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ACCent: The Monthly Newsletter of the Anchorage Coin Club

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Volume 17, Number 8

August 2004

August Summer Picnic
Sat., August 14th, 2004 Centennial Park - Anchorage

11 am to 4 pm


 

FROM YOUR EDITORS

    The Saturday afternoon of August 14th will be our coin club's Summer Picnic. The event will be start at 11 am over at Centennial Park (see map directions in this newsletter). Club members, YNs, families, and friends are welcome to this event.

We are going to have some fun events such as a scavenger hunt and a Jeopardy type game event centered around coins as prizes.

Bill Hamilton will be bringing over his large barbecue grill that we have been using for years for this event.

As in years past the club will supply the hamburgers, hotdogs, buns, soda pop, chips, dips, napkins, forks, and spoons. We ask that members attending the picnic bring potluck items such as salads, desserts, and hors doeurves. Expect that Roy Brown will be contacting each of you to see what items can be brought to the club's summer picnic.

We should have food ready to go by 11:30 am. Figure on the fun events to start in the early afternoon (around 1 PM). So time your attendance accordingly.

We want to see a good turnout so that all of us can enjoy a nice summer afternoon and good company.

AN IMPORTANT NOTICE; In keeping with our coin club's tradition, the Summer Picnic event is the official meeting date for our coin club. There will be no membership meeting or YN meeting scheduled for the first Wednesday of August. So......please remember the afternoon of August 14th will be our club's meeting date.

On other matters... .thanks go to Loren Lucason for organizing the coin club's show at the Anchorage 5th Avenue Mall. The show was held on June 25th through June 27th. A lot of hard work went into putting together this coin show. Loren has provided a report of the Anchorage Coin Club Show which is one of the articles in this newsletter. Thanks also go out to everyone who provided necessary support in making this Coin Show happen.

At our club meeting on July 7th, Larry Nakata gave a presentation on "U.S. Paper Currency/ Part One". Those in attendance at this meeting had a chance to see Larry's great collection of $1 U.S. paper currency notes. Among the notes displayed were Continental currency, U.S. Federal currency

going back to 1862, and a large number of State Bank notes going back to the early 1800s. Larry focused his presentation on the history of U.S. paper currency and how it evolved since the time of Continental currency.

We look forward to Larry's Part Two presentation (at our October 6th meeting). Word has it that Larry plans to talk about the history behind fractional currency, large & small paper currency, Depression script, and other types of unique U.S. currencies.

We had two membership prizes for our July 7th meeting. The first membership prize, a 1963-D Franklin Half Dollar in uncirculated condition was won by Larry Nakata. The second membership prize, a 1971 Canadian Dollar (the British Columbia commemorative dollar) in uncirculated condition was won by member John Pastos. The Canadian Dollar was a great prize in that it had unique rainbow toning on that coin.

The door prize, a 2002 U.S. Silver Eagle in uncirculated condition, was won by member Mike Gentry.

Our club's bullet auction featured 3 lots of coin catalogs and numismatic books.... which commanded good_prices. It's good to see that our_ members recognize the importance of "buying the book before you buy the coin...."

Finally....when visiting Roy's coin shop earlier this month, Roy brought to our attention that club members have been borrowing books from his numismatic library. Some of those books have not yet been returned. We want to remind our members to check and make certain these books get back to Roy. Some of them are worth hundreds of dollars.

See you at the August 14th Summer picnic and remember that there will be no membership meeting or YN meeting on the first Wednesday of August. August 14th is our official meeting date at Centennial Park......Your Editors.

MEMBERSHIP NEWS

Schedule of Events for the Month of August:

  1. Anchorage Coin Club Summer Picnic Event: August 14th (Saturday afternoon) at Centennial Park in Anchorage (see map location in this newsletter). Food should be ready by 11:30 am. Fun events are planned for members, YNs, families, and friends. We want to remind all members and YNs that this event will be our official membership and YN meeting date and location. There will be NO membership or YN meeting planned for the first Wednesday of August.

  2. Anchorage Coin Club Board Meeting: August 18th (Wednesday) at 7:00 PM at the Twin Dragon Mongolian BAR-B-QUE Restaurant located at 612 E. 15th Avenue. Club members welcomed.

ANCHORAGE COIN CLUB'S SUMMER PICNIC
AUGUST 14TH AT CENTENNIAL PARK

LOCATION: Centennial Park in Anchorage. See map on how to get there.

DATE AND TIME: Saturday, August 14th from 11 am to 4 pm. Food is expected to start serving at 11:30 am with the fun events commencing around 1 pm.

