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ACCent: The Monthly Newsletter of the Anchorage Coin Club

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Volume 12, Number 1

January 1999

January Membership Meeting
Wed., January 6, 1999 Central Lutheran Church

7:30 PM Meeting


 

FROM YOUR EDITORS

Food, more food, and friends - the annual potluck Christmas party was a delight. The 32 door prizes passed out by President "Santa" Roy also helped make it a very nice evening. Many notable members were there, some with' their families, including ACC Member #1 Robert Hall, a busy past president- Mike Orr, and the youngest ACC member of about 6 months old- Hunter Robuck. President "Santa" also presided over the meeting and gave out awards. Cory Rennell received the award for outstanding Young Numismatist of the Year and Loren Lucason received the Bill Garing Memorial award for outstanding ACC Numismatist of the Year. Their names were added to the club plaques for these awards.

The young numismatists put in a last ditch effort to earn YN Bucks by selling raffle tickets for the complete set of Lincoln Wheat cents. Anne Bilak won the raffle prize and although she is not a serious collector, it can now be said that she has "cents".

10 Cent Fractional Note 5th Issue

10 Cent Fractional Note 5th Issue

During these activities the auction was organized and expanded to 62 lots. Then, with the YNs armed with their YN Bucks, the auction began. Some major rarities such as the 1909-S Indian cent were passed up whereas other lots drew lively bidding such as the 1853 $5 State Bank Note from the Washington State Bank in Washington, D.C. Another popular lot was the 1882 Morgan O/S variety. A surprisingly popular lot was a small bottle of shredded money listed as "Small Fortune, some assembly required."

Some of us were involved in lively bidding while others were still snacking on the thousands of calories of desserts, polishing off the pecan pie and the fresh baked Christmas cookies. After the last lot was sold the 'settling up' began. We then compared coins, swapped books, and wrapped up the last of the food. A few tables were folded up; the last of the party did not get out into the snow until 10 o'clock.

 

MEMBERSHIP NEWS

Schedule of Events for the Month of January:

1. Monthly Membership Meeting: January 6th (Wednesday) at 7:30 PM at the Central Lutheran Church. Club members and general public welcomed. There will be a "swap & trade" event in which members are encouraged to bring in coins and other numismatic items. Bring the coins that you picked up during the holiday season!! There will be a bullet auction for only 10 coin lots. Members wishing to submit coins can bring them to the meeting.

2. YN (Young Numismatists) Meeting: January 8th (Friday) at 7:30 PM at the Central Lutheran Church. YNs, club members, and general public welcomed. The YNs will be completing their Coin Display for the Loussac Library. YNs are asked to bring their display coins for the meeting. YN Corey Rennell will be giving a presentation on his December trip to Chile and the coinage of that country.

3. Anchorage Coin Club Board Meeting: January 20th (Wednesday) at 7:00 PM at the Central Lutheran Church. Club members welcomed.

 

YN CORNER
by Larry Nakata (Member #41)

A great time was had by all at our club's Christmas Party on December 10th. A number of you YNs (that is, Young Numismatists) came to the party with "YN Bucks" in hand. Altogether $257.50 in YN Bucks were earned over the last couple of months. Those "Bucks" bought a lot of coins at our club's Winter Coin Auction that evening. My estimate is that about one-fourth of the coin lots auctioned were picked up by you YNs. Congratulations on earning those "Bucks".....THAT GOT YOU ALL THOSE GREAT COINS.

I also noted that just about everyone of the YNs were lucky enough to win some great door prizes. For those YNs who have decided to wait until Christmas to open those gift-wrapped door prizes.....ENJOY!!

Have a good holiday season and we'll see you at our coin club's membership meeting on January 6th and the YN meeting two days later on January 8th (the second Friday of the month).

One last thing..... the January 8th YN meeting will see us working on the coin display that will be featured at the Loussac Library in January/February. YNs who will be providing material for the display are asked to bring them in that evening. YN Corey Rennell will also be giving a talk about his December trip to Chile and the coinage of that country.

See you at the meetings next year.......

        Larry Nakata.

