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ACCent: The Monthly Newsletter of the Anchorage Coin Club

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Volume 11, Number 2

February 1998

February Membership Meeting
Wed., February 4, 1998 Central Lutheran Church

7:30 PM Meeting


 

FROM YOUR EDITORS

We're now firmly into 1998 and the 10th year of our coin club. We trust that all of our coin club members had a good holiday season and are ready for what this year will bring. Gosh.....it's hard to believe we actually made it to 10 years as a club.

In terms of carryover issues from last year, we are in the process of having Mike Robuck of the Alaska Mint prepare the dies for the winning design of our club's 10th year anniversary medallion set. Once the dies are cut, Mike will have the prototype set ready (for our inspection) by our March 4th membership meeting. Orders for your numbered sets will be accepted up until March 31st. After that....no more orders will be taken. Cost of a numbered set (with your member number inscribed on the edge of the coins) will be $30. So better place your orders in before the end of March. Our 10th Year Commemorative sets should be ready by April. The obverse design will feature an Alaskan Goldpanner and is shown in this month's newsletter. The reverse design will be the Seal of the State of Alaska.

Obverse Design of 10th Year Medallion

Obverse Design of 10th Year Medallion

Our club membership meeting on January 7th went very well with some 102 lots auctioned off that evening. It was indeed surprising to see that we could move that many lots in one evening....but we managed thanks to the efforts of Auctioneers Robert Hall and Larry Nakata. YN Bucks (which were earned over the last 3 months through the YN Buck Program) bought 20% of the lots sold at the auction. So...the YNs had a chance to get some of those great coins in the auction.

So...what do we have coming up in the next few months ahead (besides our 10th Year Commemorative Set). For one thing we have elections in the month of March. Our club bylaws require we must elect our board officers at our March membership meeting of every year. The positions of President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, and one board seat is now open. Club members wishing to run for any of these positions can announce their intentions at the club's February and March meetings....or drop a note to the club's post office address. We want to encourage our members to consider running for these seats. It's a good way to volunteer your time and help improve our coin club. It's always good to have fresh perspective in your Board.

National Coin Week is coming up in the week of April 19-25. The American Numismatics Association and the Pacific Northwest Numismatics Association (of which our club is a member of both organizations) is having contests for the best implementation of this year's theme: "Numismatics- The Key to Knowledge". So... we need some ideas from you members on this matter. Let's see what we can come up with by our February 4th membership meeting.

Our February 4th membership meeting will feature a presentation by Robert Hall on "Renaissance Coin Making". We will also have our Bullet Auction, so be sure to bring in any coins you wish to submit for the auction. Remember that only 10 coins will be chosen by lottery for the Bullet Auction...but any coins not making the cut can be purchased by interested club members who can make offers to the respective owner. This approach is proving to be very successful....

Finally....here is a poem that one of our members, Ben Guild, recently came across. We thought it would be a good poem to publish in this month's newsletter. Try and guess what coin is described in this poem. The answer is listed at the end of this newsletter..........Your Editors.

 

THE FORTY FIVE MILLION
submitted by Ben Guild (Member #102)
with apologies to Jim Whalen

Onward the Coin Crusade
Forward the Mint Brigade
Strike Silver Dollars, they said-
        Forty Five Million.

Ready the Denver press
Design a Peace type dress
Issue no more, no less -
        Forty Five Million. .

On the Nevada scene
Supplies were less than lean.
So ready the slot machine -
        Forty Five Million.

Where would the cartwheels go?
Collectors and dealers, you know,
Are eager to steal the show -
        Forty Five Million.

Halt! Came a flash from the State:
Retreat before it's too late
Cancel the order and wait -
        Forty Five Million.

Maybe a dale freeze will do
For collectors and dealers, too
Dale them Nineteen Twenty Two -
        Forty Five Million.

Then check on the silver supply
And let the whole thins' die
So into the sweet by and by
(Like the strains of the autumn Cotillion)
With nary a tear in the eye
And your chin up, and head held high
Say Goodbye and Goodbye and Goodbye
To that sweet dream of pie in the sky
And pickles, and corned beef on rye -
But whatever you do, don't you cry
For the Forty Five Million.

