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ACCent: The Monthly Newsletter of the Anchorage Coin Club

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Volume 18, Number 3

March 2005

March Membership Meeting
Wed., March 2nd, 2005 Central Lutheran Church

6:30 PM YNs, 7:15 Meeting


 

FROM YOUR EDITORS

    As an introduction to the night's event a brief statement was made that our silver dollar was based on large silver crowns circulating in Europe. Larry then gave a presentation based on an in-depth study of silver dollars in the United States. The American Silver Dollar was not a bust. The U.S. silver dollar really got going with the Morgan dollar and then faded out with the Peace dollar. We passed around excellent examples of silver dollars including a proof Seated Liberty dollar. We then got a view of Larry's two Morgan collections: one BU and one not. You can read all about it in Larry's article in this newsletter. One note: if you come across a real 1964 Peace dollar give it to one of the club's officers. We would not want you to get into trouble.

The meeting was attended by the club's best numismatists. For braving the cold of an Alaska winter we were each given a club calendar. With it's beautiful art and dates of club events marked off it will go great on the wall.

Before the presentation there was a short discussion of increasing membership. Doing this by sponsoring coin shows was posed. The most liked idea was to have a coin show in October when permanent fund dividend checks are given out. We will have a few extra dollars in our pockets and the feeling that we should spend some of it on something that will last. There is nothing that lasts and holds value better than coins.

There are a couple coin shows in March and the club has been given tables at both. We need you to man these tables. At least for a little bit. There are a lot of people out there who are interested in coins but don't even know the Anchorage Coin Club exists. We need you to be there to talk to these people about being a coin collector in Alaska. One show is at the Northway Mall and one is up in the valley (at the Cottonwood Creek Mall). Set aside an hour or two to be at a show to talk to these potential new members. There will even be calendars to give out to people who sign up for membership.....Your Editors.

MEMBERSHIP NEWS

Schedule of Events for the Month of March:

  1. YN (Young Numismatists) Meeting: March 2nd (Wednesday) at 6:30 PM at the Central Lutheran Church (downstairs meeting area). We will be working on the coin displays for the Loussac Library and upcoming coin shows for March. YNs, club members, and general public welcomed.
  2. Monthly Membership Meeting: March 2nd (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. Loren Lucason will be moderating a presentation on the subject of "Numismatic Aurum- Gold Coinage". Members, YNs, and general public welcomed.
  3. Anchorage Coin Club Board Meeting: March 16th (Wednesday) at 7:00 PM at the Lily's Family Restaurant located at 1440 E. Tudor Road (next to Tony Roma's). Club members welcomed.

Minutes of the February 16th Board Meeting

The meeting was called to order at 7:11 PM by President Stan Mead. The meeting was held at Lily's Family Restaurant located at 1440 E. Tudor Road.

Following a distribution and review of correspondence, the Board went into the matter of Old Business:

March 2nd will see our coin club's yearly elections for Board Officers. The Board reviewed the list of volunteers who have submitted their names for these positions. See this month's article on the March 2nd Elections on who is running.

The Board reviewed requests for endorsements from candidates running for the American Numismatic Association's upcoming election.

The Board discussed ways to increase membership. It was decided that any new member that signs up for membership in our coin club will receive a free 2005 club calendar. These calendars will be available at the upcoming March coin shows. Your Board would like to encourage all of our club members to bring their friends and youngsters to these events. One of the best ways to increase club membership is through this type of networking. President Stan Mead has also posted our club meetings in the Community Calendar of the Anchorage Daily News.

The Board then moved onto the matter of New Business:

Larry Nakata recommended the club's Year 2005 major project be a club sponsored coin show that would occur about the time of the Permanent Dividend checks. The Board subsequently approved this recommendation. It was decided that the Board be the committee that will work organize this event. The Board then discussed some of the key elements desired from this coin show:

Coins for sale,

Coin and Numismatic Displays,

Classes on subjects involving coin collecting,

A coin auction as a key event of the show,

See about getting coin dealers from the lower 48 to this event,

A coin grading table with volunteers grading coins for the general public,

Finding a good location for the show.

