|Chicago Coin Club|
|Volume 46 No. 3||March 2000|
I also appreciated the comments and suggestions about both
the printed Chatter as well as its online version
which is available at:
Paul Hybert, editor
In the absence of First VP Steve Zitowsky, Carl announced that Wendall Wolka of Ohio will be the featured speaker at the CPMX session on February 19.
The featured speaker for the evening was member Allen H. Meyer who spoke on the large cent theft from the ANS by noted expert William Sheldon. Mr. Meyer spoke as a response to Eric Newman's talk to club members at the ANA convention, August 1999. He presented another view of the theft and presented copies of that position to all members present. At the end of the talk, Mr. Meyer answered questions from several members. Carl then presented the Featured Speaker Medal to Mr. Meyer. The ANA educational certificate will be presented at a later date.
Exhibitors for the evening were as follows:
Under old business, Bill Burd said that the proof for the CPMX souvenir card was being made and the regular souvenir cards should be ready for the CPMX meeting on Feb 19th. Bob Leonard has acquired 150 Civil War era stamps in connection with the CICF souvenir sheet.
From the ANS meeting on January 15th, Bob Leonard related that our recent gift helped save the Islamic curator position at ANS.
The proposal as printed in the Chatter regarding non-resident members was voted on and approved. Prospective members must apply in person and pay the annual dues at that time. The non-resident member status has been deleted.
Under new business, Carl announced that member Denise Kitchen recently gave birth. Members gave her a round of congratulations and applause.
Jeff Rosinia praised both the earlier Chatter format as done by Bill Burd and the new format by Paul Hybert. Members now can receive the Chatter via e-mail if so inclined and save the club postage costs.
Motion was made to recess this portion of the meeting at 9:25 PM.
The second session of the 973rd meeting of the Chicago Coin Club was reconvened at CPMX on February 19, 2000, 1 PM by president Carl Wolf at the Ramada O'Hare. First VP Steve Zitowsky introduced our featured speaker for the afternoon, Wendall Wolka, who spoke on obsolete notes from the State Bank of Ohio.
Wendall showed various obsolete notes from Ohio - many of them spurious. Prior to 1845, economies were local, giving rise to many counterfeit notes. The State Bank of Ohio was chartered in 1845 and would attempt to alleviate the production of these counterfeit notes. Headquartered in Columbus Ohio, the State Bank of Ohio had 41 branches throughout the state and had three issues of paper money. Local control of each branch was emphasized and all notes were redeemable in US coin or lawful currency. All the branches eventually converted to National Banks.
The notes were printed by a variety of engraving companies and circulated heavily. Many attempts were made to produce counterfeit notes. Over 5 million notes were made and no one ever lost any money from these notes.
After his talk, Wendall fielded questions for several minutes after which he was presented with the CCC Featured Speaker Medal as well as the ANA Educational Award certificate from Steve Zitowsky.
There was a first reading for membership in the CCC for Flemming Lyngbeck Hansen of Denmark.
Carl next spoke about the CPMX souvenir giveaway - a reproduction of scrip money from the dry goods store of Potter Palmer. Sheet #1 goes to the archives, #2 goes to the featured speaker, Wendall Wolka, numbers 3, 4, and 5 go to the authors of the card, Carl Wolf, Steve Zitowsky, and Bill Burd.
Meeting adjourned 2:05 pm. Souvenir cards then distributed to all in attendance.
Marcella Sheldon passed away in her apartment December 15, 1999 from natural causes and was buried next to her husband in Royal Palm Cemetery, West Palm Beach, Florida. Two sisters, one brother and many nieces and nephews survive her.
Born October 14, 1911, Marcella Beck grew up on a farm near Hudson, Iowa. She became a professional secretary for V. Leon Belt, a prominent attorney in Waterloo, Iowa. In about 1930-31, Mr. Belt accepted a large collection of U.S. Large Cents in payment of a debt. The collection sat inside the office safe for a period of time until one day Marcella took on the responsibility to organize and identify each coin which would begin her interest in coins.
