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ACCent: The Monthly Newsletter of the Anchorage Coin Club

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Volume 20, Number 2

February 2007

February Membership Meeting
Wed., Feb. 7th, 2007 Central Lutheran Church

7:15 PM Meeting


 

 

FROM YOUR EDITORS

    Our club meeting on the evening of January 3rd proved to be a very cold snowy day with below zero weather in Anchorage. Driving conditions that evening were terrible. Nonetheless, there were still about eight hardcore members who showed up for that meeting. Because of the sparse turnout, the meeting ended up being a social event with all of us enjoying lots of food and talking about various subjects of coin collecting.

Larry Nakata was going to give a presentation on the subject of “U.S. Half Dollars”. He even brought in his half dollar collection for all to see. Because of the small turnout, it was decided to have the presentation at our next coin club meeting on February 7th.  So… all of you will still be able to see a very nice U.S. half dollar collection.

There were a number of coins that Bill Fivaz sent us for our coin club’s bullet auction. Those coins will be available as auction lots for the upcoming February 7th meeting:

Our coin club’s first raffle coin for this year is a 1921 High Relief U.S. Peace Dollar in XF condition. Raffle tickets are $5/ticket or 5 tickets for $20. This raffle coin will be available for all to see at our next meeting.

We now have use of the downstairs meeting area at Central Lutheran Church. Accordingly, we are now back to normal schedules with our meetings to be held the 1st Wednesday of each month  (7:15 PM). 

One final thing.  Election of officers for the Anchorage Coin Club will occur at our March 7th meeting.  We’re looking for good people to serve in these positions……..Your Editors. 

 

MEMBERSHIP NEWS

 

 

Schedule of Events for the Month of February
 

  1. Monthly Membership: February 7th (Wednesday) at 7:15 PM at the Central Lutheran Church (downstairs meeting area). Larry Nakata will be giving a presentation on “U.S. Half Dollars”. There will be a bullet auction of no more than 20 numismatic lots. Members, YNs, and general public welcomed. Refreshments provided.
  2. Anchorage Coin Club Board Meeting: February 21st (Wednesday) at 7:00 PM at the New Cauldron Restaurant located at the University Center. Club members welcomed.  

Minutes of January 17th Board Meeting

The Anchorage Coin Club Board meeting was called to order at 7:15 PM by club president (Carl). Meeting location: New Cauldron Restaurant located at the University Center.

After a review of correspondence, the Board then discussed the matter of organizing a coin seminar for Year 2007. Our membership will be canvassed on interest and subject matter for this year’s seminar. In the Board discussions,  commitments for about 15 to 20 people  should suffice to make possible such an event. In years past, our club has held the seminar around the 2nd weekend of September, when convention room rates drop significantly and the weather is still good. The Board agreed that this would be a good time to host such an event. President Carl will  bring this matter up with our membership at our February 7th meeting.

Under the subject of New Business, an announcement will be made in our club’s next newsletter for Election of Officers at our March 7th club meeting. The 2007 election of Board officers will mark the 19th year of the Anchorage Coin Club.

As there was no further business to discuss, the meeting adjourned at 7:55 PM. 

 

Announcement of Elections for the Anchorage Coin Club

    On March 7th elections will be held for the following Anchorage Coin Club positions:

·         President

·         Vice President

·         Secretary

·         Treasurer

·         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.

 1888 U.S. $1 Gold Proof

1888 U.S. $1 Gold Proof

 

Alaska Commemorative Coin Commission
by Stan Mead (Member# 64)


The Alaska Commemorative Coin Commission’s website is: http://www.commerce.state.ak.us/alaska_coin.htm

    On Dec. 24th the Alaska Coin Commission finally heard back from the US Mint Department concerning the 5 designs that we submitted for their review, comments, and revisions. As with any US Government department., they took their time (6 months) and wanted our comments to their revisions back within the week. The Alaska Coin Commission and the Mint Officials spent the better part of the next 2 weeks trying to make the necessary revisions that would meet every ones expectations. Overall, the US Mint Officials and the different artists were not very cooperative concerning some of the elements and revisions that the Alaska Coin Commissioners think are important for the State Quarter. This should be no surprise to anyone who has followed the State Quarter Program from the very beginning.

January 18, 2007, the Alaska Coin Committee received an e-mail from Karina in Washington DC stating “This afternoon, I presented the design candidates for all five states (Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, Alaska and Hawaii) to the Commission of Fine Arts at their public meeting. On Tuesday, January 23, I will present the designs to the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee. Sometime by the end of January, I will be in touch to share the comments from both committees.”

Well…surprise, surprise…. on January 23, 2007 the Fairbanks Daily News Miner published a article on the proposed four (Note: it should be five) revisions of a quarter dollar coin honoring Alaska. The article described in detail the elements in each proposed coin. The article went on to say “Last week, another federal panel, the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, selected its preferred designs from among the four versions created by the mint’s sculptor-engraver group.” This group wants to change the motto on their selected coin!!! It seems as if the Fairbanks Daily News Miner has some inside source to information that the Alaska Coin Commission doesn’t.

