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Chicago Coin Club
Volume 47 No. 7 July 2001

Editor's Notes

This issue is early (and small) because I am leaving soon on a vacation, and the next issue will be a little late because my vacation will be long. With luck, that issue should arrive just before the August meeting. Will any local member attend the ANA summer seminar sessions in Colorado Springs? How about ANA in Atlanta? Would you like to submit a trip report? It need not be long and about everything, just your highlights and your impressions.

Paul Hybert, editor

Minutes of the 989th Meeting

The 989th meeting of the Chicago Coin Club was called to order on June 13, 2001 at 7:00PM by President Carl Wolf.

A motion was made, seconded and passed to approve the minutes of May 9, 2001.

Secretary/Treasurer Lyle Daly did not have a detailed treasury report but stated that there was approximately $300 net increase in the TCF checking account.

President Carl Wolf welcomed guest Jean DeLorey.

1st Vice President Robert Feiler introduced member Tom DeLorey and his presentation The 1943 Bronze Cents and 1944 Steel Cents.

Tom discussed the history of events leading up to the use of zinc coated steel for the 1 cent coin. The war effort required extensive use of copper. Many types of substitute materials were considered, such as plastic or Bakelite, hard rubber, & glass. These were tested for bending and wear. Zinc coated steel was the winner.

Vendors made numerous cent patterns with "fantasy" dies. Tom had obtained and studied a pattern cent produced by the mint and discovered the cent was not from production dies, as the obverse rim was quite wide.

How did the 1943 bronze and 1944 steel cents come to exist? Tom proposed that bronze planchets were not left in feeder tubes as some speculate. That would presume the presses would remain configured for cents. Tom believed the planchets must have been left in the tote bins. This has occurred on several occasions with the mint. Similar errors occurred in the transition from silver to clad coinage, creating the 1964 clad & 1965 silver errors, and in the transition from Susan B Anthony dollars to Sacagewea dollars that created clad "Sackies" and Golden Susan B's.

The cents were probably legitimate errors, issued for circulation. Don Lutes discovered one specimen in 1947, in change from the high school cafeteria. The Lutes coin resurfaced in 1959. Another was found in change from a paper route. Some may have been intentionally produced. A female friend of John Sinnock brought one specimen of each date and mint to the market.

The popularity of this error gave rise to the unscrupulous practice of copper plating steel cents. Fortunately a magnet easily detects these frauds.

The 1943 bronze cents command a higher price with collectors. The combined grading service populations for 1943 bronze cents are 13 - P, 1 - D and 3 - S. The 1944 steel cents are priced in the $2 - $10 K range while the 1943 bronze cent has reached the $100,000 mark, making it the "King of American Error Coins".

Here is an interesting sidenote: although recycling for the war effort was extremely popular, the scrap from steel cent planchet production couldn't be recycled due to the zinc plating. One use for the waste "mesh" produced at the Denver mint was for reinforcement of sub standard plywood roof sheathing.

1st Vice President Robert Feiler presented Tom DeLorey an ANA educational certificate. A featured speaker award will be forwarded to Tom.

1st Vice President Robert Feiler advised members of the upcoming speakers:

Bob Leonard on Fruit Picker Tokens from Coast to Coast at the July meeting, we are looking for a speaker for the August meeting, Bruno Rzepka on Art of Steel Engraving at the September meeting, and Mark Weiclaw at the October meeting.

