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ACCent: The Monthly Newsletter of the Anchorage Coin Club

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Volume 17, Number 10

October 2004

October Membership Meeting
Wed., Oct. 6th, 2004 Central Lutheran Church

6:30 PM YNs, 7:15 Meeting


 

FROM YOUR EDITORS

    It is still summer, or so we felt as we leisurely gathered together for our September membership meeting. We talked of coins found, nickels in the new proof sets, and fishing on the Kenai. For a short time, we settled into a serious discussion of the club calendar. It seems dates for next year's events are set and numismatic pictures are gathered. The only thing left to do is get it together wit h the printer.

There were a few nice bits of numismatica in the bullet auction. Bid on and sold included a pair of P and D Sac dollars still in the plastic from a 2004 mint set. Also sold was a beautiful MS63 Morgan dollar to a happy bidder. Nobody had the gumption to bid on the mystery bag of foreign coins.

We passed on the long video of an in-depth study of counterfeit and altered coins. We instead had an informal discussion on the subject. We talked of personal experiences and internet stories. Carl and Bill had some interesting tales of fakes that walked in the door at their shops. They also had some good advice on what to watch for and what coins to suspect.

It came down to having the right references.....which led to an update of the old axiom: "buy the book before you buy the coin". We now know it should be: "join the club, then get the book, then buy the coin". Because people in the club will show you what book to get (they may even have it). And you can learn how to use the book and where to buy the coin.

Our coin club's new raffle prize is a 1923 $1 U.S. Note in crisp uncirculated (CU) condition. This raffle prize will be going at our December 9th club Christmas party at Central Lutheran Church. Raffle tickets were sold and are $5/each or 5 tickets/ $20. It's a really nice note that would be a great addition to anyone's collection.

By the end of our meeting the last of the pizza was cut up, the lights were shut down, and we all went home looking forward to another informative coin club meeting in October. Larry Nakata will be giving that presentation on "Part II of U.S. Paper Currency".

We will see you there......Your Editors.

MEMBERSHIP NEWS

Schedule of Events for the Month of October:

  1. YN Meeting: Instead of a meeting of YNs on October 6th, a field trip is planned to visit the company that will putting together our club calendar. The adults heading up the YN program (Marilyn Stubblefield, Ruth Mead, and President Stan Mead) are making the arrangements. YNs will be contacted on the date of the field trip.

  2. Monthly Membership Meeting: October 6th (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 15* Avenue. Larry Nakata will be giving a presentation on "Part II of U.S. Paper Currency". There will also be an bullet auction of no more than 15 numismatic lots. Members, YNs, and general public welcomed.

  3. Anchorage Coin Club Board Meeting: October 20th (Wednesday) at 7:00 PM at the Abbott Way Cafe located at 2102 Abbott Rd. (right across from Fred Meyers). Club members welcomed.

Minutes of the September 15th Board Meeting

The Anchorage Coin Club's board met on September 15th with the meeting called to order by President Stan Mead at 7:30 PM. The meeting was held at the Twin Dragon Mongolian BAR-B-QUE Restaurant located at 612 E. 15th Avenue.

There was no correspondence or bills to review since Secretary Larry Nakata was not able to get the mail in time for the meeting. Matter deferred to the next board meeting.

On the matter of old business, an update briefing on the 2005 Calendar Project was given by Marilyn Stubblefield, Ruth Mead, and President Stan Mead. Plans are to meet with the company that will be putting together the calendar and have the calendars ready by the end of October / early November. All other logistics appear to be in place at this time. The Board confirmed the price of the calendars at $ 15/each or a quantity price of $12.50/calendar for 10 or more calendars purchased. There will be one hundred (100) calendars made.

The meeting then moved onto new business. Larry Nakata then brought up the matter of our club's Christmas Party date. In keeping with the club's tradition, the party will be held on the second Thursday of December (December 9th) at Central Lutheran Church (downstairs area). Larry will confirm the date is OK with the church. If so, an announcement will be made in the upcoming newsletter. The Christmas Party will also be the official membership and YN meeting for December. It will be a Christmas Potluck event with the Christmas Coin Auction as the evening's highlight. Carl agreed to be the auctioneer for the Christmas Coin Auction.

The final item addressed at the Board meeting was the October 6th presentations. In lieu of a YN meeting on October 6th, the YNs will be doing a field trip to the company that will be putting together the club's 2005 calendar. Meantime, Larry Nakata will be giving a presentation on "Part II U.S. Paper Currency". This will be a follow-up to Larry's August presentation, which focused on the history of U.S. paper currency. Part II will focus on the interesting kinds of U.S. paper currency that were used over the years.

