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Volume 52 No. 5 May 2006

Editor’s Notes

My apologies for the lateness and brevity of this issue; my five-day business trip to Montana turned into a busy ten-day trip.

Paul Hybert, editor

Minutes of the 1048th Meeting

Session I of the 1048th meeting of the Chicago Coin Club was held in conjunction with the 31st Annual Chicago International Coin Fair (CICF), Crowne Plaza Chicago O’Hare, 5440 N. River Road, Rosemont. The meeting was called to order at 1 PM by President Robert Feiler with 31 members and 27 guests present.

Following a welcome address by President Feiler, Second Vice President Lyle Daly introduced the featured speaker Mike Gasvoda who delivered an excellent presentation Roman Coinage from the Roman Invasion of Julius Caesar to the naming of Augustus, 49-27 BC. The MS PowerPoint presentation was accompanied with a 7-page color printed handout and coins from his collection. Daly presented Mike with an ANA educational certificate and an engraved Club medal. Coins used in the presentation were made available for viewing when the meeting recessed.

This was the 20th year the CCC distributed a souvenir at the CICF. Robert Leonard spoke briefly on the current souvenir educational card titled Mexican Chocolate Money, that included 6 cacao beans imported from Mexico. He also spoke of three past souvenirs still for sale dealing with a Mexican theme — Obsidian Money, Cloth Money and Axe Money.

The meeting was recessed at 2 PM and will be re-adjourned at 7 PM, April 12th, at the usual meeting site Dearborn Center, 131 S. Dearborn, 6th Floor Conference Room, Downtown Chicago.

Session II of the 1048th meeting of the Chicago Coin Club was reconvened by President Robert Feiler at 7:00 PM on April 12, 2006 with twelve members and two guests present. Guests were Jason Freeman and Stephen A. Zarlinga, the evening’s guest speaker.

Membership applications of Joseph Boling, Federal Way, WA, and Wendell Wolka, Greenwood, IN received second readings. Both were unanimously accepted into membership. The application for junior membership of Jason Freeman, son of member Eugene Freeman, received first reading.

The May Minutes printed in the Chatter were approved as published. Treasurer Steve Zitowsky reported $1,109.65 in revenue, $391.86 in expenses and $10,023.76 in assets as of March 31, 2006. Steve reported that $500.00 of the revenue was two payments for Chatter advertising, he also received a check for an additional $250.00 after March 31st and only one check remains outstanding. The report was approved as read.

Second V.P. Lyle Daly introduced the evening’s speaker — Stephen A. Zarlinga, the author of The Lost Science of Money. Steve gave an interesting in-depth talk on the origins and definitions of money in ancient Greece and Rome. Following his 60-minute talk with many questions, Stephen was presented with an ANA educational certificate and an engraved club medal.

The nine exhibitors for the evening were: STEVE HUBER – 3 world crowns; ROBERT LEONARD – a copy of an article written by him in the April 11, 1990 Coin World that references the Gospel of Judas, a current topic in the news, and a 2003 1-oz. U.S. Liberty $10 coin with literature calling it “inflation proof currency,” a 2005 1-oz. U.S. Liberty $20 coin and news clippings of these coins being spent for face value; ELLIOT KRIETER – updated graphs on base and precious metals; ROBERT FEILER – a JP Morgan – Chase – Bank One acquisition chart since 1799 to date and obsolete remainder notes $10, $20 and $50 denominations from the Canal Bank; MARK WIECLAW – paper wrapper that held 6 1967 Red Books, CCC 1000th meeting medal in gold (8-oz), $1.00 coins shaped like guitars issued in 2004 from Somalia, and an Athenian tetradrachm 465-460 BC; EUGENE FREEMAN – a 1919 1-cent from Palo Seco Leprosarium in the Canal Zone, three different British colonial coins used in Ceylon and Jamaica; DON DOOL – San Martin Medals, a article written by him and published in the January 2000 World Coin News on Hungary Malcontents, and a 1708 siege coin; STEVE ZITOWSKY – 4 Papal-Vatican coins and a Papal medal; LYLE DALY - $1, $2 and $5 U.S. Educational Notes with allegorical explanations.

