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ACCent: The Monthly Newsletter of the Anchorage Coin Club


Volume 13, Number 3

March 2000

March Membership Meeting
Wed., March 1, 2000 Central Lutheran Church

7:30 PM Meeting


 

FROM YOUR EDITORS

The "25 Most Desired Coins" were on display at the February membership meeting. Club president Loren Jon Lucason gave short talk about the "charm" of the most desired coins. He explained how Colorful, Historic, Artistic, Rare, Memorable coins are the most sought after.

We then had members tell us about their most desired coin. It soon became clear that the desire for a coin is a very individual thing. Member Rick wanted one of the biggest, most beautiful ancient coins ever made: the Sicilian decadrachm. Jim wanted a coin so rare that only one is known to exist... and it is in the Smithsonian. Jonathan had a desire for an extremely high grade half dollar to complete his collection. Bill wanted a mythical 1964 Piece dollar; reportedly struck but not circulated.

Before we took a break to admire the collection we picked numbers for the door prize and membership prize. Jim Walston won both the 1907 Indian cent in VF and the 1876 Seated Liberty Dime in F/VG. It was just his lucky night.

During the break members drooled over a variety of desirable coins including coins from America's history such as the Spanish Pillar Dollar (predecessor to the U.S. silver dollar) and a 1795 Flowing Hair Bust silver dollar (first U.S. silver dollar type). Also on display were classic rarities such as the 1909-S VDB and the 1955 double die cents as well as the 3-legged buffalo nickel. Some members counted the lines on the bells in the complete set of BU Franklin half dollars and some admired the proof Walking Liberty half dollar in the 1940 proof set. There were some exotic coins: an 1852 $50 Slug and an 1877 pattern silver dollar.

Included in the collection was Scrooge McDuck's Lucky Dime..... a fantasy coin represented by an 1875 Seated Liberty dime under a small glass dome. John Larsen had the comic book issue that described the dime on display as well.

YN Corey could not believe that the 1907 high relief St. Gaudens $20 gold piece was real. It was, but some coins were not to be believed. The MS65 1796 Small Eagle draped bust quarter from the Gallery Mint Museum was marked 'copy' whereas the copper 1943 cent was plated and not marked. Extreme desire for a coin on the part of collectors entices people to make copies.

1877 Indian Head Cent

1877 Indian Head Cent

After inspecting the highly desirable coins on display we settled down to the bullet auction. We have decided to expand the bullet auction and this was the first month of 15 lots. It went very well although none of the most desirable coins from the display were in it.

In preparation for National Coin Week (last week of April) we will be putting a display in the Loussac Library. In view of all the new coins, new currency, and a new millennium... the title of the display will be "Changing Money". We are looking for volunteers to illustrate one of America's many changes in money..... for instance, the reduction in size of the 1836 half dollar with examples of the coin and a small description card. We will be asking for volunteers at our March 1st meeting for this display. Also.... elections for Board officers that evening........ Your Editors.

 

MEMBERSHIP NEWS

Schedule of Events for the Month of March:

1. Monthly Membership Meeting: March 1st (Wednesday) at 7:30 PM at the Central Lutheran Church. Club members and general public welcome. Elections of club officers will be on the meeting agenda. Featured will be a presentation on "Mints and the Minting Process." As requested, we will be having a Bid Board at our March meeting in place of our Bullet Auction. Members wishing to provide items for the Bid Board are asked to bring their lots to the meeting. No lot limit for the Bid Board.

2. YN (Young Numismatist) Meeting: March 10th (Friday) at 7:00 PM at the Central Lutheran Church. YNs, club members, and general public welcomed. The meeting will focus on putting together the coin display for the Loussac Library on "Changing Money".

3. Anchorage Coin Club Board Meeting: March 15th (Wednesday) 7:00 PM at the Central Lutheran Church. Club members welcomed.

Minutes of the February 16th Board Meeting:

The Board meeting was called to order at 7:15PM.

Old Business was first discussed. President Loren Lucason and Treasurer Robert Hall are working to put together the Bid Board for our club's March 1st membership meeting. A discussion ensued on the rules for the Bid Board. Loren and Robert will have the rules formulated and ready in time for the March meeting.

