Archive available at
Volume 59 No. 7 July 2013

1 Month until ANA in Chicago

I just received my 2013 convention bar in the mail. With only a little more than one month until the start of the ANA convention, the time for big planning is over — all that remains is the implementation. I hope you will attend and enjoy all that is offered. If you see something that could be improved, tell one of the club officers so that we can fix it. Remember, ANA will be meeting here in August through 2015 — it will meet in Anaheim in 2016.

Minutes of the 1134th Meeting

The 1134th meeting of the Chicago Coin Club was held June 12, 2013 in the Chicago Bar Association Building, 321 S. Plymouth Court, Downtown Chicago. President Elliott Krieter called the meeting to order at 6:45 PM with an attendance of 18 members and 1 guest, Mike Radojcic.

A motion was passed to accept the May Minutes as published in the Chatter. Treasurer Steve Zitowsky reported with detail May revenue of $740.00, expenses of $2,732.46, and total assets of $20,870.49 held in Life Membership $1,910.00 and member equity $18,960.49. A motion was passed to approve the report.

The death of member John Schroeder was reported and the membership stood for a moment of silence. A motion was passed to drop from the membership the following members for non-payment of dues: David Bynum, Carl Ford, Carmen Cruz Rodriguez, Carmen Noel Rodriguez, Olivia Rodriguez, and Bruno Rzepka.

Following the second reading of membership applications from Mike Radojcic (1217) and Branislav Bajic (1218) a motion was passed to accept them into membership.

A motion was passed for the Secretary to cast the Club’s ballot for the upcoming ANA Election for Club members only: President: Walter Ostromecki, and Governor: Steve D’Ippolito.

Mark Wieclaw, Host Chairman of the 2013 ANA Chicago Convention, announced the next Committee Meeting Wednesday June 19, 2013, 6 pm, Offices of Harlan J. Berk, 77 W. Washington, Suite 1320, Downtown Chicago.

An update with dining menu from the Rosewood Restaurant was given on the joint dinner plans with the New York Numismatic Club, August 13th at the ANA Convention. The cost is $60, plus sales tax and service charge. The Secretary reported the die of the Club logo was on order for the joint commemorative medal.

First VP Rich Lipman introduced the evening’s featured speaker, Alexander Basok, who spoke on Russia’s Copper Coinage System, 1723-1810. After a question and answer period, Rich presented Alex with an ANA Educational Certificate and an engraved Club medal.

Second VP Marc Stackler introduced the evening’s 10 exhibitors. JAMES McMENAMIN: 1 & 2 peso Victory currency from Philippines; JAMES DAVIS: 6 tokens from Palatine, IL; ROBERT WEINSTEIN: 4 copper coins from Indo-Greek & Indo-Scythian kings; STEVE ZITOWSKY: 5 tokens, including 1 from M.M. Royko, 3152 W. Lake Street; ROBERT FEILER: Russian kopeks, ancient Roman, Indo-Sassanian & Indian coinage; MARK WIECLAW: gold aureus of Trajan (116 AD), Bust Half Dollar, and 3 obsolete coin sets from Elm Farm Super Market, Boston; ROBERT LEONARD: 3 pieces hacksilver (circ 800-950 AD) found in Latvia; DALE LUKANICH: 2 cut U.S. Large Cents from 1848; DARREN HOOPER: 7 uncirculated early Lincoln Cents; and RICHARD LIPMAN: 5 pieces of U.S. Currency.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:49 pm.

Respectfully Submitted,
Carl Wolf, Secretary

Speaker’s Wor[l]d
Russia’s Copper Coinage System, 1723-1810

by Alexander Basok,
presented to our June 12, 2013 meeting

We all know how powerful our money, the dollar, is. If you have a pocket full of them, you can survive almost anywhere on this planet. That concept is not new. Ancient Athenian owls, tetradrachms, and smaller denominations were similar currencies that were not only accepted all over the ancient world, but were imitated as well. The same was true of the ancient silver coinage of Alexander the Great. More tetradrachms that are in collections today were struck outside of Macedonia than in. Roman aurei were similarly international with many, what we call today “barbaric” imitations, struck everywhere. A gold ducat first struck by Roger II of Sicily in 1140, but made into an international currency by Venetian Doge Giovanni Dandolo in 1284, is still the same coin of 3.5 grams today as it was hundreds of years ago. Silver thalers of 28 grams, first introduced at the end of the 15th century, became an international currency and were struck all over the world for over 400 years with the same weight and consistent quality.

