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ACCent: The Monthly Newsletter of the Anchorage Coin Club

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Volume 16, Number 10

October 2003

October Membership Meeting
Wed., October 1st, 2003 Central Lutheran Church

7:30 PM Meeting


    September 3rd saw a number of our coin club members meeting at the Spenard Lions Club located at 2108 Roosevelt Drive.

This particular meeting was held at this location to allow our members an opportunity to look over the facilities and vote on whether or not our club meetings should be moved from the Central Lutheran Church to the Spenard Lions Club. Members, including YNs, were asked to make sure that the new location would meet their requirements for security, space, sound, etc. before voting.

At the September 3rd meeting, the majority of our members voted to move the meeting location to the Spenard Lions Club.

Text Box:

The Anchorage Coin Club is presently 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 was intended to lower the club’s yearly costs even further. 

        1898 Proof US $2 1/2 Coronet Gold 

HOWEVER…a development has occurred in which the Board of the Spenard Lions Club is requesting our club pay $25/event for use of the Spenard Lions Club facility.


In light of this development, your Anchorage Coin Club Board would like to have this matter reconsidered by our membership at our next coin club meeting on October 1st.  


At the September 3rd meeting, the topic of the Anchorage Coin Club calendar was discussed and tabled until next year.

There was a discussion of changes that can be made to our club’s ACCent monthly newsletter.  Over the next 4 months, your editors would like to make changes to improve the newsletter format.

It was brought up that we should have a design contest for the front page of the newsletter. Your editors agree and ask that you check this month’s article on this matter.

Our members also voted to keep the YN (Young Numismatists) meeting and Regular membership meeting independent of each other. Future meetings will have the YNs meet at 7 PM followed by the General membership meeting (which is attended by both YNs and adult members) at 7:30 PM.

The remainder of the meeting saw a good old fashion coin club meeting with members bringing in their favorite coins for Show, Tell, Sell, and Trade. Among the items brought in were:

·         From YN Justin Samorajski: Binders of raw and certified Lincoln cents, US type coins, and Jefferson nickels.

·         From Stan Mead:  50 toned coins for display which included half cents, 3 cent coins, Buffalo nickels, and Morgan Dollars.

No door prize or membership prize was given out at the meeting since Larry Nakata (the keeper of the prizes) was in Fairbanks at the time of this meeting. Larry intends to be at the October 1st meeting.

We want to remind everyone that our club’s final raffle prize of the year is a certified ICG graded “1881 US Three Cent Nickel” in Proof 64 DCAM condition. Raffle tickets are going for $5/ticket. It’s a very nice early cameo proof…one worthy of your collection. The raffle prize will go at our club’s Christmas Party in December.

Keep in mind that we also have the Cottonwood Creek Mall Coin Show scheduled for November 1st and 2nd in Wasilla.

Finally, thanks go to club member Judy Mathern in Beaumont, Texas for her generous donation of $100 to our club’s YN Program.  Over the years Judy has been a great supporter of our club’s YN Program.




Schedule of Events for the Month of October

  1. Monthly YN Meeting/ Regular Membership Meeting:  October 1st (Wednesday) evening/ Location: CENTRAL LUTHERAN CHURCH. The YN meeting will start at 7 PM followed by the general membership meeting at 7:30 PM.  Meeting to be held in the downstairs meeting area of the church. YNs, club members, family, and general public welcome. The general membership meeting will feature a presentation on “General Grading of Coins- Circulated Grades”. There will be a  bullet auction of no more than 15 coins at this meeting. Members are encouraged to bring in coins and other numismatic items for the bullet auction.
  2. Anchorage Coin Club Board Meeting:  October 15th (Wednesday) at 7:00 PM at the New Cauldron Restaurant  in the University Center. Club members welcome. 


Minutes of the September 16th  Board Meeting

The meeting was called to order at 7:15 PM by club president Stan Mead. 

Larry Nakata showed Board members the Glenn Smedley Award that he received from the American Numismatic Association (ANA) for 2003. This award (first conferred in 1990) is presented to coin collectors in recognition for their services to the hobby of numismatics (coin collecting). Larry will be bringing the award to show our club members at our October 1st membership meeting.

