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ACCent: The Monthly Newsletter of the Anchorage Coin Club

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Volume 5, Number 11

November 1992

November Membership Meeting
Wed., November 4, 1992 Central Lutheran Church

7:30 PM Meeting



You often don't know the value of someone until you don't have them around. Benita and Neal couldn't make it to the October meeting, so Scot Hornal and yours truly stumbled along with keeping the auction records. Several times the auction stalled while we tried to catch up. I think everyone got their coins and their money without error, but I sure do appreciate the smooth operation of our auctions when Benita and Neal run them. Long overdue thanks is due both of them.

Scot Hornal conducted the meeting due to Bill D'Atri's absence. I'm quite sure Bill would rather have been in town. At meeting time he was on his eleventh consecutive fifteen-hour day up north at Atigun Pass.


To commemorate the service of past president Bill Goring, who passed on last year, the club holds an auction each November the proceeds from which are donated to a memorial fund. This fund pays to engrave the name of the club's "Numismatist of the Year" on a plaque and a gold pan as a memento of the honor. Last year Roy Brown was accorded this honor. The remainder of the fund is retained to be used as the club wishes. Members wishing to bid in this auction should attend the meeting November 4th.

At E-Board a question was raised: "Since the memorial fund has plenty of money (=$300), why are we holding another benefit auction?" It was resolved to discuss what to do with the leftover monies in this fund at the November meeting. Come and "donate" your two cents worth.

'93 bed book given as door prize

The door prize was a 1993 Red Book, newly arrived from ANA, autographed by Ken Bressett and local numismatic luminary Roy Brown. The ticket belonging to Vice President and meeting leader Scot Hornal was drawn by a new YN, Kevin Guido.

Scot graciously requested that Kevin draw another ticket. This time it was your estimable editor whose ticket was drawn. Since both winners were seated behind the front table, the proceedings looked a little dubious. I asked the young man whether I or Scot had met him prior to that meeting. Such association was denied. The third ticket drawn was that of his mom, who graciously accepted the Red Book. A hearty welcome to both.


Scot Hornal reported that results were mixed at the Northway and Sears Mall shows last month. However, my informal survey showed that new exhibitors did fairly well (myself included) especially at the Sears Mall. Certainly lots of newsletters and club brochures were passed nut to prospective members.

Channel 2 News showed up at the Northway show and taped the proceedings for fifteen minutes until their tape ran out. A one-minute spot was broadcast Sunday. Unfortunately it aired at 6:00 PM after the show was over. Mike Greer taped the spot at home and proudly reported that they gut the back of his head on camera.

Bill McGinnis reported that one of the ANA Grading Guides "walked off" at the Sears Mall. It didn't exactly walk off, though. Your editor admitted that he had sold one to a customer and failed to tell anyone about it. The check, made payable to the club, was produced and handed over for processing.

Absentmindedness isn't a sin, but it can be embarrassing at times.

Speaking of the grading guide, the membership resolved to donate one to the Lousaac library.


Members of the Society for U.S. Commemorative Coins and its publication, the Commemorative Trail, are familiar with "Name that Comment!." This feature consists of a number of extreme close-ups (XCU's) of commemorative coins with captions inviting readers to name the coin the close-up came from. Bill Fivaz provides these photos to the journal.

Robert Hall will present a slide show with similar XCU's at the November meeting. These slides were also shot (for the ANA) by Bill Fivaz. Interested attendees are invited to demonstrate their numismatic I.D. skills at this presentation titled "Name that Coin".

Robert also expects to receive a set of slides showing the minting process in time for presentation at the next YN meeting which is always on the second Friday of each mouth (Nov. 13)


The raffle prize was a 1971-S Eisenhower (his friends called him Ike) Dollar in MS-63 condition. A grand total of six tickets were sold at a buck apiece. Guess this shows what we think of Ikes. Anyway, Mike now has an Ike to add to his "Twentieth-Century Type Collection".


