|Volume 61 No. 11||November 2015|
The 1162nd meeting of the Chicago Coin Club was held October 14, 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 29 members and 1 guest, Mable Wright.
A motion was passed to accept the September Minutes as published in the Chatter. In the absence of Treasurer Steve Zitowsky, the Secretary delivered a detailed report of September revenue $1534.00, expenses $2690.46, net income -$1156.46, total assets $26,894.43 held in Life Membership $2,490.00 and member equity $24,404.42. A motion was passed to accept the report.
The December 9 Annual Banquet will be held at Marcello’s Restaurant, 645 W. North Avenue, Chicago. The program will be given by Mark Wieclaw and Jeff Amelse on Porcelain Coins and Medals of Germany. Mark announced that everyone in attendance will receive a porcelain piece compliments of Harlan J. Berk Ltd.
John Wright, who could not attend the recent American Numismatic Association Convention, was presented with their Lifetime Achievement Award. The speech given at the ANA Banquet was read, and John expressed his gratitude to all the friendships made over many years in the hobby.
An announcement was made that the ANA is offering the Club complimentary 12 Gold one-year memberships in the ANA. This includes the electronic edition of The Numismatist. A poll revealed there was only one CCC member in attendance who was not already an ANA member. The forms are consecutively numbered and require the applicant’s signature. See or write the Secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With regret, the Secretary read the names of members with unpaid 2015 dues, and a motion was passed to drop them from the membership rolls. They were: Branislav Bajic, Robert Graves, Gary Gunderson, Richard Hall, Melissa Morsi, Daniel Pelc, Walter Perschke, David Sunshine, and Russell Wajda.
Bill Burd was presented with the following material to place in the Club Archives:
An announcement was made that Dai Zoujon (#1166), who joined in May 2009, recently completed his Post-Doctorate Degree in Mechanical Engineering from University of Illinois Chicago and would be returning to Shanghai. Everyone wished him well and gave him a warm round of applause. Zoujon promised to return in 2019 for the Club’s 100th Anniversary and ANA Convention.
Brett Irick announced an Educational and Numismatic Tour of Eastern Europe and Russia scheduled May 10-26, 2016 and organized by the Polish American Numismatic Society.
Members were reminded the November 11 program will be the Club’s Annual Auction, and they should get their material to William Burd. The Club will also hold a meeting at the upcoming PCDA National Currency & Coin Convention, Nov 19-21. The Club meeting will be 1 PM, Saturday Nov 21, and the speaker will be Ray Lockwood on “History and Development of Polymer Banknotes.”
Members were encouraged to make reservations to attend the November 22 Numismatic Educational Symposium, co-sponsored by the Chicago Coin Club / Central States Numismatic Society, that includes four nationally recognized speakers. Several members, including Mark Wieclaw, Dale Lukanich, and Bob Feiler, spoke in support of the event.
A letter of apology was read from Leo Courshon, the evening’s featured speaker who was ill and unable to attend. John Wright and David Gumm were introduced and spoke in-depth on the planned subject “Different Grading Standards of Early American Copper Coinage.” After a question-and-answer period, they were presented with ANA Educational Certificates.
Second VP Steve Ambos announced the evening’s exhibitors. Dale Lukanich: 1947 coupons from Gvat Kibbutz, and medal from Glendale (CA) Coin Club. Richard Lipman: 5 pieces of early American currency. Adam Olszewski: medal and program from the recent XV International Numismatic Congress in Taormina, Sicily. Phil Carrigan: Oct 30, 1937 Stack’s Auction Catalog; Mark Wieclaw: 2 ancient Greek coins, and a cut-out and pop-out 1892 Columbian Expo Half dollar. Brett Irick: 8 pieces of Canadian numismatic material. Deven Kane: 3 Indo-Sasanian coins. Richard Hamilton: “waffled” coins from the US Mint, and Bicentennial proof set each coin signed by its designer.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:50 PM.
Carl Wolf, Secretary
a presentation by John Wright and David Gumm,
to our October 14, 2015 meeting
Who better to tell us about the grading of early American copper coins than two members of the Early American Coppers (EAC) club? Having member numbers 7 and somewhere in the 3900s, our two speakers brought much experience to share with us. The grading of coins can be a hotly talked-about topic at any coin club, and especially in a specialized group of collectors. But remember — a grade is someone’s opinion — nothing more, and nothing less.
Up through the middle of the 20th century, adjectival grades sufficed: start at the low end with Fair, work up through Good and Fine, and through some more until reaching New. William Sheldon, in his 1949 Early American Cents, introduced a numeric grading scale from 1 at the low end up to 60 at the high end. This was based upon the observed relationship between prices and grades of a given Large Cent variety from 1793-1814. A coin in the poorest condition imagineable, but still with enough detail to make it identifiable, was declared to be in Basal State and was given a grade a 1. At the time, a coin in New condition sold for 60 times the price of a coin in Basal State, so a coin in New State was given a grade of 60. Since a new coin sold for 15 times the price of a good coin, the Good State meant a grade of 4; with the Fine State being assigned a grade of 12, a new coin must have sold for 5 times the price of a fine coin.
