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ACCent: The Monthly Newsletter of the Anchorage Coin Club

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Volume 15, Number 10

October 2002

October Membership Meeting
Wed., Oct 2nd, 2002 Central Lutheran Church

7:00 Open, 7:30 PM Meeting


 

FROM THE EDITORS

The "U.S. Gold Coinage" presentation by Larry Nakata at our September membership meeting was a good preview of our three day seminar on gold coins. It was an enjoyable taste of what members not attending the seminar were going to miss.

The seminar was an eye opening experience. Mary Sauvain, our imported expert, had a vast collection of gold coins gathered up from all over the country. See the article later in this newsletter. Mary and her husband (Richard) were given the grand tour of Alaska from the train trip to Denali to the 26 Glaciers tour out of Whittier. While Mary was showing us what we always needed to know about gold coins, our club president took time in taking Mary's husband out on a fishing trip that Saturday.

Larry went to the club's mailbox just before our September 4th meeting to find a first place plaque for our club's newsletter. The ANA still considers us to have the best local club newsletter in the country. We could not do it without you members writing interesting articles. So if you want to keep on being a part of the best.... write a story, an essay, an article, or your numismatic point of view and we will put it in the award winning newsletter. Don't worry about spelling or syntax as we have computers for that. We beat out clubs that print in color and ones that have the likes of Bill Fivaz as article writers. What you members have to say about coins keeps us on top. Write it down.

The winners at our September membership meeting included Frank Jasper who won the 1992 U.S. Mint Set (our door prize) and Carl who won the 1921-S PCGS MS-62 Morgan Dollar membership prize. The other membership prize, an Australian Wilderness Crocodile Knife, was won by Bill Hamilton.

Old business included a reminder for members attending the seminar to bring their ANA grading guides as well as a loop to grade with. It was also announced that the final count of ballots to determine if the members want to expand our gaming license will be done at the upcoming Sept. 18th Board meeting. See the minutes of the board meeting for the outcome.

We also want to remind our members that Robert Hall will have a coin show at the Cottonwood Creek Mall in Wasilla on October 19th and 20th. People who wish to have tables at this coin show should contact Robert Hall at his home number (#561-8343) in the evenings. See you at the coin show.

Member Robin Sisler needs numismatic material for a series of sessions he wishes to give to grade school classes on coin collecting. Robin needs small coins such as wheat cents, small silver coins, coin books, and other items that can be handed out to the grade school children as part of his session. Members who wish to donate such material can bring them to our coin club meetings.

The tentative date of our Christmas Party is Thursday, December 12th. We are awaiting confirmation from the Central Lutheran Church that this date is OK. We expect to get word from the church by the time of our October 2nd membership meeting. It is planned to have a Christmas Numismatic Auction at our club's Christmas Party. Any member wishing to submit lots for this auction can contact Larry Nakata or Loren Lucason on their list of coins and numismatic items. We will be posting a list of the auction lot items in our upcoming newsletters.

One last note: the current raffle prize is the highest grade complete set of coins we have ever put together. John Larson spent nearly a year on this set and it is worth over a thousand dollars. It's a complete set of U.S. Peace Dollars graded VF or better. Tickets are $5/ticket or 5 tickets/520. The winning number will be drawn at our Christmas party. Don't get left out.....Your Editors.

 

MEMBERSHIP NEWS

Schedule of Events for the Month of October:

  1. Monthly Membership Meeting: October 2nd (Wednesday) at 7:30 PM at the Central Lutheran Church. Club members, YNs and general public welcomed. The October 2nd membership meeting will be on "U.S. Gold Coinage Part 2- The Aftermath of the Seminar". A bullet auction of no more than 15 coin lots will occur at this meeting. Members wishing to submit lots can bring them to the meeting.

  2. YN (Young Numismatists) Meeting: October 9th (Wednesday) at 7:00 PM at the Central Lutheran Church. YNs, club members, and general public welcomed. Member Carl will be giving a presentation on "Error Coins". See you there....

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

Minutes of the September 18th Board Meeting

The Board meeting was called to order at 7:10 PM by Secretary Larry Nakata.

The first order of business was a count, by the club's Executive Board, of ballots received on the advisory vote on the question: "Shall the Anchorage Coin Club expand it's state gaming license to include pull-tabs?" Of 76 ballots mailed out, 52 ballots were received. Of these 52 ballots:

35 were YES votes

15 were NO votes

2 were abstention votes

Based upon the ballot results, a motion was made to have the Executive Board approve expansion of our club's gaming license to include pull-tabs. One Board member, Greg Samorajski voted in opposition to this motion.

