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Chicago Coin Club
Volume 48 No. 8 August 2002

Minutes of the 1002nd Meeting

President Carl Wolf called the 1002nd meeting of the Chicago Coin Club to order on June 12, 2002 at 7:02PM. The meeting was held at 1 Bank One Plaza.

A motion was made, seconded and passed to approve the May meeting minutes as they appeared in the Chatter.

Secretary/Treasurer Lyle Daly gave a treasury report as follows:

Dreyfus Money Market $1845.38
Bank One CD 1437.59
Bank One CD 1435.72
TCF Checking Account 2393.41
Un-deposited Funds 44.00
TOTAL $7,156.10

Two guests were present: William Riles and Steve Norton.

Vice President Bob Feiler noted that member Andy Plioplyus will speak at the July meeting. James McCormick will speak at the September meeting. No speaker is yet scheduled for the October meeting. Bob introduced club member Mark Wieclaw and cited his laudatory numismatic credentials. Mark's topic was "Perspectives on Numismatics".

Mark offered his perspective on our hobby as a collector, exhibitor, club officer, show director and as a coin dealer.

Mark became interested in collecting after looking at his father in law's collection. Mark handled the liquidation of that collection after his Father in law passed away and urged collectors to organize their specimens and collect quality rather than quantity. Mark relayed the pleasure we derive from showing our collections and the camaraderie we experience when traveling to shows with fellow collectors. Many publications are available today and hobbyists should make use of them. Mark was a faithful reader - cover to cover - of many, but today finds them somewhat repetitive and focusing on how good or bad the US Mint is doing it's job.

As an exhibitor, Mark was awarded the 1998 Best of Show in Michigan. Mark noted that this was certainly a prized achievement, but the pleasure must be in the showing. It is difficult to achieve a common basis for judging, as qualified judges may not be available at all shows. As with any institution/group, politics also enters into decision-making. Mark cited examples of first hand experience in judging that were in conflict with his understanding of the criteria.

Memberships in clubs are wonderful opportunities to share your hobby. It is a forum in which to learn and exchange material. Mark shared his thoughts on club leadership as a way to "give back" to the hobby and suggested that resume building would be a poor reason to hold office and detrimental to the organization.

Coin shows are a challenge to organize. Mark worked extensively on the Illinois Numismatic Association shows. He spent significant time and effort in relocating this show from Peoria to Chicago with the belief that more people would attend if it were in Chicago. His experience was that ballroom rentals were twice as expensive. Catering and hospitality costs were unbelievable. Dealers tended not to participate as a result. Most clubs do host coin shows. The Chicago Coin Club is one of the few that does not.

Mark is a coin dealer. That is his livelihood. Collectors should be mindful that dealers are not hobbyists when they are at work. They need to make a profit. The time a dealer spends with a customer is an investment. Mark suggested that haggling over price should be done with class and avoided on the $2 and $3 items. Most dealers prefer transactions in cash. If you are selling to a dealer, Mark suggested that if you intend to sell, sell to a small enterprise. Have the material organized and inventoried so the more valuable material can be easily identified. The time it takes a dealer to organize a potential purchase is a real cost to the dealer. If you are purchasing material, be cautious of prices realized in auction. These are easily inflated.

Some of Marks favorite lines from customers are: "I have a penny with Lincoln and Kennedy on it. Is it rare?" "I have a buffalo Nickel in Mint State with no date on it." "What should I buy?" "Will gold go up?"

Vice President Bob Feiler thanked Mark for his presentation and awarded the featured speakers medal & and the educational certificate to him.

Second Vice President Don Dool announced there were 9 show & tell presenters:

Reading of Applications for Membership:

There were no first readings for membership.

The following candidates for membership had their names read for a second time: Steve Norton and Thomas Pupp. A motion was made, seconded and passed to approve their membership. (Writer notes that Thomas Pupp was actually approved for membership at the 1001st meeting.)

Carl Wolf reported that he referred the life membership application of Michael Brodsky to the life membership and that Mike's application was approved.

Old Business:

Mark Wieclaw presented to the club archives, the silver 1000th meeting medal #1, the "gold select" medal #100 and the lead trial strike. Mark also noted that a Gold Medal from the 1000th meeting is available for approximately $2,700. Also available are medals from the 80th anniversary of the Chicago Coin Club.

New Business:

The ANA will present a 90 Year Membership Certificate to the CCC at the New York convention. Robert Leonard will be present and will accept on behalf of the club.

Paul Hybert announced that he is no longer associated with the University but will have access to his email for several months. Consequently he asked that all materials sent to him for publication in the Chatter be submitted in TEXT format.