The Board then decided to meet on October 20th (7 PM) at the Abbott Way Cafe located at 2102 Abbott Road (across from Fred Meyers) as it's next Board meeting.

As there was no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 8:15PM.

 

ANCHORAGE COIN CLUB'S CHRISTMAS PARTY
 ON DECEMBER 9TH

    This is an announcement that the Anchorage Coin Club will have it's annual Christmas party on Thursday, December 9th at the Central Lutheran Church (downstairs meeting area).

In keeping with our club's tradition, the membership meeting and YN meeting for the month of December will be the club's

Christmas party event. So remember.....no meeting scheduled for December 1st. The meeting will be on December 9th.

Figure that people will arrive around 6 PM with dinner being ready between 6:30 and 7 PM.

Lots of door prizes will be given out that evening. The club's raffle prize, a 1923 $1 U.S. Note in crisp uncirculated (CU) condition, will be raffled off that evening.

The highlight of the evening will be our club's annual Christmas Coin Auction. Anyone wishing to submit coin and numismatic auction lots can drop off their auction lists to Roy at Roy's Coins or Carl at Carl's. We will post the auction list in the upcoming club newsletters leading up to the Christmas party date.

Figure this event to be a potluck Christmas party. The club will supply the usual chips, dips, sodas, ice, coffee, plates, forks, and spoons. We ask that the members bring in items such as main dishes, salads, desserts, and hors d'oeuvres. Roy Brown will be making phone calls to members in November to determine what potluck items will be brought.

It should be great family event......Your Editors.

THE YN CORNER

There will be no YN meeting on the first Wednesday of October (October 6th). Instead we plan to arrange a field trip for the YNs to visit the company that will be making our club's 2005 calendar.

We are presently making the arrangements for the meeting date and will be contacting YNs on the date.

Meantime, all YNs are encouraged to come to the club's membership meeting scheduled for 7:15 PM at Central Lutheran Church on Wednesday, October 6th. There will be food and refreshments for all.

Larry Nakata will be giving a presentation on U.S. paper currency for the club members, including YNs.

We want to see a good turnout of YNs for the membership meeting......Don and Marilyn.

 

BOOK REVIEW:
THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO U.S. THREE CENT NICKELS
AUTHOR: ALAN GIFFORD
by Mike Nourse (Life Member #1)

    It's book review time again, and this time we are looking at a new book on a series of coins about which very little reference material exists. In fact, all that has come out in the last few years (well, ok, decades) is "The Authoritative Reference On Three Cent Nickels" by Kevin Flynn and Edward Fletcher, published in 1999. Walter Breen also devotes a whopping four pages to this series in his 750 page 1989 work Walter Breen's "Complete Encyclopedia of U. S. and Colonial Coins". Other than that, it has been slim pickings, though a few articles have surfaced over the years in the numismatic press. However, it is hard to get a comprehensive view of the series by clipping articles!

This book is structured much like most other variety guide style books in that it starts off with a bit of background information on the series, then goes into the standard 'how to use this book' type of information, then it dives into a date by date analysis of the series.

I found the background information to be good, but minimal. Maybe we have all become spoiled by the Q. David Bowers style of giving 50 pages of background analysis in excruciating detail! The present book only devotes six pages to the historical aspects of this series, and there is certainly room for embellishment, as the politics and the personalities involved in the creation of this series are quite complex. It is important to go into detail about Joseph Wharton, the king of the nickel mine owners, and his ties to Washington DC and the US Mint. There is also a need to discuss James B. Longacre and his development of the design, which was used on this series, along with showing some of the patterns created for this denomination by him and others at the mint. I realize that all of this information is readily available elsewhere, but it would have been nice to have it all available together in this one volume without having to go searching through several other books to find it.

The 'how to use this book' section is very good overall, and the reader is guided through the proper use of the information provided in the variety analysis section. The author has constructed a new rarity scale, which we need about as much as we need another new grading service, but actually his scale is very easy to use and does not require you to flip back to the beginning of the book all the time to see what a particular rarity rating means in terms of the estimated number of surviving coins.

