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ACCent: The Monthly Newsletter of the Anchorage Coin Club

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Volume 16, Number 2

February 2003

February Membership Meeting
Wed., Feb 5th, 2003 Central Lutheran Church

7 PM open, 7:30 PM Meeting


 

FROM THE EDITORS

    Ahh, the start of our club's 15th year. The Anchorage Coin Club has lasted longer than any coin club in Alaska. It's not that the Ptarmigan Coin Club or the Polar Coin Club could not change with the times. They did change - they evolved into the Anchorage Coin Club.

We have things in mind to celebrate this 15th year milestone. Among them a commemorative coin from the Alaska Mint with a design picked by members from designs submitted by members. There will also be coin displays at several locations around town including "Coin Tales" at the Loussac library, "The Gold Age of Coins" at the First National Bank of Alaska's main office on 4th, and, if Richard can swing it, a big display of Alaska tokens at the Anchorage Museum Of History and Art.

Coin shows are also being organized. Robert Hall is organizing a coin show at the Cottonwood Creek Mall in Wasilla for February 8th and 9th. If you have interest in getting a coin table, contact Robert Hall at his home number (#561-8343) in the evenings.

Don Thurber is also organizing a coin show at the Northway Mall scheduled for March 1st and 2nd. Don can be contacted for tables at his home number (# 338-7488). Cost of tables at the Northway Mall coin show are $40/per table.

We may even get the charter members of the club (Robert, Roy, et. al.) together with some other members for a relaxed, easy going celebration at Larry's new house. We might even be able to call it a party.

With 2003 being our 15th year 2008 will be our 20th year. In 2008 the state quarter program will be winding down and late in 2008 Alaska, the 49th state will be having its state quarter release jubilee. Mint masters and government officials, as well as ANA nabobs and big time collectors will be coming up for the event and the club will just have to get involved. That will be a party.

Back to this year; with Don, Marilyn, and Bill's help we will once again be a sponsor of the Kids Day Celebration at the Egan Center. Which is right about the same time as National Coin Week. The ANA theme for this years National Coin Week is "The Tale of the Coin". We are still looking for your coin tales. If need be we will send out one of our eager cub reporters to get your tale.

Soo......work on your 15th year commemorative coin design and your coin tale!.....Your Editors.

 

MEMBERSHIP NEWS

Schedule of Events for the Month of February:

  1. Monthly Membership Meeting: February 5th (Wednesday) at 7:30 PM at the Central Lutheran Church. Club members and general public welcome. There will be presentation by Greg Samorajski on "Collecting 20lh Century Type Coins". 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. Cottonwood Creek Mall Coin Show (Wasilla): February 8th and 9th. Contact Robert Hall (eves: 561-8343) for information and tables.

  3. YN (Young Numismatists) Meeting: February 14th (Friday) at 7:30 PM at the Central Lutheran Church. Larry Nakata will giving a presentation to the YNs on "Collecting Paper Currency". We welcome YNs, club members, and the general public.

  4. Anchorage Coin Club Board Meeting: February 19th (Wednesday) at 7:00 PM at the New Cauldron Restaurant located at the University Center. Club members welcomed.

Minutes of the January 15th Board Meeting

The meeting was called to order at 7:15 PM by Vice President John Larson. The meeting was held at the New Cauldron Restaurant at the University Center.

Following a distribution of correspondence and a review of bills by the Board members in attendance, the Board went into a review of old business.

There have been a request for club endorsement by a number of candidates running for ANA office. The Board discussed and approved endorsement of John Wilson for ANA Board of Governors. The Board also approved endorsement of Donald Kagin for ANA Board of Governors. Secretary Larry Nakata will fill out the according paperwork.

Treasurer Greg Samorajski gave a briefing to the Board on nominations for ANA 2003 Achievement Awards. Greg has submitted the requested information by the ANA by the January 17th timeline.

The next order of business was the officer board elections scheduled for our club's membership meeting on March 5th. Election time is coming up and this is a formal announcement for members wishing to run for the positions of President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and Board Officers.

Any members wishing to run for these offices can declare their intentions at the February 5th membership meeting, contact any of the Board members (phone numbers listed in the club's newsletter), or write a letter stating your intentions to the club's post office box address. Nominations will be accepted right up to the day of election (March 5th) at the Central Lutheran Church. Members attending the March 5th meeting will vote and select our Board for 2003. We are looking for good people to serve in these volunteer Board positions.

The Board continued discussion on plans for year 2003 which will mark the 15th year of our coin club.

Final order of business was scheduling of presentations for the March meetings. The March 5* membership meeting presentation will be on the subject of "Grading US Paper Currency". This will be a joint presentation by a number of the Board members.

