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ACCent: The Monthly Newsletter of the Anchorage Coin Club
|Volume 19, Number 3||
|March Membership Meeting|
|Wed., March 1st, 2006||Central Lutheran Church||
7:15 PM Meeting
Apologies from your Chief Editor on the lateness of this month’s newsletter. February has proven to be a very busy month for me.
We have our elections coming up at our March 1st meeting. Our by-laws require that new Board officers be elected at this time. So far, the following people have agreed to run for office:
For President: This position is still open.
Vice President: This position is still open.
Secretary: Larry Nakata
Treasurer: Stan Mead
1st Board Seat: John Larson
2nd Board Seat: Bill Hamilton
3rd Board Seat: This position is still open.
We have three positions needing to be filled. Members can put their names in for these positions at the March 1st meeting. In the event any positions remain unfilled as a result of the election, the Board will then appoint.
At our February 1st club meeting, Stan Mead gave a presentation on what we can do as a coin club in helping to promote Alaska’s State Quarter program. The present plan of the State Quarter Commission is to have each commissioner concentrate on distribution of information in their respective regions of the State. As one of the commissioners, Stan has the responsibility for Anchorage and the Kenai Peninsula.
A number of informational flyers were distributed by Stan to all of us with the request that we post them on public bulletin boards and distribute them to other civic organizations in Anchorage. Stan has already posted a number of these flyers throughout Anchorage. Bill Hamilton has been assisting Stan in distribution of this information in the Kenai Peninsula.
Stan has been busy working in getting television and radio station coverage about this program. So far, several of the local stations have done interviews.
The State of Alaska has also posted information on its WEB page.
1850 U.S. Half Cent
At the February 1st meeting, Stan stressed that it is important to get this information distributed quickly since the Commission is requiring all proposed designs be submitted by the end of February.
The Door Prize, a 1969 Silver Medal “First Step on the Moon” was won by Larry Nakata.
The Membership Prize, a 1971 $2 Bahaman Island Silver Proof coin was won by Dana Larsen.
Thanks go to member Bill Fivaz for submitting those nice lots for our February “bullet” auction. It was a very good auction that evening.
Finally, a reminder that our club has a new WEB page. Our club’s URL address is:
Hope to see a number of you at our March 1st meeting…….Your Editors.
Schedule of Events for the Month of February
Minutes of February 15th Board Meeting
The Anchorage Coin Club Board meeting was called to order at 7:30 PM by club president (Carl).
The Board met at the New Cauldron Restaurant located at the University Center .
There was no correspondence to be reviewed at this meeting.
Stan Mead gave an update on progress on the State Quarter program. Information continues to be distributed. There have been a number of designs submitted to the Commission as of February 15th. Looks like quite a few designs will be submitted by the end of February.
Bill Hamilton provided his findings on cost of cases with shipping costs. There is a company in Las Vegas that can sell the cases at $35/case. Shipping of each case will also come to $35/case. Total cost per case will be $70. Based upon this information the Board gave Bill the go-ahead to arrange for 10 cases to be purchased and shipped. Bill will be attending the coin show in Las Vegas during the 1st week of March. He will make according arrangements at that time.
Special thanks also go to club member Mike Orr for donating three cases to the club. Mike is very generous in donating the cases and also covering the cost of shipment of those cases from Dutch Harbor (where he lives).
That means our club will have 13 quality display cases for coin shows for Year 2006. We will be purchasing more cases as time goes on. As per last year’s study on future coin shows for the Anchorage Coin Club, the goal is to accumulate up to 45 such cases. President Carl has agreed to have those cases stored at his location. Our club already has 10 tables also stored at his location.
The Board also discussed the upcoming March 1st elections. A listing of members agreeing to run for office will be posted in the Editor’s portion of the club’s upcoming newsletter.
Larry Nakata agreed to give a presentation for the March 1st club meeting. Larry’s presentation will be on the subject of “U.S. Obsolete State Bank Notes”.
As there was no other business to discuss, the meeting adjourned at 8:00 PM.
On March 1st elections will be held for the following Anchorage Coin Club positions:
One Board Seat
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.
Greetings to all Numismatic friends and Club members.
During the last Board meeting, we discussed the current elections for the Club. We are urging all Club members to become involved in the elections and in the general support of the Club.
I would like to thank Larry Nakata for bringing most of the food and meals to all of our Club meetings over the past years. He has done a great job and the Club has depended upon him for this.
Now is the time for other Club members to become more involved in bringing food and refreshments to the Club meetings. We discussed having more volunteers or even a potluck type situation and are open to all suggestions and offers. Larry has prepared some great meals and I know there are others willing and capable.
Let’s please come up with some creative ideas at the upcoming meeting.
Also, at the last meeting, we had a successful bullet auction and look forward to having another one at the March meeting. So please attend and bring coins either to show or sell. There are many great deals to be had on coins and other numismatic items of interest.
The Club meeting is still a great place and an open forum to show and discuss all numismatic items.
I would also like to remind everyone that the Club is still making an effort to increase membership and attendance of the meetings.
We hope to see everyone at the March meeting……Sincerely, Carl.
CHIEF EDITOR’S NOTE: As a member of the EAC (Early American Copper Society), I get the regular issues of their journal “Penny-Wise”. For your information, the EAC focuses on Early American Copper coinage and has great articles on this subject matter. There was one article in particular that I came across several years ago on the subject of “Net Grading of Early American Copper Coinage”. I am reprinting this article by Steve Carr. It’s a great article for those of you who wondered how such early copper coinage is graded from the perspective of the EAC. It’s sort of a lead-in into future articles on the subject of grading coins.
