|Archive available at http://www.ChicagoCoinClub.org/|
|Volume 53 No. 8||August 2007|
Just a reminder that our regular monthly meeting for August will be held one week later than usual, to accomodate our many members who will attend the ANA convention in Milwaukee.
Every year, some club members submit trip reports about the ANA summer convention. Reports are accepted from all club members, so do not be shy. Submit something while it is all fresh in your memory
No need to list everything that happened there; a few paragraphs on your highlights of the convention is fine. Make us stay-at-homes want to attend the 2008 convention in Baltimore!
The 1063rd meeting of the Chicago Coin Club was called to order July 11, 2007 at 7:00 PM by President Robert Feiler in the 6th floor conference room, Dearborn Center, 131 S. Dearborn. Attending were 17 members and 3 guests, Casimer (Casey) Fadze, Steven Ambos and Leroy Gayden.
June Minutes were approved as published in the Chatter. Treasurer Steve Zitowsky was unable to attend the meeting, but submitted the June financial report which was read by the Secretary. Income for June was $338.50, expenses $235.01 and total assets $11,057.77. The report was approved as read.
A motion was passed to accept into membership Casimer (Casey) Fadze following a second reading of his application. The applications of Steven Ambos and Leroy Gayden received first readings.
First V.P. Jeff Rosinia introduced the featured speaker John Riley who delivered a program on Pre-World War II Token Issues from Shanghai. Following a question and answer period, John was presented with an ANA Educational Certificate and an engraved Club speaker’s medal.
Exhibitors for the evening were: ROBERT KULYS – a 2005 commemorative gold proof 500-litas from Lithuania with a mintage of 1,000; DONALD DOOL – stock certificate issued in 1892 issued by Baron De Humboldt, an 1893 stock certificate issued by Mineral De Santa Rosa, a remainder stock from Anglo-Argentine Tramways, a bi-metallic token from the Toronto Subway, a Ce Fi Ni pin from the Ituzaingo Coin Club and a medal showing San Martin monument in Montevideo; DAVID GUMM – an 1817 U.S. Large Cent from Rasmussen Collection, variety N1; MARC STACKLER – four coins issued during the Mexican Revolution (1910-17): a 1913 1-peso from Chihuahua Hidalgo Del Parral, a 1914 5-centavios from Chihuahua, an undated 50-centavos from Amecameca and a 1915 20-centavos from Tenancingo; JOHN RILEY – a 20-centavos ship token from the U.S.S. Canopus stationed in the Philippines, a $5 military token issued in the 1960s from Fort Sheridan, Great Lakes, IL and a token for the “American Bar” in Tunis, probably Tunisia; ANDREW MICHYETA – an 1890 ¼-rupee struck at the Heaton Mint and issued for Mombasa (Kenya) by the British East Africa Company, a 1906R 1-lira from San Marino, a 1935 1-rupia and a 1936 ½-rupia from Gao, a Portuguese colony in India; ROBERT FEILER – a 1937 100th anniversary medal issued by C.D. Peacock Jewelers containing a small piece of iron from their vault door that survived the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, an 1878 3-cent circulated nickel proof, an 1887/6 3-cent circulated proof PCGS certified and an 1866 half dime in VF20 PCGS certified; MARK WIECLAW – Gold Buffalo 2006 MS70 early strike, Gold Buffalo 2007 early release, an 1817 uniface 960-reis lead trial strike from Brazil, Roman silver denarii from Marc Antony, 32 B.C., a denarii from Vespasion, 69-79 A.D., and a denarii from Faustina Senior, wife of Antoninus Pius, who died in 141 A.D.; SHARON BLOCKER - $30 bank notes from Anigua and Barbuba issued in 23-karat gold overlay issued in commemoration of their independence from Great Britain; ROBERT LEONARD – sticker “I got this from Lung Men Nite Club, Shanghai, China,” on a Chinese 10-cash coin; 2 Philippine quartos from 1828 with reversed arms on one, and a copy of Aldo Basso catalog; LYLE DALY – 50-centavios fractional currency issued by Misamis Occidental from the Mindano region of the Philippines, an unissued 10-pesos note printed by American Bank Note Company for Mexican revolutionary Francisco Mader, assassinated in 1913 in Chihuahua and a 1917 1-colon note issued by El Banko Anglo Costaricence showing a puzzling vignette of Mercury.
Under old business, the Secretary presented the Club’s Archivist, William Burd, with serial number 001 of Cigarette Money, the Club’s 2007 CICF educational souvenir and the Stone Mountain Commemorative Half Dollar presented to the Club by member John Whitfield at the January meeting.
Under new business it was announced that the ANA ballot arrived and the Treasurer was authorized to vote for those candidates for Governor endorsed by the Club: Joseph Boling, Don Dool, Chester Krause, Clifford Mishler and Wendell Wolka. A poll of the evening’s membership showed 15 members planning to attend the upcoming ANA Convention in Milwaukee. President Feiler announced that the front page of the July 10 issue of Numismatic News published with photographs the story of the June 23rd surprise Merciless Roast of Carl Wolf and presentation of a Chicago Coin Club Lifetime Achievement Award. Feiler announced that he has remaining souvenir medals showing a “schematic Carl.” After thanking the Club for the surprise event, Carl was presented with a binder holding a printout of the program and put together by Lyle Daly.