Lyle Daly reviewed the club mail and noted a letter regarding a Texas coin dealer, Brent Bogus and difficulties that a customer was experiencing with that dealer. The letter is available for further review by members.

It was noted that dealer David Lawrence and member Howard Eisenberg passed away.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:10 p.m.

Respectfully submitted by Lyle Daly

Minutes of the 1003rd Meeting

President Carl Wolf called the 1003rd meeting of the Chicago Coin Club to order on July 10, 2002 at 7:04PM. The meeting was held at 1 Bank One Plaza.

The June meeting minutes did not appear in the Chatter. Approval of the minutes was defered until next month.

Secretary/Treasurer Lyle Daly gave a treasury report as follows:

Dreyfus Money Market $1852.43
Bank One CD 1437.59
Bank One CD 1435.72
TCF Checking Account 2165.01
Un-deposited Funds 108.03
TOTAL $6,999.05

One guest was present: William Riles.

Second Vice President Don Dool introduced club member Audrius Plioplys MD, known to fellow members as Andy Plioplys. Don cited Andy's numerous interests and credentials. Andy's topic was Lithuanian Banknote Proofs from the 1920s.

The notes in Andy's collection were purchased from a broker by an elderly friend of Andy's. The notes were found in the wall of an office building, in a brief case. Andy discussed the history of Lithuania and it's fluctuating borders, focusing on the period around World War I.

Prior to the hyperinflation of 1922, Lithuania's currency was linked to the German Mark but switched to the US dollar. The interim notes for this transition were printed in Germany. The permanent notes were printed in Czechoslovakia in 1, 2, 5, 10, and 20 centas and 1, 2, 5, 10, 50 and 100 Litas. Beginning in 1925 coinage for centas began to circulate and the notes rapidly disappeared from circulation.

Andy presented some original paste up art from the plates for centas. Andy speculated on the origin of the collection. It is unlikely that it was a presentation portfolio as it contained mirror image prints, examples printed on cigarette paper and items of "poor quality". Andy proposed that this was from the Bank of Trade & Commerce in Vilnius. The Minister of Finance, Petrulis, was the funnel for the notes from Czechoslovakia to the Lithuanian government. The Minister was president of the Bank of Trade & Commerce when it failed. It is known that he served prison time as a result. It is possible that he had the opportunity and motive to hide this collection during the 1920's in hopes of retrieving it later. The minister was executed in Siberia.

Don Dool thanked Andy for his presentation and awarded the featured speaker's medal and the educational certificate to him.

Second Vice President Don Dool announced there were 11 show & tell presenters:

  1. Sharon Blocker - Savings and Loan Exonomia and a Antarctica $2 Note
  2. Mark Weiclaw - 4 ancient coins , one purchased from Thom Bray, star of Riptide
  3. Bob Weinstein - 3 Coins of Constantinople
  4. Alex Basok - 2 Soviet coins on off metal planchets
  5. Terry Capps - Federal Reserve Star Notes from circulation
  6. Carl Wolf - Article on decorating with primitive money, cross money
  7. Robert Leonard - Numismatic literature.
  8. Steve Huber - Several Thalers and commemorative pieces
  9. Jeff Rosinia - Alaskan gold rush information and gold dust from his trip to Alaska
  10. Lyle Daly - FRN Star notes, circulation finds and metal detection results from his lawn
  11. Don Dool - four coins and an article by Don in a South American Coin publication.

Reading of Applications for Membership:

There was one reading for membership. William Riles had his name read for the first time.

Old Business:

The ANA will present a 90 Year Membership Certificate to the CCC at the New York convention. Robert Leonard will be present and will accept on behalf of the club.

New Business:

President Carl Wolf noted that a small group reviewed the contents of the safe deposit box. This group will recommend to the board what material will be kept and what unrelated material and duplicate material should be placed in the November Auction.

President Carl Wolf also advised membership that a board meeting will be held prior to our August meeting.

Members were advised that club memorabilia will be available in the Stacks July 17th auction.

Members were advised of a burglary at Westlake Cards Comics and Coins in Glendale.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:10 p.m.

Respectfully submitted by Lyle Daly

Speaker's Wor[l]d
Lithuanian Banknote Proofs from the 1920s

Presented by Andrius Plioplys to our July 10, 2002 meeting.

Are you shocked, shocked by the current financial scandals and troubles? Need a break? Then read on to learn about Lithuania's financial troubles in the 1920s, along with some numismatic relics of that period.

