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ACCent: The Monthly Newsletter of the Anchorage Coin Club

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Volume 9, Number 6

June 1996

June Membership Meeting
Wed., June 5, 1996 Central Lutheran Church

7:30 PM Meeting



Summer is now here!! This is usually the lime when our members get involved in all sorts of activities from fishing to baseball. Typically, attendance at our club meetings tend to fall off in the summer. Nonetheless, there are coin club activities still planned.

The next YN meeting is scheduled for June 14th at the Central Lutheran Church. The YNs will be visiting The Alaska Mint to see how commemorative coins are minted. It should be a fun filled experience for our YNs. Thanks go to member Mike Robuck, the owner of The Alaska Mint, for allowing our YNs the opportunity to visit his operation.

There will be no meetings scheduled for the YNs in the months of July and August Enjoy your summer!!

The YN meeting for the month of September will be scheduled for the weekend of September 14th and 15th at the WestCoast International Inn, located at 3333 West International Airport Road. All of our YNs are invited to attend the Anchorage Coin Club 1996 Numismatic Seminar. Instructor J.T. Stanton will be instructing both adults and YNs on subjects covering the Minting Process, Coin Photography, Hobo Nickels, and Love Tokens. YN attendance is free with meals and refreshments provided.

The June, July, and August regular membership meetings held the 1st Wednesday of every month at the Central Lutheran Church) will see presentations by members Mike Orr and Larry Nakata on the subject of "Coin Grading". The presentations will be broken down into three parts. The June 5th meeting will see Coin Grading / Part 1 covering the basic tenets of grading. For you new members who have recently joined our club, be sure to attend these particular meetings.

The September regular membership meeting is being rescheduled to Wednesday, September 11th. Robin Sisler (one of our club's YNs) will be giving a session on "Looking for Errors and Varieties in Coins". There is a good possibility that J.T. Stanton. our instructor for this year's seminar, will be attending this meeting. (Editors Note: J. T Stanton happens to be one of the authors of "The Cherrypickers' Guide", the leading numismatic publication on this subject). It should be quite a meeting.


Good News!!! A number of our members have made commitments to attend the September seminar, which will be held at the WestCoast International Inn on September 14th and 15th. Thanks go out to those members whose participation make possible such events. Accordingly, plans are proceeding forward.

Buffalo nickel obverse

Members Mike Greer and Robert Hall are organizing this year's seminar. Mike and Robert should be commended for being able to get all necessary commitments this early in the year.

They have asked that members who will be attending the seminar make necessary arrangements on paying the seminar fees.

Fees for this year will be $225 for club members and $250 otherwise.

There still is room for those interested in attending this year's seminar. Contact any of the board members or sign up at our regular club meeting.



Schedule of Events for the Month of June

1. Monthly Membership Meeting. June 5th (Wednesday) at 7:30 PM at the Central Lutheran Church. Club members and general public welcomed. This meeting will have a presentation on "Coin Grading / Part 1" by members Mike Orr and Larry Nakata.

2. YN Meeting: June 14th (Friday) at 7:00 PM at the Central Lutheran Church. YNs, club members, and general public welcomed. The YNs will be taking an excursion to The Alaska Mint to see how commemorative coins are minted.

3. Anchorage Coin Club Board Meeting. June 19th (Wednesday) at 7:00 PM at the Central Lutheran Church.

May 1st Membership Meeting

Mike McKinnon resigned as President of the Anchorage Coin Club at the May 1st membership meeting. A review of the club by-laws dictate the Vice President perform the duties of President in such an event. Accordingly, Mike Greer will be stepping up into the duties of President.

The vacated position of Vice President will be filled by a vote of the Board of Directors in accordance with club bylaws. Any members interested in filling the position of Vice President should contact one of the board members.

Club members present at the May 1st meeting formally approved the selection of club officers and board members for this year's Board of Directors.

The membership also approved changes in the club's bylaws which establish Robert's Rules of Order as the guide in club matters, the decision not to allow proxies in elections, and limits on terms of office for the President (to no more than two consecutive terms). Copies of the club bylaws were also distributed to those members in attendance.

Following these proceedings, an auction was held on some 74 numismatic items. All items auctioned were donated material in support of the YN Scholarship Program. Approximately $400 was raised as a result of this auction.

The club's door prize (a 1903 Barber dime in XF condition) was won by member John Larson. The membership prize (a PCGS PR-64 1960 Franklin Half Dollar) was won by member Jim Hill.

The Raffle Prize, a Roman Denarius minted between 134-138 AD during the reign of the Emperor Hadrian, still needs to have a few more raffle tickets sold.

The membership meeting concluded at approximately 9 PM.

Results of May 15th Board Meeting

Discussion by the Board resulted in a decision to hold off selection of the Vice President until the June Board meeting. At the May 1st club meeting, two members showed interest in becoming Vice President, Robin Sisler and Corey Rennell. It was felt that other members should be given an opportunity. This month's newsletter will announce that any members interested in filling the position of Vice President should contact one of the club's board members.

