Chatter


Volume 66 No. 3 March 2020


Minutes of the 1213th Meeting

The 1213th meeting of the Chicago Coin Club was called to order by President Richard Lipman at 6:45 PM, Wednesday, February 12, 2020, at the Chicago Bar Association Building, 321 S. Plymouth Court, Downtown Chicago with 28 members and 3 guests: Daniel Vaisrub, Dennis Hoelzle, and Amy Leisel-Rodriguez.

President Lipman announced prohibition of all photographs and videos without explicit approval.

The January minutes were approved as printed in the Chatter. Elliott Krieter gave the January treasurer’s report showing $260.00 in revenue, $18.00 in expenses, and $34,138.90 in assets. The report was approved.

The membership application for Denise Kitchen received a second reading and a motion was passed accepting her into membership. The membership application of Daniel Vaisrub received a first reading.

President Lipman called upon John Kent and Jack Smith to come forward and accept Educational Awards for representing the Chicago Coin Club on WTTW Chicago’s PBS broadcast Chicago Tonight on January 14th discussing the U.S. Mint America the Beautiful quarter series. The club gave them an enthusiastic round of applause.

Old Business:

New Business:

First VP Lyle Daly presented YN Jack Smith with a copy of Winston Zack’s recent book, Bad Metal: Copper & Nickel. Lyle announced the upcoming featured programs:

Brett Irick delivered the featured program The Art of Cherrypicking and Ten Mistakes to Avoid When Buying. After a question and answer period, Lyle presented Brett with an ANA Educational Certificate and a personally engraved Club medal suspended from a neck ribbon.

John Riley announced the evening’s 11 exhibitors.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:06 PM.

Respectfully Submitted,
Carl F. Wolf, Secretary


Speaker’s Wor[l]d
The Art of Cherrypicking, and Ten Mistakes to Avoid When Buying

presented by Brett Irick,
to our February 12, 2020 meeting.

The first part of Brett’s presentation covered cherrypicking and some approaches for a collector to use as a customer. The second part consisted of a slide show using humor in identifying common mistakes collectors make.

Cherrypick, a verb, is to choose and take only the most beneficial or profitable items from what is available. In numismatics, a good cherrypick comes along occasionally. Brett described ANA past president Bob Campbell as a master of cherrypicking, and many of Brett’s techniques have been learned from listening from Bob’s talks which includes such gems as, “Big sharks swallow little sharks.” Additional techniques were learned from Brett’s grandfather. Successful cherrypicking can be done at auctions as well as at a dealer’s table or store.

Sizing up the Customer

You should dress appropriately for the environment where you will be doing your shopping and auction lot viewing and bidding. Suggested is at least business casual. Other suggestions are to have a good ink pen and watch if you still wear one. Good rings also can help. At some more formal events such as the New York International and Canadian events, a suit jacket or sport coat is also appropriate. This is especially true if you are looking at high value material. Have a business card that you can give the dealer – especially if you have elected positions in the hobby.

Look around the events you attend and try to be at least above average in how you appear. The average dealer has you sized up in under thirty seconds. This will affect their attentiveness to your requests, definitely the price you can negotiate, and whether they may choose to offer you special occasion material that is not in their cases.

Cherrypicking Guides and How to Use Them

There are several cherrypicking guides, many of which are pocket sized and range up to the size of a large encyclopedia. For the material you specialize in, have the books on the subject. In the recent years, much of this information has become readily available on your smart phone.

Never get your guides out at during lot viewing or at a dealer’s table. Dealers generally do not like overt cherrypickers. If you need to confirm something, leave the venue and look up the information privately. One possible research location is a bathroom toilet stall.

Casting Doubt

After scanning a dealer’s material, there may be one or more items of interest to you. Pick several additional items to look at, and review those as well as what interests you. Start casting doubt by saying “not interested” until you are down to the item that you want. Then ask, “What can you do on this?” At this point dealer morale might be lowered, and you might be offered a better price. Negotiate if you are a bit too far apart. Otherwise accept the price, since the dealer needs to eat and you might buy from the dealer again. Then, as Fred Schwan says, “Pay, get the merchandise, walk away, and try not to giggle until you are out of sight of the dealer.”

