|Volume 68 No. 11||November, 2022|
The 1245th meeting of the Chicago Coin Club was called to order by President Lyle Daly at 6:45 PM CDT, Wednesday October 12, 2022. This was a hybrid in person and online meeting. Attendance at the meeting was 12 in person and 19 online for a total of 31.
Club Meeting Minutes and Treasurer’s Report
The September 2022 meeting minutes were approved as published in the Chatter, both in print and on the CCC website. The Treasurer ’s report was deferred until the following meeting.
Secretary Scott McGowan announced the first reading for new member application from Young Numismatist Adhitri Seth who collects US type set and is a member of the ANA and CONECA. Adhitri visited the Club booth at the ANA World ’s Fair of Money this year and we are excited to have another YN apply for membership.
First Vice President John Riley introduced the Featured Program: James McMenamin on Select Pre-Decimal Coins of Guernsey and Jersey. After the presentation John indicated a Speaker’s Medal and ANA education certificate will be forthcoming for James.
Second Vice President Melissa Gumm introduced the evening’s five Show and Tell exhibitors.
The next meeting will be November 9, 2022, at 6:45pm CST in person at the Chicago Bar Association and online. This will be our annual club auction; no featured speaker or show and tell. Bidders must be present in person.
Lyle Daly adjourned the meeting at 8:30pm CDT.
Scott A. McGowan, Secretary
by James M. McMenamin,
presented to our October 12, 2022 meeting,
Copyright © 2022
(All Rights Reserved in All Media).
A numismatic overview of copper and bronze coinage of Guernsey and Jersey in the sterling system from 1834 / 1868, respectively, to 1966.
About seventeen years ago, returning from my first ever visit to the Channel Islands, I jumped into a taxi at O’Hare Airport and, as one invariably is, was asked by the driver where I had just arrived from. “I’m back from Guernsey,” I replied. “Where’s that?” he asked. “It’s in the English Channel,” I said, “you know between England and France. There are two big islands and several smaller ones. The main islands are known as Jersey and Guernsey, like the cows.” Really!” he blurted out, with what seemed genuine astonishment, “Imagine that, naming islands after cows.” I never did figure out whether the cabbie was just pulling my leg or sincere. The purpose of this paper, however, is not to explain why or how I was in Guernsey. Its aims are: first, to outline how I came by a roundabout and convoluted way to focus on collecting the pre-decimal copper and bronze coins of Guernsey and Jersey; and, second, to profile their descriptions, denominations, and types. The story begins in Christchurch, New Zealand, where my parents moved in 1949 after International Harvester Co., transferred my father there to sell trucks, tractors, and other agricultural equipment.
New Zealand was then many years behind the US. The Depression of the 1930s had caused mass unemployment. Later, as part of the British Empire, New Zealand had for seven long years suffered greatly from the loss of life and privations of World War II. My parents’ first home in Christchurch had only three electrical outlets. During the cold damp New Zealand winter, ground floor heating was provided by wood and coal burning fireplaces. The challenges presented to my mother were reflected in a letter written to her sisters back in Chicago, “You would all die laughing at us washing diapers, etc. in the wash house, with a fire under the ‘copper’ to heat and boil the water! What work – how I miss my Bendix.”
However, New Zealand’s prospects were materially lifted by the boom in wool and agricultural exports following the outbreak of the Korean War. From the early 1950s, New Zealand also experienced an extended and rising standard of living, with virtually no unemployment, and a growing economy. Withal, New Zealand remained a quaint, safe, and socially conservative country. If members of this club have ever wondered why your speaker affects on most occasions a jacket and tie, it has to be understood that he has pretty much been doing so since the age of five when he entered kindergarten.
Although New Zealand adopted its own currency in 1933 – eighteen years before my birth – it still clung to the British system of pounds, shillings, and pence, with one fractional coin of the penny denomination in circulation, the half penny. Just as with the pound sterling of Great Britain, NZ’s currency was divided into 20 shillings, and each shilling in turn was worth twelve pennies. Little did I appreciate then, that the system I learned to count money sums with at school was over a thousand years old.
