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ACCent: The Monthly Newsletter of the Anchorage Coin Club

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Volume 9, Number 4

April 1996

April Membership Meeting
Wed., April 3, 1996 Central Lutheran Church

7:30 PM Meeting





The purpose of this meeting is for all to have a good time as our club inaugurates it's "HISTORY OF MONEY" display at the museum.

This auspicious occasion will see hors d'oeuvres catered and a coin auction held that will benefit the club's YN (i.e.. Young Numismatists) Program. There will be no charge for admission. We encourage all of our members and friends lo attend this event.

The club's display will be shown at the museum from April 3rd through April 28th. It is intended to educate the general public about the hobby of coin collecting and is in keeping with this year's National Coin Week (April 21st-April 27th).

It's not every day that an event of this nature occurs in our club. A number of our members have been actively involved in various groups and committees working together to make this happen. Special thanks goes out to Club Member Richard Bilak for keeping the groups working together as one cohesive unit

The display (some 28 feet of display case area) will feature coins and monies that reflect "The History of Money". The display is intended to show the evolution of money from the beginnings of coinage (approximately 600 BC) to present day. The display will be set up in a lineal arrangement to reflect the following categories:

1. Ancient/Byzantine, Medieval/ Renaissance/ Early Milled Coinage and Money.

2. Coins of the New World/ Colonial Coinage' American Coinage and Money.

3. Foreign Coinage and Money' It's Evolution into the Period of Industrialization.

4. The History of Alaskan Money. (Editor's Comment: Special thanks go out to club member Kaye Dethridge in Sitka. who generously provided four (4) Russian sealskin currency notes for the museum display. These notes are representative of the earliest known currency in Alaska. It's unheard of to see this many specimens in one location at one time).

Materials for this display have been provided by various members of the Anchorage Coin Club. The American Numismatics Association Museum has also loaned some material from it's numismatic museum collection for this event.

Let's make this a special event.......and see you at the April 3rd meeting.



Schedule of Events for the Month of April

1. Monthly Membership Meeting: April 3rd (Wednesday) at 7:30 PM at the Anchorage Museum of History and Art located at 121 West 7th Avenue Come one.... come all!!!!

2. YN (Young Numismatists) Meeting: April 12th (Friday) at 7:00 PM at the Central Lutheran Church (comer of Cordova St. and 15th Avenue). YNs, club members, and general public welcomed. Subject to be covered will be "Cherry Picking".

3. Anchorage Coin Club Board Meeting. April 17th (Wednesday) at 7:00 PM at the Central Lutheran Church.



Your editors put a counter on our club's WEB Page on February 19th. One month later, the counter shows that our WEB Page on Internet has been browsed by at least 200 people. We have been getting lots of e-mail messages from people all over the country about our WEB Page. Having our club's month!) newsletter on the Internet has certainly drawn attention, We've even had inquiries about advice on coin collecting. Overall..... looks like our club's WEB Page is a success.

For those of you with Internet capability who wish to browse the club's WEB Page, go to:

or just find our club's WEB Page listed on the various Internet search engines.

Jim Susky (Member #70) in Homer has come through again with yet another article for publication in this month's newsletter. Jim Susky used to be our club's newsletter editor about 3 years ago. Jim now resides in the quiet community of Homer, Alaska. Like the last article submitted, Jim e-mailed this article to us via Internet.

(Editor's Comment: Wondrous stuff this Internet.....isn't it?). So without further ado, here is Jim Susky's article: E-mail address



by Jim Susky (Member #70)

Awhile ago, the Bowers and Merena gang1 sent me their rag Coins and Collectors. On the front page Q. David Bowers2 offered an article which outlined a plan by which one might assemble a collection of US coins. The piece was very interesting (as Q's articles invariably are) but, given the constraints normally imposed by the periodical format3, limited. The article to follow offers a slant on the pursuit of 19th century type set.