On the issue of our club's upcoming Officer/Board elections on March 1st, no new additions to the list of people running for office. At this time the following people have volunteered to run:

For President Bill Hamilton

For Vice President: John Larsen

For Secretary Larry Nakata

For Treasurer Robert Hall

For Board Seat Roy Brown

The other two Board seats will be filled by Loren Lucason who automatically steps into one of the seats as outgoing president (in accordance with our club's bylaws). Don Thurber still has one more year to go on the other Board seat. Club members can still volunteer to run for any of these positions and can "toss their hat in the ring" right up to election day. The Board wants to encourage members to run for office.

1859 Indian Cent

1859 Indian Cent

New Business was then discussed. Loren gave a briefing on the progress of the Loussac Library Numismatic Display. A number of YNs have volunteered to help with the display. Loren would like to have adult volunteers as well. The name of the display will be "Changing Money".... which will focus on changes in U.S. coinage and currency. At our March 1st meeting, it is Loren's intent to ask for adult volunteers to work with the YNs in setting up the display. Details to be provided by Loren at that time.

Larry Nakata will be organizing the YN Donation Auction which traditionally is held at our club's May membership meeting. Larry will be asking for numismatic donations from our club's membership.

Final item of business covered at the Board meeting was a decision to award a scholarship this year that would send a YN from our club to the ANA Summer Conference in Colorado Springs. Several of our YNs have reached an age suitable for our club to send one of them to this conference. Larry Nakata and Loren Lucason will be looking at costs and will work on putting together the rules that will determine the selection of the YN going to the ANA Summer Conference.

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

YN Donation Auction:

The month of May sees our club hosting an auction in which club members donate numismatic items such as coins, currency, and books. Proceeds from this auction goes to the club's YN Education Program.

Thanks to this yearly auction, we have been able to further our YN Program which now consists of 34 YNs. This year will see us sending one of our YNs to Colorado Springs to attend the ANA Summer Conference under this program.

I want to thank all of you who have supported this YN Donation Auction over the years.

I am looking for numismatic donations from our members (YOU!!) for this year's auction.

You can drop off any donation lots with our coins dealers in Anchorage. You can mail the donations to our club's post office box. You can also contact any Board member or myself. Our phone numbers are listed in this newsletter.

Again.... thanks for your support over the years............

        Larry Nakata.

 

YN CORNER
by Larry Nakata (Member #41)

We had a very good turnout of YNs and parents at our YN meeting on Friday evening (Feb. 11th). In fact... it was necessary to move the meeting into a bigger room for all who attended.

Our session on "Lincoln Wheat Cents" covered the coin's history, the key dates that are sought after in this series, and errors & varieties. The YNs were very fortunate to see four key date coins:

The 1909-S VDB,

The 1914-D,

The 1922 Plain, and

The 1955 doubled die Lincoln cent.

Thanks go to Roy Brown for loaning us those coins for the YN meeting.

While it would have been nice to give one of these key dates away as a door prize (as suggested by one of the parents).... the actual door prize, a 1956-P Franklin Half Dollar in BU condition, was won by YN Chris Odom.

The balance of the meeting saw the YNs "cherrypicking" through an assortment of wheat cents in hopes of finding an error or variety... in particular, a repunched mint mark. The YNs did find a number of die chip wheat cent varieties, which should make for good additions to their collections. Again.... thanks go to Roy Brown for providing the hoard of wheat cents for the YNs to "cherrypick". Each YN was also given a nice BU Lincoln wheat cent minted in the 1930s or early 1940s for their collections.

Before ending the meeting, member Loren Lucason briefed the YNs on our club's upcoming display at the Loussac Library. This display will be featured at the library from March 23rd through April 6th, The theme of this display will be on the subject of the changing nature of US coins and currency. A number of our YNs will help with the setup of this display on the portion dealing with cents, quarters, dollar coins, and paper currency. Thanks go our YNs for volunteering their time for this project.

Our next YN meeting will be on Friday, March 10th at the usual place (Central Lutheran Church 7 PM). We will be working on the display for the Loussac Library that evening. Better figure that there will be lots of nice coins and currency at this meeting........

