|Volume 67 No. 7
We seem to be adjusting to our online meetings. Members sometimes have connection problems, so it is recommended that you send any images and video to Deven, our meeting moderator, ahead of time, even if you plan to share those items from your PC live during the meeting. When online, do not rely only upon your Plan A!
Covid-19 restrictions are easing. Conditions are improving, and local shows are reopening. Did any member attend the show at the Tinley Park Convention Center on June 24-26? How was it? Please get back in the habit of submitting a short trip/show report for the Chatter. A bit farther afield is the upcoming Cincinnati Numismatic Association show on July 30-31 – details are at http://cincinnaticoinclub.org/. I see club member Joe Boling will speak on The Warrington Faker on Saturday, July 31.
And then we will gather in Rosemont for the annual ANA convention. Take good notes, and submit reports!
Paul Hybert, editor
The 1229th meeting of the Chicago Coin Club was called to order by President Lyle Daly at 6:45 PM CDT, Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Due to the pandemic shutdown, the meeting was online using Webex with 27 members, but rose to 36.
Club Meeting Minutes
The May 12, 2021 meeting minutes were approved.
Guests and New Members
No new membership applications were received. Robert L. Hamilton, invited guest of Kurt Hyde, was introduced but was not at the meeting at the time of his introduction.
Club President Lyle Daly recommended that we forego the treasurer’s report to later in the meeting due to availability of the club treasurer.
Treasurer Elliott Krieter presented the report for May, 2021, stating revenue of $155.50 with expenses of $223.76, for a net change of -$78.26. Revenue was from memberships and club material sales, expenses were from postage and printing of the Chatter and medal engraving.
Don Kagin asked to address the meeting and applauded the CCC for embracing virtual [online] meetings. Don said that he is looking to promote integration of virtual into in-person meetings, and if elected as ANA President he plans to push forward with education on virtual meetings. Don believes hybrid virtual/live meetings will open a huge opportunity for both attendance and educational presentations. Don also offered information about recent coin auctions including the 1933 Double Eagle that sold for a record $18.9 million, and declared the hobby is alive, well, and looks great.
First V.P. John Riley introduced featured speaker Winston Zack on Counterfeiting Fish Scales: Three-Cent Silver Counterfeiting from 1851 to 1862. Following a question-and-answer period, John announced Winston would receive an ANA Educational Award and engraved Club medal.
Second V.P. Melissa Gumm announced there were five exhibitors for the evening.
The next meeting will be July 14, 2021.
Lyle Daly adjourned the meeting at 8:56pm CDT.
Scott A. McGowan, Secretary
presented by Winston Zack,
to our June 9, 2021 meeting.
As with most coin types, the 3¢ silver type did not suddenly spring forth fully formed. Club member Winston, in his first featured presentation to us, started by covering the back-story. The first slide showed Dr. Lewis Feuchtwanger and his 1¢ and 3¢ tokens dated 1837; these pieces were privately produced to interest the government in the use of “Feuchtwanger’s Composition” in the making of coins. (It consists mostly of copper, with zinc and nickel in the mix; it has a silvery appearance. The various combinations of these metals have also been called German silver and nickel silver.)
During this time period, some foreign silver coins were still legal tender because the US Mints could not produce sufficient amounts to meet the demand. The dollar-valued silver 8 reales of Mexico were common in circulation, as were its halves, quarters, and smaller denominations. The Mexican-American War of 1846-1848 interrupted that source of coinage, worsening the coin shortage. The war ended with the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo on February 2, 1848 which also added to the US the land that now forms the southwest of the country; just a week prior, and unbeknownst to the Treaty signors, gold had been found at Sutter’s Mill. The California Gold Rush resulted in a flood of gold on the market, rising the value of silver relative to gold. US silver coinage began to be exported, starting with the largest denominations; the smallest denominations and most worn coins (10-15% loss of weight) remained.
We saw a slide of three pattern 3¢ pieces from 1849 and 1850: a contemporary Seated Liberty obverse with a plain III reverse; a 3 on the undated obverse and a III on the reverse, likely not a serious design (appears to be a muling of two reverses; and a Liberty Cap with Rays obverse and UNITED STATES OF AMERICA around a wreath encircling III on the reverse. The cap and rays design is similar to that used on the mint’s 1836 First Steam Coinage medal, as well as on the Mexican Cap and Rays coinage. The postage act of March 3, 1850 introduced a new, lower letter rate of 3¢ for more than a thousand miles, which some feel created further demand for a 3¢ coin – the prior rates had been 5¢ and 10¢.
Having completed the backstory, Winston next showed slides for the issued coins. The final, approved coin was quite small (14 mm in diameter), and was nicknamed ‘trime’ and ‘fish scale’ by the public. The coin was thin, making it prone to bending and damage. This, the smallest silver denomination, had only a 75% silver composition and 25% copper, so it was not exported. The mint made ½¢ seigniorage on each piece. Although they were common in circulation, they became annoying to the public due to their small, thin size, and the public could only redeem these coins for $3.00 maximum.
