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Chicago Coin Club
Volume 46 No. 8 August 2000

Editor's Notes

This issue is late and small because there are only ten days from when I returned from my July vacation and when I leave for ANA Anniversary Convention in Philadelphia. Please be warned: I will ask all local club members who I see there, to submit their impressions of the meetings and lectures they attended, along with any interesting tales from their trips.

Paul Hybert, editor

Minutes of the 978th Meeting

The 978th meeting of the Chicago Coin Club was called to order at 7:05 PM on July 12 by president Carl Wolf. Minutes from prior meeting were corrected to state that there was a second reading for Sharon and Kevin Blocker and they then became members at the June meeting. There was a second reading for M. Michael Williams and he became a member at the July meeting. Guest and featured speaker for the evening was Kevin Dailey.

Kevin Dailey hosted an evening of Numismatic Jeopardy. Club members were divided into four teams of four each and competed in such categories as British coins, denominations, and "Begin L". In the end, team #1, comprised of Denise Kitchen, Don Dool, Joe Tomasko, and Richard Hamilton, emerged victorious with 410 points. Team #3 was a close second with 390 points followed by teams 4 and 2. The members of the winning team were each presented a token of Saint Eligius, the patron saint of coin collecting.

Exhibitors for the evening were as follows:

  1. Mike Metras - popout Kennedy half dollar and eBay auction results
  2. Mark Wieclaw - painted coins, Roman coins
  3. Carl Wolf - Chicago Livestock Exchange membership certificate
  4. Don Dool - U.S. large cents
  5. Bill Bierly - Confederate cent restrike
  6. Sharon Blocker - (2) $10 star notes with consecutive numbers, Hobo nickels
  7. Bill Burd - gold medal of 1747 by B. M. Holzhey
  8. Jeff Rosinia - year 2000 proof set, 1942 proof set, book of interesting facts, blank check from First Chicago Bank with revenue stamp
  9. Reid Geisler - elongated 1904 cent from the 1933 Century of Progress, South Carolina quarter, Sacagawea dollar varieties.

Under old business, the recent Mid-America Coin and Collectibles Show was mentioned with several criticisms.

For new business, Don Dool spoke about the Veteran Coin & Stamp Club by Phoenix AZ; Jeff Rosinia will look into what the design will be for the Illinois state quarter; and Mark Wieclaw solicited opinions on legality of owning 1937 Philipine coin dies.

Meeting adjourned at 8:58 PM.

Respectfully Submitted,

Richard Hamilton

Show and Tell

by Saul Needleman
  1. Mike Metras reported on an error involving the Sacagawea golden dollar, in which the dollar design was muled with a quarter design. Three examples have been reported and one was recently sold on Ebay for $41,345. A second error piece was reported by another member (see Blocker below), this an 'off-metal' error involving striking the dollar design on quarter planchets. Apparently as many as 10,000 (?) examples have been reported. Mike was not able to show either coin as part of his exhibit. A second part of his exhibit was a Kennedy half dollar pop-out.

  2. Mark Wieclaw showed several ancient coius which depict the clasped hands design on the reverse. The first was a silver denarius of Claudius Albinus who was born in Africa and had a relatively short reign. This was followed by an antoninianus of Pupienis and a Roman Republic denarius showing a bust of Adis? The final example was a Parthian coin of Mithradates I. Separately, Mark showed a denarius on which two lions draw a biga instead of the horses generally displayed on such coins.

  3. In another example of his growing collection of his self-framed numismatic items, Carl Wolf showed a certificate of membership in the Chicago Livestock Exchange together with four early picture post cards having scenes of the Chicago Stockyards. The CLE was founded in 1884 and the early membership certificates were of parchment. The Exchange later forced all brokers dealing with live stock to be members of the Exchange. The Chicago Stock Eaxchane owned the Union Stock Yards and the brokers were the go-betweens between the Exchange and the meat packers. At one time as many as 1000 railroad cars of animals arrived at the yards each day.

  4. Don Dool showed several large US cents he had purchased several yeaars ago. The first was an 1806 bought in 1971 for $65. Next was an 1804 with an HS (or SH) countertamp bought in 1985 for $149. An 1807/6 was bought for $34.50, a 1797 for $19.75 and a 1798/7 (VG) for $19. A 1791 at $450 was returned to the dealer.