        Larry Nakata.

 

 

PENNIES OF THE UNITED STATES
by Justin Samorajski YN (Member #288)

U.S. pennies are widely collected by people of all ages. Serious collectors with a lot of money to spend on coins focus on high grade red coins. Red coins are untoned examples. As copper tones it turns brown. The less brown in a penny, the more valuable. Children often begin collecting by finding pennies in pocket change and putting them in Whitman holders. That's how I started. Right now I am working on a collection of uncirculated wheat ear pennies beginning in 1934. There are several different kinds of pennies to collect.

1955-D Lincoln Wheat Cent

1955-D Lincoln Wheat Cent

Large cents and half cents were made from 1793 to 1857. The design of the large cent changed from Liberty with flowing hair to the draped bust style to a classic head style with Liberty facing left. The final design which lasted the longest (1817-1857) is the Coronet type designed by Robert Scot. By 1857 the mint had decided to discontinue large cents in favor of a smaller cent. Too much copper was being used for such a small denomination coin. Also people complained that the coins were too heavy and were wearing holes in their pockets.

The Flying Eagle cent was produced from 1856-1858. It was meant as an experimental coin to show Congress what a small cent might look like. It was never widely minted and is quite valuable today.

The first regular small cent was the Indian Head Cent. It was designed by the designer of the Flying Eagle, James Longacre. The portrait is actually Ms. Liberty in an Indian headdress not an actual Indian. The reverse featured a laurel wreath in the first year, and then an oak leaf wreath until 1909, its last year.

The most famous and long running of all U.S. coins is the Lincoln Penny. It is the first U.S. coin to portray a real person, Abraham Lincoln. Through 1958, the reverse pictured two wheat ears. Beginning in 1959 the reverse pictured the Lincoln Memorial in celebration of Lincoln's 150th Birthday. The coin was designed by Victor D. Brenner. In the first year of issue, 1909, his initials "V.D.B." were engraved at the bottom of the reverse, creating the famous 1909-S V.D.B. The Philadelphia minted coin is much more common. The initials were removed in 1910 and restored to the obverse in 1918 were they remain today. The most unusual of all U.S. coins were the World War II pennies, minted in 1943. These were made of steel to preserve copper for the war effort. Lincoln cents will likely always be the most widely collected of all U.S. coins.

However much money one has to spend and regardless of experience, there is a something to collect in U.S. pennies.

 

 

THE MOST UNDERVALUED INDIAN CENT
by Mike Nourse (Life Member #1)

Probably most of you out there in ACCent land have collected Indian Head cents. They are one of the most popular coin series to collect in all of United States numismatics. Virtually everybody has heard of Indian cents and most people have seen or even held one at one time or another even though production ceased over 90 years ago.

Because we are coin collectors, we know much more about Indian cents than the average person on the street. We know that there were three different types of Indian cents produced in two different alloys. In terms of rarity, we know that the 1877 is the key with the 1909-S as the second key date. There are plenty of "also-rans" between the mid 1860s and mid 1870s along with the 1908-S.

So which Indian cent is the most undervalued? This is actually a bit of a trick question. Most people will automatically think of the bank account draining 1877 with it's low 852,500 mintage. Bui now I will give you a hint and tell you that the most undervalued Indian cent is 1000 times scarcer than the illustrious 1877, yet it is actually less valuable in high grade. The hint about this coin's scarcity should have clued you in that I am referring to a Proof coin. And the specific issue that I am talking about is the 1859 Proof.

What is so great about the 1859 Proof and what makes it so undervalued? Well, we all know that the 1859 Indian Head is a one year type which uses the same wreath as the one used on the nickel three cent piece. In 1860 the design was changed to an oak wreath with a shield on top. Actually, that is a large part of this coin's appeal- that this very distinctive design was produced for only one year. Therefore, the mintage for the entire type is a whopping 800 pieces! A look in Waller Breen's Complete Encyclopedia shows that he believes that part of this tiny mintage was either melted or put into circulation. If we assume that 500 out of the original 800 survive to this day, than less than one out of every half million people in the United States can have one.

