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ACCent: The Monthly Newsletter of the Anchorage Coin Club

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Volume 10, Number 4

April 1997

April Membership Meeting
Wed., April 2, 1997 Central Lutheran Church

7:30 PM Meeting


 

FROM YOUR EDITORS

The coin show scheduled for the Northway Mall on April 19th and 20th has been cancelled. This was due to a scheduling conflict with another show that was to occur at the same mall. Since it was too late to reschedule another show, it was decided to cancel altogether. Sorry to disappoint you members, but these things do happen from time to time.......

Still.....there are ongoing efforts to commemorate National Coin Week (April 20-26). We want to remind all of you that Loren Lucason will have a display over at the Loussac Library on the theme "The Changing Face of Money". The display will be featured through the month of April.

Drachm Alexander the Great 336-323 BC

Drachm / Alexander the Great 336-323 BC

Member Mike Orr has also arranged to have a club information table over at the Sears Mall during the weekend of April 19th and 20th. The club information table will be distributing information on coin collecting and have a display for the weekend to commemorate National Coin Week. This table will be manned by various volunteers from our club. To help commemorate the event at the Sears Mall, we would like to "salt" the cash registers of the local merchants at the Sears Mall with common date type coins that are no longer in circulation (such as Lincoln Wheat Cents, Buffalo Nickels, Mercury Dimes, etc.). To help the club out, we ask that members bring in such coins at the April 2nd club meeting. We will consolidate the coins and distribute them accordingly on the 19th and 20th. People wishing to volunteer their lime at manning the information table that weekend can also contact any of our board members.

With May just around (he comer, the agenda at the May club meeting calls for a YN (Young Numismatist) Coin Auction. Proceeds from that auction will go into the YN Education Fund. Robin Sisler, the organizer of this year's auction, is looking for numismatic donations from our membership. To date.......not many donations have been forthcoming. We need donations.............and it is a very worthy cause. Members wishing to donate material can contact Robin Sisler (eves: #243-2116) or any of our board members. You can even send such donations to our club's post office box at Anchorage Coin Club/ PO Box 230169/ Anchorage, AK 99523.

 

MEMBERSHIP NEWS

Schedule of Events for the Month of April

1. Monthly Membership Meeting April 2nd (Wednesday) at 7:30 PM at the Central Lutheran Church. Club members and general public welcomed. Club member Larry Nakata will be giving a presentation on "Encapsulated or Slabbed 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: April 11th (Friday) at 7:00 PM at the Central Lutheran Church (corner of Cordova St. and 15th Avenue). YNs. club members, and general public welcomed. Subject to be covered will be "Collecting American Paper Currency". The subject will also cover a brief history of American paper currency.

3. Anchorage Coin Club Board Meeting: April 16th (Wednesday) at 7:00 PM at the Central Lutheran Church. Club members welcomed.

March 5th Membership Meeting

The membership meeting started at 7:30 PM.

First order of business was election of club officers. Officially elected into office are:

President/ Roy Brown

Vice President/ Mike Orr

Secretary/ Larry Nakata

Treasurer/ Robert Hall

Board Seat/ Bruce Gamble.

Ann Brown automatically steps into the 2nd Board seat as our outgoing President and Board member John Larsen still has another year to go as our 3rd member.

Bill Hamilton announced a donation of $100 to the club as proceeds from his coin show at the Post Office Mall.

The door prize, a 1978 Uncirculated Mint Set, was won by Ann Brown.

The membership prize, a 1922 Peace Dollar in BU condition, was won by Jim Hill.

Member Dean Pulver subsequently gave his presentation "Cataloging of Error and Variety Coins / Part II" to the membership. Dean covered the subject of cataloging Die and Strike error/varieties.

