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ACCent: The Monthly Newsletter of the Anchorage Coin Club

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Volume 18, Number 1

January 2005

January Membership Meeting
Wed., Jan. 5th, 2005 Central Lutheran Church

6:30 PM YNs, 7:15 Meeting


 

FROM YOUR EDITORS

    We didn't heat the buns. Other than that this year's Christmas dinner was the best. From the juicy turkey to the delicious ham to the expertly spiced stuffing to the homemade potato salad to the professionally prepared vegetable platter it was a great meal. We had enough great food to make everyone in the club as well as their families gain weight. Then there were the desserts. We had cookies, and cakes, and pies, and more cakes, and more pies, and fudge - three kinds of fudge. Enough sugar to sweeten the disposition of everyone in the room. The homemade pies were the best.

It started as a pleasant evening catching up with old friends and making new ones. It was good to see Robert Hall and Roy Brown - two of the club's founding fathers. Bill and Becky Hamilton were there with their 18 month old great-grandson. That little kid was so sharp and fast that he was chasing the little girls around the room like the other little boys. Kelly was there with her two daughters. The youngest was already talking up a storm. And we could see that Hunter and Gunnar, Mike Robuck's sons, were turning into real gentlemen. It was great to watch the kids grow up but we had some great food laid out on the table. And the older members as well as the kids were getting into the deserts. We planned to start eating at 7 but 6:30 was close enough so we dug in. We had a great meal.

As the stuffing ran out and the turkey started getting down to bones we started giving out door prizes. There were enough prizes for nearly everyone in the room. And one of them was a gold piece. Many of them were one ounce silver medallions from the Alaska Mint and with silver being at its highest price since the Hunt brothers they were real prizes. When your ticket number was called you came up to the table and chose one of the wrapped gifts. You didn't know what you got until you unwrapped it. No one owned up to getting the gold piece though some people said it was Bill.

The raffle prize this season was a large sized note, a crisp uncirculated 1923 Washington one dollar bill. Several tickets were sold and we did cover the cost of the note. The one member who put the most into selling tickets was John Larson. He must have held out the luckiest ticket for himself. When the winning ticket was drawn out of the bowl by the randomly picked member the name on it was John Larson.

After a few more cookies and a slice of pie we logged in the last of the lots for our huge annual Christmas auction. The final count was 76 numismatic lots. There was everything in the auction from a tiny Panama pill to a giant silver one pound struck copy of a Texas centennial commemorative. And everything from a dime sized ancient Roman Antoninus Pius denarius to a phonebook sized catalog of modern world paper money. With Justin and Loren backing him up Carl did a truly professional job of going through all 76 lots in 43 minutes flat. With every single lot going to the bidder who most wanted it.

After the hammer fell for the last lot Larry went to work on the totals using the almost forgotten art of mathematics without a calculator. Moneys were being gathered from the winners then Stan and Loren were giving them their lots. Meanwhile the place was being put back into the spotless condition we found it. The money was doled out to the sellers, the final touches were put on the place, and the leftover cakes and cookies were given out to those who stayed to clean up. Then Loren, with heroic effort, finished off the ice-cream cake before it melted. There was only one regret. We didn't heat the buns.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year......Your Editors.

EDITORS NOTES: Just wanted to notify all members that Bill Fivaz sent in a number of new coins for our January 5th "Bullet" Auction. Bill's note to us states that he put these coins away some 30-35 years ago when you "could cherrypick them from original rolls". Bill submitted the following lots:

Submitted by Bill Fivaz

1. 1934-D Buffalo Nickel Minimum Bid $195

2. 1935-P Buffalo Nickel Minimum Bic $85

3. 1936-P Buffalo Nickel in MS-66 Prooflike condition. Minimum Bid $85

4. 1936-D Buffalo Nickel in MS-66 condition. Minimum Bid $75

5. 1936-S Buffalo Nickel in MS-65 condition. Minimum Bid $75

6. 1937-P Buffalo Nickel in MS-66 condition. Minimum Bid $50

7. 1937-D Buffalo Nickel in MS-65 condition. Minimum Bid $40

8. 1937-S Buffalo Nickel in MS-66 condition. Minimum Bid $60

9. 1938-D Buffalo Nickel in MS-67 condition. Minimum Bid $50

10. 1942-P Liberty Walking Half Dollar in MS-65 condition. Minimum Bid $100

If you members want to bid on these coins, come to the January 5th meeting. Any coins not sold at auction will be returned back to Bill Fivaz.......Your Editors.