A motion was made and passed to reserve space at Marcello’s Restaurant, 645 W. North Ave., Chicago for the December 12th Annual Banquet including authorization to make a deposit.
It was announced that the Club’s next meeting will be held August 15th, the 3rd Wednesday, so it will not be in conflict with the Milwaukee ANA Convention.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:04 PM.
Carl F. Wolf, Secretary
by Mike Gasvoda
presented to our June 13, 2007 meeting.
The forces of Octavian defeated those of Marc Antony at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC. The final conclusion was not totally resolved until Antony’s death in August of 30 BC. In the ensuing period Octavian was forced to deal with settlement of troops and all the logistical issues of ending 13 long years of war within the empire. During this period he still held no constitutional authority, although no one dared question his power. This constitutional issue was resolved in early 27 BC when Octavian was given the title Augustus by the Roman senate. The same reform also gave him many constitutional powers legally that he already had “de facto.”
This did not mean that all was well as far as the long term impact of “one man rule.” Rome had never been ruled by a single man and there was much work to do to reform the government. Augustus always worried about succession after he died and he spent much of his remaining years solidifying his power and the right of his heirs to assume that power upon his death. While his coinage as Octavian shows the propaganda of a man trying to gain supreme power, his coinage as Augustus often shows the propaganda of a man trying to hold on to and strengthen that power. This presentation will focus on the propaganda of his coinage as Augustus.
The word propaganda is today often associated with ill will. Frankly Webster’s definition of the word does not indicate that this is so and I don’t place any ill will on the use of the term as it relates to the coinage of Augustus.
Propaganda as defined by Webster is “the systematic propagation of a doctrine or cause or of information reflecting the views and interests of those advocating such a doctrine or cause.” As you will see in this presentation, few words can better describe the coinage of Augustus.
Titles and Honors:
Throughout his life Augustus was given many titles and honors. The name Augustus alone qualifies as both of these. He made great use of each of these titles on his coinage. While he may have earned the titles described below, it became common for his successors to assume the same titles as a “right of ruling.” The following titles and honors are described in the order they were used or granted.
Caesar: This name was given to Octavian by his adoptive father, Julius Caesar. In the future the title “Caesar” will come to be known as the heir to the throne. For example, Titus and Domitian both used the title Caesar while their father, Vespasian, was still alive. On ascending to power they also kept this title but added Augustus — see below.
Divi F(ilius): This title roughly translates as “son of the divine” — or more directly as “son of a God.” Octavian begins using this phrase on his coinage after the deification of Julius Caesar by the Roman senate in 42 BC. Interestingly, as Octavian was Julius Caesar’s great nephew, it was only by adoption that he was the “son” of a God.
IMP (Imperator): Imperator can be roughly translated to the modern day victorious general of the army. Historically the “IMP” title was only given to military leaders who had won campaigns in the field. This title would also be assumed by succeeding emperors who had little, if any, real military experience. The fact is the man who was emperor controlled the military might of Rome. Even though victory afield may not have been accomplished, the emperor was the true head of the Roman military machine.
Augustus: The title Augustus was given to Octavian by the Roman senate in 27 BC. This title would be assumed by all succeeding rulers of the empire when they ascended to power. When conferred on Octavian by the Roman senate the title can be translated to mean “revered” or, in English, “august one.”
COS (Consul): There were two consuls elected each year. The consul was the chief law maker of the Roman legal system. They could create laws and were responsible for determining legal decisions based on present law. Octavian was first named consul in 43 BC. He would hold this office many times during his lifetime. Succeeding emperors would also take this position but not always with every year of their reign. This was an elected position but the emperor often determined who would run for the office. The consuls were responsible for managing the senate meetings. Only a tribune could veto a law created by a consul. Thus the emperor often assumed the “Tribunis Potestas” as well. See immediately below.
TR P or TR POT (Tribunis Potestas): The tribune was the chief decider of legal disputes within the Roman legal system. Their decision was considered final. The tribune was the only Roman who could veto the laws created by the consul. Many Roman emperors assumed this role upon ascension to the throne.
Corona Civica: The corona civica is an honor given to a Roman who saved another Roman’s life in battle. This is a gold crown that is granted the designee by the Roman senate. It was granted to Augustus annually beginning in 27 BC. This is shown on his coinage by the “OB CIVIS SERVATOS” reverse design which shows the golden wreath which forms the crown on the circumference of such coins. It makes its appearance on coinage after the release of the Parthian prisoners in 19 BC.
Clipeus Votivus (CL V): The Clipeus Votivus was a golden shield awarded to Augustus in 27 BC by the Roman senate. One of these shields was placed on the door of his home and a second was placed at the senate house. These shields identified the virtues and victories of Augustus. It made its major appearance on his coinage after the release of the Parthian prisoners in 19 BC.