A discussion then followed on what needs to be done to move forward with expansion of our gaming license. Secretary Larry Nakata gave a briefing on this matter. As the primary member in charge of our club's gaming license, Larry has been looking into the state statutes on gaming. In the month of October, our club will be required to renew its gaming license for raffles. At that time, we should be able to also amend that application to include pull-tabs. Since it is the intent of Bill Hamilton to provide the operation services for the pull-tab activities, it will be necessary for Bill to also apply for an operator's license as outlined in the statutes. Bill will be looking into this matter and will give the club a briefing at our October 2nd membership meeting.

The next order of business was a briefing to the Board by Larry Nakata on the results of the September 13-15* seminar. All bills have been paid with the exception of books that were given out for the seminar as part of the course material. That expenditure is projected to be approximately $500. Taking into account the $500 bill yet to be paid, overall cost of the three day seminar came to $5472.08. Attending the seminar were 17 adults and 4 YNs. Factoring in the cost of the 17 adults who paid and a $50 donation to the seminar, Larry reported a loss of $1172.08 for this year's effort. While we were able to keep costs below the original June projection of $6048.87, there were cancellations in the last 2 weeks prior to the seminar that reduced membership participation. Treasurer Greg Samorajski reported that there are sufficient funds to cover the losses.

On the matter of Old Business, the Board reviewed the cost increase requested by the Central Lutheran Church on use of their facilities for our coin club meetings. At this time our club presently uses the church for our membership meetings on the first Wednesday of each month, YN meetings on the second Wednesday of each month, and Board meetings on the third Wednesday of each month. Consolidation of meetings was discussed. Since each of these meetings have unique agendas, it was deemed impractical to consolidate. The Board then looked at moving some of these meetings to other locations. After some discussion, it was determined that having to move meetings to other locations would be difficult since we have been meeting at the Central Lutheran Church for some years. The projected cost difference is expected to be about $200-$300 per year on use of the church. As our club will be moving forward with an expansion of it's gaming license....it was decided to pay the increased cost. A check will be made to church for $450 to pay for use since our last payment in December. Effective October, we will then pay $25 for each single event use of the church for our club functions.

On New Business, the Board discussed presentations for the upcoming club membership meetings. Larry Nakata will be heading up a discussion presentation on "U.S. Gold Coinage Part 2- The Aftermath of the Seminar" at our club's October 2nd meeting. Members who attended the seminar will talk about what they learned from the seminar on the subject of Gold Coinage. Greg Samorajski will be giving a presentation at our club's November 6th meeting on "20th Century Type Coins".

The Board also discussed dates for our club's Christmas Party. A tentative date was set for Thursday evening, December 12th at the Central Lutheran Church. In keeping with tradition over the years, our club will hold its membership meeting, YN meeting, and Christmas Numismatic Auction at the December Christmas Party. Larry Nakata will follow-up with the church office to confirm December 12th as a good date for this event.

As there was no further business to discuss, the Board meeting was adjourned at 9:10 PM.

 

THE YN CORNER

The YNs met on Wednesday, September 11th at the Central Lutheran Church. There were three YNs in attendance, as well as one guest, Kyra Meade's friend, Danielle Kircshner, who joined us for an evening of shredded money fun!

The YNs are busy putting together vials of shredded money to be sold at coin shows in the near future. The idea and materials for this project were furnished by Loren Lucason. The manner in which the glass was decorated was determined by the YNs. This is a fun project and all the youngsters took additional materials home with them to work on this project in their spare time. Thanks go to Loren for the inspiration and the essentials needed to put this project together. We could not have done this project without you!

Our next YN meeting will be on Wednesday, October 9th at the Central Lutheran Church. The guest speaker will be Carl Mujagic (we know him as Carl in the coin club). Carl will be giving a presentation on "Error Coins". The YN meeting starts at 7:30 PM, but come early and join us for pizza and soda.

In next month's newsletter, there will be information for the YNs on ways to earn YN Bucks for the Christmas Numismatic Auction, which will be held at our club's Christmas party in December.

Hope to see a number of YNs at our club's next YN meeting.......Don Marilyn Stubblefield.

 

A CONDENSED HISTORY OF U.S. GOLD COINS
by Larry Nakata (Life Member #3)

Last month's August presentation was so well received that I decided to give a second presentation at our September meeting...this time on the subject of US gold coinage. I figured this would be a good lead-in to the club's September seminar on this subject.

