|Volume 61 No. 8||August 2015|
The planning work is done — all that remains is the final setup. Trying to determine the best day to attend? Look at the online Schedule for the latest details; it is at https://www.money.org/worldsfairofmoney/schedule
On Wednesday through Saturday, viewing of the collector exhibits starts before public admission to the bourse. An exhibit guide is at http://www.chicagocoinclub.org/events/2015/ana/ex/all_by_cl.html
We are gathering info on speakers at open club meetings, and a sparse list is at http://www.chicagocoinclub.org/events/2015/ana/club_mtgs.html. Let us know of any missing meetings, and any missing speakers and programs.
I welcome, for the September Chatter, reports from any of the events, meetings, or presentations that you attended — report on the details, atmosphere, or whatever struck you. The ANA will be in Anaheim, California in 2016, Denver in 2017, Philadelphia in 2018, and back in Rosemont in 2019.
Remember, August 11-15! Email any questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org and someone from the local committee will respond.
The 1159th meeting of the Chicago Coin Club was held July 8, 2015 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 27 members and 3 guests, François R. Velde, Raymond Dagenais, and Eric Schmidt.
A motion was passed to accept the June Minutes as published in the Chatter. Treasurer Steve Zitowsky reported June revenue $1600.00, expenses $3,187.03, net income -$1,587.03, total assets $22,328.89 held in Life Membership $1,830.00 and member equity $22,328.89. A motion was passed to accept the report.
The Treasurer also announced that the Club’s 2015 ANA Convention medal was on sale at $20. The custom acrylic frame holding the four 2011, ’13, ’14 & ’15 medals also arrived and was on sale for $100. Members were told to clean the acrylic with standard eyeglass cleaner and microfiber cloths. Standard window cleaner and paper towels will scratch the acrylic.
The application of Raymond Dagenais received first reading. The Secretary reported on the press coverage given to the Club in Numismatic News (June 9, pg. 28), Bank Note Reporter (July, pg. 85), The Numismatist (July, pg. 82), and The Centinel (Summer, pg. 30).
Jeffrey Rosinia, Host Chair of the ANA Convention, reported everything was in place for the upcoming ANA Convention and this was our last meeting before the event. Mark Wieclaw reported the Club would hold a joint social dinner with the New York Numismatic Club on Wednesday, August 12 at Fogo De Chao Brazilian Steakhouse, 5460 Park Place, Rosemont, IL. The cost of the dinner is $90, and would include a special issue medal honoring both clubs.
Jeff Amelse announced a six-Saturday course at the Oriental Institute of Chicago, Egypt in the Greco-Roman and Byzantine Periods, starting on August 1. See http://oi.uchicago.edu/programs-events/courses-workshops for more details and registration.
First V.P. Richard Lipman introduced the featured speaker, Dr. François R. Velde, who gave the presentation The Beginning of Coinage — An Economist’s View. Following a number of questions, Rich presented Dr. Velde with an ANA Educational Certificate and engraved Club medal on a neck ribbon.
Second V.P. Marc Stackler introduced the eleven exhibitors for the evening. Eugene Freeman: two small Ancient Greek coins. Richard Hamilton: Peerless Motor Company stock certificate with photos of Peerless automobiles. Dale Lukanich: two 10 guilder notes from Curacao, and scrip of the McNeal Coal Company. Mark Wieclaw: a gold Byzantine coin, and a silver moon landing medal. Deven Kane: three medieval coins, and a later coin from Assam. Robert Feiler: five coints from ancient Greece, and a pre-Columbian piece from Mexico. Robert Leonard: 12 electrum coins and 3 important reference books on electrum. Jeff Amelse: 6 U.S. large cents illustrating bisecting die cracks and laminations/planchet cracks. Rich Lipman: recent coins from around the world, and an 1880 $20 Legal Tender note. Dale Carlson: a 2014 Luxembourg commemorative, and a 2014 Australian silver piece. Francois Velde: a selection of electrum coins used in his PowerPoint presentation.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:30 PM.
Carl Wolf, Secretary
a presentation by François R. Velde,
to our July 8, 2015 meeting
François started the presentation by stating it is based upon a presentation at the ANS in 2013, as part of a Beginning of Coinage program. He claimed to be not much of a collector, but he admitted “I collect what I study.” Even though a digital currency, such as Bitcoin, is the future, it still needs to address some of the same issues that the earliest coinages faced: trust and complexity. Before money, transactions were based upon barter, an awkward system that worked best when I want what you have, and you want what I have — known as the double coincidence problem. This difficulty could be solved with credit, but credit requires good record keeping and enforcement. If you think of money as credit disguised as barter, then money can be any acceptable object, from metallic to electronic, based upon the available technology.
After a brief summary of the attributes of a successful currency — touching on the costs and benefits, and backed with details from a number of historical systems — François arrived at this program’s big question, “Why did the first coinage system use a variable alloy (electrum) of two precious metals (gold and silver) that could already be somewhat isolated?” A number of theories have been offered by others, but the challenges are great; the main one is the lack of mint records from Lydia before 550 BCE.
Lydia roughly consisted of the inland western part of Asia Minor, with the Greek colonies along the coast known as Ionia. Little is known about the Lydians — we now have about 20 pages worth of primary Lydian sources. After the Persians conquered Croesus and the Lydians, the Persians and the Greeks fought for fifty years in what we call the Persian Wars.
Gold and silver had been used in jewelry for thousands of years; they were commodities, and the commercial use of bulk silver was common in Mesopotamia by 1500 BCE. We know that prices were expressed in terms of a certain number of pieces per one shekel (a unit of weight) of silver, and hoards found in the Middle East include silver pieces of various weights. It was hard to separate an alloy of gold and silver into the two metals, but circumstantial evidence indicates the Lydians had this technology before their conquest by the Persians. The ancients cared about the fineness — they used the same type of touchstones as used now by jewelers.