WHO CAN ATTEND: Club members, YNs, family, and friends.

DETAILS: This will be potluck event with club members asked to provide some type of dessert, salad, or hors d'oeuvres. The club will supply the hot dogs, hamburgers, soda pop, chips, dips, paper plates, forks, spoons, and knives for the event. Lots of coins and numismatic prizes are expected to given out that afternoon. Bring your coins to show off or sell. Have a good tune!!!

 

Minutes of the July 21st Board Meeting

The Anchorage Coin Club's board met on July 21" with the meeting called to order by President Stan Mead at 7:30 PM.

First order of business was to go over club correspondence and review of bills needing to be paid. Among the correspondence was a letter of appreciation from the American Numismatics Association (ANA) for our club's monetary contribution as a sponsorship towards this year's summer conference in Pittsburg.

Stan Mead then provided a briefing on the present status of the club's calendar project. Through the YN Program, there are now sufficient pictures for the calendar. Event dates have been established. Expectations are that all necessary logistics should be in place for the calendar by the time of the club's summer picnic. Larry Nakata will look at getting sponsorships to cover part of the costs for the calendar project. Progress reports indicate we are presently on track for the 2005 calendar.

The meeting then focused on the club's summer picnic scheduled for August 14th. Larry Nakata has already arranged for the city park permit for use of Centennial Park for the event. Larry Nakata and Loren Lucason will purchase the necessary items for the picnic. Bill Hamilton will be making arrangements to get his large barbecue grill to Centennial Park. Greg Samorajski and his son, Justin, will work on the scavenger hunt event. John Larson and Loren will work on the Numismatic Jeopardy Game Event. Roy Brown will be contacting club members by phone over the next few weeks to remind them of the picnic and inquire on what potluck items will be brought to the picnic.

Following a discussion of the summer picnic, Bill Hamilton provided an update on the Alaska State Quarter program. Our state legislature passed a bill this last session on the matter of the State Quarter Program for Alaska. Bill has been in contact with the state legislators who sponsored the bill and with the Governor's Office. Seems they may need help on organizing an effort in time for Alaska's state quarter...scheduled to be released in 2008. Bill will contact the ANA on what can be done in terms of assistance on this matter.

The Board then went over an analysis of the Anchorage Coin Club Coin Show that was held at the Anchorage 5th Avenue Mail (June 25th thru June 27th). A lot of hard work went into organizing this show by Loren Lucason....with thanks going to Loren for taking the lead roll for this project. Loren provided an article that will be printed in this month's newsletter on the matter of the show. Discussed were ways in which next year's show can be improved upon. A lot of good input was given on the matter of this coin's show.

The final portion of the Board meeting looked at our schedule of presentations for the coming months. Since the club will not have a formal meeting on August 4th, the September 1s' membership and YN meeting will have presentations organized by President Stan Mead. Larry Nakata will provide Part Two of his presentation on "U.S. Paper Currency" at the club's meeting on October 6th.

The Board agreed to meet on August 18th (7 PM) at the Twin Dragon Mongolian BAR-B-CUE Restaurant as it's next Board meeting.

As there was no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 8:30 PM.

 

COIN SHOW REPORT
by Loren Lucason (Member #97)

    We had our first coin club numismatic event in the sunny lower floor of the Anchorage 5th Avenue Mall. The coin show was, to say the least, enlightening. We had the dealers in a circle in the center with the public around the outside. We also had display tables near columns on the outer edge.

The four columns had the electrical sockets. There were escalators and elevators to the floor as well as fire escapes and a loading dock. Club members provided all the tables and did the setup work.

It seemed like a good setup but the public was not used to going to the lower floor and the tables were away from the electrical sockets. The display tables on the outer edge were easy to view but the center tables had a glare from the skylights.

In the future we will put the tables around the edge of the columns and the public in the sunlight in the center. Put the club table in the center as well as vertical displays and a table with books for sale. Put freestanding signs upstairs in the mall explaining the coin club and the coin show, a label on the "A" button in the elevator that says "COIN SHOW", and YNs could pass out coupons good for a collectable coin (i.e., Buffalo Nickel) and tape up flyers on every post outside the mall. Finally we will hang a banner above the mall.

This was the first club sponsored coin show in over seven years. It was also a new place to have a show. It was a quiet show but those who found their way to the show were happy to see us there and looked forward to us being there next year. Frank did well at the show and Bill appreciated a break from the work on his old and new houses. Carl printed up labels and for the first time we had coin club labels on everything we handed out at the free table. Don suggested we have a sliding rate for tables: the more tables you buy the less it costs per table. This would help to fill up the show with more coins for sale.