One bit of information that is sadly missing in this book is a deeper discussion about the author's number of estimated surviving coins for each date in both circulation strike and Proof versions. Some years show a fairly high survival rate and other years show a lower survival rate. I suspect that the author has done quite a bit of research in determining the number of surviving specimens, and I would love to see a chapter devoted to this very subject. Detailed information could be provided about the known meltings of three cent nickels that occurred at the mint, including details about coins that were minted but never even got released due to a lack of demand and ended up going straight to the melting pot. This applies to Proofs as well, as we know that unsold coins were often destroyed (melted) early the following year, and sometimes the exact number melted is known from Mint records.

The date by date analysis takes up the vast majority of this book's 500 pages, and this is where the book really shines bright. Each variety is described in minute detail to help the reader identify specific varieties. Not only does the author list the known varieties, he also will list the same variety several times in some cases, showing the progression of early to late die states, again done with a very high level of detail to assist the reader in making a positive identification. Kudos to the author for providing this level of detail, as I believe that you can not be supplied with too much information.

Now it is time for the one big negative in this book, and that is the images. A large number of images are provided, actually in excess of 2,000 of them, which is very impressive and shows a great deal of effort. The problem is that all of the images were created digitally, which is fine, except that very low resolution was used which leads to poor image quality. 1 do not know if the author used a digital camera or a flat bed scanner to make his images, but either way, the resolution has got to be set at a much higher level. The images are severely pixilated and do not show fine details well if at all. 1 have over 5,000 coin images on my website, so I am extremely familiar with just how time consuming it is to create images, and 1 know that it does take a bit longer to make better quality images, but I think the end result would have been worth it, in terms of creating a really fantastic reference book.

So, in the final analysis, I give this book an A to A+ for it's thoroughness and detail in terms of listing and describing the multitude of varieties that are out there; I give it a B to B-grade for historical background and limited amounts thereof; and an unimpressive D grade for the overall poor image quality. If you are really into variety collecting, or you really enjoy the three cent nickel series, this book is a must have. If you have only passing interest in this series and it's many varieties, the book is probably a pass at it's high price level.

This may be a difficult book to get a hold of, as only 250 were made. Obviously the author realizes that this is not a particularly popular coin series! The other stumbling block is the price - a whopping $175 plus shipping.

Now, anybody want to write a book about three cent silver pieces???....Mike Nourse

 

A CHANCE ENCOUNTER WITH THE KALMAR NYCKEL
by Mike Nourse (Life Member #1)

    My vacation this year (2004) started with a flight to Boston, Massachusetts, where I met up with my parents. While my parents live in Florida, they have absolutely no desire to be anywhere near that state in the summer time, particularly in the hot, steamy interior part of the state where their house is located. Therefore, they spend their summers on their 40-foot sailboat, traveling continuously about, from place to place, port to port, all around New England. We stayed in Boston that night, docked at the Boston Boat Yard, and made our departure the next morning.

The Kalmar Nyckel

The Kalmar Nyckel

Our destination for the day was East Southeast from Boston, right across Cape Cod Bay, toward the very tip of Cape Cod. There is a safe, calm harbor at the end of the Cape, called Provincetown Harbor, which has many good places to drop our anchor for the night. As we were approaching the harbor, we noted what appeared to be an old pirate ship also entering for the night. I took pictures of the ship when we passed nearby, at that time not knowing the identity of the ship.

Several days later, we crossed paths again in a harbor called Vineyard Haven in the Island of Martha's Vineyard, south of Cape Cod. This time my curiosity got the best of me, so I jumped in our dinghy with my camera and went right up to where the mystery ship was docked. It turned out to be the Kalmar Nyckel, which numismatists know is the ship which brought a group of Swedes to Delaware in 1638, and is thus depicted on the reverse of the Delaware Tercentenary commemorative half dollar.

Remarkably, we had a third encounter with the Nyckel a few days later, after the passing of the remnants of Hurricanes Gaston and Hermine, this time anchored in the Great Salt Pond in Block Island, Rhode Island. We had arrived in the Pond in the middle of one sunny afternoon, and the Kalmar Nyckel did not arrive until that evening. I got one picture of the ship as it was arriving in the Pond, and then another later that evening at the very tail end of twilight. It turns out that they dropped anchor very close to our boat that night, so I had the opportunity to see it fairly clearly in the bright moonlight. Quite a sight! Of course, it was light enough to see that they had several cannons pointing straight at us, but I felt quite confident that they were not planning on using them that night.