Since I like to look at historical perspectives on coinage, I looked for a theme on this subject. I read a lot of books. Among the books used were:

"Gold Coins of the Americas with Values" by Robert P. Harris c. 1971

"The Official Red Book- A Guide Book of United States Coins" by R. S. Yeoman

"United States Gold Coins- An Analysis of Auction Records Volume III- Three Dollar Gold Pieces (1854-89) and Four Dollar Gold Pieces (1879-80)" by David W. Akers c. 1976

"Private Gold Coinage of California 1849-55 It's History and It's Issues" by Edgar H. Adams c. 1912.

In reading books of this nature, I found a recurring theme in which the history of US gold coinage is closely tied to it's history with silver coinage. In this article 1 will focus on the relationship between gold and silver coinage as it evolved during the history of our country and where it took us.

I begin with colonial times. For the most part, coins of other countries were primarily used- both gold and silver. There were, of course, the colonial coins that were minted for use

in the Americas. In the category of gold coinage, the Red Book cites the Brasher Doubloon as the gold coin minted in New York, circa 1787, by Ephraim Brasher. This gold coin is the only listing shown in the Red Book. It was approximately equivalent to the Spanish gold doubloon which was equal to 16 Spanish sliver dollars.

This ratio of approximately 16 to 1 between silver and gold bullion was to remain a standard up to about 1934 when US citizens were prohibited from possessing monetary gold in the United States.

So starts the story.....

With the creation of the US Mint, the Congressional Act of April 2, 1792 allowed for the mintage of US gold coinage. In 1795, the US Mint came out with the $5 and $10 Capped Bust Gold Half Eagles designed by Robert Scot. In 1796, the $2 & 1/2 Capped Bust Quarter Eagle (also designed by Robert Scot) came into being. These $2 & 1/2 , $5, and $10 gold coins were the primary gold coins in the U.S. through 1849.

By 1849 there was a recognition for other denominations of gold coins. By this time, both gold and silver interests were vying to have either gold or silver as the standard coinage used in the United States. Consequently, the Congressional Act of March 3, 1849 allowed for the mintage of the $1 gold coin (1849) and the $20 gold Double Eagle coin (1849).

In 1854, the $3 gold piece was minted thanks to the Congressional Act of February 21, 1853.

So...by 1854, we see the $1, $2 & 1/2, $3, $5, $10, and $20 U.S. gold pieces vying in competition with silver coinage...with a great battle occurring over who will win the "hearts and minds" of the $1 coin.... silver or gold?!

Up to this period of time, we see both gold and silver discoveries throughout the United States. Gold being discovered in Georgia and North Carolina in the early 1800s, which resulted in the establishment

of the Dahlonega and Charlotte Branch Mints for processing the gold into coinage. Of course...there was the great California gold strike of 1848 which led to the establishment of the San Francisco Mint. Prodigious amounts of silver were also being mined in the U.S. especially with the Comstock Lode discovery in Nevada that resulted in the establishment of the Carson City Mint in 1878.

As gold and silver mining interests were vying for their precious metals to be used in U.S. coinage, there was an attempt to look into mintage of a coin that used gold, silver, and copper. Such coins were proposed in Europe and came to be known as "goloid" coins. U.S. patterns were made of these coins in 1879 and 1880. These patterns came to be known as the $4 gold or "Stella" coins. These patterns are tough to get and command a premium price as shown in the Red Book. However, the $4 "Stella" was, at best, a compromise and never saw mintage since no one could agree.

Ultimately, the U.S. gold dollar gave ground over a period of time to the U.S. silver dollar. Simply put, the gold dollar was too small a coin in comparison to the silver dollar. With the Comstock Lode discovery, silver was in greater abundance than gold.

So the Congressional Act of February 28, 1878....also known as the Bland-Allison Act....officially made the silver dollar a legal tender coin of the United States. By this time, the mintages of the U.S. gold one dollar coin had been drastically cut back. The gold dollar was to go away by 1889. The $3 gold coin was also discontinued in 1889.

By 1890, what remained was the $2 & 1/2, $5, $10, and $20 gold coins.

Some key points:

During this period of time, gold coins evolved from the Capped Bust to the Coronet Head designs.

