Volume 63 No. 8 August 2017

Editor’s Notes

It is too late to enter a Collector Exhibit for the ANA convention in Denver, but you have plenty of time to put together an exhibit for ANA in Pliadelphia next year, or in Chicago in 2019, or in Pittsburgh in 2020, or in Chicago in 2021. Check out the preliminary guide to the Collector Exhibit Area at this year’s convention in Denver to see the wide range of exhibits that are offered. Do something similar, or do something different for a future convention!

If you attend the ANA in Denver, please consider submitting a trip report for the September Chatter.

Paul Hybert, editor

Minutes of the 1183rd Meeting

The 1183rd meeting of the Chicago Coin Club was held Wednesday, July 12, 2017 at the Chicago Bar Association Building, 321 S. Plymouth Court, Downtown Chicago. Second V.P. John Riley called the meeting to order at 6:45 PM with attendance of 21 members and 2 guests, Barbara Tremblay and Chris Cimino.

The Minutes of the June 14th meeting as published in the Chatter was approved. The Treasurer reported June revenue of $430.00, expenses $1056.38, and total assets $26,092.87. A motion was passed approving the report.

Secretary’s Report and Announcements:

  1. Following the second reading to Shanna Schmidt’s application for membership, a motion was passed accepting her into the club.
  2. Gave first reading of Chris Cimino’s application for membership.
  3. Read correspondence from the National Currency and Coin Convention announcing their new site at the Hilton Rosemont Chicago O’Hare, 5550 N. River Road, Rosemont, IL, March 1-3, 2018.
  4. Passed around a catalog from the Medallic Art Company.
  5. Gave the history of presenting a silver Past President medal. Announced that the ANA discontinued providing the medal, but member Bill Burd found one at the CSNS Convention and donated it to the Club. The engraved medal was presented to Elliott Krieter, President 2013–2015, with warm applause from the membership.

Old Business:

  1. 14-16 members are interested in attending a joint dinner with the NY Numismatic Club on August 2 at the Denver ANA. Reservations need to be e-mailed to Mark Anderson.
  2. Mark Wieclaw, the 100th Anniversary Chairman, announced:
    1. An open planning committee meeting scheduled for Sept 20, 2017, Connie’s Pizza, 2373 S. Archer Ave., Chicago, 60616.
    2. The committee met with the Hyatt Regency O’Hare Hotel Activity Director and began discussing an Anniversary Banquet.
  3. A $750 deposit was made for the Club’s December 13th Annual Banquet at the Grand Lux Café, Ontario St. and Michigan Ave. (entrance on Ontario) at a cost of $50/person. The availability of discount parking will follow.

New Business:

  1. Announced that Robert D. Leonard, Jr. will deliver a Money Talks presentation “Lesher Referendum Dollars: The Denver Connection” on Friday, August 4, 9 AM at the ANA Denver Convention.
  2. At least 6 members in attendance plan to attend the ANA Convention.
  3. Announced that the July 2017 issue of The Numismatist published “United States Naval Tokens” by John Riley. Featured speaker Dale Lukanich gave a presentation Counterfeit British Bank Notes Produced in a German Concentration Camp. Following questions and answers, Dale was presented with an ANA Educational Certificate. The engraved Club medal was delayed in shipping.

Second V.P. John Riley announced the evening’s exhibitors. MARK WIECLAW - a range of modern items, followed by an ancient coin from Sicily. BOB LEONARD - medieval English pennies, entire and cut pieces, and a book about ancient trade in Europe. DEVEN KANE - three Islamic gold coins, and one in silver. DALE LUKANICH - four ancient silver cut coins. LYLE DALY - an ancient coin from Pamphylia, and an Operation Bernhard note. JEFF ROSINIA - items acquired while at Summer Seminar at ANA headquarters.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:45 PM.

Respectfully Submitted,
Carl F. Wolf, Secretary

Speaker’s Wor[l]d
Counterfeit British Bank Notes Produced in a German Concentration Camp

a presentation by Dale Lukanich,
to our July 12, 2017 meeting.

Dale started the program by stating that we are only beginning to be aware of all that happened within Operation Bernhard – there is much to learn, but with the last surviving inmate in poor health, one avenue is almost closed. The first slide had, above the presentation’s title, “Offensive Against Sterling and Destruction of its Position as World Currency.”

That is a translation of one of the points of a meeting in Berlin on September 18, 1939, where the financial heads of Germany met to discuss and plan the finances of the war. Arthur Nebe (Chief of the SS Criminal Police) had earlier talked about counterfeiting foreign currency with Alfred Naujocks (Chief of SS Intelligence); from this meeting, the idea started up the chain of command. Hitler approved the idea, and the project was given “Top Secret” status and the code name “Operation Andrew.”

