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Volume 55 No. 9 September 2009

Prepare for Club Auction

The club auction is scheduled for the regular November club meeting; the auction will start at about 7PM, after the business session concludes. In the past few years, club related material (and Chicago area numismatic items) have had the best results.

Please consider using the club auction to dispose of the numismatic items you no longer need. Details will appear in the October Chatter, but it should follow the pattern from recent years.

Minutes of the 1088th Meeting

The 1088th meeting of the Chicago Coin Club was held August 12, 2009 in the Chicago Bar Association Building, 321 S. Plymouth Court, Downtown Chicago. President Jeffrey Rosinia called the meeting to order at 6:45 PM with 26 members and 2 guests, Ivan and Teresa Thompson, in attendance.

The July Minutes printed in the Chatter were approved as published. Treasurer Steve Zitowsky reported July receipts $662.00, expenses $539.70 and total income $122.30, leaving total assets of $15,955.58 which is in Life Memberships $2,390.00 and Members’ Equity $13,565.58.

Following the second reading of Doug Lightner’s application for membership a motion was passed accepting him into membership. Ivan Thompson’s application for junior membership received a first reading. The Treasurer announced 2009 membership dues were not received from Jared Irish and John Vander Weit. A motion was passed to drop them from the rolls. A motion was passed authorizing Steve Zitowsky to arrange December 9th Holiday Banquet reservations and make a deposit at Marcello’s Restaurant, 645 W. North Ave., Chicago, IL.

President Rosinia asked for the members to stand for a moment of silence in memory of Don Valenziano. It was also announced that member Clifford Mishler was recently elected ANA President and member Tom DeLorey was the recipient of the ANA Numismatist of the Year Award.

First V.P. Lyle Daly introduced the featured speaker Robert Feiler, who delivered a presentation Odd Denomination Currency. Following the program, Daly presented Feiler with an ANA Educational Certificate and engraved Club speaker’s medal. Daly also presented a certificate and engraved medal to Bill Burd for taking part on a panel discussion at the June 10th meeting.

Lyle Daly introduced the evening’s 16 exhibitors. DAVID GUMM: 1928 $20 U.S. gold certificate. EUGENE FREEMAN: 3 Mexican coins and an Indian 2-paisa 1949/4 date. JASON FREEMAN: Polish coin commemorating soccer with embedded amber. GERARD ANASZEWICZ: 4 & 1 daler Swedish plate money. DONALD DOOL: Mecklenburg-Schwerin penning, Lincoln commemorative cent & kipper era coinage. IVAN THOMPSON: Grand Cayman dollar. ROBERT LEONARD: 3 bronze & 3 gold coins of William II, Norman, Sicily. RICHARD LIPMAN: elongated CCC Fall Festival cents, Israeli medal & passage from a Cat-in-the-Hat book dealing with money. MARK WIECLAW: 2008 1-oz. silver rounds honoring Obama’s election, a 10-oz. palladium bar & an ashtray made from Peruvian silver coins. MARC STACKLER: 2 Mexican coins from Toluca. ZOUJUN DAI: 4 international coins. ROBERT WEINSTEIN: a note & medal commemorating the King of Thailand’s 60th birthday & 3 coins from Indo-Scythian kings. WILLIAM BURD: Robert Eidlitz’s book Medals & Medallions Relating to Architects. CARL WOLF: framed 1914 check from E.S. Wells Pharmaceutical Company. ROBERT FEILER: 7 pieces of U.S. obsolete currency. MARC RICARD: 1945-46 price list from Stack’s.

Adjournment was at 9:00 PM with the next meeting to be held at 6:45 PM on Wednesday September 9.

Respectfully Submitted,
Carl Wolf, Secretary

Speaker’s Wor[l]d
Economics, History & Money in Judea & Early Christianity

presented by David Hendin
to our April 25, 2009 banquet meeting

Those expecting a short talk to conclude our 90th anniversary banquet were disappointed. David can talk and talk in his areas of interest; there was nervous laughter following the encouraging, “We have this room until midnight” shout from the audience. He attributes his collecting spirit to his father, a physician in St. Louis and a collector of everything. The following is but a sampling of David’s program.