Pontifex Maximus (PM; PONT/F MAXIM; or PON MAX): Augustus assumed this title upon the death of Lepidus, member of the second triumvirate, in 13 BC. Translated as “Chief Priest” this was a significant role as the Pontifex Maximus led all religious ceremonies to the pagan Gods.
Pater Patrae (PP): The Roman senate, running out of honors to give Augustus, declared that he was Pater Patrae (father of the country) in 6 AD. This title would be assumed by many succeeding emperors but was granted by the Roman senate. Cicero was the first to receive this honor and it was also bestowed upon Julius Caesar. It carried no legal significance.
The Horoscope Reading:
Octavian assumed “divine right” with the senate naming of Julius Caesar as a God in 42 BC. However a significant event also occurs in his life which is unrelated to the adoption by Julius Caesar. It is quoted in text by Suetonius that Augustus went to an astrologer with Agrippa to have their fortunes read. Agrippa went first. His fortune was glowing and Augustus deferred to have his read out of fear that it would be inferior to that of his friend. When he finally relented his own horoscope was so great that Augustus had it published so that all may know the greatness destined for him. This is the source of the Capricorn coinage of Augustus. Future emperors, born under the Capricorn sign, would use his horoscope reading as their implied right to rule.
Victories and Alliances:
Octavian had made great propaganda use of the victories he accomplished prior to his being renamed Augustus by the Roman senate in 27 BC. He continued the use of victories, military or otherwise, on his coinage after he was renamed Augustus.
AEGYPTO CAPTA: This series relates to the capture of Egypt with the death of Antony and Cleopatra. Although this occurs before the naming of Augustus, the coinage issues fall around the time of his renaming as Augustus. The theme is renewed with the bronze issues of Colonia Nemausus (see below) from 9 to 3 BC.
SIGNIS RECEPTIS: The “SIGNIS RECEPTIS” series is one of the largest issues of the coinage of Augustus. Specifically these words mean that the signposts, or standards, were returned to Rome after their being held by the Parthians. There are two related issues, “Armenia Capta” and the “Temple of Mars Ultor” which will be discussed separately below. The significance of the return of the Parthian Standards cannot be overstated. These military standards were lost in battle with the Parthians in 53 BC when Crassus, member of the first triumvirate, attempted to conquer Parthia. It is reported that the standards were proudly displayed at the Parthian capital and this fact was a disgrace to the Roman military establishment.
Julius Caesar was in preparation for an invasion of Parthia when he was murdered in the Roman senate in 44 BC. Marc Antony subsequently pitched a failed battle with the Parthians in 36 BC where roughly half his troops were either lost or enslaved. It was not until 20 BC when Augustus and Tiberius traveled east that a truce was made with the Parthians and the standards were returned to Rome and Antony’s enslaved troops were freed. This was a major victory for Augustus even though it was not of a military nature. RIC lists 39 distinct coin types using this single theme.
ARMENIA CAPTA: This series, which also includes the more obscure “Armenia Recepta” issues, relate to the eastern travels of Augustus and Tiberius mentioned immediately above. Upon the death of Tigranes, the Armenian King, Augustus was responsible for the placement of his son upon the throne after he sent Tiberius and Roman legions to subdue Artavasdes, a challenger to the throne, by a show of military might. The reality is the more correct description might be a “subduing” of Armenia but it nonetheless appears on his coinage as “Capta”.
Buildings & Structures
Augustus himself was sure to point out that he found Rome in brick but left it in marble. His construction accomplishments were well defined in his famous “Res Gestae” which was a self written (or directed) list of his lifetime accomplishments. This description was placed at his tomb and delivered throughout the empire. Although much of his construction does not appear on coinage, the following structures do appear.
Curia Julia: The Curia Julia was the Roman senate house that was rebuilt by Augustus after its destruction by arson when Julius Caesar was murdered. As is described in the Res Gestae, Augustus paid personally to have this building rebuilt on its original site. The senate building still sits on its original site and can be viewed today.
The Temple of Mars Ultor: Octavian promised that he would build a temple to Mars Ultor (Mars the avenger) after the murder of Julius Caesar. The temple appears on a significant series of coinage in 19 to 16 BC. What is of interest is the actual temple was not dedicated until 2 BC and it is unclear if it was even completed at that time. It is therefore certain that the images of this temple on coins were simply guesses at what the final structure would look like. In reality the round domed structure would eventually be built as a rectangular structure whose foundations can still be seen in the Roman Forum. This structure is significant as the resting place of the standards returned from the Parthians. It is also the sending off point for generals and their armies headed into war.
The Altar of Lugdunum: This structure appears on bronze coinage of Augustus from about 12 BC. It relates to an altar built at the confluence of the Saone and Rhone rivers in Lugdunum Gaul. The fact is that worship of a living Roman was forbidden in Rome itself; however Augustus did not discourage his worship outside Rome. He did however prefer the worship of Rome itself in addition to any worship of him as its ruler. Hence the common inscription of “Rom Et Aug” (Rome and Augustus) on coins like this and the temple issues of Asia.
