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Chicago Coin Club
Volume 50 No. 1 January 2004

Minutes of the 1020th Meeting

The 1020th meeting of the Chicago Coin Club was unofficially called to order when club member Richard Hamilton led those in attendance at Marcello’s Restaurant in an invocation prior to dinner. All the guests for the evening were then introduced.

Following a scrumptious dinner, immediate past president Carl Wolf, informed us about upcoming programs and events. Carl then introduced the evenings featured speaker, Dr. Susan Solway.

Dr. Solway, Professor of Art History, DePaul University presented an interesting and enthusiastic program Roman Coins Beyond Rome: Numismatic Passages into Medieval Art and Material Culture. After which Dr. Solway was given an A.N.A. Educational Certificate and the C.C.C. Featured Speakers Medal.

The business portion of the meeting began when President Mark Wieclaw announced that one of the guests, Glen DeCosta, wished to become a member of the club and thus we had a First Reading for membership.

Mark then acknowledged that the club had added $928.00 to the treasury from the November auction thanks to hard work of Jeff Rosinia (auctioneer), Carl Wolf (book keeper), and Steve Zitowsky (treasurer).

Also recognized were several club members that have recently authored books or that regularly pen columns in numismatic publications. Those member include Alexander Basok, Thomas K. DeLorey, Donald Dool, Robert Leonard, Mike Metras, Dr. Saul Needleman, and Donn Pearlman.

Second Vice President Jeff Rosinia then presented the Cabeen Awards to the top exhibitors of 2003. They were:
Gold Medal – Robert Weinstein
Silver Medal – Mark Wieclaw
Honorable Mention – Robert Leonard and Carl Wolf

Carl Wolf closed the business portion with his reminder about the magnifiers that the club was offering at $8.00 each.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:02.

Respectfully reported
Mark Wieclaw
Acting Secretary

Speaker's Wor[l]d
Roman Coins Beyond Rome: Numismatic Passages into Medieval Art and Material Culture

Presented by Dr. Susan Solway to our December 10, 2003 banquet meeting.

Coins were the most available of ancient artifacts during medieval times. Their reuse in medieval jewelry and decorations provides us, in the modern day, with an interesting area for interdisciplinary studies. It was during her training as an art historian at Northwestern, where her mentor was a numismatist who used Roman coins in his work, that Dr. Solway was introduced to the interdisciplinary approach which she uses to this day.

Reused coins are not met with universal approval. Coins placed in fancy borders and used as jewelry are dismissed by numismatists as damaged, and are dismissed by archaeologists as only coins. Using slides in her program, Dr. Solway shared with us her appreciation for these artifacts.

The slides showed many instances of reuse. In some, the original coin was reused within a larger article. In others, design elements commonly found on varied coins were used in medals, coins, and larger items.

A piece could be as simple as some third century pendants made by a Germanic tribe; each included a single Roman gold coin. A more complicated piece used five gold coins in a bracelet. The ancient gold coins were readily available for use; even then, uncovered hoards kept providing new material. That their reuse in jewelry must have been not that unusual can be inferred from an early bust, now in the Louvre, which clearly shows coins used in a necklace.

One Justinian solidus appeared in a seventh century fibula (brooch), and another was used in a later foot reliquary of Saint Andrew. (A reliquary contained a relic of a Saint; it was the approximate size of the relic, and it usually included a carving of the relic. This foot reliquary contains the foot of Saint Andrew.) As expected, such an important item would not be plain; the design work could include gems, coins, and metal work.

Coins were not the only ancient artifacts to be reused. Some Christian objects incorporated ancient gems carved with pagan symbolism, and a tenth century cross even includes Augustus in a cameo setting. The collections at Dumbarton Oaks and the Louvre contain beautiful examples of such items.

Barbaric imitations also were incorporated into jewelry, with the horse and rider a favored designed. And when an original, or its imitation, was not available, something new would be created in the Roman style; a 14th century book with a different emperor medal centered along each edge was shown, with each medal borrowing legends and styles from the Roman.

Due to its wide use in medieval Europe, it is not surprising that most coins and medals used latin legends; but it is surprising to see borrowed Roman design elements. Charlemagne wears drapery on a piece with Roman legends proclaiming IMP AUG.

A number of Roman coins bore the personification of virtues (Concordia, Pietas, Felicitas, and others) on their reverses. A fourth century medal of the Madonna of mercy borrows heavily from those Roman coins; the classic image, holding open a drapery/cloak so as to encompass the (smaller) supplicants, helped Dr. Solway make her point.

A number of slides illustrated the generally accepted adaptation of the classical motif of Nike into an angel. Among the common medieval visualizations of Jesus are the good shepherd, teacher, enthroned emperor, and sun god; many of those designs also reflected Roman themes.

Medieval Europe never lost its taste for Roman artifacts and that classical tradition. Their copying of earlier objects was an attempt to link themselves and their world with the power, authority, and culture of the past.

Our 1021st Meeting

Date:January 14, 2004
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:Robert D. Leonard, Jr. - Crusader Gold Coins, 1096 to 1450 AD

This presentation will begin with a review of the history of the Crusades and the Crusader states throughout the Levant, then discuss the Islamic coins that served as prototypes and their Crusader imitations, still bearing the anti-Christian Muslim profession of faith! (These imitations were later banned by the Pope.) The curious cut gold series -- no complete coin is known, only cut pieces -- will be described, as will copies of later Western coins, including a newly-recognized series of imitation Byzantine coins issued at the time of the Latin Empire. Many of the actual coins discussed will be shown.

Bob Leonard is a Fellow of the American Numismatic Society and the Royal Numismatic Society. He is a member of the Society for the Study of the Crusades and the Latin East, and attended their conference in Israel in 1999. Bob is a contributor to the forthcoming second edition of Coins of the Crusader States and Zecca, a history of the mint of Venice in the middle ages. He presented a paper on Crusader coins at the 38th International Congress on Medieval Studies last year.

Important Dates

January 14 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - Robert D. Leonard, Jr. on Crusader Gold Coins, 1096 to 1450 AD
February 11 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - Mark Wieclaw on The Silver Drachms of Parthia
February 27-29 10th Annual Chicago Paper Money Expo (CPMX) at the Holiday Inn O'Hare, 5440 North River Road, Rosemont. Admission is $5.
February 28 CCC Meeting - 1pm at the Chicago Paper Money Exposition, which is held at the Holiday Inn O'Hare, 5440 N. River Road, Rosemont, IL. No admission charge for our meeting.
Featured Speaker - Allen Mincho on Illinois National Bank Notes
March 10 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - John Connolly on $1.00 U.S. Coins from Eisenhower to Sacagawea
April 14 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - Andy Plioplys on The Early Coinage of Lithuania, 1100 - 1400 AD
April 30-May 2 29th Annual Chicago International Coin Fair (CICF) at the Holiday Inn O'Hare, 5440 North River Road, Rosemont. Admission is $5.
May 1 CCC Meeting - 1pm at the Chicago International Coin Fair (CICF), which is held at the Holiday Inn O'Hare, 5440 North River Road, Rosemont, IL. No admission charge for our meeting.
Featured Speaker - Richard Giedroyc on Numismatic Issues from the House of Dracula and House of Frankenstein

Birthday and Year Joined

February 2 Tillie Boosel
February 9 Steven G. Zitowsky 1991
February 16 Donald H. Dool 1998
February 25 Walter Pershke 1968
February 27 Ronald Martino 1991

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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Paul R. Hybert

Club Officers

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