Larry Nakata asked the Board to give thought to the matter of a good location as a key agenda item at our March 16th Board meeting.

The Board then discussed presentations planned for the March 2nd meeting. The YNs will continue working on coin displays for the Loussac Library and for the upcoming March coin shows. Loren Lucason will be giving a presentation on the subject of "Numismatic Aurum- Gold Coinage".

One of the agenda items that will be brought up at the March 2nd meeting will be to enlist some volunteers to bring in food and beverage for our club monthly meetings. It was pointed out that most of the refreshments have been provided by Stan Mead and Larry Nakata. We need to expand the list of volunteers.

As there was no further business, the meeting adjourned at 8:18 PM.

THE YN CORNER

    We had a rather sparse turnout of YNs at our February 2nd YN meeting. Perhaps it was the cold wintry evening that that prevented a number of YNs and club members from attending. Nonetheless the YNs in attendance began planning for coin displays for the Loussac Library and our upcoming coin shows in March.

Since we need to have the displays completed in time for the coin shows in March, we need to have YNs come to the March 2nd meeting to help out.

Bring your friends to this meeting. There will be a lot of coins and paper currency brought to this meeting as part of the display that will be put together.

Later in the evening YNs will get to see quite a few gold coins when Loren Lucason gives his presentation on the subject of "Numismatic Aurum- Gold Coinage".

Hope to see a lot of YNs at this meeting.....Stan and Ruth Mead.

LIST OF COINS FOR MARCH 2ND COIN AUCTION

    Fellow coin club member Bill Fivaz sent another batch of coins for the auction at our March 2nd membership meeting. Looks like another nice batch:

Lot#l 1929S Lincoln Cent Orig. Ch BU Minimum Bid $27.50

Lot #2 1913P (T-l) Buffalo Nickel MS65 Minimum Bid $92.00

Lot #3 1937P Buffalo Nickel MS65+ Minimum Bid $29.00

Lot #4 1937 S/S RPM#2 Buffalo Nickel MS64 Minimum Bid $29.00

Lot #5 1942D DDO (FS-015) Washington Quarter VG Minimum Bid $32.50

Lot #6 1942S Walking Half Dollar MS64 Minimum Bid $73.00

Lot #7 1885P Morgan Dollar MS65 Toned Minimum Bid $117.50

Lot #8 1923P Peace Dollar Clip BU Minimum Bid $26.00

Lot #9 1936S Buffalo Nickel PCGS MS66 Minimum Bid $175.00

Lot #10 1979S Jefferson Nickel (T2) PCGS PF69 DCAM Minimum Bid $135.00

Also, submitted by Loren Lucason is:

Lot #11 Bavaria Thaler 1771 "Madonna and Child" VF-XF condition Minimum Bid $50

Any members wanting to bid on these coins should come to the March 2nd meeting. Any coins not sold will be returned back to Bill Fivaz in Georgia......Your Editors.

EDITORS NOTE; While we are still on the subject of Bill Fivaz......Bill sent our club this nice poem which references our club's Christmas Party on December 9th. Thought all of you might like the humor in the poem (referencing our January comments on the food from the editors).

 

DO YOUR BUNS NEED WARMING?
by Bill Fivaz (Life Member #7)

The party was great,
No threat of a storm,
But who was to know,
THE BUNS WERE NOT WARM?!

There was turkey and stuffing,
And veggies in good form;
But alas and alack,
THE BUNS WERE NOT WARM!

But all did survive,
Good fellowship was had;
Warm buns were no problem,
Our chairs had a HEATING PAD!!

UPCOMING COIN SHOWS IN MARCH

    There are two coin shows planned for the month of March.

