Volume 61 No. 8 August 2015

ANA in Chicago

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

On Wednesday through Saturday, viewing of the collector exhibits starts before public admission to the bourse. An exhibit guide is at

We are gathering info on speakers at open club meetings, and a sparse list is at 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 and someone from the local committee will respond.

Minutes of the 1159th Meeting

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 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.

Respectfully Submitted,
Carl Wolf, Secretary

Speaker’s Wor[l]d
The Beginning of Coinage: An Economist’s View

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.

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Show and Tell

Items shown at our July 8, 2015 meeting,
reported by Marc Stackler

  1. Eugene Freeman presented 2 coins:
    1. Ancient Greek obol fraction, in a Philatelic Numismatic Cover of the Great Historic Silver Coins of the World series. The coin is only 5mm in diameter (3 of them could fit on a dime and there would still be room). There is a face on the obverse and a segmented square on the reverse.
    2. Ancient Greek obol, circa 330-190 BC, from the city of Selge in Pisidia (Asia Minor). The coin is 10mm in diameter and weighs 0.81 grams, with a facing Gorgon head on the obverse and a helmeted head of Athena on the reverse. It came from a Frank Robinson auction in the 1980s.
  2. Richard Hamilton talked about the Peerless Motor Car Company. He brought:
    1. Peerless Motor Car Corp. stock certificate, 100 shares common dated 7/23/1930. It has a railroad / allegorical vignette (no automobiles).
    2. Three photos of Peerless autos. The company originated mid/late 19th century, to manufacture clothes wringers. They then went into bicycle production, and then into automobiles. Peerless stopped production in 1931, but a few years later began brewing Carling Black Label beer.
  3. Dale Lukanich showed these items:
    1. Two 10 guilder notes from Curacao, dated 1994 and 2003. The latter note features new security technology.
    2. An unissued 186_ $2 note from McNeal Coal Company. It was scrip paid to workers and redeemable for goods at the company store.
  4. Mark Wieclaw showed 2 items:
    1. A gold Stamenon Nomisma of Constantine IX, struck circa 1054 AD. It has two large stars on either side of the emperor, representing the first year of the Super Nova recorded and observed worldwide in 1054.
    2. A large .999 fine silver medal (matte finish) from Medallic Arts. It was issued to commemorate the first moon landing on July 20, 1969. On the obverse are the three astronauts from Apollo 11: Armstrong, Collins, and Aldrin. The reverse shows the lunar module and the astronauts walking on the moon.
  5. Deven Kane talked about 4 coins:
    1. Andreas I, 1046-1060, AR denar (0.65g) of Hungary. A wedged cross on both sides and crudely written REGIA CIVITAS on reverse; a nice strike and it grades EF. Hungarian coinage of this period is of pretty high quality, especially compared to some of the stuff circulating in Europe at the time. This is still one of the earlier series with crude lettering. Hungary became a kingdom in 1000/01 AD on the coronation of Stephen (Istvan), aka St Stephen, who ruled until his death in 1038. The long and successful reign of Stephen was followed by decades of succession troubles. Andreas’ reign started with success in holding off the claims of the Holy Roman Emperor, but a succession disagreement led to civil war and his death.
    2. Andreas III, 1290-1301, AR denar (0.53g) of Hungary. One side features a facing bust, holding swords and scepter, while the other has a bastion with 3 towers. The coin is anonymous so the identification is from catalogs. Andrew the Venetian was an unlikely king of Hungary. His father had fled years before, and married a Venetian. When the king was assassinated in 1290, Andrew, as the last male of the Arpad line, was called to the throne. His short reign was spent trying to bring the nobles under his sway and fending off foreign claimants to the crown. His death ended the Arpad line.
    3. An asper from Trebizond, of Alexius IV (1417-1429 AD) (Sear 2641). The “Empire of Trebizond” broke away from the Byzantine Empire in 1204. It was a strip of land on the eastern end of the southern shore of the Black Sea, separated from the rest of Asia Minor by mountains. It was the last Breakaway Byzantine State to fall to the Turks. Trebizond coins follow a standard pattern: St Eugenius on one side and the Emperor on the other; both are riding on this coin.
