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ACCent: The Monthly Newsletter of the Anchorage Coin Club

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Volume 16, Number 9

September 2003

September Membership Meeting
Wed., Sept. 3rd, 2003 Central Lutheran Church

7:00 PM Open, 7:30 Meeting


 

FROM YOUR EDITORS

    We are Alaskans. More than thirty of us gathered in Centennial Park on a cold, blustery day to celebrate the coin club's annual summer picnic. The Samorajaskis, led by YN Justin, had us running around the woods searching for green ribbons we could trade in for the coin of our choice. John Larson got the kids tossing the football around. We would have had a football game but some of us kids in the 180 pound range moved too slow.

We "scarfed" down hot-dogs, hamburgers, hot-links, baked beans, and homemade salads. Larry's delicious chicken and beef teriyaki was last to go on the grill. There was, also, an entire table full of cookies, donuts, and chocolate cakes to deal with. We drank and talked of kids and coins, events of the past and plans of the future.

Then, with a few green ribbons still hi the woods, Part 2 of the YN numismatic donation auction got started. The auction was dominated by groups of books and one small, certified gold nugget from the

Alaska Mint. The books on ancient coins, Iberian coins, and paper money were all well received. And a YN bought the gold nugget. We raised a decent amount of money for the club's YN Program and some great numismatic books were put into the Anchorage coin collecting community.

The winning ticket for the raffle prize, a 1934-S Peace dollar in high grade, was drawn. The winner was Milo, the biggest single buyer of tickets. He only owned the coin a couple minutes before giving it to his son, Carl.

It was a nice afternoon of good food and good friends, with a mild gust of wind now and then to make us wake up and hold things down. It was good to see the family members of those in the club and talk of things other than the price of platinum and the investment potential of the Lincoln cent. Though some of us got a little chilled, we all had a good time.

The club had it's August meeting a couple of weeks later at the Central Lutheran Church. Club president, Stan Mead, gave a very good presentation on "Peace Dollars".

At the August meeting, it was decided that our September 3rd YN/ Membership Club meeting will be held at the Spenard Lions Club located at 2108 Roosevelt Dr. (Anchorage). The purpose of having this change is to allow members an opportunity to check out the Spenard Lions Club facility as a possible future location for meetings. Your editors encourage YNs and members to attend the Sept. 3rd evening meeting. Check this month's newsletter for directions and a map to the Spenard Lions Club meeting location.

The winner of the August door prize, a set of wartime WWII US coinage (steel cent, silver Jefferson nickel, Mercury dune, Washington quarter, and Walking Liberty half dollar) was won by Stan Mead. The winner of the August membership prize, a two ounce Silver proof 2001 Alaska Fishing Medallion (minted by the Alaska Mint) was won by John Pastes.

There is a also a new raffle prize: a certified ICG graded "1881 US 3 Cent Nickel " in Proof 64 DCAM condition. This coin also has repunched marks: "8", "UNITED", and "A" of AMERICA.

At the August meeting, a decision was made to defer the Anchorage Coin Club's calendar as a project that will be done next year. There were not enough orders for calendars to justify moving forward with the project for this year.

In a briefing by Larry Nakata, the club's 15th year commemorative medallion project is still in progress. We should have costs figured for the medallions shortly. Information will then be posted in the club's newsletter.

One final thing... .Coin Shows for the remainder of the year. Robert Hall will be organizing a coin show at the Cottonwood Creek Mall in Wasilla for the November 1st and 2nd weekend. Members interested in getting coin tables for the show can contact Robert Hall in the evenings at 561-8343.

See you at the September 3rd coin club meeting (location: Spenard Lions Club/ 2108 Roosevelt Dr.)......Your Editors.

 

MEMBERSHIP NEWS

Schedule of Events for the Month of September:

  1. Monthly YN Meeting/ Regular Membership Meeting: September 3rd (Wednesday) evening/ Location: Spenard Lions Club/ 2108 Roosevelt Dr../ Anchorage. Members and YNs can come at 7 PM. The membership meeting will commence at 7:30 PM. Food provided. We will have a "good-old fashioned coin club meeting" in which everyone is encouraged to bring in their favorite coins to show, tell, sell and trade. Club members, family, and general public welcomed.
  2. YN (Young Numismatists) Meeting: September 3rd at the Spenard Lions Club/ 7 PM. YNs are asked to bring their favorite coins to this meeting. This month's meeting to be combined with the regular membership meeting.
  3. Anchorage Coin Club Board Meeting: September 16th (Tuesday) at 7:00 PM at the New Cauldron Restaurant located at the University Center. Club members welcomed. Please note this Board meeting is being held on a TUESDAY evening.

Minutes of the August 20th Board Meeting

The meeting was called to order at 7:30 PM by club president Stan Mead. The Board met at the New Cauldron Restaurant located at the University Center with a full quorum.