Buying Time and Casting Doubt during Auction Bidding

So, you are after a good cherrypick but don’t want to signal you are willing to pay above market for the rare variety that is not attributed. When you get close to the right price, you occasionally can do a buy time move. One of my favorites is to tap my fingers on my shoulder. Generally, the auctioneer will take a sip of water and say, “He’s thinking.” This can cast doubt in the other bidder’s mind, and you can move in for the kill with your next bid.

Bidder Apathy

About fifteen years ago, a Long Beach afternoon auction session included Morgan dollars. Brett had lot viewed them earlier, with the intent of only checking his grading skills versus the prices. There were only two other bidders! Basically, some form of courtesy occurred where whoever got their card up first won the lot. A couple of hours later, Brett had paid, picked up, and sold – and still had around $6,000 that went into his collection.

Fertile Venues

At coin shows, the most fertile venue is dealers who do not specialize in what you are looking for. They may have an orphan item that has been sitting in their inventory forever, and you are their savior. During a Long Beach show in 2006, Brett visited a dealer who had two Canadian coins. One was an 1870 twenty-five cents coin in PCGS MS64. At that time it was tied for pop top with a three other coins. It was nicer than the one in the same grade in the auction at the same show. Brett paid nearly fifty percent less that the auctioned coin hammered for, and the dealer still made money!

Estate auctions, rural auctions, and rural area coin shows can also be fertile areas. The auctioneer and the local dealer – many times part time – sometimes do not know how to size up their material properly. A raw 1890-CC Morgan dollar described as Choice BU was purchased at a rural Ohio show for less than half of retail, and now resides in a PCGS MS62 deep mirror proof-like holder.

Right Material, Wrong Auction, Wrong Time

One of Brett’s specialties is Canadian ten cents coins of Queen Victoria. One of his Canadian friends located an 1888 ICCS MS65 that was listed in a Toronto estate auction listing. It was described as “Mirror Surface; Cameo” by a Canadian coin company. These are terms almost never used to describe any Canadian coins of Queen Victoria. The picture was horrible – it looked like the coin was toned black. This can happen if you do not provide correct lighting when taking images of a Deep Mirror Proof Like (DMPL) coin. It was the only significant Canadian coin in the auction. A special trip was made to Toronto in a snow storm and bitterly cold weather. The coin was beautiful. It was purchased at a very low opening bid, and now resides in a PCGS MS64+ holder. The coin was shown later in the meeting during Show and Tell, where its pedigree was highlighted.

Brett then showed us a humorous slide show on 10 mistakes to avoid when buying numismatic material. The humorous approach and underlying idea were made clear by the first image, of $20 and $100 notes in the bottom of a trash can! This presentation was developed two years ago by Andy Kimmel, a Central States Numismatic Society governor. The countdown started with number 10, Do Not Pay High Premiums for Modern Certified Coins – the slabbed population might be small now, but look how many coins were made and packaged by the mint. Although members might already know these mistakes, a quick refresher is always good; and our newer members might have never heard these.

Do Not Buy Coins Because They Are There or You Are Bored at a Show – buy only coins you want. We all know not to buy the overhyped and mass-produced coins that are unwanted by experience collectors, right? Good! Do Not Buy Coins Described Simply as Uncirculated – there is an enormous difference between any of the Mint States and uncirculated, and it often involves things done to the coin. If you are not aware of this, that is your first assignment, to be followed by grading lessons.

Do Not Pursue Bargain or “Investment” Coins – today’s bargain is tomorrow’s liability; if it looks too good to be true, it is; dead inventory with no market demand; overgraded or it has other problems; and be extremely careful whenever a coin is touted as an investment. A bargain is encountered now and then – that was the point of the cherrypicking talk – but it is a bargain only if you call it a bargain, not if the seller calls it a bargain. Invest in a great collection focused on your collecting interests, but be prepared to pay top dollar for a great coin.

Do Not Pinch Nickels – establish a working relationship with a dealer; show loyalty and trust because loyal customers are offered better coins and prices. Do Not Place Complete Trust in Grading Services – the services offer opinions; they can make mistakes, and things can slightly change over the years. Learning to grade for yourself was mentioned above, but it deserves to be mentioned again. Take a grading course. Compare coins, ask dealers, refer to trusted websites. If you have taken a grading course, take a refresher course.