In those years state and regional coin clubs were forming and it was common for organizing members to bring along their secretary to take minutes, type correspondence and run errands. So it was in 1938 that V. Leon Belt brought Marcella to the founding meeting of the Iowa Numismatic Association where she met her future husband, M. Vernon Sheldon. He was then the current American Numismatic Association (ANA) General Secretary and along with J. Henri Ripstra, then current ANA President, and Lee Hewitt, the founder and editor of The Numismatic Scrapbook, led a contingent from the Chicago Coin Club that traveled to Iowa to support the new organization.
V. Leon Belt was active in numismatics, went on to serve on the ANA Board of Governors and in 1945 became ANA President. During those years, Marcella would travel with him, serving as his secretary and administrative assistant. Marcella and M. Vernon would see each other often at these different coin conventions and a courtship began. Sheldon had obviously heard about her cataloging of the Large Cents and one day gave her a group of ancient Roman coins to identify. Convinced she was being tested, Marcella applied all her tenacity and single-mindedness to the project. Except for two coins, she correctly identified the group before their next meeting.
They were married August 23, 1946 and Marcella moved to Chicago. They resided on Wrightwood Avenue near Clark Street for more than twenty years. Marcella joined the Chicago Coin Club in October 1946 and became member 459. The support and work she did for Leon Belt served her well with M. Vernon Sheldon. He was even more active in numismatic circles, served on numerous committees and in 1949 was elected ANA President.
Through interviews and conversations years later, Marcella related that many days followed a pattern. Sheldon would come home from work. She had the mail already opened and organized in order of importance. After dinner, he would dictate letters of reply that she would copy in shorthand. She would then type the letters on a manual typewriter. Some evenings she would be up all night and used a lot of carbon paper because some letters needed 22 copies. By the time Sheldon arose the next morning, every letter was neatly laid out on the table waiting for his signature. After he went to work, she would stuff the envelopes, take them to the Post Office, pick up the next day's mail and begin the process all over again!
Marcella also found time to create a card index to The Numismatist for Sheldon's personal use. When he served on the original committee responsible for the fifty-year index to The Numismatist it was successful, due in large part to this personal index to the first forty years that she had put together.
A year before their marriage M. Vernon formed his own business, Gagefix Manufacturing Co., located on North Lincoln Avenue. They performed high-precision tool-and-die work and produced vital equipment for the armed services. Marcella would also help out in the office when the company was short-handed or if Sheldon needed confidential work performed.
Over the years, M. Vernon Sheldon received many well-deserved awards and acclamations. But it was common knowledge that M. Vernon and Marcella were a team. In 1952 she was presented with ANA's Medal of Merit, an award reserved for those who have shown outstanding devotion to numismatics, the organization and its goals.
In 1969, the Sheldon's moved to West Palm Beach, Florida. M. Vernon passed away in April 1982, but Marcella stayed active in the hobby, remained in touch with numismatic friends and even made new ones. She continually made sizeable contributions to the ANA in the form of cash and material. Through a series of donations, she put up nearly $25,000.00 to update the library and its index. The ANA museum has pieces of cut crystal with coin images that came from her collection. With funds provided by Marcella, the ANA created the M. Vernon Sheldon Audio Visual Award which recognizes the work he did in forming the visual education and slide program. And at the time of her death, she bequeathed an additional $50,000.00 to the ANA. The interest from the principal has been earmarked to pay for the M. Vernon and Marcella Sheldon Adult Education Scholarship.
Marcella donated $5,000.00 to the Chicago Coin Club in 1984 to underwrite the award-winning book, Perspectives in Numismatics, a 364-page collection of numismatic essays. In a gesture of appreciation, the Club dedicated the book to M. Vernon Sheldon and gave her a carton of 36 books. She had so much fun giving them to friends and family, she ordered and insisted the Club accept her check for two additional cartons. On this project, she was thrilled to be the Club's biggest patron and biggest customer.
