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ACCent: The Monthly Newsletter of the Anchorage Coin Club
|Volume 6, Number 1||
|January Membership Meeting|
|Wed., January 6, 1993||Central Lutheran Church||
7:30 PM Meeting
I trust everyone had a Merry Christmas. I bought myself some nifty 18th Century Russian coppers, as did a number of us, so I hear. Lordy, you can buy some mighty nice stuff for a small fraction of similarly ancient U.S. copper. We're talking ten of dollars instead of hundreds for Fine to Very Fine material here. Hope you all were kind to yourselves and your loved ones this Christmas season.
JANUARY MEMBERSHIP MEETING
We will kick off 1993 in fine fashion with a design contest at the January meeting. All interested parties must arrange to have their designs turned in at that meeting or just show up with one! See the submittal form in the back for details.
The ambitious need not limit themselves to one design. Multiples are allowed. Furthermore, we will have runoff style elections so the likelihood of one of your designs stealing the thunder of another is minimized.
Roy Brown has offered his shop as a drop off point for your design(s) if you can't make it to the next meeting. Thanks Roy.
MINTER TO ATTEND
Mike Robuck is planning to attend the meeting to provide professional; guidance and to answer questions members and contestants may have about the coining process. Mike will also arrange to have the winning design made into a die.
The January meeting has the makings of a real lively get together. So, come and vote, kibitz, and generally contribute to the proceedings. Incidentally, you can also reserve your set at a reduced rate.
The spread was...uurrp...(pardon me) tremendous both in quality and extent. Members really outdid themselves with the bounty they contributed to our Christmas Potluck. It was like Thanksgiving all over again without the football games. I'm still recovering as I write.
RAFFLE WINNER DETERMINED
The raffle sold out; no surprise here. Neal Lydick, enterprising soul that he is, tried to auction the last raffle ticket. Nobody bit I said to those within earshot: "Now that we've created scarcity, anyone interested in buying more raffle tickets?" Nobody bit on that either.
The drawing was held well after the second helping. The lovely Fugio Cent went to none other than Larry Nakata who was sitting right next me. On the announcement he exclaimed:
"All right!! After all these years, I've finally won one!"
From my vantage point the group, most of whom knew about Larry's prodigious support of our raffles, seemed pleased with the result. I suspect no one else has come close to purchasing double figures of tickets.
The gathering then got to the next important item of business, dessert, all of which were delicious (trust me on this). As we were digging in to the confectionery delights, Larry gave out a long 8igh. I figured, wrongly, that it was due to the large meal we were enjoying but be smiled and said "It's a good feeling to win one for a change."
SANTA CLAUS NO SHOWS
Neal stood up to make another of his famous impromptu speeches:
"I've got a little bad news. I don't want to dampen your spirits, but Santa Claus just called on his cellular phone. He said he couldn't make it to the potluck this year, even though he made it last year. Santa said the kids shouldn't worry. They will get every thing they want from Mom and Dad at Christmas."
Thanx Neal. The kids were all happy to hear that, I'm sure, not to mention their folks.
ScotHornal did his annual duty as Vice Prez and handed out awards. The first was an honorary award given to show appreciation for past services rendered known (informally at least) as the Gavel Award. The recipient was Bruce Gambell, who has served two terms at least as Presidents of our club.
The second was the Bill Caring Memorial Award. This is given to the club's outstanding numismatist. Sort of an M.V.N. award (you figure it out). Well, good ol' Larry Nakata went two for two this night and won this auspicious honor. Well deserved too. Larry has been generous with both his labor and his bucks, and not just in his support of raffles.
MEDAL DESIGN CONTEST
Robert Hall offered the details of the design contest mentioned at left. Discussion ensued and finally the question was brought to the membership for a vote by Mike McKinnon. The motion was passed. It was nearly unanimous except a single "nay" vote by that fellow who can be counted on to dissent at crucial moments. He was none other than Mike McKinnon. Thanks, Mike, for showing us the possibilities.
Y. N. SCHOLARSHIP PITCH
Billy McGinnis stepped up to the front and read a speech the gist of which was the following:
"Let's have a donation auction. The money from the auction can be used to send a deserving Y.N. to the ANA Summer Seminar.
We could run an ad in Coin World or Numismatic News asking others to support the auction."
This, of course brought a torrent of good-natured heckling. Neal said:
"I'll donate a one-way ticket!"
Rod suggested that money be sent along for taxis, other expenses and "the bar bill'.
Billy said: "Does anybody have any real questions?"
Mike said: "Other clubs do it, why not us?"
The reply: "They like their YNs.
I had such a good time writing down all these choice comments that I forgot if anything was resolved.
