 waiting for your bank to get in its new cent shipment, you had a 1 in 10 chance that you get the new issue. Most banks got the reissued coins that year.
In 1878 the entire process of cent making was changed. Private firms were contracted to produce cent and nickel planchets for the Mint. The bidding process was carried out each year. When
collusive bidding was detected in 1885, the Mint simply did not order any planchets. creating lean mintages.
During the 1880's the economy recovered from the burden of the war and reconstruction period only to fall into a deflationary spiral which eroded the value of land and tangible items. The price of sliver fell to record lows. Cents were abundant in circulation as were silver coins. The Mint produced mainly cents and five cent coins throughout the decade as there was little need for any other coins. Of course the Mint was under pressure from the 1878 Bland-Allison Act at the time which forced the Mint to purchase 2 million dollars worth of silver per month to help prop up the silver value, but the dollars minted from this silver was hardly needed for actual circulation purposes.
Cent production continued strong through the rest of the century. Although mintages of cents are high, their survival in high grade is very low. Cents were made to be spent, not saved. Prior to the 1930"s well worn Indian Cents were common in circulation, and until that time collectors had no inclination to save specimens other than the yearly proof emission. They were put into circulation and mostly all stayed there.
In 1908 the San Francisco Mint began minting cents in quantities of a fraction what was being put out in Philadelphia. The design was changed to the Lincoln head in 1909. The Flying Eagle and Indian cents were a witness to some of the most important events in our nation's history. They were handled and saved by virtually everyone who lived in this country through those exciting times.. ...Richard Snow.
Loren Lucason Eves: 272-3700
V. President- Ann Brown Days: 563-6708
Treasurer- Robert Hall Eves: 561-8343
Secretary- Scott Hornal Eves: 243-0149
Loren Lucason Eves: 272-3700
Board of Directors
Eves: 2 58-9100
John Larson- Eves: 276-3292
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,