The Temple at Pergamum: Pergamum, in modern Turkey, but a Greek city in ancient times, was an important trade center. Like the altar of Lugdunum, a temple was built at Pergamum to the worship of Rome and Augustus. The temple was of such importance that it is a common image on the cistophoric tetradrachms of the city. Many such temples were erected throughout the eastern empire but the temple at Pergamum was glorified on its coinage.
The Arch of Augustus: There was an arch erected in Rome in honor of Augustus after the return of the Parthian Standards. The arch is variously shown as a single and a triple arch. Archaeologists have since found what they believe to be the foundation remains of arches of both designs, with the single span foundation below the triple span.
The Equestrian Statue & the Cippus: In 43 BC Octavian insisted that the Roman senate dedicate an equestrian statue in his honor for his role in ending the siege of Mutina. This statue was placed in the Roman forum and is glorified on the first coinage of Octavian to show his image. This design is later (16 BC) resurrected along with a cippus (signpost) reverse which describes his role in funding the rebuilding and extending of the road system into Rome and throughout the Roman empire.
All for the People
As stated earlier, Augustus goes to great lengths in the “Res Gestae” to describe all the things he has done for the people of Rome. And surely a reading of this document will confirm that he has done incredible things for the Roman people. While many of these “gestures” may be implied in his coinage, there are two specific events which can clearly be seen. These are described below.
Ludi Seculares: Augustus revived the secular games held in honor of the 100 year anniversaries of the founding of Rome. While he held many “games” throughout his lifetime, the secular games have specific reference on his coinage. While the secular games are clearly for the people (or plebs) it is interesting to find such a reference on a gold aureus of Augustus — clearly not a coin used in everyday commerce.
Colonia Nemausus (COL NEM): Nemausus (modem day Nimes, France) was a Celtic settlement that was settled by the Augustan troops who fought in the war against Cleopatra and Antony. Augustus, in the Res Gestae, describes how he personally funded the lands made available for the settlement of retiring troops throughout the empire. While these settlements are lost to coinage reference, Nemausus is specific in their bronze coinage to the fact that the troops settled there fought in the battle against Cleopatra and Antony. The alligator (or crocodile) chained to the palm tree is in specific reference to their military efforts. Both Augustus and Agrippa appear on the obverse of this coinage issue.
Building a Dynasty
The challenges of the young Octavian to become the sole ruler of the Roman Empire were very significant. His ability to overcome the odds against him are nothing short of amazing. Unfortunately, he was the first man to control the fate of the empire on an individual basis and the success of the empire after his rule was always anything but certain. He spent the better part of his time as Augustus trying to solidify the “right to rule” upon his death. He would, during his lifetime, glorify his family in an attempt to secure the role of his chosen successor. Here are examples of the men he chose to elevate to roles as his successor.
Agrippa: Marcus Agrippa was Octavian’s childhood friend and his key military strategist throughout his life. Although no one can question Octavian’s political genius it is clear that much of his military success came as a result of the talents of Agrippa. Agrippa would eventually marry Octavia, the now renamed Augustus’ sister. Augustus felt that Agrippa would surely outlive him and felt he was the single man who was most qualified to continue the empire under “single rule.” Augustus surely granted Agrippa the right to issue coins in his own name. Augustus also includes Agrippa’s image on the reverse of a silver coin of his own. Unfortunately Agrippa precedes Augustus in death. His first successor has left him.
Caius & Lucius: Augustus has two grandsons from his daughter Julia. He brings the young boys into his house and raises them as his own. As Caius and Lucius begin to grow up he places their images on coins in what is a clear attempt to name them as his chosen successors. Sadly both young men die premature deaths and Augustus is once again left without a successor.
Tiberius: Augustus is finally left no choice but to name his stepson Tiberius as his chosen heir. Although it is clear from historical records that he did not want Tiberius to succeed him he had no alternatives as he neared the end of his life. It is not until the year before his death that Tiberius finally appears on the coinage of Augustus. Interestingly, much of the dislikes of Tiberius voiced by Augustus can be mirrored in the incredible boredom of his coinage after he succeeds Augustus.
Of the 550 listings of the coinage of Augustus in RIC over 300 can be defined as “propaganda coins”. It is most likely the coins that don’t qualify under this heading are the coins issued by the moneyers with their own family references. The political genius of Augustus cannot be understated. This can be clearly seen in the imagery placed on his coinage. It is with much certainty that it can be said either Augustus himself, or someone under his direction, had an influence on the images that appeared on his coins.
This mastery of propaganda was not lost on his successors. His approach to coinage would be oft imitated. Much of the succeeding five centuries of Roman coinage under the emperors would owe their stylistic themes to the coinage of Augustus. While the man himself was incredible, the coinage issued in his name sheds great light into his genius. Where the imperatorial period saw great change in coinage, the imperial period under Augustus saw great stabilization. If you want to really understand Roman Imperial Coinage you need to understand the coinage of Augustus. He was the man that in many senses set the table for the next five centuries of Roman coinage design.
