Volume 66 No. 4 April 2020

Editor’s Notes: Meeting Changes for April

The club’s regular April meeting in downtown Chicago has been canceled. This should come as no surprise. Covid-19 is playing havoc with scheduled events in the real world, and in now our corner of the small numismatic world. Our club joins the growing list of clubs which are canceling in-person meetings and conventions.

We are looking into holding a virtual (on-line) meeting on the evening of our regular April meeting. I am confident we will have some numismatic program on the evening of April 8, but, because our meeting will be more than two weeks after this issue is printed, I offer no details here.

An email will be sent to all members as soon as we know what resources will be needed for viewing and participating. At that same time, the information would be posted on the club’s main webpage.

Paul Hybert, editor

Minutes of the 1214th Meeting

The 1214th meeting of the Chicago Coin Club was called to order by President Richard Lipman at 6:45 PM, Wednesday, March 11, 2020, at the Chicago Bar Association Building, 321 S. Plymouth Court, Downtown Chicago with 20 members present.

President Lipman announced prohibition of all photographs and videos without explicit approval. He also asked members to stay attentive with public announcements on the coronavirus.

The February minutes were approved as printed in the Chatter. Elliott Krieter gave the February treasurer’s report showing $300.00 in revenue, $146.00 in expenses, and $34,292.90 in assets. The report was approved.

The membership application for Daniel Vaisrub received a second reading, and a motion was passed accepting him into membership.

The Secretary reported:

Old Business:

New Business:

First VP Lyle Daly introduced James Davis who gave the featured program on U.S. Fractional Currency. After a question and answer period, Lyle presented Jim with an ANA Educational Award and a personally engraved medal suspended on a neck ribbon. Deven Kane arranged for the presentation to be broadcast on Facebook Live.

Lyle announced the following upcoming programs:

Second VP John Riley announced the evening’s 10 exhibitors.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:43 PM.

Respectfully Submitted,
Carl F. Wolf, Secretary

Speaker’s Wor[l]d
U.S. Fractional Currency

presented by Jim Davis,
to our March 11, 2020 meeting.

This presentation provided an overview of Fractional Currency, starting with some background as to why such things were needed, and then covering the five issues with some interesting notes along the way. The more advanced collectors look for different paper types, signatures, and overprints, but those topics are not covered in this presentation. An appropriate starting place for the story of fractional currency is the presidential election of 1860.

Abraham Lincoln’s strong showing in the populous northern states allowed him to gather enough electoral votes (180) to be elected. Breckinridgw (72 votes), Bell (39 votes), and Douglas (12 votes) were the other candidates. Southerners were not happy with the results. While talk of secession had appeared over the years and in different places, the talk usually remained localized and faded over time. But with Lincoln’s inauguration in March of 1861, the idea of secession gathered strength and spread.

Soon, states passed resolutions of secession and war began with the attack on Fort Sumter, located in the harbor of Charlestown, South Carolina. On both sides, people thought their fine soldiers would soon scatter the rabble and rascals on the other side. Southern victories led to panic in the North, but the will to fight remained. When people panic, money has a tendency to disappear.

In 1861 every coin, except for the cent, was made of either gold or silver and its face value equaled the value of its metal. Some coins were sent outside the country, while others were hoarded. Soon even cent coins disappeared from circulation. To alleviate the shortage of small change, a number of coin replacements were tried by private parties. Copper tokens, in the size of the cent coin, were made bearing patriotic themes or names of businesses. An individual postage stamp was placed in a round, thin shell, with a mica window on top and a metal back with the name of the issuer on the back. A group of postage stamps were placed in an envelope bearing the amount. But these pieces were too expensive or fragile to be heavily produced and used. Finally, the US government developed a solution based upon postage stamps.

