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ACCent: The Monthly Newsletter of the Anchorage Coin Club

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Volume 17, Number 3

March 2004

March Membership Meeting
Wed., March 3rd, 2004 Central Lutheran Church

6:30 PM YNs, 7:15 Meeting


 

FROM YOUR EDITORS

    This just in from our crack reporters: Benjamin Franklin is not guilty of being the first paper money counterfeiter in America. Counterfeiting was rampant at the time. Franklin was just demonstrating his revolutionary new idea of using a complex and unique natural design to thwart the efforts of counterfeiters. His idea caught on and a print of the veins of a leaf appear on many continental currency notes.

That was a colonial numismatic turning point. Now we are at a local numismatic turning point. The design of the Alaska state quarter is due sooner than you think. Since we are the 49th state our quarter is not due to be released until late in the year 2008. But the dies need to be cut by the beginning of the year 2008 so coins could be minted for proof sets. The final design must be set by late in the year 2007.

The experts at the mint will want to make small changes in the design to make sure there won't be any minting problems. We don't want our Eskimo princess to have a flat head because it wouldn't strike up or die cracks putting extra lines in the rigging of Captain Cook's ship. Since the mint experts are government employees they won't be moving too fast. So the artwork will most likely need to be decided on in the year 2006.

The state government is setting up an arts council to debate the pros and cons of each submitted design. With artisans and government officials arguing over the details it is likely there will not be a quick decision. In fact, considering late submittals, one year is optimistic in predicting a time for consensus on the design. That puts us into the year 2005.

We are already a third of the way through 2004. So the turning point in the future of our state quarter is now. We do not want a dismally unimpressive outline of or a crowded mess of things inside the state. Artistic thought must be put into this coin and art can not be rushed. The design will be chosen from art submitted by Alaskan artists. So we need to get local artisans thinking in terms of art that symbolizes and makes a statement about the great state of Alaska.

Many artisans think of numismatists as nerds gathering sets of little metal disks. We are actually connoisseurs of rare coin art. We appreciate not only the rarity but the execution of the design on the coin and the state of preservation of the art. What we need is fine quality art that says what Alaska is all about; where we came from, what we offer now, where we are going to. We need art that fits on a one inch diameter disk of metal.

At our February membership meeting a well executed bit of numismatic art, the proof 1982 George Washington commemorative half dollar, was given to Bill Bredesen for the door prize and an 1853 Seated Liberty dime was given to Mike Gentry for the membership prize. We then discussed at length the purchase of coins over the internet and through the mail. Bring your coins and join the conversation at our next meeting ... after voting in our new president.

Future meetings will include a look into Carl's collection of counterfeit gold and a presentation by Bill Bredesen on the early coins of the Russians (former owners of Alaska)... Your Editors.

MEMBERSHIP NEWS

Schedule of Events for the Month of March:

  1. YN (Young Numismatists) Meeting: March 3rd (Wednesday) at 6:30 PM at the Central Lutheran Church (downstairs meeting area). YNs (Young Numismatists) are asked to attend this meeting. The meeting will go over plans for the design this year's Anchorage Coin Club calendar. YNs, club members, and general public welcomed.

  2. Monthly Membership Meeting: March 3rd (Wednesday) at 7:15 PM at the Central Lutheran Church (downstairs meeting area). The Central Lutheran Church is located at 1420 Cordova St. on the corner of Cordova and 15th Avenue. Greg Samorajski will moderate the SECOND PART of an open discussion on " insights on things to look out for when purchasing coins by mail order or online". February's session was so popular that it requires a Part Two continuation on this subject. Members, YNs, and general public welcomed.

  3. Anchorage Coin Club Board Meeting: March 17th (Wednesday) at 7:00 PM at the New Cauldron Restaurant located at the University Center. Club members welcomed.

Minutes of the February 18th Board Meeting

The meeting was called to order at 7:20 PM by President Stan Mead. The meeting was held at the New Cauldron Restaurant.