Following the presentation, the Bullet Coin Auction was held. Only ten lots were chosen for the auction. The lucky lots that were auctioned were:

1917-S Lincoln 1c F

1907-P Barber 25c G

1909-D Barber 25cG

1985-P Washington 25c Broadstruck variety BU

1964-P Kennedy 50c BU

1927-D Peace Dollar MS-60

1955-P Washington 25c MS-61

1949-P Franklin 50c AU

1952-D Franklin 50c AU-55

1968 Canadian $1 in Lucite Holder

Editors Comment: There were a number of coins that did not make the cut... .good stuff too. It's anybody's guess what coins will be auctioned off at these bullet auctions. If you have coins which you would like to submit for the bullet auction bring them to the meeting.

The meeting adjourned at 8:45 PM.

Minutes of the March 19th Board Meeting

The Board meeting was called to order at 7:00 PM.

Following review and payment of bills, the Board reviewed club correspondence. The Board endorsed Tom Hallenbeck for ANA Board of Governors.

Member Robin Sisler gave the Board an update on the status of his efforts to organize the YN Coin Auction for the club's May meeting. Some 48 letters of solicitation were sent out by Robin earlier in the month for coin donations. As yet, there have been few responses. Robin is in need of donated material for the YN Coin Auction. The Board will help in getting material for the event.

As there was no further business, the meeting adjourned at 8:00 PM.

 

YN CORNER
by Larry Nakata (Member #41)

The March 14th YN meeting saw very bad icy road conditions throughout Anchorage. As a result there were only 5 YNs (with their parents) who were able to attend this meeting.

There was a discussion on how to preserve paper currency. Discussed were issues such as keeping the notes flat, not cleaning the notes, not storing the notes near heaters or high humid areas, not exposing the notes for long periods of time under a light source (else they will fade), and not trying to repair a note.

Examples were shown of different of grades of paper currency from Good condition to Crisp Uncirculated condition notes and what to look for. As an exercise, the YNs were given 20 different types of Foreign and American currency to grade.

All of notes were then distributed among the YNs. Altogether there were some 32 foreign and US notes that were given away to the YNs in attendance. Some of the currency given away were World War II wartime notes. A brief history of some of the notes given away was also discussed.......besides the wartime notes, history was given on the inflation and demonitized notes.

A fine time was had by all.....not to mention the pizza, chips, and sodas.

The next YN meeting will be held on April 11th. That particular meeting will see Larry Nakata continue a session on "Collecting American Paper Currency". It should be a pretty good session and we hope to see lots of YNs for this particular event.

 

 

COLLECTING ANCIENTS? WHY NOT!
by Scott Hornal (Member #52)

Editor's Note: Our thanks to member Scott Hornal for the following "great" article. Enjoy the article!!

I was recently asked by Larry Nakata if I would consider writing an article for our club newsletter on ancient coin collecting. While I agreed that it was a great idea and I would be happy to do so, I started to wonder. What could I tell someone who had never collected ancients or had zero exposure to this huge field? Then I started thinking that I may have a word or two I could pass on as personal experience.

I have pretty much always considered myself a collector. It wasn't always coins. I realized at a very young age that I liked the unusual, the old, the "really neat" stuff I would see in curio shops or an elderly family friend's house that sometimes would prompt me to ask "what the heck is this?' The idea that something really old could have a really neat story or function and was actually SAVED by someone's family sometimes for hundreds of years was strangely appealing. In awe I remembered thinking a few times: "wow...they actually USED this stuff way back then!"

Hemidrachm / Nero 54-68 AD

Hemidrachm / Nero 54-68 AD

Later, coins came into my life and they shared a lot of the characteristics of my earlier fascination with anything old. As many of us did, I started out with US coins primarily given to me from relatives and family friends. As I became older and my bankroll expanded I found myself working on and completing sets of coins that appealed to me. However, after years of collecting and working on sets, I found something lacking, something missing in completing a set of coins that left me almost feeling bored.

