Chatter


Volume 63 No. 3 March 2017


Editor’s Notes

You might have noticed that two local spring coin shows, CPMX and CICF, are no more. The PCDA show has moved from November to March, so consider that a replacement for CPMX. The long run of CICF shows has ended, but the new Chicago Coin Expo in April focuses on Ancient and World coins — it is held in downtown Chicago.

If you are looking for an old show, Central States will meet in Schaumburg in late April. See the Important Dates section in this issue for details and links.

Paul Hybert, editor


Minutes of the 1178th Meeting

The 1178th meeting of the Chicago Coin Club was held February 8, 2017 in the Chicago Bar Association Building, 321 S. Plymouth Court, Downtown Chicago. President Richard Lipman called the meeting to order at 6:45 PM with 21 members present.

A motion was passed to accept the January Minutes as published in the Chatter. Treasurer Steve Zitowsky gave a detailed financial report for January showing assets of $25,409.56 with January revenue of $667.00 and expenses of $2,111.67. A motion was passed accepting the report. The Treasurer went on with the 2016 yearend report showing assets $26,854.23, revenue $8,768, and expenses of $9,245 with net loss of $477. The Secretary announced that he neglected to send out four invoices of $300 each for Chatter advertising which is promised and will arrive soon. The report was approved as read.

Old Business:

New Business:

First V.P. Marc Stackler introduced the featured speaker, Deven Kane, who spoke on The Coins of the Western Kshatrapas. Following a question and answer period, Marc presented Deven with an engraved medal and an ANA Educational Certificate.

Second V.P. John Riley introduced the evening’s seven exhibitors. MARK WIECLAW - 2 ancient coins and a comic featuring the U.S. Mint. ROBERT LEONARD from Ionia or Lydia, an electrum hemihekte (1/12 stater), one of the oldest world coins. DEVEN KANE Swedish coin from Erik XIV (1560-1568) and Karl XIV Johan (1818-1844), plus books on Bengal coinage and the Gupta Empire. JEFF AMELSE Byzantine silver coins. DAVID GUMM war ration book purchased by his father in David’s name. DALE LUKANICH cut silver coins and a note from Netherland Antilles. RICHARD LIPMAN Canadian Tire scrip, Disney dollars, a Colombian note, and a Periodic Table of U.S. Coins poster by PCGS.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:58 PM.

Respectfully Submitted,
Carl F. Wolf, Secretary


Speaker’s Wor[l]d
The Coins of the Western Kshatrapas

a presentation by Deven Kane,
to our February 8, 2017 meeting,

Starting with the Bactrian Greeks about 180 BC, the northern and western areas of India experienced a tumultuous succession of invaders and turmoil. Next, the Scythians destroyed the Bactrian Kingdom that had been distracted by infighting, but then headed west towards Parthia. The Scythians returned by 90 BC, and finished off the last Indo-Greek Kingdoms by 20 BC. The rise and fall of the Indo-Scythians was followed by the rise and fall of the Indo-Parthian Kingdom, which was followed by the Kushan Empire from 30 to 375. The area to the south of the Kushans is called the Western Satraps.

Satrap was a title for a provincial governor in the Persian Empire; Kshatrapas is the sanskritized version of the title. The terms Kshatrapas and Satraps are equivalent when regarding this area, with modern writers using one or the other as they prefer. Just as rajah means king and maharajah means great king, mahakshatrapa means great satrap. Two groups of Indo-Scythians assumed the title kshatrapa: the “Northern” Satraps initially were indepdent, but became Kushan vassals; the “Western” Satraps, of 35-415, had two dynasties with different coinage styles.

Two good relevant books were written by Alex M. Fishman in 2013. The “Silver” Coinage of the Western Satraps in India (ca. 50-400 AD) is a guide to the rarity, legends, and prices of the silver coins. A similar book for the “Base-metal” coins does not include prices as the silver coins are the most commonly encountered.

So far, only three kings are known from the Kshaharata dynasty, and the first two are known largely by their coins. The copper coins of Abhiraka and Bhumaka (no silver coins are known) started with Indo Scythian motifs. We saw a winged Nike surrounded by a Greek legend on one side, with with a lion and dharmachakra (wheel) surrounded by a Kharosthi legend on the other side. The next coin had an arrow and thunderbolt surrounded by Kharosthi on one side, and a lion and wheel surrounded by a Brahmi legend on the other side. (Although the arrow looks like an arrow, the thunderbolt looks somewhat like a fleur de lis.)