What most impressed me in those days about the coins of New Zealand were their size, weight, and beauty, especially the bronze coins. When my mother would press six pennies into my hand and send me off to the grocery store just up the hill for a loaf of fresh-baked bread, those six pennies, each the diameter of a US half dollar, to a combined weight of just over two ounces, seemed to me a great fortune. This was money that was big, heavy, serious; it had real gravitas. And on the obverse of most pennies appeared the likeness of New Zealand’s new, young, and beautiful monarch, Queen Elizabeth II. When just minted, the coin gleamed like reddish gold.
Only aged two at the time of Queen Elizabeth’s coronation in 1953, I have no recollection of it or of her tour through the North and South Islands of New Zealand later that same year in what was the first ever visit to the country by a reigning British monarch. Imagine the excitement for war-weary New Zealanders, and especially their children, who experienced it. The visit of the young Queen, from late December, 1953 through January, 1954, was a never-to-be forgotten event. It was said that perhaps three in every four New Zealanders managed to see her, as the Queen visited 46 towns or cities and attended 110 separate functions.
In our household, the visit left behind a numismatic souvenir in the proof set my parents purchased as a memento of the coronation and royal tour. For years the coins were displayed on a table in our living room in the original red presentation case, lid open, and very much a topic of conversation whenever visitors came by. While the proof set itself was to commemorate the Queen’s 1953 coronation, the specially commissioned Crown served to celebrate the royal visit.
Australia & France
In late 1957, my parents transferred to Melbourne, Australia, which also lagged behind the US in development. Fresh milk was delivered every weekday by a horse-drawn wagon. As a family by then of ten children, we drank a lot of milk, and the monthly bills were, as in New Zealand, settled in pounds, shillings, and pence, to include large diameter bronze pennies only marginally less heavy and less wide than those of its smaller neighbor. Perhaps it was the conceit of a native Kiwi to consider the kangaroo of the Australian penny less attractive than New Zealand’s tui bird.
In 1960, my parents transferred again, this time to France. Two years later my father took four of his eldest children to London to tour, shop, and see The Sound of Music. Ticket prices were displayed in the pre-decimal system of pounds, shillings, and pence. The cost for a seat in the stalls was 16 shillings and 6 pence, with an oblique line separating the shilling amount from the penny amount.
In typesetting, this oblique line is known as a Solidus, which is Latin for “shilling.” According to Tom McArthur in The Oxford Companion to the English Language, the name was extended to the mark used to separate shillings from pence in pre-decimal currency. The abbreviation “s.” for shilling was at one stage written using a long ‘s’, ∫, that was further abbreviated to the forward slash “ ⁄ ” or solidus symbol. Thus, “16 shillings, and 6 pence” was typically written 16s. 6d. and later still 16/6.
It is this usage that caused the names shilling mark or solidus – given the latter’s historical root as the Latin word for shilling – to be used as names for this typographical character. Before modern keyboards, typesetters classed the solidus and so-called virgule as discrete symbols, with the solidus being thinner and more oblique, but today the terms “solidus,” “virgule,” “slash,” and “slant” are used interchangeably. The significance and importance of the solidus as a monetary unit will become clear later in this paper.
When my family relocated to the States in 1963, my father began travelling overseas extensively for the Harvester company, returning home from every trip, his pockets full of world coins. My favorites were the copper, bronze, and silver pieces, with a special place in my growing collection for British pennies. These too were large, heavy, beautifully executed examples of the coin maker’s art. Better still, in the sixties it was still possible for my father to arrive home with large British pennies minted during the reign of Queen Elizabeth II and four of her royal predecessors, all the way back to Queen Victoria, all carrying on their reverse side the same magnificent design of Britannia.
