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Volume 53 No. 2 February 2007

Minutes of the 1057th Meeting

The 1057th meeting of the Chicago Coin Club was called to order by President Robert Feiler at 7:00 PM in the 6th floor conference room, Dearborn Center, 131 S. Dearborn. In attendance were 22 members and 2 guests, Kurt Hyde and John Whitfield.

The December Minutes were approved as published in the Chatter. Treasurer Steve Zitowsky reported November-December revenue of $3,503.10, expenses $2,026.71 and income $1.476.39. He also reported 2006 calendar year revenue of $7,082.78, expenses $4,053.19, income $3.029.59 and total assets $12,013.01. The reports were approved as read and Lyle Daly volunteered to audit the annual report.

A motion was passed to nominate club members Joseph Boling, Don Dool, and Wendell Wolka for the 2007 ANA Board of Governors. The membership application of John R. Whitfield, Anderson, SC received first reading.

The featured speaker of the evening was Richard Hall on the subject U.S. Liberty Head 20 Dollar Gold Coins. The program included a history of the California Gold Rush, the establishment of the San Francisco Branch Mint, and the shipwrecks that held many Type 1 coins. The ships covered included the S.S. Yankee Blade, S.S. Central America, S.S. Brother Jonathan, and the S.S. Republic. Using digital images, Rich showed a chart with the levels of rarity, dates and mintmarks, and images of master hub varieties, plus other major and interesting rarities. Rich created and presented in handout form Type 1 Coin Values Price Trends 2003-2007.

Exhibitors for the evening were: MARK WIECLAW – a 2006 $50 gold buffalo used a pocket piece, commemorative half dollar pulled from a 90% silver bag, and a Hadrian (117-138 AD) cistophorus tetradrachm of Ephesus over struck on an Augustus tetradrachm; JOHN CONNELLY – a review of a variety of modern commemorative coins that included the 2006 Silver Buffalo, 2005 Chief Justice John Marshall, 2006 Benjamin Franklin Scientist, and 2006 Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary; RICH HALL – a severely corroded 25-cent silver coin from the S.S. Central America, and a ceramic inkwell from the S.S. Republic; ROBERT D. LEONARD, JR. – compared 2 large copper coins (247-146 B.C.) of the Ptolemaic Kingdom with 2 much smaller copper coins (277-164 B.C.) from the Seleucid Kingdom; JASON FREEMAN – 2007 1-oz. silver Australian coin showing the lunar boar; ROBERT WEINSTEIN – plated counterfeit drachm of Indo-Greek Antialkidas, plated counterfeit drachm of Indo-Scyth King Maves, plated counterfeit half stater of Lydia, bronze copies of denarius coin from Septimus Severus and Faustina, plus a barbarous silver denarius of Faustina/Antonius Pius; EUGENE FREEMAN – political upheaval in Portugal shown on an undated (1799-1816) 80-reis, 1812 400-reis, 1814 1-macuta from Angola, 1813R XL-reis and 1817R 960-reis from Brazil, an undated (1828-34) 1-tanga from the City of Goa in Portuguese India, and 1821 400-reis from Saint Thomas & Prince; ROBERT FEILER – 3 Costa Rican 10-colones coins in different metals, 7 Costa Rican coins, all with different denominations from 2-100 colones, a 13-coin U.S. type set for half cent through 50-cents, and an update on the coins salvaged from the S.S. Republic shipwreck; WINSTON ZACK – 1795 Flowing Hair half dollar certified by ANACS; ROBERT KULYS – 3 Austrian 1780 Maria Theresa silver thalers 1930 5-pengo from Hungary, 1933 20-frances from France, 1946 25,000-Lei from Romania; DON DOOL – bimetallic copper/gold bimetallic coin from 6th century Axum, 1539 pfennig from Hesse-Wimpfen, a 1622 6-pfennig from Dulmen in Westphalia, 1-kreuzer Weissenburg am Sand; JEFF ROSINIA – circulated coins and currency from the Bahamas, 1971 Bahamian coin set in official holder, and an elongated Bahamian cent with a Saint Thomas imprint; LYLE DALY – 1837 Feuchtwanger Cent presented to U.S. Congress but never approved, 3 medals from the Boston Latin School and engraved to William Joseph Dunn in 1941, ’42 and ’43, the book Rome by M. Rosoutzeff.