Text Box:  A briefing was then given by Larry Nakata on the club’s 15th year medallions (coins). In discussions with The Alaska Mint (members Mike and Michelle Robuck), the die for the obverse side of our medallions will cost $650. The Alaska Mint can provide a two coin set consisting of a proof silver medallion  and a proof bronze medallion with the  club’s winning design on the obverse. As with the 5th and 10th year medallions, the reverse side of the 15th year medallions will be The Alaska State Seal. There will be no charge to the coin club for the reverse side design as The Alaska Mint has such dies in their stock. Each member of our coin club who wishes to get a two coin set will have their member numbers engraved on the edge of the coins. The set will be in an elegant display box with the coins encapsulated in airtight holders.

 1903 Coronet Quarter Eagle Obverse

Factoring in the cost of the obverse die, the Board gave approval to proceed at a cost of $35 to club members for the 15th year two coin medallion set. Larry Nakata will post an announcement in the next club newsletter. Larry is looking at having the medallions ready by the club’s Christmas Party in December. The Board also approved mintage of Bronze medallions with no edge lettering. Such Bronze medallions will be offered to club members at $7/each. 

There will be extra 2 coin sets made with no edge lettering. Such two coin sets will be sold to club members at $35/each and to nonmembers at $45/each. Nonmembers can also purchase individual Bronze medallions at $10/each.

Larry also has a number of 5th and 10th year numbered sets….as well as a number of 5th and 10th year Bronze medallions. The Board approved purchase of these 5th and 10th year sets at $45/each for a two coin set and $10/each for the individual Bronze medallions.

Text Box:  Loren Lucason then went into a discussion on possible changes to the club’s newsletter. Among the changes will be use of numismatic cartoons designed by our club members, numismatic trivia pertinent to the newsletter articles, and a newly designed front page through a contest. Such changes should occur over a period of months with inputs from the membership.  Both Loren and Larry, as editors of ACCent, look towards these changes as necessary if the club is to win back its award winning status as a numismatic club publication.

The Board then concluded with a discussion of presentations for the months of October and November. October will see a membership meeting presentation on “General Grading of Coins- Circulated Grades”. November will see a follow-up presentation on “General Grading of Coins- Mint State Grading”.

 1903 Coronet Quarter Eagle Reverse

On the matter of new business, Greg Samorajski proposed the club develop a club sponsored program in which Boy Scouts can work towards a merit badge on Numismatics. Greg asked that the Board think about such a program with the idea of implementation next year.

As there was no further business, the meeting adjourned at 8:20 PM. 





    The next YN meeting will be scheduled for 7 PM at the Central Lutheran Church on Wednesday, October 1st.  We ask that you come and stay for the membership meeting at 7:30 PM. In light of the latest developments regarding use of the Spenard Lions Club facility, both you and the other members of our coin club will need to reconsider and decide where our future coin club meetings will occur.

See you there…Don and Marilyn.



    The time has come when an award winning newsletter, such as ACCent, must see changes if it expects to continue winning awards.

The present format of our club’s newsletter has not changed at all these past 10 years.

Accordingly, your editors would like to announce a contest to our club members on ways the newsletter can be improved.

The front page needs a new design.

Take a look at the logo “The Award Winning Newsletter of the Anchorage Coin Club”. Should it be changed…and if so, to what?!

Should we change the three column format of the newsletter to something else?!

Your editors presently use Microsoft Word for formatting the club’s newsletter. While it has worked well over the years, is there something  better?!

Send in your ideas and  page designs.

The Board will select the winner with the best ideas and design. The announcement of the winner will be made at our club’s Christmas Party in December. An award will be given to that person.

