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Volume 55 No. 8 August 2009

Editor’s Notes

Something new! We will start our monthly meetings at 6:45 pm with the business conducted first, to be followed by the featured speaker at 7:00, and then the exhibits.

Will anyone submit a trip report about ANA in Los Angeles? Things fell into place for me this last week, so I bought tickets and found a room just two weeks before the show starts. The three official hotels were sold out, but $80 rooms were still available about five blocks from the convention center. With this economy, new or remodeled boutique hotels are offering some great deals — at least that is the optimist’s explanation of $80 hotel rooms in downtown LA. Check next month’s issue to see if I am still an optimist. Also look for the overdue writeups on the past presentations by David Hendin and Ron Sirna — a 43 hour train ride each way should provide enough time to turn pages of notes into finished articles.

Paul Hybert

Minutes of the 1087th Meeting

The 1087th meeting of the Chicago Coin Club was held July 8, 2009 in the Chicago Bar Association Building, 321 S. Plymouth Court, Downtown Chicago. President Jeffrey Rosinia called the meeting to order at 7 PM with 20 members and 1 guest, Doug Lightner, in attendance.

The June Minutes printed in the Chatter were approved as published. Treasurer Steve Zitowsky reported June receipts $546.00, expenses $194.07 and total income $351.93, leaving total assets of $15,833.28 which is in Life Memberships $2,390.00 and Members’ Equity $13,433.28.

Following the second reading of the applications for membership of Robert Greenstein, Robert Wheelhouse and Tom Wettstaedt, motions were passed accepting them into membership. Doug Lightner’s application for membership received a first reading.

A report was delivered on the success of the Club’s meeting at the MidAmerica Coin Expo with Ron Sirna’s program Toning on Coins. Eugene Freeman announced that Jason Freeman, Club YN member, earned his Eagle Scout badge, the highest rank attainable by the Boy Scouts of America. An announcement was made on behalf of member Winston Zack who is taking a survey on U.S. three cent silver coinage.

First V.P. Lyle Daly introduced the featured speaker, Steve Feller, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, who delivered a presentation The Most Curious Dr. John Leonard Riddell of New Orleans. Following a question and answer period, Daly presented Feller with an ANA Educational Certificate and engraved Club speaker’s medal. Daly also presented certificates and engraved medals to Mark Wieclaw and Robert Feiler for their role on a panel discussion at the June 10th meeting.

President Rosinia reported on the June 24th meeting of the Board of Governors. He raised the subject of exhibits and reminded members to be brief. Following a discussion on the Board’s recommendation to issue a new speaker and Cabeen award medal, a motion was passed to order a 2” X 1-3/8” bronze medal modeled after the Lincoln medal issued for the recently observed 90th Anniversary at a cost of $580 tooling, 110 @ $6.50 each, +$3.50 each for gold or silver plate, plus freight. In an effort to accommodate longer meetings, it was decided to begin meetings at 6:45 PM starting in August.

Second V.P. Elliot Krieter introduced the evening’s 13 exhibitors. DAVID GUMM: 1843 U.S. Large Cent N2-N7. ROBERT FEILER: 1893 toned Columbian Expo half dollar. STEVE FELLER: J.L. Riddell postage cover and scrip. PHILIP CARRIGAN: 1959 CCC medal of merit awarded to Ernest Jonas. DONALD DOOL: South American patacons, a tramway token and a 1590 duit from Colemburg. EUGENE FREEMAN: Finnish 10-pennias of 1865 & 1917 and Ugandan shilling. PAUL HYBERT: 1835 Mint Report. CARL WOLF: framed Prosser trade beads. LYLE DALY: 5 ancient coins. ROBERT LEONARD: a gold 1/10 fanam from Vijaynagar Empire. MARC STACKLER: 2 Sinaloa sand-cast pesos, circa. 1913. MARK WIECLAW: “tribute pennies” of Tiberius (14-37 AD), Netherlands guilden cut-out, a double-struck and off-center Kennedy half dollar, ¼ gold eagle coins used for employee recognition by Cinemark, and a large print Red Book. ANDY PLIOPLYS: story of Chicago’s suburban Palwaukee Airport logo on paper money honoring Lithuania’s millennium.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:45 PM with the next meeting to be held at 6:45 PM on Wednesday August 12th.