Second Vice President Don Dool introduced the following individuals, who presented material during the meeting's Show and Tell:

  1. Reid Geisler presented double struck ten cent piece exhibiting two faces of Roosevelt. This was found in a bag of 1999D Dimes. The specimen had a "fuzzy" reverse; a possible die clash. Reid suspected a brockage strike.
  2. Bob Feiler brought in a "potty piece". This was a trade dollar that had been altered to show Liberty, on a chamber pot, reaching for a roll of toilet paper rather than holding a branch.
  3. Mike Metras brought a CD he compiled. This is a collection of articles published by the Elgin Club and serves as an introduction to coin collecting. It will be offered to the public at the ANA show for $15.95. It is titled Money Meanderings: An Introduction to Numismatics.
  4. Chester Poderski shared some memorabilia of gaming casinos. While in Reno Nevada sometime in the early 60's, Chet purchased some Casino Chips from coin shop. On a recent trip he bought a catalog for $30. Three of his chips, a $1, $5 & $25 were valued and sold at $800. This is the coming hobby. The secret is to get obsolete gambling chips not gaming tokens.
  5. Carl Wolf presented a third type (different shape) of Nigerian Hoe money. Carl attended the wedding of club member Bill Grundy. Bill and his new bride were married in Seattle. Bill is a graduate of Stanford University, joined the Peace Corps, then graduated from University of California at San Diego, and has been employed at Columbia for several years. The club was toasted numerous times at the rehearsal & at wedding. While in Seattle, Carl went to Scott Semans' primitive money store. Carl shared photos of both events.
  6. Mark Weiclaw presented a 1943 copper plated cent received in a bag of steel cents, a Cistophoric Tetradrachm of Hadrian, struck over a Cistophoric Tetradrachm of Augustus and a 0.504 ounce palladium coin from Tonga.
  7. Bob Leonard brought in precious metal ingots, a portion of a silver finger bar from about 1400 - 587BC and a gold bar from Celtic Britain weighing over 8 grams. This was hammered cut on one side and dates to about 400 - 100 BC.
  8. Bob Weinstien presented five examples of Republican coinage from barbarous states. Many incorporated non traditional obverse & reverse combinations. Most of the Roman coinage entering the market today has been unearthed in eastern Europe, primarily Bulgaria
  9. Don Dool presented a foto of the 1642 menut issued by the Catalonian city of Oliana that he presented last month along with several other coins from German states dated from 1597 to 1622.
  10. Tom DeLorey shared a Mexican 2.5 peso gold piece and a number of error tokens taken from a 1,300-lb lot purchased from CTA @ $1.50 per pound.
  11. Jeff Rosina presented a 1$ Australian coin he purchased for 50cents and stated he would use it to communicate to the Australian performing artists living in the State Street display windows of Sears.

There were no readings for membership.

Old Business:
Mark Weiclaw, chairman of the planning committee for the 1000th club meeting, reminded committee members and the club of the upcoming planning meeting at Connie's Pizza on 6/19 at 7:00. Ideas for tokens, coins, medals, etc to commemorate this event are to be submitted to the committee by the August club meeting.

New Business:
Carl Wolf advised the ANA will propose Chicago as the site for the 2008 ANA Convention. Carl appointed Phil Carrigan and Bob Leonard to represent the club.

Brochures were received from the Gold & Silver Bureau, London, England and made available to the club.

Jeff Rosinia commended Paul Hybert for his spectacular work on the publication of the Chatter and the club website. Paul received a round of applause.

Mark Weiclaw made a general comment to the club that it is very important to document your collection and advise your heirs as to the value of your collection. Mark cited an example of a widow who spent countless hours cataloging essentially worthless foreign coins. A discussion ensued and members advised of similar stories of gold & silver in mason jars buried in the backyard, currency hidden in walls, in old washing machines, silver sold as scrap metal. The point of the discussion was to advise collectors to be considerate of their heirs and ensure our treasures go to heirs and not "discovered" years later by strangers.

All present enjoyed the conversation and it was agreed to include an open discussion period in the next meeting.

A motion was made, seconded and passed to adjourn the meeting at 9:00.

Respectfully submitted by Lyle Daly

Speaker's Wor[l]d
1943 Bronze Cents and 1944 Steel Cents

Presented by Tom DeLorey to our June 13 meeting.

What makes the 1943 bronze Lincoln Cent such a famous rarity? Tom DeLorey believes it is advertising. He related how as a youth, before he became interested in numismatics, he became aware of this coin through ads in comic books, right next to the ads for x-ray glasses.

