|Volume 64 No. 5||May 2018|
This issue is a little late so we can include the minutes from our meeting at the CSNS convention. Look in the next issue for the writeup of Beth Deisher’s presentation at that meeting.
Paul Hybert, editor
Session I of the 1191st meeting of the Chicago Coin Club was held Wednesday, April 11, 2018 at the Chicago Bar Association Building, 321 S. Plymouth Court, Downtown Chicago. President Richard Lipman called the meeting to order at 6:45 PM with attendance of 15 members.
The Minutes of March were approved as published in the Chatter. In the absence of Treasurer Steve Zitowsky, the Secretary read the Treasurer’s Report showing revenue of $635.00 and expenses of $740.05. A motion was passed approving the report.
A moment of silence was held in memory of member Ray Lockwood. The Secretary and Mark Wieclaw spoke of the contribution Ray made to the numismatic community, especially the Central States Numismatic Society.
An announcement was made that Bill Burd recently published a 108-page book Medals and Tokens of the Chicago Coin Club. A supply was available at the meeting for $30.00.
A discussion was held about the CDs in the Club archives showing videos of senior members taped in 1994, the Club’s 75thanniversary year. There was a positive support to video current long time members.
Bill Burd announced that a large portion of the Chatter, the Club’s newsletter, had been scanned into the Newman Numismatic Portal (NewmanPortal.org), but there are some issues from the 1950s and 1960s missing from the Club Archives.
Mark Wieclaw, Chairman of the 100th Anniversary Committee reported:
First VP Marc Stackler introduced the featured speaker Warren Schultz who gave a program Using Coins to Date The Thousand and One Nights. Following a question and answer period, Marc presented Warren with an ANA Educational Certificate and an engraved Club speaker’s medal.
Second VP John Riley announced the six exhibitors. MARK WIECLAW: 3 genuine coins with imitations. DEVEN KANE: silver Swedish and Brandenburg-Prussia coins, and a bronze Romanian coin. ROBERT LEONARD: two altered U.S. large cents and a satire token of copper coinage. RICH LIPMAN: four large-type U.S. notes. BOB FEILER: a bronze Club 500th meeting medal and four coins fashioned into boxes. ROBERT WEINSTEIN: six Indo-Parthian coins, circa 100 AD.
Rich Lipman announced he brought a supply of coin tubes for members to take.
The meeting was recessed at 8:44 PM and will be reconvened at 1PM on Saturday, April 28th in conjunction with the Central States Numismatic Society Convention at the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center.
Session II of the 1191st meeting of the Chicago Coin Club was held in conjunction with the Central States Numismatic Society Convention at the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center. The meeting reconvened at 1PM, Saturday April 28, 2018 with 48+ members and guests in attendance.
Featured speaker Beth Deisher, Director of the Anti-Counterfeiting Task Force at the Industry Council for Tangible Assets (ICTA), addressed the group on The Ongoing War Against Counterfeit Coins, Counterfeit Collector Coins, and Counterfeit Bullion Coins. She gave an informative behind-the-scenes look at how the U.S. Government deals with these criminal cases, how they are investigated, and how ICTA assists through the education of the government agents. After an extended period of questions, Beth was presented with an ANA Educational Certificate and an engraved Club medal with a neck ribbon.
Five membership applications received a first reading: W. Thomas Corey, Bill Brandimore, Russell Augustin, Julie Bell, and John Kent.
The meeting was adjourned at 2:16 PM.
Carl F. Wolf, Secretary
a presentation by Warren Schultz,
to our April 11, 2018 meeting.
The Thousand and One Nights is a very popular example of world literature. From its origins in traditional oral folk tales, it has been reworked into books under a number a titles and translated into many languages. In English, it has appeared under the title The Arabian Nights, among others, and is known in Arabic as Alf Layla wa-Layla. This is a collection of short stories, set within the frame story of Princess Sheherazade telling a different story each night. In his presentation, Warren Schultz concentrated on the dating of when a group of 35 stories was first written down, while also touching on a number of different aspects of the work’s history.
