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ACCent: The Monthly Newsletter of the Anchorage Coin Club

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Volume 13, Number 2

February 2000

February Membership Meeting
Wed., February 2, 2000 Central Lutheran Church

7:30 PM Meeting


 

FROM YOUR EDITORS

Details, details.... Greg Samorajski (Sam-a-ray-a-ski) showed us the details to look for in the Eisenhower dollar series. The most important ones are on the artistic and historic reverse showing an eagle landing on the moon with the earth in the sky. The islands off die coast of Florida on the globe of the earth in the sky are different on each of the three types. We gave away three of the big dollars as membership and door prizes; YN Corey Rennell won the 1972, YN Sarah Bilak won the 1978, and YN Jonathan Samorajski won the proof 1972 Ike dollar in the blue box. The young numismatists took all the prizes this month.

Details are all that are left to Roy Brown's shop remodeling. Roy has expanded the shop, adding more display cases on the floor as well as more on the wall. Roy's Coins is now the oldest and largest coin shop in Anchorage - check it out!.

Details are being put on Mike Robuck's Alaska Mint at their new location next door to the old one. It is a much larger building with plenty of space for the mint as well as all of Mike's treasures and a new coffee shop. We will have to have a membership meeting there sometime soon - perhaps March.

A bid board will be set up at our March membership meeting instead of a bullet auction. Robert Hall is working on the bid forms. It will consist of a table of coins with the form attached. If you want to bid on a coin write your membership number and your bid on the form. The highest bid at the end of the meeting gets the coin.

1908 St. Gaudens $20 Obverse

1908 St. Gaudens $20 Obverse

Election of new club officers will also take place in march. Everyone is encouraged to run it is quite educational and rewarding. Positions of President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and one Board Member are open this year. Bill Hamilton, John Larson, Larry Nakata, Robert Hall, and Roy Brown have all thrown their hats into the ring. If interested contact any of the club officers.

Our current raffle prize is a $10 Gold Certificate Note in VF condition in a capital plastic holder. We are circulating the note among our coin dealers. Check our local coin shops to look at this note....and feel free buy a $5 raffle ticket.

Our February meeting will be on "The 25 Most Desired Coins". We will have a collection on display of the rarest key dates, the most dramatic varieties, and the most artistic type coins available including a BU 1909-S VDB cent, a 3-legged Buffalo nickel, a proof seated Liberty quarter and a high relief $20 St Gaudens gold piece.

One last detail: Mike Orr, our dedicated board member, has taken a new job out at Dutch Harbor. We wish him well out there. If you wish to contact him talk to Larry or drop by Mike's new place if you are in the neighborhood......

        Your Editors.

 

MEMBERSHIP NEWS

Schedule of Events for the Month of February:

1. Monthly Membership Meeting: February 2nd (Wednesday) at 7:30 PM at the Central Lutheran Church. Club members and general public welcome. Featured will be a presentation on the "25 Most Desired Coins". Lots of key date coins will be shown at this club meeting. A bullet 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: February 11th (Friday) at 7:00 PM at the Central Lutheran Church. YNs, club members, and general public welcomed. There will be session on "Lincoln Wheat Cents".

3. Anchorage Coin Club Board Meeting: February 16th (Wednesday) 7:00 PM at the Central Lutheran Church. Club members welcomed.

Minutes of the January 19th Board Meeting:

The Board meeting started at 7:15 PM.

First order of business was a review of correspondence and bills.

Next order of business was planning for the February 2nd membership meeting which will feature a presentation on the "25 Most Desired Coins". A list was formulated as a result of our last membership meeting on January 5th. Between our Board members, we were able to come up with 14 of the 25 coins. Loren Lucason will canvas our membership to see how many of these coins will be available for viewing at our February meeting. Do you want to see a three legged buffalo nickel, the 1909-S VDB Lincoln cent, and other key date coins?! Come to the February 2nd membership meeting.