The idea was to print notes in value of less than one dollar, perforate the sheets, and then sell the sheets to merchants who could detach notes as needed to make change. The First Issue, from August 21, 1862 until May 27, 1863, had four values. The central device on the front of the brown 5¢ note was the design of the brown 5¢ postage stamp featuring Thomas Jefferson. Similarly, the design of the green 10¢ note featured the design of the green 10¢ George Washington postage stamp. For the 25¢ note, five of the 5¢ stamps were shown stacked — the top stamp was entirely shown, with the center and left side of the lower stamps shown. For the 50¢ note, five of the 10¢ stamps were similarly shown. It should come as no surprise that these are known as Postage Currency, what with that written across the top of the front. On the back was the statement that these could be exchanged for United States Notes in sums not less than five dollars; also present was a statement that these were receivable by the United States for all dues less than five dollars. A CSA watermark appears on some notes — a captured blockade runner was carrying paper from Great Britain, so the North used the paper!

The perforations were not very popular, so they were dropped — the later sheets needed to be cut by the user. Counterfeiters soon struck, resulting in a change. The Second Issue was issued from October 10, 1863 until February 23, 1867, in denominations of 5¢, 10¢, 25¢, and 50¢. All denominations used the same design, differing in only the denomination. The front names these as Fractional Currency, with one reverse statement changed to state these could be exchanged for United States Notes in sums not less than three dollars; the other statement was unchanged. A bronze oval ring surrounds Washington’s bust, at least that is where it should appear.

The Third Issue, from December 5, 1864 until August 16, 1869, included a 3¢ note; each denomination had a unique front design, with two front designs used on the 50¢ note. Many denominations had the back printed in either red or green. The 5¢ note, featuring a portrait of the Superintendent of the National Currency Board Spencer M. Clark, caused some controversy. There is no definitive story about why Clark chose his image for this note, but one story has Clark showing a proposed 50¢ design featuring his boss, Treasurer of the United States Francis E. Spinner. Spinner liked it, and asked who would appear on the 5¢ note; Clark replied, “How about Clark?” Spinner thought he meant a different Clark (of Lewis and Clark, perhaps?) and agreed. Congress was not happy, and passed a law forbidding the appearance of living persons on currency. The appearance of Treasury Secretary William Fessenden on the 25¢ note caused less controversy, perhaps because he was not responsible for choosing designs. After the law was passed, a new 50¢ design was used, replacing the one with Spinner’s portrait.

Even though the Civil War had ended, the government still issued Fractional Currency. The fourth Issue, issued from July 14, 1869 until February 16, 1875, saw the introduction of a 15¢ note while still issuing 10¢, 25¢, and 50¢ notes. A proposed 15¢ design, featuring Generals Sherman and Grant, was never officially issued, but 25,800 Specimens of this piece were made available. Three 50¢ designs were issued, featuring Sam Dexter, Abraham Lincoln, and Edwin Stanton.

Plans to exchange the Fractional Currency notes with silver coins were already in motion when the Fifth Issue were issued from February 26, 1874 until February 15, 1876. This series had only three denominations — 10¢, 25¢, and 50¢ — with each denomination featuring a different politician: William A. Meredith, Robert J. Walker, and William H. Crawford.

A total of $368.7 million of Fractional Currency was issued. Estimates vary as to the number of notes not redeemed, from an esitmated $487,000 worth in a 1964 Treasury audit, to a range of $1.8 to $2 million by other sources. These notes are still legal tender to this day.

Around 1867, the Treasury produced a display piece showing 20 note fronts and 19 note backs. This Currency Shield sold for $4.50 from the Treasury. They were intended as counterfiet detectors, but their use might have been awkward because, if a bank had only one, a teller or clerk would have to leave his station to take the note to the Shield. Maybe it was mostly used as a decorative piece. The number of extant pieces ranges from 300 to 450. The most common Shield has a gray background, with maybe a dozen each known with the pink and green background.

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Show and Tell

Items shown at our March 11, 2020 meeting,
reported by John Riley.

