archive also available

Chicago Coin Club
Volume 51 No. 6 June 2005

Minutes of the 1037th Meeting

The 1037th meeting of the Chicago Coin Club was called to order May 11, 2005 at 7:00 PM by President Robert Feiler with 16 members in attendance. The meeting was held in a new spacious meeting room at Dearborn Center, 131 S. Dearborn, 6th Floor Conference Room 6C. President Feiler thanked members Lyle Daly, Jeff Rosinia and Chuck Jacobs for their work and efforts in obtaining the room and they were given a warm round of applause.

The April Minutes as published in the Chatter were approved as published. Steve Zitowsky treasurer's April report of $206 in revenue, expenses of $424.70 and total assets of $7,697.86 was approved.

First V.P. Jeff Rosinia introduced the evening's featured speaker Chuck Jacobs who spoke on Die Struck Copper Coins of China.

Second V.P. Lyle Daly introduced the evening's exhibitors: DON DOOL - seven different General San Martin medals; ROBERT LEONARD - report on his research into counterfeit silver dollars made of silver and his article recently published in Coin World, two books purchased at the Medieval Conference in Kalamazoo, Michigan; MARK WIECLAW - a Chinese snuff bottle made from agate with a coin design, a 1783 Nova Constellatio cent, a 1787 Fugio cent, a tetradrachm from Akanthus (480-424 B.C.) with unpublished dies of a lion attacking a bull, and comic coins issued by Nat'l. San. Labs, 6652 N. Western, Chicago 45, Illinois; RICHARD HAMILTON - a $1,000 bond from the Beech Creek Railroad and issued in 1892; ROBERT WEINSTEIN - a bronze coin from the Kingdom of Tylis and the Indo-Greek Kingdom, 2 coins from the Byzantine Empire and a fake wooden nickel of Vee Jay Records, Chicago; and ROBERT FEILER - 5 different Mexican reales authenticated by last month's speaker Clyde Hubbard.

President Feiler presented the Club's engraved 50-year membership medal from Central States Numismatic Society to William Burd, Club Archivist. Burd was also given serial no. 1 of the recently produced souvenir cards for the Chicago Paper Money Expo (CPMX) and the Chicago International Coin Fair. Jeff Rosinia, the author of the CPMX souvenir card was presented with serial no. 3 of the issue.

Jeff Rosinia delivered a brief overview of the membership survey taken in 2004. Robert Weinstein delivered video tapes holding member interviews recorded in 1994 that would be turned over to Jeff Rosinia, who has video editor contacts.

President Feiler brought up for discussion a list of discussed items from the recently held Board of Directors meeting. Subjects included the creation of an updated tri-fold brochure introducing the Club, Daly and Rosinia volunteered to investigate a new design; advertising in The Chatter; a new book project; dropping member's last names in the Chatter; a site for the December 14th annual banquet; restarting coin discussion group meetings on the 4th Wednesday that received positive feedback; the archivist writing a 25, 50 and 75 years ago column for the Chatter; exhibitors were asked to watch the length of their exhibits and a suggestion was made for members to transform some exhibits into mini-featured talks.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:17 PM

Respectfully submitted, Carl Wolf

Speaker's Wor[l]d
Die-Struck Copper Coinage of China

Presented by Chuck Jacobs to our May 11, 2005 meeting.

Until late in the 19th century, the most common Chinese coin was the cash piece which was round with a square hole. Struck coins appeared in the late 1880s but were not common until about 1902. From 1900 to 1917, about 32 billion of the 10 cash coins were made; this talk concentrated on those coins.

Chuck started his presentation with a review of Chinese history from the late Qing Dynasty through the early Republic era. The 10 cash coin (worth about 1 US cent, but the value varied over time), was the most popular coin of the period. The diameter varied from 28 to 29.5 mm, and the weight from 95 to 124.5 grains (115 on average). Laid out together, a 10 cash coin, a US Large Cent, and a British Penny are all about the same size.

This copper coinage started in the provinces: the Peiyang mint in 1888, and then the Kwantung mint in 1889. By 1906, the central government and 17 provinces were striking coins. The coinage was valued by metal and weight, with even slugs circulating. Some mints would debase the coinage by adding pewter or lead; the mints were profit enterprises, buying the metal and keeping the seignorage.

The many coins shown during the talk provided a mere hint of the range of varieties out there. Two main causes of varieties were identified: many sources for the dies, and many dies being produced. Although most of the provinces used the dragon motif for some years, die production was not centralized so each province had its own style of dragon. (For example, some dies for Hunan's coins were made in Japan, hence its similarity to the dragon on Japan's one sen coin.) The large number of needed dies must have hard on the engravers: we have misspelling of the English legends, upside down letters (one displayed coin appeared to show signs of a upside down letter under the correctly placed letter), and differences in dragon rendition and position. Those differences let later collectors develop such fanciful names for Hunan varieties as: creeping dragon, comet-tail dragon, ornamented dragon, and high-flying dragon. Some distinguishing attributes are the number of flames on the fireball and the location of protruding scales.