Primary sources are few but available; they include the Old and New Testaments. the most overlooked source is the coins — we can read a coin like others can read a book. Gold and silver rings were an early store of value, being valued by weight. Very small pieces of chopped-up silver was another form; pieces were mixed and matched until the desired weight was achieved. An Egyptian relief depicts bronze weights in a range of shapes, including cows, lions, and frogs; David have some of these types of weights in his collection. A weight could be in any shape — one like a cup cake is inscribed in Phoenician with “Shekel of” and a town’s name.

The weight standards varied from town to twon, and region to region. Judean shekel weights are known for 1, 2, 4, and 8 shekels, where one shekel equals 11.4 grams. The weights were not made solely of bronze; other materials included lead and stone. Scales and weights continued to be used for many centuries after the introduction of coins; a sixth century Byzantine Christian scale weight has Greek markings and a “thanks to God” inscription, invoking the name of god to imply fairness.

David mentioned many features of the coinage struck in the Holy Land, some of which will be briefly noted here. A drachm (quarter of a shekel) issued by the Persian satrapy of Judea bears the inscription Yahud. The image of a bearded man on a winged chariot. Small pure silver pieces of about 8 mm in diameter and about 0.5 grams in weight; 24 of them equal in weight to one shekel. The early Yahud pieces were patterned after the Athenian tetradrachms, the “silver dollar” of the ancient world. Graven images on coins went in and out of fashion over the centuries. David also mentioned some of the good guys and bad guys from the Persian period to the Hellenistic, including bad guy Antiochus IV and good guy Judah Maccabee. Herod the Great ruled after the Maccabees; he had many buildings built including the temple, his family’s tomb, and a number of palaces.

The first coin struck in Jerusalem by a Jewish king was a co-issue with the Persian king Antiochus VII. Design elements included a pomegranate seed, a laurel wreath, and an anchor. One method of making bronze coins used a chalk stone mold. Some issues used Greek and Hebrew legends, with the ruler called a king on the Greek side but a priest on the Hebrew side. Coins of Herod, a client king of Rome, used only Greek legends. The temple dues of ½ shekel per Jewish male per year were paid in the good silver shekels of Tyre. Judea and Galilee were poor and used small, rough coin; the good Tyrean silver coins were not commonly used, so they were obtained from money changers. Jesus was upset with the money changers for their loud and boisterous way of conducting business — it was a bazaar, after all.

David briefly mentioned the sons of Herod who ruled, and concluded with coins of the Bar Kochba rebellion. These coins have the earliest known representation of the facade of Herod’s temple. David considers one of the small hoards discovered there to be the earliest collection of Jewish coins. It contains some coins of Antoninus Pius, Hadrian’s successor, so the hoard can be dated to after Hadrian defeated Bar Kochba. Bar Kochba coins were declared invalid after his defeat, but yet they appear in this hoard along with Roman silver denarii and gold aureii. There is one Jewish bronze coin from each year of the Bar Kochba war. All Bar Kochba coins are struck on Roman coins; one hoard coin was struck on a Judea Capta coin. David cannot help but wonder if the collector included that coin on purpose.

Speaker’s Wor[l]d
Toned Coins

presented by A. Ron Sirna
to our June 27, 2009 meeting

Ron likes beautifully toned coins, and he is not alone.. Like minded collectors have formed a club named the Toned Coin Collectors Society, with a web site at

Ron does not recommend cleaning coins — do not do it if you do not know what you are doing. If you really want to clean, the best way to learn is: buy 90% silver coins as bullion, and experiment. Most silver toning results from sulfer, turning the coin black over time. Most copper toning results from oxygen, turning the coin brown over time. A cleaned copper coin will typically be an unnaturally bright red, nothing like the original mint red color.

