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Volume 53 No. 6 June 2007

Minutes of the 1061st Meeting

May 9, 2007

The 1061st meeting of the Chicago Coin Club was called to order by President Robert Feiler at 7 PM in the 6th floor conference room, Dearborn Center, 131 S. Dearborn. In attendance were 18 members and 1 guest, Robert Slobins, Newark, DE.

The April Minutes were approved as published in the Chatter. Treasurer Steve Zitowsky reported April revenue of $366.00, expenses of $888.69 and a balance of $11,143.35. The largest expense was $542.00 to convert video tapes of senior members in 1989 to DVD. A motion was made and passed to accept the report. Following the second readings of the membership applications Marc Stackler, Jared Irish, Eric Schmidt and Kevin Foley motions were made and passed to accept them into the Club. The application of Robert B. Slobins received first reading.

The featured speaker was Robert Wallace who delivered a presentation on Archaic Silver Coinages of the Thracian Tribes, 550-480 B.C. After a question and answer period, President Feiler presented Robert with an ANA Educational Certificate and an engraved Club medal.

Exhibitors for the evening were: MARK WIECLAW a 1984 $10 Olympic commemorative coin in card holder, denarius with brockage of Caracalla (210-217 BC), an electrum stater from the Cyzicus mint (440-415 BC), a fourré denarius of Caracalla and a fourré of Alexander the Great; ROBERT WEINSTEIN 9 coins from the Kushan Kingdom and the CCC medal of merit for M. Vernon Sheldon (1956); ROBERT FEILER 5 ancient coins; STEVE ZITOWSKY 3 coins from Katanga issued in 1961, 4 coins from Biafra issued in 1969 and 2 shipboard tokens issued in 1930s for Nederland Stoomvaart Maatschappij; STEVE HUBER 8 coin purchases from the CICF; PHIL CARRIGAN a Canadian bronze medal issued in 1896 honoring T.J. Tiffin; ERIC SCHMIDT 10 coins found over years in change or searching through rolls including gold-plated 1964 Kennedy half dollar, 1989 off center Lincoln cent, clipped Lincoln cent, 1905 Indian cent and 1991-S Kennedy half dollar; ROBERT SLOBINS Austrian 5-schilling Madonna coin set from 1934, ’35 and ’36; LYLE DALY 4 bronze ancient Roman coins.

Members stood for a moment of silence in memory of Charles J. Ryant, a past-president 1975-76. Lyle Daly announced the floor where the meeting is currently held will be converted for another use and the conference room will no longer be available within two months. This led to a discussion on availability of sites at the Federal Reserve Bank and the Chicago Temple Building.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:10 PM

Respectfully Submitted,
Carl F. Wolf, Secretary

Speaker’s Wor[l]d
Archaic Silver Coinages of the Thracian Tribes, ca. 550-480 B.C.

A presentation by Robert Wallace
to our May 9, 2007 meeting.

For approximately 70 years during the early development of coinage, the largest and most beatutiful coins came not from one of the powerful empires but from Thrace. After setting the economic and geo-political stage, showing coinage examples from the region, and reviewing some theories on the Thracian coinage, Robert Wallace gave us his thoughts on the reason for these spectacular coins.

Most of ancient Thrace now is in Bulgaria and Macedonia; although most of its coastline was on the Black Sea, its Aegean coast was separated from the rest of Thrace by mountains. In the sixth and seventh centuries B.C., settling Greeks pushed Thracians out of the coastal Aegean area; the Thracians did not want to become Greek. Although Homer praised Thracian wine and craftsmen, most Greeks regarded Thracians as drunken brigands.

The towns of the Greek coastal areas accepted Greek coins and issued their own coins in small denominations, such as the trihemiobol of the late fifth century and a Gorgon Head piece that Robert showed us. The Persians invaded the coastal areas on their way to Greece proper, but the Thracians kept the upper reaches of the major river valleys; that was fortuitous because that was where the rich silver deposits were located. Robert showed coins from a range of Thracian tribes, including:

The tribes that issued these did not issue smaller denomination coins. With an agrarian economy that did not need even small coins, many have wondered, “why were such large coins issued?” The Persian control of northern Greece, during 514-479 BC, resulted in tribute payments to the Persians. Some believe that large silver coins would be a natural method of paying tribute, and they would use the 29.63 gram octodrachm of the Greek Aegean coastal city of Abdera (530-500 BC) as supporting evidence. However, such a large coin was not issued by any other Greek city. The silver paid in tribute was most likely as bullion; aside from a part in Asia Minor, the Persian empire did not use coins. Robert showed a 5.53 gram siglos (485-420 BC) from the Achaemenid Empire of Darius I to Xerxes II.