  1. To complement the evening’s speaker, Lyle Daly started with some fractional currency which were not issued by the Federal government:
    1. A 25-cent note from the Indian Head Bank of Nashua, New Hampshire.
    2. A 5-cent issue from the City of Trenton, New Jersey.
    3. A 50-cent emission from The Augusta (Georgia) Insurance and Banking Co.
    4. A 50-cent note of the State of North Carolina.
    Lyle ignored the conventional wisdom of “buying the book before the coin,” throwing caution to the wind on some impulse purchases which ultimately inspired him to greater research and education:
    1. A tetradrachm of Antiochus I Soter (“The Savior”) of the Seleucid Empire. The obverse shows a diademed head of Antiochus, while the reverse shows a nude Apollo seated on an omphalos (Lyle showed photos of a similarly stylized bench at the Museum at Delphi).
    2. A small bronze (18mm in diameter) of Antiochus I Soter. The obverse has a shield with a facing bust, while the reverse appears to have a thunderbolt above, possibly, an Indian war elephant.
    The love between Antiochus and his stepmother Stratonice was often depicted in Neoclassical art; Lyle showed a painting by Jacques-Louis David; Lyle showed the work and remarked on both the concept of the “Golden Mean” as well as the style elements also seen on the U.S. $1 note from the 1896 so-called “Educational” series.
  2. After a fun item, Melissa Gumm showed two medals.
    1. A “Lucky Buck” tea towel with Uncle Sam as the central vignette; a nice currency farce, or a “Washing Up Certificate.”
    2. A World’s Columbian Exposition bronze medal, with a Liberty Head surrounded by circle of 49 stars and 1892 on the obverse; the W.M. at truncation of the bust led to some discussion if the medal was a U.S. Mint product (by William Morgan). The reverse shows a scene of Columbus landing; marked as dedicated to the American people in honor of the 400th anniversary of the Discovery of America, with the motto “United we Stand Divided we Fall.”
    3. A World’s Columbian Exposition medal from Denmark in white metal, with a female figure and Columbus on a ship’s deck holding hands, and with Columbus’ other hand on the ship’s tiller. An outer circle has compass markings and the N/S/E/W directions, Chicago 21 October 1892, and Guanahani October 12, 1492. (Guanahani, an island in Bahamas, was the first land sighted and visited by Columbus; it was renamed San Salvador.) The center of the reverse has an oblong tablet with a legend in Italian, with an eagle above and Exposition Administration building below.
  3. Robert Leonard started with a 1981 paper by Cécile Morrisson, found on the Digital Numismatic Library, about Byzantine lead coins from the end of the 6th century and the beginning of the 7th century, illustrating 27 examples, many from the collection of Frank Kovacs. Not listed in the Sear catalog of Byzantine coins, these pieces are believed to come from a local mint in the Syria-Lebanon area. All reverses have an I (Greek iota), signifying 10, flanked by crosses. They are quite rare.
    1. A lead 10 nummia circa 578-602(?), ex Clarks Ancient Coins, 1980s.
    2. A variety of above, from the same source.
    3. Another variety, from the same source.
    4. A fourth example, this one a 2015 cherry pick from a group of unattributed Byzantine copper coins.
    5. For comparison, a copper Byzantine 10 nummia of Maurice Tiberius from Antioch, dated to 584/5 AD. The reverse of this coin has an X to signify 10.
    Bob remarked that he does not normally keep minor varieties, but these were so rare that he made an exception. They are certainly worth looking for in junk lots of ancient coins. Since they are not listed in Sear, there is no catalog value!
  4. Deven Kane showed jewelry as money.
    1. An undated Ansei silver Chogin from the Edo mint, about 76x28mm in size and weighing 86.41 grams. From the Charles J. Opitz Collection. The Ansei era spanned the years from November 1854 through March 1860, and the name means “tranquil government.” The reigning emperor was Komei-tenno, father of the Meiji Emperor. The Chogin silver ingots were debased over time and the Japanese Tokugawa coinage started to collapse in this period after Japan was opened up to the West.
    2. Three very ornate large bracelet or necklace items from a group lot that were listed as likely Hill Tribe issues. However, these are hollow and not solid like most South East Asian issues, and from Opitz these appear to be actually Berber issues (probably Morocco) used for money and dowry payments.