Old Business was first reviewed by the Board.

On the subject of our club's upcoming March 3rd elections, the following people have been nominated for open Board positions:

Any member wishing to run for these seats can still put their name in right up until elections March 3rd. We want to encourage our members to volunteer their time for the betterment of our coin club.

Our president, Stan Mead, wants to remind all club members of meeting time changes. On the first Wednesday of every month YNs meet at 6:30 PM...followed by the general membership meeting (YNs included) at 7:15 PM.

Display cases have been put out the last couple of meetings for our members to display, sell , or trade coins, paper currency, or other numismatic item. Your board wants to encourage our members to utilize these cases by bringing in your coins to share with others. That is what coin clubs are all about.

TRIVIA: "In 1917 the Standing Liberty Quarter saw a modification in the Obverse design because of resentment to Liberty's exposed breast. The Original Type 1 Design was thus modified to the Type 2 design which covered the exposed breast with chain mail."

Greg Samorajski, his son Justin, President Stan Mead, and Marilyn Stubblefield are putting together a Scout Merit Badge program in which scouts and YNs can participate. Present projections are that the program will be a two meeting program over April and May. The March 3rd YN meeting will focus on planning for the design of the Anchorage Coin Club's 2005 calendar. Marilyn and a number of us will be working on getting commitments for at least 100 calendars with an preliminary estimated cost of $10/calendar.

Bill Hamilton brought up the issue of Kids Day held each year on a Saturday in May at the Egan Center. A table has cost our club $150 each year. Because of the number of ongoing projects in our club, it was decided to forego this year's participation in the Kids Day event. There are only so many volunteers in our club. We need more volunteers if we wish to do projects of this nature.

On the subject of New Business.

Larry Nakata will be organizing the yearly YN Donation Auction. Larry is looking for coins, paper currency, coin books, and other numismatic items for donations. These donated items have traditionally been auctioned at our club's May meetings with proceeds going to the support of the YN Program. We usually take in $500 to $1000 from this auction. We ask that our members be generous in their donations to such a worthy cause.

Member Mike Nourse has proposed a very good idea on a club contest for our members. The idea met with enthusiastic approval of the Board. This month's newsletter will have the rules for this contest.

Bill Hamilton has recommended that the club should look at getting involved in the State Quarter program. In 2008, Alaska will have it's turn in the mintage of it's state quarter by the US Mint. Coin clubs are getting involved in their respective state's effort in the design of their quarter. The Board is in agreement and has assigned a committee to look into the process by which our coin club can be involved in Alaska's state quarter program. Loren Lucason, John Larson, and Bill Hamilton will be working as a team in this effort.

Finally, the Board discussed upcoming presentations for our club meetings. The April membership meeting will feature a presentation by Carl on "Counterfeit Gold Coins". The May membership meeting will feature a presentation by member Bill Bredesen on "Early Russian Money".

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

 

THE YN CORNER

    March 3rd will be our next YN meeting. We want to remind all of our YNs that the meeting will be held at 6:30 PM. In the new schedule, we are going to try and keep the YN meetings down to about 45 minutes.

This will then allow YNs to stay for the 7:15 PM membership meeting. The goal is to have both meetings conclude by no later than 8:30 PM.

The March 3rd meeting will be one of several meetings on the design of our Anchorage Coin Club's 2005 Calendar by our YNs. We need good ideas from you. We want to complete the design of the calendar by no later than the end of this summer.

It's a great project that will be lots of fun for all.

So...come on over at 6:30 PM on Wednesday, March 3rd/ downstairs meeting area / Central Lutheran Church. Soda pop and food are free.... Don and Marilyn Stubblefield.

YN NUMISMATIC DONATION AUCTION MAY 5TH

    It has been the tradition of the Anchorage Coin Club that a coin auction be held at our May membership meeting. Over these past 16 years, our coin club has used these proceeds for the betterment of our YN program. We have sent YNs to Colorado Springs to the ANA Summer Numismatic Conference. In those years when our coin club hosts training seminars, YNs have attended those training sessions. Our club has also funded a number of programs geared towards our YNs.

