archive also available
|Chicago Coin Club|
|Volume 47 No. 9||September 2001|
The club's web site is back up, at the old location; and this issue is nearly normal sized, even though the minutes from the August meeting are not here - they will be in the October issue.
Here is a reminder that the members' auction will be held on November 14. The next issue will give many details, but now is the time to think about making consignments. Due to the varied interests of the members, and realizing that at least two bidders are needed for an auction, some items do better than others. In the past, items generating the most interest were either related to our club or the Chicago area. Again this year, Bill Burd of Chicago Coin Company has agreed to receive items from members unable to attend the meeting. Please send me a list of items as soon as possible; those lists received by mid-October will be included in the November Chatter which will be mailed at least one week before the auction.
Paul Hybert, editor
will be in the October Chatter.
By Donald Dool, for our August 8 meeting.
Once during a discussion with a coin dealer in Buenos Aires, he remarked that it was unusual for an American to have an interest in San Martín. This is not surprising considering how little emphasis was placed on South American history even way back when I was in high school. However I believe that most numismatists, at least those who favor world coins, have an interest in history and geography, so my interest in South American history in general and San Martín in particular was kindled during a year long stay in Buenos Aires. It helped that my apartment overlooked the Plaza de San Martín and my office was located on San Martín.
A few words on the Spanish-American Revolutions. Unlike the American Revolution against the British, in Spanish-America there were several revolutions simultaneously in progress. This is not surprising since the British colonies that took part in the revolution were a comparatively small, homogenous area along the Atlantic seaboard whereas the Spanish Empire was huge, sprawling from the California coast, through Mexico and Central America to, with the exception of Brazil and the Guyanas, all of South America. So given the logistics, the diversity of attitudes and expectations, plus the fact that there was not an underlying philosophy as in the American colonies, it is surprising that the Spanish-American revolutionaries were able to co-operate sufficiently to win their revolutions. It might even be argued that if not for Napoleon's intervention in Spain, the Spanish-American revolutions would not have taken place, at least not until later.
The two most important figures in the Spanish-American revolutions were Simón Bolívar and the subject of this talk, José San Martín. San Martín's life can be broken into four phases, his birth and early childhood, his life in Spain, the revolutionary period in South America and his final years. He was born on February 25, 1778, in Yapeyú, viceroyalty of Río de la Plata. His mother was Gregoria Matorras and his father, Juan de San Martín, a professional soldier, was administrator of Yapeyú on the northern frontier of Argentina. When José was only six, the family returned to Spain. He was educated at the "Seminario de Nobles" from 1785 until 1789. He started his military career early in the Murcia regiment in south eastern Spain. He fought against the Moors, the British, the Portuguese and against Napoleon from 1808 to 1811.
In 1808, following Napoleon's occupation of Spain, he served the Seville junta that was conducting the war on behalf of the imprisoned Spanish king Ferdinand VII. In 1811, for his distinguished service, he was promoted and given command of the Sagunto Dragoons. Instead of taking up his new post, he sought permission to go to Lima, the capital of the viceroyalty of Peru, but traveled by way of London to Buenos Aires, which had become the principal center of resistance in South America to the Seville junta. Once in Buenos Aires in March 1812, he switched sides and was given the task of organizing a corps of grenadiers against the Spanish royalists centered in Peru who threatened the revolutionary government in Argentina.
Various reasons are given for his change of allegiance; San Martín claimed later that he had sacrificed his career in Spain because he had responded to the call of his native land. Others say he was influenced by the British and some that he was upset with the way American born Spaniards were treated in Spain.
In September of 1812 he married Maria de los Remedios Escalada, a member of an upper-class Argentine family of Spanish blood. He also became more involved in local politics by helping to form the "Lautaro Lodge," an underground organization that later was in opposition to the government in power. At first the Lodge was aligned with the "First Triumvate" led by Bernardario Rivadavia. However, the two organizations had different political objectives, Rivadavia was interested in Buenos Aires while the Lautaro Lodge's main mission was the liberation of all of Spanish America.
In February 3, 1813, San Martín entered his first battle in South America, and managed to defeat a royalist force that came up the Parana River.
He was sent to Tucumán to reinforce, and ultimately replace, General Manuel Belgrano, who was being hard pressed by forces of the viceroy of Peru. San Martín recognized that the Río de la Plata provinces would never be secure so long as the royalists held Lima. He therefore quietly prepared the masterstroke that was his supreme contribution to the liberation of southern South America. The first step was to train an army in northwestern Argentina that would be capable of a holding operation. Then, on the pretense of ill health, he got himself appointed governor intendant of the province of Cuyo, the capital of which was Mendoza, the key to the routes across the Andes.