Even with all her bequests and donations, Marcella never sought the limelight. More than one time, she reached the chairperson before a meeting started and gave strict instructions that she was not to be singled out for recognition. She insisted that they treat her like everyone else. This was not because she was shy. Far from it, Marcella was fiercely independent and held some strong opinions. She made contributions to projects she genuinely believed should take place and she felt all the credit should go to the people who did the work to make it happen.
Marcella traveled to Chicago in 1984 to attend the Club's 800th Meeting Banquet. In 1991 she attended the Club-hosted ANA 100th Anniversary Convention and volunteered to work wherever needed. There were plenty of workers, so Marcella spent a good deal of time behind the Club table renewing friendships, meeting new members and answering general questions about the Club she loved so much. Although she was absent for the presentation, her enthusiasm and support were cited in April 1992 when it was announced that she was the recipient of the Club's Medal of Merit. Most recently she flew to Chicago this past summer to attend ANA's 108th Anniversary Convention and was introduced at the banquet as the wife of a Past-President and stood for a moment of applause.
When M. Vernon Sheldon passed away, it was written that he left a legacy of dedication and generous sharing of his time and talents, which will forever remain a standard for the membership to follow. No one exemplified this more than Marcella and even though she was generous with her bequests, the numismatic community is poorer with her passing.
February 14, 2000
by Saul B. Needleman, Ph.D.
Speaker for the evening was Mr. Alan Meyer who is an attorney and member of CCC. In addition to his interests in numismatics, Alan is a collector of maps and is a member of the American Map Society.
Because of his personal interest in the subject as an attorney, Alan's presentation was on the involvement of William Sheldon in the theft of coins from the collection of the American Numismatic Society and on the implications of the various court rulings that have been made, His presentation was a follow up on that of Eric Newman's program at the meeting of CCC at the ANA Convention last year.
Alan secured the briefs of Mr. Naftzger who claimed to be an innocent purchaser of coins subsequently identified as being part of the group stolen from ANS. Identification of the coins included in the theft group and of the individuals who donated them to ANS has previously been described in the Chatter and will not be repeated here.
In August, 1991, William C. Noyes published a book describing pedigrees and photographs of prominent large copper cents. In the book, certain coins were listed as belonging to Mr. Naftzger. Some of these coins were identified as being part of the group missing from the ANS collection and Mr. Naftzger was so notified by ANS. On March 1, 1992, Mr Naftzger filed suit against ANS seeking declaratory relief and to quiet title to the disputed coins. In May, 1993, ANS filed a cross complaint also seeking to recover and quiet title to the disputed coins. In 1996, a California court ruled in favor of ANS because title cannot be acquired through a chain of title involving theft of that coin. A second case established that the innocent buyer, refusing to return the stolen coins, could be subjected to a penalty of treble damages for withholding possession.
Alan Meyer procured and analyzed all briefs and court findings related to these cases and subsequent appeals, and he compared the applicable California and Illinois laws on the matter.
Naftzger was found to be innocent of wrongdoing and was unaware of the theft when he purchased the coins. However, he does not acquire title to the coins if the coins can actually have been stolen from ANS. Proof of theft is confused by the need to establish the number of the same coins, in the same condition, which may be on the market, unless a direct pedigree through Sheldon can be established. Photos of the coins donated to ANS and of the coins purchased by Naftzger might have resolved this question.
A second question deals with the Statute of Limitations. California and Illinois laws regard the Statute of Limitations as the date when discovery was made of the theft. In this case, ANS reported the theft in 1990, twenty years after the theft. The question is whether ANS had an obligation to examine its holdings periodically over the 20 year gap and therefore might have known of the theft at an earlier date, thereby changing the effective onset of the Statute of Limitations date.