A presentation by Paul A. Cunningham
to our June 24, 2007 meeting.
Tokens are known from just about every type of U.S. military facility. Paul started his presentation by distributing a handout picturing many tokens, then he pointed out their similarities and differences. First up were tokens from domestic bases, arranged by state or, for some 19th century pieces, territory.
An aviation repair depot token in Alabama started our tour, followed by a radar station in Alaska and it’s Elmendorf Air Forcs Base. Arizona was represented by two: one from a fort or post from the frontier Indian years, and the other from before World War I. California was well represented: Alcatraz first was a military base after the Gold Rush, then a military detention center, and finally a federal prison; a pool table is pictured on a token from a San Diego military hospital (Brunswick made pool tables as well as the tokens for them); and a Presidio token has lovely engraving. These tokens functioned as a medium of exchange and not as souvenirs, so most are very plain; a bomb is featured on a Rock Island Arsenal (Illinois) token.
Sme tokens were good for only one item: a Minnesota Navy token good for a bus fare, a New York token good for a ration of bread, and a Navy token good for ice cream on board a ship. A sutler token from Fort Kearny in the Nebraska Territory was good only at that private establishment.
The earliest shown overseas tokens dated from the Spanish American War: Camp Columbia in Cuba, and a base in Puerto Rico. Among the most recent, a set of three (same sizes as U.S. coins) from Viet Nam, used in slot machines. A piece from Clark Air Force Base (near Manila) moved someone to comment that when an acquaintance had been there, the 31st was known first as the Dirty First but then later as the Thirsty First.
The program showed us a sample of what has been used, and concluded with a brief discussion of how tokens were issued. The site closest to Chicago known to have issued a token is Ft. Sheridan which is located north of Chicago on the shore of Lake Michigan.
by John Riley
presented to our July 11, 2007 meeting.
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” famously penned Charles Dickens in his 1840 epic, A Tale of Two Cities. Removed by a time span of one hundred years and a continent’s width, Shanghai, China in 1940 was also observing momentous highsand lows of its own; one city in sunshine enjoying untold extravagance meeting another in a rapidly darkening spectre of total war.
Several trade token issues with distinct American connections mark this tumultuous era.
As United States territories extended far into the Pacific following the Spanish-American War, so-called “Big Oil” interests were buoyed by the profits of capitalism in Asia during the first two decades of the twentieth century. John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil, in particular, had an expansionist fever and capitalized on mechanized society’s thirst for inexpensive fuel sources as automobile production began to boom. Following the lead of Great Britain, Germany, the Dutch and Japanese, Shanghai’s growing international community in the 1920s included salaried businessmen, profiteers and mercenaries alike from the U.S. in the ranks of expatriates pursuing a living in China.
Unlimited cheap labor quickly fed the American investment and mass production mills, service firms and banks built up the contingent. Postal authorities established in 1919 a colonial office to meet increasing demand and a series of regular U.S. postage stamps was overprinted at a 1:2 rate to facilitate outgoing American mail from the port of Shanghai.
Sent as a police force to protect United States citizens and infrastructure during the Chinese Revolution, President Calvin Coolidge dispatched the U.S. Marines Third Brigade by ship from San Diego in 1927. The majority of the “leathernecks” were quartered in Tientsen in northern China and were partered with the U.S. Army’s 15th Infantry Regiment to protect the American Embassy in Peking.
United States policy at the time viewed Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist Kuomintang (KMT) Party with suspicion as a communist-aligned rebel movement, but later would recognize Chiang as he mobilized organized criminal groups with great blood-letting to undermine the Chinese Communist Party at Shanghai, on the central coast.
The Fourth Marine Regiment, a unit within the 3rd Brigade, was assigned to set up barracks in Shanghai while the U.S. Navy plyed the large inland waterways of the Yantze and Yellow Valleys, attempting to enforce a fragile stalemate between Chiang and the government warlords.
One of the most lionized figures in U.S. Marine Corps history, Brigadier General Smedley Darlington Butler, would command the 3rd Brigade Marines from 1927-1929. Butler was atwice awarded the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps Medal of Honor for personal heroism and leadership under fire — the first award in Peking, China during the so-called “Boxer Rebellion” of 1900 and again in 1914 at Veracruz, Mexico, the storied “Halls of Montezuma.” Famously, he went on record refusing to accept the second award, citing he was not deservant.
Although the larger implications would seemingly be ignored, Shanghai duty of the 1930s was to provide front-row seating to Imperial Japan’s bold escalation of land and resource acquisition. As observers only, members of the 4th Regiment would lament they were “the Marines that wouldn’t fight.”
The mood was much lighter however within the social circles of the International Community’s residents. Indeed, Shanghai kept the traditions of the Roaring ’20s alive and had developed a reputation for the highest levels of cultural sophistication, albeit segregated against the host Chinese, as well as a no-holds-barred center for decadence and vice; a bottle of Johnny Walker Scotch would ring up for 97 cents “Mexican” and top-shelf gin at only 62 cents.