We look forward to your input……Your Editors.


by Mike Nourse (Life Member #1)

    Have you ever considered putting together a complete set of Liberty head quarter eagles (Coronet $2 1/2 gold pieces)? Probably not. Very few people ever seriously consider trying it, far fewer actually get started on the task, and very, very few collectors ever actually complete a set. Why is that? Are they exceedingly ugly? No, actually they are exceedingly scarce in many cases. And the amount of money required to build a set is enormous – in Extra Fine it is similar in expense to buying a nice house, at about $200,000. Needless to say, that simple statistic takes a lot of us out of the running for a complete set.

Lets take a look at the Coronet quarter eagles and see what kind of task you will be facing in case you happen to win a sweepstakes sponsored by a large magazine publisher. The set is truly large, as this design was in use for over fifteen years longer than even the long lived Seated Liberty design heavily used on silver coinage of the nineteenth century. This design was first used on the quarter eagle denomination in 1840, and continued on for a whopping 68 years with no major changes, finally to be replaced in 1908 by Bela Lyon Pratt’s Indian Head design. During that time, these coins were struck at a total of five minting facilities, including the southern mints of Charlotte and Dahlonega, which have a well deserved reputation for producing scarce coins.

Text Box: TRIVIA:

“Did You Know that in 1848, during the California Gold Rush, California Gold was used for a special mintage of 1389 Coronet Gold Quarter Eagle Coins with the distinguishing mark “CAL” punched on the reverse of the coins.”
The complete set consists of 135 essential coins and at least eleven optional coins. The optional coins generally involve examples illustrating variations in the size of the date on the obverse, variations in the size of the lettering on the reverse, overdates and other varieties. Three of the optional coins are only optional due to extreme rarity combined with extreme value. They are the two Proof only issue of 1841 (known as the ‘Little Orphan’), the proof only issue of 1863, and the legendary business strike rarity of 1854-S. Adding these three coins doubles the cost of building the complete set, moving it out of the reach all but very well-financed, dedicated collectors.

Now, lets take a bit of a closer look at those 135 coins needed to build the complete set. Only four of those 135 issues has a mintage of over 1 million coins, and all four of those issues are reasonably common and readily available. The Coronet quarter eagle set is one of those cases in which the highest mintage coin, in this case the 1853 with a mintage of 1.4 million, is truly the most common coin in the series. Now, here comes the amazing part about this series. Only 20 issues have a mintage between 100,000 and 1 million. This means that a whopping 111 out of the 135 coins needed for the set have a mintage of under 100,000 pieces, which is far less than some popular key dates such as the 1877 and 1909-S VDB cents and the 1916-D dime.

Only 28 coins have mintages between 25,000 and 100,000, meaning that over half of the set has a mintage under 25,000 pieces. Now, remember that the very expensive 1893-S Morgan dollar has a mintage of 100,000 coins! The next group, with mintages between 10,000 and 25,000 pieces contains 34 separate issues. Believe it or not, the largest number of issues, 45, fall in the mintage range of 1,000 to 10,000 pieces, with the remaining four coins having mintages of under 1,000 pieces.

So here we are, starting out with very low mintages and going down from there. A large percentage of the coins originally minted exist no more. Meltings played the biggest part in reducing the available supply. Our government melted excess supplies of gold coins from time to time. Other governments often melted US gold coins that they received in payment, for bullion which would the be minted into their own gold coins. However, the physical attributes of these coins led a lot of them to their numismatic demise, to become a piece of jewelry. These dime size gold coins with a cute design lend themselves very well to use in rings, earrings, and bracelets. When you look through advertisements featuring $2 1/2 gold coins, you will see quite a number of them listed with the notation ‘jewelry piece’, meaning that the coin probably suffers from excessive wear on one side, quite a few nicks on that same side, and a good, stiff buffing to make it nice and shiny. These coins sell for just a small premium above their melt value unless they are one of the really rare dates.

Cleaning is a problem with all coins, and gold coins are certainly not immune. Gold is a soft metal, and therefore gets hairlined easily when it is cleaned. Cleaned gold coins also tend to get a readily noticeable unnatural brightness that does not ever seem to go away. Be careful that the Liberty head $2 1/2 that you are buying has not been cleaned, unless you are buying it priced as a cleaned coin.