    3. From the Hmong, Mien, Lahuand Lawa Hill Tribes, an 11-piece lot of silver &lduo;Neck Ring Money” with many of these pieces illustrated on pages 284-285 of Opitz. Featuring an array of sizes and styles (hammered, twisted, hollow, solid etc), nearly all have the same “flamingo-head” motif. Most pieces display inventory stickers from the Charles J. Opitz collection. Very rare and, according to Bob Leonard, these were made by hammering the French Indo China Piastre.
  5. Mark Wieclaw showed a range of items.
    1. A 1923-S Lincoln cent with lamination separations on the obverse and reverse.
    2. An obverse brockage of a bronze decanummium of Justin II and Sophia, circa 565-573 AD.
    3. In memory of Ray Dillard — a legend in the elongated coin specialty and a fixture at numismatic conventions over the years — an elongated ancient coin of Philip I of Rome, circa 244-249 AD. Over the years, Mark had Ray “squish” a number of unusual coins of all type and manner, including gold.
    4. A self Cherry-picked 1900-O PCGS 63. Mark has held the piece for decades and commented on the cerification service missing the variety attribution: turns out it is an O over CC variety! In fairness to the services, they will verify a variety when requested, but not on their own.
  6. Steve Zitowsky briefly thanked the board and membership for a plaque, with a mounted Zimbabwe 100 trillion dollar note, in appreciation for his years as Treasurer of the Chicago Coin Club. Then he showed two items recently acquired at the American Numismatic Association’s National Money Show in Atlanta.
    1. A handsome US Mint 3-inch brone medal honoring the Tuskegee Airmen. The obverse shows three airmen in profile: officer, crewman, and pilot. The reverse celebrates the outfit’s Outstanding Combat Record and shows three of the of aircraft types the group flew: the P51 Mustang fighter, the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk fighter, and the Mitchell B-25 bomber.
    2. An encapsulated Papal States “Begger’s Medal” engraved with the number 139 for the appropriately licensed user. From the 1700s, and one of five known.
    3. The pamphlet Coin Mottoes and their Translations by Stuart Mosher, then the editor of The Numismatist. Steve and some members praised the wide range of the covered mottoes, a boon when identifying coins and medals.
  7. Carl Wolf showed a framed stringed necklace of ostrich shell money. Primitive money - Carl’s exhibit New research, based on excavations at Lesotho in southern Africa, that has determined shell money was used as a form of trade as far back as 33,000 years ago.
  8. Rich Lipman showed several enchanting US dollar bills folded into various forms. These origami, purchased from highly skilled artisans in Russia, are remarkable creations which cleverly incorporate design elements from the dollar bills into the item it was depicting: a carp, a shirt and tie, the “man in the moon,” a skull, bat, camera, and even a high-heeled shoe!
  9. To complement the evening’s speaker, Dale Lukanich showed a different type of fractional currency — cut coins, when a larger denomination is cut in order to make smaller coins (“change”).
    1. The right half of a tetradrachm from Akanthos in Macedon, which had been cut vertically. The coin from 480-470BC shows a lion biting a bull; parts of both the lion and bull are visible on this half.
    2. A cut coin from Celtic Gaul in potin (a mixture of copper, tin, and lead and similar to coins of ancient Rome). The bristles on the original coin’s boar’s head are visible on this top half of the original.
    3. A cut Tibetan Rupee from the 1930s, weighing 2 grams. A large round silver coin was sliced into many narrow rectangular pieces, and Dale matched the design on the piece to the corresponding area on the complete coin. This piece is traced to a missonary who served in Tibet in the 1950s.
  10. John Kent showed “Chronograms” — wherein a coin or medal’s date is the sum of Roman numerals which are part of the legends on the piece. The letters of the Roman numerals are larger than the other letters in the legends. These were acquired on John’s travels to Belgium.
    1. A 1716 jeton from Namur in present Belgium. This piece commemorates the birth of Archduke Leopold.
    2. A bronze medal commemorating Saint Rumbold’s cathedral in Mechelen, Belgium and dated 1925 (to observe the anniversay of his death in 775 AD). The reverese design is a curious depiction which the members could not understand — the standing figure located behind Saint Rumbold’s kneeling form might be a tunic-wearing worker swinging a hoe, or it is a barefoot female golfer swinging an iron perilously close to Rumbold’s head.