After the Fine Arts Commission, the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee and the Alaska Coin Commission need to agree to a proposed solution to the revisions. The Secretary of the Treasury will then send approved designs to the State of Alaska. The State will choose a final preferred design.

In ending….the State of Alaska is on schedule and soon the Alaska Coin Commission will have further information that I might be able to forward to the Anchorage Coin Club at our next meeting on February 7th…….Stan Mead.

1854 U.S. $3 Gold

1854 U.S. $3 Gold

 

Two Golden Encyclopedias
by Mike Nourse (Life Member# 1)

    Do you like gold coins? I know, that is probably a silly question! Who doesn't like gold coins?? Now that it has been established that we all like gold coins, it can probably be concluded that none of us can afford to own nearly as many of them as we would like to, particularly the earlier versions. Since most of us are unable to own huge accumulations of gold coins, we must be content to read about them and admire pictures of choice specimens.

Two books have recently been released that will help out in that regard, with both having an abundance of written material to go along with the hundreds of high quality photographs. These two golden encyclopedias were published in 2006 by Whitman Publishing, who we all know as the publisher of the Redbook.

Let's look at these two books one by one.

 

The first book we will take a look at covers all United States gold coin issues including commemoratives and patterns:  “Encyclopedia of U.S. Gold Coins 1795-1933 Circulating, Proof, Commemorative, and Pattern Issues” by Jeff Garrett and Ron Guth. Each and every date and mintmark from all six gold denominations is examined, and Proof issues are kept separate from their Mint State relatives. For each coin, you are given the mintage, a paragraph detailing the characteristics of that date with other important information, retail values, auction appearance information, and a certified population report summary. There is also a picture of a coin from that issue, usually a specimen from the collection in the Smithsonian Institution, along with a listing of the grade of the finest specimen contained in that collection. Listed in this manner, there are three issues on each page. The photographs, though small at about the size of a half dollar, are very high quality. While larger photos would have been great, that would have had the effect of making an already large volume too big to be easily handled, so this very reasonable size compromise was reached.

The paragraph of information provided for each issue will come in very handy for the individual who is either seeking or contemplating the purchase of a particular issue. Rarity is usually discussed along with striking characteristics and other interesting notes about that date. Minor varieties will be noted here as well, though major varieties, such as those that are listed in the Redbook, will receive separate listings.

At the beginning of the book, there is some introductory reading material, but it is quite limited. This is not a book about the history of gold coins, but more of a buyer's guide. All gold coins are expensive, so knowing what to look for in a given issue can save you lots of money, particularly if you are looking for one of the scarcer items out there.

This book is 636 pages long and comes in either leather bound (limited to 500 copies) or standard hardbound. I think the leather edition has been sold out but you should have little trouble finding the standard hardbound. The price is quite cheap at $70 or so considering the amount of information contained within and the obviously huge research effort obviously expended by the authors. A must buy for any collector with an interest in U.S. gold coins.

The next book in our tour of the new golden encyclopedias is a more specialized volume which concentrates on early United States gold coins: “Early U.S. Gold Coin Varieties- A Study of Die States 1795-1834” by John W. Dannreuther and Harry W. Bass Jr.

 

As you can tell from the title of this book, the focus here is exclusively on the scarce gold coins produced by the Philadelphia Mint through 1834. Mintages of these coins were low, but a weight reduction in mid 1834 rendered these coins more valuable for their bullion content than for their face value leading to extensive melting. Many were melted here and many were melted overseas. The overall survival rate for early gold coins is generally less than one percent of the original small mintage, meaning that the prices for these gold pieces start in the low four figures for low grade and imperfect specimens and go up from there. Be prepared to spend a lot of money if you want to own any of the coins listed in this book.

As noted above, the next best thing to owning a group of these expensive beauties is to read about them and have high quality pictures to admire. The pictures used in this book are notably larger than those used in the volume above, at about twice the diameter of a silver dollar. The authors of this volume have the luxury of more space due to simply having many less coins to discuss since they are only looking at 40 years of production and one mint rather than 140 years and seven mints.

Each listing occupies two pages. On the left page is the high quality picture of the date and variety being discussed along with mintage information, estimated survival, and auction appearance information. On the right side is identification information, a listing of known die states, the usually brief comments from the notebook of Harry Bass, and a more lengthy discussion by John Dannreuther.

Again, like the previous volume, there is not a great deal of historical information included. That is fine because there are other excellent books out there that cover that subject in depth, my favorite being United States Gold Coins An Illustrated History by Q. David Bowers in 1982. This serves again as a great buyer's guide but also an interesting book to just flip pages and look at the pictures and read some of the information given about some of these scarce coins. If you can't own them, at least you can enjoy looking at the pictures!

This book is 576 pages long and bargain priced at about $50. You might be able to find the leather
bound editions of either of these books for around $100 but there are only 500 produced of each book so they may be hard to locate.

Happy reading!……Mike Nourse.

1861 $20 Gold Double Eagle

1861 $20 Gold Double Eagle


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