    4. A silver rupee from Assam, during the reign of Gadadhara Simha (1681-1696 AD) (KM 33). Coins of Assam were once round, but around this time became octagonal like this coin, supposedly representing the shape of Assam. This coin bears mostly Ahom script, but a small lion appears on the obverse and a small bird on the reverse. This ruler’s reign came after years of anarchy and conflicts, and his reign was peaceful.
  6. Bob Feiler’s items tied into tonight’s featured speaker on early coinage.
    1. Sarmatia: Olbia (Black Sea area) — 5th Century Cast Bronze Dolphin Barter Money.
    2. Aegina 510-490 BC Sea Turtle. Sear 1851: smooth-shelled turtle with a single row of dots down the middle on one side, and on the other side an incuse square divided into 8 triangular compartments, of which 4 are sunken.
    3. AR Siglos of the Great King from Lydia under Persian rule, 486-450 BC. Obv: The great king running right carrying bow and spear. Sear GCV-4678.
    4. A drachm from Thrace (Black Sea Area), Apollonia Pontika, 450-400 BC. Obv: Crayfish. Rev: Gorgoneion. BMC Mysia (5160 11; CF. Sear Greek 1655.
    5. AR Stater of Akarnania, Leukas, circa 390-380 BC. Athena in Corinthian helmet/ Pegasus (flying horse). C.119/1.
    6. Mexican Pre-Spanish 1200-1300 AD Copper Hoe Money or Tajaderas, used as a medium of exchange.
  7. Bob Leonard showed 12 items, including 3 books.
    1. Electrum nugget and 8 early electrum coins from Ionia, Miletos, and Lydia: 1/96 stater (1); 1/48 stater (3); 1/24 stater (3); and 1/12 stater (1). Some designs are speculative on these tiny coins, but two show a swastika (1/48 and 1/24) and others show a facing lion’s head (Miletos, 1/24), head of a roaring lion right (Lydia, probably king Croesus, 1/12), and a lion’s paw, seen from above (1/24). Most have simple square incuse punches on the reverse, but the lion’s paw type has a reverse showing a palm tree with six fronds, which is also found as a reverse punch on staters of Miletos, showing that it should be attributed to that city.
    2. Three important references on this series: Early Greek Coins From the Collection of Jonathan P. Rosen, 1983; SNG Turkey I: The Muharrem Kayhan Collection, 2002; and Joseph Linzalone, Electrum and the Invention of Coinage, 2011.
  8. Jeff Amelse recently purchased what he thought was the Holy Grail of Large Cents, an 1817 N-14 with what appeared to be a bisecting reverse die crack, with another branch crack running across half the planchet. Could this be a unique terminal die state, not listed in the reference books? It turned out the cracks are planchet cracks/lamination, not die cracks. Jeff showed 6 coins from his large cent collection that illustrate bisecting die cracks and laminations/planchet cracks, and he talked about how to tell the difference between the two. (Planchet cracks show up as depressions in the design, whereas die cracks are raised.) The shown US Large Cents were:
    1. Bona fide Bisecting Die Cracks:
      1. 1840 N-9 Bisecting obverse crack from dentils near Star 4 to Star 12.
      2. 1854 N-19 Bisecting obverse arc die crack from Star 3 through LIBERTY to Star 9.
      3. 1838 N-4 Bisecting obverse die crack from Star 9 to rim below 38.
    2. Planchet Cracks/Laminations:
      1. 1817 N-14 Reverse bisecting planchet crack/lamination with extensive branch crack.
      2. 1854 N-8 Reverse dropped lamination from U of UNITED to bottom of wreath.
      3. 1852 (Unattributed variety) Severe reverse lamination through UNITED ST and minor laminations near AMERICA.
  9. Rich Lipman showed 4 items:
    1. Bess Truman “first spouse” coin, 2015-W. The reverse featured the “1948 Whistle Stop Campaign,” showing her contribution to her husband’s reelection.
    2. March of Dimes 2015-W silver “dime” (marked $1). The obverse features the portraits of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Jonas Salk.
    3. A Star Trek themed $1 of Tuvalu, struck by the Perth Mint and featuring the portrait of Capt. Jean-Luc Picard of Star Trek Next Generation.
    4. 1880 $20 Legal Tender note with the portrait of Alexander Hamilton (to the left) and an allegorical woman (to the right). Rich noted that the US Treasury Department is considering plans for 2020 to change the front of the $10 bill to similarly feature both the portraits of Hamilton and a yet-to-be-selected American woman.
  10. Dale Carlson showed 2 medals.
    1. 2014 Luxembourg 5 Euros commemorating the steel industry (specifically the change from blast furnaces to electric furnaces). It was struck in stainless steel, a very difficult metal to strike. Mintage 2500.
    2. 2014 Australian one-ounce silver $5 proof, the third in a series of three, this one featuring constellation Orion in the Southern hemisphere. It had sprayed-on (“digitized”) color.
  11. François Velde ended the evening by showing electrum coin examples from his presentation.