$100 Confederate Note 1863

$100 Confederate Note / 1863

 

MEMBERSHIP NEWS

Schedule of Events of the Month of February:

1. Monthly Membership Meeting: February 4th (Wednesday) at 7:30 PM at the Central Lutheran Church. Club members and general public welcomed. There will be a presentation by club member Robert Hall on "Renaissance Coin Making". As part of our monthly meetings, there will be a bullet coin auction of no more than 10 coin lots. Members wishing to submit coins for the bullet auction can bring them to the meeting.

2. YN (Young Numismatists) Meeting: February 13th (Friday) at 7:00 PM at the Central Lutheran Church. YNs, club members, and general public welcomed. The subject of interest will be "Alaskan Tokens".

3. Anchorage Coin Club Board Meeting: February 18th (Wednesday) at 7:00 PM at the Central Lutheran Church. Club members welcomed.

January 7th Membership Meeting:

The January meeting was called to order at 7:30 PM. Prior to the start of the coin auction. President Roy Brown made several announcements:

Reminder to YNs that the YN meeting was scheduled for Saturday, January 10th and would be an excursion to The Alaska Mint to see how their coins are minted. (Editors Note: See YN Comer article on what happened).

The club's first raffle coin prize for 1998 is a slabbed 1937 Walking Liberty Half Dollar in ANACS-65 condition. Raffle tickets are $5 / each.

Coin show put together by member Robert Hall at the Cottonwood Creek Mall in Wasilla scheduled for January 10th and 11th.

The ANA's Portland Convention (scheduled for August 5-9) is filling up fast. Members are advised to start considering reservations for this event.

As there were no further announcements, the winner of the door prize (a 1982 Lincoln BU Variety Cent Set) was won by member John Larsen.

The winner of the membership prize (a 1990 New Zealand Mint Set) was won by recent member Bob Folkerts.

The balance of the evening saw the club's January Winter Coin Auction. Some 102 lots were auctioned off that evening. The Winter auction concluded at 8:45 PM that evening at which time the meeting was adjourned.

Minutes of the January 21st Board Meeting:

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

The club's 10th Year Commemorative Coin Set Program was reviewed. Mike Robuck will be cutting the obverse die for the coin and should have the first prototype ready for the club's review by the March membership meeting. It was decided by the Board to allow orders to be placed for the numbered sets up to March 31st. After that...no more orders will be accepted. Larry Nakata will put out a reminder mailer in the month of February to those club members who have not bought their numbered sets. According to Mike Robuck, owner of the Alaska Mint, all coins should be ready by April to the membership.

It was pointed out by Larry Nakata that not all of the YNs were able to attend the January 7th Meeting which featured our club's Winter Auction. As a result, some $88 of YN Bucks remained unspent. The Board approved use of those YN Bucks for the club's Bullet Auctions and for their numbered sets.

Virginia Treasury Note 1862

Virginia Treasury Note / 1862

Good news! Our club received confirmation that the ANA has granted permission for a club table at the ANA Convention in Portland in August. The Board discussed possible programs for the ANA Convention and would like ideas from members intending to go to that event.

Also discussed, which will carryover into the next month's Board meeting, were ideas on National Coin Week.

Elections are coming up with the March meeting being the election date for the offices of President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, and one Board seat. The Board would like to encourage the Anchorage Coin Club members to run for these various positions.

The balance of the meeting saw the board going over club expenses for the month. A $25 patron donation to the ANA was approved for the ANA Spring Convention in Cincinnati. The club's insurance policy is now in place. Cost on the policy for 1998 came to $320.

As there was no further business, the meeting adjourned at 8:30 PM.

 

YN CORNER
by Larry Nakata (Member #41)

Thanks go to owner Mike Robuck and his Chief Minter, Gary Smith, of the Alaska Mint for allowing the YNs to visit his place of business on Saturday, January 10th. The field excursion proved to be a great event with the YNs getting the first pattern strikes of the 1998 Alaska Sports Fishing Medallion. As it turns out, the first pattern strikes were error varieties which were greatly appreciated. It's not everyday one can get such coins.....