Our Prez. Bill D'Atri has kindly offered this column for the newsletter:
It finally happened! Larry Nakata achieved one heck of a milestone at the Christmas dinner. Believe it or not, Larry really did win the raffle, and topped it of by being awarded the Bill Garing Memorial Award for 1992. Congratulations, Larry. I know from my personal experiences during the course of the year you gave very freely of your time, effort and creativity. On behalf of the club, thank you.
1992 just went zooming into history. Throughout the year we had the opportunity to team from each other. At times we actually had fairly heated discussions about issues that were near and dear to a person or group. This occasionally vigorous interaction lays the foundation for growth, as individuals and as a club.
In 1993 we need to focus on this growth. We need new members to expand our intellectual pool. We need new perspectives and ideas.
I would like to see our club table with eye catching, informative displays at the coin shows in 1993. These displays should be loaners from club members.
I'm putting together a display of Russian Empire coppers, minted in Siberia, from the 1770's. This was a key period in Russian, Alaskan, and United States history, and that set of coins offers a fairly unique link with those times.
\would like to see individuals presenting programs at the general meetings on areas of personal interest.
The club should invest in a few display cases, and make them available for rental to those folks who don't have one but want to take part in a coin show. The more we open the door, the more people will be interested in learning about the club.
In March 1993 we will be celebrating our fifth anniversary. This is a great opportunity for making the entire community aware of who we are and what we represent.
The Christmas Pot Luck Dinner was a great example of what we can accomplish as a group. The entire event was the result of members volunteering. The key is volunteering, people wanting to give freely of their time and energies.
All in all, we should look at expanding our horizons in 1993. As individuals, we should pursue those things that will make us better people. As a group, we need to expand the goals of the club.
Election of club officers will be coming up pretty soon. I'm going to support whoever I believe will establish the foundation for our next five years of growth.
Experience Keeps a Dear School
Yet another story from The Numismatist (2/91) which was contributed by Gerald Tebben ANA 124464. Although listed in that issue as "NUMISMATIC FICTION" in which "The owner of a small coin shop fantasizes about a windfall of rare colonial currency", it is not entirely clear to me how much of it is purely fictional.
HOARDS. Every coin collector dreams of them. Untold riches unexpectedly crossing the threshold - a metal detector's lucky ping on a Caribbean shore, the contents of a Gold Rush-era safe in a California ghost town, the glint of ancient silver at the bottom of a new drainage ditch on a Turkish hillside.
Some hoards are exquisitely small, like the roll of uncirculated 1931-D double eagles that surfaced in the Midwest in 1984. Other hoards are so large as to defy belief, like the Economic Hoard unearthed in Economy, Pennsylvania, in 1878. (Fearing a Confederate raid, members of the Harmony Society, a Utopian group, had buried their wealth during the Civil War.) The hoard, which had a face value in excess of $75,000, was generally placed back into circulation. A few choice pieces were sold to coin dealers, including a 1794 silver dollar valued at $22.
I run a coin shop in Centerville-on-Scioto, Ohio. It is a small shop with the usual penny boards, "Red Books" and rows of gleaming wheat-backed cents. I buy a fair number of silver dollars from my neighbors and sell the odd gold piece. But never did I expect to see a well-dressed, 30-year-old woman come into my shop with a packet of crisp, colonial bills. She looked in her tailored business suit and projected an air of confidence as she walked up to the counter.
"I found this in a secret compartment of an antique desk I bought at an auction," she said as she took a small package from her pocketbook. It was wrapped in brown paper and tied with a string.
If it had not been a slow day, I would have stopped her right there. As soon as you put out a sign in this business, the scheming yard-spinners seek you out. They have valuable coins that were found in an old box in their attic, antique bills that fell out of an old book, or rare money that was given to them by their great-grandmother on her deathbed. Oh, the stories are good, but the money never is. Usually, the rare bills that have been in the family for generations were produced by a novelty company in the 1950's.
As the woman untied the string, I expected her to pull out a sheaf of yellowish, fake parchment Bank of the United States $1,000 bills, all, as usual, with serial number 8894. But that's not what was in the package. She delicately peeled back the brown paper, revealing a foxed piece of paper - a letter - that had been folded into quarters. Carefully, she unfolded the letter on my counter to reveal eight pieces of paper money.
The bills were printed on crisp, cream-colored paper; the ink was dark; and the lettering was impressed into the paper. No shoddy fakes these. The bills had been printed on a rag paper with cast-metal type. The work was that of a printer, not a photocopy machine. I picked up the top bill and tried to keep from showing my astonishment. It read:
7% is Indented Bill shall pass current for Twenty Shillings, in all Payments according to a Law of Pennsylvania. Dated the Seventeenth Day of January in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Twenty Three. 20s.