The size of the gold coins were reduced in 1834 (with the $2 & 1/2 and $5 gold coins) and in 1838 (with the $10 gold coins). The $10 gold coin was not minted from 1804-1837. Reason. It became undervalued when the price of gold bullion worldwide had reached a point where it was cost effective for entrepreneurs to export $10 gold pieces to Europe for meltdown at bullion prices. President Thomas Jefferson subsequently discontinued mintage of the $10 gold piece. It was reestablished when the size of the $10 piece was reduced in 1838.

Other interesting notes:

Private mints were also allowed to mint gold coins. Such mints primarily resided in areas where gold was being mined. They served a purpose of assaying gold bars and to also mint coins for use in the local economy vs. use of "gold dust" for commercial transactions. Among the more famous private/territorial gold coins made were the California small denomination gold pieces minted in 25c, 50c, and $1 denominations starting in 1852 and ending in 1882......and the Mormon gold pieces minted in Oregon City, Oregon in 1849 and 1850.

In the early 20th century we see a renaissance in the design of U.S. gold coinage thanks to President

Theodore Roosevelt. In 1907 we see the introduction of the $10 Gold Indian Eagle and the $20 Gold St. Gaudens coins. In 1908 the $2 & !/2 and $5 Gold Indian Quarter and Half Eagle coins come into being.

By 1933 the Depression is occurring in the United States. Gold has become a very precious commodity and in short supply. President Franklin Roosevelt on April 5, 1933 issues a Presidential Order prohibiting banks from paying out gold coin and gold certificates. Gold imports and domestic gold could only be sold to the U.S. government. By 1934 U.S. citizens could no longer own monetary gold in this country. So the last gold coins....the $10 Indian and the $20 St. Gaudens see their final mintages in 1933. Gold coins for circulated use in the United States effectively ceased in 1934.

Gold today is used for U.S. commemorative coinage and U.S. bullion coins...such as the modern American Eagle. Also such coins have an official face value....such value being well under the bullion price of gold.

The irony of gold's history in U.S. coinage... how it competed with silver and how it ultimately lost to silver....is also mirrored in the history of silver in U.S. coinage. As went gold....so did silver in 1964.

But that is another story......Larry Nakata.

OUR SEMINAR

It was a warm and peaceful morning when we got to the West Coast International Inn to have coffee before the start of the gold coin seminar. Roy was outside having his last breakfast cigarette. Mary Sauvain, the keynote speaker, was organizing the gold coins and gold counterfeits as well as books and brochures about gold. We sipped coffee and looked in awe at the thousands and thousands of dollars in gold being laid out. Little did we know many of them were fake. We were soon to find that some were very very good fabrications of gold coins. It was a comparatively small group at the seminar, all us friends. This gave Mary the assurance that no matter how much gold she spread around the room she was going to get it all back.

Mary started with the basics of American gold coins. We learned the American gold coin types and what to look for in grading each one. Then we learned how to tell

between the three things that affect the condition of a gold coin. What was in the die or planchet to begin with. What was struck into the gold coin. And what was done to the gold coin after minting. We also took a test to give Mary a feel for how much the group already knew.

As the seminar progressed we graded lots and lots of gold coins. More gold than we could ever afford to buy or even go to see. Mary told us the way to become a master grader was through experience and we were getting that in gold. Our grades were compared to the grades given by professional coin grading services. The more gold we graded the more our grades got closer to the grades given by PCGS, NGC, and PCI. And, as a group, the more we got closer to agreeing with each other.

Then Mary brought out the counterfeits. She told us about the ways they were made and showed us some of the things to look for. Then she turned us loose on the gold. Coin after coin after coin we viewed. Each of us at our own pace. Some coins looked good and a few were real coins. Some we could tell, from what Mary taught us, were obvious fakes. Some looked so good I would buy them in a minute. Mary worked with individuals to show them what to look for on any particular coin.

After viewing nearly 200 counterfeit gold coins my faith in all gold coins was shaken. Mary reassured us that the time of rampant counterfeit gold coin trading had passed and that there were not as many fakes around as there had been in the '70s. I think it is because of the professional coin grading services and a better educated numismatic public.

I feel as though some of the mystery of gold coins has been taken away. How a dealer could with a glance tell if a gold coin was real. And why very nice looking gold coins were not the grade I thought they were. I have now learned enough to know what to look for when I buy a gold coin. And that alone will save me much more money than I gave the club to go to this enjoyable and enlightening seminar......Loren Lucason.

 

 


The Anchorage Coin Club

Club Officers

Board of Directors

Editors

ANA Local Club Representative

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