Those who sold coins at this show will have first choice of tables at our next coin club numismatic event.....Loren.

 

U.S. PAPER CURRENCY - A SHORT HISTORY
by Larry Nakata (Life Member #3)

    In my July 7th presentation to the Anchorage Coin Club members, 1 gave Part One of a two part presentation on the subject of "U. S. Paper Currency". As a follow up to those coin club members who could not attend, I decided to put together this article, in which Part One focuses on a short history of how U.S. paper currency evolved.

In the course of reading a number of books (loaned to me by fellow coin club member Roy Brown), it is my view that the historical beginnings of U.S. paper currency trace back to the American Revolution and the paper currency at that time....Continental Currency.

In May, 1775 Continental Congress authorized issue of Continental Currency in order to finance the war. All colonies subsequently printed such currency. The Continental Currency was supposed to be backed by silver and gold coinage of that time.

What ensued was counterfeiting by the British government, inflation, and printing of too much Continental currency during the course of the war.

It soon took it's toll. By 1787, the exchange rate was $250 of Continental currency to $1 of gold or silver coinage. This led to the American public's distrust of paper currency that would plague the U.S. until the Civil War.

Upon the creation of the United States, something needed to done to stabilize the economy as a result of the war.

Alexander Hamilton becomes the first Secretary of Treasury. He does two key things:

Alexander Hamilton convinces the U.S. Congress to assume all debts incurred by the Revolutionary War. The government issues 6% interest bearing bonds at a rate of $1 for every $100 of Continental Currency.

He becomes instrumental in creating the Bank of the United States. Established in 1791 to serve as the bank for all federal funds and act as the government's fiscal agent, the Bank of the United States becomes the government's Central Bank which other foreign governments could deal with.

The Bank of the United States lasted from 1791 through 1836. As a result of the creation of this central bank, two types of U.S. paper currency would circulate in the early 1800s.

Currency notes issued by the Bank of the United States. The Bank of the United States did have a stabilizing effect on the economy in terms of this country's dealings with other foreign governments. Such currency notes from the Bank of the United States are scarce today and command high prices. If you find one....keep it. It's a tough note to get.

State Bank Notes. The U.S. government allowed private banks in each state the ability to issue their own paper currency notes. Such notes were backed by the gold and silver resources of that bank. These local banks provided a lot of necessary capital needed to grow the fledgling economy of the United States in it's early years. Tens of thousands of such local banks sprouted up around the country printing their brand of paper currency from the 1790s until the Civil War. There are lots of such notes that survive today and are very collectable. They are today called Obsolete State Bank Notes.

The State Bank interests often conflicted with the Bank of the United States. What soon evolved was the issue of State rights vs. the power of the federal government. This was a key issue that would be one of the factors that results in the Civil War. State Bank interests contended that the fiscal policies of the Bank of the United States were too restrictive and thus constrained economic development for the United States. There was a view that the Bank of the United States had become too powerful. State Bank interests sought to dissolve the Bank of the United States and thus decentralize fiscal authority from the federal government to each state.

By Presidential Order, it would be President Andrew Jackson (a strong advocate of State Rights) that would dissolve the charter of The Bank of the United States in 1836. This matter of a central banking authority would not arise again until 1913 with the establishment of the Federal Reserve Bank system.

With the demise of the Bank of the United States what subsequently occurred were excesses by a number of these local banks.

The problem with state bank notes was that it was only as good as the reputation of the bank that issued those notes. It was too common for a bank to print too much paper currency.... far in excess of the gold and silver reserves of that bank. There were no protections by the state or the federal government when a bank went under. People would simply lose their money that was saved in that bank.

These excesses contributed to several economic crises within the country leading up to the Civil War. The public's confidence in paper currency would continue to be one of suspicion, with U.S. coinage being preferred over paper currency.

By the start of the civil war the public's mistrust of paper currency resulted in a hoarding of gold and silver coinage. In order to finance the Civil War both the Federal government (in the North) and the Confederate government (in the South) needed to take measures to stabilize their paper currencies. This was necessary in order to finance their respective war efforts.

In the South, the Confederate government continued to allow each state to print their own paper currency and even printed national Confederate currency. Both types of currencies backed by bales of cotton. The South chose a decentralized policy in which the Confederate government put faith in the public's willingness to support and honor the currency. It was OK in the early years of the war, but destabilized as the Confederacy began losing the war.

In the North, the Secretary of Treasury- Samuel Chase chose another approach......a centralized policy of control by the federal government on it's currency.