My entry point to coin collecting as a hobby was the Whitman coin folder for US cents. However, having been born in New Zealand and raised there and in Australia and France before moving to the US, it was only natural that my interest should turn to a collection of world coins, one constantly growing from my father’s contributions. However, before my focus could take a more serious turn, studies had to be completed and a proper job secured, both of which occurred in 1973. That year I purchased a record book to note numismatic acquisitions. My reference source in pursuit of coins of the Commonwealth was the Third Edition of The Guidebook and Catalogue of British Commonwealth Coins, with values for 160 countries in one volume.
Two years later, on a whim, I purchased a 1959 8 Doubles coin from Guernsey and four shiny 1960 coins from Jersey bearing the denomination 1⁄12th of a shilling. They were bought simply because they were beautiful large-diameter coins like my New Zealand, Australian, and British pennies, bearing, in the case of the Guernsey coin, on one side the seal of the Bailiwick of Guernsey and on the reverse, the Guernsey lily. Curiously, it carried the unlikely denomination of eight doubles. I had not time then to delve into the history or derivation of this octad valuation, but was immediately attracted to the coat of arms incorporated into the seal on the obverse: an escutcheon with three leopards. Apart from the curious sprig atop the escutcheon, it is essentially identical to the royal arms of England, seen on the English version of the 1957 British shilling. There would be plenty of time and opportunity ahead to become better acquainted with such coins because in March 1979, the bank I worked for assigned me to its London Branch.
In a previous paper I have discussed my impressions on visiting Spinks, the 300-year-old coin dealer and auction house in St James’s, London. It was to me the gold standard. I also frequented the flea market stalls of Portobello Road, so famously seen in the 1999 film, Notting Hill. In 1979, I purchased there an 1894 bronze 1⁄12th shilling coin from Jersey which had immediately recommended itself to me on account of its resemblance in size to the bronze NZ pennies of my youth, as well as its strong, well-executed design, and elegant coat of arms.
In between those two extremes of the numismatic world, Spinks and the Portobello Market, was William Shaw’s stall at the Chenil Gallery in the King’s Road. Shaw’s firm and the Gallery are both gone now, but during my London years Shaw received much of my business, including the purchase of a 1923 Jersey bronze coin denominated as 1⁄24th of a shilling. Such strange denominations had these Channel Island coins!
After returning to the US in 1985, I married, became a father, and spent the next many years raising a family. Coin collecting took a back seat. With retirement in 2013, however, my long dormant interest was reawakened. I began accumulating coins, attending Chicago Coin Club meetings, and volunteering at the World’s Fair of Money. An initial goal was to collect examples of all pre-decimal British pennies from 1797 onwards. But as I approached the age of 70, it became clear that building a strong collection of those would require more hours, funds, and energy than were on the horizon for me. My focus turned to a project more manageable. In cataloguing and appraising my collection, I came across my long-neglected Channel Island bronze coins.
Guernsey & Jersey
The Channel Islands are an archipelago in the English Channel, off the French coast of Normandy. They include two Crown Dependencies: the Bailiwick of Jersey, which is the largest of the islands; and the Bailiwick of Guernsey, consisting of Guernsey and several smaller islands. Guernsey and Jersey are not members of the Commonwealth of Nations, nor have they ever been in the European Union. Their total population is under 180,000. It is extremely important here to note that “Channel Islands” is a geographical term, not a political unit. The two bailiwicks have been administered separately since the late 13th century. Although they are not part of the United Kingdom and are not represented in the British Parliament, the UK is responsible for the defense and international relations of the islands. Each has its own independent laws, elections, and representative bodies. They are considered the remnants of the Duchy of Normandy.
When that last point is noted, the similarity of the Coats of Arms of Guernsey and Jersey to the Royal Arms of England makes sense. The Royal Arms of England are those first adopted by the Plantagenet kings who ruled England from 1154. They have not altered since taking a fixed form in the reign of Richard I of England (1189-1199) who, coincidentally, was Duke of Normandy, of which Guernsey and Jersey then constituted a part. The distinguishing features of the three are that the Royal Arms of England have no border, while the Coat of Arms of Jersey has a yellow border and the escutcheon of Guernsey carries a twig above. All three carry three leopards or lions described in the language of heraldry as: passant, guardant, langued, and armed.