Do Not Purchase Coins Using Poor Optics or Lighting – a pin-point light source is better for seeing the marks on a coin. A 10-times magnifier is great for finding marks on an uncirculated coin; you will also see all the marks on a circulated coin, but you will never buy a coin if you forget that a circulated coin has marks. Do Not Go It Alone – if professional guidance is not available, ask a trusted, experienced collector.

The slides’ ten points were well summarized by the last point: Do Not Purchase Anything Without Grading Skills, Knowledge, or Focus.


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Show and Tell

Items shown at our February 12, 2020 meeting,
reported by John Riley.

  1. Mark Wieclaw showed a range of items.
    1. A five-coin elongated set from The Elongated Collectors Club (TEC) for being a member of the organization for 25 years. They were marked for 5, 10, 15, 20, and 25 years of membership.
    2. A small bronze dolphin shaped coin from Olbia, a region of modern Ukraine, circa 437-410 BC. These are quite common.
    3. A large bronze dolphin shaped coin from Olbia, circa 437-410 BC. Only a handful are known, with this one acquired from the recent Triton auction.
    4. From a small estate collection recently purchased, an 1893 Columbian Exposition medal in gilt brass with two small loops (for attaching to a suspension ribbon).
  2. Melissa Gumm showed three obsolete bank notes from The Citizens’ Bank of Louisiana, New Orleans.
    1. An unissued $1 remainder, with a sailboat vignette. By American Bank Note Company in the 1860s.
    2. A bilingual $5, English and French with a version of a seated liberty figure and an Andrew Jackson portrait. Produced by Rawdon, Wright, Hatch, and Edson.
    3. An unissued $100 note with idealized female figures and Jean Antoine Houdon’s bust of George Washington.
  3. Lyle Daly showed two US items.
    1. A 2000 Lincoln Cent, with a Type 2 reverse, taken from circulation. The space between A and M in America is an indication of a proof die which also has narrow style lettering and “close in” FG initials of engraver Frank Gasparro.
    2. A Jesse Ketchum Medal, small size as struck by the US Mint for the Buffalo, New York Public Schools. This silver medal is listed as Julian SC-14 in Medals of the United States Mint. The diameter is 37mm. The SELLSTEDT. D. on the left exergue line indicates the medal was designed by Lars Gustav Sellstedt, the “father of art in Buffalo,” The medal was engraved by William and Charles Barber, the 5th and 6th Chief Engravers of the US Mint, 1869-1917. The design continues through the present day, but the medals are no longer made at the US Mint. This is the longest lived public schools presentation in the United States.
  4. Deven Kane showed three gold coins from the Sultan of Delhi.
    1. A dinar of Muhammad bin Tughluq from AH729, weighing 12.78 grams. This coin is perfectly centered on a flan, with the complete legend enclosed by a circle. The legend translates to “Struck in the time of the slave, (by) the grace of God, Muhammad, son of the joyful, martyred sultan, Tughlaq Shah, (in) year of 729.”
    2. A tanka, weighing 11.09 grams, of Muhammad bin Tughluq (AH725-752 / AD1325-1351), in the name of the Abbasid caliph al-Hakim II. Without mint or date, the Caliph’s titles are split across both sides in three lines within an octofoil. This coin shows the cause of Deven’s frustration in reading some Arabic coins – one side’s central trident is actually an artistic rendition of al-Hakim, so even if the legend is known, some effort is needed to find it on the coin. From the Professor Shir Mohammad Collection.
    3. A tanka, weighing 11.03 grams, of Firuz Shah Tughluq (1351-1588), the paternal cousin of Muhammad bin Tughluq. This coin has a cluttered and crowded design, with lines of the legend out of order and some words off of the flan. Provinces broke away from the sultanate under this mild mannered and irresolute ruler, with the situation becoming even worse after his death.
  5. Robert Leonard started by showing a map of the Indian Ocean, from Africa to Australia and from Turkey to Madagascar, showing the directions of the monsoons. Sailing ships usually followed the direction of the monsoon winds. Kilwa is an island off the coast of modern Tanzania, in Africa.
    1. A Copper fals of the Sultanate of Kilwa of al-Hasan bin Sulayman, circa 1310-1333, with an inscription in the form of a rhyming couplet; found on Kilwa island in 1982. This sultan was famous for his piety and generosity.
    2. From Zanzibar, a pysa of Barghash ibn Sa’id, 1299 AH (1882).
    3. From Zanzibar, a pysa of Barghash ibn Sa’id dated 1304 AH (1887), from a new mint and with a new design. Following the abolishment of slavery, these coins were used to pay the clove pickers.