General Considerations, Biases, Inclinations, etc.

five dollar coronet gold coin obverse

First of all, I'm a sucker for a pretty face. Therefore, I don't collect Ike's, Franklin's, Susan B. Anthony's, Washington's, FDR's, or

Jefferson's. I have a strong aversion to the idea that mortals (let alone POLITICIANS) should be depicted on the coins of our great country, which claims to value {and occasionally practice) such ideals as Liberty and the Rule-of-Law. I therefore focus on depictions of Lady Liberty available to collectors of US coins,


One grade to watch is AU-58. AU-58 coins would qualify as Choice Uncirculated (MS-63) or better except for a trace of wear on a high spot that technically disqualifies them from UNC status. To illustrate, this would happen on

the shin or breast of a Liberty Walking or Liberty Standing obverse. Does this make our lovely Liberty less desirable? In my opinion, it doesn't4. What it will do is serve as a litmus test for dealers. Dealers with such coins marked "MS-63" or "UNC" either don't know how to grade or hope that you yourself don't. Many buyers and sellers will agree that AU-58 pieces should be priced at an increment above technical but baggy/ugly MS-60 pieces.

five dollar coronet gold coin reverse


Beware the coin that leaps at you. This is not to say you should ignore the natural' stunner (some AU-58 pieces qualify), but closely examine the piece that looks too good. Look for evidence of whizzing, buffing, dipping (if silver looks too white or if copper seems strangely colored), "paint" (on seemingly frosty cameos), or anything else that looks as if it might be man made after the fact (that is, after the strike). The author has, without provocation or even the seller's knowledge, picked out and confidently purchased whizzed coins only to find out later that his lovely ladies had been given face lifts.

five dollar indian head gold coin obverse

This does not mean you should never buy doctored coins. Some forms of numismatic cosmetic surgery look quite nice. It does mean, however, that if you want a Liberty with a permanent that the price should be adjusted accordingly. The current standard of appreciation (and. I believe, the one that will endure) places a premium on natural5 coins. The reason you see so many old white silver coins is that many collectors once valued a bright white appearance more than a natural patina covering original luster—and the dealers that danced with these collectors would dip on demand. No doubt some dealers attempted to educate rather than placate -but folks, you can't make them drink - so if they won't pay attention, give them what they want and sell the nice stuff for those who do pay attention. "Forearmed is forewarned" (they say), so read on for the really fun part- the pursuit of........


1 Sounds like a Wild West bond of desperadoes when you put it that way, doesn't it?

2 Head gunslinger

3 I am thankful that Bowers is not similarly constrained in his landmark work on silver dollars_______.

4 Besides, if she were a living, breathing lady, you wouldn't call her "worn" but "experienced".

5 "Natural" means not altered, dipped, (or over-dipped. If the luster seems unimpaired, then it doesn't matter if it was lightly dipped once in a Galaxy far far away...) or intentionally toned (again, if you can't tell it was toned on purpose.....).


by Jim Susky (Member #70)

Why 1866? Except for the half cent, the twenty cent, and the most expensive four-dollar date in town (the "Stella"), every denomination known to U.S. Numismatics was minted in that year. The first five-cent piece made of nickel (Shield type) was struck in 1866. Other type coins included the Indian Head cent, the two-cent, both (silver and nickel) three-cents, the Liberty Seated half dime and dime, the Liberty Seated quarter and half-dollar, and the Liberty Seated dollar. Gold denominations included the Type 3 dollar, the Liberty Coronet quarter-eagle ($2 & 1/2), the three-dollar, the Liberty Coronet half-eagle ($5), eagle ($10), and double-eagle ($20). The $5, $10, and $20 pieces were struck in with and without motto varieties. To count all of these major varieties, you'll have to take off both shoes and socks.

This deeply fractionated set of denominations mirrored the fractionated state of the forcibly reunified Union. If history is your bag, this should nicely illustrate a study of the "post-(Civil) war" period,


Unless you're fairly well-heeled, abandon AU-58 for this type set. The 1995 Red Book lists prices totaling over $50.000 for MS-60 pieces not including the very tough no-motto half and double eagles. Leaving out the gold, an 1866 uncirculated type set will set you back about $8,000. A complete EF-40 set will cost about $21,000 (about $2,100 without the gold). If you're willing to settle for VF-20 pieces, the set will run you $1,100 (add $11,000 if you gotta go for gold). $750 Will buy the silver, bronze, and nickel in F-12. The Red Book doesn't list F-12 prices for 1866 gold, but I would guess that they would cost an additional $6,500 to $7,500.