The next morning, we left the Great Salt Pond and Block Island, with Mystic, Connecticut as our destination for that day. About an hour later, we saw the Kalmar Nyckel departing Block Island as well, but they took a more northeast course while we were heading west-northwest. I was somewhat expecting (hoping) that they were headed toward Newport, Rhode Island, which would be our destination a day or two later. I do not know if they went to Newport or not, but if they did, they were gone by the time we arrived. Leaving Block Island was the last time that we saw the Kalmar Nyckel.

Of course, this is a reproduction of the original colonists' ship as the original is long gone. This new version of the Kalmar Nyckel has the advantage of having an engine, though they do travel by sail when winds permit. Still, a very impressive sight - - especially for a trip which I had not planned any numismatic events other than catching up on some of my Coin World and Numismatic News magazines!.....Mike Nourse.

 

ARE THERE GOOD DEALS FROM THE U.S. MINT?
by Larry Nakata (Life Member #3)

    Over these past years, I have looked at the U.S. Mint's offering of coins and collectable numismatic items that come out each year. From my perspective, these offerings do provide for opportunities for the collector.....if you know what to look for.

As an example, let's take a look at the U.S. Mint's offerings for this year.

What does the U.S. Mint offer this year?!

First, there are the annual sets that come out each year. These items include the mint sets (from the Philadelphia and Denver Mints), the mint proof sets (from the San Francisco Mint), and Silver mint proof sets. I usually will buy a couple of such sets each year and put them away. The Silver mint proof sets have proven to go up in value very quickly once the U.S. Mint discontinues sales of these sets. I have seen situations where the value of silver mint proof sets have immediately doubled over the sales price....once discontinued. This year's 2004 silver mint proof set sells for $37.95.

Next, take a look at the U.S. Mint's Special Programs section. This year it encompasses six key programs:

The Westward Journey nickel series... which will see two new reverse designs on the 2004 Jefferson nickel. Earlier this Spring the first nickel came out with the "Peace Medal" reverse design. I bought uncirculated rolls of the Philadelphia and Denver nickels. They are no longer available from the U.S. Mint, but can still be purchased through local coin shops, such as Roy's Coins. The value of these uncirculated rolls have undoubtedly gone up. For your information, the second nickel has just come out with the "Keelboat" reverse design. Expect that one to sell out as well.

The American Eagle Bullion Program. I usually just order a set of the Proof Silver Eagle for my collection. With the exception of a couple of key years when not many coins were sold, the bullion items do not seem to move much in value.

Sacagawea Dollars. Because I like to collect uncirculated (BU) rolls of each year's coins, I buy the Philadelphia and Denver uncirculated rolls of these dollars each year. Not much movement on values for the Sacagawea dollars, but I do it to keep up with my BU roll collection.

The State Quarter Program. I like to collect BU rolls of each state quarter (both the Philadelphia and Denver rolls) for each year. Five (5) separate state quarters come out each year starting in 1999...with the program expected to end in 2008. I have all the BU state quarter rolls. The early years have done well for me with values up there in price.

Modern Commemoratives. Since 1982 the U.S. Mint has been issuing the modern commemorative coin. I've had a bit of success in purchasing those commemoratives in which the U.S. Mint issues a limited number of sets....especially if limited to 50,000 or less. I also look for unique type sets such as the 1997 Botanical Garden set that saw the matte proof Jefferson nickel as part of the set, the 1998 Robert F. Kennedy set that featured the matte finish Kennedy silver half dollar, and recently this year (2004) the Louisiana Purchase/ Lewis & Clark Coin-Currency set (which is now sold out). You might look at the present value of these sets vs. their original issue price from the U.S. Mint.

Medals Program. This particular program has never been of interest to me. There may be some potential for opportunity in this type collectable. I will leave it for the collector who specializes in medals to comment on this subject.

Finally....there are the bags of coins and uncirculated (BU) rolls offered by the U.S. Mint. Besides the new state quarters and the Sacagawea dollars offered each year, the U.S. Mint also sells Kennedy half BU rolls and the new nickel BU rolls (with the two different reverse designs). When buying bags or BU rolls of such coins, keep in mind that such items are only available for that current year from the U.S. Mint.

Like many of the offerings from the U.S. Mint, when the issue runs out or when the next year's commemoratives and coins come out, these offerings are discontinued. In such situations, your recourse is to then buy the item from your local coin dealer or online.

As a rule, I like to buy many of these items through my local coin dealer anyway. One should always support the local coin shop in your area......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