The YNs learned how computers are used to make the designs of the coin, the difference between two dimensional and three dimensional dies, how galvanos are made, and how the die is actually cut using a reducing machine. Each YN was even allowed to mint their own individual pattern strike of the Sports Fishing Medallion. For those YNs who did not make this meeting....you missed a great event. Perhaps we may be able to repeat the visit later in the year when Mike Robuck gets his new minting press.....

Prior to the field excursion, there was time for the YNs to meet for a short time to talk about future YN programs desired for 1998. There was even time for yours truly to give a short presentation on "US Paper Currency". I even brought in my $1 Paper currency collection for the YNs to look over.

Our next YN meeting will be on February 13th (the second Friday of February). The subject that we will cover will be "Alaskan Tokens". This should be a pretty good session that is of interest by our YNs. Who knows.....there could be few tokens given out for your collections at this meeting.

One final thing lo the YNs: At the January 7th Coin Auction, not all YNs were able to attend the event. Some $88 of YN Bucks remained that were not used in this coin auction. I talked it over with the Anchorage Coin Club Board. The Board has agreed to let you use those remaining YN Bucks for bidding at the club's Bullet Auctions or as payment towards your numbered set. So do not throw away those YN Bucks that were not used. They still are good. If by chance you did throw away the YN Bucks, get with me at the club meetings. I will cut you a replacement. See you at the next meeting.........

 

 

THE 1926 - 1939 OREGON TRAIL HALF DOLLAR
by YN Sarah Bilak (Member #177)

(Editor's Note: This is the first of several YN articles that were submitted by YNs as part of the YN Bucks Program., .enjoy the article)

The Oregon Trail half dollar was made to commemorate the long journey of 2000 miles from Independence (or St. Joseph, Missouri) to Oregon. It also commemorated the great hardship of the 20,000 people lost along the trail.

The Oregon Trail half dollar was first minted in 1926. The coin's obverse was designed by Laura Gardin Fraser. She designed the relief map of the US behind the Indian with his right hand stretched out, and his left hand holding a bow. Her husband, James Earl Fraser, designed the reverse of the coin with a wagon being pulled by two oxen towards the sunset. James Earl Fraser also did the models for both sides of the coin.

In 1926, the Philadelphia Mint struck 48,030 coins and the San Francisco Mint struck 100,055 coins. This was the first time that a commemorate issue had been struck at more than one mint.

Over the 13 year life span of the Oregon Trail half dollar, a total of 203,000 coins were minted. This was the first extended commemorative issue considered exploited by collectors. If Congress had not put an end to the issue in 1939, they probably would still be heavily minted even today.

 

 

THE HISTORY OF CONFEDERATE MONEY
by Larry Nakata (Member #41)

February, 1861 saw the beginning of the Confederate government. The immediate problem facing the new government was the disorder and chaos that resulted in it's monetary and economic system.

Going into 1861, the South's economy was not in the best of shape. The South, being primarily agriculture based, relied on it's state banking houses and a barter/credit system (in rural areas) with each Southern state in charge of it's destiny. State Bank notes (the paper currency of it's day) and US coinage were the monies used for circulation in the South's economy at that time. By the beginning of the Civil War, the State Bank Note systems in the North and South were in need of revamping in order to financially support their respective war efforts.

This article covers how the South addressed this problem. I will not cover the efforts made by the North since that is an article in itself. On that subject I will only say the North and South took very different paths in how they addressed their monetary policies.

The immediate problem facing the South was what to do about the coinage situation. To Southern politicians it made no sense to have US coinage circulating in the South's economy when a state of war existed with the North. There were 3 mints still active in the South: New Orleans, Charlotte, and Dahlonega. The problem was that coins of all descriptions were being hoarded by the Southern public and there was only a small amount of bullion owned by the Confederacy for mintage of new coins. This bullion was necessary as payment to foreign countries for needed supplies used in the war effort.