 

 

ISRAEL 50TH ANNIVERSARY
by Mike Orr (Member #91)

Written in conjunction with an article in Coinage Magazine / April 1998 / Pages 80-113.

What makes a coin a neat collectable? Size, shape, design, historic significance, precious metal content, or all of the above? If you agree that these qualities are what make a coin desirable as a collectable, then the world of Israeli numismatics is for you.

This article is being written as a postscript to my presentation at our YN meeting in November. There we learned about the different periods of development of the monetary system for Israel. We explored historic events...that from the outset put in motion practically from scratch...the creation of the new state. We saw how events shaped Israel into a modem state and the subsequent monetary system that followed. Along with this monetary system a commemorative coin program followed starting in 1958.

1958 Hanukka Law is Light 1 Lira

1958 Hanukkah Law is Light 1 Lira

The commemorative series is the subject of this article. For those unfamiliar with these coins Israel has some of the finest commemorative coins produced anywhere in the world in the last half of the 20th century. It all began in 1958 with the issue of a circulating Hanukkah - Law is Light copper nickel 1 Lira bearing a Menorah of ancient design. That same year a non-circulating silver 5 Lirot (plural of Lira) commemorative (featuring the 10th Anniversary- Menorah) was struck with deep concave surfaces. This set the theme for subsequent issues. That is, ultra modem designs, combined with past ancient themes meant to create a unique coinage for Israel.

The Lira coinage continued until 1980 when inflation forced them to reform their monetary system. In 1967 the first 10 Lirot appeared along with a gold 100 Lirot. These coins were struck to commemorate victory hi the 6-day war. This event began a golden age of Israeli numismatics.

The American-Israel Numismatic Association became the fastest growing organization of its type in the world. However, it did not last long. In 1973 with the near disaster of the Yom Kippur war, interest fell. Not even the signing of the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel in 1979 did much to help.

Coupled with low interest and rising inflation the commemorative coinage reflected this trend. In 1974 the first 25 Lirot coin of the first anniversary of the death of Ben Gurion appeared. Inflation was reflected in the gold commemoratives as well. What began with a 20 Lirot piece in 1960 (commemorating the 100th anniversary of the birth of Dr. Theodore Herzel) continued with 50, 100, 200, 500, 1000, and 5000 Lirot denominations. These coins were struck until 1980 and reflected the growing inflation even though none of them circulated.

1958 10th Anniversary Menorah 5 Lirot

1958 10th Anniversary Menorah 5 Lirot

In 1980, "Operation Menorah" was planned and initiated to reform the highly inflated Lira system. The Lira was replaced with the Sheqel. By this time the commemorative issues had dwindled to five-figure mintages. The new silver denominations were 1/2, 1 sheqel, and 2 sheqalim (plural of sheqel) and ended with a 25 sheqaiim in 1980.

The gold denominations started with 5 and 10 sheqalim and ended with the 500 sheqalim of the 100th Anniversary - Birth of Zeev Jabotinsky.

In 1985 another monetary reform due to inflation changed the coinage. Recognizing that Israel' s commemoratives were not related to circulating coins they continued their low nominal denominations of 1 new sheqel and 2 new sheqalim, 5 and 10 sheqalim were struck and all continue through today.

This has left the collector with a multitude of themes and historical events to collect. The classic Lira keys are the 1960 Henrietta Szold proof 1 Lira, the 1963 silver seafaring 5 Lirot, and the 1964 Bank of Israel proof 50 Lirot gold piece. All of these sell for less than half of what they brought at their peak. The gold especially would fit into the realm of modern bargains for the numismatic community. Check them out. I believe you will be pleasantly surprised......

        Mike Orr.

 

 

COLLECTING U.S. FRACTIONAL CURRENCY
by Larry Nakata (Member #41)

As a collector I have noted the value of collectable U.S. paper currency has been going up appreciably in the last several years. There are still good deals out there...one of which is Fractional Currency.

U.S. Fractional Currency is considered to be paper currency issued in denominations under a dollar.

The concept of fractional paper currency in the United States goes back to the Revolutionary War which saw the introduction of such denominations in Continental Currency.

