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ACCent: The Monthly Newsletter of the Anchorage Coin Club

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Volume 16, Number 1

January 2003

January Membership Meeting
Wed., Jan 5th, 2003 Central Lutheran Church

7 PM open, 7:30 PM Meeting


 

FROM THE EDITORS

    Apologies from your Chief Editor on the lateness of this newsletter. Your Chief Editor has been busy this holiday season moving into his new home. All of your editors hope you had a good holiday season.

By time you receive this newsletter, January 1st, the first Wednesday of the month, will have passed. As you probably know by now, no membership meeting was held that day. The Board decided that rather than try and reschedule to a different date in January it was better to cancel that meeting and have our first meeting of 2003 on February 5th (the first Wednesday of next month).

We will still have the YN meeting Friday, January 10th and our Board meeting January 15th.

Another year was brought to a wonderful finish with excellent friends eating excellent food and getting excellent coins. As food was brought in by members and laid out on the main table door prize tickets were passed out and a last chance to get a raffle ticket was given. Then we started dishing up the tasty spiral cut ham and baked turkey with stuffing. And sampling the myriad collection of salads while looking forward to the delicious pies and nibbling on a cookie or two. Some of the salad bowls emptied fast. The deviled eggs disappeared and the potato salad was quickly down to the last scoop. The lucky ones got a slice of homemade bread with dinner before they started giving out door prizes.

We had so many prizes gathered up for payment on newsletter advertising that everyone was going to get a prize and some were going to get two. A number was drawn from a bowl and the one with that number chose a wrapped numismatic prize from under the tree. When every number was called we put them all put back in the bowl and started over again. During all this the members and their families kept eating.

After dinner was the very last chance to get in on the raffle drawing. The prizes were a complete set of high grade Peace Dollars and a book: "US Gold Coins: An Illustrated History" by Q. David Bowers. The book was a good follow up on the gold seminar and the Peace Dollar set was a beautiful, bankable investment. Though the club spent a lot of money on the Peace dollar set, at $5 a ticket, we still made money. The (very) lucky member to get the dollars was David Wilson and the book on gold went to a good home with the Stubblefields.

The Anchorage Coin Club Numismatist of the Year award was given jointly to Don and Marilyn Stubblefield for their work with the Young Numismatists. The YN award was given to Krystal Stubblefield. They were presented with trophies and their names will be engraved on the official club award plaques.

After the awards and a break to look at auction lots, Bill started the auction with his commanding voice. Loren and the Samorajski YNs showed each of the lots as they came up. The YNs, armed with their YN Bucks, were spirited bidders on some of the lots. But, as usual, many of the coins went at wonderful prices for the bidders.

We easily got through the 65 auction lots and quickly squared things up with the bidders and sellers. Good coins went to good collectors at good prices and the sellers were happy. In the end, after a little cleanup and some fond farewells, it was found that there wasn't any food left. The food this year was that good.

We hope the rest of your holidays went as well as our annual Christmas dinner. ....Your Editors.

 

MEMBERSHIP NEWS

Schedule of Events for the Month of January:

Monthly Membership Meeting:

There will be no meeting for the month of January since the first Wednesday of the month occurs on January 1st. Our next Monthly Membership Meeting will be on February 5th (Wednesday) at 7:30 PM at the Central Lutheran Church. There will be presentation by Greg Samorajski on "Collecting 20th Century Type Coins".

YN (Young Numismatists) Meeting: January 10th (Friday) at 7:30 PM at the Central Lutheran Church. Richard Bilak will be giving a talk on collecting ancient coins. YNs,

club members, and general public welcomed.

Anchorage Coin Club Board Meeting: January 15th (Wednesday) at 7:00 PM at the New Cauldron Restaurant located at the University Center. Please note this is a change from our club's usual meeting place. Club members welcomed.

Minutes of the December 18thBoard Meeting

The meeting was called to order at 7:30 PM by Vice President John Larson. The meeting was held at the New Cauldron Restaurant at the University Center.

Following a distribution of correspondence to Board members in attendance, the Board went into a review of old business. A club endorsement has been sought by William Horton for the position of Vice President of the American Numismatic Association (ANA) for the upcoming 2003 elections. This endorsement request was received in November. At the November Board meeting, the Board members decided to defer action until further endorsement requests were received and would wait until the December meeting. As of the December 18th meeting, the club has received only this request. As there were no objections to this endorsement, the Board approved the endorsement. Secretary Larry Nakata will fill out the according paperwork.

The Board then moved onto new business.

The Anchorage Coin Club's liability insurance bill for $327 (for year 2003) was approved for payment by the Board.

The club has received an e-mail from ANA Vice President Gary Lewis who is presently the Chairman of the ANA State Quarter Committee. In his e-mail Gary pointed out that even though 2008 will be the year in which Alaska sees it's state quarter minted, our coin club should be involved in this process. Gary has offered to work with our club on this matter. Larry Nakata will correspond with Gary Lewis, It was pointed out at the Board meeting that 2008 will also be the 20th Year of the Anchorage Coin Club, making this a significant event for us.