March 5th (Saturday) and March 6th (Sunday) will see a coin show at the Northway Mall in Anchorage. If you would like to get a table at the coin show contact club member Mike McKinnon (evening phone number #248-0955).

March 19th (Saturday) and March 20th (Sunday) will see a coin show at the Cottonwood Creek Mall in Wasilla. Contact Robert Hall (evening phone number #561-8343) for tables.

See you at the coin shows in March......Your Editors.

MARCH 2ND IS ELECTION DAY FOR CLUB OFFICERS

In accordance with our club by-laws, club members attending the March 2nd meeting will be electing our club officers. At this time the positions of President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer and one board seat are to be filled by election.

Candidates who have "thrown their hat in the ring" for these positions are:

For President:            Carl

For Vice President:    John Larson

For Secretary:            Larry Nakata

For Treasurer:           Greg Samorajski

For Open Board Seat: Bill Hamilton / Loren Lucason

In accordance with the by-laws of our coin club, President Stan Mead must step down since he cannot run for a third consecutive term as President. Stan will accordingly fill the Board seat reserved for the outgoing President. Justin Samorajski still has one more year to go to fill out his term as Board member.

Members can still "throw their hat in the ring" at our club meeting on March 2nd.

We need good people for serve in these club officer positions......Your Board.

THE HISTORY OF THE U.S. SILVER DOLLAR
by Larry Nakata (Life Member #3)

    At our club meeting on February 2nd, I gave a presentation on my interpretation of the history of the U.S. Silver Dollar. We had a somewhat sparse turnout because of the inclement weather that evening (lots of snow and ice)...so my presentation was given to the "die-hards" in our coin club who attended. I thought it best to follow-up with this article for the benefit of those who could not attend.

Let me begin by saying that the history of the U.S. Silver Dollar starts following our country's Revolutionary War. When you become your own nation, having your own coinage gives a sense of identity. This was recognized by our U.S. Congress.

At the time of the Revolutionary War, Spain had established mints in the New World, one of which was in Mexico. As a result Spanish (or rather, Mexican) silver coinage was being used in the.United States and continued to be used right up until 1857 when our U.S. Congress declared foreign coinage as "null and void" for domestic use.

Thanks to the efforts of Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton, our U.S. Congress approved the establishment of the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia (in 1791). Congress followed up in 1792 with a bill that formally established our nation's coinage. It was this bill that created the U.S. Silver Dollar.

Since the Spanish (or rather Mexican) "piece of eight" (otherwise known as the 8 reale silver coin) was the silver dollar of it's day, Congress authorized the U.S. Silver Dollar to be 416 grains in weight with silver purity at 89.24% of the coin.

It turns out the 8 reale coin had more silver content than the U.S. Silver Dollar. This would create an interesting situation as the U.S. Silver Dollar evolves in the 19th century.

The U.S. Mint started mintage of coins in 1793, but it was not until 1794 that the first U.S. Silver Dollars were minted. Lack of silver bullion and a large enough minting press capable of minting silver dollars delayed the process.

Upon mintage of the first silver dollars, what followed was an interesting period of time in which there were large gaps of years when U.S. Silver Dollars were not minted. This got my curiosity. In my research, this is what I found:

In the late 1790s and early 1800s, one dollar was lot of money to the common worker in the United States. As a result, coin denominations below 50 cents were really used for every day transactions. It was not until the aftermath of the U.S. Civil War that silver dollars became commonly used. I suppose one could say that inflation eventually brought the silver dollar into it's own. So...in the early years of this country, the U.S. Silver Dollar was primarily used for larger transactions between businesses and banks. The U.S. Silver Dollar was also used for foreign trade.

Silver bullion was also in short supply in the late 1790s and early 1800s. This limited the ability of the U.S. Mint to make large numbers of silver dollars. You need only look at the early year U.S. Silver Dollar mintage numbers vs. the mintage numbers in the latter part of the 19th century to see this.