I mention the weights that remain constant for these coins for a reason — to show stability and consistency. The money I mentioned are all banking money; high denominations intended for international trade. Their stability is easy to explain and accept. Copper based coinage, on the other hand, was all subsidiary coinage to accomodate the needs of local economies: small trade at the farm markets in small towns. There was very little consistency there. To this day, we identify ancient Greek bronze coins by their size. The rates of copper to silver were flexible and reflected the conditions in a given country, from both internal and external influences.

In this presentation, I want to present a unique case where Russian authorities presented a copper coin and its derivatives that remained unchanged for almost 100 years. That statement may not seem obvious to everybody, and I will try to prove its validity.

With no large domestic silver deposits known by the time of Alexei Mikhailovich, who ruled from 1645 to 1676, the country had to rely on imported silver. He was the one who, after unsuccessful attempts to strike his own large size thalers (called roubles) in 1655, counterstamped foreign thalers for use in trade. His attempt to replace silver wire money in circulation with copper ones struck with the same dies failed miserably and resulted in the “Copper Revolt.” However, even though many progressive changes in Russia were really initiated by Alexei, it was his son, Peter the First, who made the difference.

Peter had a great example in front of him — Sweden. Both an enemy and admirer of Sweden and Swedish King Karl XII, he saw a brilliant monetary concept implemented in Sweden. They put internal trade on a copper standard, and kept it permanent. In 1638, Kristina introduced a large copper coin that remained almost the same until 1715 and, if not for the extravagent spending patterns of Karl, it could have survived much longer.

Peter inherited a monetary system of wire money that he passionately hated. He called these coins fleas. He admired everything western and wanted to change his country’s coin production to the western style as well. He bought foreign equipment, brought hired specialists, and introduced machine struck copper coins in 1700. His experiment did not go very smoothly because of the constant need for copper, of continued wars with Sweden, and counterfeiting encouraged by denominations that exceeded the intrinsic value of the copper in the coins. He created a special department in his policing machine to fight counterfeits, and there were many instances when all the coins at the farm market in Moscow were seized and checked, with many withdrawn as counterfeits. Until 1719, all the dates were written in Cyrillic letters.

In 1723 a promising peace with Sweden was signed, and at the same time large deposits of copper ore were found in Siberia. That was the year when a new coin of 20 grams with a denomination of 5 kopeks was introduced. Please note the coin’s weight of 20 grams, because it will be a key element in my argument.

I would like to detour for a moment to describe that coin. It was an innovation in design as well. Not having a high quality moneyer on staff, it was decided to design a coin simple enough for the low skill, often illiterate, workers. There were no master dies made — only the working dies were made. For the center medallion, they used an eagle punch that previously was used on the smallest denomination, the polushka. For the illiterate populous, five dots were punched to indicate the denomination. And on the other side, the cross was cut directly on the dies while the letters were punched individually. There were some minor problems, of course. There are rare coins from 1727 but dated 1721 and 1722, where an illiterate worker, instead of punching the 7 twice, in one case puched the 2 twice and in another case punched the 2 twice.

Now let’s return to the main topic. This very well designed coin had one major flaw: although the denomination was 5 kopeks, it had less than 1 kopek worth of copper in it. Even those who had not thought of making counterfeits before not only started thinking about it, but started actively making them. It was only the enormous cruelty and severity of the punishments that kept everything under some control; some, but far from complete. The Russian Power Machine managed to keep that coin in circulation until 1755, for 32 years!!! We have to aknowledge that they toyed with ideas of change. In 1730 and again in 1735, they struck pattern coins of 1 kopek on the same 20 gram blanks. In 1740 they struck patterns of 2 and 5 kopeks, also on the 20 gram blanks. In 1743 once again they struck a 1 kopek piece. By the year 1755, the disparity between the forced denomination and actaul value was no longer tolerable.