The third king of this dynasty, named Nahapana, ruled approximately 50-100; he was the successor to, and possibly the son of, Bhumaka. He expanded the realm and used the title Raja Kshatrapa on his silver coins and Raja Mahakshatrapa on base metal coins of copper, lead, and potin. His base metal coins are not as common as his silver coins. His coins are undated, and we saw a coin with the head of the king surrounded by Greek letters on one side, and an arrow and thunderbolt surrounded by a Brahmi legend on the other side. Sometimes the Greek legend is blundered on his coins; there are many varieties due to legends, portrait types, and flan types. We saw some of his base metal coins, but time is not kind to base metal coins — I point the interested reader to Google. Toward the end of his reign, his coins, and the coins of a powerful neighbor were overstruck by each other — and then Nahapana disappear from history.

The second dynasty is known as the Kardamakas, but their origins are unknown. The first ruler, named Chastana, used the titles Kshatrapa and Mahakshatrapa; maybe Chastana started as a vassal of Nahapana, and picked up the pieces after the fall of Nahapana. He ruled 78-130, and the coins of this dynasty identify the father of each ruler, making it possible to construct a dynastic tree. Many rulers had co-rulers or subrulers — Chastana appears to have used his brother Damazada and son Jayadaman as co-rulers, with Jayadaman’s son Rudradaman later serving as co-ruler with Chastana. In Indian history, a new calendar was started for each dynasty. The calendar that started in 78 exists today as the official Indian National Calendar, and it is believed that this calendar was started by Chastana to mark the start of his reign as Kshatrapa. Coins of Chastana are known dated with regnal years 6, 11, and 52. Later rulers would date their coins with a date in the Saka Era (SE).

What about his coins? The silver coins of Chastana are rarer, cruder, and have slightly less silver than the coins of Nahapana. The Greek legend is generally corrupt. His Kshatrapa coins are generally in Greek, Kharosthi, and Brahmi script; his Mahakshatrapa coins drop the Kharosthi. The reverses start with a sun and a crescent, eventually ending with a sun, a chaitya (arched hills, rendered as 3 or 6 arches), and two crescents. The base metal coins do not have portraits, and contain various combinations of sun, crescent, and chaityas; the base metal coins of Damazada show a horse on the obverse.

Rudradaman, the greatest ruler of his dynasty, ruled approximately from 130 to 150. He is the last Kshatrapa ruler whose Greek inscriptions make any sense — after him the legends degrade into meaningless sequences of letters. Although the locations of his mints are not known for certain, there are visible differences in the portraits and in the renderings of symbols such as the chaitya. We saw silver drachms with Brahmi legends around the reverse, with the sources identified as “mint A” and “mint B.”

Rudrasimha I ruled from 178 to 197, and we saw silver drachms with blundered Greek legends around his bust and extending off of the flan; the reverse has a three-arched hill with a river below, crescent moon and sun above, and Brahmi legend around. On the centennial of the Saka Era, a date was introduced behind the king’ bust; on small flans or coins with a poorly centered strike, the date might be missing. A pair of shown silver drachms from 110 SE (=188 AD) hint at some sort of changing level of authority, for the coin from “mint A” names him as a kshatrapa, while the coin from “mint B” names him as a mahakshatrapa. The succession following Rudrasimha shows his sons and nephews rapidly cycling through the throne. Maybe the last hurrah of the Kushans, their neighbors to the north, contributed to the turmoil.

The usurper Isvaradatta ruled during two years, 242-243, and little is known of him. The Brahmi legends on his coin do not give his father’s name, hinting at his lack of royal antecedents.

Rudrasena III ascension to the throne in 348 came after 15 years without any known coinage, and hsi long reign until 378 stabilized the kingdom. The patrynomic in his Brahmi legend refers to a Rudradaman (II?), but no coins of such a ruler are known. The silver coinage remained of high quality, and large hoards of mint state coins are known. After his death, the realm appears to have fractured among numerous contenders, possibly attracting the attention of the Guptas.

The fifth kshatrapa in seven years, Rudrasimha III ruled during a turbulent period, 385-415, that saw a falling fineness and weight in the silver coins. His coin declare him as the son of Satyasimha, but his lineage was unknown until the discovery of a coin in 2012 identifying Satyasimha as the son of Rudrasena III. We do not know how much of the realm he still ruled as the Guptas under Chandragupta II invaded and started minting their own coins. The last known coinage of Rudrasimha III is from 415 AD, in the reign of Kumaragupta I.

Following their conquests, the Guptas introduced some of their own emblems and dates, while keeping some of the elements of the Saka coins. The portraits and flans are much cruder. Later rulers and dynasties also issued coins as imitations or with borrowed design elements, but they were blundered and of low artistry, making for an even more complicated area of study.