MEMBERSHIP NEWS

Schedule of Events for the Month of January:

  1. YN (Young Numismatists) Meeting: January 5th (Wednesday) at 6:00 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 15lh Avenue. There will be a presentation given that evening. All YNs, their families, and members are welcomed.
  2. Monthly Membership Meeting: January 5th (Wednesday) at 7:15 PM at the Central Lutheran Church (downstairs meeting area), following the YN meeting. Loren Lucason will be giving a presentation which he calls "The Quarter Report". There will be a bullet auction of no more than 15 numismatic lots. Members, YNs, and general public welcomed. Refreshments provided.
  3. Anchorage Coin Club Board Meeting: January 19th (Wednesday) at 7:00 PM at the Lilly's Restaurant located at 1440 E. Tudor Road (located next to Tony Roma's). Club members welcomed.

Minutes of the December 15th Board Meeting

The Anchorage Coin Club Board meeting was called to order at 7:20 PM by President Stan Mead.

The Board met at the Country Kitchen located at 346 E. 5th Ave. (corner of Denali and 5th).

Correspondence was first reviewed. The only item of correspondence was a request for endorsements by various candidates running for the 2005 ANA Board and President seats. It was noted that such endorsements can be made up into the month of March. Since other requests for endorsements will occur in the month of January, it was decided to table discussion of endorsements until our Board meeting on January 19th.

The Board then discussed old business. One item:

Report from Vice President John Larson on the Calendar Project. John received 100 calendars from the printer just days before the December 9th Christmas Party. Cost to the club for design and printing of the calendars came to $1050. A number of calendars were sold at our club's Christmas Party on December 9th to members in attendance. We still have a number of 2005 calendars remaining, which will be sold through the month of January. Cost: $15 per calendar or $12.50/calendar (for quantities of 10 more), The Board asks it's club members to support this program by purchasing a calendar. Based upon how we do on calendar sales, the decision will then be made later in the year on whether or not the Board will move forward with a 2006 calendar.

The Board then went onto the matter of new business items:

Larry Nakata requested that a check for $300 be made out to Central Lutheran Church for use of the facility for our 2004 club meetings. Board approved the expenditure.

Presentations for the January and February meetings. Loren Lucason will be giving a presentation at our January 5th meeting. Larry Nakata will be giving a presentation on "U.S. Silver Dollars" at our club's February 3rd meeting. YN meetings will again commence at our January and February meeting dates (at 6 PM) with presentations given.

The Alaska State Commemorative Quarter. Several weeks ago, Governor Frank Murkowski announced the creation of The Alaska State Commemorative

Coin Commission. This was announced in the State of Alaska WEB page (www.state.ak.us). The Governor will be appointing (probably in January) an 11 member Board that will serve a 4 year term. Board members serve on a voluntary basis. Function of this Board is to work on the design and necessary coordination with the US Mint on the Alaska State Commemorative Quarter... .which is to be released in 2008. Details are that the Governor will appoint 2 members/ each who reside in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau, and rural Alaska (total of 8 Board members). The 9th position will be from the Alaska Fine Arts Commission (that member being selected by their fellow commission members). The 10lh position will be a high school or grade student that is endorsed by the State Board of Education. The final position will be a selection by Governor Murkowski (his own selection). At this time a number of our members have put in for a Board seat. Any interested members should go to the State WEB page (Governor's section / Board and Commissions) for necessary details on how to apply.