Emphasis was placed on mintage of the lower denomination U.S. silver coins.

By the early 1800s we see an exodus of U.S. Silver Dollars out of the country for the purpose of foreign trade. This results in President Thomas Jefferson ordering a stop to any further mintage of silver dollars (in 1804). For your information, the U.S. Silver Dollar minted in 1804 used the 1803 dies. The famed 1804 Silver Dollar was actually part of special Proof Sets minted in the 1834-1835 period as presentation sets to special dignitaries.... such as the King of Siam. If you look at the price of these early U.S. silver dollars (1794-1803), you will find they command very high prices in any grade.

As the years progress, the United States sees the development of it's mining industry. Silver and Gold mines get established in the East Coast and in the 1850s we see the California Gold Strike and the Nevada Comstock Lode Silver mines. The owners of these silver and gold mines became very powerful lobby groups with our U.S. Congress.

By 1831, this suspension of U.S. Silver Dollar coinage is lifted. However, it is not until 1836 that we see the next group of silver dollar minted (The U.S. Gobrecht Silver Dollars).

From 1836 to 1839, we see very low mintages of these Gobrecht Silver Dollars. They were primarily minted as pattern coins....and as coins sought by collectors. Because of the extremely low mintage numbers of the Gobrecht Silver Dollars....the surviving coins today command extremely high prices.

In 1839, our U.S. Congress changed the weight of the U.S. Silver Dollar from 416 grains to 412 & '/i grains. This change in weight only affected the copper content of the silver dollar. The same amount of silver still remained in the coin with the purity changing from 89.24% to 90% silver content.

In 1840 we see the Liberty Seated Dollar (1840-1873) come into existence. With silver bullion now being produced in great quantities by the U.S. silver mining interests, political pressure is put on our U.S. Congress to mint more of these silver dollars. What also helped was that in 1857 foreign coins (such as the Mexican 8 reale silver coin) could no longer be used for domestic circulation in the United States...by Act of Congress.

However, during the 1840-1873 period of time, something happens.

European countries such as England and Germany go to a gold standard in backing of their paper currency. This results in less demand for silver by these countries. In the United States, the Silver vs. Gold lobbying interests "go at each others throats" in having their precious metal prevail as the currency and coinage standard.

Simply put... .the United States had too much silver.

By 1873, the U.S. Gold interests prevail when our U.S. Congress passes the Act of 1873 in which production is stopped on mintage of the U.S. silver three cent coin, the silver half dime, and the U.S. Silver Dollar.

Congress did, however, "throw a bone" to the Silver mining interests by authorizing the mintage of the U.S. Trade Silver Dollar. Numismatic history books would say that this was a "BIG MISTAKE".

Remember when I said earlier that the Spanish/ Mexican 8 reale silver coin had more silver content than the U.S. Silver Dollar?! Well...this became the excuse for mintage of the U.S. Trade Dollar, a coin that would weigh 420 grains with 90% silver content in the coin. This now made the U.S. Trade Dollar a coin that had more silver content than the 8 reale coin... thus making it more attractive for foreign trade. With the major market at that time being China....the U.S. Trade Dollar saw favor in the eyes of the Chinese merchants. These merchants would test the quality of the coin and counter-stamp the coin with a mark (called a chop mark) that indicated the coin was good for trade in China.

While the U.S. Trade Dollar was intended for foreign trade, it created a much bigger problem domestically. The Act of 1873 allowed the U.S. Trade Dollar to be legal tender for domestic transactions up to $5.

Keep in mind that there were large numbers of Liberty Seated dollars that had less silver content than the U.S. Trade dollar. This created a situation where we now had two types of silver dollars circulating in the economy...each coin with different silver content. This resulted in big problems for U.S. businesses having to deal with both coins.

Something had to be done.

With so much silver continuing to be mined in the United States...especially from the Comstock Lode mines....it was only a matter of time before the Silver mining lobbying efforts again prevailed. Our U.S. Congress was to pass the Bland-Allison Act of 1878.