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Show and Tell

Items shown at our February 8, 2017 meeting,

  1. Mark Wieclaw: showed two coins and a comic.
    1. A silver hemidrachm issued by Alexander III (the Great) of Macedonia, circa 323-317 BC. It has the same design as the much more common tetradrachms, only smaller. The obverse shows the head of young Herakles wearing a lion-skin headdress, while the reverse shows Zeus seated, facing left and holding an eagle and a scepter. This coin is much smaller than a US dime, but the design detail is all there.
    2. An antoninianus of the the Roman emperor Gallienus, circa 253-268 AD. It is a triple error. First, it is an obverse brockage. After realizing what happened, an attempt was made to strike the reverse with the reverse die. The strike was somewhat off center, followed by a second attempt that was 50% off center.
    3. A Chuckle Brothers comic from the Sun-Times involving the United States Mint.
  2. Bob Leonard showed one of the oldest coins in the world.
    1. An electrum hemihekte (1/12 stater) of Ionia or Lydia, with an obverse consisting of striations and a reverse having irregular square incuse punch, circa 650-600 BC. The oldest coin shown in all books on ancient Greek coins is the anonymous electrum stater of Ionia or Lydia, with three punchmarks on one side; the other side merely has striated lines from the scoring on the anvil to prevent the electrum lump from flying away when struck. While the full stater is a great rarity, a number of the smaller denominations of this series, like this 1/12 stater, have become available in recent years. This example was won in an Austrian auction, which necessitated receiving an export permit from the Austrian government and an import permit from the Homeland Security, US Customs and Border Protection.
    2. What Bob found amusing was the auctioneer’s description of this item on the import application: “we certify that, Either the enclosed items are not ‘Italian, Bulgarian or Greek Coins’ as defined under 19 USC § 2606 or if they are ‘Italian, Bulgarian or Greek Coins’ as defined under 19 USC § 2606, to the best of our knowledge they were exported … before the effective date…” This coin is listed in Greek Coins and Their Values. Elsewhere they are described as “Numismatic Objects Older than 100 Years,” and they are also stated as not to be “gold,” which may be strictly true (the other coin imported at the same time was also electrum).
  3. Deven Kane showed two coins and two books:
    1. A 16 Öre of Erik XIV of Sweden, 1560-1568. This 1564-dated klippe is from Stockholm, and is catalogued as Ahlström 45. Klippes, with their distinctive square or diamond shaped flans, are perhaps best known as siege or necessity issues, produced to pay soldiers or mercenaries during wartime. To create klippe coinage, a mint simply forged metal bars of a certain thickness, stamped the bars with a punch or die, and then clipped the metal into regular, square-shaped pieces. Production speed was paramount, and these could be produced faster than round coins. However, siege or necessity issues are generally crude, showing little of the artistry and detail of peacetime coins. (Peacetime klippes, frequently issued on special occaisions, were skillfully executed, but this example is not one of those.)
    2. An 1836/5 copper one skilling coin of Karl XIV Johan of Sweden, 18181844. He was born Jean Bernadotte in France, and served a long career in the French Army, capped by his appointment as a Marshal of France by Napoleon. Napoleon made him Prince of Pontecorvo (in south-central Italy) on 5 June 1806, but he stopped using that title in 1810 when he was elected the heir-presumptive to the childless King Charles XIII of Sweden. Upon his Swedish adoption, he assumed the name Karl. He did not use the name “Bernadotte” in Sweden, but founded the royal dynasty there of that name.
    3. Treasures of The Gupta Empire by Sanjeev Kumar, hardcover, 2016. This book covers the history and the entire Coinage of the Gupta Dynasty, from the start in 319 AD to its end in 543 AD. It also includes the coinage of the Later Guptas and the related dynasties of Bengal. The author has illustrated every coin variety in gold, copper, and lead as well as a complete range of all known silver coins with dates struck by the Gupta kings. This copy is signed to Deven for his proof reading efforts.
    4. Early Coinage of Bengal (c. 2nd Century BC - 10th Century AD (With notes on Harikela and Akara Coins) by Nicholas G. Rhodes, SK Bose, Noman Nasir, and Mira Bose. Library of Numismatic Studies, 2016, 243 pages, b/w plates, map, ISBN: 9789351967408. With access to trade routes to South East and East Asia, Bengal was one of the few places in India to continuously mint silver coinage. This new book is a great resource for the variety of coinage in the region.
  4. Jeff Amelse showed numerous examples of the various types of silver Byzantine coins. Byzantine silver coins are in some cases rarer than gold. They evolved over the 1000+ years of the Byzantine empire from siliqua that imitated Roman silver coins, to the heavy hexagrams of Heraclius, through Miliaresions around the year 1000, to the abstract AR Stavrata of Michael VIII near the end of the empire.
  5. Rich Lipman showed paper items:
    1. Three Disney Dollars: $1, $5, and $10.
    2. An example of Canadia Tire scrip. A customer received a percentage of purchase in these loyalty bucks that were printed by the Canadian Banknote Company.
    3. A 1000 peso note from Colombia, dated 2011 and featuring a portrait of Jorge Eliecer Gaitan, a charismatic political leader assassinated in 1948.
    4. A Periodic Table of U.S. Coins put out by PCGS, with this last item awarded as the prize for the first answer to a pop quiz, “What was the original name for Mickey Mouse?” Club member E.J.Kedzie knew the answer.
  6. David Gumm showed a war Ration Coupon Book purchased by his father in David’s name (at age 3 in 1945). The street address is on the north side of Chicago, but the family moved to Palatine soon after.
  7. Dale Lukanich started by showing some cut coins, a specialty of his:
    1. A cut silver denarius of Julia Titi, Titus’ daughter.
    2. A cut silver denarius from Roman Spain (Bolskan).
    3. A cut silver testone from the Vatican, 1592-1605.
    4. A rare 500 gulden note from the Netherland Antilles (1962), featuring a view of the local Royal Dutch Shell Oil refinery.

