|Volume 69 No. 5||May, 2023|
Session I of the 1251st meeting of the Chicago Coin Club was called to order by President John Riley at 6:45 PM CDT, Wednesday April 12, 2023. This was a hybrid in-person and online meeting. Attendance at the meeting was 17 in person and 17 online, for a total of 34.
President John Riley started the meeting by calling for a moment of silence for the passing of long time member David Gumm. A photo of David was projected for the club members’ viewing, while after the silence several members gave tributes to David.
Club Meeting Minutes and Treasurer’s Report
The March 2023 meeting minutes were approved as published in the Chatter, both in print and on the CCC website.
A revised January 2023 treasurer’s report was presented showing $1,811.00 revenue and $62.00 expenses, for a period total of $1,749.00. This was a correction from the original report that showed a period total of $1,801.00. The February period report showed $3,049.00 revenue with $454.00 expenses, for a period total of $2,595.00. The March period report showed $909.00 revenue with $4,326.88 expenses, for a period total of -$3,336.88. Members are reminded that, as with the 1250th banquet, the revenues and expenses for a single event are often spread over multiple periods.
The January update and both new February and March reports were approved by the club membership.
No new member applications have been received since the last meeting.
James Davis on Events Leading to the Founding of the Denver Mint, and the First-Year Coinage of the Denver Mint.
Show and Tell
Second Vice President Deven Kane announced there were six Show and Tell presentations.
The next meetings will be the April (session II) meeting on April 29, 2023 at the Central States Numismatic Society Convention, at 12:00 noon in the Innovation Room, then the May meeting on May 10, 2023, 6:45pm at the Chicago Bar Association.
John Riley adjourned the meeting at 8:30pm CDT.
Session II of the 1251st meeting of the Chicago Coin Club was called to order by President John Riley at 12:00 PM CDT, Saturday, April 29, 2023. This was an in-person only meeting. Attendance at the meeting was 39.
President John Riley started the meeting by calling for an abbreviated agenda for session II of the April meeting.
John welcomed all guests attending the Chicago Coin Club meeting. John called for all individuals running for ANA offices to stand, state their name and desired office. Two individuals running for ANA offices were introduced: Tom Uram running for President, and Jeff Rosinia running for Governor. Tom Uram spoke briefly and encouraged all ANA members to vote in the ANA officers’ election, and to view the candidates’ forum on the ANA website (see link below).
John Riley announced the passing of CCC member Doug Baldwin on April 24th. Doug had been a CCC member since 2019.
Richard Hamilton inquired on the current CCC membership, which was reported to be around 141 current paid-up members.
President John Riley announced the ANA World’s Fair of Money will be in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 2023, and is planned for Rosemont, Illinois in 2024 with the CCC applying to be the host club for 2024.
Board member Carl Wolf announced there is a Pennsylvania Association of Numismatists (PAN) welcome event on Tuesday night at the 2023 World’s Fair of Money (WFoM) in Pittsburgh, and that members from the New York Numismatics Club (NYNC) will likely join for the event. CCC members planning to attend the 2023 WFoM should look into attending this event. Tom Uram clarified that this event is a PAN welcome event for the ANA WFoM, it will be held at the LeMont Restaurant, and it will include a dinner, a band entertainment, and a speaker. A shuttle will be available from the convention to the restaurant. Prior registration is recommended.
Carl Wolf reminded all in attendance that CCC souvenir sheets are still available for purchase and supplies are in the CCC booth. These souvenir sheets are from past CCC events or from joint programs with other organizations, and focus on varied subjects including Primitive Money.
Central States Numismatic Society Vice President and CCC member Brett Irick thanked the Chicago Coin Club for continuing their tradition of a club meeting at the convention and praised the club for continuing the online part of their monthly meetings, which many other clubs have stopped doing post-pandemic. Brett also indicated this CSNS convention was the largest since 1980.
John Riley reported on the CCC Legacy Project, which documents and records interviews with longtime members on their collecting and numismatic passions.
Mark Wieclaw on Docendo Discimus, We Learn by Teaching, an inspirational program on numismatic education by sharing through speaking, Exhibitions at conventions, Show and Tell, and other methods often citing personal experiences that have promoted numismatics.
Secretary Scott McGowan announced one new membership application, for Thomas Canoles a collector of US coins.
Being an abbreviated meeting there was no old or new business or Show and Tell agenda items.
The next meeting will be May 10, 2023, 6:45pm at the Chicago Bar Association, and will be in-person and online.
John Riley adjourned the meeting at 12:45pm CDT.
Scott A. McGowan, Secretary
by James Davis,
presented to our April 12, 2023 meeting
The origins of the Denver Mint began almost 50 years before the first coins were struck. In 1858, gold was discovered near Pikes Peak; that brought out a multitude of men seeking their fortune the following year. The new arrivals were called ’59ers, reminiscent of how the California gold rush participants a decade earlier became known as the ’49ers. Soon thereafter, the city of Denver was formed.
A good panner could recover about ½ to ¾ of an ounce in one day. Soon, prospectors began arriving in Denver to spend their gold – but making purchases with gold dust is at best imprecise. It became apparent a Bank and Assay office were needed.
In 1860, Milton Clark and Emanuel Gruber arrived from the Kansas City area and formed Clark, Gruber & Company. In addition to banking services, they melted, poured, and assayed the native gold found by miners and prospectors; but they did not refine the gold ore. Their initial business plan was to buy gold and ship it to Philadelphia in exchange for coins to buy more gold. The problem was it took a long time for the gold to arrive in Phildelphia and the resultant money to arrive in Denver; also, there were costs for shipping and insurance, and always the threat of robbery. The railroads were not near Denver – there were few west of the Mississippi River. Clark, Gruber & Co. then decided to purchase their own coin press and have dies engraved.