Circumstances forced the formation of an ad hoc auction team by Scot and myself. We needed an auctioneer. After a couple adult members declined to fill this role, I put it to the YNs: Who will auction the material? Mike Greer, and Greg D'Atri stepped up to volunteer. Lots were drawn and Greg was the winner.

We consoled Mike telling him since he had material in the auction, he might as well be ready to "protect" his material from lowball bids. Good thing too, as it turned out

A group of half-cents headed by a 1942/1 dime in VF were auctioned first without incident. Without a sale either as it turns out. Next were a group of common date Choice Uncirculated Walking Liberty Halves (PCGS and NGC MS-63 and 64) followed by Morgan Dollars (again common) in circulated and uncirculated grades including a PCGS MS-64PL. Of sixteen lots four were sold. Then came Mike's material and lowball bids commenced.

For instance, to Mike's consternation a BU roll of Lincoln cents brought an opening bid of 45 cents. When his BU Roll of 1970-S cents was greeted without enthusiasm, Mike speculated that "a small date may have slipped in". Nearly everyone there knew about Mike's sharp eyes and cherry pi eking talents so the response was skeptical to say the least.

When a 1930-S Liberty Standing Quarter came up for bids The auctioneer, Greg D'Atri, came up with a new term for the grading lexicon. He was asked:

"What grade?" His Reply:


To which Mike strenuously objected saying it was in Good condition (and so it was).

He also said to Greg:

"I want to auction your Dad's coins next time."

Needless to say, the gathering was highly amused at this exchange.

Mike did sell some of his material, mostly to Kevin Guido who now has a good start on a modern proof type set.



This Christmas we will raffle a nice Fugio Cent. Scot Hornal has provided us with a good example of this tough-to-find coin. The obverse is in very strong Fine condition (bordering on VF). The reverse is VF. Scot says it has pointed rays and STATES UNITED on the reverse. Approximate value is $400. The 1993 Red Book states the following for Fugio Cents that match this description:


Note: The following types with painted rays have regular obverses punctuated with four cinquefoils (small five-bladed clover design).

STATES UNITED at sides at circle. Cinquefoils on label. Fine = $250.00, VF = $450.00

STATES UNITED at sides of circle. Fine = 225.00, VF = $425.00

STATES UNITED Label with raised rims (simply two concentric circles). Large letters in WE ARE ONE. Fine = $350.00  VF = $1000.00

STATES UNITED, 8 - pointed stars on label  Fine = $300.00  VF = $675.00

It's up to interested parties to determine which description fits the prize.



The gathering was reminded (and repeated here for the rest of us) that the reference librarian at the Lousaac Library has custody of a collection of numismatic literature. A sizeable portion of this collection was bought by us for our use. In this way we can collectively BUY THE BOOK BEFORE THE COIN with considerably less individual cost for a considerably greater library than any of us can assemble ourselves.

Of course, it's somewhat inconvenient to pick up and go to Cordova and 36th Avenue to do research. But then again, why not? Libraries are warm and friendly places. Large quantities of early '80s oil bucks built this library (thanks ARCO and BP/SOHIO for a beautiful building). Smaller quantities of your property taxes maintain and stock it.

The Lousaac is exceedingly comfortable. Your kids aren't running around in it. There's no TV. on. Single guys will be interested to know that the women in there are mostly young, bright, and almost certainly literate (the library doors have a way of weeding out the bimbettes). Unlike moat bars, you don't have to shout to talk to them ("Pardon me, but I'm having a real hard time finding a particular book. Could you help me...?) Bottom line: the library is an oasis of study and solitude. The side benefits aren't bad either. Back to numismatics. Paul Wheeler has copies of a catalog of the numismatic books at the library. Interested persons should contact Paul and meet him at E-Board or the regular meeting.

Why Maurice has no social life

Why Maurice has no social life.


Bill Garing Remembered

Two years ago, when I joined the club, Bill Garing had already fallen to an illness from which He never recovered. I never had the pleasure of his acquaintance, so I was interested to read the following biography contributed by Robert Hall.

