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ACCent: The Monthly Newsletter of the Anchorage Coin Club

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Volume 13, Number 1

January 2000

January Membership Meeting
Wed., January 5, 2000 Central Lutheran Church

Starting at 6 PM


 

FROM YOUR EDITORS

Good friends, good food, and good coins made for a delightful Christmas party. We had a great turnout for this event with about 70 people. Given out that evening were 33 door prizes (all coins) and 3 special door prizes for the YNs. Our club's raffle prize, a full set of circulated Liberty Walking Half Dollars, was won by member Frank Jasper. Congratulations to Frank on winning such a great prize!!

Congratulations go out to member Richard Bilak for becoming our club's recipient as Numismatist of the Year. The Bill Garing Award was presented that evening to Richard for his contributions to the YN program, his volunteer efforts for our club, and those great presentations he gave on "Ancients" and "Medieval Islamic Coinage". Well deserved!!!

The balance of the evening saw our club's Christmas Coin Auction with some 82 lots auctioned off that evening. The YNs were especially active bidding on a number of lots thanks to YN Bucks earned, their allowance moneys, and possibly even some help from their parents. A fine time was enjoyed by all!!

By the time you receive this newsletter, the month of December will be shortly coming to a close.... and with it, the Year 1999.

Alexander Gold Stater 336-323 BC

Alexander Gold Stater 336-323 BC

In reflection, a lot was accomplished this year. Besides events like our club's Summer picnic & Christmas party, we had that great seminar that was hosted in September on "Grading and Counterfeit Detection". It was good seeing good friends like Bill and Marilyn Fivaz coming up for the seminar. There was the YN Donation Coin Auction in May. A lot of coin shows were held throughout the year. There were all those great presentations by our members at our club meetings... especially that trove of ancient coins which our YNs cherrypicked at one particular meeting. The Bullet Auction proved very successful. And.... your editors were very pleased to win #1 for our coin club's publication, ACCent.

1999 was a good year...... Your Editors.

 

MEMBERSHIP NEWS

Schedule of Events Tor the Month of January:

1. Monthly Membership Meeting: January 5th (Wednesday) at 7:30 PM at the Central Lutheran Church. Club members and general public welcome. Club member, Greg Samorajski, will be giving a presentation on "Ike Dollars". A bullet coin auction of no more than 15 coin lots will occur. Members wishing to submit coins for the bullet auction can bring them to the meeting.

2. YN (Young Numismatist) Meeting: January 14th (Friday) at 7:00 PM at the Central Lutheran Church. YNs, club members, and general public welcomed. The session will be on the subject of "Collecting Mercury Dimes".

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

Minutes of the December 15th Board Meeting:

The Anchorage Coin Club board meeting was called to order at 7:15 PM.

The meeting was a short meeting (45 minutes) which saw the Board mostly reviewing old business for 1999.

Expenses for the club's December 9th Christmas Party was reviewed. The overall view of the Board was that the Christmas party was a very successful event.... enjoyed by all.

Aegina Slater 485-480 BC

Aegina Slater 485-480 BC

For 1999 business, Larry Nakata stated the club's Raffle Prize account resulted in $232.45 for 1999 to the YN Fund. Funds have accordingly been transferred.

The Board then went into new business.

Board member, Don Thurber, moved that we increase the number of bullet auction lots from 10 to 15 effective our club's January 5th meeting. Motion was approved.

The Board then discussed club schedules for the months of January and February.

January 5th will see a presentation by member Greg Samorajski on the subject of "Ike Dollars". The January 14th YN meeting will see Larry Nakata giving a presentation on "Collecting Mercury Dimes".

The February 2nd membership meeting will see a presentation on the "25 Most Desired Coins" with a display showing many of these coins as collected by our membership. This should be a pretty good session. The agenda for the February 11th YN meeting is yet to be determined.

The balance of the Board meeting was spent in discussions on the club's achievements in 1999.