Now, back to building our Liberty $2 1/2 gold set. We have established that these are scarce coins with more than half of the set having an original mintage that would fit in a briefcase. How do prices look, and are these coins worth buying at current levels? I think they represent a decent value at current prices, though underpriced coins will take a bit of research to discover. The higher denomination gold coins underwent a major modification in 1866, when the motto ‘In God We Trust’ was added to the reverse of these coins. The $2.50 denomination did not follow suit, but the year 1866 still makes a good dividing line between the earlier dates and the later dates.

The first 27 years of the Liberty head $2 1/2 pieces, 1840 through 1866, actually comprise two thirds of the set because these coins were struck at all five mints during these years. By 1867, only Philadelphia and San Francisco were left, and San Francisco quit striking them after 1879. There is another fundamental, historic, and important reason for using 1866 as a division: In the early years, these gold coins circulated quite heavily, and few (or none) were saved. Good money (i.e. silver and gold coins) was heavily hoarded during the civil war, and gold coins just never saw the same level of use ever again after the war. This has major implications for a person building a Coronet $2 1/2 set.

The price of coins of early years, because they circulated heavily, increases dramatically with better grades. Look at the 1856-O as a typical example, with a mintage of 21,000 pieces. In Very Fine condition, this coin has a trends value of $350. Going to Extra Fine nearly doubles the value to $675. Going up to Almost Uncirculated (AU-50) doubles the value again to $1350, and again going to AU-55 at $2950, and yet again going to MS-60 at a whopping $7500. This is typical price performance for the early issues, and shows how important condition is on these early coins. I believe that for the early dates, Extra Fine condition represents the best value for the money. You still have all of the major details visible, an attractive coin, for a fraction of the price of an Almost Uncirculated or Mint State coin. Even with unlimited funds, some dates simply do not exist in Uncirculated condition as none were saved.

For the later dates, Almost Uncirculated (AU-50) coins are the best overall value for the money when building this portion of the set. AUs are typically only around 20% more expensive than Extra Fines, which is a small enough difference to make it worthwhile. Mintages of these later dates are still very low for the most part, but limited meltings and a large number of survivors make these pieces much more affordable. Many of these later coins were apparently used as gifts or for other special purposes, which is why the survival rate is quite high, and most of the survivors are Uncirculated, or possibly worn down to AU-55 by mishandling.

Bargain hunting $2 1/2 Liberty's. It can be done. No guarantee that your bargain coins won’t remain as bargains long into the future, but it is worth a try. At least you end up with a coin plus a good story to tell. Concentrate on mintmarked issues as they tend to be scarcer and have lower survival rates. If you are willing to settle for a somewhat low grade piece, you can find some really scarce coins for under $1000. For instance, the 1846-C (Charlotte), with a mintage of only 4,800 pieces, a low survival rate, and incredible popularity due to it’s southern branch mint origin, has a trends value of only $950 in Very Fine. A lot of money, but it sure seems cheap for a coin that numismatic researcher Douglas Winter estimates is represented by only 65 to 75 coins surviving in all grades combined.

Bargains are available in the later dates, too. Look at the 1884, with a mintage of a scant 2000 pieces, which has a Trends value of only $385 in Extra Fine. For somebody with a few more dollars to spare, the 1885 looks compelling with a mintage of 800, count them, 800 pieces, for only $1500 in the same condition. I know these two coins likely have a high survival rate, but when you are starting with so few coins, these will always be scarce.

Which coins in this series are fully valued? The higher mintage (250,000+) coins are generally readily available, and present little upside appreciation potential, in my opinion. Worst of all are the dates from 1877 through 1907 that have mintages over 10,000 pieces, especially the coins from 1900 – 1907. These are all readily available, and should remain so well into the future.

While few people have ever (or will ever) seriously considered building a complete set of Coronet $2 1/2 gold pieces, it is still interesting to see how scarce and overlooked this series really is. And do yourself a little favor if you are building a type set: do some bargain hunting! You can get a super scarce coin for only a small premium over a super common one. Do not buy a pre-made gold type set! Pick out your type coins one by one, and pay a little bit more (about 25%) for a set containing very scarce semi-key coins that have true appreciation potential in the years ahead…..Mike Nourse.


