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Chicago Coin Club
Volume 51 No. 7 July 2005

Minutes of the 1038th Meeting

The 1038th meeting of the Chicago Coin Club was called to order at 7 PM by President Robert Feiler with 13 members and 1 guest present. The guest was John Adams a free-lance photojournalist representing Leo Burnett Company and Chicago Creative Club who are compiling a directory of Chicago clubs.

The May Minutes were approved as published in the Chatter. Steve Zitowsky, Treasurer, reported May revenue of $121.57, expenses of $167.90, leaving a total asset balance of $7,651.53. Zitowsky reported receiving a letter with Kermit Wasmer’s resignation.

The featured speaker for the evening was Robert Weinstein on the subject of “Small Change: Epidemic Counterfeiting in 4th Century Roman Britain.” With the help of the document reader, Weinstein was able to show various genuine coins and their counterfeits from the reigns of Constantine the Great (307-337 AD) and his successor Constantius II (337-361). He also brought four reference books for those who wished to learn more about the subject.

Exhibitors for the evening were: JOHN RILEY – various international type coin albums made by Whitman during the 1960s and 2 dies used to strike military tokens; WINSTON ZACK – a 1763 Hungarian bronze coin showing Maria Theresa (obv.) and Madonna with child (rev.), and a copy of Harzfeld’s 15th Sale of Coins & Medals auction catalog issued in 1880 by Bangs & Co. of NY; MARK WIECLAW – a denarius of Pescennius Niger (193-199 AD), a double-struck Kennedy half-dollar, a Mexican 50-peso-sized gold commemorative, and head-and-tails tokens; ROBERT WEINSTEIN - 4 Indo-Parthian coins included a silver drachm of Gondophares the Great, Gondophares-Sases, Sanabares and a bronze tetradrachm of Gondophares-Sases; ROBERT FEILER - 1892-3 Columbian Exposition box medal, a 1981 British dead man’s Penny with a diameter 4.75” medal struck for those who lost a family member when the Lusitania sank, 1878 patented specie pocket case, and a French Napoleon Pewter box medal; and DON DOOL – 3 different handbill/store cards from S. American countries, an 1839 leper colony token from Venezuela, a 1978 medal commemorating the bicentennial of San Martín’s birth and a reproduction of a rare San Martín medal.

Under business Mark Wieclaw reported the availability of Reza’s Restaurant, 432 W. Ontario for the Club’s December banquet. William Burd announced the purchase of a video projector that works with MS PowerPoint presentations and offered to bring it to Club meetings if the projector from BankOne is unavailable. Carl Wolf distributed auction catalogs to everyone in attendance of the Herb & Martha Schingoethe Obsolete Currency Collection Part 3 (June 17-18 Memphis, TN) compliments of R.M. Smythe. William Burd received a round of applause after the announcement that he was appointed to the Board of the Illinois Numismatic Association. It was announced that Don Dool would be the speaker at the July meeting on the subject of German States' Coins from the Kipper Era (1617-1623).

The meeting was recessed at 8:35 PM and will be called to order 1 PM, June 25th at the MidAmerica Coin Expo in Rosemont.

Session II of the 1039th meeting was called to order at 1 PM by President Robert Feiler with 11 members and 8 guest present. In addition to the featured speaker, David Sundman, guests included: David Marshall, Richard & Rita Hall, Sherri Zack, Charles Wilkinson, Rita Jene Sledz and Todd Haefer from Krause Publications.

David Sundman’s presentation was titled 19th Century Stereo Photographs of the U.S. Mint and was received well by the membership. Everyone was provided with special glasses to view the 3-D stereo photo images.

After answering a series of questions, David was presented with an Educational Certificate from the American Numismatic Association and an engraved Club medal. The meeting was adjourned at 2 PM.

Respectfully submitted, Carl Wolf

Speaker's Wor[l]d
Small Change: Epidemic Counterfeiting in 4th Century Roman Britain

Presented by Robert Weinstein to our June 8, 2005 meeting.

The counterfeiting of non-precious metal coinage sometimes indicated a shortage of non-precious circulating coinage. The common person's interests were on a small scale, while governments were interested in the big things, interested in silver and gold.

An early numismatic theory held that these counterfeits were produced after Rome left Britain; today, Phillip V. Hill's report is great for the illustrations but not good for its ideas. A better reference is #65 in the ANS' Numismatic Notes and Monographs series, by C.H.V. Sutherland in 1935.

There were epidemics of counterfeiting throughout the Roman Empire. Britain, on the empire's edge, experienced a number of epidemics; the first, coming soon after the conquest, was an initation of Claudius' bronze.

Bob first showed a coin of Constantine honoring the military, with two soldiers standing by two standards on the reverse. The coin weighs 3 grams and is 18 mm in diameter. The next coin was a 12 mm imitation weighing only 1 gram; the die was much larger than the blank, so much of the design is off of the blank. Although similar counterfeits are common, this piece is nicer than most and was acquired from the detectorist who had found it.

Counterfeit of a 2 Solidus Type, 12 mm diameter.

More examples of original coins and their counterfeits followed. Although the empire saw a huge commemorative coinage honoring the founding of Constantinople, not much of it originated in Britain. But the counterfeits of that coinage are found in Britain. Another city commemortaive now found as counterfeit is the Urbs Roma type with a personification of Rome. Counterfeits come in many sizes, even down to only 2 mm in diameter. Of course, attributing pieces with so much of the design lying off-flan can be challenging.

The production method is believed to have been very simple: draw a rod of bronze, slice off blanks, and stamp them; the result often was a thick coin. Boone believed that these coins passed by weight, so uniformity was not important. Remember, too, that the word follis was both a unit of weight and a denomination. At one time, it was thought that the first counterfeits were large, and then were made smaller to increase the profit to the minter. But that is contrary to passing by weight.