As there was not further business, the meeting was adjourned at 8:00 PM.

The Board would like to wish all of our club members a Good Holiday Season........

 

YN CORNER
by Larry Nakata (Member #41)

Lots of YNs showed up for the December 9th Christmas Party and Coin Auction. Thanks to the $200 in YN Bucks earned by our YNs, a lot of great coins were purchased that evening. It was good seeing so many YNs bidding on all of those coin lots....and winning them.

Lots of door prizes were also won that evening by a number of YNs. Three special door prizes were donated by one of our Associate Members, Ponterio & Associates, specifically for our YNs. Special thanks to them.

I trust that all the YNs had a good time at the Christmas Party. Enjoy the Holiday Season.

Come next month on January 14th (the 2nd Friday of the month) our next YN meeting will be held at the Central Lutheran Church, 7 PM. I'll be giving a session on "Collecting Mercury Dimes".

Finally, this month's and next month's newsletters will feature articles submitted by our YNs as part of the YN Bucks Program. Enjoy the articles.......

        Larry Nakata.

 

 

ANCIENT GREEK COINAGE
by Corey Rennell YN (Member #211)

Introduction: When people think of ancient Greece, they think of glorious wars, beautiful architecture, magnificent sculptures, and enough history to fill a library. Yet, although these things held the Greeks above the rest, an important characteristic is forgotten. Even the great Homer, who crafted the story of a war so great as to mystify those more than two millennium after, would bow down to the legacy and importance of the coins of ancient Greece. Some say that coinage and its invention, although at the time used for easier trading, was the greatest contribution to modem day society. Coins have been around almost as long as the first civilizations, and the amount of history they share is immense. But to understand the language of money, we must travel back to the beginning of coinage.

History: Money has played a large part in the many ages of man, yet even though it's hard to picture a world without money, such times did exist. Before there was any rate of exchange, people were trading. A cow for ten bales of wheat, a horse for two slaves, and pretty much anything of value. Yet around the 600's BC a more mutually expansive system was invented. The first form of money was composed of bars of silver and rods of iron. A bar of silver (also known in those times as ingots) was traded in groups of two or three. This group of bars, when traded, made up the Greek talanton or "weight". This was called a monetary unit, and in those times this amount was equal to about 58 pounds. Iron rods were also commonly traded, as were other valuable metals. As these metals became more popular and more people began to convert , it made for easier trading. People could now trade in smaller units vs. trade in bulk large items. ...such as cows.

As trading began to evolve into better forms of exchange, people soon desired easier and lighter ways to trade. The first nation ever to mint coins was most likely the kingdom of Lydia in 635 BC. This area is known as Asia Minor, or Turkey today, and had heavy trade relations with Greece at that time. These coins were first used to pay off mercenary soldiers because they were very light, easily transported, and stored. This was very helpful to Lydia in building up their armies. Even at this time in history, fraud was going on. So that people could know these coins were authentic, a lion was stamped on the front. Although the Lydians were not Greek, they were allies....thus providing the example for the beginning of Greek coins.

When Greece began to mint coins, it was not a unified nation. It was broken up into a number of city/states. Greece is a very mountainous country, and this geography resulted in the formation of small city/states that have no connections with others. When Greece began to mint coins, they were not coins of Greece, but coins of the specific city/states. The first coins to be minted in Greece were minted around 595 BC in Aegina. Aegina is an island only 33 miles long, yet this small city/state gave Athens the most strife, and caused the Peloponnesian and Corinthian wars. Aegina was the home of the Mycenean Greeks who, through the help of the great poet Homer, sacked the great city of Troy. The first Aegean coins were made of a metal called electrum. This was a mixture of silver and gold that resulted in a soft metal that was easy to punch, did not corrode, and lasted a very long time. Aegean coins were made in three sizes.