In his 1958 followup book Penny Whimsy, William Sheldon extended the grading scale by adding two grades for New at the high end: since a very nice New coin could have a 10% premium, and a truly exceptional New coin could have a 20% premium, grades of 65 and 70 were added. The scale was an accurate snapshot of a 22-year copper coin series from about 150 years after it was made. Although the underlying price relationships are long gone, the 1-70 grading scale remains from the era before people ventured into space atop rockets.
No coin has an absolute grade. The grade on a slab is an opinion — it is a pass-through to price. No two graders will agree, but experienced graders can be close. To illustrate the fluidity of grading, a handout on the discovery specimen of the 1793 “strawberry leaf” cent was reviewed. The coin was graded Fair in its first appearance, in 1877 when it sold for $77.50. In an 1890 sale it brought $79 as Fine. A dealer bought it in 1941 for $2,500, and resold it for $2,750 and called it Very Fine. Although it was locked away from public view from 1941 to 2004, old photos were used in a number of books, where it received a number of grades. In 2004, NGC slabbed it as Fine.
A number of committees have produced a grading guide over the years, and the product of a committee is seldom a thing of beauty. However, a recent EAC committee of four members produced an excellent guide — it has plenty of color pictures, and it discusses problems (there are more problems with copper coins because copper is softer and more reactive than other coinage metals). Now, we can encounter three takes on the 1-70 grading scale: EAC grading, market grading, and slab grading. (Briefly, slab grading is according to condition, but they decline to slab a hurt coin or they give it only a details grade; market grading is higher than slab grading.) Within each grading scheme, people with more than 20 years of experience generally agree; just make sure that everyone in a discussion is using the same scheme.
The EAC grading guide determines a grade by starting with sharpness, and then taking off points based upon problems; this is the idea of net grading. As a coin circulates, it accumulates a range of wear marks; the mentioned ones were scratches and porosity. Each collector has different feelings about how much a coin’s grade should be lowered for a given level of each type of marks. The committee tried to quantify how much to knock off for certain things, but John’s grading style might ding fewer points than the committee suggested. But remember, a low grade coin will have some scratches, surface issues, and other imperfections — it’s worn!
One way of viewing an imperfect coin’s net grade is as follows: compare the imperfect coin to an imaginary worn-but-perfect coin that has a lower grade but that is “as desirable” to you.
John recounted how a dealer once described a coin as UNC, but John told him it was XF. Neither side would budge from what they graded it, but they did agree on one point: the dealer wanted $200 for it, and John bought it for $200. A dealer who prices her coins without grading them would work well with an experienced collector who is confident about what he likes. But the rest of us must deal with grades while we earn those 20+ years of experience.
The program concluded with comments on toning. Many coins have been harshly cleaned with chemicals — on a copper coin, the result had a bright, unnatural pink color. Fifty to seventy years of toning might get rid of the pink color; John is not bothered by a little off-color, but the grading companies follow a yes/no practice whereby they will refuse to grade a coin that shows an old cleaning or, in their opinion, they think shows an old cleaning. Some of the best buys in collector coins can be found in slabbed coins with only a details grade — but this is only for collectors with experience and confidence in what they like.
|CSNS Convention||Chicago Coin Company|
|PCDA Convention||Harlan J. Berk, Ltd.|
Items shown at our October 14, 2015 meeting,
reported by Mark Wieclaw
On Wednesday, August 12th the two collectors groups gathered at Fogo de Chao in Rosemont, IL for cocktails, dinner, and an exciting numismatic presentation.
While no one can say for sure what the draw was, an overflow crowd of eighty-two numismatists and guests (capacity 75) filled the private dining area of Fogo de Chao, a Brazilian steakhouse. Amazingly, there were more than a half dozen coin enthusiasts who had to be turned away prior to the Tuesday deadline.
After a trip to the salad bar, diners were offered a dozen or so types of beef, pork, and chicken to sample while seated at their tables. Following dinner, for those who hadn’t over indulged, a wide variety of decadent desserts awaited the group.
This being a social event, business was kept to a minimum with each club president taking just a few minutes to speak about their respective organizations. Walter Ostromecki, outgoing president of the ANA, was then given the floor to make a few remarks and recognize some individuals who had done outstanding work in the hobby in the past year.
The highlight of the evening was a program on the “Space Penny” presented by Chicago Coin Club member Mike Gasvoda. Technically the coin is a cent and a very special one at that.
