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Chicago Coin Club
Volume 51 No. 2 February 2005

Minutes of the 1033rd Meeting

The 1033rd meeting of the Chicago Coin Club was called to order at 7:00 pm by President Robert Feiler. Guests for the evening were Bob Graves, Greg Goodrow, Winston Zack and his parents Tom and Sherri Zack.

The December Minutes as published in the Chatter were approved. Steve Zitowsky submitted a Treasurer’s report showing December 2004 revenue of $1,682.00, expenses of $400.53, leaving an asset balance of $8,433.32 as of December 31, 2004. Winston Zack submitted his application for junior membership. Correspondence was read.

First Vice-President Jeff Rosinia introduced featured speaker, Greg Goodrow who spoke on Vietnamese Cash Coinage, and presented him with an American Numismatic Association Educational Certificate and an engraved Club speaker’s medal.

Second Vice-President Lyle Daly introduced the following exhibitors for the evening:

Under old business, Jeff Rosinia reported that the Club may have a complimentary meeting room soon at the Bank One building 131 S. Dearborn. Carl Wolf reported on his communications with the Chicago Temple. President Feiler called for 2005 featured speakers and Mark Wieclaw volunteered to speak at the February meeting on Roman Egyptian tetradrachms.

Under new business Jeff Rosinia volunteered to help anyone interested in writing the Club’s Chicago Paper Money Expo (March 19th) souvenir sheet. Lyle Daly received positive feed back on the December banquet silent auction ($623.00 income) and President Feiler suggested that coin dealers be sought out for auction donations at future banquets. He also suggested the Club schedule the December annual banquet sooner.

It was announced that Dennis Fuller passed away and the membership held a minute of silence in his memory.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:50 PM.

Respectfully submitted, Carl Wolf

Speaker's Wor[l]d
Vietnamese Cash Coinage, 968-1945

Presented by Greg Goodrow to our January 12, 2005 meeting.

The region now known as Vietnam has a long and varied history; the same is true for its coinage. Before 939, Chinese cast bronze coins were used; locally produced coins were made after it gained autonomy. Since the economy was characterized by subsistence farming and bartering, the bronze coins were often melted down to make military and farm implements.

The local mints used the same manufacturing techniques as the Chinese, so the resulting coins were quite similar. Even the basic symbolism was the same: the round shape of the coin signified heaven, while the central square hole signified earth.

The designs were simple and functional; the ruler's or dynasty's name appears on the coins, as does the reign title or dynasty's motto. Sometimes, the reverse had a mintmark; and some even used the cyclic Chinese calendar. One typical legend translates to "pure original circulating treasure" and most phrases end with the words circulating treasure which are Thong Bao in Vietnamese.

A number of coins were passed around during the meeting; anywhere from 20 to 50, or even more, pieces were strung on a rope. That is how they were handled, and that is how many are found to this day. Groups are found throughout southeast Asia; the many coins now coming out of Java point to some type of trade usage then. The Vietnamese coins are commonly found mixed with coins from China and other neighbors.

The tumultuous history of the region has much in common with contemporary medieval Europe: some eras of benevolent rule broken by invasions, rebellions, and other discord. Consider one of the later situations covered by Greg: after the 1770s rebellion by 3 brothers against two regional governments succeeded, the Chinese invaded; the brothers united to drive the Chinese out, but then they resumed their separate ways with two of the brothers issueing coins.

The coinage can be confusing, but that is what makes it interesting to Greg. Nice examples of the common types from many eras are available on eBay: later eighteenth and nineteenth century official coins start at $1 to $2 while the coins of the Later Le dynasty (1428 to about 1500) run around $5 to $10.

Coins from the French period of the 1800s and 1900s were briefly mentioned, and Greg concluded with the Japanese occupiers collecting the old cast bronze cash pieces during World War II, intending to export them to Japan to make cartridge cases. At the war's end, many barrels were confiscated from dock side and used to produce the 2 dong coins picturing Ho Chi Minh.

