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ACCent: The Monthly Newsletter of the Anchorage Coin Club

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Volume 10, Number 7

July 1997

July Membership Meeting
Wed., July 6, 1997 Central Lutheran Church

7:30 PM Meeting


 

FROM YOUR EDITORS

Our June membership meeting saw the remaining 40 lots of donated numismatic material auctioned off as part of our YN Coin Auction. Proceeds from all of the donated items netted some $600 for the YN Education Fund. Thanks go out to the following members for their generous donations:

Scott Hornal (Member #52)
Frank Jasper (Member #249)
Bruce Gamble (Member #46)
John Larson (Member #18)
Robin Sisler (Member #117)
Paul Wheeler (Member #47)
Roy Brown (Member #8)
J.T. Stanton (Member #231)
Kento Azegami (YN Member #229)
Bill Fivaz (Member #110)
John Wilson (Member #243)
Larry Nakata (Member #41)
Neal Lydick
Tasmanian Numismatic Society
Bill Hamilton (Member #108)
Chuck Brashears (Member #105).

Just for your information: Our club president, Roy Brown, successfully bid on Lot #99 (the Surprise Lot) and found a 1950 Proof Washington Quarter amongst the numismatic items in that lot. It just goes to show you never can tell what will turn up in these surprise lots.....

Our club's upcoming big event is the July 6th Anchorage Coin Club summer picnic. All club members and their families are welcomed to this event which will be held in the outdoor pavilion at Kinkaid Park from 12 noon to about 5 or 6 PM. The club will supply the hotdogs. hamburgers, chicken, teriyaki meal, soda pop. chips, utensils, and condiments. As potluck items, we ask that our club members bring small dishes such as salads, desserts, vegetable dishes, or whatever you wish to bring. As stated in last month's newsletter, member Ann Brown will be calling members to see who will attend. This information is needed in order to determine how many hotdogs, burgers, chicken, teriyaki meat, etc. will need to be provided by the club. To help Ann out. we ask that any members wishing to attend contact her at 563-6708 during the days.

1958 Doubled Die Obverse Lincoln Cent

1958 Doubled Die Obverse Lincoln Cent

One announcement......the July 6th Anchorage Coin Club summer picnic will also double up as our club's regular membership meeting date. So do not show up on the first Wednesday of July (July 2nd) at the church. Our itinerary for the July 6th picnic / membership meeting will be to have a good time and enjoy a nice Sunday afternoon. We will have our traditional bullet coin auction, limited to no more than 10 lots. Any members wishing to submit coins for the bullet auction - bring them to the picnic/membership meeting. Members are also encouraged to bring their coins to show off, trade, or sell with other club members at this event.

There will be a treasure hunt for our YNs in attendance at the picnic. We intend to start the treasure hunt event at 2 PM that Sunday afternoon. Thanks go to all of our club member coin dealers for generously providing the coins that have filled this really nice treasure chest which will be hidden somewhere in Kinkaid Park. The successful team of YNs finding that treasure chest will have a lot of booty to divide. In order to find this treasure chest we ask our YNs to brush up on their numismatic knowledge of coins. Your knowledge of coin collecting will be the key to getting the clues necessary for locating the treasure. Good luck to you YNs on that Sunday afternoon.............it should be a fun event.

For those club members who have never been to Kinkaid Park, just take the Raspberry Road exit from the highway and follow it all the way to the end.....that's Kinkaid Park. When you get to Kinkaid Park, continue to follow the road all the way to the park headquarters. The outdoor pavilion is located just on the other side of the park headquarters.

Our club's raffle coin is an 1871 Liberty Seated Dollar in VF-20 condition. Raffle tickets will be $5 / ticket. It's a really nice coin worthy of anyone's collection.......

One final announcement: There will be no YN meetings scheduled for the months of July and August. We want you YNs to enjoy the summer. Our YN meetings will again resume on September 12th (the 2nd Friday of September).

Hope to see a lot of members at our club's summer picnic. For those of you that will be in town for the 4th of July weekend, remember to set aside that Sunday afternoon for Kinkaid Park.

 

MEMBERSHIP NEWS

Schedule of Events for the Month of July

1. Monthly Membership Meeting and Summer Picnic: July 6th (Sunday) from 12 noon to either 5 or 6 PM in the afternoon. Event to be held at the outdoor pavilion of Kinkaid Park. Club members and their families welcomed. The featured event will be a treasure hunt by our YNs for a hidden chest of coins somewhere in Kinkaid Park...the treasure hunt to start at 2 PM. It should be an enjoyable Sunday picnic for all.

2. There will be no YN meeting for the months of July and August so that our YNs can enjoy the summer. The next YN meeting will be on September 12th at the Central Lutheran Church.