The earliest recognizable written piece of the Nights dates from the 9th century CE. Warren showed us this partial page which is located here in Chicago, at the Oriental Institute Museum. It only has part of the frame story, so we cannot use this to date any of the stories to this period. A 14th or 15th century Syrian manuscript, now in the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris, is the next known source. This has 35 complete stories and one partial story. Using this resource, Antoine Galland translated these stories into French and adapted them Parisian sensibilities, with volumes published from 1704 through 1717. These stories were written for an intelligent adult audience; these were not sweet enchanted children’s stories. These were translated into other European languages and became very popular.
There are later Syrian manuscripts but, since they contain the same 35 complete stories and one partial story, they are considered just copies of the work now in the BN. The earliest Egyptian manuscript is from the late 17th century, and there are several dating from 1750-1850, after the first European translations appeared. The Egyptian manuscripts contain many more stories than the Syrian manuscript. The Arabian Nights is a great translation but it has a few quirks, such as using demon where some might expect genie. Robert Irwin’s The Arabian Nights: A Companion is interesting and recommended.
The stories probably circulated for centuries before the 9th century, as part of the oral story telling traditions of Syrian, Persian, and other regional cultures. Warren noted that Ali Baba and Aladin do not appear in the Arabic manuscripts from before the time of the Galland volumes. He did not give an authoritative statement as to their source, but he did note that we cannot rule out the possibility of European and Asian influences in some of the stories which have appeared in various renderings of the Nights.
Accurate dating of a manuscript is important because the scholarly debates about the relationships between the different manuscripts are affected. While the differences between some manuscripts might be argued to be part of an evolutionary nature or copying if the manuscripts can be arranged in some date sequence, differences between contemporary versions must be ascribed to something else. So the date matters in the scholars in the field.
One of the efforts to date the Syrian manuscript was centered on a numismatic term used in two of the stories: it would seem reasonable to use the date of the numismatic term as the earliest possible date for the written story. The term Ashrafi dinar appears in two stories, so date the coin and you have the earliest possible date for the manuscript. That sounds simple and straight forward, but the actual development had more twists and turns. Warren spent most of the remainder of the presentation telling us of some recent theories and the resulting back and forth exchange of facts and their interpretations.
The 1984 two-volume critical edition by Muhsin Mahdi was followed in 1994 by his single-volume introduction and indices. His conclusions were:
Heinz Grotzfeld stated that the mention of the ashrafi gold coin excludes transcription dates before 1430, and pushes the likely date to the latter half of the 15th century because of the time needed for the name of the new coin to enter wide and common use. Grotzfeld believed the ashrafi dinar was first minted in 1425 by the Mamluk sultan al-Ashraf Barsbāy. Mahdi passively rejected this idea by including, in his 1994 volume, a picture of a gold coin of the Mamluk sultan al-Malik al-Ashraf Khalīl (1290-1293) as an example of the ashrafi dinar mentioned in the Jewish Physician’s tale of the Hunchback cycle.
So which of these two Mamluk Sultans with al-Ashrafi gave its name to the ashrafi dinar? Grotzfeld argued that the gold coins issued during al-Ashraf Barsbāy’ reign represented a significant reform (change) in Mamluk monetary practice. These coins, and all following Mamluk gold coins, were significantly different from all previous Mamluk gold coins. The gold coins of al-Ashraf Khalīl, however, did not differ from the gold coins issued by the prior or later sultans.
While not a numismatist by training, Grotzfeld did look at Mamluk coins and noted the differences. Beyond the simple different name of the current ruler, a major change during al-Ashraf Barsbāy’ reign was the issuance of gold coins of regular weights. From the Ayyubids until the 15th century, the fine gold coins of Egypt and Syria were struck on flans of irregular weight. These dinar harja, or ingot style, pieces were weighed during a transaction; prices were expressed in the mithqal weight standard unit, and a pile of gold pieces weighing the stated amount would be needed. Warren showed us a graph showing the weight distribution of a group of 134 large-flan Mamluk dinars minted in Damascus – it formed a nice bell-shaped curve from 4 grams to more than 12 grams, with a peak at 7 grams.
