Volume 66 No. 11 November 2020

2021 CCC Dues are Due

It is that time of year again. Although your 2020 dues are good through December, 2020, please pay your 2021 dues before the start of 2021.

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Minutes of the 1221st Meeting

The 1221st meeting of the Chicago Coin Club was called to order by President Richard Lipman at 6:45 PM CDT, Wednesday, October 14, 2020. Due to the pandemic shutdown, the meeting was online with 33 members and guests.

The September minutes were approved without objection. Elliott Krieter gave the September Treasurer’s Report showing $40.00 revenue and $59.00 expenses. The report was approved. Elliott was instructed to drop members with unpaid 2020 dues. With the disruption of employment during the Covid-19 pandemic, the secretary and treasurer were asked to instruct members on alternative payment methods.

President Lipman announced the loss of 60-year member Allen H. Meyer, #714. Several members gave brief memories of his club participation and a moment of silence was held honoring Allen’s memory.

Old Business:

New Business:

First VP Lyle Daly introduced the featured speaker, Dr. Raymond J. Dagenais, who spoke on Liberty Nickels and the Development of a Nation. Following a question and answer period, Lyle spoke of the November 11 program by Michael Kodysz, Halley’s Comet: A Visual Record on Coins of Elagabalus.

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

The meeting was adjourned at 9:15 PM CDT.

Respectfully Submitted,
Carl F. Wolf, Secretary

Speaker’s Wor[l]d
Liberty Nickels and the Development of a Nation

presented by Raymond J. Dagenais,
to our October 14, 2020 meeting.

Ray started collecting coins in the 1960s, drawn by the historical context of the coinage he collects. He also remembers attending school and saying the Pledge of Allegience to a 48-star flag. In this program, Ray tied together his experiences in collecting Liberty Nickels with the country’s changes during its mintage. The era in question might seem a long time ago, but he gave some family background bringing this closer: he has some memories of his paternal grandmother who was born in 1872, before Liberty Nickels were produced, and his mother was born before the last two of the first 48 stars were added to the flag, just before the Liberty Nickel design was retired.

The program’s first two slides had maps showing the outline of the United States, but with internal borders from 1788 and 1850. On the first map, Spanish Territories covered most of the land west of the Mississippi River and also the Floridas to its east; the boundaries of some states extended from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi River. The 1850 map showed the land east of the Mississippi all in states; to the west of that river, a few states bordered and only California and Texas did not border it – everything else was in territories, both named and unorganized.

The 1860s and 1870s saw changes to the coinage and more states filling the map. Mint director Snowden felt the minor coins should have a similar design: a Liberty bust on the obverse and a Roman numeral (for the denomination) on the reverse. Mint engraver Barber a set of cent, 3-cent, and 5-cent designs, but only the 5-cent design drew no objection. This design change also provided an opportunity to increase the diameter of the nickel and make it thinner, with the goal of increasing the life of the coining dies. The design’s newness led to some people plating the coins with gold and passing them as $5 gold pieces (which were of about the same size). The solution was to add the word CENTS to the reverse, and 16 million of such pieces were produced – the number of coins made without CENTS was much smaller. Modern collectors know it is the with-CENTS that are somewhat rare, much rarer than the coins without CENTS, because the public saved large amounts of the coins without CENTS and let the coins with CENTS remain in circulation.

With only two branch-mint issues, in the last year of 1912, this series presents a compact set for a collector. There are some errors known (double and triple strikes), and some low mintages (but not great rarities). Moderately worn examples are readily available to the modern collector. In 1883, the 5-cent nickel had the purchasing power of about $1.30 today. Sandwich shops generally charged 5¢ for a sandwich, and Ray showed us a menu from a restaurant where each item was priced at 5¢. These examples gave only a hint at the wide use and circulation of the Liberty Nickels.