If you're like me, though, you'll buy the best you can afford. This means shooting for Choice UNC cent, two-cent, and nickel three-cent pieces ($840 for the set including Proof-63 cent and three-cent pieces). If I can find them, I'd consider getting AU-58 pieces and save some cost. An 1866 Shield nickel grading MS-60 lists for $200 (although I might hold out for an AU-58 piece here too). You might find an AU-50 half-dollar for $200-$250. I might assemble an EF set of dime, half-dime, and silver three-cent (which have combined Red Book price of $575). I would probably seek out the best dollar I could find for VF money ($325). Finally the quarter, which is the toughest of the "minor" (non-gold) type set, lists for $450 in VF. Again, I would hold out for the nicest, most natural example I could find for around $500. The total price of this set is about $2,700 plus a few sawbucks.

The Challenge

Pan of the reality of collecting (part of the fun, too) is that just because it's listed in a price guide doesn't mean you can readily buy it. A recent business trip to Salt Lake City included a cab ride to "All About Coins" where Bob Campbell and his very knowledgeable associates helped me view some coins, buy some books, and entertained me with plenty of good stories. Their store was very well stocked but the only 1866 coins in the place were a VF Cent and a VF+ Nickel-. No Liberty seated stuff at all!! Well, if it were easy...


A variant on this theme is to go for a nearby year with the same types. The two-cent and the silver three-cent were discontinued in 1873. Some of the larger denominations are more affordable in the early '70s so these years might be more available as well as more affordable.

Have fun with this one!!! Jim Susky....

(Editor's Comment: We've always admired Jim's wit and perspective. Keep them articles coming....),


by Mike Greer (Member #81 and Admired YN Within Our Club)

Has anyone ever wondered what happens to a Lincoln cent when it is left in Jewel Luster for a month?! Is there anyone out there that would like to know what NOT to do with your coins, but kind of wonder what would happen if you did?

Well....if so, in this article you will lean of a few experiments I have done and what the result will be.....

Recipe #1. ("Walker, Well Done").
OK, the first thing you need to do is find a common Walking half-dollar, or uncommon if ha\e deep pockets! A white AU piece gets the best results. Then preheat your oven at 450 degrees. The next thing you need to do is grab some bay leaves and a small piece of tinfoil. Wrap the Walker in the tin and spices....then toss it into the hot oven. Go watch TV for awhile. After about 10 minutes (or when your smoke alarm goes off), take the Walker out, unwrap the tinfoil. Abra Cadabra, you now have a totally retorted piece! The color that I got was a nice even yellow. I showed the piece to some people.....the responses ranged from "nice toning" to "you got ripped off" to "not original" to "ugly".

Recipe #2. ("Cooked Steel").
Well folks, we all know how to take the shell off of a "Peel and Eat" shrimp. Some can even shell a crab with some ease. But does anyone know how to take the shell off of a Steel Cent?! Well...I am going to tell you it is really easy! First, get a 1943 Steel Cent, if possible one with the least amount of wear. Then heat your oven to a lofty temperature of 550 degrees. Grab a cookie or pizza tray, place the cent on it. and put it in the oven. Cook your Penny for about 15 minutes. Then after a short wait, take it out and let it cool. When it has cooled, take the cent and tap it on the sides with a fork. WHAMMO!! Watch the zinc coating fall right off! The end result is a thin zinc shell with a full date and portrait having the appearance of a FULL LAMINATION. The steel core is left over with a dull Matte Proof look to it. I took the piece and it's shell to a Board Meeting a while back. Everyone was confused by it. I have my own theories why the zinc jumped off of the steel, but what do you think???

Recipe #3. ("Acid Bath").
Everybody will dip a coin sometime in their life. But how long is too long??!! Seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months??!! Well ..lets explore this issue a bit. Drop a common uncirculated cent into a jar of Jewel Luster. A couple of seconds will take off a little tone. Anymore than that will take off a little bit more. Check your coin after about 5 will notice that the luster is almost all gone. Then check your coin after about an hour.....your will notice the liquid is foggy with the metal from the coin. Take a knife of fork and scoop the cent out of the will see no more luster at all!! Surfaces will be a weird orange color, and have acid scars. After about a week the surface will have little bubbles on it. At this point, the coin probably cannot be slabbed. Now is the time you screw on the lid on the Jewel Luster (with the coin inside), and then forget about it for a month. After about a month open the jar and look inside. You will notice the murk is gone and the liquid is very clear. At the bottom, you will see the disgusting crust of what was once a BU Lincoln Cent. By this time you will notice the surfaces are crystallized, with no detail visible. Just Crust!! This coin may carry a healthy premium for anyone putting together one of those "World's worst type sets".