Following a review of correspondence and bills, old business was discussed. It has been proposed that the club consider moving their regular membership meetings to the Spenard Lions Club. At this time, the Anchorage Coin Club is paying Central Lutheran Church $25/event for use the church facilities. Through consolidation of the YN and membership meetings into one event each month... and by having the Board meet at restaurant locations for their monthly board meetings... the club has lowered it's overhead cost from $900 to $300 per year for use of Central Lutheran Church facilities. The proposal to move meetings to the Spenard Lions Club is intended to lower the club's yearly costs even further. Members attending the September 3rd meeting at the Spenard Lions Club will have an opportunity to see the facilities. At that meeting, the Board will have the members decide this matter.

Larry Nakata gave an update on the club's 15th year medallion project. We are close to having a determination of costs for the club's 15th year medallions. Larry was hoping to have a set of medallions ready to show the members at our September 3rd club meeting. This particular timeline will not be met, but should be met by the time of our club's October 1st meeting. By the time of our club's October 1st meeting, it is expected that members can then order their numbered medallion sets.

An event at the Anchorage Museum is still in the works. Larry will be getting with Richard Bilak on this matter. Assuming this event can be arranged, figure on an event in the latter part of this year.

The club then discussed new business. Remaining coin shows for this year was discussed as a topic item.

Loren Lucason brought up the issue of improvements that can be made to our coin club's newsletter. For the first time in a number of years, our club failed to get an award for it's local club publication. Loren recommended a series of improvements to be done over the next few months to change the look of our club's newsletter, ACCent. Loren felt these changes are necessary if the club is to regain it's status as one of the best coin club publications with the American Numismatics Association (ANA). Board agreed that such improvements should be made.

The Board then discussed topic items for future YN and club meetings for the year. Loren Lucason recommended that we go back to a consolidation of the YN and Membership meetings into one meeting... .rather than two separate meetings. Loren went on to state that presentations in future meetings should focus on basic issues...such as how to collect coins. Such subject matter would be common to both YN and adult members. It was noted by Loren that most of the people attending club meetings are first time and new coin collectors. After some discussion, it was decided to ask members attending the September 3rd meeting to give input as to the types of subject matter they would like to see in future meetings. Programs will then be tailored accordingly.

As there was no further business to discuss, the meeting concluded at 8:30 PM.

THE YN CORNER

Hope you enjoyed your summer. Now that summer is coming to an end, we want to remind all YNs that coin club meetings will restart with the September 3rd YN Meeting.

This particular meeting will be held at a different location: The Spenard Lions Club located at 2108 Roosevelt Drive. We ask that you come to this location at 7 PM. We want you to take a look at this place as a possible new location to meet. Both you and the other members of our coin club will then make a decision if future meetings are to be held at this location.

We also want to have you bring your favorite coins of interest. Others in the coin club will also be bringing their coins to show, tell, sell, and trade. It should be a fun time to see a lot of nice coins.

See you there...Don and Marilyn.

 

THE U.S. PEACE DOLLAR
by Stanley Mead (Member #64)

    At our club's August 6th meeting, I gave a presentation on the subject of the "US Peace Dollar". This is a follow-up article for those of you who did not have a chance to attend that meeting. In the course of looking for reference material on the US Peace Dollar, I was somewhat surprised to find little, if any, specific books on this subject. It was necessary for me to go through a number of reference books to put together this article. This is what I found.....

In April of 1918, the Pittman Act authorized the US Treasury to melt up to 350 million silver dollars for the war effort (World War I). Some 273 million were eventually melted...part of which was reused in the United States for domestic coinage...and to conserve the US gold supply. The remaining bullion ended up going to the British government for use in their mints in India.

In agreeing to the melting of the silver dollars, Congress stipulated that the dollar had to be replaced with newly minted metal coming from United States mines... with a stipulated price of $1/ounce for silver, regardless of the current international market price.

At that time, the melted silver dollars, under the terms of the Pittman Act, constituted nearly half of the entire production of US Morgan silver dollars.

After 1918, silver prices spiked over the $1/ounce market price delaying the US Treasury's purchase of silver. By May, 1920 the Treasury did finally purchase silver at $1/ounce....with the international market price at 70 cents/ounce. By March., 1921 the international market price for silver was 53 cents/ounce. It became clear that the US mining interests were making money on such subsidies by the US government... thanks to the Pittman Act. Thankfully, the last required purchase of such silver (as specified in the Pittman Act) was in November, 1924.

So...the Pittman Act of 1918 set the stage for the minting of the US Peace Dollar. The silver purchased at $1/ounce from US mining interests was used for mintage of the Peace Dollar for years 1921 through 1928.

That is one chapter of the story of the Peace Dollar.

The second chapter deals with the politics involving the design of the US Peace Dollar. In my research, it is my perspective that Chapter Two starts with the November, 1918 issue of the ANA's magazine, The Numismatist (later to be called Numismatist by the ANA). In that particular issue, there was an article by Frank Duffield in which he proposed a victory type coin for general circulation commemorating the World War I events by the United States. His article, "Souvenir and Commemorative Coins" was also presented at the ANA Convention in Philadelphia scheduled for October, 1918. The 1918 ANA Convention was never held because of the infamous 1918 Influenza epidemic that swept throughout the United States.