Jersey’s monetary policy is linked to the Bank of England. The official currency of Jersey is the pound sterling. It issues its own postage stamps, banknotes, and coins. Jersey currency is not legal tender outside Jersey; however, it is “acceptable tender” in the UK and can be surrendered at banks in exchange for UK currency.
The situation is similar in Guernsey, which has been in a currency union with the United Kingdom since 1921. The Guernsey pound is not a separate currency but is a local issue of sterling banknotes and coins, in a similar way to the banknotes issued by privately owned banks of Scotland and Northern Ireland.
It is here we must take a detour to France of the VIII Century and to later times and places to consider the monetary reforms of Charlemagne and the long-tailed impact they had a millennium later on the pre-decimal currencies created for Guernsey and Jersey. Charlemagne introduced the so-called Carolingian currency system in 793-4 and its adoption would subsequently dominate much of Europe for centuries. It is characterized by having three denominations in the ratio 1:20:240, the units of which went under different names in different languages, but which corresponded to the Latin terms libra (pound), solidus (shilling), and denarius (penny), the same system I knew as a child in New Zealand.
Gold was difficult to obtain, whereas there were quite a few silver deposits in Europe north of the Alps, so Charlemagne introduced a pure silver currency. His reforms put an end to medieval currency confusion by introducing across his vast empire a new standardized system and a new silver coin called the denarius, of which 240 made up one Libra, or pound, of pure silver. If a libra of 408 grams of silver produced 240 denarii (deniers in French), it follows that each denier weighed 1.7 grams. To facilitate the handling of monetary calculations, Charlemagne also introduced a unit of account, the solidus, so that 1 solidus = 12 denarii. The denarius recalls the Roman coin of that name while the solidus is a nod to the Byzantine coin.
For three centuries following the reform, though it may have differed from mint to mint by silver content, diameter, and weight, essentially the only coin minted in Europe was the silver penny. Shillings and pounds were ghost monies – convenient shorthand for keeping accounts, but not actual coins. Rather than writing down 2,400 pennies, it was easier to write or say 10 pounds, and rather than write or say 12 pennies it was easier to write or say 1 shilling.
Charlemagne spread his system and his deniers throughout Western Europe. The Italian lira and the French livre were derived from the Latin word for pound. All the way up to the French Revolution, the unit of account in France was the livre, which equaled 20 sols or sous or shillings, which in turn equaled 12 deniers or pennies.
According to an informative paper by David Yoon entitled The Denier Tournois posted on the American Numismatic Society website, as political power and control over coinage fragmented after Charlemagne, the standards of different localities diverged. One of the most prominent of these was the denier tournois of the Abbey of St. Martin of Tours in the Touraine.
In the long run, the denier tournois, already widely used in a large part of France even if of lower weight and made of debased silver compared to Charlemagne’s time, proved to be a more widely used standard than the denier parisis of Paris. It should be noted here, that the physical coins of this system in later centuries included the denier tournois and the double tournois, valued at two deniers.
In the 17th Century, King Louis XIV continued the centralization of French coinage. A single monetary standard was imposed on the entire kingdom. But by that time, the double tournois, which was earlier minted in debased silver, was so far devalued as to be a copper coin. Later still, by 1791, the double tournois was no longer minted in France, having been superseded by the liard of 3.056 grams of copper with a legal tender rate of not two, but three deniers tournois. To put it another way, three deniers of Charlemagne’s time totaling 5.1 grams of pure silver had become 900 years later in the time of Louis XVI a single liard weighing only 3 grams of copper and, under French law, equivalent to three deniers! Coin names it turns out can be very long-lived, not so their purity, weight, or composition. But if the double tournois was a term no longer found in France, as we shall see, it was not forgotten elsewhere.