I took me awhile to realize this and after a while I knew what it was: all the sets I put together were the same. With the exception of date and mint mark, cents, nickels, and dimes were all drearily the same. Add to this the fact that most sets were relatively easy to complete except for 3 or 4 whammies that carried a price tag around a house-payment and the enjoyment I remembered feeling was soon replaced with anxiety over the cost of filling a Couple of holes in an album.

The stage came to me slowly, about three years ago, and I realized I needed to find another alternative to US coins, of which commemoratives were exempt in my mind because at least they were all different in design (of which I still have my favorites and a "want list" I may eventually get around to filling).

The following year the Coin Club came out with the intriguing news that a coin seminar was to be held featuring ancient coins and I knew I had to attend, i had been thinking about ancients for some time but had yet to purchase a single coin. I had many questions that I hoped to have answered in the seminar, many of which were, but I knew I would need to know more. And here is where I will try to give you an idea as to how to proceed should you too wish to "break the mold" and collect something unique and genuinely historical at the same time:

Knowledge is everything. The phrase may be batted around a lot in many areas of coin collecting, but never so appropriate in ancients. Keep in mind you're talking about a span of time of approximately 2000 years since the introduction of coins in ancient Lydia around 500-450 BC. So the volume of coins and city-states that minted them are vast. Knowing what you are interested in collecting may require a bit ot" study but it will definitely pay off in the end as well as making your collection personally meaningful. Check out the library if you're confused, the ancient coin is respectable, as well as the HISTORY section on ancient Rome. Greece, etc. Hey, don't knock it kids, I probably learned more about history from coins than I ever did in school primarily because it was FUN and you could actually hold a piece of it in your hands.

But what to collect.......that brings me to the next section.

What to collect. One uplifting aspect that I found appealing with ancients was that al! the boundaries and restrictions were no longer there. I was free to compile a set of coins to MY tastes, not dictated by a bunch of holes in a book. With ancients you can specialize and no one can tell you what to collect. Go with Greek type coins if you like, or Roman emperors or their wives. How about coins with buildings or monuments of them? The Romans were famous for commemorating their architectural achievements on coins. Some buildings we only know existed by their likeness on coins! The fields are endless: animals, mythical figures, biblical, exotic and lewd, gold, silver, or bronze, there are practically no limits to what you may wish to collect.

OK.....we all know that there is one thing that limits most of us working class slobs in our collecting endeavors and that is the POCKETBOOK! However, the good news and another myth that I will be glad to shatter is that ancients are not necessarily expensive. I say not necessarily because, yes, they can be expensive in high grades and precious metals of gold and some silver issues. But, as some US coins go, not may of us will be fortunate enough to own that UNC Flowing Hair dollar you've been dreaming about. So lets get real and talk about AFFORDABLE coins that just about anyone can obtain.

If you're not too fussy about grade, many ancient Greek and Roman bronze coins can be had for the cost of trip through the drive-thru at McDee's. These coins were issued in vast quantities over many different periods and countries, so again the theme is yours. Even coins in some higher grades are really cheap and should be considered. Remember age doesn't translate into value, many of these coins were struck in large quantities as we do today, so just because its old doesn't necessarily make it expensive.

If there is a little connoisseur in you and you just can't bear to own a worn out or corroded coin, fear not, we still have a lot to offer you too! Many Roman emperors were fortunate enough to live a fairly long life (many were not) and as such struck a lot of coins. Emperors such as Hadrian who erected many famous buildings and civic projects were very popular and many of his coins can be had for around $50-100, many times even less. Emperors such as Trajan, Antonius Pius, Caracalla, Commodus. etc. are $40-50 coins for VF examples in silver denarii. In fact, looking at my own collection, many of the Roman emperors and wives I purchased were obtained for anywhere from S30-75 each for silver denarii in VF to XF condition. Many times a coin will be expensive only because it has a reverse commemorating a special occasion, therefore making it many times more expensive. If your goal is only to have a type example, pass on the coin and buy a more common reverse which I will guarantee you will be a lot more friendly to your bank book.