There was an attempt in the beginning of the war to try and mint Confederate coinage. In April of 1861, some 4 pattern specimens of the Confederate half dollar were made out of the New Orleans mint. The obverse design resembled the same design used on the North's Liberty Seated half dollar. Only the reverse side differed on the half dollar. The Confederate half dollar never saw any mintage as a decision was made by the Confederate government to use it's available bullion as payment to foreign countries. As a result, the policy throughout the war was to regulate the value of available foreign and US coinage within the Confederacy.

Confederate 50 cents 1861

Confederate 50 cents / 1861

The Confederate government also attempted to commission a one-cent piece early in the Civil War. Twelve pattern specimens were struck by a gentleman named Robert Lovett Jr. of the firm "Bailey and Co." out of Philadelphia. For reasons that are obvious, these pattern coins were never delivered to the South. It is believed the dies were hidden during the war since Confederate one cent pieces began resurfacing in 1874... some 9 years after the conclusion of the war.

With Confederate coinage non-existent, the monetary policies then focused on the use of paper currency. Up to this time, State Bank notes prevailed as the currency of it's day. The need for an interstate currency was quickly recognized as a necessity for the South's economy. Such currency would be the exchange standard used between banks and states in the Confederacy.

The first Confederate notes issued were interest bearing Treasury Notes that were printed in denominations of $50, $100, $500, and $1000. These notes could be retired at the end of one year...probably in anticipation of an early end to the Civil War. While not intended for public circulation (since they were essentially bonds used to pay debts owed by the Confederate government), these notes nonetheless proved to be very successful and popular. This led the Confederate Congress to pass legislation that permitted non-interest bearing Confederate Treasury Notes in denominations of $5 and above. These types of Treasury notes were to become the medium of exchange standard for the South. By April, 1862 lack of coinage caused the printing of notes below $5 denominations to be authorized by the Confederate Congress.

The beauty was that:

no interest needed to be paid,

the money could be used easily by the public,

these notes could be used to pay government debt,

they could be exchanged for specie (i.e., paper currency redeemable in gold and silver) and State Bank notes, and...more importantly...

the principal on these Treasury Notes was not due until a successful conclusion of the Civil War by the South.

The Southern banks and general public readily accepted these Confederate bills at first...perhaps out of patriotism for the Southern cause. The fact that these bills could be exchanged for State Bank Notes allowed for the continuation of the State Bank Note system in the South until the end of the Civil War. The Confederate paper money soon established itself as virtually legal tender.

State Bank Note Virginia 1861

State Bank Note / Virginia / 1861

As the Civil War dragged on, this Confederate currency saw a deterioration process occur. After all, this was currency created by the will of the Confederate government and backed only by it's people's faith in that government.

Several incidents occurred which undermined the effectiveness of Confederate currency.

First was the failure of the Confederate government to make this currency legal tender. For reasons that still remain unclear, the Confederate government chose to make it's currency a voluntary standard in the South. Legal tender status would have made acceptance compulsory and thus allow the Confederate government more flexibility in influencing better monetary policy in the South.

Second, the Confederate government failed to control the amount of State Bank Notes that circulated in the Southern economy. The high quantity of such notes slowly undermined the value of Confederate currency.

Third, various states within the Confederacy saw fit to issue their own brand of Treasury Notes that essentially competed with Confederate currency. These State Treasury Notes were intended to meet their respective war debt obligations and did not circulate outside the boundaries of that state. Nonetheless, this added more paper currency into the South's economy.

All of these factors combined to create a situation where an abundance of paper currency flooded the South. Rising costs associated with a prolonged war, declining purchasing power of the currency, and continued hoarding practices by the public ultimately created a vicious cycle in which more paper currency had to be printed by the Confederate government to keep the South's economy afloat. Hyperinflation soon resulted. By March, 1863 the Confederate government was printing $50 million in Treasury notes a month to meet expenses. Something needed to be done to bring back order to this situation.