John Whitfield, Anderson, SC showed a 1925 Stone Mountain commemorative half-dollar. He explained you’re not a coin collector in the south unless you own a Stone Mountain half-dollar. Whitfield read a letter from the President of the Anderson Area Coin Club and told that with the presentation of this coin to the Chicago Coin Club from the Anderson club, Chicago collectors are now coin collectors in the south as well. President Feiler accepted the gift on behalf of the Club and reciprocated by presenting the Anderson club a set of 10 different CPMX souvenir cards featuring the image and history of Chicago banknotes.

Old and new business was abbreviated with no motions made.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:30 PM.

Respectfully Submitted,
Carl Wolf, Secretary

Letter to the CCC

Anderson Area Coin Club
Anderson, South Carolina

January 10, 2007

The Chicago Coin Club, founded in 1919, is a club with a long and honorable history. The Anderson Area Coin Club is a newly formed club with a great interest in numismatics. We hope our club can learn much from the Chicago Coin Club.

Our club would like to present to the Chicago Coin Club a coin that we hope you will enjoy. In presenting this commemorative half dollar to your club, there is a short story about this coin.

Back home, we have a saying about that of being a coin collector in the south. That is, “you cannot become a coin collector unless you have a Stone Mountain half dollar in your collection.” It does not matter as to the condition of the coin as long as you have at least one Stone Mountain. Many of our coin club collectors try to have at least one Stone Mountain half dollar in their collection. This custom makes for good conversation and fellowship among our coin collecting friends.

With this in mind, we would like to present to the Chicago Coin Club members from the Anderson Area Coin Club, a 1925 Stone Mountain commemorative half dollar. You are now coin collectors in the south as well. We hope that this can be the beginning of a long and lasting friendship with your club. We greatly respect the Chicago Coin Club with its long history of being in existence. The knowledge in numismatics that your club has accumulated over the years can never be duplicated.

W. Thomas Burriss
Anderson Area Coin Club

Speaker’s Wor[l]d
U.S. Liberty Head 20 Dollar Gold Coins

by Rich Hall
Presented to our January 10, 2007 meeting.

Member Rich Hall began his presentation with a description of the three basic types of U.S. 20 dollar gold pieces. These are distinguished by their reverse design:

It was in March of 1849 that Congress authorized the mint to produce $1 and $20 coins. The Double Eagle was authorized to convert the riches of the California gold fields into coinage for the nation. The discovery of gold in Sutter’s Mill precipitated the California Gold Rush. Rich relayed that Sutter was a successful businessman in California but a fugitive from Switzerland. Sutter was a successful land speculator who wished to keep the news of gold under wraps. Sam Brennan is attributed as the first source of the news and word spread rapidly. Soon San Francisco was abandoned by those seeking their fortune in the gold fields of California. Soldiers deserted, ships were abandoned due to lack of crew. Many ships were left with cargo unloaded. Some ships were converted to residences.

James Polk confirmed to the nation in his speech to Congress of December 5, 1848 that there were indeed vast riches in the Sierra Nevada and Northern California Gold Fields. The nation was told of his speech by the newspapers of the day. The Star and Banner of Gettysburg dubbed the discovery “The New El Dorado.” Fortune seekers traveled by land across the nation, by sea to Panama for a land crossing and by sea again, and finally by sea around Cape Horn (Tierra del Fuego).

At the end of the war with Mexico a huge tract of land was ceded to the US by Mexico and in 1850 California was granted statehood. The new senator from California, seeking to promote the wealth of his state, proposed to Congress $100 and $10,000 gold coins. To address the influx of gold and convert it to coinage, Congress approved the San Francisco mint on June 3, 1852 but it would not begin production until 1854. An assay office for New York was also approved on March 4, 1853.

Rich noted that no discussion of California gold is complete without mentioning shipwrecks:

The SS Yankee Blade hit a reef and sank on October 1, 1854 and was discovered in 1977. $154,000 of face value was on board and recovered. The provenance of these coins is questionable. All coins were believed to have been $20 1854s and are identified by appearance.

The SS Central America was lost in a hurricane on September 12, 1857. On board were over $400,000 in face value of coins bars and nuggets. Most coins were dated 1857s. These articles were conserved, slabbed and marketed in 2000. The loss of the Central America is a contributing factor in the Panic of 1857 by depriving the East coast of gold reserves to redeem bank notes. This resulted in a bank holiday referred to as “Suspension Day”.