Many storage methods have resulted in toned coins. The toning look might give a hint as to what caused it. The Wayte raymond (or National) coin boards were common up through the 1950s, followed by albums; their sulfer content results in toning that “grows” inward, from the rim towards the center. Coins stored in a paper roll would have bright and shiny surfaces except for the rims, and the each end coin would have one side toned. Only paper flips were available, no plastic yet. Morgan dollar toning is a long story.

Most high grade coins available now to collectors were never released into circulation; the US Treasury bagged them, 1,000 of them to a canvas bag, and kept them in vaults. For inventories and audits, just the bags were counted. The bags were available to the public who redeemed silver certificates. In the 1960s and 1970s, you could not sell tarnished coins. The solution: soak them in diluted acid to make bright white, and then rinse with water. Ron said that the equipment was similar to the wire baskets used at restaurants to cook french fries in oil. Improperly rinsed coins would have spots.

Why are there different colors of toning? Ron tried to briefly explain Thin Film Interference. Cosider a thin film of oil on top of water; the wavelength of the reflected light is related to the thickness of the oil, so that varying colors indicate indicate a varying thickness to the oil film. To everyone’s great relief, Ron wisely avoided delving into the math. The same physics applies for any tarnish layer that forms on metal. Heat accelerates the process, as when taking a blow torch to a copper plate.

Not all toning is “natural”, however that term is understood. It can be accelerated with heat or the presence of added materials; a number of pages of Sheldon’s Penny Whimsy work on large cents goes into ways of trying to retone cleaned copper coins. It is almost impossible to return cleaned copper to a nice brown.

Why tone a coin? Typically to hide blemishes and fine scratches. A type of vicious circle: a coin was cleaned because the owner did not like the toning, fine scratches were introduced during a rough cleaning process, so now the coin will be retoned to hide the fine scratches. Or maybe the gentlest of cleaning revealed scratches that were hidden by the toning. The cleanings mentioned in this talk described chemical reactions with the metal of the coin; it does not refer to the removal of foreign substances that are merely “on” the coin.

Artificial toning and natural toning. It is very hard to tell the difference from a picture; there are just too many photo editors out there. And a beautiful coin can take an ugly picture. Album toning is easy to replicate — just put the coin into an album and heat.

Although a sharp edge to an area of toning might indicate doctoring, it could result naturally. Ron showed some coins that had been covered by parts of other coins during storage, resulting in crescents and untoned circles. The “white shadow” on the outside of a star on a bust half was mentioned; it appears that metal hardening (or some other effect) arising from metal flow slows the toning rate.

Ron has seen many red/brown copper coins in slabs that say red; he suspects that the insert is the cause. He feels strongly that toning within a slab does occurr with copper. After his talk, he was at the club’s table on the bourse floor to show his toned coins and to look at toned coins brought to the show.

Speaker’s Wor[l]d
Odd Denomination Currency

presented by Robert Feiler
to our August 12, 2009 meeting

Bob started by mentioning that the closest thing to an authoritative reference in this area is by Roger Durand; unfortunately it is out of print. Bob handed out copies of some of its pages; detailing types of paper used as money, as well as relative rarity ratings for about 80 denominations from 1 mill (one-thousandth of a dollar) to $100,000.

Our modern daily transactions are conducted with six different coinage denominations: 1¢, 5¢, 10¢, 25¢, 50¢, and very occasionally the newer Presidential dollar coins. The seven different currency denominations are: $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 bills. The brief answer to the question, “Why do we have the crazy denominations?” is, “Out of necessity.”

Bob reviewed how different needs were satisfied during different periods of the nation’s history. Certain foreign monies were legal tender throughout the U.S. until Congress ended their legal tender status in 1857. At that time, the Mint accepted any Spanish or Mexican coins at the rate of 25¢, 12½¢, and 6¼¢ for 2, 1 and half-reales coins, regardless of wear. (Therefore, we should not be surprised that private notes appeared in denominations of 12½¢, and 6¼¢.) In the early days, the same thing happened on a local scale around some immigrant communities, where the money from their country of origin was used in daily commerce. Where the British shilling, worth about 16¢ US, was common, one might also find notes with a 16¢ denomination.