By early 1864, monetary reform changes occurred. In an effort to reduce the paper currency supply in the South, the Confederate Congress acted by forcing a redemption of it's older Treasury Notes in exchange for government bonds (without loss of value). After July, 1864 any remaining Treasury Notes could only be exchanged for new issue notes at a rate of $3 in old bills for $2 in new bills.

This monetary reform measure proved too late in coming. By this time the public's faith in Confederate government currency had eroded. The South was clearly losing the war. Inflation continued even with the new currency. In January, 1861 the exchange rate was SI.05 in Confederate currency to $1 in gold. By the conclusion of the Civil War in 1865, the exchange rate deteriorated to $1200 in Confederate currency to SI in gold. By this time, trade and barter had become the principal means of economic transactions in the South.

There were hopes following the Civil War that the victorious US Federal Government would honor some percentage of Confederate currency in exchange. As a result, large amounts of Confederate currency continued to kept in attics and storage... even after the notes were demonetized.

So much for the history. For the collector one must ask the question as to what is collectable in terms of Confederate moneys.

First there is the half dollar coin. Only 4 pattern specimens were ever struck of the half dollar. A number of restrikes were later made following the Civil War using the reverse die. These are very collectable.

Even more difficult to collect are the one cent pieces. Only 12 original patterns were struck. Restrikes of the cent were made in copper, gold, and silver around 1873 from the hidden dies. Only 74 restrikes were ever made...so forget any thought of collecting one cent pieces.

There were a number of tokens that circulated in the South's economy during the Civil War. These tokens were intended to be used as substitutes for the lack of available coinage. These are certainly collectable.

Finally, there is a multitude of Southern paper currency that is very much collectable. Lots of Confederate currency is available at very reasonable prices. A collector can put together a very nice set that is very affordable. There are lots of Southern State Bank Notes and State Treasury Notes that are also very reasonable in price.

So take your pick on what you wish to collect. Confederate moneys are certainly very rich in history......

References:

1. "Graybacks and Gold: Confederate Monetary Policy" by James F. Morgan c. 1985

2. "A Guide to US Coins/ 50th Edition-1997" by R.S. Yeoman

3. Article: "A Confederate Cent Spent In a Tavern" by Q. David Bowers. The Numismatist / January 1998.

4. "1997 Blackbook Price Guide of US Paper Money" 29th Edition by Marc Hudgeons.

 

 

GOLD COINAGE WEIGHT REDUCED
by Mike Nourse (Life Member #1)

(Editors Note: The January 98 issue of "The Numismatist" saw an excellent article on the Confederate one cent piece that we felt would complement the article on Confederate money...here it is).

 

Confederate Cent

Confederate Cent

Most collectors are aware that the Confederate States of America had its own paper money and bonds. What is not as well known is that it also nearly had its own coins. Chapter 13 of my book American Coin Treasures and Hoards tells of Civil War treasures, one of which is exceedingly rare.

In 1908 old-time dealer John W. Haseltine addressed the ANA convention in Philadelphia. He told stories of the days of long ago, including how he discovered a hitherto unknown rarity. It seems that one day in 1873, a man wandered into a tavern in Philadelphia and tendered a handful of coins in payment for what was served. In those days, the coins in circulation consisted mainly of copper-nickel and bronze Indian Head cents, but among the handful of coins left by the stranger was something unusual. One of the little copper-nickel coins, dated 1861, did not have the Indian portrait at all, but rather showed the head of a goddess.

This lightly worn curiosity was taken by the barkeep to John W. Haseltine, who recognized the die-cutting style of Robert Lovett Jr. Lovett had used the same goddess on various tokens of the early 1860s. More mysterious still, the little cent spent at the tavern bore the inscriptions CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA AND 1 CENT.

Engraver Lovett still was working in Philadelphia, and Haseltine visited him to learn the story first hand. Lovett revealed that in 1861 he had been contacted by local jewelers Bailey & Co (later known as Bailey, Banks & Biddle), who in turn had been asked by a representative of the Confederate States to investigate having dies made for a 1-cent piece. Apparently, die-cutting talent was hard to find in the South; the trade was concentrated in the North.