William A. Garing, Sr. was born in Topeka Kansas and spent much of his youth in Ohio. After his retirement from the military in Alaska, Bill started his second career with the Alaska State Department of Motor Vehicles. Many club members remember the cheerful welcome that Bill would extend during their annual visits to DMV.

Bill's numismatic interests included U.S. and Canadian coins. Civil War tokens, and political campaign memorabilia. He was also an ardent sports card collector.

As a founding member and officer of the club, Bill used his computer skills to organize and maintain club records. He was always available when the club needed him and provided information and guidance for anyone who might ask. His attendance at local shows attracted interest and new members to the club. The dedication and knowledge shared by Bill Garing helped make our club what it is today. He is missed by all who knew him.


World's Worst Type Set

This article is reprinted with permission (a rarity for this newsletter!) from Bill Fivaz.

If you're sick and tired of trying to cope with the whole shoo tin' match and start collecting 19th Century Peruvian beer bottle caps (UNslabbed, of course!), let me try to convince you Co consider collecting something a little offbeat (Peruvian bottle caps aren't?!) but at the same time accessible.

If you're a collector... I mean really a collector, how assembling a W.W.T.S. (World's Worst Type Set)? I started this rather bizarre experience about two ears ago, and I gotta tell you, I've had a absolute ball! The idea is, as the title implies, to obtain the absolute worst specimen of every Type of U.S. coin you can find. Now, realized that "worst", like incest, is a relative term, you will have to decide early on if you want to qualify it to mean "worst" by virtue of wear only, "worst" by damage and/or wear, "worst" by having a hole in it, or what.

And it's not kosher to "manufacture" one yourself just to fill in a hole - no fair hammering an otherwise collectible specimen just to render it "uncollectible" for your set. The coins must be as you find them in junk boxes, cull comers, or even in circulation.

You haven't lived until you've seen the look on a dealer's face when you ask to see his "throw-away" box of dogs and then reject most of them because they're "too nice". It's fun to explain to him also that you're working on a set that you need to downgrade, and you want some "real nice bad ones" to plug in.

My collecting M.O. for my set is that any type of wear of damage is fair game, as long as you can tell with certainty what the type is. In other words, you have to be able to see the arrows and date on a Liberty Seated coin for that opening, but who cares if a Barber Half has a date?

Obviously, the earlier Type will be very tough to find, but you'll soon realize that the late date clad coinage is equally as scarce. As I said , this is collecting in its purest form, and I guarantee that you'll enjoy the heck out of it while the same time satisfy that savage collector instinct. And you wont have to spend the kid's inheritance to put together a presentable (?!) set of those "was BU" and "once Unc" beauties.

If you want to specialize and concentrate on a certain series like Large Cents, Commems, or Indian Cents, have a go at it.... it's entirely up to you. Happy collecting.

This And That


Little bits of wisdom, fact, and fancy from here and there.


One who stands for what he thinks the public will fall for.


What one person gives in exchange for details.

Recently seen on a junk mail envelope:

"Do you have the guts to handle a little Hollywood dirt?" (from a mailing by Movieline magazine).

Merit Pay is the Rule in the White House:

President and Mrs. Bush's 1991 Income Tax return states that First Dog Millie earned four times the President's own salary. It only goes to show that Americans at large value entertainment more than politics, but after all, what's the difference? Each of us has as much influence in elections as we have in editing a movie. At least we have a greater choice in entertainment.

A Cent with an Unusual Edge:

In 1898 Charles Steigerwalt of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, wrote the following in The Curio:

"A curious 1795 cent, thick planchet, was recently found in Philadelphia. Instead of the usual collar, and belonging to a half dollar die was used, causing a slight spreading of size and, of course an entirely different edge lettering."

The lettering employed back then for half dollars was FIFTY CENTS OR HALF A DOLLAR. Has any heard or seen reference to 1795 cent with such lettering?