Actually, I doubt if any more than one person in a million in the U.S. could possible own a Proof 1859 Indian Head cent. Of the survivors, a fair number are out of the country, many are impounded forever in museums, and most likely a fair number have been harshly cleaned. So, how much will it cost you to become that one person in a million? It is not cheap in absolute terms, but it far less than would be expected for a rare one year type. Expect to pay about $500 for a Proof-60, $1200 for a Proof-63, $2500 for a Proof-64, and $4500 for a Proof 65. A nice Proof-63 seems to make a nice balance between quality and price. If you buy one, keep it forever. You will own a coin that is rare enough that you will probably never meet another person who owns one! Good collecting..........

        Mike Nourse.

 

SURFING THE INTERNET

More Comments From Your Chief Editor:

Last month our newsletter focused on the subject of U.S. Gold coinage. There was a great article that I spotted on the Internet that I wanted to post in this month's newsletter. The information in this article comes from NGC (Numismatic Guarantee Corporation) and was posted in http://www.tulvig.com

 

 

1879 - 1880 STELLA FLOWING HAIR AND COILED HAIR

In the first half of the 19th century, Americans were absorbed with western expansion fulfilling their "Manifest Destiny" to conquer the continent. By the 1870's, the interior of the country was secure, and the nation's focus began to move beyond its borders, with increased emphasis on international trade. But global commerce was hampered by scores of competing coins and currencies, and many people on both sides of the Atlantic called for a worldwide coinage system to facilitate trade. In 1867, growing discussion blossomed into an international conference in Paris, where twenty nations agreed to adopt a gold standard with the French franc as its base.

1879 $4 Coiled Hair Stella Pattern

1879 $4 Coiled Hair Stella Pattern

Many in Congress envisioned the United States as the hub of a world monetary system and responded with their own ideas for an international gold coin, but few proposals went beyond debate. By 1871, it was silver, not gold, that was on the minds of many legislators, and silver was not faring well at all. Germany adopted the gold standard and dumped huge amounts of silver on the market, thereby depressing iTs price. At the same time, vast quantities of silver from the Comstock Lode added to the oversupply. With little industrial use for the metal, western mine owners desperately needed the U.S. Mint as a customer and in a big way. Fortunately, they got help from three very cooperative members of Congress, Representatives Richard Bland, John Kasson, and William Kelley. For over two decades, these three never missed an opportunity to promote the interests of either silver or nickel mine owners, and they were often successful in their efforts. Kasson and Kelley were partly responsible for conversion of the dime, quarter, and half dollar to the metric system in 1873. Although they argued that metric coinage would circulate worldwide and increase the demand for American silver, the change had little impact, either on the weight of the coins or their use overseas. The legislation did have a bonus for the mine owners, however. The silver interests got free coinage of a Trade dollar for use in the Orient. The Mint made almost 36 million of these large silver pieces between 1873 and 1885, barely enhancing commerce with the Far East but certainly adding to the mine owner's bottom lines. The nickel interests also got a gift: With the elimination of the three and five-cent pieces made of silver, the Mint was limited to using nickel for those denominations. Five years later, the silver interests scored again: In 1878, Bland pushed through the Bland-Allison Act, requiring the government to purchase between two and four million ounces of silver each month and coin the metal into standard silver dollars.

It was Kasson, though, who was behind another try at an international coinage in 1879. Attempting to appease advocates of both silver and gold, he proposed a "goloid" dollar containing 96% silver, 4% gold, and a four-dollar gold piece of 90% gold, 10% silver. The four-dollar coin was intended to compete globally with a myriad of similarly valued pieces, including the French 20 franc coin, the Spanish 20 pesetas, the Dutch and Austrian 8 florins and the Italian 20 lire.

The four-dollar coin received an entirely new designation: "stella" (Latin for star). This was analogous to the eagle, "both the star and the eagle being national emblems on our coins." Like the ten-dollar eagle and its smaller and larger counterparts, the stella was to be another denominational unit, and other coins would be expressed in fractions or multiples of it. Along with the stella, patterns for the "goloid" dollar and a "quintuple stella" (metric double-eagle) were struck in 1879.