The definitive reference is A.M. Tracey Woodward's 1936 work The Minted Ten Cash Coins of China. Only 95 copies were made of this collection of journal articles from the mid 1920s to the early 1930s. Woodward was a doctor who had made his money from the opium trade; he had up to 300 workers sorting through coins looking for new varieties. He built the definitive collection of minted Chinese cash pieces; 5000 or so pieces. Deciding that China was no longer safe, he and his collection moved to France. His collection spent World War II buried somewhere in Bordeaux; after the war, some of the finest pieces ended up in King Farouk's collection, the mid-level pieces went to a specialist, and the common pieces were sold cheaply in bulk lots, destined for dealer junk boxes.

The 10 cash coin was a working coinage with the coin's aesthetics having low priority. No attempt was made at aligning the obverse and reverse dies, and varieties resulted when obverse and reverse dies were combined. The strike quality varied, and the dies were used until they wore out. Although most coins have smooth edges, some have milled edges.

The dragon motif from the Empire was not used often in the Republic era; stars and flags were more commonly used. There are very few coins with people, especially in copper. With 193 varieties known from just Sichuan province, there are more than Woodward's 1200 varieties out there waiting to challenge modern collectors.

Show and Tell

Presented at our May 11, 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. Last month, Don Dool showed medals honoring monuments to San Martín. Medals of San Martín are known in many categories, such as centenaries, bicentenares, battles, Mason medals, and commercial medals (usually from the 1910 centennial of the revolution). Some of the commercial pieces Don showed were:
  2. Robert Leonard is interested in counterfeit coins, and he keeps a file of stories about them. A PCGS press release announcing that they had slabbed counterfeit US silver dollars reminded him of a reference to articles in the New York Times; a search of their web site yielded some articles from 1897 and 1898. Bob wrote an article and submitted it to Coin World, and he showed it on page 8 of the current issue. The whole story is not yet out, and a followup discussion touched on such topics as how PCGS identified the counterfeits from repeated depressions near the mint mark, to how it was profitable to make counterfeit coins with the correct silver content.
    Bob also showed two books obtained while attended the annual Medieval Congress in Kalamazoo, Michigan: Coinage in Syria Under Persian Rule 610-630 is in French with an English summary; while Medieval Monney Matters, Coinage in England recounts how England went from a non-monetary economy to a monetary economy.
  3. Mark Wieclaw showed a carved snuff bottle before showing some coins.
  4. At a recent show, Dick Hamilton acquired a $1000 bond from the Beech Creek Railroad of New Jersey. Printed by the American Bank Note Company, it was issued May 27, 1892, has hand signatures, and is number 185. It is a 4% first mortgage bond, guaranteed by the Nw York Central and Hudson River Railroad which later bought it.
  5. Robert Weinstein showed lesser-known items:
  6. Robert Feiler had five of his Mexican coins attributed by Clyde Hubbard, the speaker at or CICF meeting. They were:

Encyclopedia of Chicago Goes on the Web

Last year many CCC members purchased the 1,100+ page Encyclopedia of Chicago. The volume can certainly assist when doing research on local numismatic issues. Now the electronic version is up and working on the web. Go to and find many additional features not in the book. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the online version has several hundred more entries, more than 1,000 additional images, video of historic figures and events, primary source material, personal letters, newspaper articles, artwork, legal documents, hyperlinks to books, interactive maps and more. If all this material were in the book, it would run more than 10,000 pages!

And here's the best part - it's free!

Carl Wolf

Our 1038th Meeting

Date:June 8, 2005, First session
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: - to be announced

Date:June 25, 2005 Second session
Time:1:00 PM
Location:At 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:David Sundman - 19th Century 3-D Slides of the U.S. Mint

Stereo photography was a popular way to view images during the 19th century. It consisted of two separate photos that gave a 3-dimensional effect when superimposed and viewed through special glasses. David Sundman acquired a selection of stereophotos showing the U.S. Mint during the 1800s and has converted them into a slide program. David Sundman will lead this educational tour back in time when the Mint was striking Indian cents, Shield nickels, and Seated Liberty coinage. Those who attend will be given a special pair of viewing glasses and, while supplies last, a bag of popcorn.

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 Chicago International Coin Fair.
June 8 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - to be announced
June 24-26 MidAmerica Coin Expo at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, 5555 North River Road, Rosemont, IL. Admission is $5.
June 25 CCC Meeting - 1pm at the MidAmerica Coin Expo, which is held at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, 5555 North River Road, Rosemont, IL. No admission charge for our meeting.
Featured Speaker - David Sundman on 19th Century 3-D Slides of the U.S. Mint
July 13 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - Sharon Blocker on Collecting Polymer Banknotes
August 10 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - to be announced

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

Visit Our Web Site

Contacting Your Editor

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