Of the shown items, the 100¢ note raised the most questions. Originally intended as a $100 note, it only had the 100, without the dollar sign, when it was printed; it was never issued in that form. Paper in the mid 19th century was commonly reused if the need was great; when a one dollar note was needed, these pieces were overprinted in red with the word CENTS below the 100, and ONE DOLLAR elsewhere.

The current $500 and $1,000 bills started to be withdrawn from circulation in the early 1960s due to concerns over drug trafficking and illegal money laundering. These large denomination bills are still legal tender and are available through coin and currency dealers for a premium over their face value. In the era before Electronic Fund Transfers, large denomination bills such as the $2,000, $3,000, $5,000, $10,000 and $100,000 bills made transactions between banks easier.

The U.S. government issued, at one time or another, 18 denominations of coins and 17 denominations of paper money. These 35 denominations were all thought necessary at their time of issue. About one hundred recorded non-government issued denominations of paper money were in use at one time or another from 1780 to around 1920. It is an even greater number if you include Colonial currency and local issuers of merchant scrip.

Private businesses, banks, railroads, insurance companies and others would select vignettes pertaining to their locale or special interests. These images might include agriculture, horses, dogs, children, nature, manufacturing, allegorical or patriotic figures, or even Santa Claus. Laws governing the issue of paper currency were either vague or non-existent. Merchants issued thousands of types of scrip. If a shop keeper had a particular need for a certain denomination to make change and specie was scarce, he would have the denomination printed.

Banks and private issuers in the east were usually considered more stable and their currency was fairly well accepted but eventually, as they failed, all bank notes became suspect. The notes were discounted more heavily the farther they travelled from the location of issue. Merchant scrip was suspect even though it typically did not circulate very far from the issuer.

The challenge of collecting odd denominations lies in how many different denominations can be acquired; it is complete whenever you want to go no farther. A collection like this is never really complete because new notes and denominations are still being reported. After acquiring about fifty notes, adding a new denominationit will be a challenge. You need a little luck and a lot of patience, and be in the right place at the right time.

Bob concluded by quickly showing some of the more than 80 denominations in his collection that has been assembled over 20 years.

Donald Valenziano, Jr.

Donald Valenziano, Jr. suddenly passed away August 1 from complications after hip surgery.

He was member 947 and joined the Chicago Coin Club April 1982. Don served as Editor of the Chatter 1984-88 and regularly attended meetings until moving to Long Island, NY in 1988. He moved to Houston, Texas in 2000 then returned to Chicago 3 years ago.

Don collected 1893 Columbian Exposition medals and U.S. half cents by die variety. Following employment in the rent-a-car industry, Don became a full-time coin dealer in 1986. He was a common feature at coin shows and sold on E-Bay.

Don was born April 27, 1952 in Omaha, Nebraska. The family moved to Minneapolis-St. Paul to be near the Shriner’s Hospital where Don received treatment for cerebral palsy. Don’s father was a coin collector and commonly searched coin rolls looking for additions to his collection. Don grew curious, began to help and was soon hooked. He graduated from North St. Paul High School where he met Shirley, his future wife. He went on to graduate from Mankato State College.

Don had an outgoing personality and enjoyed the social interaction at coin club meetings and coin shows. He valued friendships and family. When his niece Patty tragically lost her parents, Don and Shirley took her into their home and gave her the love and support of a daughter.

Don was an officer in the Early American Copper club, a past-president of the Morton Grove Coin Club, held memberships in American Numismatic Association, American Numismatic Society, Central States Numismatic Society, Colonial Coin Club, Illinois Numismatic Association, Michigan State Numismatic Society and Houston Coin Club

Don is survived by Shirley, his wife of 36 years, daughter Patty Fagan, two grandchildren, his parents, 4 sisters and a brother who returned from National Guard deployment in Iraq to attend the funeral.

The visitation and funeral were held at the Kurtz Memorial Chapel and St. Jude’s Catholic Church, both of New Lenox, Illinois.

