Volume 62 No. 11 November 2016

Call for Club Auction Lots
December 14, 2016

The club auction is scheduled for 7PM, near the start of the regular December club meeting. In the past few years, club related material (and Chicago area numismatic items) have had the best results. Some printed material also has shown good results. Please consider using the club auction to dispose of the numismatic items you no longer need.

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 auction starts.

The December Chatter will contain a list of all auction lots that are known to us by Tuesday, November 29. If you plan to bring your lots with you to the December meeting, e-mail your list to Paul Hybert by Tuesday, November 29. If you will not attend the meeting, you can ship your items to Bill Burd by Tuesday, November 29.

Bill Burd
CCC-A Dept.
Chicago Coin Company
6455 W. Archer Ave.
Chicago, IL 60638
Paul Hybert
312-791-9001, evenings

If you have questions, Bill can be reached at 773-586-7666.

Minutes of the 1174th Meeting

The 1174th meeting of the Chicago Coin Club was held October 12, 2016 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 21 members and 2 guests, Tom Babinszki and Carol Taylor.

A motion was passed to accept the September Minutes as published in the Chatter. Treasurer Steve Zitowsky gave a detailed financial report for September showing $325.00 in revenue and $53.00 in expenses, total assets of $26,781.89. A motion was passed accepting the report.

The membership application of Tom Babinszki received first reading. Following the second reading of Craig Teichen’s application, a motion was passed accepting him into membership.

It was announced that pre-orders for the 5-piece process set of the hexagonal speaker’s medal was closed as of this meeting, and subscribers were asked to submit $100.

The Presidentannounced a Nomination Committee of Bill Burd, Jeff Rosinia, and Robert Feilerwould be putting together a slate of officers for 2017-18. If a member is interested in serving, speak to one or more of the committee members. Due to term limits, the Second V.P. slot is open.

It was announced that the January 11, 2017 Annual Banquet site was changed to Marcello’s Restaurant, 645 W. North Avenue, Chicago, IL. Reservations are $55 per person.

The Club will hold a meeting at the upcoming PCDA National Currency and Coin Convention, Crown Plaza Chicago O’Hare, 5440 N. River Road, Rosemont. The meeting will be Saturday, Nov 19, 1PM with a program given by Clifford Mishler, David Harper, and Joel Elder Remembering ‘Chet’ Krause and his Contributions. The Club also will staff an information table.

Tom Babinszki, who was blind since birth, delivered the evening’s featured presentation, Collecting Coins without Sight. Following questions and answers, Tom was presented with an ANA Educational Certificate.

Second V.P. Marc Stackler announced the evening’s exhibitors. RICHARD HAMILTON two investment certificates of Sam Insull companies. MELISSA GUMM medal from the 1893 World Columbian Exposition. MARK WIECLAW encased Canadian cent, bicentennial medal, and a quinarius of Roman Emperor Galba. DEVEN KANE Inca copper trade currency from Ecuador, Abelam currency ring, and tin fish money. DALE LUKANICH four modified US large cents. JEFF ROSINIA exhibit medal from ANA Anaheim Convention, elongated cents fused when rolled through the machine, toned Columbian half dollar, and smooth Morgan dollar pocket piece.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:15 PM.

Respectfully Submitted,
Carl Wolf, Secretary

Speaker’s Wor[l]d
Collecting Coins without Sight

a presentation by Tom Babinszki,
to our October 12, 2016 meeting,

Just as most of us started collecting coins in our youth, so did Tom. At the age of six in Hungary, he was the proud owner of a plastic treasure chest. There was just one problem — he had nothing to put in it! After his parents returned from a trip to Czechoslovakia, they gave Tom their accumulated pocket change. An uncle’s trip to Romania resulted in a 5 Lei coin. So started his coin collection, and he showed us these coins on the first two slides of the presentation. He traces his interest in languages and geography to his coin collecting. What made his situation uncommon was that he was blind since birth.

Without sight to aid him, Tom uses his other senses. Coins differ in feel, sound, and smell; after visiting a country for a time, Tom can identify a dropped coin by sound alone. The one sense he has not used with coins is taste, and he has no plans to use it. The coins that are easy to identify by touch are those with unusual shapes or obvious design elements. The 1991 1 Pula of Botswana (KM#24) is seven sided and has a reeded edge, a unique combination that makes identifying this coin simple. The 1993 5 Kruni of Estonia (KM#29) is round so the shape provides no clue; but the standing deer is large and on a smooth field, making it easy to feel. The 1994 $2 of Hong Kong (KM64) has a scalloped edge, with twelve high points, and the large digit 2 is outlined, not raised, on the coin, providing something easy to feel. Although Tom now can identify these three coins by touch, it is only because he knows their features.