As there was no further business, the Board members wished each other well in this Holiday Season. Your Board also wishes our members and their families a good Holiday season and a Happy Year 2005.

The Board then agreed to have it's next Board meeting at 7 PM, January 19th at Lilly's Restaurant located on 1440 E. Tudor Road (next to Tony Roma's).

The meeting was adjourned at 8:30 PM......Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year From Your Board.

 

WE STILL HAVE 2005 CLUB CALENDARS FOR YOU

    We still have a number of Anchorage Coin Club 2005 calendars remaining.

Cost is $15/calendar or $12.507 calendar (for quantities of 10 or more).

The Anchorage Coin Club calendar is a very nice calendar with lots of great looking coins and currency displayed. It has all of our coin club meeting dates and key events that have occurred during the course of our country's coin and paper currency history.

We need your support as club members by buying a calendar or two. The success of this program will dictate whether or not we go with a 2006 calendar... .Your Board.

 

ODD DENOMINATION U.S. COINAGE
by Larry Nakata (Life Member #3)

    At our club's November 3rd meeting, I gave a presentation on "Odd Denomination U.S. Coinage". That particular meeting was sparsely attended due to a bad snow storm in the Anchorage area that evening. Still...there were a number of die-hard coin collectors who came to the meeting. I gave the presentation with lots of neat coins for the members to see.

Since a number of you did not have a chance to be at the presentation, I thought it best to do an article on this subject. Those who attended the November 3rd meeting told me that it was a pretty good presentation.

I guess the first question one would ask is what constitutes odd denomination type U.S. coins? To me....it's the half cent, the two cent piece, the three cent piece, the twenty cent piece, and the $3 gold piece. These are denomination coins that no longer are minted for some reason. I also include the U.S. Trade Dollar and the $4 Gold Pattern coins...since they have a unique history worthy of mention.

The U.S. Half Cent (1793-1857): Back in the late 1700s and the early 1800s, a half cent was really worth something. You could actually buy a number of things with the half cent. Made of 100% copper, this was the first coin minted by the U.S. Mint in 1793. As the years went by, the price of copper climbed up, making it tougher and more expensive for the U.S. Mint to cost effectively make the half cent. This, coupled with inflation, would take it's toll on the half cent. Eventually the U.S. public would favor the one cent piece over the half cent. By 1857, we see the half cent give way to the small one cent piece.

The Two Cent Piece (1864-1873): Because of public hoarding of U.S. coinage during the Civil War, the U.S. Mint responded in 1864 with the introduction of the two cent piece. It's composition was 95% copper/ 5% tin and zinc....in other words, "BRONZE". Some 20 million two cent pieces were minted in 1864, followed by another 14 million in 1865. This was the first coin to use the motto "In God We Trust". After the Civil War, mintage numbers of the two cent piece would significantly drop. The two cent piece would become a denomination that was not popular with the U.S. public. Mintage dwindled down to the point where it was finally phased out in 1873.

The Silver Three Cent Piece (1851-1873): This denomination was a result of a need for a 3 cent coin that could buy a U.S. postage stamp. In 1851, the U.S. Mint introduced the silver 3 cent piece, which came to be known as the "trime". This coin had a composition of 75% silver/ 10% copper. Some 35 million of these coins were minted from 1851- 1853. In 1854, the U.S. Congress changed the composition to 90% silver/ 10% copper...with an according change in the weight of the coin. The problem with this coin was that the U.S. public complained that was an ugly looking coin and prone to wear on the coin. The U.S. public came to affectionately^ refer to this coin as the "fish scale" coin. Mintage would subsequently drop until it's demise in 1873.

The Three Cent Nickel Piece (1865-1889): The Civil War saw hoarding of all silver coins by the U.S. public. As a result, 3 cent silver coins were not to be found in circulation during the Civil War. In response to this situation, the North (the federal government) issued 3 cent fractional paper currency. Some 17 million 3 cent notes were printed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP). By Act of Congress, in 1865 the three cent nickel coin is introduced. The metallic content of this coin had no silver. It's composition was 75% copper/ 25% nickel. It's intent was to provide a means by which the 3 cent fractional currency could be redeemed for U.S. coinage.