With those dies Clark, Gruber & Co. produced coins in 1860 and 1861; some designs were taken from US coins but altered slightly to protect them from counterfeiting charges. In 1860, one design was used on the $2½ and $5 pieces, while a different design was used on the $10 and $20 pieces. The obverses of the $2½ and $5 use a bust of Liberty, above the date and surrounded by 13 stars, but Liberty’s coronet here says CLARK & CO instead of LIBERTY; the reverses use a spread eagle above the denomination, but surrounds it with PIKES PEAK GOLD DENVER instead of UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
While the designs of the 1860 $10 and $20 have an eagle similar to the eagle on US gold coins, all other elements are original. The date appears below the eagle, so is this side the obverse or reverse? The eagle is surrounded by CLARK GRUBER & CO. The other side prominently features a mountain with the profile of an equilateral triangle; below it are DENVER and the denomination, while above it are PIKES PEAK GOLD. That representation of Pike’s Peak must have originated with someone who never saw the actual mountain.
On the coins dated 1861, the $2½, $5, and $10 use a design similar to that used on the $2½ and $5 of 1860, with the $20 using a different design. The obverses of the $2½, $5, and $10 use a bust of Liberty above the date and surrounded by 13 stars, but Liberty’s coronet here says PIKES PEAK instead of the LIBERTY found on US coins; the reverses use a spread eagle above the denomination, but surrounds it with CLARK GRUBER & CO DENVER instead of UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
The 1861 $20 piece uses a Liberty bust which differs from the bust used on the lower denominations; but PIKES PEAK still appears on this coin’coronet. The reverse features an eagle similar to that on the US $20 piece, above the denomination, surrounded by CLARK GRUBER & CO DENVER. The devices were reminiscent of contemporary US coins, with different legends. Was this sufficient to keep the US government away?
In the 1860 annual Mint Report, mint director James Ross Snowden called out Clark, Gruber & Co.; several pieces had been assayed at between 815 and 838 fine (instead of the US standard 900 fine) with silver the remaining alloy and no attempt to maintain an exact standard. Weights of the $10 pieces varied from 273 to 283.5 grains. He also stated, “The devices on the ten dollar piece are appropriate and distinctive; but on the five dollar piece they are made in close imitation of the legal coin, a reprehensible and illegal practice, countenanced by previous similar emissions in California.”
In 1863, the US Treasury Department bought out Clark, Gruber & Co., taking over its building and operations. For the next 43 years it served as an assay office only, even though it was called a Branch Mint in contemporary government documents, especially in its early years. In the late 1890s, Congress made the facility a branch mint. Funding and construction delays of the new building kept the mint from striking coins until 1906. On February 1, 1906, the Denver Mint began striking coins for circulation. The first-year issues consist of three silver and three gold denominations.
All three silver coins issued this year were designed by Charles E. Barber, using designs first used in 1892;they are the Dime, Quarter, and Half Dollar. The dime mintage of 4,060,000 includes varieties such as a re-punched mintmark and a doubled 6. The quarter mintage was 3,280,000, and the half dollar mintage was 4,028,000.
The $5 and $10 had been designed by Christian Gobrecht; the Clark, Gruber & Co. pieces were reminiscent of these pieces. The $5 half eagle mintage was 320,000; the $10 eagle mintage was 981,000. The Double Eagle had been designed by James B. Longacre, who also designed the Flying Eagle cent, Indian head cent, Two cent, Three cent silver, Three cent nickel, Shield nickel, and the $3 gold. The $20 double eagle mintage of 620,250 includes varieties such as re-punched mintmarks.
But wait … there is more: special strikes! On April 4, 1906 about 12 proof-like double eagles were struck for presentation purposes. Today, only 2 or 3 are known; the third-party grading services refer to them as special strikes. The first recorded auction sale of a 1906-D specimen double eagle was in January, 1957. The Kreisberg-Schulman auction house sold the Adolphe Menjou specimen, lot 2608, for $240.00. In 2013, a specimen 66 coin, which may or not be the Menjou coin, sold for $440,625.
|Chicago Coin Company|
|Harlan J. Berk, Ltd.|
|Kedzie Koins Inc.|
|Classical Numismatic Group|
Items shown at our April 12, 2023 meeting,
reported by Deven Kane.
|Date:||May 10, 2023|
|Time:||6:45PM CDT (UTC-05:00)|
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 post-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!|
|Featured Program:||Deven Kane —
The story of how a piece of small change sparked a fashion craze and then an international scam. In normal circumstances, the French silver coin of 1⁄12 Ecu (equal to 5 sols tournois) would have remained an unremarkable piece of small change. However, a sudden fashion craze in the Ottoman empire created a huge demand for the coin. This gave speculators and a bunch of minor princes with minting authority the arbitrage opportunity to make a lot of money. The scam soon followed. Join us as we follow the story of this little coin and the various principalities that decided to join the party.
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.
|May||10||CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - Deven Kane on Little Louis|
|June||14||CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - to be announced|
|July||12||CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - to be announced|
|August||8-12||ANA in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Admission is free for ANA members — see http://www.worldsfairofmoney.com for details.|
|August||9||CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - to be announced|
|September||7-9||ILNA 2023 Annual Coin & Currency Show at the Tinley Park Convention Center, 18451 Convention Center Drive, Tinley Park, Illinois 60477. Details, including hours and events, are available at http://www.ilnaclub.org/show.html|
|September||13||CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - to be announced|
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