In our correspondence, the club also has received a package from the ANA requesting club input into nominations for the ANA 2003 Achievement Awards. Such information is needed to be provided by January 17th. Treasurer Greg Samorajski will take up the matter and provide this requested information.

The Board then discussed plans for year 2003 which will mark the 15th year of our coin club. Among the plans discussed were:

As there was no further business to discuss, the meeting was adjourned at 8:35 PM.

 

THE YN CORNER

    There were eight YNs in attendance at the club's Christmas Party on December 12th. We all had a good time. Several YNs bid and won many coins and numismatic related items.

Our next meeting will be held on Friday, January 10th at 7:30 PM.

Richard Bilak, our coin club's president, has kindly agreed to talk about ancient coins.

We hope to see all the YNs at this meeting......Don and Marilyn Stubblefield.

 

THE TALE OF MY COIN
by Larry Nakata (Life Member #3)

    In last month's club newsletter, Loren Lucason started with his article in keeping with this year's American Numismatic Association's National Coin Week theme of the "Tale of the Coin". Club members were encouraged to write a story about a coin. This theme got me to think about what got me into coin collecting.

When I reflect back...I remember that a number of years ago when I was a 7th grader, some school friends of mine were selling numismatic coins that they presumably were collecting. In retrospect, my school buddies were probably selling coins that were collected or put aside by their parents. One of the coins I purchased, for about $4, was an 1813 Canadian half penny token in XF+ condition. It was a nice looking coin and I bought it because of its age.

About that time I had a newspaper route. With the purchase of this coin, I bought some of those inexpensive Whitman coin folders for Lincoln cents, Buffalo & Jefferson nickels, Mercury & Roosevelt dimes, Standing Liberty & Washington quarters, Walker and Franklin halves, Morgan, and Peace Dollars. At the time I had my paper route, such coins were still in circulation. From the time I had my paper route from the 7th Grade until when I stopped in the 12lh Grade, I would fill in the holes of these Whitman books and put aside that occasional strange looking coin....coins like Indian Head cents, Liberty nickels, and the Barber type coins.

Even though they were circulated coins...it was nice having Whitman books filled with such coins which I could tell my friends I collected.

I often wondered over that five year period why it took me so long to fill those books. It seemed like I could never make headway filling out those holes in the books. Years later I would find out from my brothers and sister that they would take coins out of those books to buy ice cream and other goodies from the local store.

Fortunately they could not spend that 1813 Canadian half penny token.

When I got to the 12th Grade, my interests changed and my new focus was on going to college. It was at that point that I discontinued by paper route and lost interest in coin collecting. Rather than spend the coins my mother had the wisdom to put them away.

Time passed....! graduated from college, did my volunteer time in the Army, and went onto my career.

About 16 years ago, my mother had serious health problems. When I visited her that year in Honolulu, she gave me a key to a safe deposit box and asked me to take out the items in that box. It turned out to be my entire coin collection that she saved. She took the coins out of the books and put them into coin rolls. The coins were returned to me by my mother. She died 3 months later.

It was at that point that I got back into coin collecting. By that time, my pocket book was much deeper and I could afford the better type coins. I joined the Anchorage Coin Club in 1989 and the rest is history.

Some years ago when I was going through my collection, I came across that 1813 Canadian half penny token....the coin that got me started.

And that is the "Tale of MY Coin".....Larry Nakata.

 

ARE HIGH PRICED VARIETIES WORTH IT?
by Mike Nourse (Life Member #1)

    The short answer is "Yes, they are worth it", but sometimes it may be worth looking at the alternatives. Some varieties, while they are quite scarce and popular, seem to be priced at outrageous levels, especially compared to what the same quantity of money will purchase in the way of regular issue coinage. Lets take a look at several examples.

I actually got the idea for this article while I was looking at the Indian Head cents section of Coin World's "Trends", a popularly used retail price guide. One listing that really stood out to me was the 1888/7 variety. Due to its enormous price. I took a look at a picture of one of these overdates. While it is somewhat clear you are unlikely to be able to see the remnants of the seven under the eight without some kind of magnification, I can't imagine how it would be visible at all under any circumstances on a coin worn down below Fine condition. It seems the remnants of the underdate would be worn away or obliterated by that point. But, be that as it may, it is the price on this coin that stood out to me. In the Trends listing, the 1888/7 Indian Head Cent lists for $1200 in Good condition, $4500 in Fine condition, and $12000 in Extra Fine. Those are big numbers, implying that this is a very scarce variety.