The first time he encounters a coin, he needs the help of a sighted person for the initial identification. The help could be in person, or it could be a written description provided with the coin — at a minimum it should identify denomination, country, date, and some standard catalog number. From that starting point, he can look in coin magazines, press releases, or web sites for more details. His collection holds about 4,000 coins, so it is impossible to memorize all the details — he uses a system to enjoy his collection.

He starts with the common equipment: ring binders, pages, and flips. He adds Braille labels to pages, and he must return each coin to its correct position after examining it. His first effort to keep track of the accumulated information, both about the coin and about its storage location, used the Excel spreadsheet. Now he uses the MyStuff2 program because it is targeted to collectors, implementing many of the arrangement schemes used by us. Tom uses the Krause catalogs of world coins for their details about the coins as well as their catalog numbers. His actual cataloging of a coin is not the end — it is when the real fun begins. Finding out more about a coin involves culture, history, and languages; all of this found information must be maintained.

To bring information to more blind people, Tom started the web site to hold not just information about coins; it covers a wide range of objects, including buildings and flowers. This site is in the early stages of development, still looking for contributors. Give it a look — maybe you will be a contributor. The site is all about gathering information and passing it along. Tom started a blog at to show ways that blind coin collectors can experience and enjoy the hobby. This might be a good source of information on the current and future tools available to collectors. Audio prompts? Magnification? Maybe even image processing, image matching, and rendering on a 3-D surface? Tom mentioned there are smart phone apps that identify paper money, so do not rule out anything from the future.

Tom can recognize about 500 of his coins by touch, especially if the quality is good. Other coins would need much effort, and he would rather spend his time on other aspects of the hobby. He tried to train himself to identify each of the fifty designs on the US State Quarters, and became somewhat accurate at it, but went on to other efforts. Not all coins can be identified solely by touch, and he shared with us some of the difficulties he has encountered. The building on the small 1988 1 Sen of Malaysia (KM#1a) can be identified with some effort; knowledge of the larger denomination Malaysian coins helps. In general, very small, old, and coins with designs lacking a standalone item are impossible to identify by touch. The 1984 100 Pesos of Mexico (KM#493) has many items spread uniformly over it, making it hard to identify; the eagle on a cactus and holding a snake, surrounded by a legend, does not jump out from touch alone. So too for a 1510 1 Denar of Hungary, which is a typical medieval silver coin a little larger than a modern US dime.

The ability to touch a coin is very important to blind collectors, but that brings about some limits to their collecting. The area of investment coins holds no interest, because one touch can wipe out half the value of a coin. Slabbed coins also hold no interest. Items of primitive money can be very interesting, with their wide range of sizes and textures. These habits and practices of blind collectors are not just for the blind; they also can help guide present collectors who experience their own vision difficulties. The gathering and sharing of numismatic information remain important parts of collecting. Or as the blog’s tagline says, “It’s another kind of fun to collect coins if you can’t see them.”