Well.......I will see you again later in the next issue of "Recipes". Oh...l just would like to let everyone know that in no way do I use any of the results as ways to fool people or do I trick people in buying an altered coin as something it is not. The same is to be expected of everyone......

Mike Greer.




Note: All auction lots are donated material and are so noted. Proceeds to go to the club's YN Program.

Lot #

1. Silver 1794 $1 (Copy). Donated by Gallery Mint Museum.

2. 1956 Pr-66 Half (DDR). Retail $75-$ 150. Donated by Del Romines.

3. 1951-D Cent BU (DDO) C.P.G. Retail $75. Donated by Del Romines.

4. Video VHS Tape "Money, History In Your Hands". Retail $20. Donated by Fred Weinberg.

5. Video VHS Tape "USA Gold Coins". Retail $20. Donated by Fred Weinberg.

6. Three (3) each assorted Peace Dollars, Retail $30. Donated by Fred Weinberg.

7. Hong Kong Coin Show Bi-Metal. Retail $20. Donated by Fred Weinberg.

8. Shrunken $1 Bill (It's real!!). Retail $10. Donated by Fred Weinberg.

9. 1921 Peace Dollar. ANACS AU-50. Retail $80. Donated by Mike Greer.

10. 1939 Dime. MS-63. Retail $14. Donated by Mike Greer.

11. 1940-S Dime. Gem BU FSB. Retail $43. Donated by Mike Greer.

12. 1941-D Dime, Gem BU FSB. Retail $23. Donated by Mike Greer.

13. 1896 $1.00 Educational Note. Fair. Retail $60. Donated by Larry Nakata.

14. 1938-D Dime, Gem BU FSB. Retail $36. Donated by Bill Fivaz.

15. 1934 Dime, BU FSB. Retail $15. Donated by Bill Fivaz.

16. 1869 Shield Nickel, XF. Retail $30. Donated by Bill Fivaz.

17. 1934 Peace Dollar, AU. Retail S32. Donated by Bill Fivaz.

18. Cook Island $1 Coin 1973. Retail $15. Donated by Paul Wheeler.

19. Cook Island $1 Coin 1992. Retail $15. Donated by Paul Wheeler.

20. Cook Island UNC Set 1992. Retail $20. Donated by Paul Wheeler.

21. Book. Coins of Guernsey - Almanzar. Donated by Jonathan K. Kern Co.

22. Book Coins of England - Seaby. Donated by Jonathan K. Kern Co.

23 Book. Early Paper Money of America. Retail $50++. Donated by Jonathan K. Kern Co.

24. Catalog. 1966 Stacks-Dr. Bolt Collection. Donated by Jonathan K. Kern Co.

25 Catalog. Standard Catalog, English + U.K. Retail $30. Donated by, Jonathan K. Kern Co.

I hope you find a few of the above lots to your liking. There are many more lots to be auctioned off at the May membership meeting!! Have Fun! And a big "Thank You" is extended to all the donators. If you would like to donate something to the May Auction, you may do by contacting me at my home number (907)344-1907.....Mike Greer.



The Anchorage Coin Club

Meetings:       Membership meeting - First Wednesday of the month, 7:30 PM
                        E-Board meeting - Third Wednesday of the month, 7:00 PM
                        Meetings held at the Central Lutheran Church, at the corner of 15th and Cordova


Club Officers

President-                     Mike Orr      Days: 258-9100
V. President-                Mike Greer          Eves: 344-1907
Treasurer-                      Robert Hall        Eves: 561-8343
Secretary-                   Mike Nourse       Days: 344-9856
Editors -                     Loren Lucason    Eves: 272-3700
                                    Larry Nakata
                                    Brad Webb
                                    Mike Nourse
                                    Mike Greer

Board of Directors

Mike McKinnon-            Days: 786-7490
                                        Eves: 248-0955

Roy Brown-                   Eves: 563-6708  

Larry Nakata-                 Days: 269-5603
                                         Eves: 563-1729


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