Under business, President Feiler announced there was a supply of tri-fold brochures for members to take. Lyle Daly reported that all was okay with the current meeting site. Mark Wieclaw reported that another Club member, Harlan Berk, was the recipient of a Numismatic Ambassador Award at the recent Chicago International Coin Fair. A warm round of applause followed.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:06 PM.

Respectfully submitted,
Carl Wolf, Secretary

Speaker’s Wor[l]d
Roman Imperatorial Coinage, Julius Caesar to the Naming of Augustus — 49-27 BC

A presentation by Mike Gasvoda to our April 1, 2006 meeting.

Roman coinage has a long history, covering many centuries. During the Republican era (before 49 BC), coin obverses show a god and reverses show attributes. During the Imperial era (after 27 BC), the emperor is on the obverse and propagandistic themes are on the reverse. In between those two eras is the Imperatorial era, the subject of Mike’s presentation.

The era’s name comes from the word for a Roman general, Imperator. This was a tumultuous time in Roman history, starting with Caesar crossing the Rubicon with his army, and ending with the Senate renaming Octavian Augustus. Mike used maps to show the travels of and conflicts between the historical figures, and his coins to demonstrate the eight major design theme changes in going from Republican to Imperial coinage.

After crossing the Rubicon, Caesar assumed his own authority to mint coins; prior to that, only the Senate had that authority. The second change was using coin designs to promote himself, using propaganda of his success in Gaul. A Gallic warrior bust appears on the obverse, while the reverse shows a Gallic warrior on a two-horse biga. The third change was the resumption of a gold coinage, but much larger than before.

Although opposing Caesar, the protectors of the Republic follow Caesar’s coinage lead; they issue coins in their own name, and under their own authority. Next, Caesar’s portrait appears on his coinage which is minted extensively. That is four changes in five years — and all stick.

A group of three leaders is known as a triumvirate. The first triumvirate was unofficial, between a rich man and two generals. The second triumvirate was official, ratified by the Senate. Octavian, Caesar’s adopted son, entered the picture here as a very junior partner. The fifth change, dynastic coinage, was introduced here. This would become commonplace, and Mike showed a one of Antony’s coins with Caesar on the reverse.

Following Caesar’s murder, Brutus and Cassius assume coinage authority, issue coins with their names, and even issue gold. Mike pointed out the striking similarity between one of Brutus’ coins and one of Caesar’s from five years earlier. Brutus uses his own image on the EID MAR coin.

The sixth change is the resumption of a bronze coinage. With Caesar now deified, Octavian introduces the seventh change; the legend DIVI F presents himself as the son of a god. Octavian’s challengers use their own portraits on coins, and Antony introduces the eighth change by adding the portrait of his wife on his coinage. Many relatives will appear on coins of the Imperial period.

Mike showed examples from Antony’s moving mint coinage. A series of coins was issued for each legion, and these are believed minted in Greece. Octavian’s final victory over Antony and Cleopatra resulted in many issues, including Victory standing atop a globe.

It took only 22 years to go from the Republican style to the Imperial style, with that style remaining until the Byzantine era. After the presentation, Mike’s coins were available in a case for viewing.

Speaker’s Wor[l]d
Roman Money in 45 Minutes

A presentation by Steve Zarlenga to our April 12, 2006 meeting.

Steve started by mentioning his book The Lost Science of Money published by the American Monetary Institute, which covers the subject more thoroughly than can be done in 45 minutes. The AMI is on the web at

Using historical case studies (the approach of the AMI) Steve made the argument that the conventional wisdom of the primitive and advanced periods of Roman finance is backwards. Just as the Trojan War was dismissed as mythology until a century ago, Steve believes that some long-held numismatic myths are actually facts.

In 350 BC, Aristotle had the idea that money exists not by nature, but by law. Plato agreed — money is a token for purposes of exchange. It is the search for something with a nominal value, independent of the vagaries of supply and demand. Steve's contention is that a government can designate anything as money by making that item acceptable for payment of taxes.

His example was the Roman census which required contributing a certain amount per person, with different amounts for births and deaths, for men, women, and children. A form of fiat money based in law was used, based upon one nomisma worth 30 ounces of bronze. But although the size of a nomisma shrank over time, possibly for more convenient handling, the declared value was constant. However, historians of the 19th and 20th centuries saw a series of differently weighed items and thought they passed by weight.