The Coins of Guernsey
Useful short histories of Guernsey’s coinage from its inception to modern times may be found both on Wikipedia and in the 4th Edition of Spink’s Coins of Scotland, Ireland and the Islands, which is copiously illustrated. In summary, until the early 19th century, Guernsey used predominantly French currency. Coins of the French livre system were legal tender until 1834, with French francs used until 1921. In 1830, Guernsey began production of copper coins denominated in doubles. The double was worth 1⁄80 of a French franc and, as hinted earlier, the Guernsey double derived from the French double tournois, even though the coin itself then in circulation on the island was the liard (a three-denier piece). Coins were issued in denominations of 1, 2, 4 and 8 doubles, initially in copper and later in bronze. The 8 double coin was a “Guernsey penny,” with twelve to the “Guernsey shilling.” However, this Guernsey shilling was not equal to the British shilling.
After WWI, the franc began to fall relative to the pound sterling. This caused Guernsey to adopt a pound equal to the pound of Great Britain in 1921. For amounts below 1 shilling, the conversion rate of 1 Guernsey penny (8 doubles) = 1 British penny applied, allowing the Guernsey coins to continue to circulate. Finally, in 1971, along with the rest of the British Isles, Guernsey converted to a decimalized pound sterling.
Between 1830 and 1956, Guernsey’s four denominations, 1, 2, 4, and 8 doubles, all carried very similar designs, with the Island’s arms and name (spelled "Guernesey") on the obverse and the denomination and date on the reverse. In addition, the 8 double coins featured a wreath on both sides. In 1956, new designs were introduced for the 4 and 8 doubles. These featured the Island’s seal and name in Latin. The lower denominations were discontinued.
The Coins of Jersey
In Jersey, coins of the French livre system served as currency until 1834. In the early 19th century, these coins were exchangeable for sterling at a rate of 26 livres = 1 pound. Then, in 1834, Jersey adopted the pound sterling as its sole official legal tender, although French copper coins continued to circulate alongside British silver coins, with 26 French sous equal to the shilling. Because the sou remained the chief small-change coins, when a new copper coinage was issued for Jersey in 1841, it was based on a penny worth 1⁄13 of a shilling, the equivalent of 2 sous. This system continued until 1877, when a penny of 1⁄12 of a shilling was introduced. Along with the rest of the British Isles, Jersey decimalized in 1971.
Leaving aside eminently collectible Channel Island trade tokens and gorgeous bank tokens, for the pre-decimal general circulation copper and bronze coinage of Guernsey and Jersey, there are a total of ten denominations and, by my count, fifty major coin types to collect. They are all highly attractive, would embellish any collection, and importantly will, on further study, yield many more insights than this brief presentation has allowed.
I close this brief numismatic overview of the pre-decimal coins of Jersey and Guernsey with the following observations:
I heartly encourage all CCC Club members to take the plunge and present a paper at one of our monthly meetings.
|Chicago Coin Company|
|Harlan J. Berk, Ltd.|
|Kedzie Koins Inc.|
|Classical Numismatic Group|
Items shown at our October 12, 2022 meeting,
reported by Melissa Gumm.
Here are the lots in our member auction, now back at its regular November time. The auction will be held near the start of the meeting, after a short time for lot examination.
The auction will be called from our in-person meeting room, and all lots must be picked up when the auction ends – that is when all accounts must be settled, too. If you wish to bid but will not attend in person, please make arrangements with a fellow member: to bid for you, to pick up your won lots, and to pay for you. We do not know how well the remote-support capabilities of our meeting room will support remote bidders.
Estate of Phil Carrigan
Robert Feiler Consignment
William Burd Consignment
Donations to the Club
Robert Leonard Consignment
Laurence Edwards consignment
|Date:||December 14, 2022|
|Time:||6:00PM Cocktails (cash bar),
with complementary hors d’oeuvres.