EDITORS NOTE:  At this summer’s  American Numismatic Association (ANA) Convention  in Baltimore, the fifth elusive 1913 Liberty Nickel was finally authenticated. Relatives of the last known owner, George Walton, provided the coin for authentication by a number of esteem experts. With the authentication of this final coin, all known specimens of the 1913 Liberty Nickel are accounted for. The following article by Edward C. Rochette tells the story of the 1913 Liberty nickel. For your enjoyment…..

by Edward C. Rochette

    Samuel W. Brown had a job many collectors or dealers would die for. He was a storekeeper at the United States Mint in Philadelphia and more importantly, Brown was assistant curator, which is how he obtained the 1913 nickels. Brown was also a member of the American Numismatic Association. He may have mixed a vocational pursuit with professional responsibility. Brown’s first ad was in December, 1919, where he offered to pay $500 for a coin. Then in 1920, Brown placed a want ad to buy advertisement in The Numismatist, the ANA’s official journal. 

"Wanted", he wrote, "1913 Liberty Head Nickel. In Proof condition, if possible. Will pay $600 for one."

  How successful Brown was in his quest, one may never know. However, five such nickels appeared in the fabled collection of Col. E. H. R. Green, son of Hetty Green, the Witch of Wall Street. Next, two of the coins were to appear in the sale of the late King Farouk of Egypt. Later the five coins were to find their way in the private collections of a number of serious collectors.   At one time, Eric Newman owned all five. One of the five coins later sold for a record $1.84 million!….Ed Rochette.


1913 Liberty Nickel Obverse



    The Anchorage Coin Club’s 15th year medallions are scheduled to be ready by the time of our club’s Christmas Party in December.

Cost of the two coin set consisting of a Proof Silver and Proof Bronze coin will be $35 to each member of our club. The coins will be encapsulated and placed in a display box. Your membership number will be engraved on the edge of each coin.

Also available will be single bronze medallion coins in a mylar flip holder with no lettering on the edge. These bronze medallions are available to each member of our club at $7/coin.

There is a form on this newsletter that can be filled out for ordering of the 15th year medallions.

There are also 5th and 10th year medallions available at $45 for the two coin set and $10/each for the single bronze medallions.

We would like to have your orders placed by November 30th in order that the medallions be ready in time for the club’s Christmas Party.

If there are any questions, feel free to contact Larry Nakata at (907)269-5603 (daytime number) or at (907)563-1729 (in the evenings)….Larry Nakata.





I would like the following:

·         2 coin set consisting of a proof silver and proof bronze 15th year medallion. Each coin encapsulated with both coins in a display box. If you are an Anchorage Coin Club member, your membership number will be engraved on the edge of both coins.

Member cost  $35/set. Please order me ____  sets.

Non-member cost $45/set. Please order me ____ sets

·         Proof bronze 15th year medallion in mylar flip holder. No lettering on edge of coin.

Member cost $7/coin. Please order me ____ coins.

Non-member cost $10/coin. Please order me ____coins.

If you are interested in purchasing Anchorage Coin Club 5th (1993) and/or 10th (1998) Year Medallions:

·         2 coin set consisting of a proof silver and proof bronze medallion. Encapsulated in display box.

5th Year medallions. Cost  $45/set. Please provide me with ____sets.

10 Year medallions. Cost $45/set. Please provide me with ____sets.

·         Proof bronze medallion in mylar flip holder.

5th Year medallion. Cost $10/coin. Please provide me with ____coins.

10th Year medallion. Cost $10/coin. Please provide me with ____coins.




You may bring in this form with your check to the Anchorage Coin Club meetings on October 1st or November 5th.


You can mail this form with your check to our club’s mailing address at:


Anchorage Coin Club

P.O. Box 230169

Anchorage, AK  99523



The Anchorage Coin Club

Club Officers

Board of Directors


Club Archivist/ Photographer


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

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