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Show and Tell

Items shown at our October 12, 2016 meeting,

  1. Richard Hamilton discussed 2 items related to Sam Insull. Insull was born in 1859 in London, and he came to the US where he was the personal secretary to Thomas Edison. After the panic of 1893, Insull bought up electric companies and ultimately formed what became Commonwealth Edison. He had raised most of his money from many small investors who had invested everything with him. His companies went bankrupt during the Great Depression, causing a great deal of hardship with his many small investors. There were criminal charges, he fled the country, and at the trial after his return, he was acquited of all charges.
    1. Insull Utility Investments, Inc., a certificate for 5 shares common stock.
    2. Insull Utility Investments, Inc., a $1000 gold 10-year 6% debenture certificate, due 1940.
  2. Melissa Gumm brought a 25mm medal, in white metal, from the 1893 World Columbian Exposition. The obverse features a vignette of Columbus and his crew in a boat. Under the vignette it says Blumenfeld P.O.G., with engraver initials. Around the edge it says SOUVENIR OF THE OPENING OF THE WORLD’S FAIR — CHICAGO 1893. The reverse features the Administration Building, with SOUVENIR BIRDSEYE VIEW OF THE WORLD’S FAIR — CHICAGO 1893 around the edge.
  3. Mark Wieclaw showed 3 items:
    1. An encased 1913 Canadian Cent issued by the Al Azhar Shriners from Calgary Alberta in 1913. The aluminum collar claims it is redeemable in 1920.
    2. A US Bicentennial medal from 1976, issued by Longines Symphonette in sterling silver. It features a stylized Statue of Liberty and two genuine diamonds — Liberty stands with a long flintlock rifle on her right side, and an atomic energy symbol above her outstretched left hand.
    3. A silver quinarius of the Roman Emperor Galba, 68-69 AD. His coins are all quite scarce and this denomination (half of a denarius) is rare, not only Galba but all Roman rulers. The reverse shows Victory standing upon a small globe.
  4. Deven Kane brought in these wonderful pieces of “pre-coinage money:”
    1. A group of five Inca copper trade currency from Ecuador, circa 1400-1500AD, in the shape of axe heads. The largest are about 2¼ inches tall, while the smaller are just under 1¼ inches tall. One of the smaller pieces is actually a small stack of pieces, wrapped together with a textile remnant. There also is a small copper bar. These copper items appear to have been proto-money, used in the region before the arrival of the Spanish. Similar pieces also are found in burial sites, so they might have ceremonial value as well.
      These started in Ecuador and they spread by trade routes north into Mexico. Various sizes and shapes are known. Although the Inca empire, which conquered Ecuador, appears to have relied mostly on barter, these copper ingots appear to have served as proto-money.
    2. From the Kedah Sultanate of Malaysia, 1710-1778, a piece of Tin Fish Money (59x22 mm, weighing 14.16 grams). It is shaped as a fish, with a grid of intersecting lines representing scales, and a spread tail. Between 1527-1800, a large variety of tin coins and ingots in various shapes were minted all over Malaysia. Tin, the biggest export of Malaysia, was cast in shapes of various animals and ingots which were used as coins. The pieces in animal forms, mostly fish, were minted in the little Kingdom of Kedah (which was located in the peninsular Malaysia). These acted as a fractional change for the Spanish silver 8-real coins, and came without a discernable denomination (presumably they were weighed during exchange).
    3. An Abelam currency ring from Papua New Guinea, circa the early 20th Century. This flat ring is carved from a section of giant clam shell tridacna gigas; the ring’s outer diameter is about 3¼ inches, while the inner diameter is about 2 inches. It is tapered at both the interior and exterior edges, and has a smooth, satiny surface. Traditionally used as currency in bride price payments throughout the Abelam region, still to this day.
  5. Dale Lukanich showed four “modified” large cents.
    1. The first two large cents, dated 1848 and 1849, had been cut in half to make change.
    2. The second two cents had been punched/cut to the diameter of the new Flying Eagle small cent. They weighed 4.8 grams and were perfectly round. Only the Liberty portrait was visible on the obverse, while the reverse had ONE CENT in the center surrounded by some of the wreath. The edge was up-set, similar to a regular coin. Dale speculated that the two came from different sources — at least, he obtained them from different sellers in different parts of the country. Dale is looking for information on these.
  6. Jeff Rosinia had several items.
    1. Two ANA medals he won for his exhibits at the recent Anaheim ANA show.
    2. Two elongates, each being the fusion of 2 elongated cents to form a rough figure eight. They were made by intentionally feeding the second coin before the first coin was completely rolled; they stuck together where they were squezed together. One was made to honor ANA, and the other is for TEC (The Elongated Collectors).
    3. A high-grade Columbian half dollar with attractive flash and toning.
    4. A smooth Morgan dollar — Jeff’s pocket piece.

Our 1175th Meeting

Date:November 9, 2016, First Session
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 $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.
Featured Program:John RileyWorld War II Numismatics on the U.S. Home Front
World War II lasted 1939-1945, but the United States did not enter until 1941. Every aspect of American life was impacted by this conflict, including our coinage and currency. Attend this meeting and hear John Riley tell the story of why steel cents were issued in 1943, the reason silver Jefferson nickels were minted 1942-45, why some U.S. currency was overprinted or stamped with a special colored seal, and about the “short snorters” made by U.S. soldiers. John Riley is an aficionado of the WWII numismatic experience and an attendee of the Military Payment Certificate Fest.

Date:November 19, 2016, Second session
Time:1:00 PM
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:Clifford Mishler, David Harper, and Joel EdlerRemembering Chet Krause & His Contributions
Chester ‘Chet’ Krause passed away earlier this year and will be forever remembered as one of the most influential figures in numismatics. Chet’s contributions to numismatics, his community, and the people who worked with him were more far reaching than many knew. Attend this meeting and hear three people, who knew Chet well, relate stories and tell of the impact Chet had on those around him. At the conclusion, audience members will be asked to share a story of how Chet’s work affected their numismatic or personal life.

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.

November 9 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - John Riley on World War II Numismatics on the U.S. Home Front
November 17-19 PCDA National Currency and Coin Convention at the Crown Plaza Chicago O’Hare, 5440 North River Road, Rosemont, IL. Admission is $5 good from 1pm on Thursday through Saturday. Details at
November 19 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 Speakers - Clifford Mishler, David Harper, and Joel Edler on Remembering Chet Krause & His Contributions
December 14 CCC Meeting - Club Auction now in December - no featured speaker
January 11 CCC Meeting - Annual Banquet now in January - 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

Elected positions (two-year terms):
Elliott Krieter- President
Richard Lipman- First Vice President
Marc Stackler- Second Vice President
William Burd- Archivist
Directors:Steve Ambos
Melissa Gumm
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

Contacting Your Editor / Chatter Delivery Option

The print version of the Chatter is simply a printout of the Chatter webpage, with a little cutting and pasting to fill out each print page. The webpage is available before the Chatter is mailed.
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