Another intent was to "wean" the American public away from the 3 cent silver coin....as an alternative coin. Mintage numbers for the silver three cent piece was subsequently reduced by the U.S. Mint until it's phase out in 1873. The three cent nickel would continue until 1889, at which time it's need went away with an increase in the price of the U.S. postage stamp... and a lack of public interest in continuation of this denomination coin.

The Twenty Cent Piece (1875-1878): The Mint Act of 1873 resulted in the discontinuation of the silver half dime, silver three cent piece, and the U.S. Silver dollar. This created problems for the silver mining interests in the United States. Lobbying efforts resulted in Congress authorizing mintage of the silver 20 cent coin. It's composition was 90% silver/ 10% copper. The problem with the twenty cent coin was that it looked too much like the U.S. quarter. The U.S. public complained of this problem...with this coin immediately becoming an unpopular coin in the eyes of the public. As a result, mintage of this coin was discontinued in 1878. However, by 1878 the silver mining interests would be appeased with the reintroduction of the U.S. Silver dollar (The Morgan Dollar).

The $3 Gold Piece (1854-1889): When the U. S postage stamp cost was set at 3 cents....in 1854, Congress allowed for mintage of the $3 gold coin. The idea was that the $3 gold coin could be used to buy sheets of 100 stamps. This coin could then be phased out when the price of the U.S. stamp went up in cost. In actuality, the $3 gold coin was never heavily used for this purpose. It simply became another gold coin used by the general public. Over time, of all the denomination of U.S. gold coins minted, the $3 gold coin would be least popular with the U.S. public. As time evolved, this gold coin would see lower mintage numbers until it's phase out in 1889.

The $4 Gold Pattern Coin (1879-1880): During the 1870s, there were two controversial issues in U.S. coinage:

The need for an International Trade coin, and

The issue of a gold standard vs. a silver standard in U.S. coinage. On this issue, the gold and silver mining interests were aggressively lobbying Congress in selection of one of these metals as the U.S. standard.

These two issues resulted in an attempt by Congress to approve a coin that used both gold and silver as it's metallic content. A number of $4 patterns were subsequently made. These patterns were comprised of 86% gold, 4% silver, and 10% copper. Such patterns were distributed to congressmen and came to be known as the $4 "Stella" coins...which was, at that time, a reference to the star (on the reverse of the $4 coin design) and the U.S. eagle as national symbols. Despite lobbying efforts...in the end Congress would decide to not move forward with the $4 coin. Reason was that it looked too much like a true gold coin...with concerns that such a bimetallic coin would hurt the integrity of U.S gold coinage.

The Trade Dollar (1873-1885): The need for an International Trade coin resulted in Congress authorizing mintage of the U.S. Trade Dollar. At 420 grains in weight with a metallic content of 90% silver/ 10% copper....this coin was intended to compete with other foreign silver coins used for International trade. The problem created was that the silver dollar used domestically in the United States (The Liberty Seated Dollar) was 412.5 grains in weight (same metallic content 90% silver/ 10% copper). In other words, LESS SILVER content. To make matters worse, Congress did away with the 412.5 grain domestic silver dollar between 1873 and 1877....and allowed the U.S. Trade dollar to be used as Legal Tender for domestic transactions up to $5.

With a difference in silver content, this created problems for domestic U.S. merchants and banks that had to deal with existing U.S. domestic silver dollars and the U.S. Trade dollar. The dollar was not quite the value of the dollar when dealing with these two different coins. Besides this confusion, the problem was further aggravated when the price of silver dropped in value.

Eventually, this would be remedied when the U.S. Trade dollar is phased out in favor of the U.S. Morgan dollar by 1885.

So...there you have it....my rendition of the odd denomination U.S. coins and why they failed. In most cases, it was a matter of the U.S. public not accepting these coins. It sort of makes one wonder what the fate of the Sacagawea dollar may be.... 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