In 1755 they changed the denomination of our coin to 1 kopek. They changed the denomination and its design, but did not change the coin itself. It remained the same coin of 20 grams, and was actually just overstruck with a new design. This most beautiful design on Russian coins survived only for 2 years, until constant wars and the monarch’s extravagent lifestyle put a tighter squeeze on the people. In 1757 the design was changed. Once again, the coin’s design and denomination were changed, but not the coin itself. The 20 gram coin remained intact, but this time a denomination of 2 kopeks was assigned to it.

The plan was far reaching and wise: the 20 gram planchet became 2 kopeks, a multiple at 50 grams became 5 kopeks, and fractions of 10 grams became a kopek, 5 grams became a denga, and 2.5 grams became a polushka. It seems that this logical system should have survived for quite some time, and it actually did until 1810; although it had two short lived, but major detours. In 1762, with the death of Elizabeth, the throne was inherited by Peter III, a big admirer of Prussia, who reversed all of the military achievements of Elizabeth and returned to Prussia the territories conquered by her in the wars, and he doubled all of the denominations of the copper coins: the 2 became a 4, the 5 became a 10, etc. He actually used a system and design that had been considered by Elizabeth, following a proposal by Count Shuvalov in 1760, but rejected. With tremendous effort and expense, with many temporary mints set up, the coins that were in circulation were simply overstruck, without any other change to the host.

Fortunately for Russia, Peter III’s actions and court behavior were too extreme and he was assassinated, believed at the command of his wife, Catherine the Great. She immediately reversed his policies, and struck the coins back to what they were before his experiment, back as far as the denomination was concerned, but not the design. It was her cipher that now appeared on the reverse of the coins. That balance remained until the very last year of Catherine’s life, when the needs of her treasury encouraged her to do the same thing for which she had killed her husband. She overstruck the coins in circulation with doubled denominations.

Most new coins had not even left the mint when she died. Her son, Paul, who had a very hateful relationship with her (and who idealized the image of his father who had been murdered by her), immediately took control of the situation; he seized the coins at the mint, and ordered them to be re-overstruck back into the old design. When he introduced his own design, he did not change the main staple of the system: a 20 gram coin denominated as 2 kopeks. His son, Alexander I, continued the same system, and it was only the changes of the Napoleonic era, with a war inevitably coming to Russia, that forced the Czar to change the system and change it forever.

One popular way of collecting the 20 gram coins today is by overstrikes: it is great to find a coin with two undertypes, and it is fantastic to find a coin with three undertypes.

Current Advertisers

CSNS Convention Chicago Coin Company
CPMX & CICF Harlan J. Berk, Ltd.