Over the 16 years of our coin club, a lot of YNs...who are now adults....have benefited from our YN programs. At this point in time, we are into the 4th generation of new YNs.

I will be donating a number of numismatic items for this auction. I ask that you do the same.

If you have any items you wish to donate, you can contact me (home number: (907)563-1729). You can give the items to any of our Board members. You can mail them to our coin club's address at Anchorage Coin Club/PO Box 2301697 Anchorage, AK 99523. You can even drop them off to any of our local coin dealers who advertise in our club's newsletter.

Its' a good cause......Larry Nakata.

 

ANNOUNCEMENT OF ELECTIONS
FOR ANCHORAGE COIN CLUB

On March 3rd elections will be held for the following Anchorage Coin Club positions:

Our club's bylaws require that such elections be held every year at our March club meeting by those members in attendance.

We are looking for good people to run for these respective offices. Interested members can contact any one of our club officers or make your intentions known at our club meetings in February and March.

We are looking for good people willing to volunteer their time and efforts... .Your Board.

 

CONTEST TIME
by Mike Nourse (Life Member #1)

    In past years our coin club has done this type of contest before, but it seems like a good time to try it again... now that many coin values are rapidly increasing.

The rules of this contest is really quite simple:

Everybody has an opinion as to which price guide is the most accurate, but for a contest such as this, it is important to choose a single source of pricing information that readily available to everyone, and that source will be the Coin Values magazine which is included once per month with the weekly periodical Coin World, If you do not subscribe to Coin World, ask around at the next coin club meeting, and I am sure that somebody can lend you a copy.

All club members are encouraged to enter, and the contest is wide open to all young numismatists, old numismatists, and even us middle-aged numismatists. The more entries we get, the greater the bragging rights will be for the winner!

Here are the basic rules:

You may pick out any coin(s) in any grade listed in the blue edged pages of Coin World's Coin Values magazine using the April 2004 edition. Each item you select must have a value listed and not just a hyphen (-). Your total portfolio must add up to $10,000 or less. I suggest that you spend it all, as any unspent funds will disappear (i.e. there is no 'residual cash' account) as part of the contest rules. The final valuation tally will be made based on the November 2005 issue of the Coin Values section of Coin World.

You may have up to ten pieces of any one coin in your portfolio. For example, you may have ten 1914-D Lincoln cents in Good and you may have ten more pieces of the same date in Very Good, but you may not have twenty pieces in Good. This is to prevent somebody from buying 200,000 pieces of a five cent item and having that item go to ten cents, doubling their portfolio value to $20,000 from $10,000. That would be luck, not skill!

Again, the contest is open to all club members. I will keep an Excel spreadsheet tally of each portfolio that is submitted and track it's performance over the 18 month period.

The best way to enter is to send your list of coins by email to me at Mike@alaskacoinexchange.com and don't forget to give me your name and email address so that I can contact you to let you know that I have received your list. Feel free to ask any questions as necessary.

You can also drop off your list at the club meetings or with any of the Anchorage Coin Club Board members who can then get the list to me.

I would like all lists submitted by no later than the club's May 5th membership meeting. This should give everyone enough time to research their coins.

This should be a good exercise of your ability to predict which coins will do well in that timeline.

I will try to give monthly updates in the newsletter so that everybody can follow along.

Have fun and good luck!......Mike Nourse.

From Your Board: At our February 18th Board meeting, it was decided that the winner of this contest will receive a numismatic prize to be presented at our club's 2005 Christmas Party. Our thanks go to Mike Nourse for such a great idea. Good luck to everyone who participates...