Grading. I had better touch a little on grading of ancients here too, as it is a definite area of importance to the coin in question. Several characteristics make up the overall grade of a coin and should be considered when viewing a coin. Ancient coins are not as "touchy" as US or modem world coins in that most of the wear or damage done to the coin was probably done long before you were born. I say this because chances are that even if your coin was mildly cleaned at one time, an ancient coin collector will not generally CARE that it was cleaned unless it was abusive. Remember, the coin you are holding could be 1500 years old and probably could have been cleaned many times before it got to you, so again, unless it's abusive, don't fret.

Centering of coins front and back is important in ancients. As they were all hand struck, each is unique and different. Many coins were struck in haste or in makeshift mints that traveled with armies as they moved in conquest. Therefore, quality control was not always perfect and many times coins had to be rushed using old or even broken dies to provide coins for troops, etc. Look for coins that have good obverse and reverse portraits with full legends as a badly cracked die or off-center strike produces an unattractive coin and therefore should be priced accordingly.

Actual technical grading of ancient coins are not less controversial than modem coins. You will never see an ancient coin graded MS-63, 64, 65, etc. In fact you will probably never see an ancient coin described as "uncirculated", rather, the term will more than likely be "as struck". This has its obvious reasons as described above, as not many ancient coins can be expected to possess full blazing mint luster, etc. However, many ancient coins that do come in high grades will very often possess some remaining luster and thus have a premium price attached.

Generally speaking, ancients are graded as many modem circulated coins are graded in terms of fine, very fine, and extra fine with the before mentioned "as-struck or virtually as-struck" being the high end. A good grade to shoot for is VF which will still give you a great looking coin with most of the details such as hair lines, etc. still remaining visible on the coin. This will work on a lot of ancient coins but some issues are just not known in anything above say fine or worse, so if you're shooting for a particular coin, do some investigating to see if the grade you desire is even feasible. Some bronze coins are good examples of this. Anyone who collects copper coins can attest to the sensitivity of these coins to the environment, just imagine what 1500 years in the ground can do.

Counterfeits. We should probably talk a little about fakes here too. This is probably another area where a non-collector will invariably think to himself "how do I know this is real?" Which is a very understandable question when you're holding a coin that looks crude and unnatural compared to today's high-tech perfect cookie-cutter coins. Although coins of the ancient world were hand-struck and show the effects of die-striations on higher end coins, on worn coins this becomes more difficult to detect. Also, many larger coins were cast as many modern counterfeits are done today. This area is too large to go into great detail as each series has diagnostics that a serious collector and authenticators look for, however ancient coins do conform quite rigidly to strict weight standards if you have the ability to measure this.

Many of the most dangerous forgeries are ones that were produced not recently, but centuries ago, sometimes during the same time as the genuine article. This could be quite profitable if successful but disastrous if discovered as punishment was often death. Because of the risk involved in many cases, coins were counterfeited that carried a popular motif or was a widely used design of the times. More modern forgeries include coins that are fairly expensive or rare that would be immediately attractive to a prospective buyer. In most cases, if you're a collector of modest means your risk would be minimal as who would want to copy a coin worth only a few dollars when the supply of cheap legitimate coins is so plentiful? I mention counterfeit coins as a necessity but I would find it highly unlikely that you would encounter anything other than the genuine article from any reputable dealer. This is where you will want to make sure you know your dealer if there ever is a question about authenticity. The ANA does offer an authentication service for a modest fee for ancient coins if a reputable third party is desired in a dispute. This also leads me into my next subject.....