Since iron rods were most common in Aegina prior to coinage, the sizes matched those of the iron rods. The smallest coin the Obol, the middle was the Drachm, and the largest was the Didrachm or Statater. The last coin known as the Didrachm portrayed the sea turtle, which at the time was the symbol of Aegina. Soon, around 575 BC both Athens and Corinth adopted the invention of coinage. At that time these two city/states were the largest in Greece, and soon these coins began to circulate all over Greece. By 400 BC, almost every city/state was minting it's own coinage. Today it is very easy to determine which coins came from which city/state since each felt a need to be independent from each other.... resulting in coins that looked different and distinctive.

Athens Tetradrachm 145 BC

Athens Tetradrachm 145 BC

Because of this diversity, a uniform denomination system was not created for a long time. Nevertheless, the metals used in these coins remained the same. Until the mid 400's BC, silver was the only metal used. At this time, bronze began to be minted in the lower value coins. The reason bronze was only used in smaller denominations is because, unlike coins of today, a coin's worth had to correspond with the weight and value of the metal in it. Since bronze, in comparison to silver, did not carry as much value, the bronze coinage was much larger in size. Gold was another metal used in ancient coinage, but did not become wide spread enough to be used in Greek coinage until the mid 300's BC.

Many people today think that coins and paper currency are only as valuable as what can be purchased with them. But in ancient Greece, this was not the case. A lot of work was put into design and creation of coins. Since each city/state was independent, great effort was placed in the style of coinage. To many city/states, coins were used as a form of advertising. In these times, more people meant a bigger army, more money, and a more powerful empire. Besides advertising, Greek coinage became a new art form. If you look at any modern US coin, one can see that the profiles portrayed are not just random faces. Such strong role models as George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Thomas Jefferson are given this special honor. Since the ancient Greeks also felt this way, only the most talented artists were hired to design coins. Even so, it took weeks, even months to perfect the coin to the point where it was acceptable. Much time and effort was placed in the coinage process since coins were a way of honoring and thanking gods or ancestors.

In the 300's BC the descendants of Alexander the Great minted a series of coins with his portrait on them. This event marked the beginning of a new era of Greek coinage. The coins with Alexander's portrait were really the first national coinage of Greece. By the time of Alexander, the Greek city/states were unified under his banner. Once his successors, the Hellenistic kings came into rule, expansion of the Greek empire continued with coinage practices and styles blending. By this time, the coins mostly portrayed the rulers or kings of these different areas, with many featuring a seated or standing figure on the back of an eagle holding a thunderbolt. These styles of coinage lasted until about 100 BC when Greece fell to Roman conquest. Rome then took over mintage responsibilities. Although it marked the end of Greek coinage, it allowed for a new chapter in coinage: Roman Coinage.

Effects on Greek Society: In the beginning, most of the transactions made in Greece were trade with desirable items. When coins were invented, this all took a drastic change.

Prior to coinage, trade of goods was the only means for transactions. As a result, fanners became very popular in such transactions since their goods were central to trade. Bargaining was a key to a good deal. Not a very efficient process.

When coins came along, these coins would set a value on any trade transaction. Uniform pricing for a transaction was the result which laid the path for stronger society. Commerce became more efficient. All this because of the coin. Greek cities were later to be united into one nation and become a major power.

The Minting Process: Today the coins we carry are all made by machines. In ancient Greece, every coin had to be designed, sized, and hand punched. If you look at modern US coins you will notice each coin looks the same...with the same thickness, size, and design. These coins stack well, no matter what denomination.

However, hand made coins is a different story. The first ancient Greek coins were made on an anvil that had a hole in the center... corresponding to the size of the coin it was punching. A blank, thin circular piece of metal (called a planchet) was placed in the hole. Then a metal cylinder with a design on the bottom was carefully set on the top of the planchet so that it lined up with the hole. The minter then took a hammer and hit the cylinder (or die) so that the coin was left with an impression. The left over metal was then peeled off around the hole.... leaving a hammered coin. Although this method was slow and prone to mistakes, as coins became more common, the process got better. In time, a design was even engraved in the anvil hole so that double sided coins could be made. This style of coinage prevailed for a long time and became the basis for our modem day minting process.