  5. Bill Bierly discussed the Confederate cent of 1861. The obverse was engraved by Robert Lovitt. John Haseltine had heard that a bartender had an 1861 Confederate coin and later claimed he had bought the coin from the bartender and had spent it inadvertently. Haseltine went to Lovitt and asked him to make a die for these cents and 12 pieces were produced in copper-nickel. Hazeltine bought the dies and made seven copies in gold, 12 in silver and 55 in copper. Years later, a second re-srike was made: 5000 in gold, 20,000 in bronze, 50 in nickel-silver and several in aluminum and in red fiber. The dies were eventually cancelled with an X and the dies were donated to the Smithsonian. Bill's proof cent was stolen from him but he was able to purchase the coin again from a dealer who had acquired it.

  6. Sharon Blocker showed two $10 star notes with consecutive serial numbers. She also showed a `hobo' nickel engraved with a train in place of the usual face. She reported the Sacagawea strikes on quarter plancherts (see Metras above).

  7. Bill Burd exhibited a gold medal created by Dutch Medalist Martinus Holzhey for presentation to William IV in 1747 to commemorate his being named Stadholder of the Netherlands. In 1816 King William I, grandson to William IV, placed that medal in the newly formed Medals Cabinet at the Museum in Leiden. In 1914 that medal along with others were stolen and presumed melted for the gold. The medal that was stolen weighed 164 grams according to an inventory in 1759. However the weights mentioned there were not very precise. In 1964 G. van der Meer, curator at the Leiden Museum, wrote an article about Holzhey and this medal. In recent correspondence with Ms. van der Meer, Bill was informed Holzhey listed this medal for sale in a 1755 catalog of his works. It was offered for 400 guilders. She further stated that she has never seen or heard of a gold example of this medal before, and there could not have been many collectors rich enough to buy such a large gold medal. Bill's medal is 67.2 mm diameter, 2.7 mm thick, 166.8 grams (5.36 troy ounces), 23.5 carat gold (specific gravity test).

  8. The next presenter was Jeff Rosinia who displayed a year 2000 proof set made up of the Sacagawea dollar and the next five `State' quarters, available from the Treasury department at $20. He also showed a 1942 assembled proof set in which he included a proof nickel and a regular nickel for that year. The final part of his presentation was a small book titled It's time You Know, published in 1944. The purpose of the book appears to have been to serve as a source of information for soldiers on weapons, planes, and coins. Jeff purchased this for 15 cents.

  9. The final presenter was Reid Geisler who showed several elongated pennies of world's fairs. The first was of the St. Louis fair of 1904 which was rolled on a 1904 Indian Head cent. The piece showed one of the buildings of the fair. A second piece was of the China pavillion at the 1933 fair in Chicago (CPIE 12). In an evening filled with reports on error coins in the new US series, Reid showed a South Carolina quarter on which the reverse nickel coating was absent. He also showed a delaminated Roosevelt dime without the portrait of Roosevelt. The final part of his exhibit included a Type I (plain) and a Type II (upset rim) Sacagawea planchet and a new quarter planchet.

Speaker's Wor[l]d
The Coinage of the Sakas

by Robert Weinstein
(Presented at the June 14 meeting.)

The term Saka is used to denote the Scythic peoples dwelling on the steppe from the Caspian Sea east to the borders of China.These people were nomads and were famous in antiquity for their horsemanship and fearlessness in battle. The Sakas of Central Asia and the Scythians of the Black Sea region are descended from an earlier culture which dwelt in the Altai. The Sakas and Scythians spoke Iranian languages which were related to those of the Persians, Medes, Bactrians, and Sogdians.

The Scythians first enter history in the 8th century B.C.E. . Their home was the area North of the Black Sea.From there they would traverse the passes of the Caucasus Mountains to raid the rich kingdoms of Mesopotamia and Anatolia. They are mentioned several times in the bible.The records of the Assyrian and Persian Kingdoms mention them frequently.According to Herodotus the Persians used the word Saka for all Scythian nomads.This is because that is what they called themselves and the name translates directly into the Persian language which was related to the language of the Sakas.The Black Sea Scythians called themselves Saka in the 7th century B.C.E. but, by the time Herodotus wrote his history they seem not to use this name for themselves. The name Scythian is the Latinised version of Skythian which is what they were called by the Greeks. One of their kings, a man named Partatua, asked for the Assyrian King Asarhaddon's daughter in marriage. This dynastic alliance benifitted the crumbling Assyrian Empire on several occasions most notably when the Scythian King Madys, the son of Partatua, came to the aid of the the Assyrian capital of Nineveh which was besieged by the Medes. Madys may have been the nephew of the Assyrian King Assurbanipal. Herodotus tells us that after the destruction of the Medes at Nineveh the Scythians controlled the near east for 28 years. Their capital was at Sakic. Their raids reached as far as Egypt. Their power was finally broken by a resurgence of Median power. According to Herodotus this was accomplished by inviting their leaders to a feast and making them so drunk that they passed out. The Median King Cyaraxes then had them all murdered. After the loss of their leaders the Scythians abandoned Asia and retreated across the Caucasus mountains back to the Crimean Penninsula where they remained.