    4. A 1919 silver rupee of George V, from India.
    The Islamic sultanates of coastal East Africa were founded in the Middle Ages; very little is known about their history. A dynasty of Kilwa was established in 1277 and survived until extinguished by the Portuguese in 1499. Trade routes had long existed between East Africa and india, with the exchange rate between the later pysa and rupee fluctuating according to supply and demand: the rupee became more expensive as the monsoon season approached, and the pysa became more expensive near the clove harvest.
  6. Richard Lipman showed paper currency.
    1. Two notes from Canada’s Bank of Commerce from 1917: a $50 “Front Proof” (no reverse design) and a $10 note, both featuring highly romanticized depictions of the female form – some might have even judged as “obscene” for the time period.
    2. A Madigascar 50-franc note (Pick #38), 1937-47, featuring a beautifully engraved, classic French style idealized female representation from the Art Deco period.
    3. A US $50 Silver Certificate of 1891 featuring a portrait of Edward Everett, a Massachusetts governor and senator who is perhaps best remembered as the featured orator at the dedication of Gettysburg’s Battlefield cemetery in 1863: his long speech was upstaged in history by President Lincoln’s famous (and very brief) “few words,” now known as the Gettysburg Address.
  7. Dale Carlson showed many items, most tied to February.
    1. A 1918 Illinois Centennial commemorative half-dollar, featuring the bust of a young Abraham Lincoln on the obverse (from the Andrew O’Connor designed statue in Springfield, Illinois), encapsulated as MS 62. Our meeting was on the 211th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth.
    2. A 1982 proof George Washington commemorative US 50-cent coin in silver, issued in observance of the 250th anniversary of Washington’s birth.
    3. A 1957 US Silver Certificate (a “star” replacement note, too), given to Dale on his 7th or 9th birthday (in February) by his grandfather; it stoked a young collector’s interest in obsolete coins and paper money.
    4. A 1966 ANA (Chicago) Convention Badge as found in a dealer’s “bargain box.” This example is missing the ribbon and tiny jewel insert.
  8. James Davis showed small, recently issued gold items.
    1. A one-grain 2013 gold “ingot” received as a telemarketing giveaway. Its current bullion value is just over $3!
    2. A recent print advertisement offering a gold ¼ Franc of Switzerland (weighing 1/500 troy oz.), featuring the iconic photo image taken by Arthur Sasse of Albert Einstein sticking out his tongue.
  9. John Kent is just delving into Spanish coins. He showed an assortment of Spanish 19th century coinage and medallic issues in silver and bronze, through a succession of rulers and constitutions. He also noted the interesting 1890s likenesses of King Alfonso XIII as an infant and young child.
  10. Robert Weinstein will use the next few Show-and-Tells for introductory material for an upcoming talk. Tonight’s coins cover a large tribal group driven from China, who then drove out Scythians, who then drove out…
    1. A copper Drachm of the Yueh-Chi, imitating coins of Bactrian King Heliokles, overstruck on an unknown type. Heliokles was the last Greek ruler in Baktria, and this type has a human bust on one side and a horse on the other.
    2. A silver Hemi-Drachm of Yueh-Chi Prince Sapalbizes. This type used to be rare, but with more pieces in better grades, the king’s name is clear. He ruled near Kabul.
    3. A silver Drachm of Parthian King Phraates IV, overstruck with a bust of Sapalbizes.
    4. A silver Drachm of Sapalbizes imitating the Phraates IV coin, and incorporating the countermark in the die.
    5. A silver Drachm of Phraates IV countermark by an unknown king, with the countermark applied over the king’s bust. This is from about 40-2 BC.
  11. Complementing his earlier presentation on cherry picking, Brett Irick showed two Canadian ten cent coins of Queen Victoria in high grade.
    1. The 1888 coin’s pedigree was traced by Brett to the collection of Octave Pelletiere, an early Chicago Coin Club member (ANA member 2110 in 1920, and CCC member 111 in 1922). Pelletiere’s collection was sold to Les Peres Redemptoristes, a monastery in Quebec; in 1954 and later it was dispersed by Quebec City dealer Saul Hendler. Through research, this example is the only coin that has been traced to the Pelletier collection.
    2. An 1894 coin, in a PCGS MS67+ slab. The slab also shows a pedigree of Cook - Crowe Lake, and lists the variety as High 9, Plain Date, Near 4.