Six years ago, Andrius bought a group of apparent Lithuanian bank notes from a man in Toronto, who had obtained them from a man in Kaunus, Lithuania. Allegedly found during the remodelling of an old building, most details are known only to those directly involved and they are not talking. Andrius could not obtain the identity of the building in Kaunus, but his research led him to the start of independent Lithuania's financial system and the figure of Vytautas Petrulis (1890-1942).

Prior to independence, the circulating currency was denominated in a non-native mixture of rubles and marks. Lithuania gained its independence from Russia on February 16, 1918, following Russia's collapse after surrendering to Germany in WW I. Loan agreements with German banks guaranteed continued use of "ost-marks" (tied to the German mark) as the official currency. Among examples Andrius showed were 1 and 3 ruble notes, and 2 and 5 mark notes.

Following Poland's 1920 invasion and occupation of much territory, including the capital Vilnus, bank notes were issued in the Polish language.

The units of account were the first to acquire local names; from January 1920, all accounting used auksinas (instead of mark, ost-mark, and ruble) and statikas (instead of pfennig and kapeika). However, no money was issued in those denominations, and cent replaced statikas in 1922.

In spite of the local names, the Lithuanian system still was tied to the German mark, and the German inflation and then hyper-inflation took its toll. A new currency was introduced on August 9, 1922, with the litas equal in value to 0.15 grams of gold (or one U.S. dime). The Bank of Lithuania was established on August 11, 1922, and was allowed to print paper money for 20 years. The four members of its board of directors put up capital of 12,000,000 litas. The first bank notes were hastily printed in Berlin, with the contract signed on August 30 and note delivery on September 20. Very primitive, these notes were issued in denominations of 1, 20, and 50 cent, and 1 and 5 litas.

More permanent bank notes were made by Andreas Haase Lithographic Printers of Prague, under a contract of August 29, 1922. The cent denominated pieces (1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50) used standard designs and backgrounds, but the litas denominated pieces (1, 2, 5, 10, 50, and 100) used designs overseen by the bank. Cent notes were issued November 16, 1922, in series A, B, C, and most letters of the alphabet. The designs of the litas notes reflect their importance relative to the subsidiary cent notes; serial numbers, more signatures, and reference to their gold value. But sometimes the temptation is too great, and Andrius explained that the portrait of Gedimas (a medieval Lithuanian historical figure) on the 50 litas note is actually of the artist who designed the notes in Prague.

A 1924 issue was printed by Bradbury Wilkinson, and the first coinage was introduced in 1925. But it is the Prague notes that are central to this story. Andrius showed many pieces from the hoard; all were cent denominated, but they were not of the regular issue, being of varied quality, printed on various paper, and in varied formats.

The first hoard item was of the 1 cent design with paste downs of signatures; followed by similar examples of the 2 cent and 5 cent notes. Andrius could not determine whether the pieces were printed or hand drawn. (Unless stated otherwise, each of the displayed pieces was a uniface example of series A.)

Andrius showed many 1 cent notes, using different printing inks and different backgrounds. Since these used neither the ink nor background of the official notes, you may wonder, "What are they?" Andrius' and the members' opinions on that waited until more pieces from all of the cent denominations were shown. (First present the evidence, then present a theory.)

Among the more than 20 2 cent notes shown, two pieces were odd even for this group. The "mirror image" note was produced by introducing paper between the original and transfer rollers. The 2 centai (plural form) denomination rather than the 2 centu (two form) points out an interesting aspect of the Lithuanian language; in addition to the singular and plural forms of nouns, there also is a "two form."

The 5 cent notes had many oddities; thin paper (tissue or cigarette paper), mirrors in many different colors, and a generally poor quality.

Only one 10 cent note was shown, a proof.

The 20 cent notes included heavy card stock and large size (large borders) in addition to more of the thin paper and poor quality. Also, these were of series E and H instead of the typical series A.

Completing the individual pieces, the one 50 cent note was printed on thin paper. But the hoard contained a few more pieces; a block of a 5, 10, 20, and 50 (with each note in a different color), and then a block of four different reverses. Andrius knows neither the condition nor arrangement when the hoard was found, but hinge remnants on some pieces indicate some effort at collecting or organizing. It is known that about 20 sets of proof notes had been produced and distributed to legislators, but the poor hoard quality prevents our identifying the hoard as one of those sets. Also, the hand written notes (of printing terms) in Czech and German imply "working" copies. Having examined the hoard, what could we make of it?