The YN meeting presentation on March 14th will be given by Stanley Mead on the subject of "Hobo Nickels".

The meeting was adjourned at 8:20 PM.

 

CONTEST FOR 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: 269-56031 eves: 563-1729).

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

 

THE YN CORNER

    January 10 found the YNs having a very informative presentation by Richard Bilak on "Ancient Coins". Richard covered where and how the coins are found, how the coins came to be buried in the ground and how the climate (semi-arid, damp) or the soil (swamped by ground water, clay) affects the condition of the coins.

Everyone enjoyed looking at the collection of books that Richard shared covering ancient coins. Richard spoke on which books would be good for the YN's knowledge and/or age level. Each YN selected a handful of ancient coins and then a lively discussion on how to go about cleaning the coins followed.

Thank you, Richard, for your excellent presentation on "Ancient Coins".

Coming up next month (February 14), Larry will be giving a presentation on "Collecting Paper Money". We would like the YN's to bring along their favorite pieces of currency for show and tell. Additionally, we will have information on a couple of ANA projects and the year round YN bucks program.

Until then, take care....Don and Marilyn.

 

GREEK COIN TALE c. 650 B.C.
as told by Loren Lucason (Member #97)

    When I was growing up everything was paid for with small pieces of gold weighed out on a hand-held balance stick. Some things were traded like a goat for four chickens or a sack of grain for a bale of hay but a craftsman did not have much for trade. My father taught me to be a builder when I was just a kid. I went to work on the temples of the gods. I still have my first coin. It is a 1/4 G with protection stamped on it. Apollo bestowed it upon me when I was an apprentice building his temple. My father was the senior craftsman on the project and resisted the change to coins. He preferred to be paid with gold and buy staples with gold. Most of the tradesmen still did business in gold taking coins by weight for payment. Then it was decreed that coins could buy more than their weight in gold and my father joined the rest of us counting coins instead of weighing out bits of metal.

When Ares called upon us to go to war I buried my first coin along with my other treasures under the old oak tree on the hill behind our home. Then I marched into the sunrise with my friends. We did not know what the gods had in store for us but we kept marching for days. We were each given a heavy wooden shield and a sword. Our captain told us about the invaders who came from across the ocean. How they had come in great ships and were camped on the beach. That night Poseidon began to stir the ocean and we knew what was coming. Fierce winds descended upon us and the enemy was trapped between our army and the wrath of the ocean storm. After two days of bitter fighting we had vanquished the invaders. The war was over and we were each paid an odd-shaped gold coin. I returned home from the war with deep scars and terrible memories to find rust demons attacking my treasures. But my first coin, the 1/4 G, survived. It was as shiny as ever.

Now I am old. There have been good times and bad. Through it all I kept my first coin. All the coins now are bulls and lions. You never see a protection symbol coin anymore. It may not be the biggest coin or the yellowest coin but I earned it on my first job and in the service of Apollo. It is the one treasure I will keep forever.....

 

BUILDING A 20 CENTURY TYPE SET
by Greg Samorajski (Member #287)

    A 20th Century type set! It doesn't get any better than that in numismatics. Just think, the magic Morgan dollar, the historic Barber coins, the world's most beautiful coins, the Walking Liberty half and the $20 St. Gaudens, the gorgeous Type One Standing Liberty quarter, a blazing red Indian Head cent, a matte proof Buffalo nickel, and so much more.

Why collect 20th Century Type? Just look at the list of coins. These are the coins everyone collects and everyone wants. Of course, it is near impossible to put together a complete high grade set of any of major 20th Century series, let alone all of them. However, it is very doable to assemble a type set of magnificent, beautiful, high-grade 20lh Century coins, one from each series. And, unlike a complete U.S. type set, where the expense of some of the coins is prohibitive even in circulated condition, an uncirculated 20th century set, is within the reach of even the average collector.

Type collecting involves buying one coin as an example of each series. The goal of a type collector is to identify the most common dates in each series and try to buy the highest graded, most beautiful example they can afford. Type collecting while always popular, has boomed in the last year or two with the advent of the PCGS and NGC set registries. Both registries have added several popular 20th century type sets to their list. Type collectors who focus on high grades anyway, find the registry sets a natural. The tables below list several of the PCGS 20th century type set registries. In bold, are the most basic type pieces from each set, along with some sample retail prices.

Of course, there are many ways to build type sets, almost as many ways as there are collectors. When dealing with 20th century type set building, there are several important questions. Do you want to collect mint state pieces, proof pieces, or a combination of both? Do you want to collect just the major types, or do you want to include the important varieties? Should your set include gold coins, or should it be limited to copper, nickel, and silver pieces? Should you acquire the most common pieces for each type, or spend a little more for better dates? Do you want to focus on the classics (1900 -1964), the moderns (1965 - 1999), or both? While each collector needs to answer the questions for himself, let's consider some of the pros and cons.