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

June 4th Membership Meeting

The meeting was called to order at 7:30 PM. Announcements were made about the July 6th Summer Picnic. It was decided by the membership to combine the club's July membership meeting and summer picnic as one event.

Member Larry Nakata also announced a break in YN meetings for the months of July and August. The YN meetings to resume again in September.

The door prize, a 1994 Proof $5 Canadian coin, was won by member Don Thurber.

The membership prize, a 1988 Proof Olympic Silver Dollar, was won by member Jim Hill.

Following the award of the prizes, the remainder of the evening saw the conclusion of the YN Coin Auction. Some 40 lots were auctioned that evening. The meeting subsequently concluded at 8:45 PM.

Minutes of June 18th Board Meeting

The Board meeting was called to order at 7PM.

Following review of club bills and correspondence, the main discussion focused on the events for the upcoming July 6th Summer Picnic / Membership meeting. Among the items discussed were details about the food items needed, events lo be held for the picnic, and discussion on details for the YN treasure hunt.

The final item of business was the ANA elections. Since the club is allowed one vote as a life member, the board reviewed candidates and selected officers for the ANA.

The meeting concluded at 8:15 PM.

 

YN CORNER
by Larry Nakata (Member #41)

Maybe it was the final game of the NBA Championship.....but the attendance was a bit sparse by our YNs for that particular Friday meeting.

Still....... a pretty good presentation was given on the history of US copper coinage (see this month's article on the subject). Those YNs in attendance were able to see a selection of colonial coins, half cents, large cents, small cents, two cent pieces, and how these coins evolved over the years.

Following the presentation there were some 20 US copper coins that were graded by the YNs as the evening's event. Each of the YNs in attendance were then given 3 Indian Head cents with the choice pieces chosen by those YNs with the best grading scores. (Note: Those YNs who did not attend that session missed out on those neat Indian Head pennies....but there will be other occasions in future YN meetings where you'll have an opportunity to take home such nice coins).

A couple of reminders to all YNs:

First, there will be no YN meetings for the months of July and August. We want all of you YNs to enjoy your summer. YN meetings will again resume on September 12th.

Second, do not forget to come to the club's picnic / membership meeting on July 6th. The Treasure Hunt for the hidden chest of coins will start at 2 PM that afternoon. Brush up on your knowledge of coins...because this will be the key to finding those clues necessary for locating that hidden treasure............

 

 

THE EVOLUTION OF U.S. COPPER COINAGE
by Larry Nakata (Member #41)

Earlier this month, while putting together a session for our YNs (i.e.. Young Numismatists). I decided to choose the subject of collecting U.S. Copper Coins. During the course of the putting together the presentation for our YN meeting, I was intrigued on how copper coins changed over the years in this country.

In reading the source material, copper coinage really begins during the colonial period of this country. During America's colonial period, restrictive economic policies were used by the British government that largely kept their colonies relegated to a barter type economy. The coinage or mintage of money was forbidden to the colonists as one of these policies. No silver or gold coins were allowed to be minted Nonetheless, some autonomous issues did circulate...such as the Pine Tree shillings....but these practices were soon discouraged by the British government.

The only exception allowed was the mintage of copper coins. Even then, it was only allowed by the permission of the British crown. This appears to have been a concession made. Thus one sees the mintage of such coppers as the Rosa Americana (1722-33), the Hibernia coppers (1722-24), and the Virginia halfpence (1773).

1786 Vermont Copper Obverse

1786 Vermont Copper Obverse

The Revolutionary War (1776-83) in America would change this environment. During and following the Revolutionary War. one sees the rise of state and private issued coppers. Among the state issues were the Connecticut and New Jersey coppers... minted between 1786-89.

During the formative years prior to the establishment of the U.S. Constitution and the creation of the Federal government, the Confederation of American States (through the Continental Congress) did make attempts to establish it's own form of coinage. In the arena of coppers, among the coins minted (through local private contracts) were the Nova Constellatio (1783-86) and the Fugio cent (1787). These early attempts failed and subsequently resulted in the establishment of the United States Mint by 1792.

The early years of the US Mint were marked with crudely designed coinage with many mint errors (when compared to the type of coins minted in Europe at that time).

Half cents (1793-1857) and Large cents (1793-1857) were the copper coins minted by the US Mint. The Half cent saw some five changes in design, while the Large cent saw some seven changes in design during this period of time. One can see improvements in the design and quality of coppers over this time as the US Mint matured.

Acceptance of federal copper coins by the general American public proved difficult to achieve since such coins were not made legal tender until the Coinage Act of 1965... that's right, 1965. Such coins could be refused by anyone demanding payment in silver. Still...the need existed for such copper coins since silver and gold were in short supply.

Criticism that the Large cents were ugly, too heavy, and filthy continued through the middle of the 19th century. With the rise of the price of copper (as a metal) occurring at this time, by 1853 the U.S. Mint was losing money on every cent it made.