Tom set the stage by reviewing how copper was deemed critical to the war effort, and how potential replacements materials were sought; bakelite, rubber, and cotton were some of the materials tried before a zinc-plated low-grade steel planchet was decided upon. The mint provivded dies for use by vendors of materials, to produce testing pieces. Most of the dies had a Liberty Head design, but Tom showed photos of a 1942 Lincoln Cent in white metal. This piece was not just a Trial Strike; Tom was the first to identify it as a Pattern as it was from a new die, having very wide obverse rims, almost touching the letters of IN GOD WE TRUST. Later in the meeting, we decided that the wide rims might have been intended to improve the coin's wearability, by compensating for the softer coinage material.

Steel cents were produced at the Philadelphia mint starting in February, 1943, and at the Denver and San Francisco mints starting in March. Now it is generally believed that the 1943 bronze cents were not the result of a stray planchet stuck in the feed mechanism of a coin press; there was a three month hiatus in the striking of cents (after 1942 bronze cents and before 1943 steel cents). The mints were producing large amounts of other coins during that period, and the presses could be used to strike other denominations simply by changing the feed mechanism and dies. The bronze planchets most likely were stuck in a planchet tote bin, and worked loose after the steel planchets were used.

That is similar to how the mint is believed to have produced current dollar coins in the wrong metal. 1943 cents also are known on silver (dime) planchets. 1944 steel cents are known, but they are not as well-publicized as the bronze cents.

Although these wrong metal errors had been rumored to exist, it was not until 1947 that the first one was discovered in Pittsburgh. A few others were discovered by 1956, and a 1943 bronze cent allegedly sold for $40,000 in 1959, but that seems unlikely.

The best current population estimates are:

mint 1944
13 Philadelphia 31
1 Denver 7
6 San Francisco 1

Tom concluded his presentation with some observations on availability. There are more auction appearances now, possibly as the original purchasers die. No one has formed a complete set of these bronze and steel error cents by mint; the owner of the sole 1943-D bronze cent is trying, as is the owner of the sole 1944-S steel cent.

Show and Tell

Each image has a scale in the lower-left corner, with the tics spaced 1 mm apart. Because the brightness and contrast were manipulated on a computer, the coloring of a coin's image differs from the coin's actual coloring.