Four signatures, a handful of crowns and the colony's arms adorned the bill. In all, a set of eight denominations, ranging from 1 to 20 shillings, was in the packet. I had never seen such quality or rarity before. A quick check of Eric P. Newman's book The Early Paper Money of America revealed that the notes are so rare that they are unpriced in the catalog.
After examining the bills for a few minutes, I put them aside and read the letter that had protected them for more than two and a half centuries. The letter was boldly written in a fine, expansive hand. The lines were straight, but the penmanship was not stilted. The capital letters had the gentle flourishes of an earlier age.
November 6, 1723
Second Street at the Sign of the Bible
My dearest Benjamin:
How happy have I been to have you as both a lodger and a guest in my home. Your youth and industry have been a great Joy to me.
Would that I could afford to hire you to help me print "The American Mercury," but my finances will not allow it. While I strongly disagree with my new business rival, Samuel Keirner, that it is unseemly far his employee to lodge with me, I understand his reasoning,
When first you came into this city, you had but a dog dollar and a shilling's worth of coppers. As you leave my home, I wish you to take more with you than you brought, for I am a generous if illiterate man.
For the colony, I printed a set of indented bills earlier this year. The notes have been printed on broad sheets, cut wide of margin and signed by four honest men.
The set of eight notes totals 57 shillings.
Godspeed you toward majority, my young friend.
Your humble servant Andrew Bradford
My eyes were wide and my mouth agape by the time I finished the letter. The woman looked at me, her eyes sparkling. "I need money rather badly," she said, "and am willing to sell the packet cheap if you will pay me today." Visions of a life of ease danced in my head as I mentally composed the ad I would run in the next issue of The Numismatist .
PERSONAL PROPERTY OF PATRIOT BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
A set of eight notes of the Pennsylvania issue of
in crisp uncirculated condition
together with a letter of transmission
from colonial printer Andrew Bradford
I took a second look at the bills and the letter while calculating a fair price for the packet. Then I noticed one small detail that had escaped my attention. I neatly placed the bills on the letter and folded it around the notes. I handed the packet back to the woman and politely asked her to leave.
"It's a quality forgery," I said as she left, "but you will never sell those fakes to anyone who knows anything about colonial paper money."
What was in the packet that told me I was handling fakes? The date of the letter, November 6, 1723, tipped me off. That date actually fell several months before the date of the bills, January 17, 1723. Before 1752, the calendar year began on March 25 and ended on March 24. Additionally, the Act authorizing the January 17, 1723, bills was passed on December 12,1723.
THE JANUARY 17, 1723, notes may or may not have been printed by Andrew Bradford.
The printer's name does not appear on the bills, and Newman lists no printer for the series, although he states Bradford printed a 1729 emission that Franklin had erroneously claimed as his own. According to Isaiah Thomas' The History of Printing in America, Bradford was the only printer in the colony until 1723, when Keimer set up shop. However, colonies did not confine their printing contracts to native tradesmen.
As Benjamin Franklin noted in Poor Richard's Almanac (1743), "Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other."
Christie's Mishandles a Rarity from the Colonies
This story is largely reprinted from the July-August-September 1992 issue of Today's Pawnbroker International. The proprietor of Fast Cash Action Pawn 1028 E. 5th (across the street from Lucky Wishbone) lent it to me after we struck up a conversation one day. The story was printed under a column titled;
In February of this year, I found myself in an old London Pub, working on a couple of Pedigree beers, accompanied by Kevin Raper, President of the International Pawnbrokers Association and his fiancé, Alison.
Were it not for Jerry Stokes, Publisher of Today's Pawnbroker magazine, or an English Lord's visit to the U.S. in 1795, I would never have spent such an enjoyable evening with this delightful couple. (Nor would I have sampled that potent brew...)
Almost 200 years ago, Lord St. Oswald, while visiting the U.S., chose to bring home a few souvenirs. At an American banking house or perhaps at the Philadelphia Mint, he acquired at least two uncirculated 1794 silver dollars, several 1794 cents and numerous other coins. A descendant of his chose to sell those coins at London Christie's auction in 1964. At that sale, the 1794 dollars brought over $11,000 each; the cents as much as several thousand each. While the prices were considered to be spectacular at the time, they would be incredible bargains today.
In 1991, another descendant sent some furniture to Yorkshire dealer who discovered some coins in a drawer. He notified the owner who chose to consign the newly discovered treasure to auction. Once again, coins from Lord St. Oswald's collection would pass through the King Street auction rooms of Christie's
Though the sale was poorly publicized in the U.S., a good friend and coin dealer heard about it from an acquaintance in London who told him to get on the next plane. Among the several hundred coins in the St. Oswald consignment were two 1794 U.S. half cents, described to me as being almost fully red uncirculated - no less significant to a collector of early American coppers than the Hope Diamond would be to a connoisseur of fine jewelry.