Naujocks was put in charge of managing the initial work in Berlin. Bernhard Kruger was in charge of later operations working out of part of Concentration Camp Sachsenhausen as the larger “Operation Bernhard.” The term “workshop” was used to refer to Blocks 18 and 19 of the camp. Each block was a separate building, about 200 by 40 feet; these two blocks, with the courtyard between them, formed a camp within the camp, where only its own guards could enter. Dale mentioned that the workshop was also referred to as Block 19 even though two blocks were used. The 144 prisoners assigned there typically had a special skill, such as painter or printer. Salamon Smolianoff, a Russian printer, also was an expert forger.

Much effort was expended in getting the paper exactly correct. Although the Bank of England notes were made from used rags, the first efforts used new rags; the result was not perfect, so used rags were obtained. The resulting paper was not acceptable until chemicals had been added to the water to simulate British water, to get the correct color. The paper had to be made with the correct watermark, and the design had to be printed properly positioned to the watermark. Determining the proper serial numbers to use was another task. Real notes were circulated, so these notes were subjected to wear by handling and such contemporary practices as pinning together notes. Real notes had notches torn out along the right side, by bank tellers in England, with each denomination marked in a unique way – this was done to aid in sorting and counting banknotes.

The produced notes were examined dozens of times. Two of the inspectors had been successful bankers in Warsaw before the war, and they had experience with British banknotes. The notes were graded into three different classes. The best were in Class 1 – for use solely by German agents. Class 2 notes were for the black market and collaborators in occupied countries, while Class 3 notes were for small deals with unimportant people. The first notes were checked by using them in Switzerland. And not just casually. When presented at a bank, the holder expressed some suspicions about the notes, and asked that they be verified. The official verdict was that these were real.

The British had heard about some counterfeiting efforts, but not with details. Expecting low-denomination notes to be counterfeited, they quietly printed £1 and smaller notes in new designs as a precaution.

The production of counterfeit £5, £10, £20, and £50 notes totalled 8,965,080 examples printed and numbered. Some counterfeit £100 notes are known, but their source is unknown – they might have been produced in Operation Andrew, but not in Operation Reinhard. Dale briefly mentioned the counterfeiting of 200 $100 notes just weeks before the operation shut down in 1945. But counterfeit money was not the only product of the workshop – identification papers for German agents, propaganda leaflets, Yugoslavian war bonds, rubber stamps for passports, and birth certificates were made. And Dale showed us faked British postal stamps – does a subtle design change, such as the addition of a Star of David atop the king’s crown, make this a propaganda piece or a real counterfeit? The replacement of the king’s bust with that of Stalin’s must be a propaganda effort.

Among the people paid with the counterfeit notes was Elyesa Bazna, the butler for the British ambassador in Ankara, Turkey, who received £300,000 for his efforts. His attempt to buy a hotel after the war failed when most of his notes were found to be counterfeit. Friedrich Schwend was the chief money launderer; operating from his headquarters in Merano, Italy, he had black market dealings all over the world. He obtained the notes at a 33% discount, and sold the notes to his salesmen at a 25% discount.

The operation at Block 19 stopped on March 13, 1945, with the equipment packed up over the next days. The men were moved to Mauthausen, where they were kept separate. They left on April 4 for another camp, and on May 3 left for another camp; liberation came on May 6. But where was the equipment?

The plan was to dump counterfeit notes into Lake Toplitz in the Austrian Alps; carefully packaged to be recovered at some later time. With no captured cache of counterfeit notes, the British denied there had been any counterfeiting operation large enough to damage their currency’s reputation. In 1959, boxes were recovered from deep in Lake Toplitz; not only did they contain notes in good condition, they also contained ledger books with serial numbers and names – and even the printing plates!

Dale provided details about some of the prisoners and their experiences. Although they have the look of lean runners in pictures from the time of liberation, and not the walking skeleton look of the death camp survivors, their brutal treatment had left them with “I need to survive today” as their mantra in the camps. Excitement at liberation was muted by the realization they had no place to return to, and no one waiting for them. At liberation, there were 142 prisoners – two had been executed back in Block 19: one after he was found to have tuberculosis. and the other after guards found contraband in his locker (placed there by other prisoners because he was believed to be an informer).

Dale concluded the program by reviewing the books covering this operation. The website of Pam West British Bank Notes has a list of counterfeit notes and more information.

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Show and Tell

Items shown at our July 12, 2017 meeting.