Conclusion: As you can see, though ancient Greek coins played a small part in the legacy of ancient Greece, it played a huge part in it's construction. The beginning of Greek civilization marked the end of the barter system and with this change built the very society we stand on today. Coins and other forms of money still play an important part of our lives. Over two thousand years ago the Greeks acted on their coinage... .which allowed for the advances and changes we see up through modern day society........

        Corey Rennell

Bibliography:

1. Jenkins, G. K., "Ancient Greek Coins", BAS Printers Ltd, Over Wallop, Hampshire, 1990.

2. Osbome, Robin, "Greece in the Making 1200-479 BC", Routledge, New York, 1996.

3. Robinson, C. E., "Everyday Life in Ancient Greece", Clerendon Press. London, 1977.

4. Sacks, David, "Ancient Greek World", On File Inc, New York, 1995.

 

 

WHEAT CENTS
by Chris Odom YN (Member #249)

1922 Plain Lincoln Cent Obverse

1922 Plain Lincoln Cent Obverse

The Wheat Cent was issued to honor the 100th Anniversary of President Lincoln's birth. It's years being minted from 1909-1958.... with such coins still being found in loose change today. The cent was struck in the Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco mints. It was the first US penny to have the American motto, "In God We Trust". The obverse has Lincoln's head facing right and the word "Liberty" at his neck. The date is a little lower than "Liberty" on the right side of Lincoln's face. The mint mark is located below the date. The reverse has two wheat heads. The denomination, "One Cent" is above the inscription, "United States of America", which is between the two wheat heads. The reverse also has the motto "E Pluribus Unum" at the top rim. The edge is plain. The coin was composed of 95% copper and 5% tin and zinc. In 1982, the composition of the coin was changed to mostly zinc.

The designer of the wheat cent was Victor D. Brenner. His initials, "V.D.B.", were put on the reverse on the lower rim of some 1909 cents. Controversy resulted that caused the "V.D.B." to be removed from the cent by decision of the Secretary of Treasury. It was not until 1918 that the "V.D.B" initials were put back onto the pennies (located on the obverse side under die president's shoulder). The 1909-S V.D.B. is worth about $800 in mint state condition. The San Francisco Mint only struck 484,000 of these cents. The Philadelphia 1909 cent is a lot cheaper at $15. Why is the Philadelphia's a bargain? The mint struck 27,511,000 more!

Matte proof cents were struck just for collecting purposes only from 1909-1916, but some were minted in 1917 by mistake. Matte proof coins have a coarse surface instead of a reflecting surface. The values of such matte proof coins are at least triple the value of their mint state counterparts. The mint only struck around 1000 to 4000 each year. The price is normally around $300 to $800 for the matte proof wheat cent... with certain coins being much higher.

1922 Plain Lincoln Cent Reverse

1922 Plain Lincoln Cent Reverse

In 1922, problems with the die at the Denver Mint resulted in a coin with no D on the cent. This 1922 Plain variety is the most expensive coin in the Lincoln series. Such coins worth around $600 when graded Very Fine and $9000 when graded choice uncirculated. There are some varieties with a weak or broken D. Such varieties not commanding quite such prices.... about $500 for the weak D in MS-65 condition. Be careful of counterfeit or altered coins.

In 1943 there was a lack of copper for the production of airplanes. This resulted in the use of steel for the cent. This cent was comprised of steel with zinc coating. While these coins were only minted in 1943, some were struck using steel planchets in 1944 by accident. No proof coins were minted in 1943. One variety, the 1943-D cent with a bold double mint mark is about $70 in MS-65 condition.

In 1944 the Dept. of Treasury restored the copper penny. In this year, there is a cent with a particular D over S variety. Such a coin is worth about $1000 in MS-65 condition.