Minutes of the Chicago Coin Club Board

February 19, 2020

The Chicago Coin Club Board met February 19, 2020 at Connie’s Pizza, 2373 S. Archer Ave., Chicago. President Rich Lipman called the meeting to order at 6:00 PM with the following members present: Deven Kane, Paul Hybert, Mark Wieclaw, Steve Zitowsky, Melissa Gumm, Elliott Krieter, Carl Wolf, Lyle Daly, Bill Burd, and Scott McGowan. John Riley and Jeff Rosinia were unable to attend.

Lyle Daly spoke on the Hall of Fame Committee:

Bill Burd, Archivist, delivered the following reports:

The Board accepted the resignation of Dale Lukanich as Governor. After a discussion, the Board unanimously voted to appoint Steve Zitowsky to fill the position.

President Lipman led a discussion on committee appointments. The Board unanimously agreed that the President should be an ex-officio member of every committee, and vote only to break a tie.

In recent years, the Club experienced a big increase in issued publicity and correspondence. Mark Wieclaw and President Lipman led a discussion on the importance of one or more officers proof reading all press releases, Club reports, official documents, etc.

Carl Wolf, Secretary, delivered the following reports:

Deven Kane reported that Marc Stackler stepped down from managing the Club’s Facebook page. Deven can use another member to assist in posting upcoming events and publicity.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:28 PM with the next meeting scheduled to be held at 6 PM, Wednesday, May 20, 2020 at Connie’s Pizza, 2373 S. Archer Ave.

Respectfully Submitted,
Carl F. Wolf, Secretary


Our 1214th Meeting

Date: March 11, 2020
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 be prepared to show their photo-ID and register at the guard’s desk.
Featured Program: Jim DavisU.S. Fractional Currency
With gold and silver coins hoarded during the Civil War, the Union government’s response to the lack of small change was the issuance of paper money in denominations of less than one dollar – hence the name Fractional Currency. This presentation will set the background, give an overview of the issued and proposed designs, and cover the later Shield showing 20 obverses and 19 reverses.

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 11 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - Jim Davis on U.S. Fractional Currency
April 8 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - Mark Wieclaw on Dynastic Issues of the Roman Empire
April 23-25 81st Anniversary Convention of the Central States Numismatic Society at the Schaumburg Renaissance Hotel & Convention Center, 1551 North Thoreau Drive, Schaumburg, IL. There is a $5 per day admission charge, but admission is free for CSNS Life Members. For details, refer to their website, http://www.centralstatesnumismaticsociety.org/convention.
April 25 CCC Meeting - 1pm at the CSNS Convention, which is held at the Schaumburg Convention Center. No admission charge for our meeting.
Featured Speaker - Dr. Gilles Bransbourg on Inflation and Coinage Reflected in the 4th Century Roman Empire
May 13 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - to be announced
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 http://www.worldsfairofmoney.com.
August 12 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - to be announced

Chatter Matter

http://www.ChicagoCoinClub.org/

Contacting Your Editor / Chatter Delivery Option

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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

Correspondence

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

Or email the Secretary at Secretary.ChicagoCoinClub@GMail.com
Payments to the Club, including membership dues, can be addressed to the Treasurer at the above street address.

Payments

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 Treasurer.ChicagoCoinClub@GMail.com 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 https://www.zellepay.com Please read all rules and requirements carefully.


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