To create a 1-cent piece for the Confederacy, the engraver used his standard "goddess" punch that had been employed in various tokens as an obverse motif. On the reverse was a wreath of products from the South, including com, wheat, tobacco, and a bale of cotton bearing the tiny initials "L" for the engraver.

Fearing the Union authorities, Lovett had second thoughts about the matter and concealed the dies and 12 coins he had made as samples. No one was told about the creation of the coins, and no one suspected their existence.

By the time of Haseltine's visit in 1873, the fear had passed. The engraver told of the piece he spent by accident in a Philadelphia bar and showed the dealer 10 or 11 others still on hand (Haseltine's recollections varied), all arranged in a neat little row in a wooden drawer. Haseltine bought the remaining pieces and the pair of dies. In 1874, with J. Colvin Randall, he hired Philadelphia diesinker and medalist Peter L. Krider to make restrikes. These were struck in bronze (55 pieces), silver (12), and gold (perhaps as many as 7). The die is said to have broken on the 55th bronze impression, ending the project. No restrikes had been made in copper nickel, thus preserving the integrity of the originals.

Although Hazeltine's 1908 recollections constituted the history of these pieces and was widely cited by authors, catalogers, and others over a long period of years, some suspected the story was inaccurate or incomplete. Walter Breen's Complete Encyclopedia of US and Colonial Coins (1988) raised a warning flag: "Less is known about the Confederate pattern cent of 1861, and that little is derived from Capt. John W. Haseltine, whose memory at best is unreliable, and whose honesty has been justly questioned. "

At the 1992 ANA convention in Orlando, Florida, numismatic historian and bibliophile P. Scott Rubin mounted an exhibit that included a copy of John W. Haseltine's January 13-15, 1874, auction Catalog. Lot 665 offered one of the original copper-nickel 1861 Confederate cents, which was described as "CONFEDERATE CENT, 1861, head of Liberty; inscription, 'Confederate States of America'; rev., '1 Cent' in two lines, surrounded by a wreath of ears of corn and wheat, with a cotton bale at the bottom; nickel; Very Fine; excessively rare.

"The dies for the above piece were made by Mr. Lovett, of Philadelphia, in 1861. Mr. Lovett says that they were ordered in 1861, for the South, and that the dies were delivered. Previous to delivering the dies, he struck 12 pieces, but showed them to no one and kept the matter quiet, fearing that he might be arrested if it were known. It was not until about six months since Mr. Lovett parted with all he had (either 10 or 12) to Dr. E. Maris. of Philadelphia, from whom this one is obtained.

"Although it is evident that the Southern Confederacy did not adopt this piece, still it will always be considered interesting and valuable as the only coinage designed for the Southern Confederacy, and will no doubt bring a high price. I have been somewhat particular in giving the facts about this piece, as there are persons who always sneer at and doubt anything new and interesting that is discovered by other than themselves-"

The preceding erroneously indicates that Lovett delivered the dies to the Confederacy, which he did not. The story of Lovett spending the first coin in a bar was not included in Haseltine's 1874 commentary, which today must be considered more reliable than his 1908 recollections. It is not known whether Dr. Edward Maris, a collector in the private sector, bought the original cache in its entirety from Lovett, or through the intermediation of Haseltine.

One of the original 1861 Confederate cents was in Harlan P. Smith's 1886 sale of the Maris Collection and another was in the Chapman Brothers' 1900 auction of other pieces from the Maris Collection, indicating that at least two were retained by Maris for years afterward.

Today the 10, 11, or 12 original 1861 copper-nickel Confederate States of America 1-cent pieces reside in various private collections and are highly prized. The 1874 restrikes by Krider also are avidly sought by numismatists. In 1961, with the help of the firm of August Frank, Robert Bashlow had "restrike" cents made in bronze and silver from new dies. These pieces also have a following. (Editors Final Note: Answer to Poem: "The 1964 Peace Dollar").

Confederate $5 Note/ 1863

 

 

 


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