The 1955 doubled die cent was a result of an incorrectly made die. These dies had a double outline of the date and words. This particular variety is very easily identified with the naked eye. There is no mint mark on this coin since it came from the Philadelphia Mint. The coin's price ranges from $500 up to $6000 depending upon condition. Normal price paid for this coin is around $1500 for an uncirculated coin. Again, be careful of counterfeits.

In 1959, the penny changed to the Lincoln Memorial cent commemorating the 150th birthday of President Lincoln.......

        Chris Odom.

 

FRACTIONAL SILVER COINS OF THE UNITED STATES
by Jonathan Samorajski YN (Member #289)

Fractional coins are coins that are less than $1 in face value. In U.S. history, the fractional silver coins were the half dime, the dime, the 20 cent piece, the quarter, and the half dollar. Prior to the 20th century all silver fractional denominations were of the same design. Starting in the early 20th century, each denomination had its own design.

Silver U.S. coins are the object of the heart of coin collecting. Almost all coin collectors at some point acquire a number of silver coins. Any of the denominations and designs can make a spectacular collection. Depending on funds available, a collection can range from old high grade uncirculated coins to a more modern circulated collection. However, even for a YN an uncirculated silver collection is possible. Some possibilities for YNs include uncirculated Roosevelt Dimes, Franklin Halves, or Washington Quarters. My Dad started as a kid building an uncirculated Roosevelt Dime collection. I am working on an uncirculated Washington Quarter collection. For issues in the thirties, I will just buy the Philadelphia minted coins for now.

The draped bust was the first regular design for U.S. fractional silver coins. Congress authorized the coin in 1792 with the first mintages being struck in 1796 and continuing through 1807. The obverse is a portrayal of Ms Liberty. A symbolic image was used because George Washington objected to picturing a real person on a U.S. coin. Draped bust coins include the half dime, dime, quarter, half dollar, and the dollar. Draped bust coins are very valuable even circulated.

The draped bust design was modified in 1807 by putting a cap on Ms Liberty. This coins were minted through 1839. The design was by John Reich a freed German slave. The capped bust coins included the half dime, dime, quarter, and half dollar. The latest capped bust coins were the first U.S. coins with a reeded edge.

1926-D Liberty Standing Quarter

1926-D Liberty Standing Quarter

The seated liberty series began in 1837. The seated liberty type was designed by the great Christian Gobrecht. This beautiful long running series continued through 1891 and was used to mint half dimes, dimes, twenty cent pieces, quarters, half dollars, and dollars. Over the life of the series no fewer than eight design changes were made to the basic pattern. To this day the seated liberty coins are a benchmark collectible. They are seen as rare, beautiful, and desirable.

The Barber design ran from 1892 to1916 and was used for dimes, quarters, and halves. The coins were designed by Charles Barber and featured the head of Liberty on the obverse. The coin was very durable, and circulated for many years. As a result, few high quality examples exist today.

With the end of the Barber coins, each denomination silver coin had its own unique design. These coins: the Mercury dime, standing liberty quarter, and walking liberty half, are considered the most artistic, dramatic, and beautiful coins the U.S. mints have ever produced.

The Mercury Dime was minted from 1916 to 1945. The obverse features the head of a winged liberty figure, not the head of Mercury as is commonly thought. The most sought after collectibles are those uncirculated examples with split bands on the reverse.

Standing liberty quarters feature Liberty on the obverse and an eagle on the reverse. The coin was minted from 1916 to 1930. The best examples have fully struck heads. The first 1916 coins had Liberty with a bare breast. Due to public outcry this type was quickly discontinued in favor of a covered breast design.

The phenomenal walking liberty coins were minted from 1916 to 1947. The design was reused for current silver bullion coins.

The Lincoln penny was the first coin to feature the portrait of a real person. The first silver coin to portray a real person was the Washington quarter first minted in 1932. The Washington quarter was to celebrate the 200th birthday of our first president. The Roosevelt dime, and Franklin half followed in 1946 and 1949 respectively. In 1964 The Kennedy half replaced the Franklin. The use of silver was widely discontinued in 1964, although Kennedy halves contained some silver through 1970.

