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ACCent: The Monthly Newsletter of the Anchorage Coin Club

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Volume 11, Number 8

August 1998

August Membership Meeting
Wed., August 17, 1998 Central Lutheran Church

7:30 PM Meeting


 

FROM YOUR EDITORS

It was cloudy the day of our annual summer picnic but not a drop of rain fell on our barbecue at Kincaid Park. There was a good turnout of friends, including Mike Robuck's wife and newborn son. Hunter. Even with no doors Cory Rennell's mom won the door prize: a 1970 Great Britain Proof set. The membership prize: YN Kento Azegami won a 1984 Olympic Prestige Proof set. We finally sold enough raffle tickets and the 1899 $5 Silver Certificate was won by John Larson.

The second annual treasure hunt started with Sarah Bilak being die first YN to know which was the smallest U.S. silver coin ("the 3 cent silver") and from there it turned into a foot race. The YNs paired up and an adult went along just as "bear food." No bears were fed and the treasure hunt went smoothly. Kento being the first back with all of the clues, was given first choice of the treasure.

1733 Spanish Eight Reales Pillar Dollar Phillip V

Then there was a lot of food to eat and people to socialize with. We had a bullet auction and eventually packed up late in the afternoon when the winds came up,

Our next membership meeting will be a social event at the Anchorage Museum of History and Art on Monday, August 17th at 7 PM. We will be joined by important ANA members coming up from the show in Portland. The club will be hosting hors d'oeuvres and beverages. Bring your interesting coins to talk about.

The next YN meeting will be September 11th and a coin show is in the works for October at the Ship Creek Mall.

 

MEMBERSHIP NEWS

Schedule of Events Tor the Month of August:

1. Monthly Membership Meeting: August 17th (Monday evening) from 7 PM to 9 PM at the Anchorage Museum of History and Art located at 121 W. 7th Avenue. There will be a bullet auction with no more than 10 coin lots. This event will feature a social get together with members of the ANA who have come up by cruise ship to Alaska. This will be a catered event for our members and visitors.

2. YN (Young Numismatists) Meeting: No meeting is planned for the month of August. YNs are encouraged to come to the August 17th event at the Anchorage Museum of History and Art.

3. Anchorage Coin Club Board Meeting: August 19th (Wednesday) at 7:00 PM at the Central Lutheran Church. Club members welcomed.

Minutes of the July 17th Board Meeting:

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

First order of business was a discussion of the Portland ANA Convention and items that should be brought for our club's table at the event. Club information material, extra newsletters, our club banner, and our 5th / 10th year coin sets will be brought for the event. Eight of our club members will be attending the Portland Convention. A schedule was set up for our members manning the club table during August 5th - 8th.

The Board also approved mintage (by the Alaska Mint) of an additional fifteen 10th year "reeded edged" sets for the ANA Convention.

Larry Nakata stated that our club's 10th year sets are being posted in The Numismatist and by TAMS (Token and Medal Society).

The Board then moved onto our club's August club meeting/ social event scheduled for Monday evening, August 17th at the Anchorage Museum of History and Art. Lower 48 ANA members, who attended the Portland Convention, will be coming up by cruise ship and meeting with our club members. The Board approved a budget that will cover catering for up to 50 people at this event. Menu items were selected. The event is scheduled to run from 7 PM to 9 PM that evening. Mike Orr announced that we have a raffle prize for that evening, an 1883 CC Morgan Dollar in BU condition in U.S. Government holder, which will be raffled off that evening.

The Board then discussed an itinerary for our club's September 2nd membership meeting, a recap of the experiences of our club members who attended the ANA Portland Convention.

Final order of business was an update on the October Coin Show. Mike Orr is still in the process of organizing the event. The show is tentatively scheduled for the weekend of October 17th & 18th. Mike is presently soliciting members on club tables. Details should be more formalized by our August Board meeting.

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

 

YN CORNER
by Larry Nakata (Member #41)

Hope all of you YNs, as well as your brothers and sisters, had a good time at our coin club's Summer picnic. As all of you found out, lots of coins and prizes were given away through the Treasure Hunt and from the various other events played at the picnic. Great coins, too.....

Special thanks go to members Loren Lucason, John Larson, and Mike Orr for setting up the Treasure Hunt event.

At this time, we're about half way through the Summer and I trust that all of you are enjoying these nice summer days.

I want to remind you YNs that our coin club is still having membership meetings through the Summer. Our next membership meeting will be on Monday, August 17th over at the Anchorage Museum of History and Art from 7 PM to 9PM.

That meeting will see lots of great food, a chance for our members to bring coins do show & tell, and an opportunity to meet with other ANA members from other states. We will also have our usual door/membership prizes along with our bullet auction.

So...I'd like to see you YNs come to the August 17th event.

Come September, we wilt be resuming our YN meetings again with the next YN meeting scheduled for 7 PM, September 11th at the Central Lutheran Church.