Respectfully Submitted,
Carl Wolf, Secretary

ANA Trip Reports

John Riley reports:
Sadly, during the trip to the ANA show in Los Angeles I was not approached by movie agents to star in the next Hollywood blockbuster nor mistaken at any point for Tom Cruise. So I put the best face on things and had a great time manning a table for the Philippine Collectors Group and helping coordinate their annual meeting on Friday, August 7. With some luck, a talk I gave on the great Manila Bay silver dump of WWII (to avoid enemy capture) will soon make its way into print in one of the coin periodicals.

Our group held a small dinner afterwards at “The Pantry,” a nearby diner that has been in operation at 9th and Figueroa Streets since 1927. Shortly after arriving, Chet Krause and Cliff Mishler took an adjacent table and we enjoyed including them in on our conversation. Particularly since Cliff is a member of the CCC, I had been looking for him to congratulate him on his election to the ANA presidency and I wanted to give him a stickered half-dollar from 1979 that I had recently come across. I was aware that Cliff collected these and thought this might be the most modern example encountered. Cliff was gracious and assured me it was not — they apparently still serve in many places today as advertising pieces.

I considered it a great show as usual due to the fellowship of my particular society, the new “converts” met, bumping into a few CCC members (including Numismatist of the Year Tom DeLorey — yeah!) and a lively bourse. There will, however, doubtless be complaints about the show for many reasons: 1. central downtown Los Angeles is not considered a safe by area residents. I don’t recall being warned so frequently about not wearing the badge off the floor, walking alone, not going out after dark, etc. 2. The current state of the economy had an adverse effect on sales to collectors and dealers alike — there was disappointment in a smaller corps of bourse dealers, and 3. Attendence was further compromised by a (new) $6 fee for non-members to enter. The Los Angeles Times ran a small article about the show in the Friday morning edition that read to me as a “gripe” about sharp-eyed dealers profiteering from the poor attendee who has to fight traffic, pay to park, etc. just to get to the show. There was no similar article about the good people paying to park and attend the Jonas Brothers concert next door at Staples Center! Waaah.

Suppose it is all in the eye of the beholder. I for one will certainly be back to the show!

Paul Hybert reports:
Amtrak was to arrive at 8:15 in downtown LA, giving me plenty of time to get to the convention center for the 10 AM start of PNG Day; I finally entered at 1 PM. My first time in California started nicely — Amtrak arrived so early that I took the subway to my hotel and was at the convention center by the train’s schedlued arrival time! Time to grab a program and make my plans. Where are the programs? Oh, they are the middle pages of the 13th issue of The Numismatist this year. A 9 AM seminar on counterfeit coins from China sounds interesting — get some details, think about it, and then register and pay with a few minutes to spare. My best decision of the show.

Beth Deishler’s two sessions (Tuesday morning and Wednesday afternoon) on counterfeits started with the poor stuff, similar to what Tom DeLorey had shown at the September, 2008 ILNA show: bad design, bad size, bad weight, and bad metal. We saw better quality as the class progressed, and the last exercise involved six Morgan dollars: five recently arrived from China and one real, all of good metal, size, and weight. One or two in the class knew the diagnostics for the 1894, 1893-S, 1889-CC, and 1879-CC; most of us just grasped for clues among the strike, scratches, and look. We failed. David Sundman and David Bowers dropped by to try the exercise. Their smiles and nervous joking stopped when handed the pieces, and they quickly asked for glasses. After they identified the good coin, they talked about sending their staff to the next class. Next summer at Summer Seminar? Too long of a wait. How about offering it next month at the show in Philadelphia?