Your Board also wants to remind all of our members that elections for President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, and one Board member will be coming up at our March 1st membership meeting. Thus-far, 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

Board member Don Thurber still has another year to serve while Loren Lucason will automatically become a Board member since he is the exiting president (as per our club by-laws). Interested members can still "throw their hat in the ring" for any of these positions. We're looking for good people. Our March 1st membership meeting will be Election Day.

Final order of business covered was the Bid Board planned for our March 1st meeting. Discussion ensued on how to set up this Bid Board. Robert Hall will be heading up efforts on getting it ready by our March meeting.

As there was no further business, the Board Meeting concluded at 8:45 PM.

 

YN CORNER
by Larry Nakata (Member #41)

The January 14th YN meeting covered the subject of "Collecting Mercury Dimes for the YN".

Larry Nakata gave a presentation that showed YNs how Mercury dimes are still affordable.... even though you can only get them through coin dealers today.

The key point brought up by Larry was that common date Mercury dimes can run anywhere from 80 cents to $4 in Very Good grades as listed in the Redbook. Of the 80 Mercury dimes in the set, only five are key date coins. So.... it's not a bad idea for a YN to collect Mercury dimes at this time.

There are also errors and varieties which the YN should be on the lookout for. Sure... there are the 1942/1 and 1942/1-D Mercury dimes which are highly prized by collectors. But did you know there are other varieties such as the 1929-S doubled die and 1936 doubled die Mercury dimes?! The YN should also be on the lookout for repunched mint marks (RPMs)..... a session that we covered last year. RPMs are very collectable and YNs may be surprised to find such coins in a coin dealer's "junk-box".

We wrapped up the evening by "cherrypicking" through a box of Mercury dimes provided by Roy Brown. Although we were not able to find any Mercury dime varieties, the YNs who came to the session went home with a number of such dimes for their collections.

There was pizza and soda pop for all who came to the meeting. The YN door prize, a 1971 US Mint Set, was won by YN Kiersten Hackley.

When we concluded our YN meeting, Larry Nakata asked the YNs what session they would like to see for our next YN meeting on February 11th. "Lincoln Wheat Cents" was chosen.

Hope to see a good turnout for our next YN meeting........

 

 

SURFING THE INTERNET

From Your Chief Editor: I've been away in the lower 48 during the last two weeks of January, so this newsletter is being mailed out a bit late to all of you. In reviewing our articles over the past 12 months, I noted a need for articles on the subject of "Gold".... with the price of gold being very reasonable at this time. So... this month sees me browsing the Internet in search of articles on this subject matter.

1911 St. Guldens $10 Gold Piece

1911 St. Guldens $10 Gold Piece

Chief Editor's Note: I found several articles of note in the "Moneytalk" Series put out by the ANA that might interest you. From: http://www.money.org

 

GOLD COINS COME OF AGE
by
Cameron Kiefer

Today, it would be hard to imagine the government encouraging citizens to use gold coins at their local store, but back in 1834 Congress passed a law hoping to do just that.

In the early 17th century, gold coins rarely circulated and were never used for trade because speculators had discovered they could melt down US gold dollars and sell the bullion overseas for more than the face value of the coins themselves. Congress recognized this and decided something had to be done quickly to get gold back in circulation.

On June 28, 1834, Congress enacted a new law reducing the amount of pure gold in gold coins by more than six percent. The new 2 & 1/2 dollar gold pieces would contain 64.5 grains of gold, as compared with 67.5 grains in the older ones.

It was anticipated that once this law went into effect, huge numbers of gold coins would be returned to the mint to be re-coined, as the difference in bullion content would make this profitable. In preparation for this flood of re-coinage, dies were prepared for the 2 & 1/2 dollar, five dollar, and ten dollar gold coins omitting the motto E PLURIBUS UNUM. All of the old style gold coins bare this motto, none of the new ones would show it.

The law evidently worked because by the Summer of 1836 large amounts of gold were returned to this country to be re-coined. Gold actually became cheaper then silver and it wasn't long before those same speculators discovered they could melt down the US silver coins and sell the bullion for more than the face value of the coins themselves. (Editors Note: In 1836, five silver dollars were worth more than a $5 gold piece).

This cycle is part of the reason certain gold or silver coins are difficult to find today......