Minutes of the 2015 Chicago ANA Convention Committee

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.

  1. Harlan Berk was thanked with a warm round of applause for providing the meeting place, dinner, and parking vouchers for those who drove.
  2. Jeff reported on a telephone conversation with Rhonda Scurek.
  3. Money Talks Speaker Medals: Carl Wolf reported that the medals arrived, neck ribbons were ordered, and we are waiting for the list of speakers for engraving.
  4. Budget, Hotel Rooms: Jeff Rosinia passed out a list of hotel confirmation numbers.
  5. Committee Reports —
    1. Honorary Host: Harlan Berk
      1. They are still accepting material for the Silent Auction.
      2. They plan to showcase the material during the convention in the exhibit area.
    2. Scout Chairman: Eugene Freeman
      1. Re-contacting local Scout Councils as some lost original notices.
      2. Making efforts to reach new contacts.
    3. Volunteer Chairman: Carl Wolf
      1. Reported about the same number of volunteers as 2014.
      2. Have a request from Silver Dollar Roundtable for a volunteer.
      3. Submitted golf shirt counts to Rhonda.
    4. Money Talks Chairman: Mark Wieclaw
      1. Speakers and time slots are finalized and on the latest schedule of events.
      2. There are three speakers on Wednesday, which had none in previous years.
      3. Will be primarily assisted by Ray Dagenais.
    5. Exhibit Chairman: Melissa Gumm,
      1. Exhibits number about 70.
      2. Looking for some assistance on Monday from Club members who will be in the area setting up their exhibits.
    6. Open Discussion
      1. Discussion of possible Tuesday evening reception for Committee/Volunteers/Dealers. Jeff would discuss with Hyatt Regency.
      2. Secretary was asked to send email blasts to the membership on:
        1. CCC/NYNC Dinner Wednesday, August 12.
        2. CCC Meeting Saturday, August 15.
        3. Scout Merit Badge & Activity Patch Program.
      3. The last of the Restaurant Guides to be brought out.

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.

Respectfully Submitted,
Carl Wolf, Secretary

Our 1160th Meeting

Date:August 15, 2015
Time:1:00 PM
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.

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. 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
August 11-15 ANA in Rosemont, at Donald E. Stephens Convention Center. Admission is free for ANA members — for details, see
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

Chatter Matter

All correspondence pertaining to Club matters should be addressed to the Secretary and mailed to:
P.O. Box 2301

Club Officers

Elected positions (two-year terms):
Elliott Krieter- President
Richard Lipman- First Vice President
Marc Stackler- Second Vice President
William Burd- Archivist
Directors:Steve Ambos
Eugene Freeman
Dale Lukanich
Mark Wieclaw
Appointed positions:
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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