The Scythian Kings struck an extensive series of coins. All are scarce. Most of the kings named on the coins are unknown to history. King Ateas is an exception. He is well documented in the historical record. Unfortunatly his coins are very rare. Ateas took to the field of battle against Philip II of Macedon at the age of 90. Ateas lost the battle and was killed but Philip learned what the Persians had learned on an earlier occasion, the Scythians were not easily conquered. Philip was eventually forced to withdraw.

Coin of the Scythian King Kanites AE23 O: Head of Zeus R. CM male head R. wearing Bashlyk R: Eagle ? KANI

Coin of the Scythian King Akrosandros AE23 O: Jugate heads of Demeter and Persephone R. CM head of Great God of Odessos? R. R: 2 grain ears BASIL.....AKROS

The Dahae

The Dahae were a confederation of Saka tribes who dwelt between the Caspian Sea and the Oxus river. The Dahae are listed in the great army of the Persian King Xerxes. They later appear as allies of Alexander the Great. The Dahae issued coinage from about 330 B.C.E. to 1 B.C.E. . Most of this coinage is scarce with only the later issues appearing on the market with any frequency. The first coins are anepigraphic copies of Macedonian types. Later copies of Seleucid coinage appear bearing the names of kings and the title of King of the Sakas or King of the Dahae in Aramaic script.These were struck between 250-130 B.C.E. . The final coins of the Dahae were struck from 130 B.C.E. until about 1 B.C.E. . These coins bear Greek legends with the tribal name Kodoy (KwDoU), which is considered to be the same as the earlier Aramaic Gavasa, on the obverse. The reverse bears the legend Atara Saka (ARDHQROU SAKAROU). This type was struck for more than 100 yrs. with the Greek legends becoming corrupt in the successive issues. The style shows considerable degradation as well. Pictured below are three coins of the Atara Saka type showing the degradation of the design.

Early type with proper Greek legends

Middle phase with slightly degraded style and corrupt legends

Late type with more degraded style

The Parthians

In the 3rd century B.C.E. the Parni, a tribe of the Dahae confederation, occupied the old Achaemenid satrapy of Parthia. This territory passed to the Seleucid Empire after the death of Alexander the Great. The Parni King Arsakes declared himself independent in 248 B.C.E. and thus was born one of the greatest empires of the ancient world. Arsakes established his capital at Nisa and struck coinage in his name at this city. Arsakes II was forced to submit to Seleucid authority in 209 B.C.E. after the eastern campaign of Antiochus III. After the disasterous military defeat by the Romans, the Seleucid power weakened and the Parthians were independent again. Under Mithradites II the Parthians conquered most of the Seleucid empire. Parthia remained a major world power until 228 C.E. . Most of our current knowledge of the Parthians comes from Greek and Roman historians. There is underway a project to translate Parthian royal documents written in Akkadian, the traditional language of state in the ancient middle east. This should give us more insight into this great empire about which little of the inner workings are known. For nearly 500 yrs. a handful of nomads held together a very large empire with a diverse population. They rarely interacted with their subjects. The nobility was in a state of near constant civil war. There were often 2 or more persons claiming to be king. Eventually they were overthrown by a Persian dynasty in 228 C.E.

All of the early coinage bears the name of Arsakes. The portraits at this time are quite good so that is an aid identifying the coins. The titles on the early coins also differ from king to king. The die engravers were Greeks and the coinage bears Greek legends. Later as the Greek population dwindled and die cutting was taken over by Parthians, the style becomes more abstract and the legends, having been copied from old coins by men who could not read Greek, become corrupt. The late Parthian coinage bears the name of the king in Aramaic script in the Parthian language. Many Parthian coins are dated. Tetradrachms often have both the year and month of manufacture. Below are some Parthian coins.