  1. Mark Wieclaw started by mentioning some of the interesting coins he found in the reject tray of a public CoinStar coin sorting machine. Then came the real exhibits.
    1. An ad from from the Bradford Exchange, for a $2 bill made into a colorful “Yellowstone National Park Bank Note.”
    2. From the People’s Savings Bank Company of Mt. Gillead, OH, an aluminum collar with the words KEEP ME AND NEVER GO BROKE surrounding a 1936 cent.
    3. A cast counterfeit 1874 Seated Liberty quarter.
    4. A bronze Drachm from Sicily, Herbessos, circa 340-335 BC. The head of Sikella is on the obverse, and the forepart of man-headed bull is on the reverse.
  2. Bob Leonard showed some items acquired while at the International Medieval Congress held in Leeds, England.
    1. A Cross-and-Crosslets (“Tealby”) type penny of Henry II, 1158-1180, along with cut-down examples of pennies of this issue: half of a penny to make a halfpenny, and a fourth of penny to make a farthing. (The last halfpence coin had been struck in 1135, and no farthings had ever been struck to that point.) Bob bought the cut pieces almost 20 years ago, but had difficulty in finding a reasonably-priced, acceptable example of the whole penny until visiting a coin store in York, England.
    2. A book purchased at the Leeds Internatioinal Medieval Congress Book Sale: From Goths to Varangians: Communication and Cultural Exchange Between the Baltic and the Black Sea, University of Aarbus, Denmark, 2013. This contains a paper, “Networking in north-eastern Barbaricum: a study of gold imitations of Roman coins” by Helle Winge Horsnæs. She is curator of coins at the Royal Danish Collection in Copenhagen. Prior to boarding a “Voyage of the Vikings” cruise in 2014, Bob arranged to meet her and see part of the collection, because the exhibit had been closed for renovation. She was very gracious, giving Bob two books on Danish coins, and he reciprocated by sending her a copy of Curious Currency. She mentioned pre-Viking hoarding of worn Roman denarii and imitations minted up to 193 AD, when Septimius Severus drastically reduced the silver content of the denarius, and Bob began looking for examples. Those found in Denmark itself are noncollectible due to Danish law, but he found some likely candidates from a seller in Estonia. Bob did not have one to show us, but he showed us a map in her paper which identifies the locations of hoards containing denarii and their imitations that were made of good silver. He also showed us plates of gold imitations intended as jewelry. The Romans called the areas outside of their territories Barbaricum, the land of the barbarians.
  3. Deven Kane showed four Islamic coins:
    1. A gold dinar of Abu Yaqub Yusuf with no mint and no date marked. He was the second ruler of a dynasty ruling Morocco and Spain, with his reign from 1163 to 1184. The Khalima is rendered in a four-line inscription in calligraphic Maghribî script within a square of double lines. The Almohad Caliphate started as a Moroccan Berber Muslim movement which established a Berber state in the Atlas Mountains around 1120. They succeeded in overthrowing the ruling Almoravid dynasty by 1147, when Marrakesh was conquered and the caliphate declared. They then extended their power over all of the Maghreb by 1159, and all of Islamic Iberia was under Almohad rule by 1172, under the second ruler of the dynasty, Abu Yaqub Yusuf, who was defeated by Afonso I of Portugal at the Siege of Santarém (1184), in which he died.
    2. A gold dinar of Saladin dated 577 AH (1179 AD). His proper name was Al-Nasir Yusuf I (1169-1193), and he founded the Ayyubid dynasty. The legend in the outer margin translates to, “In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful, was struck this dinar in al-Qahira in the year 7 and 70 and 500” while the legend in the inner margin cites the Abbasid Caliph “Abu l-Ábbas al-Nasir li-din Allah, commander of the faithful.” The other side has the Kalima and Qur`an 9:33 in the outer margin and his title, “`alin al-Malik ghaya Salah al-Din” (which became Saladin in the West), in the inner margin.
    3. Another gold dinar of Saladin, this one minted in Alexandria (Al-Iskandariya) in 1192. The arrangement, in concentric circles, of the legends on these coins imitates the earlier Fatimid coins. Originally the Governor of Egypt, Saladin was the first sultan of Egypt and Syria and the founder of the Ayyubid dynasty. A Sunni Muslim of Kurdish origin, Saladin led the Muslim military campaign against the Crusader states in the Levant. His capture of Jerusalem in 1187 started the Third Crusade. At the height of his power, his sultanate included Egypt, Syria, Upper Mesopotamia, the Hejaz, Yemen, and other parts of North Africa. He has often been described as being the most famous Kurd in history.
    4. A beautifully struck silver half tanka from Herat (now in Afghanistan). Muhammad Shaybani Khan (c. 1451–1510), was an Uzbek leader who consolidated various Uzbek tribes and laid the foundations for their ascendance in Transoxiana and the establishment of the Khanate of Bukhara. He was a descendant of Shiban, the fifth son of Genghis Khan’s eldest son. He caputured Samarkand in 1500, Bukhara in 1506, and Herat in 1507. He defeated the Timurid prince Babur; it was fear of Shaybani that drove Babur east to Kabul, forcing him to give up his dreams of recreating Timur’s empire centered around Samarkand. Babur later turned his attention east, conquering Delhi in 1526 and establishing the Mughal Empire. Shaybani met his end at the hands of another rising power, the Safavids of Persia under Shah Ismail I. Defeated in the Battle of Marv (1510), Muhammad Shaybani was killed when trying to escape. From the accounts of Babur, we know that the Shah of Persia beheaded Shaybani and had his skull turned into a bejeweled drinking cup which he later sent to Babur as a goodwill gesture.
  4. Dale Lukanich showed four ancient silver coins that had been cut from the edge, towards the center, possibly to test if the coin was made of good silver.
    1. Thasos stater with a cut.
    2. A silver stater from Kelenderis in Cilicia. But a closer check shows it to be a fouree, or a contemporary counterfeit in base metal with a silver wash.
    3. A fouree of a Julius Caesar denarius.
    4. Half of a good Athenian tetradrachm – cannot tell if it was cut intentionally, or if the test cut was made too strongly.
  5. Lyle Daly showed two real items, and then a fun item.
    1. A Greek bronze coin he had been trying to identify for years. Thanks to Shanna Schmidt who identified it at our June meeting as from Pamphylia, located in what now is Turkey. One side has a three-quarters facing head of Athena in a triple-crested helmet, while the other side shows Athena advancing with a shield, brandishing a thunderbolt.
    2. An Operation Bernhard £10 note with serial number 33412. Lyle pointed out some diagnostic dots and other areas.
    3. A fashion tip for numismatists who want help to integrate with mainstream society – lighted magnifying goggles!
  6. Jeff Rosinia showed several items from the ANA Summer Seminar in Colorado Springs:
    1. His ANA Colorado theme exhibit of early items from the Denver mint, including a bronze so-called dollar commemorating the 1906 opening of the Denver mint, and a postcard advertising the sale of quarter dollars for only 12 cents (+ 13 cents) each!
    2. The start of a grading set: four slabbed 1900-O Morgan silver dollars ranging in condition from Poor-1 through MS-63.
    3. Souvenirs from Summer Seminar: the 2018 large format Red Book with a page cutting error (and signed on the error page during Summer Seminar by Ken Bressett, longtime Red Book editor); a token facsimile of a $5 gold piece of Colorado pioneer gold minters Clark, Gruber & Company; and a newly-issued Daniel Carr commemorative silver crown.