Andrius' opinion is that the hoard came from a government building in Kaunus, most likely the Bank of Lithuania which was built from 1925 to 1928. Vytautas Petrulis, as Minister of Finance, had signed the contracts for the Berlin and Prague print jobs, and the official proof books had been delivered to him. It would have been very easy for him to have asked for "extras," or maybe the printers gave him items to smooth things.

Petrulis was a director of a bank in Klaipeda from 1919 to 1922, and during the summer of 1922 he was very vocal in supporting the establishment of Lithuania's own currency. In addition to serving as Finance Minister from August 1, 1922 to September 25, 1925, he also was Prime Minister for most of 1925. He is considered the father of the litas, and was an important man whom people trusted and would try to please.

But in 1925 the Klaipeda bank went bankrupt, and charges were placed when it was discovered that the Finance Ministry had kept funds in that bank. After serving one and a half years in jail, he retired to his dairy farm; after the Soviet invasion, he was sent to Siberia and shot.

Andrius believes that the hoard was hidden in 1925, before Petrulis' conviction and disgrace. After his conviction, Petrulis no longer had full and easy access to the building.

Alex Basok started the members' comments with a brief overview of the paper money design process. At each of many steps, from artist's conception to final product, proofs are made; there are artist's proofs, printer's proofs, and color proofs. He believes that the Minister asked the printers for everything, and thinks that the site of the hoard was the Ministry of Finance.

Other members also contributed thoughts and theories, and Andrius concluded the program by noting that similar "unique" and strange items are appearing on eBay.

Show and Tell

Most images have 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. Sharon Blocker started the evening's program with varied items:
  2. Mark Wieclaw showed some ancient Roman coins:
  3. Bob Weinstein showed three votive issues. Votive issues refer to vows originally taken every 10 years, but later shortened to 5 years; on anniversary of rule. This was issued by Valens (364-378) who was a brother of Valentinian. It honors 10 years, and hopefully 20 (hence the X and XX).
  4. Alex Basok showed two wrong-metal coins:
  5. Terry Capps recounted his recent finds of U.S. star notes from circulation. After receiving a $1 star note in change at a chocolate shop, and wondering how to get it home unfolded, he asked the cashier and now has some consecutively numbered $1 star notes. He also recently received $5 and $20 star notes.
  6. Carl Wolf continued his exhibiting theme of primitive money with:
  7. One of Bob Leonard's current interests is California Gold. The standard references in that area include the Menjou Catalogue, the Breen-Gillio book, and the Jay Roe book; but they contain some errors and lack the information learned since their publication. Bob showed marked-up copies of those references with notable provenances: inscribed to A. Kosoff from Ed Lee, the New Netherlands office copy, from Ron Gillio's library, from Walter Breen's library, and from the Bass library sale. Each had many notes or clippings. For the specialist, there is no such thing as "too many copies" of a book.
  8. Steve Huber is dedicated to photographing his coins. Among the large silver pieces shown were:
  9. Jeff Rosinia brought some souvenirs from his trip to Alaska. The Ace Hardware store in Skagway had five sizes of pans, so he bought one, went out to a creek, and showed us the resulting few flakes in a vial.
  10. Lyle Daly showed some recent finds:
  11. Don Dool continued some of his favorite themes:

2002 ANA Summer Seminar

By Mike Metras

"Where do you wanna start. I don'know. You tell me. It's your auction," Sonny Henry begins another item at the American Numismatic Association's (ANA) Summer Seminar Young Numismatist (YN) Scholarship Benefit Auction. A highlight of every summer seminar, the two-session auction, where bidders pay outlandish prices for donated items that this year included President John Wilson's sweat shirt, brought in over $17,000 to be used for YN scholarships to next year's seminar. A $1,000 bottle of water highlighted three hours of fun and laughter Wednesday evening.

Checking in the previous Saturday morning, I headed for my brand new Colorado College dorm room. My friend Rich and I shared a room with two others. Rather, I should say we each had a separate sleeping room that adjoined a cathedral-ceilinged, living and cable-TV room, kitchen, and bath quad complex. Fans and crosswinds compensated well for the lack of air conditioning. Nice digs. No wonder college costs more these days.

This was my eighth seminar in nine years, I knew the routine. Renewing a lot of old acquaintances, the impressive Colorado Springs coin show, welcoming speeches, a concert by the Doe Brothers, and the ANA Library's book sale filled Saturday afternoon and evening and Sunday morning as we waited for classes to begin Sunday at one. The library uses the captive audience to sell off extra books it accumulates over the year. Some leave with full boxes of books while others with one or two special goodies at rock-bottom prices.