Show and Tell

Items shown at our June 12, 2013 meeting,
reported by Marc Stackler

  1. James McMenamin presented 3 Philippine notes:
    1. They were undated, series No. 66 (ca. 1944), printed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.
    2. The denominations were 1 and 2 pesos. Two of them were “short snorters” (signed by servicemen during WWII).
    3. Jim’s father-in-law served in the Philippines during the Second World War. At the time, 2 pesos bought a scoop of ice cream.
  2. Jim Davis showed items from his hometown of Palatine:
    1. Two Palatine National Bank 25TH Anniversary Medals, struck by the Franklin Mint: one silver, one bronze. The reverse is the former seal of the Village of Palatine.
    2. Two E. F. Schmidt tokens: good for 10 cents; good for 25 cents. The 10-cent token is estimated at R6 (rare).
    3. E. H. Haemker “Good for 10 Cents” in trade. Haemker was a moving company, and the token is from the 1930s or 40s.
    4. Rup’s Place “Good for 10 cents” in beer, only. Rup’s was located at 106 W. Chicago Ave. (now Palatine Rd.).
  3. Robert Weinstein talked about 4 square, bronze coins:
    1. King Antialkidas, 140-125 B.C., Indo-Greek. Bob’s is a rare variety of this coin. The spelling of “BASILIOS” (“king” in Greek) uses sigmas that resemble a “C,” what the sigma in Modern Greek looks like only when it is at the end of a word. In the less rare variety each sigma would look more like what represents the summation function in MS Excel.
    2. Two coins of King Telephos. His designs depart from that of Greek coins. His are non-portrait. On the obverse are deities. The obverse on both these coins features Zeus, and on the reverse is a Brahmin sitting before a fire.
    3. King Maues, ca. 100 B.C., Indo-Scythian. The obverse has an unidentified deity with a Scythian-style cap. On the reverse is the “aegis” (shield of Athena).
  4. Steve Zitowsky showed several tokens:
    1. Trade token: ½d, William Till, coin and antiques dealer in London, 1834.
    2. Another trade token: ¼d William Webster, successor to William Till, ca. 1850.
    3. Good for 1.00 in trade, from Schulien’s, “Home of the Goldfish,” 1800 N. Halsted (Chicago). Schulien’s has since moved north of this location.
    4. Good for 10 cents in drinks from the Bell Club Tavern, 2100 N. Halsted. Some might recognize this as the address of the former Café Bernard, sadly RIP, what a gem it was.
    5. Good for 5 cents “drinks only,” M M Royko, 3152 W. Lake St. “M M” is probably the columnist Mike Royko’s father.
  5. Bob Feiler brought several recent finds:
    1. 1765 five kopecks, large copper, Russia.
    2. 1797 2 pence, large copper, England. It had what looked like a counter-punch on the reverse.
    3. Gordian III silver denarius, AD 238-244.
    4. Indo-Sassanian drachm: Chaulukya Paramara, 1050-1150 A.D.
    5. India: Travancore cash coin, 1829-1847.
    6. Pisidia Selge, 2nd-1st Century B.C.
    7. A yet-to-be attributed (perhaps Constantius) bronze minor
  6. Mark Wieclaw presented these items:
    1. Three obsolete coin sets from Elm Farm Supermarkets (Boston area), 1955-1974. The sets were probably assembled in the early 1970s, and afterwards some coins were likely replaced. The coins were meant to be from the 1940s era: steel cent, mercury dime, walking liberty half, etc.
    2. 1839-O US Bust half dollar. These were first minted in New Orleans in 1838. Only in 1838 and 1839 did the mint mark appear on the obverse. The 1838 is quite pricey.
    3. Aureus of Roman emperor Trajan, ca. 116 A.D. On the reverse, Trajan is seen with the kings of Armenia, Parthia, and Mesopotamia. Parthia had recently been defeated, and Rome incorporated some of its territory which included Armenia and Mesopotamia. This coin is of the era where the Roman Empire was at its greatest expansion. Mark also indicated that this coin was part of the Archer-Huntington Collection, sold off by the Hispanic Society of America after years of “permanent loan” to the ANS.
  7. Robert Leonard showed books and coins on money of the Vikings:
    1. The Vikings used other people’s money, preferring silver and valuing it by weight (not denomination).
    2. Bob had 3 pieces of “hacksilver”: cut coins, these being of Arabic origin, ca. 800-950 A.D.
    3. The coins were found with a metal detector in Jeriska (eastern Latvia). They are similar to a hoard found in Scandinavia, and are presumed to be used for trading with the “Greeks” (Byzantium), following a long trade route through northern Russia and Ukraine (“Kievan Rus” back then) to Constantinople.
  8. Dale Lukanich brought two cut coins:
    1. An 1848 US Large Cent, cut in half.
    2. An 1848(?) US Large Cent cut around, by machine, and reduced in size to about that of a flying eagle cent. A very unusual piece and quite a find.
  9. Darren Hooper showed several high-grade Lincoln cents:
    1. 1910-S MS65 RB
    2. 1911-D MS64 RD, 30 percent rotated on the reverse.
    3. 1925-S MS64RB
    4. 1913-D MS65BN from the Laura Lee collection.
    5. 1917-D MS64RB from the Laura Lee collection.
    6. 1924 MS65RD from the Laura Lee collection.
    7. 1928-D MS65RD from the Laura Lee collection. This last one Darren said had been eluding him, and he is very happy to have finally obtained one in so nice condition.
  10. Rich Lipman presented:
    1. $5 US Silver Certificate, series 1896. The vignette dramatizes electricity.
    2. Several current $2 bills with interesting serial numbers, including 02020202.

Minutes of the 2013 Chicago ANA Convention Committee

June 19, 2013

The 11th meeting of the 2013 Chicago ANA Convention Committee was called to order by Host Chairman Mark Wieclaw on Wednesday June 19, 2013 in the offices of Harlan J. Berk, 77 W. Washington, Suite 1320, Downtown Chicago.

The following members were present: Paul Hybert, Steve Zitowsky, William Burd, Harlan Berk, Eugene Freeman, Dale Lukanich, Sharon Blocker, Robert Feiler, Jeff Rosinia, Elliott Krieter, Marc Ricard, Quentin Burrows, and Carl Wolf.