The silver 3¢ coins were made in three styles: about 36,000,000 were made of Type 1 (1851-1853); less than 6,000,000 were made of Type 2 (1854-1858), which added an outline to the obverse star and an olive sprig above, and bundle of arrows below, the reverse denomination of III; and even fewer were made of Type 3 (1859-1873), which saw a reduced star outline and the silver content rise to 90%. Because of the Civil War, from 1863 few coins were struck – mainly for collectors.
There are admittedly relatively few collectors of 3¢ silver coins. This is due to its being an odd-denomination, its being minted for only 23 years, and it is very small in size. The first (and only) book on 3¢ silver coins was published in 2010, The Authoritative Reference on Three Cent Silver Coins by Kevin Flynn and Winston Zack. It covers many aspects of collecting the series, with Winston focused on the patterns and counterfeits.
To congratulate us on making it to the main part of his presentation, Winston showed an image of a PCGS slab with a CAC sticker. The encapsulated 1861 piece is graded XF45, but the slab does not mention the piece is a contemporary counterfeit – it was inadvertently graded by PCGS. That was followed by a series of questions – when?, why?, how many?, and how to collect? – which would be answered in the remainder of the presentation.
People were counterfeiting the 3¢ silver coins from 1851 to 1862, the hey-day of large 3¢ silver mintages. This conclusion is supported by historical documentation, especially local newspaper reports. All documented counterfeit 3¢ silver varieties fit in this date range. Counterfeits of the 3¢ silver coins dated 1863 to 1873 are not known and Winston offered some reasons: very low mintages, the removal of precious metal coinage during the Civil War and Reconstruction, and almost nobody in the eastern half of the U.S. was counterfeiting any coins. The earliest press account found by Winston was in the July 7, 1851 American Telegraph, which briefly stated: “Small Business.—Counterfeiting three-cent pieces.”
Although half-cents, cents, and half-dimes were rarely counterfeited, there were a number of reasons the 3¢ silver coins were counterfeited more often. They were common in circulation, and it is best to counterfeit something which does not elicit a “What is this?” response. Much of the 90% silver coinage was pulled from circulation, so these low-composition pieces might be the only silver pieces available. Few people likely gave it a close look for authenticity due to its small size and denomination. Finally, there were smaller legal consequences (fines and prison sentences) for counterfeiting denominations less than 5¢, compared to counterfeiting the larger denominations.
Although 9 counterfeit 3¢ silver varieties were published in 2010’s Flynn and Zack, 42 varieties are documented within the soon-to-be-published book Bad Metal: Silver; of these, 40 were die struck and two were cast. (Winston told us that the 9 original varieties should be 8, because one is a later die state of another.) Of the 40 die struck pieces, 35 are from hand-made dies while 5 are made from transfer dies; 33 varieties lie among 8 families, with 7 singletons; and all were struck in German silver. Both of the cast pieces were made of white/pot metal. We saw pieces from a hand-made die and a transfer die, as well as a cast piece (we also saw a mold for casting).
Earlier, Winston had mentioned that 33 varieties lie within 8 families. A group of varieties having the same characteristics and look can be grouped into a family – we saw a slide with three varieties placed in the ‘Kindergarten Engraver’ family (giving you an idea of the design’s quality. The shield with the central obverse star was the same mis-shapened thing, while some varieties used stars around the border instead of UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. These were all dated 1855, with the date observed on the obverse, reverse, and even both sides. Two of the reverses show the date sideways, at 3 o’clock, in front of the C’s opening; the third reverse does not have enough details to see a date.
To put counterfeiting into perspective across the nineteenth century, Winston showed his table of the top 5 coin types with known hand-made die-struck counterfeit varieties (to get the per-year values, Winston excludeed the years of limited mintages and circulation). The Capped Bust 50¢ (33 years from 1807-1839) led with 294 varieties at about 8.9 per year. Next was the Shield 5¢ (10 years from 1866 to 1875) with 32 varieties at 3.2 per year. In third was the silver 3¢ (12 years from 1851 to 1862) with 35 varieties at about 2.9 per year. The gold $1 and Seated 10¢ rounded out the top 5.
The above hints at the number of counterfeiters, but the actual number of pieces made involves much guesswork. Ten years ago Winston might have guessed at 10,000 pieces, but a current guess would have to be 100,000 or more of the silver 3¢ pieces. For example, a report in the Poughkeepsie Journal of July 30, 1853 mentions some 20,000 ($600) being made in a grocery store in Rochester, New York; all dated 1853.