A 1793 Flowing Hair cent found its way onto the Gemini VII space capsule that orbited the earth 206 times in December of 1965. Mike told the story of how Dr. Howard A. Minners, NASA flight surgeon, placed the coin in the inflight Medical kit for safe storage. Using stock NASA photos and several privately taken pictures, the flight was followed from lift off to splash down.
Following a round of applause for Gasvoda’s presentation, the event concluded with everyone in attendance receiving one of the hundred copper medals struck specifically for the joint gathering. One side of the medal featured the Chicago Coin Club’s logo, while the New York Numismatic Club’s portion of the medal featured a design prepared by one of their more famous members, Victor D. Brenner.
The two clubs first gathered for dinner in 2013, and many members of the New York group graciously presented a birthday cake to the CCC in celebration of the club’s 95th Anniversary in 2014.
Here are the lots known to us by October 27, 2015. The auction will be held near the start of the meeting, after a short time for lot examination.
Donation from Zoujun Dai
Donation from Bill Rumph
Consignment from Brett Irick
Consignment from Carl Wolf
Note: The following 6 books are being auctioned individually. All were published as part of the annual Coinage of the Americas Conference at the American Numismatic Society in New York.
Consignment from Bob Feiler
Consignment from Roy Westrich
Consignment from Bill Rumph
|Date:||December 9, 2015 (This is on a Wednesday!)|
|Time:||6PM to 6:45PM Cocktails and Hors d’oeuvres
6:45PM to 9 PM+ Dinner and Meeting
|Location:||Marcello’s Restaurant, 645 W. North Avenue, Chicago.|
|Menu:||The cost is $55.00 per person, and reservations are required. Make your reservation either by mail or at one of our two meetings in November. Make your check payable to Chicago Coin Club, and either bring it to one of our November or December meetings, or mail it to P.O. Box 2301, Chicago, IL 60690. Please make reservations as early as you can so we can plan for an appropriate room size.|
|Program:||A program on Porcelain Coins and Medals of Germany will be given by Mark Wieclaw and Jeff Amelse. Everyone in attendance will receive a porcelain piece compliments of Harlan J. Berk Ltd.|
|Date:||November 11, 2015, First Session|
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 $33 is reduced to $9 if you eat at the Plymouth Restaurant, 327 S. Plymouth Court (next to our meeting site at the CBA) — show the restaurant your parking ticket, and ask for a parking voucher. The restaurant offers standard sandwiches, burgers, and salads for members who want to meet for dinner. Members start arriving at 5pm.
You can place a reserve on each lot, and there is no commission
charged to either the buyer or seller. Auction lot viewing will
be held before the meeting starts, and again briefly before the
Please find elsewhere in this issue of the Chatter a listing of all auction lots that were known to us by Tuesday, October 27.
|Date:||November 21, 2015, Second session|
|Location:||At the PCDA National Currency and Coin Convention, which is held at the Crown Plaza Chicago O’Hare, 5440 North River Road, Rosemont, IL. No admission charge for our meeting.|
|Featured speaker:||Ray Lockwood
— History and Development of Polymer Banknotes
Polymer banknotes are made from a special polypropylene and were adopted to thwart counterfeiting and stay in circulation longer, thereby reducing production costs. Collaborations and experimenting began in the 1960s, and the first patent was filed in 1973. Developing a suitable polymer that could be machine processed was only half the puzzle to solve. Scientists also needed to develop ink that would not smudge or wash off. Finally in 1980 the country of Haiti issued the world’s first polymer notes. Other countries followed and today nearly sixty countries use polymer or hybrid notes (mix of polymer and paper). As of 2014 at least eight countries were converted fully to polymer banknotes. Using examples from his collection, Ray Lockwood will tell the history and development of a new currency that few would have predicted 50 years ago.
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.
|November||11||CCC Meeting - Club Auction - no featured speaker|
|November||20-21||PCDA National Currency and Coin Convention at the Crown Plaza Chicago O’Hare, 5440 North River Road, Rosemont, IL. Admission is $5 for Friday through Saturday. Details at http://www.pcdaonline.com|
|November||21||CCC Meeting - 1pm at the PCDA National Currency and Coin Convention,
which is held at the Crown Plaza Chicago O’Hare, 5440 North River Road, Rosemont, IL.
No admission charge for our meeting.
Featured Speaker - Ray Lockwood on History and Development of Polymer Banknotes
|November||22||Central States Numismatic Society Educational Symposium — after the PCDA National Currency and Coin Convention,
at the Crown Plaza Chicago O’Hare.
The continental breakfast and light lunch are included in the registration charge ($20 for CSNS members, $30 for all others). Limited seating is available. Early registration is encouraged. Registration fees should be sent to:
Ray Lockwood — CSNS Education Director
2075 East Bocock Road
Marion, IN 46952
|December||9||CCC Meeting - Annual Banquet at Marcello’s Restaurant - Featured Speakers - Mark Wieclaw and Jeff Amelse on Porcelain Coins and Medals of Germany|
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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