        Transcript No. 1759  / July 1st, 1999.

 

 

U.S. GOLD WAS NEEDED FOR OIL IN 1945
by Ken Bressett

Few Americans knew that US gold reserves were being used to buy oil from Saudi Arabia during World War II. The covert operation was kept secret until coin collectors found some curious coins.

It was not until long after the war was over that stories emerged about the United States buying oil from Saudi Arabia. But it was the method of payment that was startling. Since the Saudis were accustomed to trading in gold, they demanded English coins in exchange for their precious petroleum.

The United States had been off the gold standard since 1934 when all gold coins became illegal for citizens to own or use. Most were melted and stored as bullion in Fort Knox. English gold coins were not readily available, so America had no option but to mint its own version of the needed gold.

One- and four-sovereign gold pieces were made from 1945 to 1947. Although not official US coins, they do carry the inscription "U.S. MINT, PHILADELPHIA, U.S.A." and an American eagle on the from. The back of each piece shows the weight, which is equivalent to either one or four English gold sovereigns. The larger piece is slightly lighter than one ounce of pure gold.

Examples of these unusual coins were reported by coin collectors around 1958. Eventually the American government acknowledged they have been made to pay for oil needed for the war effort and purchased from Saudi Arabia by the Arabian-American Oil Company. The coins are officially referred to as Aramco gold discs or bullion pieces,

The large discs are about the size of a half-dollar and were made in 1945 and 1946. The much scarcer small pieces are the size of a nickel and were all made in 1947. Examples of these unusual coins were eventually placed in circulation by the moneychangers in Saudi Arabia and many found their way back into the United States and into the hands of happy collectors........

        Transcript No. 1771 / July 19th, 1999.

 

 

1907 - 1933 DOUBLE EAGLE SAINT GAUDENS LIBERTY
from NGC (Numismatic Guarantee Corporation)

United States coinage has never been more beautiful than it was in the early years of the 20th century. The Buffalo nickel... the Mercury dime... the Standing Liberty quarter... the Walking Liberty Half dollar, these were among the aesthetically stunning coins that made their appearance and circulated side by side during that period.

Fittingly, however, the centerpiece of this "golden age" wasn't a nickel or silver coin, but one made out of gold. The Saint-Gaudens double eagle, or $20 gold piece, stands above the rest as the single most magnificent coin of this or any era in US history.

As the 1900s dawned, Augustus Saint-Gaudens was a towering figure in the sphere of American fine arts. Widely acclaimed as the nation's pre-eminent sculptor, he was also a man of eloquence and influence who dominated the art world of his day not only by example but also through the exercise of power and persuasion.

His brilliance and renown brought him to the attention of President Theodore Roosevelt, and the two men developed a warm relationship that was at once both personal and professional. In 1905, Saint-Gaudens designed a handsome inaugural medal for the president. Pleased and impressed, Roosevelt then invited him to fashion prospective new designs for the two largest U.S. gold coins, the double eagle and eagle, and also for a one-cent piece (which never reached production). Saint-Gaudens welcomed the challenge and plunged into the project with all his prodigious energy and skill.

Saint Gaudens Cent Pattern

Saint Gaudens Cent Pattern

Both men admired the high-relief coinage of ancient Greece, and both agreed that U.S. gold coins patterned after that model would be a spectacular achievement. They would also stand in stark contrast to the two undistinguished-looking coins that were being replaced, the Liberty double eagle and the Coronet eagle, both of which had their roots in the first half of the 19th century.

Although his health was deteriorating as the project went along, Saint-Gaudens created superb designs for both gold coins. The double eagle, especially, is a masterpiece. Its obverse features a full-length portrait of Liberty with a torch in her right hand and an olive branch in her left. She is shown in full stride with rays of sunlight behind her and the U.S. Capitol Building to the left of her flowing gown. Encircling her are 46 stars, one for each state of the union at that time. The coin's reverse depicts a breathtaking eagle in flight, with the sun below extending its rays upward. Above the eagle, in two semicircular tiers, are the inscriptions UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and TWENTY DOLLARS. High points to check for wear are Liberty's breast, knee, and the eagle's wing.