The “Horse Marines,” (a patrol and parade reference dating back to the first U.S. military campaigns overseas), with spare time and pocket change, produced their own light-hearted commemoration of expeditionary duty. The Soochow River borders the old International Community and is, in fact, a simultaneous open sewage and irrigation canal. The central device on the Soochow Creek Medal is a farmer and his “honey wagon!” The reverse design embellishes all recipients for heroism in the fictional “Battle of Soochow Creek.”
As the Great Depression settled over much of the world, enterprising American mobsters cast their lot in Shanghai and elsewhere as law enforcement in the United States was making gains on organized crime. Asian operating rules tended to be looser and the local citizenry more inclined to turn a blind eye.
One such character entered the scene, assuming the name E.T. (“Jack”) Riley and prepared numerous brass tokens for use in his slot machine game rooms and nightclubs. The author was interested in pursuing a potential family connection but learned Riley was in fact an escaped convict from Oklahoma named Becker. Becker had enlisted in the U.S. Navy under an assumed name and jumped ship when opportunity presented itself in Shanghai. As Riley, he quickly established himself as a gaming boss in the local slot machine trade. The incuse 4th Marine’s Club (sic) tokens (Cunningham CH-10 and CH-20) are considered military by association and are attributed as such, but were actually slot machine tokens with Riley’s E.T.R. initials on the reverse and issued by him in the late 1930s.
Several variations of this piece exist; D.D.’s Café tokens are relatively available and as many as two dozen similar, though scarcer, varities exist. D.D.’s Café was a chain of clubs with several locations — apparently all with the same name. For film buffs, a D.D.’s Café was recreated in the opening scenes of the movie Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (set in Shanghai).
Dated Fourth Marines Club tokens of 1939 and 1940 (CH-30) are 5-cent “good for’s” also believed to have been produced for Riley. Becker, or Riley, was eventually exposed and arrested in late 1940. He saw trial in Shanghai’s American Court and was deported back to the United States for prosecution.
The political situation was rapidly declining in the late 1930s for all Western presence in China as the Japanese military violently overwhelmed many areas of the country. Shanghai itself fell in 1937, but the International Settlement officially remained “neutral” to the fighting. The U.S. Marine Corps garrison in Shanghai, after being a largely silent witness to the gathering storm, struck camp and shipped out for Cavite and Olongapo in the Philippines in late November, 1941 — mere days before the first Japanese bombs would fall in Hawaii. Most of these “China Marines” who departed Shanghai that fateful November would have to face surrender and worse in Japanese prison camps by Spring, 1942. Others who had transferred out earlier would go on to distinguish themselves in action across the Pacific Theater of War.
A curious token issue of great speculation from this period is the Tong K. Wing series. These pieces are enigmatic as they are rarely encountered in China but are seen with some regularity in the U.S., prompting some to label them as fantasies. The backward “K” seen on the one (dollar) trade piece is viewed as a particularly attractive “hook” to lure in the erstwhile exonumismatist. Veteran hobbyists, however, point out that these tokens sold for only 25 cents or so in the 1960s U.S. coin market, hardly a profitable item to “fake.” Another theory speculates they originated from a U.S. token maker in late 1941 — produced too late to ship to China when war came. A hoard of as many as 200 Tong K. Wing pieces came to light in Australia in the 1980s, perhaps brought there by a returning soldier or sailor as souveniers of World War II service.
Japan’s designs of a “Co-Prosperity Sphere” that would return Asia to Asian control ironically did occur in many formerly-occupied areas after the War. Shanghai would not see an “open” status, or any sizeable expatriate presence, for a generation and a glamorous era of high style and oppulance had come to an end.
Official China today struggles to validate the foreign interludes of the past, but the history in our hands, the token issues of pre-war Shanghai, provide a fascinating glimpse of one city’s glamour and ruin. The best of times, the worst of times.
References and Acknowledgements:
My Into to Grading U.S. Coins class consisted of two instructors, one a PCGS Grader and the other a coin dealer from the Colorado area. My class was packed with 25 students including me; there were 5 Young Numismatists (YNs) and 20 adults ranging in age from 25 to 75. A few of my classmates from last year were in my class this year, and it was great to meet so many more people.
My first day there we took a pretest on grading professionally graded coins from NGC. I tied for the highest pre-test grade with a whopping 8 correct out of 25. This pretest grade did not impress me one bit, though I was elated to have the highest score. The rest of our first day was spent taking notes on some of the EXTREMELY basic, to me, ways in which to grade coins (i.e. distinguishing a Mint State coin from a Proof coin, or distinguishing weakly struck coins from well struck coins that are slightly worn). That afternoon I went to a coin shop a couple of blocks away, Hallenbeck Coins, and bought an 1846 Seated quarter graded VF-20 by them. Looking at the coin, I knew it was atleast a VF-30 and that the date was doubled. My $41 purchase turned into a $120+ coin. That was my only coin purchase the whole week.