Respectfully Submitted,
Carl Wolf, Secretary

Speaker’s Wor[l]d
The Most Curious Dr. John Leonard Riddell of New Orleans

presented by Steve Feller
to our July 8, 2009 meeting

Maybe scoundrel is the best word to describe John Leonard Riddell, 1807-1865. He did everything a human being can do — both good and bad. Steve started the program by showing some of the material in his article in the January, 2009 The Numismatist, following that with images and quotes while telling us about Riddell’s time in New Orleans.

Riddell received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in 1829 and 1832 from Rensselaer School in Troy, New York. A medical degree followed in 1834 from Ohio Reformed Medical College. Following his botanical explorations of Texas, he was appointed melter and refiner of the New Orleans Mint in 1839 by President Martin Van Buren. After some accidents and mishaps, he was able to produce silver bars acceptable by the coiner; his efforts with gold were less successful. He had conflicts with other mint employees, but in 1845 he published the useful book Monograph of the Silver Dollar, Good and Bad, Illustrated with Facsimile Figures. The silver dollars were mostly South American 8 reales, of which many good types as well as counterfeits were then encountered; the images of good and bad coins were the highlight of this book from the days before photography. In 1847, his article The Mint at New Orleans — Processes Pursued of Working the Precious Metals — Statistics of Coinage, etc. appeared in DeBow’s Review. By late 1848, he was fired by the Secretary of the Treasury.

Skipping ahead to 1860, President Buchanan appointed riddell as the U.S. Postmaster for New Orleans. He remained in charge of the New Orleans post office even after the southern states started secceeding in early 1862. After the agreement to maintain postal service between North and South expired on June 1, 1861, Riddell was the first to produce what are now known as Southern Postmaster Provisionals. Steve showed a number of pictures of the two cent and five cent stamps alone, used on cover, and even a reconstructed sheet of 40 five cent stamps. Riddell almost lost his position a few times, but, for one reason or another, the people appointed by the Confederate government never arrived in New Orleans. Some of his public disagreements are known from exchanges of letters in the local papers. He was removed when Union forces moved into New Orleans in 1862.

While he was postmaster, he was tied to some numismatic events. He was present when the four Confederate half dollars were minted in the New Orleans Mint; he even obtained one of them. And the post office issued scrip in 16 denominations of ½, 1, 2, 5, 10, 12, 15, 20, 24, 25, 48, and 50 cents, as well as for 1, 2, 4, and 5 dollars. No one knows why so many, or those particular denominations. Many of the shown used examples have JL RIDDELL stamped on them as Post Master, and some have the signature of his daughter, L L Riddell, as the Postage Clerk.

Riddell claimed to have been elected governor of Louisiana in 1863; although sworn in, the military governor remained and Congress eventually rejected his claim. He declared himself a Union man and, until his death in 1865, called seccession a big mistake. He collapsed at a newspaper while rebutting an earlier pro-Confederate letter, and he died a few days later. Steve concluded with a picture of Riddell’s headstone in Metairie Cemetery, New Orleans.

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Show and Tell

Items shown at our July 8, 2009 meeting.