By using copper fiat pieces for their money, the Romans controlled their own economy and kept it from being influenced by the eastern empires which used silver and gold commodity coinages. The Roman unification of the Italian peninsula required a monetary way to include the Greek city states used to silver. The solution was to use both bronze coins bearing a denomination along with external (silver) coins which did not have denominations.

Rome never issued gold coins in its first 500 years. Oath coins were used in 218 BC during Hannibal’s war, and about 40 are now known. Only about 108 of the Mars Eagle gold coinage of 209 BC are now known, out of the estimated 256,000 struck from treasury gold. The Punic wars eventually destroyed Rome's fiat money system, requiring a commodity monetary system. But while some historians view that transition as advancing to gold and silver, Steve sees it as leaving legal money.

This summary merely gives a flavor of Steve’s takes on a number of historical events. His well organized presentation made for an interesting evening, and after the talk a number of members gathered information on AMI and bought a copy of Steve’s book.

Show and Tell

Items shown at our April 12, 2006 meeting.

  1. Steve Huber started the exhibits with three recent purchases:
  2. Robert Leonard brought some old and recent clippings:
  3. In light of the rising prices for gold and silver, Elliot Kreiter showed five-year graphs, obtained from, of prices of various metals, including: aluminum, nickel, lead, zinc, copper, silver, gold, platinum, paladium, and rhodium. Some of the precious metals are used in catalytic converters.
  4. Banks buying other banks has been occurring for years. Bob Feiler showed a JP Morgan Chase buyout chart, listing founding year and acquisition year for each of the acquired banks. The earliset founding was in 1791, and locally, we had First National Bank of Chicago going into NBD, which went into Bank One, which recently became part of JP Morgan Chase. New Orleans' Canal and Banking Company, founded in 1831, was also listed on the chart. That link was in the news recently, because the Chicago City Council wanted to determine which banks doing business with Chicago have a connection with slavery. Then Bob showed remainder obsolete 10, 20, and 50 dollar notes from that bank; printed on both sides (unusual for the time), these are some of the most commonly available notes of the pre-Civil War era.
  5. Mark Wieclaw showed his usual wide range of items:
  6. Eugene Freeman showed items acquired at CICF:
  7. Doon Dool showed a range of coins and medals:
  8. Steve Zitowsky showed some Papal/Vatican coins:
  9. Lyle Daly showed the large sized US 1, 2, and 5 dollar silver certificates known as the Educational Series because of their allegorical designs. They were authorized on April 28, 1896.

Our 1049th Meeting

Date:May 10, 2006
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:Eugene Freeman - Money for Texas

This will be an overview of the numismatic issues related to Texas, including the Spanish, Republic of Texas, and Confederacy periods. The numismatic issues include coins, such as the 1817 and 1818 half reales (jolas) of San Antonio. They also include the paper money and bonds of the Republic of Texas, and the scrip of the Confederate State of Texas.

Important Dates

May 10 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - Eugene Freeman on Money for Texas
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 14 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - Philip J. Carrigan on Charles Barber and His Coins
June 23-25 MidAmerica Coin Expo at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, 5555 North River Road, Rosemont, IL. Admission is $5.
June 24 CCC Meeting - 1pm in the Mr. Lincoln Room of the DoubleTree Hotel which is across the street from 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 - to be announced
July 13 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - to be announced

Birthday and Year Joined

June 7 Harlan J. Berk 1995
June 11 Joseph A. Piekarczyk 1991
June 12 Rosalind Ryant 1977
June 27 James Simek 1973

New Chatter Delivery Option

The print version of the Chatter is simply a printout of the Chatter web page, with a little cutting and pasting to fill out each print page. The web page is available before the Chatter is mailed. To save the club money and ensure timely delivery, we are giving club members the option of receiving an email whenever a new Chatter is on the club’s website; the mail will include a link to the latest issue.

If you would like to receive an email alert instead of a mailed print copy send an email to You can resume receiving a mailed print copy at any time, just by sending another email.

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