Many type collectors focus on either mint state or proof coins. Most agree that proof coins are beautiful and rare. However, a proof type set will be more expensive to assemble than a mint state type set. A study of the tables below illustrates the point.

It would be possible to construct an MS63 or better copper/nickel/silver mint state 20th century type set with all the varieties for about $3,500. This set would be comprised of MS65 pieces except for the most expensive coins which would be MS63. Examples of MS63s would be the Barbers and the Standing Liberty Quarters. An even less expensive alternative would be a basic set without varieties for about $2,200. A final way to reduce cost would be to acquire circulated instead of uncirculated examples of the expensive Barber and Standing Liberty coins.

A type set of proofs with all the varieties in PR63 or better will cost about $7,500, or about $5,000 if limited to the basic pieces. While it is possible to acquire lower grade proof examples to reduce cost, it is the author's opinion that the beauty of proofs is lost in grades lower than PR63. The main price difference between mint state and proof type sets is the added cost of the proof Morgan Dollar, and the proof Buffalo Nickel. However, these two types are so fundamental that they really should not be excluded.

A proof set, a mint state set, or a combined set, you make the call!

Many of the 20th Century series have several varieties which can be included in a type set. Some, like the type one and type two Buffalo nickels are well known by most collectors. Other varieties are less well known. These include, for example, the accented hair Kennedy half, or the far-date Susan B. Anthony Dollar. Whether to include varieties is again a question of preference. A type set including varieties will cost more, and be about twice the size. It is probably the way to go for those who appreciate nuance. Also, a collector who aspires to participate in the PCGS or NGC set registry program will need the major varieties. Otherwise a type set of just the major pieces is completely fine, especially if budget is a concern.

Should your 20th Century type set include gold. It can, but doesn't have to. PCGS separates gold coins from copper/nickel/silver coins and lists separate type sets. NGC includes gold coins in their type set lists. One thing for sure, adding gold to your type set greatly increases the price. Even in MS60, the eight basic gold type pieces will cost about $2,500. The cost skyrockets if you want better grades, or if you want to include the varieties. Of course a type set of proof gold is off the charts. Well, one great thing about type collecting is that you can set up your own structure, If you love gold, go for it. If not, you can have a great type set without gold coins, and still even participate the PCGS set registry.

An important question is whether to buy the most common dates in each type or whether to seek better dates. The answer is mostly economics. Type collectors usually try to buy the highest grade, most common date example they can afford. For example, in the Walker series the common date 1941 will cost about $180 in MS66 and about $750 in MS67. Suppose the type collector decides that the MS66 is the right grade. In that event should the collector buy the 1941 or spend a little more for a better date? Well, PCGS has graded about 1,800 1941 s in MS66. But, consider the 1941D. For about 20% more, say $220, it is possible to buy a coin with less than 1/2 as many pieces graded. That might make more sense economically, and still be a great type piece. Now suppose instead that the collector is considering a 194IS in MS66. This coin is much scarcer and might cost about $2,800. That might be a good coin to buy in general, but a type collector with more funds would probably choose the 41 in MS67 for $750, or maybe a 42 in MS67 for a few hundred dollars more. While the P dates are much less rare, the quality is better, and quality is the goal of the type collector. When choosing a date and grade for the type piece there is no substitute for the judicious use of a price guide in one hand, and PCGS and NGC population reports in the other.

There is an interesting type set variation for 20th Century collectors. That is to focus the collection on 1965 and later dates. There is little doubt that 1965 was a watershed year for U.S. numismatics. That was the year silver was dropped as the primary metal for our dimes, quarters, and halves to be replaced by the copper/nickel or clad composition. Many collectors were dismayed. Never-the-less, the price and popularity of these modern issues is exploding.

For the type collector who wants the ultimate in quality there is no substitute for modern coins. A beautiful type set of post 1965 proofs in 68DCAM or 69DCAM can be had for well under $1,000. Even if type gold and platinum commemorative and bullion coins are added, the set price need not exceed $1,500. This kind of quality is just not available in most pre-1965 coins even if one has an unlimited budget. Similar reasoning applies to a modern mint state type set. Of course some collectors will never accept post 1965 coins as collectibles. For these collectors, the logical choice might be just the opposite; end the type set with 1964 as the latest date.

OK, there are many ways to collect a 20th century type set. The variety of approaches is part of the reason that 20th Century type collecting is so fun. What is not in doubt is that the 20th Century yielded a wonderful group of beautiful, interesting, and yes, controversial U.S. coins. What a wonderful century of numismatics on which to base a type set.

So, what are you waiting for!!.....Greg Samorajski.

 

 


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