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Chicago Coin Club
Volume 50 No. 6 June 2004

--Urgent and Important--
New Meeting Space

For the last few years, the club had been fortunate in being able to meet in a beautiful room with excellent visual equipment, all at no charge. Unfortunately, the bank will need all of its meeting rooms for some in-house training programs, for at least the first half of 2004.

The club is looking for another downtown meeting place, but our space, budget, and late meeting time limit our options. Space for our June meeting has again been provided courtesy of Harlan J. Berk, Ltd.; use the building entrance at 77 West Washington, and go to Suite 1320.

--Urgent and Important--
Unusual Meeting Time at Show

Our meeting at the MidAmerica Coin Expo is not at our usual 1pm time slot. This year, the meeting starts at 3pm on Saturday, June 26. Also, the meeting will be held in a hotel across the street from the convention center holding the coin show.

Speaker's Wor[l]d
Numismatic Issues from the House of Dracula and House of Frankenstein

Presented by Richard Giedroyc to our May 1, 2004 meeting.

During his introduction of the speaker, Kevin Foley presented him with a necklace of garlic cloves and mentioned Richard's upcoming book Superstitions, Urban Legends, and Your Money. In his talk, Richard gave the historical basis of two well-known legends while mentioning some related numismatic items. First was Dracula.

A number of legends and horrors were brought together by Bram Stoker, but we do not know his sources. Although he had never traveled to the area, he included much accurate background information in his book. In the medieval era Transylvania, now part of Romania, was one of the European states bordering the Ottoman Empire. The typical coins (silver deniers) were not good looking; about dime-sized, but only half the thickness. Some families had more than one member issuing coins at the same time, so linking a coin to its issuer might not be easy for today's collectors.

A line drawing of of a coin of Vlad Dracul (the dragon) showed an eagle on one side, and a dragon on the other. A 1565 uniface siege piece shows a wolf. A coin of his father has "dragon teeth" on the left side of the obverse shield, and the reverse shows an eagle on a helmet. His son, Vlad Teppes (the impaler), did not issue coins, but added to the family's reputation by impaling his enemies on wooden stakes. Supposedly, an invading Turkish army, after marching along a road between his staked victims, decided to return home before any fighting.

Vlad Teppes ruled for three periods; the first two periods ended with his being chased out, but the last ended when he was found beheaded on Christmas Eve. But Vlad had children, and there were more generations until the line died out in 1678.

In the same general time and place, Richard mentioned a 1577 coin issued by Elizabeth, sister of the Polish king. Her daughter believed that she would retain her youth by bathing in the blood of virgins; estimated counts of her victims range from 80 to 800. She was found guilty during that century's Trial of the Century, and although her accomplices were put to death, her fate was to be sealed in her room except for one brick, through which water and food were passed. The room was sealed upon her eventual death.

Such events were bound to pass to future generations as part of the regional lore. From there, it was a short leap into literature. Is it possible to top that story? Richard tried with the story of the Frankenstein family.

The name Frankenstein (Rock of the Franks) disappears and reappears in history. Although some coins of the times might be tied to the family, they typically are small, simple, and well worn. The family had a dispute over inheritance while it was a barony under the Landgrave of Hesse. The result was that the younger and older lines lived in different parts of the same castle for 150 years, but never talked! When they died out, locals said that the younger line had been cursed. The surviving line sold the castle in 1670, and it came to pass that an alchemist, Johanne Konrad Dipple, occupied it in 1700. This alchemist experimented with bringing things back to life. After his efforts at sewing things together and applying electricity failed, he left the castle. Years later, the locals remembered enough to entertain Mary Shelley when she visited the area the year before writing Frankenstein.

A nineteenth century medal is known from the nearby city; proceeds from medal sales were to fund reconstruction of the castle. The German government rebuilt the castle, and Richard mentioned that it was used between the world wars for experiments. Five or six notgeld notes are known from Frankenstein, along with one metal piece. However, many modern replicas of the metal piece were made for Halloween.

The stories of Dracula and Frankenstein contain many elements in common with various European legends. Were the recurring themes actually wide spread fears, tailored to local particulars?

Speaker's Wor[l]d
The Coins of the Palestine Mandate, 1927-1947

Presented by Robert J. Greenstein to our May 12, 2004 meeting.

Robert discussed a fairly recent coinage of a very old area. The area has been known by many names - first by Land of Canaan, then by Land of Israel. During the Helenistic period it was Judea, and after Bar Kochba (138 CE) it was Palestine.

After World War I, League of Nations mandates placed much of the Middle East under British or French control with Palestine under British control; Palestinian coins were introduced in 1927. This was a working coinage, with very few proofs ever produced; although 1927 was the only year with a complete proof set issued, proofs are known from most years in which regular coinage of a denomination is known. The Palestine Pound (equal in value to one British Pound) was composed of 1000 mils. Circulating coins were struck sporadically, as needed, in the following denominations: the 1 and 2 mil pieces in bronze, the 5, 10, and 20 mil pieces in copper nickel (except during 1942 and 1944, when struck in bronze), and the 50 and 100 mil pieces in silver.

The designs were functional - the name Palestine and the denomination were rendered in the Arabic, English, and Hebrew alphabets, and both AD and AH dates were used. The digits of the denomination were large and clear.