This led to the demise of the Half cent by 1857 and the introduction of the Flying Eagle small cent that replaced the Large cent.

The Flying Eagle cent differed not only in size but in composition of metal. Instead of being 100% copper, the Flying Eagle cent was comprised of 88% copper. 12% nickel. This copper-nickel cent had a lighter textured color for a more pleasing appearance.

The Flying Eagle cent gave way to the copper nickel Indian Head small cent by 1859. There is reason to believe that the decision to go from the Flying Eagle design to the Indian Head design was a result of weakness of strike quality. The use of copper nickel Indian Head cents continued through 1864 at which time the composition of metallic content was again changed to bronze (95% copper, 5% tin and zinc).

The rationale for conversion to bronze coinage seems to have been the difficulty in melting and working with nickel metal. The hardness of the copper nickel planchets had a tendency to damage dies resulting in a situation where the U.S. Mint was losing money in the production of copper nickel cents.

1786 Vermont Copper Reverse

1786 Vermont Copper Reverse

The Civil War (1861-65) created shortages of available coins as a result of hoarding by the general public. These shortages resulted in the introduction of the Two Cent Piece by 1864.

After the Civil War. fewer banks called for this Two Cent denomination, causing dwindling mintages over the next few years. The development of the Nickel 5 Cent Piece and lack of public acceptance eventually caused the demise of the Two Cent Piece by 1873.

By 1874 all that remained of U.S. copper coinage was the bronze Indian Head small cent.

As the 19th Century gave way to the 20th Century, a move was afoot to redesign U.S. coinage in a radical manner. President Theodore Roosevelt championed this redesign. Augustus St. Gaudens was tasked with the responsibility of redesigning the Indian Head cent. St. Gauden's death in 1907 caused President Roosevelt to look to Victor D. Brenner to complete the redesign of the small cent.

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of Lincoln's birthday, the Lincoln wheat cent came into being in 1909.

The 150th anniversary of Lincoln's birthday resulted in a redesign of the reverse side of the cent (the Lincoln Memorial cent) in 1959.

U.S. Two Cent Piece Reverse

U.S. Two Cent Piece Reverse

With the exception of the 2nd World War (which saw steel and shell case bronze cents used as the metal for cent production), the composition of the Lincoln cent remained bronze in nature until 1962.

In 1962, the metallic content was changed to brass (95% copper, 5% zinc) owing to the scarcity of tin. It remained this way until 1981.

The rising price of copper finally resulted in a Lincoln cent comprised of a zinc planchet coated with pure copper (97.6% zinc, 2.4% copper).

Such is the slate of U.S. copper coinage today........

References:

"Walter Breen's Complete Encyclopedia of US & Colonial Coins" by Walter Breen. Copyright 1988.

"Penny Whimsy" by William H. Sheldon. Copyright 1958.

-Flying Eagle & Indian Cents" by Richard Snow. Copyright 1992.

"Getting Your Two Cents Worth" by Kevin Flynn. Copyright 1994.

"The Complete Guide to Lincoln Cents" by David W. Lange. Copyright 1996.

 

 

SURFING THE INTERNET

When you consider the changes that were made over the years in the metallic content of US copper coins, just think what happened with the rest of our coinage. In browsing the Internet, we came across this interesting report from the Treasury Department:

http://www.ustrcas.gov/treasury/bureaus/mint/sub5.html

 

PERCENTAGE COMPOSITION OF METALLIC ELEMENTS IN CURRENT UNITED STATES COINS

Minor coins of the United States are the 1-cent and 5-cent pieces. Two types of cents now circulate- the standard 95% copper/ 5% zinc cent and the copper-plated zinc cent introduced in 1982. The new cent contains 97.5% zinc and 2.5% copper. It is identical in size, color and design 10 the standard copper cent but weighs 2.500 grams as opposed to 3.110 grams for the old cent. Both coins were produced in 1982. and circulated simultaneously. However, the 95/5 alloy was discontinued at the end of that year and subsequent cents produced are copper-plated zinc.

The composition of the 5-cent piece is a homogenous alloy containing 75% copper and 25% nickel.

Prior to the passage of the Coinage Act of 1965, all U.S. circulating silver coins- the dollar, half dollar, quarter, and dime-were composed of silver - copper alloy containing 90% silver and 10% copper.

The Coinage Act of 1965 removed all silver from the dime and quarter. These are now "clad metal" or "bonded" coins. The outside layers are bonded to the core, and represent 1/3rd of the total thickness of the coin. If the coin were to be melted, the composition would be 91.67% copper and 8.33% nickel.