  1. Harlan was given a warm round of applause for hosting the meeting, providing dinner from Reza’s Restaurant, and parking vouchers for those who drove.
  2. Committee Reports:
  3. Restaurant Guide Harlan Berk
  4. Convention Promotion Mark Wieclaw
  5. Smart Phone Apps Paul Hybert
  6. Budget Mark Wieclaw
  7. Special Exhibit on “World’s Fair of Money”
  8. Miscellaneous Mark Wieclaw
  9. Next Meeting, July 17, 2013, 6 pm, offices of Harlan J. Berk, 77 W. Washington, Suite 1320, Downtown Chicago

Meeting adjourned at 6:59 pm.

Respectfully Submitted,
Carl Wolf, Secretary
Chicago Coin Club

Minutes of the Chicago Coin Club Board of Directors

June 26, 2013

The June 26, 2013 meeting of the Chicago Coin Club Board was held at Connie’s Pizza, 2373 South Archer, Chicago, IL.

President Elliott Krieter called the meeting to order at 6:10 pm with the following members present: Bob Feiler, William Burd, Mark Wieclaw, Paul Hybert, Carl Wolf, Steve Zitowsky, Steve Ambos, Jeffrey Rosinia, Rich Lipman, Mark Stackler, and Eugene Freeman.

After discussion the Board passed several motions regarding a proposed joint dinner with the New York Numismatic Club (NYNC) at the August ANA Convention. These were passed realizing that some must also receive the approval of the NYNC.

Mark Wieclaw, Host Chairman of the 2013 Convention, informed the Board of telephone conversations with Rhonda Scurek, ANA Convention Director. After discussion, the Board passed the following motions.

Mark also pointed out that 2014 is the Club’s 95th Anniversary year and everyone agreed a committee should be appointed soon to begin planning.

Steve Zitowsky reported on a telephone conversation with Doug Mudd, ANA Museum Curator, informing him that the CCC would be unable to put together an exhibit on World’s Fair memorabilia for the 2013 event.

A report was given on the educational programs to be delivered at the Illinois Numismatic Association, Sept 13-14, 2013, Tinley Park Convention Center, Tinley Park.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:15 PM.

Carl F. Wolf, Secretary

Our 1135th Meeting

Date:July 10, 2013
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. Nearby parking: South Loop Self Park, 318 South Federal Street; that is two short blocks west of our meeting site. Note: Their typical rate of $29 is reduced to $6 if you eat at the Plymouth Restaurant, 327 S. Plymouth Court (next to our meeting site at the CBA), show them your parking ticket, and ask the restaurant for a parking voucher. The restaurant offers standard sandwiches, burgers, and salads for members who want to meet for dinner. Another before-meeting favorite of some members is the Ceres Restaurant, located inside the Board of Trade Building, at LaSalle and Jackson.
Featured speaker:to be announced -

Important Dates

Unless stated otherwise, our regular monthly CCC Meeting is in downtown Chicago on the second Wednesday of the month; the starting time is 6:45PM.

July 10 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - to be announced
August 10-12 ANA/PNG Pre-Show. Admission by invitation only; details on the PNG Events Calendar at or
August 13-17 ANA in Rosemont, at Donald E. Stephens Convention Center. Admission is free for ANA members — for details, see
August 14 A dinner with members of the New York Numismatic Club; in Rosemont. Details to to be announced
August 17 CCC Meeting - 1pm at the ANA convention, which is held at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, 5555 North River Road, Rosemont, IL. No admission charge for our meeting.
Featured Speaker - someone from Bureau of Engraving and Printing on The Bureau of Engraving and Printing
September 11 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - to be announced

Chatter Matter

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

P.O. Box 2301

Club Officers

Elliott Krieter- President
Richard Lipman- First Vice President
Marc Stackler- Second Vice President
William Burd- Archivist
Directors:Steve Ambos
Robert Feiler
Dale Lukanich
Mark Wieclaw
Other positions held are:
Jeffrey Rosinia- Immediate Past President
Carl Wolf- Secretary
Steve Zitowsky- Treasurer
Paul Hybert- Chatter Editor
Robert Feiler- ANA Club Representative

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.