The Liberty Nickel was issued from 1883 through 1912. One of Ray’s slides asked us to guess the names of the last five of the first 48 states to join the Union, along with the year it joined. As a hint for each state, Ray showed an image evocative of that state; once someone had guessed the state, Ray showed the name of the state and both sides of a Liberty Nickel in his collection with that date, and then made some comments about the state and touched on some of what collectors look for, and can encounter, on nickels of that date.

Number 44 was Wyoming, admiited in 1890 – the hint was Devil’s Tower. Each new state had to be approved by Congress, which followed some explicit rules (such as a minimum population of 50,000 at that time) and their own feelings.

A red sandstone canyon landscape was the hint for number 45 – someone identified that as Bryce Canyon – this was for Utah which joined in 1896. Its first application had been made in 1850, but the main arguments against statehood were the small population for such a large area, and polygamy. About 8.8 million Liberty Nickels were made that year, and Ray used his example to identify areas of interest: look for hair details over temple and forehead, and the center point in all stars, as signs of a strong obverse strike, while on the reverse, look for a well struck wreath with full kernels on the left corn ear. Look for clean fields, and no marks on Liberty’s cheek or on the V. In hand, this example has a light golden tone and Ray is very happy with it – it is in an MS-64 slab, so the grader must have found something distracting – different things appeal to different people.

The hint for number 46 was a rider losing his hat and bucking horse, all in front of an audience – this was for Oklahoma, admitted in 1907. After a bit of political wrangling, Indian Territory and Oklahoma Territory were merged and admitted as one state. Ray thinks this nickel is his prettiest – of the 39 million made, nice specimens are hard to find. This coin is in an MS-64 slab, but its lower left stars lack full details, the left corn lacks full kernels, and there is a nick in the field near the V.

The hint for number 47 was a scene of Pueblo ruins, which someone identified as Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, which was admitted in 1912. (From comments made, it appears one of our members – not the speaker – took a few weeks in the late summer to travel out west, and visited or was near some of the shown places.) The shown nickel was a 1912-D piece with weak hair above the forehead. It also looked hazy, with heavier toning than on other pieces we saw; and there were a few light blemishes.

With the Grand Canvon readily identified as the hint for number 48, Arizona was easily guessed – a 1912-S piece was shown. This piece has hazy toning – it is difficult to find lustrous pieces. The land between the states of Texas and California (and then Nevada) was first known as New Mexico Territory – the southern half became known as Arizona Territory during the Civil War, and then it was the western half which was known as the Arizona Territory.

Although the first and “last” years of this series had their controversies (remember the 1913 Liberty Nickels? Ray did not show one), this series is very collectible. If looking for uncirculated pieces, remember that Proof coins were issued every year in Philadelphia, and for some years a Proof example might cost less than an uncirculated example.

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Show and Tell

Items shown at our October 14, 2020 meeting,
reported by John Riley.