The Racketeer Nickel Revisited

The "racketeer nickel" was the subject of an article printed in the July ACCent titled "Just Joshing". Donald A. Holt, writing for Bowers and Merena's Rare Coin Review (Autumn I Winter 1992), has more fully fleshed out the story. He credits Abe Kosoff for telling it in Coin World during the '70s. I offer the view that Josh Tatum may have been grossly misunderstood Following is an admittedly sympathetic interpretation of the racketeer nickel story.


In 1883 a nickel having a new design was released into U.S. commerce. It had the head of liberty on the Obverse with the date, 1883, and on the reverse a large Roman "V" surrounded by the usual UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, E PLURIBUS UNUM, a wreath, and nothing else.

This is now known as the "No Cents V-Nickel". Certain sped ally-treated versions of this nickel are known as "racketeer nickels".


Our story starts in Boston the city of one Josh Tatum. The sophistication of the new nickel, having a Roman instead of an Arabic "five" and no denomination whatsoever, must have been greatly admired by Mr. Tatum for he sought out a jeweler (unnamed by any source at my disposal)1 and had one plated in gold. Undoubtedly these creations met with Josh's approval because soon he and the jeweler had procured a thousand of the new nickels and gold plated them.

It would seem Josh intended to spread these artistic gems upon the rather fertile waters of the Boston metropolis. According to the account, Josh Tatum was a distinguished looking gentleman who apparently also had a penchant for tobacco, cigars in particular. His habit was to walk into a tobacco shop, browse over the merchandise, and point at a box of five-cent cigars, whereupon the box and its contents were presented. Josh would then select one cigar, place the nickel upon the counter, and then show appreciation for the cigar by rolling it between his fingers and savoring its aroma.

Imagine his surprise when the shopkeeper showed even more appreciation by exchanging $4.95 and the cigar for the beautiful gold-plated nickel!! Josh must have thought the shopkeeper agreed that, indeed, the attractive new nickel was even more beautiful when enhanced in gold.

Well, Josh must have been even more impressed when the same thing happened at the next shop he visited. And the next. And yet again at the fourth shop. Soon, Josh had exhausted his supply of nickels (and had a thousand cigars to boot).


Tatum and his jeweler friend, being greatly enthused by the overt expression of approval for their gold-plated creations, obtained 5,000 more nickels and did the same.

Wishing to make these gorgeous specimens even more widely known, Josh began to make his way southwest from Boston toward New York City. Seemingly, the nickels garnered widespread admiration, because he had distributed more than 2,000 of his objects d'art when he was stopped cold. He was over half-way to New York when accosted by government agents and charged with operating a confidence game. Poor misunderstood Josh was soon brought to trial.


At the trial the State brought hundreds of angry witnesses to the stand. Their testimony was basically the same: the accused would come into the store, inspect the cigars, select a nickel cigar, and place a gold coin on the counter. He would then roll the cigar between his fingers while "he waited for change". After he had received $4.95 in change, he would leave.

After he had received $4.95 in change, he would leave.

It seems the shopkeepers and clerks mistook the coin for a new five-dollar half-eagle and not a beautiful work of art after all!

The attorney for the defense asked each witness one question: "Did Mr. Tatum ask for $4.95 in change?" The answers were approximately the same: "Well no, but he placed the gold coin on the counter as he selected the five-cent cigar. Then he went though the act of rolling the cigar between his fingers and smelted the aroma while he waited for change. When he received the change, he left the store."

After the prosecutorial2 parade the defense called its first witness, Josh Tatum's personal physician. The good doctor told the court that Josh Tatum was both deaf and mute. In other words Josh Tatum was a deafendant.3 The case was dismissed and Josh Tatum left the court a free, if unappreciated, man.

Now some figure that Mr. Tatum was looking to scam all those purveyors of tobacco. Some even say he always looked to make a fast buck. You decide.