In 1816, representatives of the Argentine provinces met at the Congress of Tucumán; San Martín chose the side of an outright declaration of independence from Spain, which the congress issued on July 9. He believed that a liberal-constitutional monarchy was the best hope for stability in the new nations of Spanish America.
In Cuyo he set about creating an army that would link up overland with the soldiers of the patriotic government in Chile and then proceed by sea to attack Peru. He received a setback when the loyalist forces recaptured Chile. This made it necessary for San Martín to fight his way westward across the Andes. Between Jan. 18 and Feb. 8, 1817, he led his army 15,000 feet above sea level, a feat that has been compared to Hannibal's crossing of the Alps. (Hannibal went through the Alps, San Martín went over the Andes.) His force consisted of about 3,000 infantry soldiers, and 250 artillery troops. On February 12 he surprised and defeated the royalists at Casas de Chacabuco and took Santiago, where he refused the offer of the Supreme Dictator of Chile in favor of Bernardo O'Higgins because he did not wish to be diverted from his main objective, the capture of Lima. Nevertheless, it took him more than a year to clear Chile of royalist troops. He finally routed the remaining 5,300 on April 5, 1818, at the Battle of Maipú.
Tired of the use of military force, San Martín now tried to negotiate with the royalists, and hoped that they would accept a peaceful settlement. He proposed that Peru should be converted into an independent monarchy. The negotiations led to nothing so San Martín went back to his plan requiring the creation of a Chilean navy and the accumulation of troop ships. This was accomplished by August 1820, when the shoddy fleet, consisting mainly of armed merchant ships, under the command of Thomas Cochrane, left Valparaíso for the Peruvian coast. Cochrane had failed the year before to take the chief port, Callao, which was well-defended. The port was therefore blockaded, and the troops were landed to the south near Pisco; from this point they could threaten Lima from the landward side. San Martín resisted the temptation to assault the capital, which was defended by a superior force, and waited for almost a year, until the royalists, despairing of assistance from Ferdinand VII (who had since been restored to the Spanish throne), withdrew to the mountains. San Martín and his army then entered Lima, the independence of Peru was proclaimed on July 28, 1821, and the victorious revolutionary commander was made protector.
San Martín's position was nevertheless insecure. He had broken with his supporters in Buenos Aires when, against their wishes, he insisted on pressing on to Lima; he was unsure of the loyalty of the Peruvian people and of the backing of some of his officers, many of whom suspected him of dictatorial or monarchical ambitions; and he lacked the forces to subdue the royalist remnants in the interior. Moreover, Simón Bolívar, who had liberated the northern provinces of South America, had annexed Guayaquil, a port and province that San Martín had hoped would opt for incorporation in Peru. He therefore decided to confront Bolívar.
The two victorious generals met, ostensibly on equal terms, on July 26, 1822, at Guayaquil. What passed between them in their secret discussions is unknown, but what is clear is that San Martín hurried back to Lima, a disappointed man. There, seriously ill, on September 20, 1822, San Martín resigned his military command in Peru, and went back to Argentina, and in 1824, a year after his wife died, he took off for Europe with his daughter.
In the end of 1828, he decided to go back to America. He wanted to see if he had anything to contribute to the internal peace between the new nations. He returned to Europe in 1829, after that he decided that he would not be too much help. After this, he lived as a retired man mainly in France. José de San Martín died in Boulogne-sur-Mer, France on August 17, 1850. In all he only spent about twenty years of his life in South America.
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.
by Mark Wieclaw
Topics discussed at the August 16, 2001 meeting included:
Copyright by Mike Metras
The American Numismatic Association (ANA) summer seminar for 2001 has come and gone. Early July, 2001, on the edge of the Colorado Rockies was nothing but fun, just like the other six ANA seminars I have attended. Where else can you spend a week talking about coins or paper money and not have your listener sooner or later change the subject? Here they just ask you more questions or tell you their coin story.
This summer I studied Obsolete Currency with Roger Durand, author of many books on the subject. His books include the major book on Rhode Island obsolete notes and several other books with titles that start with "Interesting Notes about ...." About Denominations, About Territorials, About Vignettes (1 and 2), About Portraits, About Santa Claus, About Allegorical Representations, and About Historical Vignettes. More are coming.