If a collector wants one of these coins, and this theoretical collector has the funds available, then by all means he or she should look into acquiring one. But what are some alternatives for these funds? Certainly one option would be to look at the traditional date and mint set, in which a collector endeavors to acquire one specimen from each date and mint that a series of coins was produced. A typical Indian cent collection will include 51 Philadelphia coins, 2 San Francisco coins, an 1864 specimen with the letter L on the ribbon, and three Flying Eagle cents, for a total collection containing 57 pieces. Adding up the trends values for these 57 coins in Fine condition, we come up to a total of $2900, which means that for the price of one of those 1888/7 cents in Fine condition ($4500), a collector can build the complete 57 piece set and still have enough money left over to purchase two extra key date 1877's, also in Fine condition. Jumping up to Extra Fine condition, a complete 57 piece set costs exactly half as much as an Extra Fine 1888/7 piece. In other words, for the same amount of money you can either get the overdate or two complete sets! Which would you rather have for the same amount of money?

If you find overdates to be really intriguing, there are plenty around to fill the void left by not having one of those very expensive 1888/7 Indian Head cents. A good substitute might be something along the lines of an 1808/7 Capped Bust half dollar. In this case you are getting a silver coin that is 80 years older and large enough that you can see the overdate without any magnification at all, though you will want to have your reading glasses on. This old coin has a trends value of a mere $80 in Fine or $435 in Extra Fine, only a tiny fraction of the cost of the 1888/7 cent, though certainly not as rare.

How about another example. The 1916 double die obverse Buffalo nickel is a popular and expensive error coin. However, are they impressive enough to justify such huge prices as $3000 in Very Good, $7250 in Very Fine, or $12000 in Extra Fine? Again lets look at the alternative of building a traditional date and mint set. In the case of the Buffalo nickels, the set consists of 64 pieces. Believe it or not, in Very Good condition, for the cost of a single 1916 doubled die nickel, you can build four complete date and mint sets, and still have enough money left over to buy a spare 1913-S type two key date as well as an example of the popular 1937-D three legged buffalo! The gap narrows a bit in upper grades, but you can still get three complete sets in Very Fine for the cost of a single 1916 doubled die in the same grade, or in Extra Fine you can get two sets for the same price as one 1916 doubled die. Once again, alternatives can be found in other series. How about the most famous doubled die of them all - the 1955 doubled die obverse Lincoln Cent? These are not as rare as the 1916 Buffalo nickel, but they are even more spectacular as the entire obverse is widely doubled instead of just the date, as is the case on the nickel. The 1955 cent is by no means cheap at $400 in Very Good, $550 in Very Fine, and $650 in Extra Fine, but these numbers are mere fractions of the prices encountered with the 1916 Buffalo.

Let's look at one final example: the 1892-O micro O Barber half dollar. Because of the nature of this variety, it is collectable in almost any grade, compared to the first two examples, which will be pretty well obliterated in lower grades. One of these micro O half dollars would make an interesting display when placed next to an 1892-O half with a regular sized mintmark. However, the price seems excessive, even though it is a scarce variety. The price in Good is $1750; in Very Good it is $2500; and in Fine it is $3250. This means that in either Good or Very Good, one can build the entire 73 piece date and mintmark set and still have enough money left over to get half way through building another complete set! Barber half dollars jump up in price between Very Good and Fine condition, but for the cost of just one 1892-O micro O you can still get three quarters of the way through building a date and mint mark set. As always, there are alternatives. In this case the very popular and readily available 1945-S Mercury dime is available with a regular sized S and a micro S. While the Mercury dime option is not nearly as scarce as the 1892-O half dollar, you can purchase both the regular and micro S Mercury dimes for under $40 in MS-63 or under $50 in MS-64 for the pair.

What it amounts to is that before you purchase one of these super expensive varieties, you need to decide if owning that coin is worth more to you than owning the entire date and mintmark set. Which will hold their value better? Nobody knows for certain, but remember that error and variety collecting will go through hot and cold cycles while date and mintmark collections have been quite consistently popular among numismatists since 1893 and appears to be here to stay. Just be aware that there are reasonable alternatives to the super expensive varieties.

One quick note of warning before I go. I am not an expert in the error and variety field. I am just looking at these things from my perspective as a person with limited funds that must endeavor to make the best use of each and every dollar.

Happy collecting!.......Mike Nourse.

 

CONTEST FOR THE BEST DESIGN
FOR THE ANCHORAGE COIN CLUB'S 15TH YEAR MEDALLION

    This year, 2003, will see our club coming into it's 15th year.

In keeping with our coin club's tradition, a medallion is made every 5th year to commemorate the event. The 5th and 10th year medallions were designed by our club members.

Accordingly, we would like to announce a contest for our club members for best design for our club's 15th year medallion. Club members can submit designs for the obverse side of the medallion. The obverse should reflect an Alaskan theme with a reference to coin club's name, Anchorage Coin Club. The obverse design should also reference the club's 15th year anniversary, "1998-2003".

The club member submitting the winning design shall be given according recognition as the designer of the medallion and a free medallion set.

All designs are to be submitted by no later than our March 5th membership meeting. Submissions can be made to our club's coin dealers, Board members, mailed to our club's PO Box address, or can be submitted at our membership meetings in February and March.

If there are any questions, contact Larry Nakata (daytime: 269-5603/ eves: 563-1729).

Good luck on the designs.......

 

 


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