The bourse activity was subdued but steady; the dealers seemed resigned to slow business as a reflection of the weak economy. Only a few clunkers amid the talks and club meetings; there is nothing like an engaging speaker sharing knowledge with an attentive audience. The biggest disappointment was the lack of used book sellers; only John Burns was listed in the program, but he cancelled due to illness. Between the meetings, finally visited all the bourse tables and exhibit area. Revisited a few tables repeatedly while working on purchases, and visited Bob Leonard at the ANS table to exchange stories and kick around ideas for ANA 2011 in Chicago. I saw two of the Mint Reports I need in a case at Fred Weinberg’s table; only a few dealers exhibit material at their tables, so these are not for sale. But wait, these are duplicates, so ... not sure what happened ... but I still need those reports. Have to get out more, and work on my social skills, before the next ANA in Boston.

This big-city boy had no problems in LA, even on some of my circuitous paths to the convention center. Usually I did not go out at night, being too busy reviewing that day’s actions and planning for the next day. During one evening munchy run on the streets of LA, I walked up behind Bob Leonard and his wife without surprising them. Or did I? Where are the other trip reports?

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Show and Tell

Items shown at our August 12, 2009 meeting.

  1. David Gumm showed a US $20 gold certificate, from the 1928 series.
  2. Eugene Freeman started with some pieces from Mexican revolutions:
  3. Jason Freeman showed a recent gift: a 2002 10 zloty coin from Poland. A drop of amber is embedded at the center of each side of this sport-themed piece.
  4. Gerard Anaszewicz showed two copper pieces:
  5. Don Dool started with the three “rail splitter” Lincoln Cents he received in change today. The main exhibit was his 53-piece set of kipper era coins that he has been assembling. Before he passed around the set, he showed us the latest addition: a 1622 3 pfennig from Mecklenburg Schwerin, issued by Adolf Frederick.
  6. Ivan Thompson showed a one Grand Cayman dollar note. This was one of five pieces found while snorkeling at the island; they and a cigar were in the pocket of some trousers on the ocean floor!
  7. Robert Leonard showed late 12th century pieces from Norman Sicily, acquired at the ANA convention:
  8. Richard Lipman showed a range of items:
  9. Mark Wieclaw has accumulated many Canadian quarters over the years. What to do with them? Take $125 of them on a trip to Canada for a canoe outing; spent mostly in Tim Hortons (a coffee shop chain) along the way. He exhibited:
  10. Marc Stackler showed pieces from Toluca, a state of Mexico (around Mexico City):
  11. Zoujun Dai showed a range of pieces:
  12. Robert Weinstein showed a range of items:
  13. Bill Burd showed a large, unusual-sized book, Medals & Medallions Relating to Archtects by Robert James Eidlitz; copy 6 of 150 copies, and one of 10 special bound in morocco for presentation. This 1927 book has 190 pages with 125 plates describing 1145 pieces. Eidlitz’ firm built the New York Federal Reserve building and the New York Stock Exchange building. Most pieces are from the author’s own collection, which was donated to the ANS.
  14. Carl Wolf showed a display built around an illustrated check from E.S Wells, issued on August 20, 1914 by his trustee, about a year after his death. The company produced Toilet, Pharmaceutical, and Household Specialties; maybe the best known was a product named “ Rough on Rats”. The advertising text and images were definitely from another era — it is absolutely amazing what information people have put on the Internet!
  15. To complement his featured presentation, Bob Feiler showed obsolete notes with a range of interesting vignettes, legends, or markings: There are many ways to collect this material!
  16. Marc Ricard showed a 1945-1946 FPL (fixed price list) from Stack’s. In addition to prices, this hardbound item has photos of: And of course, look at those coin prices!

Our 1089th Meeting

Date:September 9, 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:Curtis Clay — The Sun God Elagabalus on the Roman Coins of the Emperor Elagabalus

Important Dates

September 9 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - Curtis Clay on The Sun God Elagabalus on the Roman Coins of the Emperor Elagabalus
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

October 1 Ron Sirna 2008
October 13 Bernard L. Schwartz 1986
October 14 Joel J. Reznick 1981
October 14 Warren G. Schultz
October 17 Margo Russell
October 17 Joseph Boling 2006
October 31 Bruce Bartelt 2008

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

Contacting Your Editor / 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.
If you would like to receive an email link to the latest issue 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.