This year Rich and I took a class on Asian Coins. Others took classes on grading, US copper coins, Mexican coins, English coins, Ancient coins in various flavors, Military currency, and a number of others, 30 different ones in all. The 200-plus students study one basic topic for the week.

George Fisher and Bill Spengler told eight of us more than we could begin to retain about Chinese, Indo-Greek, Parthian, Ashokan, Korean, Islamic, and Indian coins of all times. Among so many others, they told us of coins of the generals of Alexander the Great, of ancient Chinese dynasties, of the Sultan of Thousand and One Nights, of Marco Polo, and of Genghis Khan. Ken Bressett made a cameo appearance to talk about Chinese struck coins. Joe Boling followed to tell us of Japanese coins.

The class was a marvelous overview with many wonderful examples to fondle. But in the end, the amount of information was overwhelming to the point that we went away with little more than lists of names and places and countries and rulers. I wouldn't have missed it for anything, but at the same time it could have easily been three separate classes. They have had it as two classes before. But there is the little matter of interest. This was at least the third or fourth year I had tried for the Chinese class and the third for the Islamic. All were canceled. As it was, this time our class of eight was divided down the center in interest - if the classes had been separate, four of us would have signed up for Chinese and four for Islamic - and neither class would have happened because a class requires five or it is canceled.

In addition to the main seminars, "mini" seminars provided additional chances to learn. Among others, using Gallery Mint Museum equipment, Ron Landis and Joe Rust taught how mint errors happen in their Creative Error seminar. Students made all kinds of errors. And Susan Nulty of the ANA MIS department demonstrated their state-of-the-art image scanning and photographing equipment. I attended the latter and learned how Susan scans 14 bills of the Bass collection at a time at 5,240 dots per inch resolution on a high-end, state-of-the-art, flat-bed scanner. The aim is to have a full library of electronic images of the collection. Then, using an electronic studio camera, I took an image of a Chinese ten cash coin at the same resolution. I don't know what I'd ever use such a high resolution image for (other than forensics), but I was impressed. The equipment, valued in the high six digits, is on loan to the ANA at no cost to them. They also use the images to produce museum-quality prints. An outside company makes very high quality, photo-electronic prints at $15 a square foot, a very reasonable price when you realize that, that is only $90 for a 24" by 36" print.

When all planned activities were over each day, we whiled away the evenings sitting and talking on the veranda making and renewing friendships that last a long time after the week is over.

A gala banquet and awards ceremony ended it all Thursday evening. By breakfast the next morning, the college cafeteria (our eating and meeting place) was already devoid of many now-familiar faces. The party was over.

As others left for the airport to return to their regular lives, I headed for a week in the Colorado mountains where I walked up canyons and down trails. First stop, thanks to a bull session by Dave Jaeger Monday night on "From Mine to Mill to Mint" about Colorado mining, was a metal detector shop in Golden where I bought a gold pan. Next stop, a promising place on the river along Route 6. I walked away a couple hours later with an aching back and a few flakes of gold in my bottle. And I had totally convinced myself that making a living that way could be rather backbreaking!

I walked miles in Glenwood Canyon and environs. Then I headed upland where the trickster, the coyote, visited me twice and chipmunks climbed my leg begging peanuts from me as I sat reading under evergreens on a remote mountain top far from the mass of civilization. The days were hot and dry and the nights cool. Every afternoon brought clouds and thunder and lighting and wind but only drops of rain. The drought continued but, no, all of Colorado was not on fire.

All too soon I was back home tired and relaxed and already looking forward to another week in Colorado next year. Lest you think this is all there is to the seminar, I have left out more than I told. My story is only enough to entice you into thinking seriously about attending some time, maybe next year. It costs less than a comparable week in almost any other vacation destination you can think of. Check it out at or read details about the earlier seminars at

Our 1004th Meeting

Date:August 14, 2002
Time:7:00 PM
Location:Downtown Chicago
Please remember the security measures at our meeting building: give a club officer the names of all your guests prior to the meeting day; and everyone must show their photo-ID at the security desk.
Featured speaker:Alex Basok - Steps of the Investigative Numismatist

Important Dates

August 14 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker Alex Basok on Steps of the Investigative Numismatist
September 11 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker Dr. James McCormick on Microscopic Images of Coins and Paper Money Produced by J.B. Dancer
October 9 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker to be announced

Birthday and Year Joined

October 13 Bernard L. Schwartz 1986
October 14 Joel J. Reznick 1981
October 14 Warren G. Schultz
October 17 Margo Russell
October 19 Phyllis Eisenberg 1968

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

Club Officers

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