Saint-Gaudens placed another motto, E PLURIBUS UNUM, along the edge of the coin, thus reducing the clutter on the obverse and reverse and reinforcing their clean, open look. He and Roosevelt conspired to omit IN GOD WE TRUST from the first of the new double eagles, but God-fearing members of Congress noticed this and mandated addition of this motto on later issues, starting near the end of 1908. On pieces produced thereafter, it appears above the sun on the reverse.

Roosevelt and Saint-Gaudens intended that the coin would be struck in high relief to bring out each exquisite detail. Unfortunately, though, the artist died in 1907, almost on the eve of the coin's debut. Meanwhile, Roosevelt was preoccupied with more pressing matters of state. All this, combined with the requirements of mass-produced coinage, gave Mint Chief Engraver Charles E. Barber a chance and an excuse to reduce the coin's relief. High-speed minting required this, he said and what's more, high-relief coins wouldn't stack.

Fortunately, the beauty of the coin remains dazzling, even in lower relief. And thankfully, Saint-Gaudens original art was preserved in its pristine beauty even through the minting of small numbers of extremely high-relief patterns and high-relief business strikes in 1907 or rather MCMVII, for the date was shown on these coins in Roman numerals.

The first production pieces were made with high relief. But after striking just 11,250, Mint officials substituted new dies with the modified, lower relief, and these remained in use through the end of the series. As if to underscore the shift from the classical to the commercial, the Mint used Arabic numbers in dating all reduced-relief double eagles.

$20 Saint Gaudens Reverse

$20 Saint Gaudens Reverse

"Saints" were minted each year from 1907 through 1916. A three-year hiatus followed, after which the coins were struck yearly from 1920 through 1933. The branch mints at Denver and San Francisco augmented the main Philadelphia Mint's production, but not in every year. Mint marks appear above the date, the designer's initials (ASG) below. From 1929 onward, newly minted examples were held almost entirely as part of the nation's gold reserves, with few being released into circulation. Almost all of these were melted (along with many earlier double eagles) following the gold recall order signed in 1933 by another President Roosevelt, Theodore's cousin, Franklin. As a result, double eagles dated 1929 through 1932 are exceedingly rare today. The Mint produced nearly half a million pieces dated 1933, but the government maintains that these were never released, and thus it is illegal to own them. That was the end of regular-issue U.S. gold coinage.

Mintages were generally modest, but heavy melting, not low mintage, was primarily responsible for creation of me major rarities, including the 1927-D, the 1920-S, the 1921, the 1930-S and the 1932. The survival of many of these dates is predominantly due to the large quantity of gold coins held in Swiss and French bank vaults. Since the 50s, tens of thousands of "Saints" have found their way back to their country of origin and into collectors' hands. Proofs are very rare as only 687 were offered for sale from 1908 through 1915. They were made with a flat matte finish except for 1909 and 1910 when they were made with a more brilliant Roman or satin finish. This large gold coin is actively sought by a myriad of collectors: from bullion hoarders to type collectors to those challenged by the awesome (and expensive) undertaking of assembling a complete date and mintmark set.

In 1986, the U.S. Treasury paid the "Saint" the highest compliment by placing it's obverse design on the American Eagle gold bullion coins, where it has remained ever since.

SPECIFICATIONS:

Diameter: 34 millimeters

Weight: 33.436 grams

Composition: .900 gold, .100 silver

Edge: Lettered E PLURIBUS UNUM

Net Weight: .96750 ounce pure gold

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

Akers, David W., United Stales Gold Coins, Volume VI, Double Eagles 1849-1933, Paramount Publications, Englewood, OH1982.

Bowers, Q. David, United States Gold Coins, An Illustrated History, Bowers & Ruddy, Los Angeles, 1982.

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

Drythout, John H., The Works of Augustus Saint-Gaudens, University Press of New England, Hanover, NH, 1982.

Taxay, Don, The U.S. Mini and Coinage, Arco Publishing Co. Inc, New York, 1966.

Vermeule, Cornelius, Numismatic Art in America, The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1971.

 

 

 

 


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