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Chicago Coin Club
Volume 51 No. 3 March 2005

Minutes of the 1034th Meeting

The 1034th meeting of the Chicago Coin Club was called to order at 7:00 PM by President Robert Feiler with 16 members present. The January minutes as published in the Chatter were approved. A motion was made and passed to approve Treasurer Steven Zitowsky’s January report of $296.00 in revenue and $154.79 in expenses. After Winston Zack’s application for junior membership received a second reading a motion was made and passed that he be accepted into the Club.

Carl Wolf gave a brief description on upcoming featured speakers prior to First V.P. Jeff Rosinia’s introduction of Mark Wieclaw, the meeting’s featured speaker. Mark spoke on The Tetradrachms of Roman Egypt, showed a number of fine numismatic specimens, and showed several major references. After answering several questions, Jeff presented Mark with an engraved Club speaker’s medal and an ANA Speaker Certificate.

Exhibitors for the evening were:

Under old business Jeff Rosinia and Carl Wolf reported no development on meeting sites that would reduce rental expense. Steve Huber volunteered to investigate purchasing audio visual equipment for exclusive club use to reduce rental expense. Jeff Rosinia reported that a subject had not been chosen for the Chicago Paper Money Expo souvenir card. Robert Leonard reported that the Togo stones had arrived for the Chicago International Coin Fair souvenir card and he would soon begin writing the article.

Under new business Treasurer Zitowsky reminded everyone to pay their 2005 dues. President Feiler delivered a short State of the Club Speech and asked everyone to bring at least one new member to the Club during 2005. Dr. Saul Needleman announced that he had submitted a proposal to the Board of Directors to issue another book as a fund raising project. Carl Wolf reported the ANA Convention Director Brenda Bishop visited Chicago last week and discussed the possibility of Chicago hosting the 2009 convention. A motion made by Robert Leonard to donate $50.00 to the American Numismatic Society’s Francis D. Campbell Library Chair in memory of those members who passed away in 2004. The motion passed.

Don Dool who provided audio visual equipment to view material on the television announced he would be in Argentina during the March meeting and the Club would have to make other arrangements.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:37 PM.

Respectfully submitted, Carl Wolf

Speaker's Wor[l]d
The Tetradrachms of Roman Egypt

Presented by Mark Wieclaw to our February 9, 2005 meeting.

Over 500 locations are known to have issued Roman Provincial coinage, but only three cities, Caesarea in Capodocia, Antioch, and Alexandria, were located near a source of silver. While silver coins are known from many mints, these three cities were the steadiest issuers of silver Provincial coins.

Alexandria was the major city of Egypt when the Roman Emperor Augustus defeated Cleopatra and took Egypt as his personal property. All Egyptian exports also were the property of the Roman emperor; since the Nile valley was the major source of wheat for the entire Mediterranean area, Egypt provided a nice income to many emperors before control was yielded to the government.

The onset of Roman rule saw an increase in the silver in the Alexandrian coins. The severely debased tetradrachms (only 3-5% silver) of Cleopatra were replaced with the 30% silver coinage of Augustus. The Alexandrian silver coins were debased at about the same rate as the coins back in Rome: to about 25% fine under Claudius, down to the 6% silver consistency of billon under Tiberius who issued the the first Roman Alexandrian tetradrachms, and finally down to 1% for the last tetradrachms under Diocletian. It is believed that from Tiberius to Nero, one denarius was melted down and mixed with copper to obtain the metal needed for one tetradrachm.

The typical design showed the emperor on the obverse; very few women appeared on their own coins. One was Julia Mamea, the mother of Septimus Severus, and another was Severina who was in charge for a period after the murder of her husband Aurelian.

An eagle is the most commonly found reverse of a Roman Alexandrian tetradrachm. Among the other reverses Mark showed were a galley under sail, Zeus, and some other deities. This tetradrachm of Phillip II, 244-249AD, shows Zeus on the reverse.

In addition to the gradual quality decline over time, Mark showed coins demonstrating the decline during a single emperor. (And then the following emperor would start by issueing a coinage which, although better than the recent coinage of the previous emperor, was not always as good as the earliest coinage of the previous emperor.) Two coins of Philip II, from regnal years 3 and 6, show the nearly the same obverse and reverse devices, but the later coin's darker color is an obvious indication of its lower silver content.

The regnal years were identified with a combination of Egyptian and Greek symbols, instead of Roman numerals. Consider the characters LIB indicating the twelfth year of a reign: the L is the Egyption heiroglyphic for "year," while the Greek letters I and B represent ten and two, respectively.

Mark showed a coin of Gallienus with rough edges, but it is one of the last of the large-sized pieces.