A third issue is related to the innocent buyer. It is significant to determine the status of the dealer, auctioneer, or other collector, etc, from whom an innocent buyer might have purchased one of the coins. A number of similar New York cases were reviewed by Mr. Meyer in forming his own opinion of the facts.
On the Naftzger side of the argument is the question as to whether the period of limitation for an action for taking or detaining chattels allows ANS to delay suit until it discovers the whereabouts of the property, even when it has failed to act with reasonable diligence. In 1937, George Clapp had signed a deed of gift to deliver 1350 large cents to the ANS. These were not delivered until December, 1946. No inventory nor photos were provided and during the nine years between the deed and delivery, Clapp continued to buy and sell coins from the group intended to be given to ANS. In 19973-74, an inventory of the ANS collection was undertaken and it was concluded that 70 of the Clapp coins were not in the ANS collection. When this was brought to the attention of the ANS, it was stated that the ANS had known for years that Sheldon (who had been writing a book on early large cents) had switched coins shortly after the ANS received them from Clapp by "substituting worse coins for better ones." The Director of ANS stated that the inventory had been undertaken because of the switches by Sheldon.
In 1972, Naftzger purchased Sheldon's collection of 300 coins, admixed them with his own collection, and then consigned 200 coins for auction. Subsequent publication of the consigned pieces and an inventory of the ANS holdings led to the conclusion by ANS that some of the consigned coins actually were part of the coins missing from the ANS collection. Naftzger asked ANS for information establishing that ANS owned the coins. ANS did not respond. In the court cases, Naftzger argued that "the ANS knew that Sheldon had switched coins but did nothing either to locate the missing coins or to give notice to the public that they were missing. Had the ANS shared its knowledge with the collecting public, neither Naftzger, nor any other collector, would have purchased the Sheldon collection." Based on a large number of cases cited by Mr. Meyer, the evil of not requiring due diligence in these circumstances is alluded to.
Naftzger challenges the contention for treble damages with the argument that he has never been convicted of violating the penal code relating to wrongdoing. The remainder of Alan Meyer's presentation dealt with different interpretations of comparable laws in different States. Alan provided members with a typed summary of all his findings and conclusions, reminding members that he is in no way a party to the various law suits, cross suits, defense or prosecution.
by Saul B. Needleman, Ph.D.
|Date:||March 8, 2000|
|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 speaker:||Bob Vandevender and Jim Hodgson - Small Size US Currency|
After an introduction and explanation of Grading Standards,
we will show examples of the different grades of notes.
The main presentation will discuss the various types of small size currency (silver certificates, United States notes, etc.) and varieties such as mules, blocks, etc.. The talk will start at a midlevel discussion but can get as detailed in the subjects as listeners desire.
|Mar||8||CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - Bob Vandevender and Jim Hodgson on Small Size US Currency|
|Apr||6-9||25th Annual Chicago International Coin Fair (CICF) at the Ramada O'Hare Hotel, 6600 N. Manheim Road. Admission is $5.|
|The April meeting will consist of two sessions; the first session (at CICF) will end with a recess (instead of an adjournment), and we will reconvene for the second session at our regular time and location.|
|Apr||8||CCC Meeting (session #1)
- 1pm at the annual Chicago
International Coin Fair held at the Ramada O'Hare Hotel.
Featured Speaker - David L. Vagi.
|Apr||12||CCC Meeting (session #2) - Featured Speaker - To be announced.|
|Jun||23-25||19th Annual Mid America Coin Exposition at the Rosemont O'Hare Expo Center. Admission is $3.|
|April||1||Charles J. Ryant, Jr.|
|April||15||Robert D. Leonard, Jr.||1983|
ECE Dept, IIT
3301 S. Dearborn
Chicago, IL 60616
|Carl Wolf||- President|
|Steven Zitowsky||- First Vice President|
|Robert Feiler||- Second Vice President|
|Other positions held are:|
|Richard Hamilton||- Secretary Treasurer|
|Paul Hybert||- Chatter Editor|
|Phil Carrigan||- Archivist|