Secretary of Treasury Samuel Chase's first act was to require that banks in the North deposit 10% of the value of all their paper currency into the U.S Treasury. This deposit to be made in the form of gold or silver. It was a brilliant maneuver that, in effect, implemented a 10% tax on the North's economy and also limited the amount of paper currency that could be issued by the State banks in the North.

Samuel Chase was also instrumental in establishing the 14* Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that prohibited private issue of any coinage or paper currency as the primary monetary exchange of the country. This constitution amendment gave the federal government a monopoly on issue of paper currency... .a right it still holds to this day.

What followed was the demise of the State Bank Note system in the North during the Civil War. These fiscal policy changes were easier to implement in the North than in the South (where states rights were still an issue). It would prove to be a significant factor in why the North would win the Civil War.

In effect, Samuel Chase created our U.S. federal currency (1862 to present times). In 1862, we see the issuance of the first U.S. federal currency. The first $1 issued federal note (1862) would show a picture of Samuel Chase....Secretary of the Treasury. Samuel Chase would make sure he would be remembered.

What soon followed would be a series of federal notes that were issued to bolster public confidence in our nation's paper currency. Among them were:

Demand Notes (also called Interest Bearing Treasury Notes...or "Greenbacks"). In the beginning years of the Civil War... .the federal government was not in the paper currency printing business. It was subsequently necessary to contract out the printing of the early year notes to private sector printing companies...such as the American Bank Note Company and the National Bank Note Company. The creation of the federal government Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) would soon change this.

Compound Interest Treasury Notes and Interest Bearing Notes were also issued during the Civil War. Used to fund the war effort.

Legal Tender Notes (1862- 1969) is the longest issue of U.S. paper currency. This type issue paved the way for U.S. currency backed only by the credit of the U.S. Government.

Silver Certificates (1878-1963) competed with Gold Certificates (1865-1928) and National Gold Bank Notes (1870-1878) when silver and gold mining interests were vying for use of their respective precious metals as the standard for backing of U.S. paper currency. This was an economic and political war fought between these private interest groups in the years that follow. This issue would finally be resolved in 1933 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt did away with U.S. gold coinage, called in all gold coinage, and...in effect....take our currency away from a gold standard. Silver as a standard would continue until 1963....when even that standard would go away.

National Bank Notes (1863-1935). With the demise of the State Bank Note system in the Civil War, there was still a desire for the local "hometown" bank to still have their bank's name printed on U.S. paper currency. In effect, it was a good form of advertising for the local bank....and also showed financial stability of that bank. This sentimentality for putting one's bank name on the paper currency continued to prevail resulting in the federal government issuing National Bank Notes through the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP). To be given this privilege such banks could only issue notes equivalent to 90% of the market value of U.S bonds that were in deposit in the U.S. Treasury as security. In this period of time, some 14,000 banks participated in this program. Even in Alaska, records show that the First National Bank of Anchorage, First National Bank of Fairbanks, First National Bank of Juneau, First National Bank of Ketchikan, and the First National Bank of Seward issued notes in the early 1900s. These banks would evolve into today's FNBA (First National Bank of Alaska). There is also a reference to the Harriman National Bank of Alaska at Seward as having issued such notes. Such Alaskan notes are impossible to get. If you are lucky in finding such a note.....it's worth a lot of money. By 1935, this privilege was withdrawn in favor of the Federal Reserve System.

In the early 20th Century, we see the creation of the 12 Federal Reserve Banks which are still in operation today. These federal banks would comprise today's Federal Reserve System. In 1915, Federal Reserve Bank Notes would be issued with the name of the issuing Federal Reserve Bank on that note. At about the same time (1914) one sees the Federal Reserve Note being issued. The Federal Reserve Note is the note that prevails today. Such notes would be backed by the Federal Reserve Banks.....OR, IN OTHER WORDS... THE GOOD CREDIT OF THE U.S. GOVERNMENT.

And there we have it.....a short history of U.S. Paper Currency. There are some interesting aspects of U.S. paper currency that I did not cover in my presentation or in this article.

For much of U.S. history, most of the paper currency was printed as large currency notes. By 1928, U.S. paper currency transitioned to the smaller sized notes used today. Reason... easier handling of the money (less bulky).

During the Civil War, silver and gold coinage was in such short supply (due to hoarding) that it was necessary to issue fractional paper currency by the federal government. The early fractional currencies were actually postage stamps.

Confederate and State Bank Notes in the South would continue to decline through the Civil War with an interesting historical aspect.

But that is another story....perhaps one that I will cover in Part Two of "U.S. Paper Currency" later this year.......Larry Nakata.

 


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