The number of surviving counterfeit 3¢ silver coins is much lower. In 2010, Winston estimated about 500, based on limited information and evidence. Today, with improved census data, he estimates 1,000 to 2,000; 50-100 examples show up on eBay each year. The 24 varieties with no readable date or dated 1851 to 1859 account for about 30% of the surviving population, while the 16 varieties dated 1860 to 1862 account for about 70% of the surviving population. One 1861 variety alone accounts for about 14% of the entire surviving population!
Winston estimates 15 to 20 unique 3¢ silver counterfeiting operations, based upon: 8 Families, 7 Singletons, and 2 Casts. Only 7 unique operations are documented from historical research, so additional operations might be identified from further searches of archived newspapers. The first auctions with counterfeit 3¢ silver were in the 1860s and 1870s. The listing for lots 329 and 330 in the Bangs, Merwin & Co. auction of April 17, 1862 was shown – it was terse.
There are many possible collecting strategies, including: type, date, variety, or family. The cost of a piece can be from $5 to $300, but usually is less than $100 per piece. Generally, the cruder the die work the more valuable the variety becomes, but rarity also is an important factor.
For further information and to contact Winston, visit Badmetalcoin.com
|Chicago Coin Company
|Harlan J. Berk, Ltd.
|Kedzie Koins Inc.
Items shown at our June 9, 2021 meeting,
reported by Melissa Gumm.
June 17, 2021
The 2021 ANA convention committee met June 17, 2021, by online virtual meeting. Host chairman Elliott Krieter called the meeting to order at 7:07pm with Elliott Krieter, Steve Zitowsky, Carl Wolf, Mark Wieclaw, Paul Hybert, John Riley, John Kent, Marc Charles Ricard. Jack Smith, Lyle Daly, Rich Lipman, and Scott McGowan in attendance.
Elliott opened the meeting with announcements:
Elliott opened discussion about doing something for the Ambassadors during the convention. Suggestions were coffee, donuts, bottled water, gift card for Starbucks. Carl Wolf indicated that past Ambassadors have not asked for or expected this. Rich Lipman recommended holding extra funds in reserve for unexpected expenses.
Hotel reservations are to be arranged by the individual Host Committee members. Elliott, the Host Committee Chair, has received, and approved, requests for 31 hotel nights. Reimbursements will be made only for requests approved by Elliott. Based on the hotel costs, individuals will be responsible for room taxes.
There will be a Stamp show at the same time as the ANA convention, so the convention center and hotels are expected to be very busy.
Mark Wieclaw asked if the convention center has Valet parking, citing the need for individuals with disabilities. The belief is there is no valet parking at the convention center, so prior planning for transportation needs would need to be arranged by individuals.
Ambassador report by Scott McGowan:
Money Talks report by Mark Wieclaw:
Page Committee report by John Riley:
Exhibit Committee report by Marc Charles Ricard:
YN Workshop Committee report by Jim Ray:
Additional Committee discussions:
The VIP form from the ANA for banquet reservations, Medal orders, and other signup opportunities was requested to be resent to the committee. The Chicago Coin Club meeting during the show will be on Saturday, August 14, 2021, at Noon in Room 6 with space for 100. The speaker will be Mark Wieclaw.
Mark Wieclaw asked if there will be food services in the exhibition hall. It was not known at this time. Club Table will be staffed by Carl Wolf. Donations of coins or tokens, to be given to kids who stop by the booth, would be appreciated.
Meeting was adjourned at 7:45pm CDT.
Next Meeting is scheduled for July 15, 2021, at 7:00pm. A Webex link to be sent.
Scott A. McGowan
Secretary, Chicago Coin Club
|July 14, 2021
|6:45 PM CDT (UTC-05:00)
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!
|Steve Zitowsky —
War, Romance, Numismatics: The Coins of German East Africa
This presentation will cover the 35-year history (and coins) of the German East Africa Company and its evolution into the Imperial German colony of East Africa. Among the topics to be included are some of the interesting characters involved, and how the debris of war became the coinage made and used during the Great war.
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.
|CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - Steve Zitowsky on War, Romance, Numismatics: The Coins of German East Africa
|ANA in Rosemont, at Donald E. Stephens Convention Center. Admission is free for ANA members — for details, see http://www.worldsfairofmoney.com.
|CCC Meeting - Noon at the ANA Convention,
which is held at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, 5555 North River Road, Rosemont, IL.
No admission charge for our meeting.
Featured Speaker - Mark Wieclaw on Irish Gun Money
|CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - Don Kagin on Treasury Notes of the War of 1812
|ILNA 61st Annual Coin & Currency Show at the Dupage County Fair Grounds, 2015 Manchester Road, Wheaton, IL. Details, including hours and events, are available at http://www.ilnaclub.org
|CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - Rich Lipman on And Now For Something Completely Different!
|CCC Meeting - Club Auction - no speaker
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