Reminder: You can email to John a description of what you will show at a meeting, to give him a start on this write-up. Send it to

Minutes of the Chicago Coin Club Board

March 22, 2020

Due to the spread of the infectious Covid-19 virus, all meeting rooms are closed until April 30th at the Chicago Bar Association, our normal meeting site. As soon as the news broke, Board members began to discuss how the regular meeting could be moved to a web based video conference. Since Deven Kane has considerable experience with this meeting method, he was appointed to investigate the feasibility for the Club. Deven conducted a trial run Saturday, March 21, with three Board members: Lyle Daly, John Riley, and Carl Wolf. They found Deven’s recommendations sound and called for an emergency video meeting of the Chicago Coin Club Board.

The Chicago Coin Club Board held an emergency meeting March 22, 2020 via web hosted video conference. President Rich Lipman called the meeting to order at 2:00 PM with the following members participating: Deven Kane, Paul Hybert, Mark Wieclaw, Steve Zitowsky, Melissa Gumm, Elliott Krieter, Carl Wolf, Lyle Daly, John Riley, and Scott McGowan. Bill Burd and Jeff Rosinia were unable to participate.

A motion was passed to officially change the April 8, 2020 meeting to a web based video and authorize the President to keep meetings online until we are able to reconvene in person.

After much discussion, the following mechanics were agreed to:

Paul Hybert, Editor of the Chatter, expressed his belief that printers will be closed through April, and there would be no hard copy of the April newsletter.

The meeting was adjourned at 3:05 PM.

Respectfully Submitted,
Carl F. Wolf, Secretary

Our 1215th Meeting

Date: April 8, 2020
Time: 6:45 PM
Location: Online Only!
Visit our website,, for all the details on participating in an online club meeting. Participation in an online meeting requires some advance work by both our meeting coordinator and attendees, especially first-time participants. Please plan ahead; read the latest instructions on the day before the meeting!
Featured Program: Mark WieclawDynastic Issues of the Roman Empire
Beginning with Octavius (Augustus Caesar), it was a common practice to have the portrait of the current emperor adorn the obverse of their coinage. This practice would continue throughout the remainder of the Roman Empire. In addition, many rulers showed one or more of their family members on either the obverse or reverse of the coins. These are referred to as dynastic issues. Most famously would be an aureus (gold coin), issued by Septimius Severus, 193-211 AD, that had his wife Julia Domna and both sons, Caracalla and Geta, appear on the reverse.
Due to time constraints, this presentation will focus on the Imperial issues. Provincial issues were so vast that it would be overwhelming.

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.

April 8 CCC Meeting - Online Only! - Featured Speaker - Mark Wieclaw on Dynastic Issues of the Roman Empire
Visit our website,, for all the details on participating in an online club meeting.
May 13 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - Robert Weinstein on Coinage and History of the Apracas and the Indo-Parthians
June 10 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - to be announced
July 8 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - to be announced
August 4-8 ANA in downtown Pittsburgh. Admission is free for ANA members — for details, see
August 12 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - to be announced
September 9 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - James McMenamin on to be announced

Chatter Matter

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.
If you would like to receive an email link to the latest issue instead of a mailed print copy, send an email to You can resume receiving a mailed print copy at any time, just by sending another email.

Club Officers

Elected positions:
Richard Lipman- President
Lyle Daly- First V.P.
John Riley- Second V.P.
William Burd- Archivist
Directors:Melissa Gumm
Deven Kane
Mark Wieclaw
Steve Zitowsky
Appointed positions:
Elliott Krieter- Immediate Past President
Carl Wolf- Secretary
Elliott Krieter- Treasurer
Paul Hybert- Chatter Editor, webmaster
Jeffrey Rosinia- ANA Club Representative


All correspondence pertaining to Club matters should be addressed to the Secretary and mailed to:
P.O. Box 2301

Payments to the Club, including membership dues, can be addressed to the Treasurer and mailed to the above address.


Renewing Members Annual dues are $20 a year ($10 for Junior, under 18). Annual Membership expires December 31 of the year through which paid. Cash, check, or money order are acceptable (USD only please). We do not accept PayPal. Email your questions to Members can pay the Club electronically with Zelle™ using their Android or Apple smart phone. JP Morgan Chase customers can send payments to the Club via Quick Pay. To see if your Bank or Credit Union is part of the Zelle™ Payments Network, go to Please read all rules and requirements carefully.

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