25 Cent Fractional Note, Second Issue

25 Cent Fractional Note, Second Issue

The demise of Continental Currency soon gave way to the State Bank Note system in the first half of the 19* Century through the Civil War.. During this period of time, some banks issued paper currency in fractional denominations.

By the start of the Civil War, the American public's mistrust of paper currency resulted in both the North's U.S. Government and the South's Confederate Government having to establish centralized policies to control their respective paper currencies.

Hoarding of coins by the American public through the Civil War years subsequently created a severe shortage of circulating coinage. Commercial trade became hampered as merchants were unable to make change for everyday transactions.

In the North, July 1862 saw Secretary of the Treasury Samuel Chase recommending use of ordinary postage stamps as money. The U.S. Congress subsequently passed legislation legalizing this measure.

50 Cent Fractional Postage Currency

50 Cent Fractional Postage Currency

Use of "postage currency" gave way to fractional currency when the U.S. Congress passed such legislation in March, 1863.

From 1863 through 1874, five separate series of Fractional Currency were issued in six denominations ranging from 3 cents to 50 cents. Some 23 designs and 100 varieties comprised U.S. Fractional Currency during this period of time.

The South's Confederate government only issued a 50 cent currency note during the Civil War. Of historic interest is the fact that U.S. President Tyler's son, Robert, is die signatory of this fractional note....an example of the divisiveness caused by the Civil War. Other than the 50 cent note, fractional currency was never considered seriously in the Confederate government's monetary policy.

By 1875 sufficient silver coinage circulated in the United States. This resulted in legislation by Congress to discontinue Fractional Currency and redeem such currency with U.S. silver coins.

All told some S360 million of fractional currency was made from 1863-1874. All but about $2 million were redeemed....making this one of the success stories in U.S. monetary policy.

So how does one go about collecting Fractional Currency?

One could collect examples of Continental Currency and State Bank Notes that were issued in fractional denominations. This may prove to be an expensive proposition since such older currency tends to sell at premium prices.

A more affordable approach that I would recommend is putting together a collection of the 23 designs of U.S. Fractional Currency. Sufficient numbers of Fractional Currency still survive today making this endeavor very affordable. The "1998 Blackbook Price Guide to US Paper Currency" shows that one could put together a set of 23 notes in good condition for under $400...In Very Fine for $760....And Crisp Uncirculated (CU) for $3100. One could get ambitious and put together a collection of the 100 varieties of Fractional Currency.

Fractional Currency Shields were sold by the U.S. Treasury in 1866. Specimen notes of fractional currency (that were used in the shield) were printed on only one side...making this a rather unique collector's item. Very good condition shields sell between $3000-$3500....with better condition framed shields selling about $4200. Shields with pink, green or other backgrounds command even higher prices. If one has the pocketbook, this would be a good addition to one's collection.

Ultimately it's up to you (as die collector) to decide which direction to go in collecting Fractional Currency. What you can afford will dictate that direction. Good sources of Fractional Currency will be your local coin dealer, coin magazines, and numismatic auctions.

Good luck...

 

 

THE INDIAN HEAD CENT 1859 - 1909
by YN Sarah Bilak (Member #177)

Indian Head Cent

The reason this coin was made... was to replace the unpopular and unsuccessful Flying Eagle cent. The designer for the Indian was James B. Longacre. The legend of the obverse of the Indian cent is that one day, when a group of Indians came to visit the Philadelphia Mint, they soon bumped into James Longacre and his daughter, Sarah. There was an old chief who was attracted to the young girl's sweet face. He noticed how she was admiring his war bonnet and placed it upon her head. The picture of the young girl was so intriguing that James Longacre soon submitted his sketch as competition for the design and won.

The first production of the Indian cent was in 1859. 1859 was also the first and last year of the laurel wreath on the reverse. From 1860 to 1864 the reverse wreath was oak with a shield.

During 1860 there were too many cents in circulation. Three were Flying Eagle cents and the new Indian cent. Some people wanted the Secretary of the Treasury to order the Mint to stop production. However by 1862 the Civil War was raging and no one knew who was going to win. So the public decided to squirrel away items that had any value. By the second week of July, 1862 there was more hoarding through Eastern and Midwestern parts of the United States. By the end of the month there was no silver left in circulation and copper was in demand. The demand for more coinage made Congress pass the Act of July 17, 1862 stating that ordinary postage stamps could be used as money to pay federal debts up to $5.