Our 1184th Meeting

Date:August 9, 2017,
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:Dave CrooksThe Shipwreck of the Nuestra Senora de Atocha and its Coinage
This talk will center on the history of the Nuestra Senora de Atocha shipwreck, the salvage, and the coinage. The Nuestra Senora de Atocha sank 34 miles southwest of Key West, Florida in 1622 during a hurricane. As the ship was blown into the reefs, the bottom was ripped out and the cargo strewn over a square mile. A second hurricane, the next year, obscured the wreck until it was discovered by Mel Fisher in 1972. The ship was carrying a $400 million cargo of silver coinage and bullion, minted in the New World, as well as a significant amount of gold and emeralds. The coinage primarily consisted of silver cobs (irregular hand-made coins) minted in the reign of King Philip III, in denominations of 8, 4, 2, and 1 reales from the Potosi mint (then in Peru, now in Bolivia). However, there were some Mexico City and Lima-minted coins as well. A variety of assayers are represented in the 186,000 coins recovered. Many of these assayers did not last long in their job, making coins with these assayer marks rare. Markings on both the obverse and reverse will be explained.

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.

August 1-5 ANA in Denver, Colorado this year, so we can relax and play tourist — for details, see
August 9 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - Dave Crooks on The Shipwreck of the Nuestra Senora de Atocha and its Coinage
September 13 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - Melissa Gumm on Love Tokens
September 21-23 ILNA 58th Annual Coin & Currency Show at Pheasant Run Resort, 4051 East Main Street, St. Charles, IL. Details, including hours and events, is available at
October 11 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - Brett Irick on Building a Mexican Type Set Collection
November 8 CCC Meeting - Club Auction  - no featured speaker
December 13 CCC Meeting - Annual Banquet  - Featured Speaker - Stanley Campbell on Cuban Numismatics

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):
Richard Lipman- President
Marc Stackler- First Vice President
John Riley- Second Vice President
William Burd- Archivist
Directors:Steve Ambos
Melissa Gumm
Dale Lukanich
Mark Wieclaw
Appointed positions:
Elliott Krieter- Immediate Past President
Carl Wolf- Secretary
Steve Zitowsky- Treasurer
Paul Hybert- Chatter Editor, webmaster
Jeffrey Rosinia- ANA Club Representative

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