Minutes of the Chicago Coin Club Board of Directors

February 15, 2017

The Chicago Coin Club Board met February 15, 2017 at Connie’s Pizza, 2373 S. Archer Ave., Chicago. President Richard Lipman called the meeting to order at 6 PM with the following members present: Paul Hybert, Marc Stackler, Mark Wieclaw, Steve Zitowsky, Elliott Krieter, Melissa Gumm, William Burd, Dale Lukanich, and Carl Wolf.

President Lipman received Board approval for the following appointments:

After discussing the responsibilities and logistics, the Board unanimously recommended Rich Lipman as Host Chairman for the 2019 ANA Convention. This will go before the membership at the March 8th regular meeting.

The 100th Anniversary Committee of Mark Wieclaw, Dale Lukanich, and William Burd reported on a list of recommended committees: Banquet, Medal(s), Book(let), Program, Promotions/Advertising, and Sponsorships. Additional remarks included:

A discussion was held regarding the Annual Banquet. Among the pros and cons discussed were:

The next Board meeting will be held May 17, 2017 at Connie’s Pizza.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:35 PM.

Respectfully Submitted,
Carl F. Wolf, Secretary


Our 1179th Meeting

Date:March 4, 2017, First 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:Dennis LutzWorld Bank Note of the Year: Behind the Scenes
The IBNS Bank Note of the Year award is an initiative of the IBNS to recognize an exceptional bank note issued each year. Members nominate only those notes issued to the public, and must have artistic merit, design, use of color, contrast, balance, and/or innovative security measures. Dennis Lutz is the current President of the IBNS and will cover the history of this award that received recognition by Bloomberg Business Week Magazine with a featured article, “New Money.” Assisted by CCC Member and IBNS General Secretary Roger Urce, Dennis will show the 19 specimens nominated for the 2016 award and discuss reasons some are under consideration. Everyone in attendance will receive a ballot that will be compared with the IBNS member vote total. Guests are welcome. You do not need to be a member of the Chicago Coin Club or the IBNS to attend the meeting.

Date:March 8, 2017, Second 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:A Panel DiscussionWhen to Dispose of Your Collection
The details are still being arranged, but we hope to have three or four people, plus a moderator. At least one dealer, and one collector who has sold part of his or her collection, to be on the panel. Panel members could relate their experiences in selling, and in deciding what to sell; the panel will have experience in selling. The moderator and audience will pose questions to the panel. Marc Stackler is organizing this, and he is accepting questions and suggestions ahead of the meeting.
Oops. The program listed in the printed March Chatter should have been listed as tentative. The above program has been rescheduled to our April meeting at the CSNS Convention. See our main web page for details on John Wright’s program at our March 8 meeting in downtown Chicago.

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.

March 3-5 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 http://www.pcdaonline.com
March 4 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 - Dennis Lutz on World Bank Note of the Year: Behind the Scenes
March 8 CCC Meeting - A Panel Discussion on When to Dispose of Your Collection
March 9-11 ANA’s National Money Show at the Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, Florida. Details at http://www.money.org/NationalMoneyShow
April 6-8 Chicago Coin Expo which is held at the Cultural Center in downtown Chicago. There is no admission charge. For details, refer to their website, http://www.coinexpo.org.
April 12 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - Mark Wieclaw on Aes Graves: Cast Bronze Coinage of Early Rome
April 27-29 78th Anniversary Convention of the Central States Numismatic Society at the Schaumburg Renaissance Hotel & Convention Center, 1551 North Thoreau Drive, Schaumburg, IL. Free public admission. For details, refer to their website, http://www.centralstates.info/conv.html.
April 29 CCC Meeting - 1pm at the CSNS Convention, which is held at the Schaumburg Convention Center.
Featured Speaker - to be announced
May 10 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - to be announced
June 14 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - to be announced

Chatter Matter

http://www.ChicagoCoinClub.org/

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

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:
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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