The same Act reduced the silver content of the half dollar from 90% to 40% making it a "clad metal" coin, with outside layers composed of silver-copper alloy containing 80% silver and 20% copper. The core contains 20.9% silver and 79.1% copper. The outer layers represent a little less than 1/3rd of the until thickness of the coin. If the com were to be melted, the resulting metal would be 40% silver and 60% copper.

Coinage legislation approved December 31, 1970, removed all silver from the circulating dollar and half dollar coins. Now none of our coins produced for circulation contain silver.

1905 Indian Cent

1905 Indian Cent

The last of the 90% silver- 10% copper dollars were minted in 1935. Dollar coinage was not resumed until 1971, when the Eisenhower design was issued. Also a layered, or bonded piece, the outside is 75% copper and 25% nickel alloy, with a core of pure copper. Melted down, it would contain 91.67% copper and 8.33% nickel. The Eisenhower dollar, while still an acceptable medium of exchange, is no longer being manufactured. Coinage ceased December 31, 1978.

A new small-sized dollar coin was authorized by Public Law 95-446, approved October 10, 1978 Larger than the quarter but smaller than the half dollar, and bearing the likeness of Susan B. Anthony, it was introduced into the coinage system in July of 1979. replacing the familiar 1-1/2 inch dollar coin. It too is cupro-nickel clad. 75% copper and 25% nickel alloy on the outside, with a pure copper core. If melted, the Anthony dollar would contain 87.5% copper and 12.5% nickel.

 

 

THE SILVER CENTER CENTS OF 1792
by Mark Van Winkle

Editors Note: In keeping with this month's article on US Copper coins, your editors came across the following two "Money Talk" transcripts while browsing the ANA WEB page:

http://www.money.org

When we think of "pennies", we almost always think of them as being made of either copper or bronze. But the very first pennies ever made by the government had a silver plug, right in the center.

It was 1792, the year before production actually began in the U.S. Mint, and Thomas Jefferson was Secretary of the Treasury. Jefferson ordered several experimental coins made. One of these coins featured a small silver plug, worth three-quarters of a cent, inserted into the center of a copper disk- which was shaped like a doughnut, and worth a quarter of a cent. The silver plug was fused to the copper blank, and a design was created for these experimental coins that was closely followed on the regular production pennies first made a year later.

But this novel experiment had two serious drawbacks that prevented the pieces from becoming regular production coins. First, it cost too much to stamp our doughnut-shaped copper discs, and then fill them back up with silver centers. Second, people of that time were accustomed to larger copper coins, not smaller ones. There was concern that the new coins about to be made by the fledgling government would be rejected by the people. In fact, it took another 65 years before the cent, or "penny" was reduced to its present size.

1857 Flying Eagle Cent Obverse

1857 Flying Eagle Cent Obverse

Only twelve silver center cents are known to exist today, and each is worth about a hundred thousand dollars. None have been sold in several years.

A interesting footnote: In 1907, when the first U.S. Mint building was torn down, a Philadelphia collector named Frank Stewart went over the vacant lot where the old mint used to produce, and after several minutes of poking around. uncovered several of the blank, doughnut-shaped copper discs used to strike the silver center cents. He later donated the discs to the Smithsonian Institution, where they remain today.

 

 

THE PASSING OF THE LARGE CENT - FLYING EAGLE CENT
by Bill Jones

A lot of people store pennies in a ar. But if you're saving the pennies that were made in early America it had better be a really big jar!

It may surprises you to know that what we call the "penny" was once a coin that was larger and heavier than our quarter. These large, one-cent copper coins circulated for more than 60 years, starting when our nation first began striking coins.

After the Revolutionary War, the halfpenny and other coins that resembled it were in wide circulation in America. Our founding fathers thought a large, pure copper cent would be just as popular. Unfortunately, many 19th century Americans found the large cent to be more of a nuisance than a symbol of value. It didn't have much buying power, even in those days, and many people found it uncomfortable lo carry more than two or three of the heavy, large cents in their pockets. It's no surprise that these large coins didn't circulate very widely outside the major cities.

By the 1850's, the price of copper had risen to a point where the Mint could no longer afford to issue large cents. In 1857. after several experiments. Congress authorized a smaller cent, it had the same diameter as today's penny- but it was thicker and heavier, and had a white metallic color. Some people called these small sized cents "nickels", because they were made of nickel and copper. They featured a beautiful flying eagle on the front side of the coin- the same design considered, and then rejected, for the silver dollar.

The end of the large cent series provided a beginning for coin collecting as a hobby in America. People began collecting the large cents by date, and this interest led to the first active market in antique American coins. Today, large cents are popular collectors" items. Why, there's even an organization known as the "Early American Coppers Club", which is devoted entirely to the study of these coins that are so filled with history.

1857 Flying Eagle Cent Reverse

1857 Flying Eagle Cent Reverse

 

 

 


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