What a topic! When net grading was suggested as an area that perplexed beginners and would be a good topic for this column, I thought, “What a great opportunity!” Writing an article on net grading would give me a chance to review what I knew, solicit and get some new knowledge, and then try to put it all together so it made sense. Simple, huh? NO WAY!! It is a lot more complex than that. The more I looked into net grading, the more perplexed I became.
You see, grading is not an art, not a science, which is sometimes hard to remember. Two different people can look at a coin and come up with two different grades, sometimes widely apart. That simple fact makes it impossible to have hard and fast rules regarding grading. Also, grading equates to value in the coin market and value means money. In some cases, a difference of only one grade can change the value of a coin by thousands of dollars.
1853 U.S. Large Cent
Net grading can lead to some unusual results. See if these examples make sense to you:
1) In a Penny-Wise article from December 1983 (Volume XII, Number 6, page 297), Frank Wilkinson told how he used photos from Penny Whimsy to determine how William Sheldon graded coins. He compared photos with known varieties and grade (from Sheldon’s condition census). One of his examples was a 1795 NCI- graded F-15 “by sharpness alone- but because of its color and surfaces, this coin was re-graded to VF30 when Dr. Sheldon acquired it.”
2) Last December I bought a coin from a prominent EAC’er. This coin was described as VF30, choice. When I got the coin, I was pleased with its look. When I started looking closer, I felt that the coin was between VF20-25 in sharpness. I was shocked! An overgraded coin- and it was called “choice” to boot. I discussed this matter with the prior owner and several local, non-copper dealers. They all assured me that the coin was at least a VF30. Some of the dealers were even fairly certain that it would slab as an XF. Who am I to question this plurality?
3) A recent list I received contained the following: “1818 N-10. Randall hoard coin. Uncirculated but heavily pitted. Net Good.”
Do you understand how the net grade was determined in these three examples? If so, you can probably skip the rest of this article. But if they make you think about them, perhaps you should read on. As we progress, hopefully they will be explained.
So what is net grading? A couple of definitions might help.
EYE APPEAL- How a coin appears when first seen. Does it stand out as a beautiful piece, or is your first reaction, “This coin is ugly!” How the coin appeals to your eye is important when buying coins, as it will impact what others think of your collection and it will impact what you get back when you sell your coins.
CONDITION- How a coin compares to others of the same variety and grade. Currently there are three commonly accepted conditions for large cents: Choice, average, and scudzy. These terms were first applied to early American copper by Jack Robinson and following definitions are paraphrased from his Copper Quotes by Robinson (CQR):
DEFECTS, MINT MADE- Anything that happened during the minting of the coin that keeps it from being perfect. Some mint defects include clips, laminations, off center strikes, weak strikes, struck through grease or an object, and late die state erosion.
DEFECTS, MAN MADE OR ENVIRONMENTAL- Anything that happened to the coin after it was minted that changes its appearance. Man made defects include wear, surface marks (also called circulation marks), edge dents, digs, scratches, and bends. Environmental defects can include discoloration, porosity, and pitting.
SHARPNESS GRADE- The grade of a coin when only wear is considered. There are several grading standards available to the collector. These include the ANA Grading Guide, Photograde, Brown and Dunn, the new PCGS Grading Guide, an ANA correspondence course, and the official EAC Grading Guide, which each member (EAC) receives with his or her membership packet. Sharpness grades do vary from one guide to another.
DEDUCTIONS- Points subtracted from the coin’s sharpness grade to account for defects. If a VF20 coin is net grade F15, it has had a 5 point deduction to its grade.
NET GRADING- A coin is examined and a condition assigned to it. Then a sharpness grade is determined, points deducted for any mint or man-made defects, and a net grade is determined. A net grade is the opinion of the grader, each grader.
There are some very obvious flaws in the concept of net grading. First, the different standards for sharpness grading vary. If you doubt this, get several of the grading guides mentioned above, pick a type of large cent and a grade, then compare the descriptions given. They are different! This grading variation can lead to some frustration when you order a coin graded VF20, only to find it is Photograde VF20, and thus an ANA F15 and an EAC F12. Even EAC dealers use alternative grading systems- they have to survive in the non-EAC coin market.
Second, defects affect a person’s perception of a coin in different ways. Take, for example, two EAC’ers who are looking at a VF20 sharpness grade coin that is porous. One may detest porosity and deduct from the coin severely for this defect, netting it a VG7. The other may not mind porosity as much and will make only a minor deduction for the problem, netting the coin a F12. The same coin, but two different grades.
Which brings us to consistency. This is one area where dealing with EAC dealers is a distinct advantage, as they tend to be consistent in their grading (of course there are those occasional exceptions!). Look at many different coins graded by a person cover time and you will be able to predict what their coins will look like. Take notes- they can help you establish a pattern.
I keep my notes in a computer file, but note cards or a three ring binder work just as well. Here is one of my notes: “Advertised as ‘VF Average, a few marks.’ I received the coin and graded it F12 with a few more than average marks (condition AVG-). Also a fair sized rim dent at K10 and a little roughness due to verdigris removal though ‘D STAT’ on the reverse. I grade it a VG10. He wants F15 money for the coin. I returned it.”
Which brings up another point- do not be afraid to return coins if they do not meet your expectations. All reputable dealers would rather have a coin returned than have a disgruntled ex-customer. They realize that net grading is an art, and that your grading and theirs may differ. Until you understand their grading standards and they understand yours, mistakes can occur.
Boy, this has turned out to be a longer-than-expected topic. We will have to continue it next time, when I will pass along some of the different ways EAC’ers establish net grades.
Until then, look at as much copper as you can!
Club Archivist/ Photographer
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,