Since the Persians did not use coins, and would probably just melt any coins into bullion, why would anyone take the time and effort to create impressive coins that would only be destroyed? Although a piece from Akanthos (500-483 BC) features the Persian motif of a tiger attacking a bull, hoard evidence shows that some pieces were struck after the Persians had been expelled. Also, some of the major issuers of large coins did not have to pay tribute to the Persians.

Fabulous silver and gold Thracian vases and other objects start appearing in hoards that date from after 450 BC. Robert uses that to support his theory that the large, artistic sliver coins were a type of fad; and there might have been some one-upmanship at work, with the Thracians telling the Greeks, “You might have invented coinage, but your puny coins cannot compare to our beautiful coins.” After the large-coin fad had run its course, the next fad was the spectacular Thracian vases, now in many museums, that were found in hoards.

Robert suggested that a 16.5 gram tetradrachm from Thasos (148 BC) represented a possible revival of the fad, but the poor style is merely a bad imitation of the original. The originals typically were the diameter of (at least) a U.S. half dollar but were much thicker.

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Show and Tell

Items shown at our May 9, 2007 meeting.

  1. Mark Wieclaw has seen many Olympic coins from the U.S. in the hard plastic government packaging, but, until this appeared in the shop, he had never seen an Olympic coin in the cardboard holder available only at the Olympics. Then Mark showed some ancient coins:
  2. Bob Weinstein showed coins of the first three kings of the ancient Kushan empire of Central Asia:
  3. To complement the featured speaker’s talk, Bob Feiler brought an assortment of ancient coins:
  4. Steve Zitowsky showed some pieces that were not issued by recognized governments:
  5. Steve Huber briefly summarized some CICF acqisitions bfore passing them around on a tray. The wide range of pieces included:
  6. Phil Carrigan showed an 1896 medal acquired from Stack’s January George Gund III collection auction and including a pedigree to the Norweb collection. This Canadian medal features H.J. Tiffin and was issued for the Civic Library Inauguration. The reverse shows Chateua de Ramezay and the legend includes Museum and Library 1705-1896.
  7. Eric Schmidt showed some circulation finds:
  8. Robert Slobins showed three 5 shilling Madonna pieces from Austria dated 1934, 1935, and 1936. After taking control of Austria the Nazis demonitized this series and melted them for silver, accounting for the rarity of the 1936 piece.
  9. Lyle Daly showed a range of pieces:

Our 1062nd Meeting

Date:June 13, 2007, 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:Mike Gasvoda - The Propaganda Coinage of Augustus, 27 BC 14 AD

Mike Gasvoda is a respected collector of ancient Roman coinage and has put together a new presentation dealing Roman Emperor Augustus and his propaganda coinage. Those who attend this meeting will hear how Augustus dominated Roman politics through coins that promoted his name, his titles and honors, his divine right to rule, his military victories, buildings and temples he held sacred, etc. This propaganda was so effective it influenced coinage designs for centuries. Members will come away with an insight into this watershed period of Imperial Roman coinage.

Date:June 23, 2007, Second session
Time:11:00 AM
Location: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:Paul A. Cunningham - U.S. Military Tokens: Civil War Current

Military tokens have existed for as long as armies gathered and fought. With each war the primary use of tokens evolved. During the Civil War, military tokens purchased food, but by the time of the Viet Nam War, soldiers used tokens for gambling. Paul Cunningham is the leading authority on military tokens and authored three books on exonumia including the two-volume Military Tokens of the U.S., published in 1998.

Important Dates

June 13 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - Mike Gasvoda on The Propaganda Coinage of Augustus, 27 BC 14 AD
June 22-24 MidAmerica Coin Expo at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, 5555 North River Road, Rosemont, IL. Admission is $5.
June 23 CCC Meeting - 11am 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 - Paul A. Cunningham on U.S. Military Tokens: Civil War Current
July 11 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - John Riley on Pre-World War II Token Issues from Shanghai

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 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

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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