In historical accounts, numismatic or otherwise, fact often becomes entangled with fancy, speculation, errors, or outright lies. For example, in June, I found an account that Josh Tatum was blind. This seems unlikely when hundreds of witnesses independently testified that Josh Tatum pointed to a nickel-cigar box.

One would hope that either Kosoff or Holt got this testimony from primary historical records, namely the trial transcript, or from secondary sources such as newspaper accounts. Most likely, however, Holt got it from Kosoff, who in turn read it or got it from the one who told him the story. Such is how verbal traditions are promulgated and "enriched", if also made inaccurate.

We've heard the idea that "rumors" (a.k.a.: lies, vicious lies, statistics improperly used, etc.) if repeated often enough become perceived as "fact". So it happens to the extent where at least one writer, without any malice or intent at all can confuse deafness with blindness.

Another example can be found elsewhere in this issue where the genesis of the myth of Betsy Ross and the first U.S. flag is uncovered. This story is often regarded as factual but apparently is little more than a good story which made it into public school history books.

The purpose of this overlong "prologue" is to get to the bottom of this story. If possible, can WE determine the factual basis of the racketeer nickel story (to determine the "unvarnished truth" so to speak)? For instance, how do we know of Tatum's "jeweler partner"? How did Holt know Josh was a "distinguished looking gentleman"?. What is the source of the 1,000 and 5,000-coin figures with regard to the partner's production runs? Did Tatum really plate one coin to start with (probably not since I made it up to "enrich" the story)?

Any interested reader who has a clue about these questions, likely sources, or any other aspect of this story is requested to contact

James Susky
2505 W. 43rd Court
Anchorage, Alaska 99517

I intend to write Mr. Holt for his comment and try to locate the Kosoff article in Coin World.


1 The jeweler, as it turns out, probably wonted to keep it that way.

2 No. it's not a word, but it ought to be.

3 I couldn't resist.

Betsy, Say It Ain't So!

The following is reproduced verbatim and in its entirety from Bowers and Merena's Rare Coin Review (Autumn /Winter 1992).

IS NOTHING SACRED? Another myth about American history bites the dust, with experts now convinced that the story about Betsy Ross sewing the first American flag is "made up of whole cloth."

"The story of Betsy Ross America's matriarch and most famous seamstress is actually - a fabrication," reports The Wall Street Journal. "In all likelihood, she didn't sew the first flag. The house designated as her residence was actually a bar, and the bones buried in the back yard are probably someone else's."

Who made up the American legend-beloved by schoolchildren - of the sweet-faced, flag-draped Ross? A grandson, it appears, with a taste for storytelling and an urge for family aggrandizement.

Auction Notice

Members wishing to provide items for auction are encouraged to do so. The usual auction rules will apply to lots brought to the meeting.

Show up early so your coins can be cataloged and inspected by bidders in advance of the meeting.

Bill Garing Memorial
November 1992

Lot Date Denomination Grade
1 1836 Bust Half AG - G
2 1866 Seated Half with motto G
3 1984 Prestige Set Proof
4 1971 Eisenhower Dollar Proof
5 1974 Eisenhower Dollar UNC.
6 1985 Proof Set MS-63
7 1964 Proof cent, nickel, dime, quarter Proof
8 1812 Large Cent G
9 1894 Indian Cent G
10 1907 Indian Cent AU
11 1931-S Buffalo Nickel F
12 1938-D Lincoln Cent Re Punched Date MS-62 - 63
13 1902-O Morgan Dollar AU-58 PCGS
14 1909 Lincoln Cent MS-63
15 1972-S Kennedy Half Proof
16 1976-S Kennedy Half Proof
17 1978-S Kennedy Half Proof
18 1978-S Kennedy Half Proof


The Anchorage Coin Club

Club Officers

Board of Directors



To save costs, members not responding to renewal notices within 3 months will be considered inactive.

The Anchorage Coin Club is a non-profit organization formed to provide information, education, and a meeting place for individuals having an interest in numismatics.

Correspondence Address: Anchorage Coin Club, P.O. Box 230169, Anchorage, Alaska 99523