|Volume 66 No. 11||November 2020|
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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.
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.
Carl F. Wolf, Secretary
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.
|CSNS Convention||Chicago Coin Company|
|Harlan J. Berk, Ltd.||Kedzie Koins Inc.|
Items shown at our November 14, 2020 meeting,
reported by John Riley.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
There was no cost to the club for any part of this project. All costs were paid for by Bill Burd.
|Date:||November 11, 2020|
|Time:||6:45 PM CST (UTC-06:00)|
Visit our Online Meeting webpage, at www.chicagocoinclub.org/meetings/online_meeting.html, 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 Kodysz —
Halley’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.
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 http://www.money.org/NationalMoneyShow|
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