|Volume 63 No. 8||August 2017|
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
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:
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.
Carl F. Wolf, Secretary
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.
|CSNS Convention||Chicago Coin Company|
|PCDA Convention||Harlan J. Berk, Ltd.|
Items shown at our July 12, 2017 meeting.
|Date:||August 9, 2017,|
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 Crooks
— The 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.
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 http://www.worldsfairofmoney.com.|
|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 http://www.ilnaclub.org|
|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|
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):|
|Richard Lipman||- President|
|Marc Stackler||- First Vice President|
|John Riley||- Second Vice President|
|William Burd||- Archivist|
|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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