  1. As one who enjoys going through the two- and three-dollar “bargain boxes” that every coin shop and dealer seems to have, John Riley showed a 100-year old token from nearby Dwight, Illinois with an interesting backstory. Physician Leslie Enraught Keeley (1836-1900) founded the Keeley Institute and marketed a tonic, consisting of much alcohol with a red or blue dye-colored atopine and strychnine mix, to treat substance abuse patients in the 1880-1900 period under the slogan, “Alcoholism is a Disease and I can Cure it.” The 20mm aluminum token is non-denominated and promotes the “Keeley League” of several hundred franchise practices. John speculates the token was some sort of measured alcohol-free encouragement to his patients. Although thoroughly debunked by modern measures, Keeley was favorably endorsed at the time by the Chicago Tribune and he pioneered a caring, community-embraced atmosphere in Dwight that provided rather revolutionary medical and social science to combat alcohol and opiate dependency.
  2. Lyle Daly mentioned the recently approved U.S. House of Representatives Bill HR 906 that authorizes a Congressional Gold Medal to surviving members of WWII’s famed group, “Merrill’s Marauders“ – named for their commanding officer, Frank Merrill. The famed 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional) campaigned in northern Burma, supporting the famed Ledo Road supply route between India and China, enabling the western allies to deliver supplies to China to aid the war effort against Japan. The gold medal project is especially meaningful to Lyle as his wife’s uncle, Norman “Buddy“ Moen, was a veteran of the campaign and was severely wounded in Burma in June, 1944. Moen (deceased in 2011) was awarded the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, and the Combat Infantryman Badge (CIB) for his service. Kudos to K.L. Daly for support and encouragement in seeing this House Bill through to passage! Additionally, Lyle showed a modern “Challenge Coin“ commissioned by the Merrill’s Marauders veterans group – the Challenge piece shows the 5307th shoulder patch insignia on obverse and the Bronze Star Medal with CIB portrayed on reverse, all ringed by names of major battles.
  3. Deven Kane showed two Roman Republic silver Denari.
    1. From the Rome mint in 60 BC, by the moneyer Lucius Cassius Longinus. A veiled and draped bust of Vesta appears on the obverse, while the reverse shows a standing voter dropping a tablet (ballot) inscribed V (Uti rogas) into a cista. As with many Republican moneyers, the artistry on the Lucius coin reflects the achievement of an ancestor – his grandfather – a respected judge who presided over the re-trial of three Vestal Virgins who, in 113 BC, were accused of being unchaste. Having first been acquitted by the pontifices, Ravilla found them guilty, and condemned and put to death two of them.
    2. From a military mint, probably at Smyrna, in spring 42 BC by C. Cassius Longinus, an accomplished general and one of the assassins of Julius Caesar. Staying true to Cassius’s Republican ideals, this was one of the few coin issuers in the period between the Ides of March and Actium not to place his own image on his coins. The obverse has a diademed head of Libertas, while the reverse has a capis and lituus. The reverse references P. Cornelius Lentulus Spinther, who was appointed to the college of Augurs; he traveled with Cassius and Brutus as his father had been killed or executed in the war between Caesar and Pompey (in the priorcivil war), and the reference to him on their coins indicates he was likely the moneyer in charge of these issues.
  4. Mark Wieclaw showed three recent acquisitions.
    1. An elongated Jefferson nickel commissioned by John and Nancy WIlson, commemorating the (cancelled COVID-19) 2020 ANA Convention in Pittsburgh and also honoring the late Ray Dillard.
    2. A 1945 Mercury dime with the reverse machined off, so it weighs only 1 gram instead of the expected 2.5 grams. This was possibly for use as a Magician’s Coin, wherein a different donomination coin, similarly machined, would be adhered to this piece.
    3. A curious piece, with an incused design of the obverse of the medal issued to commemorate the wedding of Great Britain’s Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in 1840. What is it? Mark believes the item could be a die, but showed it to us to gather other opinions. The piece is copper on the surface with design, with what appears to be some white metal on the back; the diameter of the piece is not much larger than the diameter of the produced medal’s 46mm; and its thickness appears less than 15mm.
  5. Playing off another member’s monthly themes, Rich Lipman showed four banknotes from an area currently engaged in territory hostilities, under the “Countries in a Rough Neighborhood“ theme.
    1. From Armenia, a 100 Roubles note of 1919. Interspersed text in both Russian and French appear on this note issued in aftermath of the Russian Revolution. The handsome back design has an imperial eagle and sword. Some discussion ensued around the “why“ of French legends on the bills, and the on-again, off-again relationship over hundreds of years with the French Empire.
    2. A commemorative 500 Drams note of Armenia, from 2017, featuring a colorful likeness of the biblical Noah’s Ark from the Old Testament. The back of note shows several exotic animals beautifully engraved. Armenia’s Mount Ararat is traditionally considered the resting place of the Ark.
    3. A very colorful 1000 Manat note of Azerbaijan, from 2001, bears an industrial scene on the front and text on the back.
    4. A 2 Drams note of Artsakh, from 2004. This semi-autonomous region, populated with ethnic Armenians but officially part of Azerbaijan while being geographically separate from it, is commonly known by its old name while part of Russia, Nagorno-Karabakh. The front of the note shows Gandzasar Monastery and an allegory of Saint Gregory the Illuminator, while the back features a crucifix showing Saint John baptizing Jesus.
  6. Jeff Amelse showed Celtic imitations of Dionysus Tetradrachms of Thasos, after first showing two genuine pieces which have a bust of Dionysus on the obverse and a standing Hercules on the reverse. The many contemporary imitations bear a range of recognizable designs but with varying stylized, fanciful portrayals and incorporating multiple raised “dots“ to represent elements of the design. In Greco-Roman religion, Liber Pater (“Bacchus“) was a nature god of fruitfulness and vegetation – often known as a god of wine and ecstacy.