With the exception of certain special proof and other issues, fractional coins today are made of a copper-nickel alloy.

While these are collectible, many long for the days of real silver coinage. This will most certainly cause the value of all pre-1964 silver coins to continue to increase over the years....

        Jonathan Samorajski.

 

 

COLLECTING MINT STATE FRANKLIN HALF DOLLARS
by Branden Samorajski YN (Member #290)

During the forties, thought was given to replacing the walking liberty half. Though beautiful, it was becoming a dated design. The 25 year minimum run of the walking liberty was scheduled to end in 1941. However during the war, attention was otherwise directed. Following the conclusion of the war, full efforts went into designing a new half. The half would feature a famous American like the other silver coins of that day. Benjamin Franklin was selected. The obverse of the coin was always well accepted. However, the Commission on Fine Arts objected to the reverse since the bell had a crack in it, and because of the small eagle. The small eagle was retained in deference to Franklin who disliked eagles. The bell crack was also retained, and to this day it is one of the Franklins most enduring features. So much for the art critics.

At first the Franklin was not widely collected. Because of its large denomination few people wanted to spend the money to set aside rolls. Instead they bought penny, nickel, and dime rolls. During the silver squeeze in the late 70's, many uncirculated and circulated Franklins were melted down and sold for $50 per ounce. So, despite the large number of Franklins minted, relatively few exist in high grade collectable condition.

Why collect Franklins? Franklins have three features which make these coins highly sought after: eye appeal, rarity, and value. The Franklin is a attractive coin with great eye appeal. The design is simple yet elegant. It surpasses the other famous American coins in beauty and eye appeal. The coin is also rare in high condition. Relatively few examples of well struck coins exist in MS-64 and above. However, value is king. Compared to walking liberty halves and peace dollars with equal or greater PCGS populations, Franklins are much less expensive. Here are some examples. The numbers in parentheses are the PCGS population.

Franklins

1948 MS65FBL (392) $120

1961 MS-65 FBL (56) $1400

1952-D MS-65FBL(149) $150

1954-D MS-65 FBL (363) $100

1953-S MS-65 (9) $9000

Walkers

1934 MS-65 (446) $300

1921-S MS-65 (18) $30,000

1936-S MS-65 (475) $400

1938-D MS-65 (515) $700

Peace Dollars

1935 MS-65 (413) $675

1927-D MS-65 (62) $4250

1934 MS-65 (184) $1100

1922-D MS-65 (25) $10,000

How much does it cost to assemble a set of 35 mint state Franklin half dollars? The cost depends on the quality you want to collect. Here are some estimates my Dad and I put together using Teletrade and other price sources:

Complete BU set $300 Complete MS-63 set $500 Complete MS-64 set $750 Complete MS-64 FBL (except 53-S which is MS-65) set $2,800 Complete MS-65 set $5,300 Complete MS-65 FBL set $20,000 Complete MS-66 FBL (65 FBL where 66 FBL are not available) set $100,000.

So, there is a way to collect Franklins for YNs all the way to experienced collectors with lots of funds.

Two special issues must be considered when collecting Franklins: full bell line vs. non-full bell line, and toned vs. brilliant. Full bell line or FBL Franklins are more expensive than non-FBL Franklins. FBL is a strike designation.

1950 FBL Franklin Half Dollar

1950 FBL Franklin Half Dollar

Specifically, FBL means that the lines on the bottom part of the bell go all the way through except, a for a small part by the crack. The lines should be bold and clearly defined with minimal bag marks. Franklins are some of the best toned coins in America. The reason? At the time mint sets came in cardboard holders. The chemicals in the cardboard reacted with the metal causing Franklins to tone. Some of this color is dramatic. Brilliant untoned coins are also in great demand.

Whatever your budget or preferences, consider Franklins as a series to collect....

        Branden Samorajski.

 

 

 


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