The September 4th membership meeting will be moved to September 11th. It was pointed out by Robert Hall that J.T. Stanton, our instructor for the seminar (to be held on Sept. 13-15), will be in Anchorage and should be given an opportunity to attend our club's September meeting.

A Seminar update was given by President Mike Greer. Enough commitments have been made by our club's membership that we can fully proceed with the seminar arrangements. Moneys still need to be collected from those members who will be attending the event. Mike and Robert will be following up with phone calls to those members. Robert Hall will be looking at the financial situation in allowing all of the YNs to attend the September seminar for free. The Board approved an expenditure of up to $500 from the YN fund to allow free attendance for the YNs if required.

A review of the Advertising Rates was made by the Board. It was pointed out by Larry Nakata that the club's advertising is now posted in both our club's monthly newsletter and on Internet on our club's WEB Page. After some discussion the following rates were approved:

For 1/8 page ads: $20 per month, $35 for six months, $50 for a year.

For 1/4 page ads: S40 per month, $70 for six months, $100 for a year.

For 1/2page ads: $80 per month, $140 for six months, $200 for a year.

The Board discussed the issue of upcoming coin shows. Larry Nakata pointed out that all of the people who organized coin shows in the past have full agendas that now prevent them from continuing such an effort. More volunteers are needed organize these shows, the Board will be looking for volunteers. Help is needed in this area. Any members interested should contact one of our Board members.

The Board meeting concluded at 9 PM

Editors Final Items

Your editors would like to congratulate Mike Greer on winning a scholarship to the ANA Summer Conference this year.

Finally, the month of May has seen three new members signed on as club members. All of these new members are YNs. Our YN Program is growing. Our new YN members are: Geffrey Sipin, Jonathan Fries, and Kento Azegami. Welcome to the club!!!!


There has been a lot of fussing and fighting among our club members for the past few months. NOW IS THE TIME FOR A CHANGE!

I hope as the year rolls by we can all work together to make the meetings more exciting and fun. To do so we will need the help and input from all members. What do you want to do at the meetings? What would you like to see at the meetings??

As President I will work hard to make the club a more enjoyable organization to be part of. I will start with the meetings as you read above. If we can organize our club meetings to maximum potential , then we can go on to organize bigger and better coin shows, fun events, etc.

Let's put all grudges behind us. Let's forget about the past and look toward the future. Let's all work together to make this a better club!

I look forward to seeing everyone at the next three meetings, ail of which will focus on "Coin Grading" Then in September make sure you are present to meet J.T. Stanton and to watch Robin Sisler do a talk on "Errors and Varieties".

I would like to end this short letter by thanking Mike McKinnon. Mike has always been a major pan of the coin club. He has been at the meetings: he has helped organize quite a few coin shows; he has helped with YN affairs when no one else would volunteer. Overall, all opinions set aside, Mike has done so much for the club and he should be thanked for his service.......

        Mike Greer.


by Mike Greer (Your Club VP and YN)

Well.....cherrypicking was again the subject of the YN meeting! All YNs received a small tray of silver quarters, dimes and V-nickels.

Mercury dime reverse

Then the YNs proceeded to cherrypick the coins. Although nothing huge was found, a D/D Washington quarter was found. All in all, every YN had fun and every YN walked away with a handfull of silver coinage.....thanks Larry.

The focus of our next meeting will be at The Alaska Mint (details still to be worked out).

The YNs will be taking an excursion to The Alaska Mint, where owner, minter, Mike Robuck, will show them how to make coins on a working press.

So show up al the next meeting and we w ill have some fun!

The June meeting will be the last YN meeting until September, when the YN meeting will also be the Coin Seminar.

See you there!!


While surfing the Internet, your editors came across a WEB Pane from the Netherlands:

http:''/''-niar]o[i/numis man'munt/ontw-us.hlm

On that WEB Page, we found an English language translation of a Dutch article written by Margo Bros, of the Dutch Mint. The article called "From Design to Die" proved to be very informative:

by Margo Bros. / The Dutch Mint

Coins, medals, decorations-everyone knows what they look like. But how are they made and what does it take?

Dutch coinage press

A lot of work has to be done before coins or medals can be struck. To begin with one needs to have dies. A coin-die is a steel tool with a picture on it which is transferred by a mint-press. The quality of this tool determines the quality of the end-product. At the Dutch Mint this is of the utmost importance. The manufacturing of die-tools and dies therefore is preferably done at the Mint.

The different stages in the development from design to die are usually withdrawn from the public eye. This story illustrates these first comprehensive steps towards a new coin. It is a dual-faced process: it uses modern techniques and machinery but a substantial pan of the work still has an old craftsmanship aureole.