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

Past President’s Medal

by Bill Burd

The Club began issuing award medals in 1955 when the Board of Governors inaugurated a program under which members would be rewarded for numismatic service and achievement. One such award was the Past President Medal. At the October 1955 Club Banquet, nine living past presidents, and one posthumously, received the medal. It was struck by Medallic Art Co. in .999 silver weighing approximately 3 Troy ounces. It was used into the 1970s when the design was discontinued. The club began purchasing new medals from the ANA. They were also .999 silver and weighed approximately 2.5 Troy ounces. Around 2010 they also were no longer available. Fortunately, one was found at a CSNS show several years later and presented to our then past president. However we have yet to present an appropriate medal to our immediate past president, and our current president will be eligible at the end of this year.

Therefore, a committee consisting of Bill Burd, Bob Feiler, and Mark Wieclaw was formed in January to design and procure an appropriate medal. Their final design depicts Miss Liberty, representing our president, guiding the membership with her being guided by books of knowledge from the past. The ship represents the membership and the torch is lighting our way into the future. This design was approved by the Board in August. The committee chose Alex Shagin, a renowned artist who has also produced medals for ANA and ANS, to engrave the dies. North American Mint in Rochester, N.Y. was chosen to strike the medal.

The medal is struck in .999 silver and weighs 5 troy ounces. It is 2½ inches in diameter and ¼ inch thick. Ten medals were struck, which should last for at least 20 years. The dies will remain the property of the Chicago Coin Club, and can be used in the future to strike additional medals when needed. Four lead trial strikes were also struck: one for each committee member and one for the club archives.

The plaster, created by Alex Shagin, used to create the obverse die.

Past President’s Medal

There was no cost to the club for any part of this project. All costs were paid for by Bill Burd.

Our 1222nd Meeting

Date: November 11, 2020
Time: 6:45 PM CST (UTC-06:00)
Location: Online Only!
Visit our Online Meeting webpage, at, 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: Michael KodyszHalley’s Comet: A Visual Record on Coins of Elagabalus
This talk presents a selection of ancient Roman coins that seem to form a visual record of the apparition of Halley’s Comet in 218 CE. Its appearance coincided with the rise of Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (218-22), known to history as Elagabalus. The coins discussed all feature star-like symbols, often with elongated tails, as part of their designs. Most collectors, dealers, and scholars follow the standard numismatic references, which invariably describe these symbols as stars. Yet the historical record, astronomical data, and an examination of the coins themselves all combine to point to a revised understanding of their meaning as depictions of Halley’s Comet.

Important Dates

Unless stated otherwise, our regular monthly CCC Meeting is online during the Covid-19 isolation era on the second Wednesday of the month; the starting time is 6:45PM CT.

November 11 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - Michael Kodysz on Halley’s Comet: A Visual Record on Coins of Elagabalus
December 9 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - to be announced
January 13 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - James McMenamin on Latin Monetary Union of the 19th Century
February 10 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - to be announced
March 10 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - to be announced
March 11-13 ANA’s National Money Show at the Phoenix Convention Center, Phoenix, Arizona. Details at

Chatter Matter

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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


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.


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