Phraates III 70-57 B.C.E. AE17
Finer Early Style

Vardanes I 40-45 B.C.E.
AE Dichalkon

Artabanos II 10-38 C.E.
AR Tetradrachm

Vologases III 105-147 C.E.
AR Drachm

Vologases IV 147-191 C.E.
AR Drachm

Osroes II 190 C.E.
AE Chalcon

The Sakas in India

Sometime around 130 B.C.E. another nomadic people known as the Yueh Chi were driven out of Kansu in China by a Turkish tribe called the Wu Sun. This movement set in motion the various steppe nomads displacing them into other lands. The Sacaraucae confederation was pushed West of the Jaxartes river into Sogdiana and Bactria. According to Chinese annals part of the Sacaraucae went South into Khotan. It is probable that Khotan had already long been occupied by Sakas. Much of our information about the Saka kingdoms in India comes from their coins. The chronology and genealogy have long been in debate and this continues today. The work of R.C. Senior and others is challenging the old ideas of who were Greek Kings and who were Sakas. The Senior collection of Indo-Scythian coinage numbered more than 3000 pieces. Many of the coins are unique. This collection now resides in the Ashmolean Museum. A catalog of the collection is in production. Among the enlightening coins in this collection is a coin of the king Artemidoros which proclaims him as the son of the Saka Maues. Artemidoros has traditionally been listed as a Greek king.

The Sakas established several kingdoms in India. One of the first was the kingdom founded by Vonones in what is today parts of Afghanistan and Northern Pakistan. Vonones associated his brother, Spalahores, as Viceroy and struck coins bearing both of their names. Spalagadames followed his father Spalahores as Viceroy on the latters death. Later Vonones associated his other brother Spalarises as heir apparent. Spalarises ascended the throne on Vonones death.

Vonones with Spalagadames
90-65 B.C.E.
O: King on horseback with spear Greek legend naming Vonones as king BASILEWS BASILEWN MEGALOU ONWNOU
R: Zeus holding thunderbolt and scepter Kharosthi legend naming Spalagadames as Viceroy

Spalarises as king
65-40 B.C.E.
O: King R. carring ankus Greek legend naming Spalarises as king BASILEWS MEGALOU PALIRISOU
R: Zeus enthroned Kharosthi legend naming Spalarises as king

Shortly after the founding of Vonones' kingdom, another Saka, named Maues, founded a kingdom to the south of Vonones. Maues successor, Azes the Great, absorbed the neighboring kingdom ruled by Spalarises. There was a brief joint coinage bearing the names of both Azes and Spalarises and then Azes became sole ruler. Azes ascended the throne in 58 B.C.E. and ruled for many years. His successor was Azilises. There is a series of joint Azes/Azilises coinage which preceeds the coinage in Azilises name alone. Traditionally the successor to Azilises has been considered to be another king named Azes but, this view has lately been challenged by R.C. Senior who believes that all of the coinage in the name of Azes was struck by one king by that name. The silver coinage in the name of Azes occurs in two main types. The first attributed to Azes I depicts the king on horseback with spear. The second attributed to Azes II depicts the king on horseback holding a whip.

Azes on horseback with spear
AR Drachm

Azes on horseback with whip
AR Tetradrachm

AE hexachalkon of Azes
O: Elephant R., Greek legend R: Bull R., Kharosthi legend

AR Tetradrachm of Azilises
O: king on horseback with spear R: City goddess L., Kharosthi legend

Most of the coins of those who came after Azilises are all quite scarce and rarely offered for sale. The exception are the coins previously classified as posthumous coinage in the name of Azes. These coins usually have corrupt Greek legends and poor style. The later ones are very debased billon. The Kharosthi legends remain readable and name Azes as king. In ONS newsletter #156 R.C. Senior proposes that these coins were stuck by the early Apracharajas and demonstrates how the series leads to the coinage bearing the names of the later Apracharajas. The first Apracharaja, Vijayamitra, probably ruled from 20 B.C.E. to 19/20 C.E. . This very long reign of Vijayamitra accounts for the large number of coins of this type which have been found.