One of my classmates was Wendell Wolka, the author of the sometime-to-be book on Ohio obsoletes. Roger and Wendell left few questions unanswered during the week. The dealer Judy Kagin and Iowa regional ANA person Brian Fanton along with five other anonymous collectors (including me) made up the remainder of the class.
Roger began by defining Obsolete Currency as almost any currency made between the 1790s and the 1860s when the government began making currency and put private bank currency out of business. Insurance companies, railroads, stores and many other places issued money right along with the banks during that time. And a lot of bad notes circulated. It was not easy knowing whether the money you received across the counter was good or not.
We spent half-a-day segments on several subjects. We leaned about counterfeiting and counter-counterfeit measures. We spent an afternoon talking about 1/90th dollar, 1 cent, 4 cent, 6-1/4 cent, 12 cent, $1.87-1/2, $2.25, XI dollar, $65, and many other denominations. Confederate notes took up an afternoon and more. Then there was the afternoon in the library learning about the currency books available.
Historical vignettes (pictures) like the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Henry Hudson discovering the Hudson River, Pocahantus saving John Smith, the Pilgrim landing, Red Stick (Baton Rouge), the battle of Lexington, and a lot more took one afternoon. Not to be out done by history, we studied notes with Santa Claus--there are seven different Santa Claus vignettes on obsolete currencies (important fact).
Finally, we spent the last day learning how to determine what these notes are worth -- what we should pay for them. Roger gave us a couple charts based on rarity and where the notes came from and then told us, in effect, that most pricing is really done by the seat of the pants of a few specialists in the field. Many use the extensive catalog listings of the dealer Hugh Shull as a price guide. We looked at several notes and priced them according to Roger's charts and then compared our guesses to Roger's and Hugh's numbers. With practice, we got closer to Roger and Hugh.
This was a new subject for me and, like every other seminar I have attended, I came away with a large body of data and information that will take me a while to digest. And besides, the week was once again flat out fun.
Gail Baker, the brains of the summer seminar, set me up with a book signing during the ANA library sale Sunday morning. I sold a very respectable four copies of my new CD-ROM book, Money Meandering: an Introduction to Numismatics. Thanks, Gail. (For information on this book, visit my web site at www.wordsandworks.com.)
This year the Young Numismatist's (YN) auction was during the first week's seminars. The proceeds of this auction, prepared and put on by the YNs, go towards scholarships for the YNs. Everyone donates auction items. The YNs reap the benefits. My class was during the second week. I went out early to attended the auction on July 4th. Sonny Henry, our man from Illinois, did a bang up job of auctioneering again. It was fun as always but not like the old days when everyone was there at once, when the seminar was only one week instead of two separate weeks. In those days the auction seemed to be a lot better and made a lot more for the YNs. They made around $11,000 this year, only half of what they have made in some recent years. Besides, with the YNs being there the first week, we missed them during our classes the second week.
Randy'L Teton, the 24-year-old woman who modeled for the Sacagawea dollar, is an intern at the ANA this summer. Very outgoing and positive, she attended classes and gave an uplifting speech at the last bull session of the first week's classes. She told about her mother's work curating an Albuquerque Native American Museum and how Glenda Goodacre came in for information about Native Americans and went out wanting to use her mother as a model. The mother said, "No way. But I have three daughters who would do much better." Glenda choose Randy'L and the rest is history.
The Thursday before my classes I went up to Cripple Creek where I crammed myself into a four-by-four lift bucket with six others. Eight others crammed into the bucket below. The lift took us down 1000 feet into the Molly Kathleen gold mine. We walked through a quarter of a mile of rock and saw the tools of the trade and vertical shafts, the result of god-awful labor. A lamp remained lit telling us it was safe to stay. If it goes out everyone has to get out or die for lack of oxygen. As I left, the thirty-something ex-miner told me, "Don't ever be a miner, whatever you do." I won't.
Still free the next day, I went the other direction, up to the top of Pike's Peak on the cog railway -- a beautiful ride through evergreens and aspens and, above 11,500 feet, past bare rock climbing grades as much as 25 percent. I had driven up the 14,000-foot mountain three times before. But this was my first time on the railway. Both ways offer really unique views of the ecosystem and the mountains to the north, south, and west and into Kansas to the east. Take either trip if you ever have the opportunity. You'll like it.