Back from London, my friend called and asked me to attend the Christie's sale. I was to examine the coins and then call him so that we could decide together just how high we wanted to bid. Word of the sale still hadn't reached the American numismatic press, and the possibility existed that we would be the only Americans present!
At 9 AM on February 17, I arrived at the Christie's viewing rooms and asked to see lot numbers 284 and 285. The first of the two half cents displayed a rich reddish brown patina and remarkable glowing luster as if it were thrilled to be released from 200 years of captivity in a musty old drawer. The second, while also incredible, showed a few tiny spots of corrosion and some minor planchet problems.
I noticed that neither coin possessed as much of the original fiery red color as had been described to me by my friend. And than I noticed something else. Another American dealer walked into the viewing room. Needless to say, we weren't thrilled to see one another, but we met later that day and chatted about the two coins. He had first seen the coins three weeks earlier and verified my friend's description of the coins' color.
At auctions in the U.S., coins are sealed in individual clear vinyl1 holders so that they can be properly viewed while staying protected. In London however, coins are displayed loose in small cardboard boxes or in open vinyl holders. Coins cay be easily fingered, fondled, rubbed, dropped and coughed on by dozens or even hundreds of potential bidders. The best of the two half cents sat quietly tucked away for 200 years — perfectly preserved -- and now in just three weeks the surface that had looked like that of a fresh new penny, had been dramatically subdued. The coin was still INCREDIBLE however, and likely the finest known.
My American friend and I had discussed (based on his original description) bidding up to $100,000 for the best of the two coins. After a lengthy trans-Atlantic phone call that night, we decided that $60,000 would be our new limit2. Four Americans were bidding on the two coins. Two of us were in the auction room, one was on the phone and one was bidding through a London agent. (This last bidder had seen the coins in January before they had been mishandled). We were the high bidders in the room at $60,000 and the phone bidder (bidder blindly) bid up the London agent who ultimately paid $69,000 for the coin.
While greatly disappointed, we were still able to buy several outstanding lots, including a quantity of Connecticut and New Jersey colonial cents and several groups of ancient and foreign coins, all from the collection of this British tourist who visited the States two hundred years ago.
Only a few moments after the half cents were sold, the auctioneer announced that I had a phone call. I had mentioned to Jerry Stokes that I would be at the sale, and he in turn called Kevin Raper. Kevin was calling to invite me to dinner that evening.
After traveling by train from Yorkshire, Kevin met me for afternoon tea (a delightfully civilized British tradition) at the Palm Room of the Waldorf. We then met Alison and spent the evening talking about our families, about business, about Alison and Kevin's upcoming wedding and yes ... about Jerry Stokes. (Were your ears ringing, Jerry?)
Alison and Kevin, I look forward to seeing you a gain soon. And if you find any American half cents up in New Yorkshire, give me a call!
1 Close, but Mylar® is closest,
2 Christie's might be interested to know the lock of a 25-cent holder potentially cost 540,000 net to themselves and their consignor. Anyone care to send them a copy of this article?
Three gun shows are scheduled for the coming months:
Wasilla Gun Show
Jan 24-24 at Wasilla High School
Anchorage Gun Show
March 6-7 at Egan Center in Downtown Anchorage
Palmer Gun Show
March 13-14 at Palmer High School
The notice far the auction this month is:
There Ain't None!
The Prez and your editor held aninformal E-Board meeting at the editor's house (if a coupla beer's and some bullshit qualifies) and the Prez had an idea: Let's chill the auctions for a few meetings.
We have some Important issues to consider, one being what to do with our Five-Year-Medal. The other is who's going to run the club next year. So Bill suggests we have a "Swap-n-shop" instead. What the hell, let's do it. Bring all the stuff you'd normally put into the auction anyway. Bring your display case (my idea, don't blame Bill.) and pretend it's a mini coin show. Bring all the stuff you aren't keeping anyway. Give some folks an opportunity to downgrade (or start) their "World's Worst Type Set". Some of the coins I picked up last month were bought for exactly that reason. However, every last one of them is for sale at the right (for both of us) price. So bring your hand-me-downs, and castaways & make a deal. Bring your good stuff, too, show off your treasures even if they're not for sale.
A three-day coin show will be held at the Cottonwood Creek Mall in Wasilla January 8th-10th . This one deserves at least as much attention as the Gun Shows on this page so here it is again.
Cottonwood Creek Coin Show
Jan 8-10 at Cottonwood Creek Mall in Wasilla
Talk to you again next month.
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,