  1. Reid Geisler started us off with a recently acquired error coin, a 1999-D Roosevelt dime. The features were very weak; the coin appeared to have been smashed. Depending upon the angle of the lighting, Roosevelt would face to either the left or the right; and a slight trace of the bust also appeared on the reverse. We spent some time discussing how this might have been produced.
  2. A tooled 1876 Trade Dollar in good condition was shown by Bob Feiler. The seated figure of Liberty now is on a toilet pot, and her hand is pulling on a roll of toilet paper.
  3. Mike Metras brought in a CD he had cut the day before, titled Money Meanderings: An Introduction to Numismatics. This "Best of the Elgin Coin Club Newsletter" compilation contains both general and specialized articles, and is read using a web browser. New images are included on the CD, and this sharp looking CD costs only $15.99. Good work, Mike!.
  4. Long-time club member Chet Poderski reported on a recent trip to Las Vegas. A week ago, Chet received a phone call from a friend attending the 9th annual Casino Chips & Gaming Tokens Collectors Club convention. His friend said, "Come on down here and sell some of your old stuff." And that is just what Chet did.
    But first Chet recounted stories of local respectable "social" clubs (judges, aldermen, and ward committeemen were members), and how he he had bought a large box of obsolete tokens in the early 1960s. So Chet took some pieces out to Vegas, arriving just as the convention was closing for that day. Remembering the saying "buy the book before the coin," Chet bought a catalogue of gaming tokens and chips, and then spent the night looking up his pieces. His very nice pieces, it turned out. He sold a set of three pieces for $800, and told us that this seems to be the next big thing. He also explained that the chips from closed establishments are the most desirable, and that tokens (made of metal) are not very expensive, while chips (made of ceramics and other non-metallic materials) can be very expensive.
  5. Carl Wolf showed a framed piece of primitive money, and then told about his recent trip to Seattle. This was the third example of Nigerian Hoe money he has shown to the club. Although about 12 different shapes are described in early 20th century books, Carl's piece was of a new type, recently found in buried hoards.
    Carl and his wife Jennie had visited Seattle for the wedding of long-time club member Bill Grundy, and among his many remembrances of the wedding and reception was the thought, "I should have brought a framed piece of bride money for Bill's new in-laws." We also saw pictures of their visit to Scott Semans, a dealer in primitive money; stacks of bins of materials, overflowing book shelves, and bundles of beaded necklaces hanging on a wall. A member was heard to say, "No wonder he lost my letter!"
  6. In honor of our featured speaker's talk, Mark Wieclaw brought in a genuine copper-plated 1943 steel cent; it was found in a bag of steel cents. Then he showed:
  7. Bob Leonard brought in two pieces of ancient precious metal ingots of the type used as money:
  8. A number of barbarous imitations of Roman coins were shown by Bob Weinstein:
  9. Don Dool showed dated coins from some German states:
  10. Someone with the Chicago Transit Authority called Harlan Berk's, trying to sell a group of coins and tokens from their vault. Tom DeLorey described the main parts as $25,000 in Canadian coins, and 1,300 pounds of tokens and coins from other countries bought at $1.50 per pound. The Canadian pieces were sent off to Canada, but only 10% of the rest has been examined so far. Each CTA token has three arc-shaped holes; the arcs were punched out first, then the round tokens were punched from a strip. Tom showed a number of error tokens such as adult-fare blanks,
    adult-fare token struck on a mispunched planchet (arcs are misplaced),
    and various errors on discount-fare tokens.
    He also showed a 1945 Mexican 2 1/2 peso gold piece that had been placed into a fare box (as what?).
  11. Jeff Rosinia showed an Australian one dollar coin and a newspaper story about a group of Australian performance artists who are living in a picture window of the new Sears store on State Street. (It is part of the grand opening promotions.) Jeff said something about stopping by the window after the meeting; we wish him well, and hope he is not arrested.

Our 990th Meeting

Date:July 11, 2001
Time:7:00 PM
Location:Downtown Chicago
Featured speaker:Bob Leonard - Fruit Picker Tokens from Coast to Coast
This covers the history of fruit picker tokens and tickets from the 1850s until very recently, including the economic reasons why they were issued and the political reasons why they had to be discontinued. Bob has been collecting fruit picker tokens in a small way, off and on, since the early 1970s. There are far too many tokens and tickets to show so the program gives the historical and economic basis for use in each state, illustrated by the most unusual and interesting tokens from it. Naturally, there is a great deal about the role of American railroads in the development of fruit growing, which led to the need for fruit picker tokens. If you have the least interest in railroading, labor legislation, immigration to America, or even agriculture, you will find this interesting.

Important Dates

July11 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - Bob Leonard on Fruit Picker Tokens from Coast to Coast
August8 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - to be announced
September12 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - Bruno Rzepka on Art of Steel Engraving
October10 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - Mark Wieclaw on to be announced

Birthday and Year Joined

August 1 Reid J. Geisler 1995
August 2 William Swoger 1984
August 11 Clifford Mishler 1995
August 15 Steven R. Rodin 1991
August 19 Carl F. Wolf 1979
August 20 Melvyn Frear 1989
August 26 Tom DeLorey 1984
August 26 Donald H. Doswell 1960
August 29 James M. Rondinelli 1997
August 31 Clarence R. Wills 1999

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
Robert Feiler- First Vice President
Donald Dool- Second Vice President
Directors:Lyle Daley
William Burd
Jeff Rosinia
Mark Wieclaw
Other positions held are:
Lyle Daley- Secretary Treasurer
Paul Hybert- Chatter Editor
Phil Carrigan- Archivist