Friday after our classes were done we toured the mint and the Colorado Historical Society's museum in Denver. Our tour on the mint floor was OK but not outstanding. They have cleaned up and sound proofed things a lot since my first floor tour in 1993. It is a much tighter ship today than it was then. But I regretted that we saw neither the counting room nor the die engraving room. That is where they have made major changes recently. Both were high on my list of things to see. Both were off limits. Maybe some other day. The outgoing director of the mint, Jay Johnson, went on the tour with us and fielded questions very politically before and after the tour. The plant manager and foremen told the real stories.
On the way home I spent two days camping on the remote northern rim of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, drove down a favorite canyon on Rt 141 in western Colorado, went through Silvertown and Durango, took pictures of a steam engine working in Chama, New Mexico, went to the source of the Rio Grande, and slept at 11,000 feet on the continental divide. I stretched my mind in Colorado Springs; I stretched my soul in the Rockies.
But the coin vacation was not quite over. In the middle of a very hot and humid day, I spent three hours viewing the Byron Reed Coin collection in the Western Heritage Museum in Omaha, Nebraska. Though the lighting could have been better placed, the collection was very well presented. I completely enjoyed my afternoon, including viewing a Class 1 1804 dollar in PF-65 or PF-67 (or some obscenely higher grade), what a beauty. An 1877 $50 half Union gold pattern, a NE Shilling, a 1797 capped bust gold eagle (?), and an 1850 Dubosq $5 gold piece shared the case with the 1804 dollar. I gawked! I came back again and again to the case. I walked around and around it. What a display! The dollar alone probably would go for three or four million on today's market. And the sign said, "No pictures please." Now curator Larry Lee, after doing such a great job here, has left this collection and is taking up the helm at the ANA museum.
What a busy two and a half weeks. I cannot wait till next July. Bring it on.
Phil Carrigan reports:
When one speaks of an ANA convention, the first experiences relate not to numismatics but to the host city. The Atlanta convention was characterized by its location (either outermost Atlanta or Srymna). One hint of location was the $42 airport shuttle. The other Atlanta experience was the cooler weather there compared to Chicago!
Arriving Wednesday morning, I initially met three newly elected ANA leaders. Each was identified by their single badge "Govenor-elect" or their dual badges indicating current and "-elect" offices. I have great faith and expectations in the representatives on the new ANA Board.
The actual convention lived up to expectations as to dealer attendance, speciality club tables and meetings and educational presentations (Numismatic Theater). A newly inaugurated series called the Convention Theater and primarily staffed by Heritage employees and principles, provided useful information of auction bidding and consigning, internet buying, estate planning, etc.
One Board of Governors decision of interest to CCC members is the 2008 Convention location. While Chicago was a candidate city, St. Louis has the current nod. This was based on favorable considerations relative to sales tax, hotel rooms and the concern of the proximity of Chicago to the 2007 Milwaukee convention.
Overall, Atlanta represented a fine numismatic experience both intellectual and in meeting old and new friends.
Bob Leonard reports:
At the ANA Board Meeting on August 7, prior to the convention opening, I was surprised to discover that Chicago's bid for the 2008 convention was not unopposed, and that our competition had done their homework with the ANA Governors and staff. The Board voted unanimously to award the 2008 convention to St. Louis. Incoming President John Wilson mentioned that arrangements are not final for the Milwaukee convention scheduled for 2007, and that Chicago would be given consideration if they fall through, but this is a remote chance. John suggested that Chicago bid for the 2011 convention, the 120th anniversary of the ANA. (I recommend, however, that we get busy and try for 2009.)
The Ship of Gold made a final port call, and looked as good as ever in spite of the sale of some of the pieces formerly exhibited. New this year was Dwight Manley's 1913 Liberty Head nickel (said to be owned by the California Gold Marketing Group), shown noncompetitively in its slab at the far end of the Exhibits area. Many exhibits featured Georgia material, though there was interesting New Guinea primitive money and the Howland Wood Memorial Award (Best of Show) winning Thomas H. Law layout of 104 rare British gold coins. This ostentatious display of wealth featured obverse and reverse of the Queen Victoria Una and the Lion 5 pounds ($35,000 each), a coin of which only 4 are known, etc., etc. I was assured that Tom has retired from exhibiting, now that he has snared the Howland Wood award three times; this is good to know, as he pretty well stopped anyone from competing in his category. However, the best exhibit, in my opinion, was Vanashree Samant's "Cryptic Symbols: Interpretation of the Punchmarks on Ancient Indian Coins," which won first in Coins Prior to 1500 A.D. This also won the Charles H. Wolfe, Sr. award for Young Numismatist Best in Show. Unlike Law's exhibit, though the coins displayed were of little commercial value (the whole exhibit could have been purchased for $100 or so), they were authoritatively described and their significance explained.