First series of coinage of Vijayamitra
O: King on horseback with whip Corrupt Greek legend (AZZOU) Heart at 2 o'clock in legend indicating B officina
R: Pallas R. with spear, Kharosthi legend naming Azes

The Sacaraucae and Indo-Parthians

The Sacaraucae in eastern Iran came under the influence of the Parthians around 80 B.C.E. when Sinatruces, a member of the Parthian royal family, sought asylum among them. With the help of the Sakas Sinatruces obtained the Parthian throne and the Sacaraucae became Parthian vassals. Their earliest coinage imitates contemporary Parthian coinage. These coins do not bear a rulers name. The first ruler to put his name on his coinage was Tanlis. He issued coins bearing both his name and the name Lady Raggodeme. It was long believed that his successor was named Otannes but, coins formerly attributed to this king are now known to also be the work of Tanles. The Otannes coins were countermarked Parthian drachms. The countermark bore a name which had long been misread. What had been read as an O turned out to be a decorative ball on a cap worn by the person pictured. Tanles had several successor but, none put there names on their coinage. All of the coins issued by the kings who followed Tanles are copies of Parthian drachms with the curious feature of having a countermark engraved on the die.

Sacaraucae drachm of King "A" 40 B.C.E.

The last of the Sacaraucan coins bear the Tamgha which is referred to as the Gondopharan symbol. These coins show that the Indo-Parthian kingdom of Gondophares evolved from the earlier Sacaraucan kingdom. Gondophares the Great eventually conquered all of lands once held by the Indo-Greeks and all of the rival Saka kingdoms in India. He had long been considered to be the king mentioned in the Acts of the Apostle Thomas. A revised chronology of the Sakas in India makes his reign far too early for him to be the King of the Indians that Thomas preached to. A later king, Gondophares-Sases, is a more likely candidate for the person. The Indo-Parthian kingdom lasted into the 3rd century C.E. . At that time the kingdom split into Sakastan and Turan. These two kingdoms later became vassals of the Sassanid Persians who overthrew the Parthians.

Gondophares AE Drachm
O: Bust R. R: Pallas R., Kharosthi legend Kings name spelled Gudapharasa

Gondophares AE Drachm
O: Bust R. Corrupt Greek legend R: Pallas R., Kharosthi legend Kings name spelled Gadavirasa

Gondopares Billon Tetradrachm
O: King on horseback, Gondopharan symbol before, Greek legends
R: Zeus standing R., control marks before and behind, Kharosthi legends

Sases AE Drachm
O: King on horseback, Gondopharan symbol before, Greek legends
R: Zeus standing R., control marks before and behind, Kharosthi legends

Pakores AE tetradrachm
O: Bust of king L., Greek legend R: Nike R., Kharosthi legend

Sanabares II AE Drachm
O: Bust L. R: Seated archer, Greek legend

Our 979th Meeting

Date:August 9, 2000
Time:7:00 PM
Location:Bank One Plaza Building (formerly the First National Bank Building) 18th Floor, on Dearborn between Madison and Monroe. Enter the building at the South entrance of the Dearborn side, sign in at the security desk and take the elevator to the 18th floor.
Featured Program:Saul Needleman - Elongated Cents of the Century of Progress
Review some local history with us as we remember the World's Fair held in Chicago in 1933, which was the one-hundredth anniversary of the founding of Chicago.

Important Dates

Aug9 CCC Meeting - no Featured Speaker yet
Aug9-13 ANA convention in Philadelphia - at least 5 local members going
Sep13 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - Cliff Priest on Chicagoland Stock Certificates.

Birthday and Year Joined

September1Fred K. White1991
September2John Wilson1984
September7James M. McMenamin1975
September18Michael M. Dolnick1952
September18Gregory Gajda1999
September19Russell F. Wajda2000
September21Kerry K. Wetterstrom1999
September24Michael A. Pesha1979
September25Saul Needleman1992
September26Dennis P. Ciechna1999
September27Edward Stevens1996
September29Gordon R. Donnell1999
September29Thomas Kulasik1996

Chatter Matter

All correspondence pertaining to Club matters should be addressed to the Secretary and mailed to:

P.O. Box 2301

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Contacting Your Editor

Paul Hybert
3301 S. Dearborn
Chicago, IL 60616

Club Officers

Carl Wolf- President
Steven Zitowsky- First Vice President
Robert Feiler- Second Vice President
Directors:Paul Hybert
Mike Metras
Jeff Rosinia
Mark Wieclaw
Other positions held are:
Richard Hamilton- Secretary Treasurer
Paul Hybert- Chatter Editor
Phil Carrigan- Archivist