I'll be working closely with member Loren Lucason in coming up with some very interesting YN sessions in the coming months. We'll keep you posted............

 

 

SURFING THE INTERNET

CHIEF EDITOR'S NOTE: Last month's newsletter focused on "The One Dollar Coin", In reviewing the history of the U.S. one dollar coin, your chief editor came across a couple of interesting articles that talked about it's origins. For our Anchorage Coin Club members who collect foreign coins, you will love these articles.....

From ANA's Web Page: http;//www.money.org comes this lead-in article:

 

TWO BITS, FOUR BITS, SIX BITS, A DOLLAR
by Dennis Marr

Two bits, four bits, six bits, a dollar. Shave and a haircut, two bits. What's going on here? Lets talk a bit about all these "bits."

During the American colonial period, our young nation never seemed to have enough coins of its own for everyday trade. Because of this, the coins of many foreign countries were used in America. Along with the meager supply of coins provided by England, Americans' pockets were likely to contain coins from France, Spain, Germany, Holland, or elsewhere. Merchants became quite adept at figuring the value of the various coins offered in payment for goods or services.

The most commonly used foreign coin was the Spanish eight reales, or "Piece of eight." This large silver dollar was used in market quotes are based on "bits." Each fraction of a point gained or lost in company's stock is worth 12 & 1/2 cents.

Although the eight reales coin is gone from all other areas of American commerce, its memory lives on each time we hear someone say "he's just a two-bit hustler!"......

    From ANA's Moneytalks Series / Transcript # 1473 / May 27, 1998.

 

 

ORIGINS OF THE UNITED STATES MONETARY SYSTEM
by David Kenny (ANA 164747)

MORE FROM YOUR CHIEF EDITOR: Now that you have an idea of how Spanish coins influenced our U.S. coinage, how about this article I came across in the March 1995 issue of The Numismatist:

Almost every author who has written about United States numismatics has credited the silver "piece of eight" as the inspiration for the currency adopted by the founders of our great nation. Even the "Red Book" (R.S. Yeoman's Guide Book of United Stales Coins) begins with a write-up and tribute to the Spanish milled dollar. What Lhotka and Anderson did, however (in their book "Survey of Medieval Iberian Coinages"), was raise the question of Moors must have been relatively uncultured Berbers from Morocco. (It always is more fashionable to have been conquered by a more advanced culture than a bunch of wild mountain men, so we must forgive Spanish historians for their use of this euphemistically elevating terminology.)

In the late 11th century, a newly converted group of fundamentalist Muslim fanatics known as the Almoravides supplanted the previous Muslim leadership, which principally had been under Arab control. Presumably, the Almoravides felt the centuries-old Muslim establishment had become too lenient in its adherence to Muslim doctrine. The newly converted tribesmen controlled the area around Cordova for only 60 years. Although southern Spain was under Muslim control and government, Christians still inhabited the area.

Under the reign of Yusuf the Emir of the Almoravides (1106-40), a double-weight gold dinar was struck. Spanish Christians designated this coin as a dubla. In time, the Almoravides were overrun by the even more fanatical Almohads. By the mid 14th century, however, the Christians had reconquered all but Granada, and the term "dobla" had become firmly established in numismatics.

In the late 12th century, the first Christian gold coins were struck under Ferdinand II coinage of Spain changed visibly from early- to late- medieval form.

Not only did the quality and style of coinage improve under the rule of Alfonso XI, but both a gold dobla and a dobla de a cuatro were also minted. The significance of this change may be ascribed to the increase in commerce, which demanded larger denominations of currency for larger transactions. This dobla de a cuatro, essentially a four-fold multiple of the gold dinar, foretold the minting of the doblon de a ocho under Philip II in 1587.

Afonso's son, Peter I (Peter the Cruel) of Castiie and Leon, succeeded to the throne upon his father's death from the plague. While Peter was rather ill himself at the time, he nonetheless recovered. Among his other "accomplishments", such as plunging the country into civil war after the orderly reign of his father, Peter I ordered the arrest and execution of his father's mistress, Leonor de Guzman. His half-brother Henry II, Leonor's eldest son, eventually killed Peter and assumed the throne in 1369.

Peter I minted a fairly large quantity of coins, including a gold dobla. He also introduced the denomination known as nummis realis, or "money of the king." The first silver coinage of the real denomination, it was struck in a fineness of about 93 percent and weighed approximately 3.5 grams. Half-real coins also were minted. Together, these denominations circulated virtually unchanged in weight for 500 years before being legally replaced with modem decimal coinage. Interestingly, a 10-dobla coin also is listed and illustrated in many numismatic catalogs from 1865 to 1992. At first glance, it would appear that Peter introduced the decimal system, too, but the description of the 10-dobla gold piece sold in Part II of Numismatic Fine Arts' Garrett sale (October 1984, Lot 1436), indicates it was struck in Prague in the early 17th century.

Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand unified the coinage of Spam under the 1497 Pragmatic of Medina del Campo. The transition from medieval to Renaissance coinage began under their rule and essentially was complete by the reign of their grandson Charles V (Charles I of Spain).

Spanish Silver 1 reale Seville Mint

Spanish Silver 1 reale / Seville Mint

During Isabella's reign, 1-, 2-, and 4- excelente gold coins were minted. While the gold dobla- still minted during the beginning of the couple's reign- weighed approximately 4.5 grams, the new excelente and 2- excelente coins weighed 3.5 and 7 grams, respectively. Like the dobla, the double excelente bore facing portraits of the king and queen. It was called the "doblon of two portraits" to distinguish it from the dobla with two portraits issued earlier in their reign. The excelente was equal in weight to the ducat used in Italy and Austria. Since the coat of arms was the design of choice for the reverse side of the ducat, it acquired the appellation "scudo" (for the Latin scutum, meaning "shield"). This carried over into Spanish coinage, where it was called an "escudo," but still was designated by the letter "S."

The double escudo, which weighed the same as the 2 excelente, also was named "doblon." Given the vast quantity of gold being mined in the Spanish Provinces in the New World, amore efficient coin eventually was required. By the time Philip II came to power, the 4- escudo coin was being minted. It should have been called a cualro escudo or quadruple escudo, but the term doblon de a cualro was used instead, since the word dobla, later replaced with doblon, had been used for more than 400 years to denote gold coins of higher denominations. Similarly, when minting of the 8-escudo began in earnest under Phillip III (1598-1621), it was called a doblon de a ocho escudos.

Ferdinand and Isabella (1474-1506)

Ferdinand and Isabella (1474-1506)

Our forefathers shortened this to "doubloon", bit this was a misnomer, since the word really referred to the 2-escudo piece. When legal specificity was required, the term "gold piece of eight" was used instead of "doubloon", and the metal was mentioned to distinguish it from the "silver piece of eight."

Under the reign of Isabella and Ferdinand, the silver 8 reales was issued for the first time. This coin was known as both the dura and the real de a ocho. In addition to the gold doblon de a cuatro struck during the reign of Philip II, "silver pieces of 4 eight," or ocho reales, were struck as fast as the silver was taken out of the ground. It has been said that the quantity of silver mined in Potosi, Bolivia, alone, would be sufficient to build a bridge from Buenos Aires to Madrid, including pylons down to the sea floor. It is no wonder, then, that the Spanish milled dollar (the silver duro) had become the dominant currency by the 18th century.

Now we have all the pieces of the puzzle, and we can connect them to tell the story of our dollar. It began with a fanatical Muslim emir, who invented the dobla. His Spanish successors expanded on the idea and devised the double dobla. Later, a ruthless Spanish king decided to name the money after the regency, and, from a shortening of the Latin phrase, we got the "real", which was doubled three times. A lot of silver came out of the New World, producing enough pieces of eight to make an impression on Thomas Jefferson.

Perhaps the words dura and later were combined to become the dollar, but unless Noah Webster thought to note it in his dictionary, it is pure speculation. Jefferson recommended the decimal system, but retained the 2-real coin, which became our quarter.

Born of violence and conquest, raised on wealth and warfare, it is on wonder the legacy of the dollar has drawn many men to their demise. Jefferson halted the minting of the silver dollars in 1804, after many had been struck with 1803 dies, thus inadvertently causing a controversy that would not be solved for another 160 years. But that's another story!

Sources:

Calico, Xavier and Ferran Calico.

The "Ouza" Main Book (The Gold Doubloon of Eight). Barcelona: Gabinete Numismatico Calico, 1986, pp. 5-21.

Doty, Richard G. The Macmillan Encyclopedic Dictionary of Numismatics. New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., 1982, pp 107-09,276-77.

Friedberg, Robert. Gold Coins of the World from Ancient Times to the  Present, 1st and 6th editions. New Jersey: The Coin and Currency Institute, Inc., 1958 and 1992, pp. 624-28.

Bank Leu AG and Numismatic Fine Arts, Inc. The Garrett Collection, Pan II, October 16-18, 1984. Zurich, Switzerland. Lots 864, 865 and 1436.

Heiss, Aloiss. Monedas Hispano-Christianas desde la invasion de los Arabes. Vol. I. Madrid: R.N. Milagor, 1865, pp. 1-172, plates 1-33.

Lhotka, J.F. and P.K. Anderson. Survey of Medieval Iberian Coinage. The American Numismatic Association, 1963, pp. 3-42, 120.

Michener, James A. Iberia. New York: Random House, 1968, pp. 199, 230.

David Kenny is a Maryland resident who specializes in Spanish Renaissance gold coins and 18th- century U.S. gold issues. A collector since the mid-1950s, he has written articles for JOHN REICH JOURNAL regarding die variety nomenclature, mintage figures for early die varieties, and type collecting. A dealer in Asian antiquities, he has traveled extensively in Asia, Europe, and South America.

1794 Silver Dollar

 


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