After 1865, quantities of Indian cents dropped immensely as minor denominations and Fractional Currency took up the slack. From 1878 there were only a couple of years in which the mintage would go over 10 million: 1868, 1873, 1874, and 1875. For three years: 1871, 1872, and 1877 mintage was lower than 5 million.

At the beginning of 1879 the production of the Indian cent at the Philadelphia Mint went back up to 10 million and stayed the same through the end of the series in 1909.

1909 was the last year of the Indian cent production. The new cent that replaced the Indian cent was the 1909 Lincoln cent.

 

1936 WISCONSIN TERRITORIAL CENTENNIAL HALF DOLLAR
by YN Sarah Bilak (Member #177)

On May 15, 1936 a Congressional bill was passed that provided for no less than 25,000 coins to be struck of a single design at a single mint The 1936 Wisconsin Territorial Centennial Half Dollar was created to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Territorial government in Wisconsin. A better event to commemorate would have been the Centennial of it's admission to the Union except it was not going to happen until 1948.

1936 Wisconsin Commemorative Obverse

1936 Wisconsin Commemorative Obverse

The coinage committee of the Wisconsin Centennial Celebration chose Goode Parsons to prepare the design. The committee clearly stated that the State Seal was to be on one side and a badger on the other side. Goode Parsons did not meet their standards...so the committee found another artist with a good recommendation from the Commission of Fine Arts. The man recommended was Benjamin Hawkins, who quickly took the job and designed a coin that looked nothing like Goode Parsons' failure. Benjamin succeeded in the new design.

The obverse shows a badger which is also the state animal. That is why Wisconsin is called the badger state.

The badger is standing on a log. Under the log is the letter "H" standing for Benjamin Hawkins. Located behind the badger are three arrows which represent the war between the settlers and the Blackhawk Indians. Also located behind the badger is an olive branch representing the peace that paved the way for the creation of the Wisconsin territory.

The reverse shows the Wisconsin Territorial Seal as well as a miner's right forearm with his sleeve rolled up holding a pick ax. In the background there is a pile of lead ore and soil. Positioned below this is the inscription "4th Day of July Anno Domini 1836" the date Henry Dodge, the first governor of Wisconsin Territory, took office.

1936 Wisconsin Commemorative Reverse

1936 Wisconsin Commemorative Reverse

Distribution of these coins did not go well. They were sold at $1.50 each. You could still purchase the corns in 1952 at $3 per coin.

 

1935 CONNECTICUT TERCENTENARY HALF DOLLAR
by YN Sarah Bilak (Member #177)

The Connecticut Tercentenary was given authorization from Congress on June 21, 1934 for a commemorative half dollar to honor the 300th anniversary of the founding of the colony of Connecticut. However the United States was not going to pay for the models for the master dies or any other preparations for this particular coinage.

So the coins were financed through a Public Works Administration project.

1935 Connecticut Commemorative Obverse

1935 Connecticut Commemorative Obverse

The designer picked for this coin was sculptor Henry G. Kreis. He was to design this coin under the supervision of Paul Manship, who was a prominent medalist of the time.

The obverse of the coin was adapted from an 1855 painting done by Charles Dewolf Brownwell. The painting was of the Charter Oak. This painting was owned by the Connecticut Historical Society. The Charter Oak tree was the foremost icon in Connecticut's history. This was the tree in which colonists stashed their royal charter when agents of King James II attempted to confiscate it.

Two members of the Commission of Fine Arts said that some people were complaining about the design because the leaves were not up to scale with the rest of the design. Supposedly this was artistic license.

On the reverse of the coin stood an eagle which was somewhat similar to the eagle motifs used in Germany at that time. Artist Kreis later used a related eagle design on the reverse of the 1936 Bridgeport Half Dollar. For a number of years numismatists found themselves divided as to which side should be called the obverse and which should be called the reverse. Today the Oak Tree is called the obverse and the eagle the reverse.