However, this article appears to have set the foundation for the proposed mintage of the US Peace Dollar A follow-up article in May, 1919 (in The Numismatist magazine), by Mr. Sorenson, reinforced the recommendation for such a coin.

At the ANA Convention in August, 1920...the famous numismatist, Farren Zerbe, gave an impassioned plea for such a silver dollar commemorative coin.....whose design would commemorate the signing of the peace treaties that ending World War I. Farren Zerbe was to follow-up with a text of his speech in the October, 1920 issue of The Numismatist. In short, the article stated: " Our Peace coin should be of good size for best art effects, and if it be one for popular use by all people, the half dollar is naturally suggested and would probably be a common choice. But, should we resume the coinage of the silver dollar, that coin should be a consideration. We gave our silver dollars to help win the war; we restored them in commemoration of victory and peace. It was an event that led the way for our first commemorative coin- The Columbian Half dollar. Won't you take advantage of another Chicago event, this convention, to lead the way for our first special coin for circulation?".

The winning design came under political storm when veterans groups took exception to the Eagle holding a broken sword. These veterans saw this as an admission of defeat. The concerns resulted in President Harding ordering this matter rectified. The Chief engraver, Morgan, made the according changes.

Production of the Peace Dollar began on December 26, 1921 and ran through the end of the year for the 1921 coin. A little more than 1 million were minted in this short timeframe. It soon became apparent that the coin's high relief design was too high...making it difficult to strikeand causing excessive die breakage. The US Mint corrected the design in it's 1922 series by reducing the high relief.....but in the process, somewhat lowering the coin's aesthetic appeal. About 88 million Peace Dollars were minted in the 1922 series.

The mintages of the Peace Dollars accordingly dropped in the years that followed going into 1928. By the 1928 series, the Mint had produced enough silver dollars to satisfy the requirements of the Pittman Act.

The following year, 1929, saw the start of the Depression period. Mintage of the US Peace dollar was discontinued at that time and saw the US Peace Dollar return for a two year "curtain call" in 1934.....because more silver dollars were needed as backing for silver certificates.

The design came very close to reappearing one more time in 1964, when Congress authorized production of 45 million new silver dollars, apparently in an effort to serve the needs of the Nevada gaming casinos. With the smaller silver coins rapidly disappearing from circulation, this was viewed as a gift to special interests. After the Denver Mint produced 310,000 Peace dollars in May, 1965 (dated 1964), President Johnson rescinded the order. Although all pieces were presumably recalled and re-melted, rumors persist of several coins that survived.

Chapter Three deals with my statement that there is no right way nor wrong way to form a collection of Peace Dollars. It would be nice if one could study the mintage figures of these dollars to determine what is rare and what is not. As an example, the 1921, 1934, and 1934-S have mintages around the 1 million mark. Yet...from 1921 through 1935...almost 200 million Peace dollars were minted.

In the roaring 20s, the stock market was going strong; jobs were plentiful: the Mint was melting silver dollars to make more Peace dollars. One has to wonder how many Peace dollars were melted to make later date Peace dollars.

The Act of December 18, 1942 called for melting of 50 million more silver dollars, including Peace dollars. Peace dollars continued to be melted on numerous occasions during the 1950's, 1960's, and especially during the late 1970's and early 1980's when silver prices reached $50/ounce (a strange time when mint state specimens of Peace Dollars were worth more as bullion than as numismatic coins).

In my research, I could find no records kept on the types, dates, and mint marks that were melted during these times. One can only speculate. A quote by Q. David Bowers puts it well when he states: "However, no writer or researcher, including me, has all the facts or creates all of the good theories. Unquestionable, as time goes on, the field will attract scholars who will employ increasingly sophisticated research techniques, and the order of rarity rating will be modified. For Peace dollars, as with Morgan dollars, there is one area of guesswork- how may coins were melted."

All I can say is that in mint state grades, certain San Francisco and Denver issues in the middle 1920s are much rarer than the traditionally rare 1927, 1927-S, 1928, and 1934-S Peace dollars.

I would also advise to be careful of the so-called bargains in Peace dollars when you see them advertised. Descriptive grades such as "Beautiful brilliant", "Select Uncirculated", "Superb Quality", "Gem BU", etc. No grade is given, but what you are likely to get is the MS60 grade if you are lucky. Expect the AU grade if the price of the Peace dollar is at the bargain price.

Rarity is not only in the numbers minted, but they can include the varieties, such as the Large "S", Small "S", Small "D", Medium "D", and the 1934-D doubled die.

A special thanks goes to David Bowers and his book "The Comprehensive US

Silver Dollar Encyclopedia", John W. Highfill and his book " The Comprehensive US Silver Dollar Encyclopedia", Bill Fivaz "Cherrypickers Guide", and Joel Edler & Dave Harper for their book "2003 US Coin Digest"........Stan Mead.

 


The Anchorage Coin Club

Club Officers

Board of Directors

Editors

Club Archivist / Photographer

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