Phase One: The Design

Where does it start with? An idea.... an sketch, a design. A magnificent and perfect design on paper is at itself no guarantee for a beautiful coin or medal. An image looks quite different in shining metal than it does on white paper. A design has to meet a number of demands which are related to the production process. First priority for the engraver is the technical feasibility. Various factors have to be taken into account:

The height of the relief on a coin or medal is limited,

The plane distribution is important for the striking process. This is a cold-transformation process. Inside the mintmetal - which has to be softer than the die - a shift of metal mass is accomplished in a fraction of second. In other words, with one heavy blow the block is pressed into the engraving of the upper and lower die.

For technical reasons, therefore, engravers may have to change the design. The engraver is also responsible for the development of an idea or sketch into a final design.

Finally, a draft design has to be made. The size of the draft is usually four times the size of the final product. After the different elements of a design are copied onto transparent paper, the paperwork is done.

Phase Two: The Model

This phase involves a time consuming and extremely precise piece of work. The design is copied from the transparent paper onto a flat piece of plaster. The next step is adding the third dimension to the design; the engraver cuts the relief (inwards) into the plaster. This is done manually with small plaster cutters. The depth of the engraving has to be monitored carefully. The maximum height of the relief of the coin or medal is 1/10 millimeter in from the lowest part of the coin (=fond) - for relatively soft metals like silver, this margin is somewhat bigger.

Working with a proportion of 4:1, the engraver has to make the relief in plaster with a maximum depth of 0.4 millimeters. All pans of the design with different heights are engraved in this way into the plaster. Parts with a fixed relief height (letters, pearl-edged) are transferred from models in mirror writing by a pantograph (an engraving machine).

When the plaster model is complete and even the smallest details are finished, a flexible upward rubber cast is made. This model is placed in a somewhat hollow shaped bowl. This is used far casting a spherical plaster model. The working-dies need to be somewhat spherical to improve the striking. In other words, the metal flows more smoothly into the engraving. How spherical the model is going to be is determined by the design and the metal used for the coins or medals.

The plaster model is used for casting a plastic model with a hard wear resistant surface. This is necessary because this model is used for the next phase, the reduction. Finally, small details are corrected manually.

Dutch coinage reducing machine

Phase Three: The Punch

In this phase, we go from model size to production size. A reduction has to be made. The reduction takes place directly into steel and produces the motherdie, the punch. A punch is a die of tempered steel with an upward relief used in order to make working dies.

How does the reduction take place? A reducing machine is used. This machine has a fixed arm. At one end a trace is located . At the other end is a small millknife which cuts the steel. The trace is pointed at the center of the model, the millknife is put at the centerpoint of a cylindric piece of metal.

The reducing machine is set to the right factor. At a factor of 4:1, this means the engraving has to be reduced four times. When the machine is turning, the trace moves slowly from the center to the edge. The millknife copies these movements by a reduction factor of four into the steel. This process is repeated a second time:

The first time the trace normally has a diameter of four millimeters and the millknife has a diameter of one millimeter. This first pass takes about six hours.

The second pass is being done with a trace which has a diameter of one millimeter and a millknife of 0.25 millimeter in diameter. This second pass takes about twenty four hours.

The engraving is now clearly transferred onto the steel and carefully examined by means of a stereo magnifier. Where necessary, this punch is corrected manually by the engraver. This largely completes the engraver's task.

Next, the die is taken to a special room, the tempering room. Here the steel undergoes a special treatment in order to increase its hardness. This is done by heating it to 800 to 900 degrees in order to avoid cracks. Now the punch is ready.

Phase Four: The Production Dies

The die-shop makes working dies. The lifetime of a die (i.e., the number of coins or medals that can be struck with one pair) varies with engraving, the metal used, and the desired surface quality - circulation, FCD, or PROOF. During coinage the dies wear off, so usually several dies are needed.

Working dies are "pulled out" of the punch as it is called at the Dutch Mint. The engraving of the punch is pushed into a cylindrical piece of "soft" metal using a hydraulic press. The official Dutch name for this process is "hobben". The steel(called die-plug) is shaped into a dull pointlike form at one of the ends.

Next, the working dies are shaped into a suitable form needed to fasten them in the coinage-press. To gain the required hardness the dies are treated into the tempering room in the same way as the punch.

Dutch coinage dies

The dies are manually processed into the required quality for the final-product. Dies for circulation quality are grinded, dies for FDC quality are first polished and afterwards softly "matted", dies for PROOF quality are polished brilliantly and matted afterwards.

Finally, to increase durability, the dies are chrome-plated. By means of an electrochemical process a thin but very hard and strong layer of chromium is applied on the steel. The dies are finished manually.

Now the working dies are ready for the production floor.

Dutch coinage set


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 Greer          Eves: 344-1907
V. President-                Ann Brown          Days: 563-6708
Treasurer-                      Robert Hall        Eves: 561-8343
Secretary-                   Scott Hornal        Eves: 243-0149
Editors -                     Loren Lucason    Eves: 272-3700
                                    Larry Nakata
                                    Brad Webb
                                    Mike Nourse
                                    Mike Greer

Board of Directors

Mike Orr-                        Eves: 258-9100

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

John Larson-                    Eves: 276-3292


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