A complete year/denomination set of the regular issues consists of only 59 pieces. This small series is difficult to collect in high grade; many 1927 pieces were saved as it was the first year of issue, and pieces from the later years are among the more common.

After showing his set, collected during his youth, Robert ended his talk by discussing the Holy Land token which incorporates a good rendition of the design of the 1 mil coin. Two types are known, and current thought has only 500 pieces estimated to exist. No set answer to what it was: possibly a souvenir for visitors to the Holy Land, or maybe a pattern or presentation piece intended for the committee evaluating coinage proposals. The date and location of their manufacture are unknown.

Show and Tell

  1. Chuck Jacobs started the program by showing a set of four 1897 Chinese coins bearing the name of Kiangnan province; but that province no longer existed by that year! Fantasy pieces? No. These silver coins with a facing dragon design were produced in Kiangsu province; one explanation is that since two mint towns existed, the second city used the old name of the province.
    Another unusual feature is the pair of denominations on each coin. The largest coin is silver dollar sized and, in addition to being called a dollar, bears the denomination of 7 mace 2 candareen. The 50 cent piece bears the denomination of 3 mace 6 candareen, and the 20 cent piece bears the 1 mace 4.4 candareen denomination. The denomination of the 5 cent piece is left as an exercise for the reader (solution at end of exhibit descriptions).
  2. Bob Feiler continued some past exhibiting themes:
  3. Don Dool continued his theme of San Martin medals with six. The first four were for dedication of monuments not in Argentina or South America:
  4. Sharon Blocker showed some Bermuda coins acquired at CICF:
  5. Mark Wieclaw started with some bullion items and finished with ancient Roman coins.

Note: The solution is 3.6 candareen.

Helen Poderski

Helen Twitchell Poderski passed away May 10th after a short illness. Wife of longtime Chicago Coin Club member Chester Poderski, Helen attended many Club banquets for over twenty years.

Helen was a member of the Eastern Star and Moose Lodge for over fifty years, longtime owner of Helenís Beauty Shop in Roseland, and former owner of the Lake Calumet Boat and Gun Club. Funeral service was held Saturday, May 15, 2004 at Drumm Funeral Home, South Holland and she was laid to rest at Entombment Skyline Mausoleum in Monee, Illinois. Helen is survived by a daughter, three grandchildren, five great-grandchildren, one brother and many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by Ed Wicklund and Clifford Ewell.

Our 1026th Meeting
Session One

Date:June 9, 2004
Time:7:00 PM
Location:Downtown Chicago
In a meeting room provided courtesy of Harlan J. Berk, Ltd.; at 77 W. Washington St., Suite 1320.
Featured speaker:William Bierly - U.S. Pattern Coins

Pattern coinage is comprised of those pieces proposed for adoption as a regular issue, but not approved. The Coinage Committee of Congress must approve all coinage designs and many people believe that some of the finest works of our mint engravers was rejected. Join us for this fascinating numismatic talk on "what might have been." Member Bill Bierly will cover the history of pattern coinage through slides of famous patterns and reference books. Bill Bierly will also speak on his specialty: the "God Our Trust" and "In God We Trust" motto transitions on pattern coinage from the Civil War era. A handout will be provided for those who wish to learn more.

Our 1026th Meeting
Session Two

Date:June 26, 2004
Time:3:00 PM
Location:The Mr. Lincoln Room of the Double Tree Hotel, 5460 N. River Road, Rosemont; held in conjunction with the 23rd Annual MidAmerica Coin Expo. Admission to the meeting is free, but admission to the show is $5.
Q. David Bowers - Face to Face with Famous Numismatists - Recollections by Q. David Bowers
Bowers is the author 40+ numismatic books and is the recipient of numerous literary awards. He served as president of the American Numismatic Association and the Professional Numismatists Guild and was bestowed with their highest awards. He has lectured at Harvard University and appeared on numerous television networks discussing his lifelong interest in rare coins.

Important Dates

Our June meeting will consist of two sessions: we will end the first session with a recess (instead of an adjournment), and we will reconvene for the second session at the MidAmerica Coin Expo.
June 9 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - William Bierly on U.S. Pattern Coins
June 26 CCC Meeting - 3pm at the Mr. Lincoln Room of the Double Tree Hotel, 5460 N. River Road, Rosemont; which is across the street from the MidAmerica Coin Expo at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, 5555 North River Road, Rosemont, IL. No admission charge for our meeting.
Featured Speaker - Q. David Bowers on Face to Face with Famous Numismatists - Recollections by Q. David Bowers
June 25-27 MidAmerica Coin Expo at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, 5555 North River Road, Rosemont, IL. Admission is $5.
July 14 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - Saul Needleman on Use of Jehovah on Coins and Medals
August 11 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - to be announced
September 8 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - Sharon Blocker on Holograms in Numismatics

Birthday and Year Joined

July 4 Chester Poderski
July 12 Flemming Lyngbeck Hansen 2000
July 13 Gerard Anaszewicz 1981
July 19 Terry L. Capps 1996
July 19 John R. Connolly 1997
July 19 Richard S. Hamilton 1986
July 20 Kermit W. Wasmer 1997
July 27 David Simpson 1980

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