The Bland-Allison Act sees the creation of the U.S. Morgan Silver Dollar. Like the Liberty Seated Dollar, the Morgan Dollar had the same weight (412 & Vi grains) with the same 90% silver content. Mintage of the U.S. Trade Dollar gets cut back to only small amounts of proof coins from 1879 to the Trade Dollar's final demise in 1885. In effect, the Trade Dollar was phased out in favor of the Morgan Dollar.

The Bland-Allison Act of 1878 also required the U.S. Treasury purchase $2-$4 million in silver bullion every month (at prevailing silver market prices) for the purpose of minting U.S. Silver Dollars. Thanks to the Bland-Allison Act and the Sherman Act (of 1890), large amounts of Morgan Silver Dollars got minted to the point where too many silver dollars were made.

Morgan Dollars were discontinued in 1905 because of this overabundance of silver dollars.

Despite the discontinuation, the situation of too many silver dollars gets so aggravated that in 1918 our U.S. Congress passes the Pittman Act which authorizes melting down of 270 million U.S. silver dollars into silver bullion.

It was not until 1921 that we again see the U.S. Silver Dollar minted again. In 1921, both the Morgan and Peace Silver Dollars were minted...with 1921 being the final year for the Morgan Dollar, Of note, the 1921 silver dollars were minted under pressure from the casino lobby. They needed gaming tokens.

The U.S. Peace Dollar (1921-1935) came about as a Commemorative Peace coin following the end of World War I (the so-called "War to end all wars"). Through the lobbying efforts of the American Numismatic Association (ANA) the Peace Dollar comes into existence.

Although mintage of the Peace Dollar ceased following 1935, of interest is that in 1964 our U.S. Congress again authorized mintage of this coin. Some 316,000 Peace Dollars were minted but not circulated in 1964. Reason for not circulating the 1964 Peace Dollar was that in 1965 our U. S Congress passed the Coinage Act of 1965 that eliminated or significantly reduced the use of silver in our nation's coinage. That was the year that created our present day copper clad coins. Since the 1965 legislation by Congress superseded it's previous 1964 legislation, this resulted in all of the 1964 Silver Peace Dollars presumably being melted down. There are reports of some surviving 1964 Peace Dollar specimens today....although unconfirmed. It is illegal to presently own a 1964 Peace Dollar as it was never intended for circulation.

Since 1935, we see U.S. one dollar coins evolve in the form of Eisenhower (Ike) Dollars (1971-1978), Susan B. Anthony Dollars (1979-1981, and 1999), and present day Sacagawea Dollars (2000- present). I do not consider these newer dollars as true U.S. Silver Dollars (a reference to the 197IS to 1976S Ike Dollars which were 40% silver clad coins).

There are also the U.S. Commemorative Silver one dollar coins and the modern day U.S. American Silver Eagle dollars (the American Silver Eagle being a bullion type coin in my view). I do not consider these type coins as true silver dollars either.

To conclude....the U.S. Silver Dollar's history was marked with a lot of politics that resulted from the actions of our U.S. Congress. These politics were influenced by the U.S. Silver and Gold mining interests in the 19th century, the Mexican 8 reale silver coin, an overabundance of too many silver dollars in the early 20lh century, and even influence from the American Numismatic Association (ANA) and casino lobbies.

In my view, it was these politics that accounted for the large gaps in years when U.S. Silver Dollars were not minted......Larry Nakata.

References:

"Silver Dollars & Trade Dollars of the United States-A Complete Encyclopedia" by Q. David Bowers c. 1993.

"The United States Trade Dollar" by John M. Wilier c. 1983.

"The Liberty Seated Dollar 1840-1873" by Weimar W. White c. 1985.

"The United States Early Silver Dollars from 1794-1803" by M. J. Bolender c. 1988.

 


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