Day two of my class consisted of individually looking at coins, writing down what grade I thought they were, and recording it with or without a description on why I graded the coin the way I did. For the most part, I wrote a small reasoniong as to why I graded each coin the way I did. I believe we went over 73 coins that day and all were in either 24 or 25 coin increments. They went easy on us that first day and gave us 45 seconds to grade each coin. I used that time wisely to look at all the details of each coin I was given and I pretty much depended on my 8x magnifier. For that first day I got 37 of 73 correct (51%) and I was 52 of 73 coins (71%) either correct or one grade off. After each batch each of the instrucors went over what they thought the graded coins would grade. Obviously, each coin’s grade was blocked by some tape to keep us from cheating.
Day 3 was the same except more coins and less time to grade each. In the morning we did some more individual grading with only 30 seconds per coin for 25 coins. I again grew less dependent on my magnifier and graded more on look than on micro-grading (finding the smallest imperfections and making them the biggest problems). In the afternoon, the instuctors split the class up into groups of either 4 or 5 people to do what is called group grading; we did this the entire day. Again, we were given 24 coins to look at, each person recorded what they thought the coin was graded and at the end of each set of four coins we would come up with a consensus as to what we would all grade each coin. In all, we graded 48 coins as a group and individually everyone graded 123 coins. Our group’s stats that day were 24 of 48 correct (50%) and 34 of 48 (71%) within one grade. My individual stats that day improved quite a bit; I was 74 for 123 (60%) correct and 96 of 123 (78%) within one grade. I was quite pleased with how I had improved this day, and even more so when I graded 20 of 24 (83.3%) on one set of coins correctly, 2 coins being off by one grade. My instuctors were blown away by this stat.
My final day in class we did more coin grading in our groups. We had to come up with a coin grading service name for our group and we decided to call it KAGS (Kick-Ass Grading Service). We went through four sets of 24 coins to grade, this time with a little more variance in the types of coins we were to grade, but not by much. Here’s how we did in our group for each set.
|Set 1)||13 of 24 correct with another 7 coins within one grade|
|Set 2)||13 of 24 correct with another 5 coins within one grade|
|Set 3)||12 of 24 correct with another 8 coins within one grade|
|Set 4)||12 of 24 correct with another 8 coins within one grade|
Overall we, as a group, graded 52% correctly and 81% within one grade. We were second overall in the class for grades correctly attributed. The first place team set a new record of 75% correctly graded. We got SMOKED.
We then went on to take our final test in the afternoon. This time it went back to individual grading of coins and only 30 seconds for each coin. I seldom used my loupe and only needed it when I was between grades or had more time. On the final I scored the third highest in the class with 19 of 25 correct, beatend by a 21/25 and a 20/25. Not too shabby I would say. I think 4th best was 16/25 and so on. Individually for that day I was 86 for 121 (71%) correctly graded and 106 of 121 (88%) within one grade.
I believe these stats speak for themselves as to why I thought the class was more basic than what I had anticipated. I believe I can grade between 65 and 75% of all coins successfully, and be within one point for 80-90% of the coins I look at.
Outside of class I went to that coin shop, ate some so-so food in the cafeteria, played a lot of pool, met some interesting and amazing people, and pretty much just talked coins the entire time. The YN auction raised over $13,500 for next year’s scholarship recipients.
My visit to the ANA Library, Museum and Book Sale resulted in my purchasing two old books: a 1938 U.S. Coin mintage guide book and a 1979 Book on U.S. Pattern coins. I searched the library for references on the rarity of some of my error and variety coins, of which I have several tougher to find coins and one coin that is an unlisted variety. And I visited the museum to gawk at some of the rarest U.S. coins. I took many pictures and once I find out how to upload and email them, I will.
The weather held up, for the most part. It was warm and sunny all the days except for one, when it rained in the afternoon and there was even a tornado warning.
The Carl Wolf Roast story began a few years ago after several CCC members mentioned that “we should do something special for Carl.” These suggestions sparked the germ of an idea for some type of celebration or get together to honor our “club catalyst” Carl. The preliminary idea of a dinner get-together or some such event was discussed with Mark Wieclaw, Drew Michyeta and Bill Burd to name just a few and all were positive about the idea of doing something to honor Carl. The idea lay dormant for quite sometime until January 2007 when I decided it was time to take action and make things happen this year. A number of people were contacted and the nucleus of a committee was formed. One person mentioned that Carl had been heard to say that he was the person or “lynch pin” responsible for getting all of the special CCC events organized and off the ground. This led us to the conclusion of how great it would be if we could pull off a big surprise party in Carl’s honor under his very nose without him knowing a thing about it.
Our initial plan was to have a surprise dinner Saturday night to coincide with the CICF show at Rosemont. Initial contacts and rough plans were made with Carl’s wife Jennie to work out some of the particulars. Unfortunately we discovered that no restaurants with private rooms were available for the CICF Saturday date and many of the key people we wanted to attend had previous engagements. A hasty regrouping followed and a decision was made to reschedule the event for Saturday June 23rd during the Mid-America show. A volunteer committee consisting of Bill Burd, Lyle Daly, Elliott Krieter, Bob Leonard, Drew Michyeta, Jeff Rosinia, and Steve Zitowsky was formed to begin planning for the event in earnest.