During April and May 1935 all 25,000 plus 18 coins for the Assay Commission were produced at the Philadelphia Mint.

The coins were distributed through banks in the state as well as by mail to the collectors. Most of the coins went to Connecticut citizens.

In many peoples' opinions this half dollar is one of the most beautiful coins of the series. The Oak Tree once stood on the northern slope of Wyllys Hill in Hartford. The trunk was 25 feet in circumference near the roots. On August 21st, 1856 a heavy gale uprooted the tree. Today in the exact spot at which the tree once stood is a marble slab. The famous charter, that was hidden in the oak tree, is now in the possession of the Connecticut Historical Society.

1935 Connecticut Commemorative Reverse

1935 Connecticut Commemorative Reverse

 

POINTERS FROM AN OLD NEWCOMER
by
Ben Guild

Editors Note: Anchorage Coin Club member Ben Guild was recently published in the December edition of "The Numismatist". Here is his article.....a great one:

I usually don't gripe and groan. I make my choices as carefully as I can, and if they turn out to be wrong, I take my lumps and go on with my life.

Even though I am 74 years old, I am relatively new to coin collecting, being in the game a little less than 10 years. Perhaps what sets me apart from the majority of newcomers is my extensive library of numismatic books. I believe it was Q. David Bowers who impressed upon me to "buy the book before the coin," an axiom I have followed faithfully.

Because of my interest in history, I collect Early American coins and paper money. I attempt to obtain specimens in the highest "circulated" condition possible. To me, mint-state coins do not have the appeal of those that actually circulated in our nation's formative years. (This includes the coins of Great Britain, France, Spain, and Mexico that found their way to the New World.) Circulated coins also are much less expensive and more easily found, but may not be worth as much when the time comes to sell them.

Eventually, all collectors confront the question of whether the money tied up in their coins would have been better spent on other investments that might insure a greater return. (I am reminded of British General John Burgoyne, who, after his rousing defeat by the Continental Army and General Horatio Gates at the battles of Bemis Heights and Saratoga in 1777, wrote a long poem decrying the fact that he soon would be called back to England in disgrace: "Good heav'ns! how deep I'm plung'd in woe,")

To help assure collectors of the validity of their numismatic investments, third-party grading services sprang up in the 1980s. In my opinion, such firms do the hobby great injury. There is something wrong when you can get a coin graded by one of these services (for a stiff fee, I might add), break it out of its plastic capsule, resubmit it to another service and get a different grade. Any intelligent, experienced group of collectors can pass a coin around and come up with a reasonable grade. If we come to believe that any coin that is not "slabbed" is graded improperly, then we might as well quit collecting coins for fun, education, and relaxation.

Like many collectors, I started out buying from as many as 50 coin firms, participating in mail bids, attending small auctions, traveling to coin shows (when I could afford to) and dealing with private individuals. I made some costly mistakes, but, in the long run, I got a great education.

I now do business with a half dozen dealers and one auction house. I attend only those coin shows that strive to educate the public by featuring numismatic exhibits or other programs.

In closing, I'd like to offer my suggestions for enjoying the hobby:

Keep good records. Know when and from whom you purchased your coins and how much you paid.

Know the dealer from whom you buy your coins. Establish good business relationships.

If you think you got "burned" on a purchase, talk it over with the dealer. Stay friends if possible. If the circumstances force you to sell a coin, offer it to the dealer who originally sold you the piece. No matter the value of your collection, your heirs may not be interested in it. Be sure your will includes information about where or to whom your collection (or parts of it) should be sold. Remind your heirs that there is a difference between a catalog value and dealer price. If you have extremely rare and valuable coins, be sure your records show this.

Keep having fun and enjoy your finds. Remember, there are no baggage racks on hearses.

 

 


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-                John Larson       Eves: 276-3292
Treasurer-                      Robert Hall        Eves: 561-8343
Secretary-                   Larry Nakata        Days: 269-5603
                                                                    Eves: 563-1729

Editors -                     Loren Lucason
                                    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

Mike Orr-                         Eves: 522-3679

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