Dealers...Buying & Selling. Another stigma we have been stuck way up here in pokey old Alaska is access. Both access to buying ancient coins and the opportunity to go to a major show just to look at a wide variety of ancients. Without easy access your only real recourse is to find a dealer you can trust and who does not mind spending time with you on the phone to "educate" you on your requests. Many dealers will do this out of courtesy but please don't take advantage as they are in business and do have customers to attend to. Many times a dealer will have no problems spending as much time as necessary or sending multiple coins on approval or even issue fantastic full color catalogs which are in themselves great reference materials, however all this detail usually translates into higher prices so it is a question of what is of greatest importance to you as to what services you really need as a collector. A good dealer should also have no qualms about taking back anything that is questionable or should at least offer an alternative. Most reputable dealers have handled many thousands of coins and it would be rare that an obvious forgery would be passed on. so again choose a dealer that you can establish a relationship with and with him/her.

Greek Slater Arkania 350-270 BC

Greek Slater Arkania 350-270 BC

Pricing ancient coins is another area that involves quite a bit of work and study. There is no published "trends" coin listing from ancients. I usually recommend that someone who has decided on what they want to collect first begin by getting on a variety of price list/mail bid sales. Preferably ones that show the actual photo of the coin offered for sale. These are usually issued monthly by various companies that will help you in establishing basic price guidelines for various coin types that you may be interested in. Sometimes a fee may be charged for the more detailed catalogs from the larger dealers. After comparing you may have a better feel for the market and be more confident when it's time to order a coin or place a bid. A coin auction or mail bid is an excellent way to buy ancients, just be sure to read the company's policy closely on fees and returns.

The last subject I would like to talk about is selling your coins. Lots of talk has been put in print about investment this and that, and in a way your coins should probably be thought of as an investment I suppose. However, that should not be your PRIIMARY concern. I buy a coin because I like it and it represents something both artistic and historical to me, not because I think I might make a buck or two a couple of years down the line. I continue to set up at local coin shows to dispose of coins that I no longer have a need for, but if I was doing it for profit I wouldn't be able to afford beans and water!

Local shows are a way to dispose of your extra or unwanted coins if you have the time and inclination. I do so at shows also for the chance to talk coins with other collectors who also share similar interests and hopefully generate some new interest in beginning collectors. If shows aren't your bag, then you still have a variety of options. This is another time when knowing your dealer well may be extremely helpful. In my opinion a good dealer is found not in how he treats you when you buy a coin, but how he treats you when you want to SELL a coin. Many dealers outside will be glad to take coins on consignment for their next catalog sale. If it happens to be the same dealer as where you bought the coins, so much the better. Commission fees are usually reasonable in most cases, just don't expect your dealer to get all excited about the prospect of selling your $8 Roman bronzes if that's all you have. This is not always a FAST way to sell coins as several months could go by before any green changes hands. If quick cash is your motive then many companies may choose to make you a cash "offer" for all or only part of your coins, whatever they think they may have a need for at the time.

This is only a brief overview of many topics involved in ancient coin collecting. Many books are out there now and more appearing from time to time and I do recommend that at least some reading be done before spending too much money initially. I do feel that ancient coins offer so much more than modern coins and it would be a shame to dismiss them just because of lack of knowledge. I hope this article will help those of you considering ancients and I hope to hear of your adventures with ancients at an upcoming show. Above all remember to have fun with your collection as it truly will be a collection that YOU have made!

Good luck and good hunting!

        .....Scott Hornal

P.S. In my next article I will discuss type collecting of ancient coins. This is an interesting way to form a collection by focusing on the "classics." Following this I hope to write an article on some of the various emperors and their shocking lives! Stay tuned!

 

 

 

 


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-                    Roy Brown          Days: 563-6708
                                                                    Eves: 243-5732
V. President-                Mike Orr            Eves: 522-3679
Treasurer-                      Robert Hall        Eves: 561-8343
Secretary-                   Larry Nakata        Days: 269-5603
                                                                    Eves: 563-1729

Editors -                     Loren Lucason    Eves: 272-3700
                                    Larry Nakata
                                    Robin Sisler
                                    Mike Nourse
                                    Jim Susky
Club Archivist / Photographer - Robin Sisler

Board of Directors

Ann Brown-                      Days: 563-6708

Bruce Gamble-               Eves: 345-6273

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