There were two obverse designs for the stella, one with Flowing Hair engraved by Charles Barber and another with Coiled Hair by George Morgan. Barber's design depicts Liberty with long, flowing hair; Morgan's version differs only in that Liberty's hair is tied in a bun. On both designs, Liberty is encircled by the lettering *6*G*.3*S*.7C*7*G*R*A*M*S*, stating the proportions of gold, silver, and copper in the coin. The reverse features a large five-pointed star as the central motif, with the incuse inscription ONE/STELLA/400/CENT. Both the U.S. motto E PLUR1BUS UNUM and the Latin motto DEO EST GLORIA (God is Glorious) circle the star, in turn surrounded by the inscriptions UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and FOUR DOL.

The stella never saw regular production; Congress killed the legislation and only patterns were made, all proofs. Unfortunately, mintage records for these pieces have proven to be unreliable. Today, specialists believe that only 15 originals and 425 "restrikes" of the 1879 Flowing Hair design were made, with the originals lacking the die striations of the later pieces. These 1879 Flowing Hair "restrikes" are the most frequently encountered of this denomination, as all the other issues are exceedingly rare. Surviving 1880 dated Flowing Hair coins number fewer than 25, and the highest estimates of existing Coiled Hair pieces are 15 for 1879 and 10 for the 1880 coins. Whatever the exact number, the 1880 Flowing Hair pieces are at least a dozen times scarcer than their 1879 counterparts, and Coiled Hair stellas are rarer still, seldom appearing on the market except in sales of major collections.

Although all four-dollar gold pieces are patterns, they have nevertheless been incorporated into the regular series of U.S. coins, similar to the 1856 Flying Eagle cents, Gobrecht dollars, and Wire Edge Indian Head eagles. Because of their rarity, however, they are usually collected as type coins. Only a few wealthy and determined collectors have ever been lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time to put together a complete four-piece set of these historic coins. At the time they were made, stellas were very popular with collectors, but with extremely low mintages, there were not enough pieces to go around. In the early 1880's, newspapers reported that while an average collector could not acquire a four-dollar gold piece from the Mint at any price, looped specimens could be seen hanging around the necks of madams operating some of Washington's most famous bordellos.

Gem specimens of all four issues exist, but many stellas saw use as jewelry or pocket pieces and show impairments of some kind. Friction on the design will first show on the face of Liberty on the obverse and on the star on the reverse. Unlike the commonly traded bullion coins struck in the latter part of the 19th and early 20th centuries, stellas are infrequently seen and always scrutinized, making counterfeits virtually unknown.

After two years, the four-dollar gold piece was abandoned by the Mint and forgotten by the public and Congress. Today, only numismatists remember the dream of a universal coinage system that created these fascinating coins.

SPECIFICATIONS

Diameter: 22 millimeters

Weight: 7 Grams (restrikes vary)

Composition: .85714 gold, .0428 silver, .100 copper

Edge: Reeded

Net weight: . 1929 ounce pure gold, .0096 ounce pure silver

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Akers, David W., "United Stales Gold Coins, Volume III, Three Dollar Gold Pieces 1854-1889, Four Dollar Gold Pieces 1879-1880, Paramount Publications, Englewood, OH, 1976.

Bowers, Q. David, "The History of United States Coinage As Illustrated by the Garrett Collection", Bowers and Ruddy Galleries, Wolfeboro, NH, 1979.

Breen, Walter, "Walter Breen's Complete Encyclopedia of U.S. and Colonial Coins" F.C.I. Press / Doubleday, New York, 1988.

Carothers, Neil, "Fractional Money, A History of Small Coins and Fractional Paper Currency of the United Stales", John Wiley & Sons, London, 1930.

Judd, J. Hewitt, M.D., "United Slates Pattern, Experimental and Trial Pieces, 7th Edition, A. Kosoff (editor), Western Publishing Co., Racine, WI, 1982.

Pollock, Andrew W. Ill, "United Stales Patterns and Related Issues", Bowers and Merena Galleries, Wolfeboro, NH, 1994.

 

 


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-                    Loren Lucason    Eves: 272-3700
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

Roy Brown-                      Days: 563-6708

Don Thurber-                  Eves: 338-7488

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