7:00PM to 10PM Dinner and Meeting
|Location:||Cooper’s Hawk Restaurant, 798 W. Algonquin Road, Arlington Heights, IL 60006 (847) 981-0900. It is a couple miles east of Route 53 and 10 minutes from the Arlington Heights commuter train station; some members living in the area mentioned being willing to offer rides to those taking the train.|
The cost is $55 if paid by December 2 – $65 if paid later,
including at the banquet.
Early commitments and payments are greatly appreciated.
Our group will be meeting in their Barrel Room, which can
accommodate 80 people.
There will be a private cash bar in the room for those wanting
an alcoholic beverage.
Make your reservation by mailing your check (payable to Chicago
Coin Club) to P.O. Box 2301, Chicago, IL 60690; or by paying
electronically (see the Chatter Matter page for details).
• Our dinner will start off with a Crab & Lobster Bisque soup, followed by a Caesar Salad.
• The plated dinner will be Filet Beef Medallions and Dana’s Parmesan Crusted Chicken, with Mary’s potatoes and asparagus.
• Dessert choices are Salted Caramel Crème Brûlée and Key Lime pie.
|Parking:||There is a large free parking lot attached.|
The speaker is Mark Borckardt, on Handling Million Dollar Rarities: Another Day at the Office.
In a 33-year numismatic auctions career, and in his 42nd year as a full-time professional numismatist, Chicago Coin Club member Mark Borckardt has handled many of the most fabled rarities of our time. A life-long collector, Mark will share many adventures (and the occasional mis-adventure!) involving the highest end of numismatics and the not-so-high end. As the popular insurance commercial goes, Mark “has seen a thing or two” in the coin business!
Election of Club Officers.
|Date:||November 9, 2022|
|Time:||6:45PM CST (UTC-06:00)|
At the Chicago Bar Association, 321 S. Plymouth Court, 3rd or 4th 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.
Because things can change between when this is written and we meet, please bring your face covering to the meeting – all attendees must follow the city’s and building’s rules.
This will be another attempt at a regular in-person meeting in the Covid-19 era. We will try for a better experience than in the past, but please be prepared for possible diifficulties.
|Online:||For all the details on participating online in one of our club meetings, visit our Online Meeting webpage at www.chicagocoinclub.org/meetings/online_meeting.html. 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!|
There is no commission charged to either the buyer or seller.
Auction lot viewing will be held before the meeting starts, and
again briefly before the auction starts.
The auction will be called from our in-person meeting room, and
all lots must be picked up when the auction ends – that
is when all accounts must be settled, too.
Please find elsewhere in this issue of the Chatter a listing of all auction lots that were known to us by Sunday, October 23.
Unless stated otherwise, our regular monthly CCC Meeting is in downtown Chicago and also online on the second Wednesday of the month; the starting time is 6:45PM CT.
|November||9||CCC Meeting - Club Auction - no featured speaker|
|December||14||CCC Meeting - Annual Banquet - Featured Speaker - Mark Borckardt on Handling Million Dollar Rarities: Another Day at the Office
At Cooper’s Hawk Restaurant, 798 W. Algonquin Road, Arlington Heights, IL 60006 (847) 981-0900. The cost is $55 per person before December 2, and $65 thereafter. Early commitments and payments are greatly appreciated. In-person only.
|January||11||CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - Steve Feller on Stagecoach and Post Office Scrip of the American Civil War|
|February||8||CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - Robert Leonard on Latin Imitations of Hyperpyra of John III Vatatzes – Byzantine Gold and the Egos of Princes|
|March||2-4||ANA’s National Money Show at Phoenix, Arizona. Details at https://www.money.org/NationalMoneyShow|
|March||8||CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - Eduardo Garcia-Molina on Research Experience at the American Numismatic Society: Unraveling Seleucid Empire Mysteries|
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 email@example.com. You can resume receiving a mailed print copy at any time, just by sending another email.
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.
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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