I attended the Society of Private and Pioneer Numismatics meeting Wednesday afternoon. Q. David Bowers gave the program, on his new book, A California Gold Rush History featuring the treasure from the S.S. Central America. It is out for final legal approvals (expected soon), will be close to 1,100 pages long, and cost a mind-numbing $200,000 to research! I volunteered at the ANS table afterwards.
Janet and I had a good time at the Numismatic Ambassador breakfast the next day, at which James Charlton--still incredibly spry at 90--was made the first Canadian Ambassador. ANA Governor Patty Finner was also honored. Other meetings and banquets followed, and I think Janet enjoyed the events.
We ran across Charlie Ricard, who looks the same as ever and regrets that he is no longer able to attend our regular meetings. He attended the ANA Membership Reception, at which I received my 40-year pin. (This pin is silver, like the 25-year one, and I was annoyed to be congratulated later for having been a member 25 years!)
I entered several drawings, and was pleased to hear on my return that I had won an original Coventry Lady Godiva "Conder" token of 1792 in the "Conder" Token Collector's Club drawing.
The bourse seemed slow to me, and attendance was not announced at the ANA banquet, an ominous sign. However, it was 12,500+, not bad but far less than Philadelphia's door-buster 20,000. The auction drew a huge crowd, and was wonderfully presented by Heritage, with record-shattering results to match. (Their expertise does not extend to non-U.S. series, however, and I was told by a dealer that an aureus of Trajan in the catalog was a cast counterfeit--they show a price realized for it, but a suspiciously low one, on their web page, though.)
There was a tremendous amount of U.S. and world gold available. Near the ANS table, a dealer was stacking scores of Liberty double eagles as if they were Morgan dollars. I saw one priced at $285 in a dealer's case, and AU $5 Liberties at $128. Prices are definitely lower on the more bullion-based coins.
One thing not reported in the numismatic press, though they were certainly aware of it, was the rash of hotel burglaries at this convention. One person recovered everything but his car keys, I was told, but Michael Bates of the ANS lost his laptop, briefcase, magnifying glass--and the ANS donations for that day--while he and his wife Kati, Janet, and I were out to dinner. I reported the incident to Bob Bruggeman, who I hope was able to lean on the hotel and local police.
On our return, Janet and I stopped at Dahlonega, Georgia, to visit the Gold Museum, site of the Dahlonega Mint (it burned in 1878, but another building stands on the foundations), and a gold mine. I saw the complete set of Dahlonega Mint coins displayed (only the OBVERSE is visible!), a few other coins with the D mint mark showing, crucibles from the site of the mint, and other memorabilia, and bought a couple of books on the Georgia gold rush. There is nothing to see at the Mint site, unfortunately, other than the gold-plated cupola, but I panned for gold at one of the two open mines in the area, from stamp-mill-crushed quartz that looked like rock salt. For my $2.50 (plus 50 cents for a little bottle) I panned out a few tiny flakes of Georgia gold. Not a bad value as a collectible, but it's no way to make a living!
I'm looking forward to next year's convention in New York!
|Date:||September 12, 2001|
|Featured speaker:||Bruno Rzepka - The Art of Steel Engraving|
|September||12||CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - Bruno Rzepka on The Art of Steel Engraving|
|October||10||CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - Mark Wieclaw on Morgan Type Carson City Morgan Dollars|
|November||14||CCC Meeting - Club Auction - no featured speaker|
|December||12||CCC Meeting - Annual Banquet Meeting - Featured Speaker - Reid Geisler on Error Coins|
|October||13||Bernard L. Schwartz||1986|
|October||14||Joel J. Reznick||1981|
|October||14||Warren G. Schultz|
ECE Dept, IIT
3301 S. Dearborn
Chicago, IL 60616
|Carl Wolf||- President|
|Robert Feiler||- First Vice President|
|Donald Dool||- Second Vice President|
|Other positions held are:|
|Lyle Daley||- Secretary Treasurer|
|Paul Hybert||- Chatter Editor|
|Phil Carrigan||- Archivist|