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. Steve Zitowsky showed items from the cold North Atlantic region.
  2. Don Dool showed some Swedish copper coins issued in lieu of silver pieces during the period 1715-1719.
  3. Mark Wieclaw showed some very old and very new items:
  4. Lyle Daly started by showing a U.S. nickel three cent piece dated 1869 and having obvious clash marks. One of the intended uses of this coin was to purchase one postage stamp at the first class rate. Then Lyle showed a pamphlet, from the American Antiquarian Society in 2002, showing the present worth of a dollar from different years; and the pamphlet shows three cents in 1869 as being worth 37 cents, which just happens to be the current first class stamp price.

What's in the Library of Your Alma Mater?

Sometimes it’s a wonder how and where numismatic writers uncover new information. This was discussed one evening several years ago during a meeting of Club members. The topic was numismatic research and it was led by Robert D. Leonard, Jr. There was a variety of answers, but one was get into major libraries around the world and dig, dig, dig.

This article is about how a library with rare and unusual information may be closer than previously thought. In the May-June issue of Minnesota, the journal for the U of M alumni association, an article appeared on the James Ford Bell Library.

The University of Minnesota’s James Ford Bell Library is home to rare 500-year-old one-of-a-kind maps and books. A 1483 volume in the collection recounts Marco Polo’s travels through Asia 100+ years earlier. Reports written by Jesuit missionaries on North America in the 1600’s offer fascinating details of the life and land under exploration. A hand-written account by a Venetian nobleman of his travels across the Middle East and India during the early 1600’s details the culture and people with illustrations provided by a French artist he met along the road. A 1466 portolan chart (a nautical map hand painted on animal skin) includes vivid and colorful images around the serious business of noting every feature along the European and North African coastlines.

The 1424 portolan chart caught the eye of retired British navyman Gavin Menzies, author of 1421: The Year China Discovered America, where he claimed Chinese fleets mapped the globe in the early 1400s. Large islands are pictured on the portolan chart far across the Atlantic decades before Columbus sailed. Some believe these new lands were added based on myth, but Menzies believes the portolan proves the news of China’s discovery traveled to Europe.

The Bell Library began in 1953 with the donation of 600 books and a handful of maps by James Ford Bell, founder of General Mills. Bell’s original collection focused on European trade, especially fur traders and others in the upper Midwest. The collection has now grown to some 25,000 rare books and approximately 2,500 maps. The focus has expanded to include early European trade and expansion around the globe. Bell’s founding donation included an endowment and funds to create the James Ford Bell Room, which looks and feels like a study in a European manor, filled with antique furniture and rugs.

The library is open to the public and the staff is willing to help any serious researcher. Their address and hours of operation can be found with their on-line catalog at or call (612)624-1528.

There are probably more libraries with rare holdings within a one day drive of Chicago. Do you know any? Check with your alma mater and write a short article.

Carl Wolf

Our 1034th Meeting

Date:February 9, 2005
Time:7:00 PM
Location:Downtown Chicago
At the Chicago Bar Association (CBA), 321 S. Plymouth Court, in the Albert F. Holfeld Room on the 5th floor. Please remember the security measures at our meeting building: everyone must show their photo-ID at the security desk.
Featured speaker:Mark Wieclaw - The Tetradrachms of Roman Egypt

The reverse designs will be emphasized during this program. Coins beginning with Nero and up through Numerian will be shown.

Important Dates

February 9 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - Mark Wieclaw on The Tetradrachms of Roman Egypt
March 9 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - to be announced
March 18-20 11th Annual Chicago Paper Money Expo (CPMX) at the Holiday Inn O'Hare, 5440 North River Road, Rosemont. Admission is $5 for Friday and Saturday; free on Sunday.
March 19 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 - to be announced.
April 13 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - to be announced
April 22-24 29th Annual Chicago International Coin Fair (CICF) at the Holiday Inn O'Hare, 5440 North River Road, Rosemont. Admission is $5 for Friday and Saturday; free on Sunday.
April 23 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 - to be announced

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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Club Officers

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