  1. David Gumm showed the latest addition to his collection of the N1 large cent variety from each year. This is a tough variety for 1843 — there is no such thing. So Dave decided upon the N2 variety, which is also the N7 variety! The differences between early and late die state pieces were significant enough to confuse Newcomb into concluding they were of two separate die varieties. The “N” numbers are for Newcomb, whose reference book built upon the variety descriptions and numbering of Andrews; the varieties identified by Andrews and confirmed by Newcomb would have the same number in both systems. The N14 variety might have been the Andrews #1 variety.
  2. Inspired by Ron Sirna’s presentation on toned coins at our meeting at the recent MidAmerica show, Bob Feiler showed a beautifully toned 1893 Columbian Expo half dollar. What he does not like is how the toning hides a multitude of sins, including some gouges. The obverse has an untoned circle where a dime-sized object had lain upon it.
  3. Steve Feller showed some examples of Riddell items mentioned in his presentation:
  4. At a Baltimore coin show last month, Phil Carrigan acquired a CCC medal from an auction by Presidential Coin & Antique (Joe Levine). This silver Medal of Merit has Ernest Jonas 1959 engraved on the reverse; he was charter member #18 of our club. First awarded in 1955, the obverse is the same as currently used except examples now are in bronze.
  5. Inspired by California’s recently issued warrants, Don Dool started with similar items from Argentina:
  6. Eugene Freeman showed some recent acquisitions:
  7. Paul Hybert showed an 1835 US Mint Report that included brief reports on the progress of the three branch mints; the reports from New Orleans included two fold-out maps. The map of the city named only a few streets and located only three notable sites, one of which was Jackson Square, the area for the mint building. The other map was a detail of that Square, and it also shows the dimensioned foundation of the mint building. The original report from the Secretary of the Treasury went to President Jackson, who forwarded it to Congress; this disbound report is from an 1836 book of Congressional documents. The back of one map has the stamp of the Concord Free Public Library.
  8. Carl Wolf showed framed prosser trade beads. First developed by the Prosser brothers in England in the 1830s, these pear-shaped beads have a seam and were made from different colors of clay. Produced in France from 1860 onward, they were popular because the color went all the way through, making their attractiveness impervious to scuffs and light damage.
  9. Lyle Daly showed some ancient coins he has cleaned:
  10. At the recent MidAmerica show, Robert Leonard found a coin he had been seeking for 50 years. He started by showing his motivation — an article from a Savings and Loan magazine from 1951. The article on Curious Currency showed such things as a Katanga cross, a Yap stone, and ... the smallest coin in the world, a tiny gold piece from Travancore that weighed only one grain. Bob’s coin, a one-tenth fanam from the Vijaynagar Empire, dates from about 1382 and is from the coastal area of modern India. How small is it? The piece is so small, it barely covered Liberty’s cheek when placed on a Mercury dime. There is no room on it for even an inscription; so the feeling is that they were used by weight, in bulk.
  11. Marc Stackler showed two Sinaloa sand-cast pesos, circa 1913 during the Mexican Revolution. These were used to pay troops and buy supplies, and were made with local silver mine output. Sand casts were made using real coins that are identifiable to type: After a later assay detected gold in the coins, many were melted.
  12. Mark Wieclaw showed a range of items:
  13. Andy Plioplys mentioned that this year is the millenium of the first written reference to Lithuania, found in the log of a traveller who was passing through. He then showed the 15th edition of Krause’s World Paper Money covering the years 1961 to the present. The cover shows part of a 10 litu banknote featuring Stephen Darius and Stanley Girenas. Their attempt at flying from New York to Kaunus, the capital of Lithuania, in 1933 ended with their fatal crash in Germany, just 404 miles short of their destination. Their images were first used on stamps in 1933, and appeared on currency after the recent independence. On large, clear images, the badge on their cap has a vertical and a horizontal bar in which the words PALATINE and MILWAUKEE appear. The pair had practiced and trained at Palwaukee Airport which is located northwest of Chicago, at the intersection of Palatine and Milwaukee Roads.

Our 1088th Meeting

Date:August 12, 2009
Time:6:45 PM
Location:Downtown Chicago
At the Chicago Bar Association, 321 S. Plymouth Court, 3rd floor meeting room. Please remember the security measures at our meeting building: everyone must show their photo-ID and register at the guard’s desk. A few blocks west of the CBA building is the Ceres Restaurant (enter the Board of Trade building from Jackson at LaSalle, then enter the restaurant from the lobby) with standard sandwiches, burgers, and salads for members who want to meet for dinner.
Featured speaker:to be announced

Important Dates

August 12 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - to be announced
September 9 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - to be announced
September 17-19 ILNA convention at the Tinley Park Convention Center, 18501 S. Harlem Ave., Tinley Park, IL 60477. Details at
October 14 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - to be announced

Birthday and Year Joined

September 2 John Wilson 1984
September 7 James M. McMenamin 1975
September 18 Michael M. Dolnick 1952
September 18 Gregory Gajda 1999
September 19 Russell F. Wajda 2000
September 20 Winston Zack 2005
September 21 Kerry K. Wetterstrom 1999
September 24 Michael A. Pesha 1979
September 26 Dennis P. Ciechna 1999
September 29 Gordon R. Donnell 1999
September 29 Marc Charles Ricard 2009

Chatter Matter

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

P.O. Box 2301

Club Officers

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

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