Then he showed a later coin of Gallienus with the same general obverse and reverse designs but on a markedly smaller planchet. Another sign of the final decline of this coinage is that the later portraits of all emperors look the same; on these coins, the legends must be examined to identify the emperor.

There are several reference books on the subject. The most definitive study is by Dattari, published in 1901, with reprints occasionally available. The text is in Italian and only a small percentage of varieties are pictured. In 1999, a limited run of hardbound copies were printed of the pencil rubbings of the entire Dattari collection.

A new reference by J.G. Milne was written in 1927, correcting some of the errors that appeared in Dattari. The text is in English and has been reprinted several times. More recently (1954) James W. Curtis authored a book that updated the works of both Dattari and Milne. A 1990 reprint also includes several auction and mail bid sales of Roman Egypt coins so that collectors may see what value these coins have achieved.

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. Phil Carrigan reported on the FUN show auctions: ANR held one of the two pre-show auctions, and the official show auction by Heritage had 16,000 lots in 20 pounds of catalogues. Phil collects Canadian material, and a piece he was interested in was hammered down at a price much higher than expected during the ANR auction; two mail bidders competed against each other, and Phil thought that the catalogue description might have played a part. Although the long and detailed catalogue description never said "restrike," a specialist would know the piece to be a restrike from the description. An estimated 10 original strikes of Breton #721 are known versus about 50 known restrikes struck in 1894.
    The following days saw joking about dealers with that piece in stock who would have to reprice their stock. But then Phil met Tony Terranova who said that his example was not repriced, so Phil showed us his latest acquisition.
  2. Chuck Jacobs showed coins and medals showing items related to Buddhism:
  3. Mark Wieclaw showed some ancient coins along with some original packaging for bullion pieces.
  4. Steve Huber was preparing for a business trip to Central America so he passed around a tray of six dollar-sized pieces from Central and South America along with an 1804 German taler with a St. George slaying the dragon reverse. Steve is known to like the crown sized silver pieces from around the world, and that reputation led to an interesting experience: viewing and handling the coins while helping to dismantle the National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institute. The plexiglass case lids were scratched, mounting paraffin was still on the back of some pieces, and the pieces were returned to the marked envelopes or boxes from which they had been removed forty-some years ago when the pieces had been put into the display cases; the packaging was yellowed, and Steve could not believe that they were sulfer-free. Bottom line: the SI's collection is better than Steve's, but Steve takes better care of his collection.
  5. Bob Leonard showed the first Medieval European gold pieces to see wide acceptance in trade; the coinage starting European gold coinage. Although they were not made of pure gold as intended, they were at least 23.5 carat.
  6. Robert Feiler showed items received as gifts.
  7. Don Dool showed some older European pieces:
  8. Steve Zitowsky showed assorted items:

Our 1035th Meeting

Date:March 9, 2005, First session
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:Douglass F. Rohrman - Exciting Changes at the American Numismatic Society

The American Numismatic Society (ANS) was organized in 1858 in New York City and has evolved into a preeminent national institution advancing the study of numismatics. Recently, the ANS moved to 96 Fulton Street in Lower Manhattan. The 35,000 square foot former bank building encompasses the world’s largest numismatic library (100,000 volumes) located on two full floors and a numismatic collection estimated at 800,000 pieces. Admission is free and the library and coin cabinet are open for research by appointment. Chicago attorney Douglass Rohrman sits on the Board of Trustees, the ANS governing body. Attend this presentation and hear about the new plans and programs on the ANS agenda.

Date:March 19, 2005 Second session
Time:1:00 PM
Location:At the Chicago Paper Money Expo (CPMX), which is held at the Holiday Inn O'Hare, 5440 North River Road, Rosemont, IL. No admission charge for our meeting.
Featured speaker:Mark Anderson - Hard Times in a Small Town Bank

The First National Bank of Grantsburg, Wisconsin was founded in 1905 by Swedish immigrant H.A. Anderson, Mark's grandfather. Join this presentation and hear the story of this bank, its relationship with Wisconsin’s agrarian economy and Anderson's struggle to survive hard times and persevere with competing banks. Mark's presentation will show rare numismatic souvenirs and family photos. Collectors attending this program will come away with a perspective and appreciation that every bank note has a unique history and a story with real people.

Important Dates

March 9 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - Douglass F. Rohrman on Exciting Changes at the American Numismatic Society
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 - Mark Anderson on Hard Times in a Small Town Bank
April 13 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - Alex Molinas on Coin Grading Perspectives
April 22-24 30th 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
May 11 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - to be announced

Birthday and Year Joined

April 1 Charles J. Ryant, Jr.
April 12 Mark Wieclaw 1991
April 15 Robert D. Leonard, Jr. 1983
April 15 Charles Menard 1995
April 27 Don Valenziano 1982

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