There now is little doubt that these counterfeits circulated; they are found in hoards along with official coins. These counterfeits were produced in many places (not official mints). Bob concluded with an observation on the term counterfeit; it is used by experts to indicate all non-official strikes, even if fraud was not the intent.

Speaker's Wor[l]d
19th Century 3-D Slides of the U.S. Mint

Presented by David Sundman to our June 25, 2005 meeting.

The program started with images of the Mint buildings in Charlotte, New Orleans, Denver, San Francisco and Carson City. That was folowed by historic scenes from the Yukon Gold Rush in Alaska, gold mines of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, hydraulic mining, and a fascinating photo of thirty huge bars of silver that made up a sidewalk for use by President Ulysses Grant when he visited the Colorado silver region.

A series of images dealt with the Philadelphia Mint, beginning with the National Numismatic Collection in the lobby, followed by photos of the various areas used to turn metal into coins. We saw the smelting room, assay equipment, rolling gold bars into ribbons, inspecting gold blanks, weighing gold blanks, the first steam coinage press, coinage presses, and gold pieces. And there was a quarter of a million dollars in gold coins on a table.

Another series of images, following a view of the Treasury Building, included the cash room, vault, and bags and bags of silver dollars. Among the buildings in New York were the Sub Treasury holding the nation’s gold, as well as the headquarters of the National Bank Note Company and the American Bank Note Company.

At the beginning of the Civil War, the basement of the Treasury in Washington was used to print paper money. We saw theprinting operation with spider presses, hydrostatic presses printing fractional currency, bronzing room for adding borders to fractional notes, counting room in the attic, and trimming the notes immediately outside Samuel Chase’s office. The Burreau of Engraving's own building oopenned in 1880, and we saw engravers at work, press operators and their assistants, wetting the paper, paper money in drying racks, numbering the notes, counting the sheets of notes, and the cutting operation.

Near the end David showed images of the First National Bank of Philadelphia, Charter No. 1, a bank vault in Chicago Fire rubble with an employee trying to cool it down by pouring water on it a week later, a bank vault in the debris of San Francisco’s earthquake and fire, the destruction room at the Treasury, the committee overseeing the destruction, and various photos of the Chicago’s Columbian Exposition including the Treasury Building with a section dedicated to silver mining interests.

Many companies produced stereogrphic photos during its heyday from the 1850s until 1910; collecting stereographic photos is a small but active hobby. The trick is to find numismatic material, but then David cautioned us that the captions on numismatic stereoviews are accurate only half the time. David concluded with thanks to Ron Labbe for the projection setup he used, and recommended that anyone interested in further details google that name. Someone in the audience suggested searching for stereoviews with the keyword anaglyph as that will avoid hits on all the other on-line uses of "3-D."

Show and Tell

Presented at our June 8, 2005 meeting.

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. John Riley started the program by continuing on a previous topic, Whitman bookshelf coin albums for type collections from various countries. A Great Britain type set album from Queen Victoria's reign, 1837-1901, and John is looking for Maundy pieces to complete it.
    John also collects military base tokens, and he showed the pre-WW II steel dies for units of the 3rd Infantry Division: Battery A, 9th Field Artillery; and Co. K, 4th Infantry. He concluded by passing around some wax planchets he had struck with the dies, and that led to some members' thoughts on unidentified modern restrikes.
  2. Winston Zack showed two pieces acquired on eBay:
  3. Mark Wieclaw showed three more of the the adult token series he showed at the previous meeting, then he moved onto his serious exhibits:
  4. Robert Weinstein showed Indo-Parthian coins (parts of modern-day Afghanistan and Pakistan).
  5. Robert Feiler showed a wide range of items:
  6. Don Dool showed items acquired while he was in Argentina:

Our 1039th Meeting

Date:July 13, 2005
Time:7:00 PM
Location:Downtown Chicago
At Dearborn Center, 131 S. Dearborn, 6th Floor, Conference Room 6A (right off the elevator lobby). 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 and register at the guard's desk.
Featured speaker:Don Dool - German States Coins from the Kipper Era (1617-1623)

This program deals with the German coinage issued during the 30-Years War (1618-1648). Soldiers needed to be paid and large quantities of coins were issued at overvalued prices that was further complicated by mass forgeries. Then in 1619 rulers of larger states joined in the fraud with resultant inflation. In order to establish a coin's worth it was laid on a specially made scale (Wippe) by a "tipper." If the coin was of full value, the Wippe tipped (German: kippen). Kipper money was outlawed in 1622 after Austria and later the Holy Roman Empire of German Nations rose up against it.

Important Dates

July 13 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - Don Dool on German States Coins from the Kipper Era (1617-1623)
August 10 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - Sharon Blocker on Collecting Polymer Banknotes
September 8-11 Illinois Numismatic Association Fall Coin Show & Convention at the Park Place of Countryside Banquet Hall, 6200 Joliet Road, Countryside, IL. Friday & Saturday 10 AM - 6 PM; Sunday 10 AM - 3:30 PM. Take I55 to LaGrange Road, Exit 279 North, go 1.2 miles then turn left on Joliet Road, go about two blocks. The hall is the tall black building. Entrance is in the rear. Free parking for 700 cars.
September 14 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - to be announced
Octember 12 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - David MacDonald on Overstruck Ancient Greek Coinage

Birthday and Year Joined

August 11 Clifford Mishler 1995
August 19 Carl F. Wolf 1979
August 20 Melvyn Frear 1989
August 26 Tom DeLorey 1984
August 26 Donald H. Doswell 1960
August 29 James M. Rondinelli 1997

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