Sultan Al-Mu’ayyad Shaykh (1412-1421), the ruler before al-Ashraf Barsbāy, reformed the gold coinage by introducing full mithqal and half mithqal pieces which followed the weight standard. The dinars of al-Ashraf Barsbāy follow some weight standard, weighing from 3.3 to 3.5 grams; Warren noted this is close to the weight of a Venetian ducat. All subsequent Mamluk gold coins follow this weight standard.
Although there is no evidence in the chronicles that the dinar of al-Ashraf Khalīl was never referred to as an ashrafi dinar, hundreds of surviving documents from al-Ashraf Barsbāy’s reign do use the term ashrafi dinar. Unfortunately, there are very few surviving government records about coins and mints. Warren disagrees with Grotzfeld’s idea that it took 10 to 15 years from the introduction of a new monetary unit the new terminology entered everyday usage and appear in the works of authors. He also noted that although Grotzfeld cited contemporary writings which did not mention the new standard, further examination has revised the dates of some known accounts and the discovery of use of ashrafi soon after it was minted.
This summary has skimmed over some of the developments and reasoning in this area. For further information, there is Warren’s writing in Vol 12 of the Ulrich Haarmann Memorial Lecture, from 2015.
Walter Ray Lockwood was a long time member of the Central States Numismatic Society, served many offices and for many years as a Governor, Education Chair, and assisted his wife Fran with the convention exhibits. He was a collector of many numismatic subjects, including polymer banknotes.
At the Chicago Coin Club’s November 21, 2015 meeting held in conjunction with the PCDA National Currency and Coin Convention, Ray gave a well received presentation on this subject. The next day Ray chaired the CSNS Numismatic Educational Symposium titled “Tales of Gold, Greed, Gangsters, and Wartime on the Prairie.” He was a constant presence at CSNS conventions for many years, and will be dearly missed.
Carl F. Wolf, Secretary
Tillie Boosel passed away April 24, 2018 at the age of 96, and was laid to rest at Westlawn Cemetery, Norridge, IL.
Tillie joined the Chicago Coin Club in July 1950 using her maiden name Sicher since she was engaged, but not yet married, to Harry Boosel. After their marriage and up until his death in 1994, Tillie traveled the country with Harry attending many coin shows. Harry served in many numismatic leadership positions and received numerous awards. Tillie was always by his side and frequently served as a convention volunteer. The American Numismatic Association recognized their years of teamwork by jointly presenting them with the ANA Presidential Award at the 1994 Detroit Convention.
Tillie is survived by daughter Nanci Judge, son Wayne (Bonnie) Boosel, grandchildren Clayton and Lyndsay Judge and Wendy Boosel. She is preceded in death by her husband of 43 years, Harry, son-in-law Charlie Judge and sisters Ann Caplan and Lillian Gizzardo.
Carl F. Wolf, Secretary
|CSNS Convention||Chicago Coin Company|
|PCDA Convention||Harlan J. Berk, Ltd.|
Items shown at our April 11, 2018 meeting,
reported by John Riley.
|Date:||May 9, 2018|
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.
|Featured Program:||Mark Wieclaw
— Collecting Ancient Coins, an Introduction
Mark will discuss the Dos and Don’ts (in his opinion) of collecting ancient coins from the Greek, Roman Republic, Roman Imperial, and Byzantine periods. This will be a very general overview. He will also offer suggestions on various topics that can be collected, and then show some coins that are of interest both from a historic and artistic standpoint.
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.
|May||9||CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - Mark Wieclaw on Collecting Ancient Coins, an Introduction|
|June||13||CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - Gerard Anaszewicz on Auxumite Coins|
|June||15||Collector Exhibit Application Deadline. The application for exhibiting at ANA in Philadelphia must be received at ANA headquarters. Links to the Rules and Application are at https://www.money.org/worldsfairofmoney-exhibits|
|July||11||CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - to be announced|
|August||8||CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - to be announced|
|August||14-18||ANA in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania this year, so we can relax and play tourist for one more year before it returns to Rosemont next year — for details, see https://www.money.org/worldsfairofmoney.|
|September||12||CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - to be announced|
|September||20-22||ILNA 58th Annual Coin & Currency Show at the Pheasant Run Resort, 4051 East Main Street, St. Charles, IL. Details, including hours and events, is available at http://www.ilnaclub.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
|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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