The SS Brother Jonathan sank on July 30, 1865. Most coins recovered were from, but not limited to, 1863, 1864 and 1865 from the San Francisco mint. There were few survivors. A will was found encased in oil cloth on the body of a victim that recounted the event. Also on the ship was William Logan, recently appointed Superintendent of the U.S. Mint in The Dalles, Oregon. Mr. Logan was to oversee the construction of the mint which was never completed.

The SS Republic sank on October 25, 1865. The ship was carrying coins of various dates in both silver and gold, and supplies intended to fund and assist the reconstruction of New Orleans after the civil war.

Gold coins recovered from these wrecks are in a remarkable state of preservation. This is attributed to the limestone formations in the area of the Central America. And in the case of the Brother Jonathan, many items were encased in oil cloths and Marine encrustations.

Rich discussed the major varieties of the $20 Liberty coin, mentioning the following:

1849 Pattern in the Smithsonian 1 known
1854S Proof also in the Smithsonian 1 known
1861 Paquet reverse 2 known
1854O & 1856O less than 30 each known
1855O, 1859O &1860O less than 100 each known
1861S Paquet less than 100 known
1853/2 Overdate less than 200 known
1854 Large Date less than 200 known
1861O Last of New Orleans mint Type 1s less than 200 known
1866S No Motto less than 200 known
1859S Doubled-Die Obverse Quantity surviving unknown

Rich closed his presentation by citing the curiosity that contemporary counterfeiters cut $20 coins in half, hollowing them out to “harvest” the gold, and filling and resealing the halves with platinum which was inexpensive at the time. This prompted the director of the mint to suggest eliminating the $20 coins in 1867.

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Our 1058th Meeting

Date:February 14, 2007
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:Paul Robertz - Distinguishing Fine Differences of Lower Grade Coins

Paul Robertz is a serious student of grading for many years and will cover the fine points of the lower grades. Although collectors are told to buy coins in as high a grade as they can afford, they still hold more lower-grade coins in their collections than Mint State grades. This is particularly true with collections of early American coinage. Robertz will use Barber coinage and Liberty Head nickels to illustrate the different degrees of wear and characteristics that assign a grade to a coin.

Important Dates

February 14 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - Paul Robertz on Distinguishing Fine Differences of Lower Grade Coins
March 9-11 12th Annual Chicago Paper Money Expo (CPMX) at the Crown Plaza Chicago O’Hare, 5440 North River Road, Rosemont, IL. Admission is $5 for Friday and Saturday; free on Sunday.
March 10 CCC Meeting - 1pm at the Chicago Paper Money Expo, which is held at the Crown Plaza Chicago O’Hare, 5440 North River Road, Rosemont, IL. No admission charge for our meeting.
Featured Speaker - Clifford Mishler & Chester Krause on Wisconsin Paper Money
March 14 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - David Baeckelandt on Chicago Financial Firsts
April 11 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - to be announced
April 27-29 30th Annual Chicago International Coin Fair (CICF) at the Crown Plaza Chicago O’Hare, 5440 North River Road, Rosemont, IL. Admission is $5 for Friday and Saturday; free on Sunday.
April 28 CCC Meeting - 1pm at the Chicago International Coin Fair (CICF), which is held at the Crown Plaza Chicago O’Hare, 5440 North River Road, Rosemont, IL. No admission charge for our meeting.
Featured Speaker - Chuck Jacobs on One Yen Silver Pieces & Trade Dollars, 1870-1914

Birthday and Year Joined

March 7 Bruno Rzepka 1968
March 16 Michael Brodsky 1991
March 19 Charles Ricard 1963
March 29 Nancy Wilson 1984
March 31 Andrew E. Michyeta III 1984

Chatter Matter

All correspondence pertaining to Club matters should be addressed to the Secretary and mailed to:

P.O. Box 2301

Club Officers

Robert Feiler- President
Jeff Rosinia- First Vice President
Lyle Daly- Second Vice President
William Burd- Archivist
Directors:Eugene Freeman
Elliot Krieter
Carl Wolf
Mark Wieclaw
Other positions held are:
Carl Wolf- Secretary
Steve Zitowsky- Treasurer
Paul Hybert- Chatter Editor

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