 

COIN BARGAINS: 1917 TO 1924
STANDING LIBERTY QUARTERS IN EXTRA FINE
by Mike Nourse (Life Member #1)

    Lets start with the basics, for the new collectors out there. There are three sub-types within the Standing Liberty quarter series, which was minted from 1916 through 1930. The first type is easiest to identify by looking on the reverse (back, or tails side) of the quarter. If there are no stars under the eagle, then you have the first type of Standing Liberty quarter, minted only in 1916 and 1917. This is the best way to identify the type one coins since it works even on heavily worn out coins with no date and few obverse details visible.

If you see three stars under the eagle, then you have either a type two or a type three Standing Liberty quarter. To determine which one it is, flip it back over and look at the obverse (front or heads side) and look at the date, which is located on the pedestal upon which Miss Liberty is standing. If the date is between 1917 and 1924, you have a type 2 coin; 1925 and later indicates the third type. If the date is worn off the pedestal, odds are that you have a type 2 coin, but it really does not matter since it is only worth bullion value anyway.

Our focus here will be on the type one and type two coins, which are far scarcer than the type three coins, which are available in virtually unlimited quantities in average circulated condition. As you may already know, before the date on Standing Liberty quarters was recessed in 1925, it would wear off quickly. Therefore, all of the dates minted form 1917 through 1924 are scarce despite having reasonably generous original mintage quantities. For purposes of this discussion, we will skip the rare 1916 issue, which had an original mintage of only 52,000 pieces, and is priced beyond the budget of most collectors.

Even in Good condition these coins are pricey, and in that grade only part of the date is likely to be visible. In Coin World's new magazine, Coin Values, you can see that none of the 1917 to 1924 quarters has a retail value below $14, and the most expensive date, the 1923-S, is valued at $150 in Good. But wait, the title of this article says that these quarters are a bargain in Extra Fine condition, not worn out Good-4 condition. That is true! And the reason why is because a look at the that same Coin Values publication will show that most of these quarters may be purchased in Extra Fine condition for only four tunes the cost of a well worn Good-4 coin. It is easy to find examples of single coins that are worth four times as much in Extra Fine as they are in Good, but it is very difficult to find a whole series of coins where that pricing structure holds true.

Let's take a closer look at the Standing Liberty quarter series from 1917 (both types) through 1924. There are a total of 21 coins including all dates and mint marks, enough coins to make an impressive display that will make you the envy of all the other coin club members (when was the last time you saw a set of early Standing Liberty quarters in Extra Fine???). Of these 21 coins, only six of them retail for over $100 (I said they were pricey in Good-4 condition, so they must be pricey X 4 in Extra Fine!). Again, the most expensive item in the set is likely to be the 1923-S. A total of 14 out of the 21 coins cost less than four tunes as much in EF as they do in Good, and five of those cost less than three times as much. The total retail value of the set is $733 in Good condition, or an average of $35 per coin, and the set is $3150 in Extra Fine, or an average of $150 per coin.

Why was the grade of Extra Fine chosen instead of something better, such as AU-50? Simple - retail values in AU-50 are typically 50% to 100% higher in AU than they are in EF. A collector will get a good deal paying four times as much for an Extra Fine coin as for a Good because said collector is getting coins with a great deal more visible detail with the Extra Fine. The difference in visible detail between an EF and an AU coin is rather minimal, so it is probably not worth the large increase in price for the collector on a budget to acquire the AU coins. The Extra Fine grade does a splendid job of showing the vast majority of design details.

The other question that has probably come to mind is, to quote from inside your brain, why not build the whole set hi Extra Fine, including the type three coins minted from 1925 through 1930? The answer is simply that the argument for buying the 1917 through 1924 quarters in Extra Fine does not apply to these later quarters. Unlike the early quarters where the price difference from Good to Extra Fine is typically four times, for the later dates the price difference is generally 15 to 20 times higher for Extra Fine than for Good, and reaches as high as 90 times in the case of the 1927-S! The later dates, which consist of fifteen coins, are actually a better value in Very Fine than in Extra Fine.

A complete set with the first 21 coins in Extra Fine and the last fifteen in Very Fine would be a set to be proud of, and should hold it's value extremely well over the years.... Mike Nourse.

 


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