The first planning meeting was held at Connie’s Pizza on Archer Avenue at which time we decided the dinner event would be a good natured Roast to gently poke fun at Carl, sort of like the “big brother you love to hate.” Our initial priority was to locate a restaurant with a private party room convenient to the Stephens Convention Center on River Road in Rosemont that had decent food and within our price range of approximately $35 per person. Many area restaurants were called, visited and sampled. Bill Burd and I had a dinner at Giannotti’s Italian Steak House on River Road, our final choice for the event and were impressed by the cuisine, service, parking and amenities of their private room which was available June 23rd. Plans were drawn up for the “secret mailings” to be done announcing the roast to the membership and other interested parties. Announcements were laid out, invitations were printed and Bill Burd offered to handle the mailing to potential attendees. Plans for follow up mailings were made and these were also carried out by Bill. Lots of planning and discussions were being held between the formal meetings with lots of phone calls and e-mails between the roast members.
Several more meetings at Connie’s Pizza followed and the Carl Wolf Roast planning took off in earnest; one could almost say that it “took on a life of its own,” something the Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin Rat Pack would have been proud of. The committee enjoyed getting together at Connie’s and enjoyed Bill’s generous donation of an appetizer tray each time. Jennie became our co-conspirator and was able to supply early family photos and more current ones of the roastee. Lyle Daly had the idea of a comprehensive Power Point presentation to be shown during the dinner Roast which would weave in photos, cartoons, quotes and various humorous tid-bits. The final Power Point presentation was suitable for a Hollywood production.
A gag gift idea was discussed at length with consideration given to stuffed Moose heads, stuffed wolves and similar outrageous gifts. However commonsense prevailed and the committee was unanimous in agreeing about a giant Yap Stone to be fabricated out of Styrofoam by Elliott Krieter. Bob Leonard’s research and formal reading of the story to obtain the Yap stone and bring it to Chicago was enjoyed by all. Elliott also procured and produced the giant banner which was mounted on the wall and signed by all in attendance at the roast.
A great deal of time was spent discussing an appropriate life time achievement award plaque to honor Carl and his many years of hard work contributing to the Club’s success. We selected a large 11” X 14” white marble plaque with the club’s silver Janus medals (which Carl helped design) mounted on the bottom. Steve Zitowsky contributed not only immeasurably to the planning meetings but also financially and was the procurement officer in charge of obtaining the above referenced Janus medals and other matters of subterfuge.
Cliff Mishler, former CEO of Krause Publishing, was recruited by Bob Leonard to lure Carl to a free dinner after the Saturday Mid-America show to discuss a fictitious planned fall coin show for the Chicago area.
Mark Wieclaw supplied much hard work, ideas and photos of the event and read Carl tributes from people who could not attend.
|Amos Advantage||Chicago Coin Company|
|Numismatic News||Harlan J. Berk, Ltd.|
|Date:||August 15, 2007|
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:||Marc Stackler - Coinage from the Mexican War of Independence, 1810-1821|
Father Miguel Hidalgo initiated an insurrection against Spain on September 16, 1810. Independence was finally achieved in 1821 by General Agustin de Iturbide who became Mexico’s first emperor. When the war began the Mexico City Mint was the only mint in what is modern-day Mexico, but as insurgents began to cut the roads royalists were forced to open provincial branch mints to meet the needs of commerce. Insurgent forces issued their own coins which begin to show images reflecting a genuine Mexican culture. Marc Stackler has collected a wide range of Mexican coins for over 10 years and is a student of Mexican history. Join Marc as he tells the story of Mexican independence through their coinage and explains the significance of Mexico’s passage from a colony into an independent nation.
|August||8-12||ANA in Milwaukee - 116th Annual Convention - our regular monthly meeting is postponed one week to avoid a scheduling conflict|
|August||15||CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - Marc Stackler on Coinage from the Mexican War of Independence, 1810-1821|
|September||12||CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - Dennis Ciechna on National Banknotes & Memorabilia from the Lawndale National Bank|
|September||7||James M. McMenamin||1975|
|September||18||Michael M. Dolnick||1952|
|September||19||Russell F. Wajda||2000|
|September||21||Kerry K. Wetterstrom||1999|
|September||24||Michael A. Pesha||1979|
|September||26||Dennis P. Ciechna||1999|
|September||29||Gordon R. Donnell||1999|
All correspondence pertaining to Club matters
should be addressed to the Secretary and mailed to:
CHICAGO COIN CLUB
P.O. Box 2301
CHICAGO, IL 60690
|Robert Feiler||- President|
|Jeff Rosinia||- First Vice President|
|Lyle Daly||- Second Vice President|
|William Burd||- Archivist|
|Other positions held are:|
|Carl Wolf||- Secretary|
|Steve Zitowsky||- Treasurer|
|Paul Hybert||- Chatter Editor|
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