So faced with a lack of original written sources and minimal archaeologival evidence, we are left with the coins themselves. There are about 3400 electrum coins known, housed in museums, collections, and dealer stock. About a quarter of these electrum coins are from Lydia, with the rest from the Ionian cities. A number of attempts have been made at examining some of this population, starting with the simple grouping by weight and design elements. We saw graphs of counts as a function of weight, with peaks appearing at certain weights; with the heaviest weight of 14.19g given a unit weight, the other peaks appeared at such fractions of the unit weight as 1/2, 1/3, 1/6, 1/12, and 1/24. The peaks become wider at the smaller weights of 1/48, 1/96, and 1/192, indicating a larger percentage variation; attributing the variation to some combination of wear and original planchet variation seems reasonable. A competing standard based upon a unit weight of 17g lines up with some of the lower peaks that are nearby.
Based upon the weights and shapes of the reverse punches, three standards have been identified. Obverse designs help group coins into series, but the small coins barely had room for a part of the design, let alone some inscription. The Phanes series pictures a full stag on the piece weighing 14.01g, but only the head and antlers are on the 1/48 piece weighing 0.29g, and most of the antlers are off the planchet on the 1/96 piece weighing 0.14g. The Miletus series uses a lion; other series we saw used a horse head and a facing lion. The Lydian series followed the Milesian standard, with one series a lion’s head in profile with a distinctive “wart.”
Analysis of coins offers some information, but there are limitations. X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) is a non-destructive method to identify the elements present, but it does not reach much past the surface of a coin. Proton Activation Analysis (PAA) provides a complete analylis of a coin, but the process is expensive and the coin is radioactive for some days. One micro destructive method uses a laser to vaporize a small part of a coin. Some patterns appear across all series for some denominations.
Recent analyses confirms that the gold/silver proportions varied considerably across types of coins, from as low as 35% to as high as 80%. However there seems to be some consistency within coin types. For example, the Lydian coinage appears tightly controlled, and the gold proportion is never far from 55%, whereas the coinage identified with Greek cities (Miletos and Ephesos) is around 45% gold. Thus the variability in gold content was artificial, not natural. Why make coins with such care with respect to weight, out of a material that could so easily be altered in terms of fineness, remains a mystery.
|CSNS Convention||Chicago Coin Company|
|PCDA Convention||Harlan J. Berk, Ltd.|
Items shown at our July 8, 2015 meeting,
reported by Marc Stackler
July 15, 2015
The eighth meeting of the 2015 ANA Convention Committee was held July 15, 2015 in the offices of Harlan J. Berk, Ltd., 77 W. Washington, Suite 1320, Downtown Chicago. Host Chairman, Jeffrey Rosinia, called the meeting to order at 6 PM with the following committee members in attendance: Steve Zitowsky, Mark Wieclaw, Sharon Blocker, Elliott Krieter, Harlan Berk, Melissa Gumm, Robert Feiler, Paul Hybert, Eugene Freeman, Richard Lipman, Dale Lukanich, and Carl Wolf.
Jeff asked Committee Chairmen to begin planning to write a recap for the 2016 ANA Committee in California.
Harlan was presented with a gift of wines selected for their labels, and a warm round of applause in appreciation for his support of the committee over the past year.
The meeting was adjourned at 7:35 PM.
Carl Wolf, Secretary
|Date:||August 15, 2015|
|Location:||Saturday, on the last day of the ANA Convention, which is held at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, 5555 N. River Road, Rosemont, IL. No admission charge for anyone on the last day of the convention.|
|Featured speaker:||Dennis Tucker, Whitman Publishing — 2016 Guide Book of United States Coins, Deluxe Edition|
The Red Book is the most popular and best-selling book in numismatics, with more than 23 million copies sold since 1946. The 2016 deluxe is an expanded edition — with 1504 pages and over three times the size of the regular edition. Be sure to attend this program and hear Dennis Tucker tell the story of how Whitman Publishing decided to put together this encyclopedic edition with more historical information, expanded grading instructions, enlarged illustrations, and a 400-page section featuring copper half and large cents.
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. No downtown meeting in August.
|August||8-10||PNG/ANA Numismatic Trade Show. Admission by invitation or $10; details on the PNG Events Calendar at http://www.pngdealers.org/|
|August||11-15||ANA in Rosemont, at Donald E. Stephens Convention Center. Admission is free for ANA members — for details, see http://www.worldsfairofmoney.com.|
|August||15||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 - Dennis Tucker of Whitman Publishing on 2016 Guide Book of United States Coins, Deluxe Edition
|September||9||CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - to be announced|
|September||10-12||ILNA 56th Annual Coin & Currency Show at the Holiday Inn-Tinley Park Convention Center, 18451 Convention Center Road, Tinley Park, IL 60477. Details, including hours and events, are available at http://www.ilnaclub.info|
All correspondence pertaining to Club matters
should be addressed to the Secretary and mailed to:
CHICAGO COIN CLUB
P.O. Box 2301
CHICAGO, IL 60690
|Elected positions (two-year terms):|
|Elliott Krieter||- President|
|Richard Lipman||- First Vice President|
|Marc Stackler||- Second Vice President|
|William Burd||- Archivist|
|Jeffrey Rosinia||- Immediate Past President|
|Carl Wolf||- Secretary|
|Steve Zitowsky||- Treasurer|
|Paul Hybert||- Chatter Editor, webmaster|
|Robert Feiler||- ANA Club Representative|
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