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ACCent: The Monthly Newsletter of the Anchorage Coin Club

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Volume 11, Number 3

March 1998

March Membership Meeting
Wed., March 4, 1998 Central Lutheran Church

7:30 PM Meeting



We want to remind our members that our March 4th meeting will be election time for our club officers. Thus far, the following candidates have agreed to run for office;

For President............Roy Brown

For Vice-President.......John Larson / Robin Sisler

For Secretary............Larry Nakata

For Treasurer......Robert Hall

For Board Seat...........Mike Orr

In accordance with our club bylaws, unless one of our members decides to challenge Roy for the position of president of our club...Ann Brown will continue to fill the 2nd Board seat (reserved for the last president). Board member Bruce Gamble still has another year to go as our 3rd Board member.

Members interested in running for these positions can still "toss their hat in the ring" at our club's March 4th membership meeting. We want to encourage our members to volunteer and run for office.

On other news, by now many of you have received a letter reminding you that March 31st will be the last day to place orders for your club's 10th Year Commemorative Coin Set. Your numbered set will have your member number imprinted on the edge of the silver and bronze coins. Cost of the sets will be $30. Make sure you order your set.

We want to encourage our members to go to the ANA Portland Convention scheduled for August 5th thru August 9th. Plane fares are relatively cheap between Anchorage and Portland. The ANA is expected to have special rates for hotels near the convention site. Interested members can get a convention package from the ANA by calling them at (719) 632-2646, e-mailing the ANA at or by writing to the ANA at American Numismatics Association / 818 N. Cascade Ave / Colorado Springs, CO 80903-3279.

Since our club will have a table at the ANA Portland Convention, we need to have volunteers manning our club table during the convention. If any of you members plan to go to the convention, contact any of your board members or drop the club a note.

National Coin Week is coming up during April 19th thru April 25th. Member Loren Lucason is planning a coin display at the Loussac Library during that week. Meantime, plans are underway for a possible coin show at the University Mall over that weekend. More information should follow in our club's next newsletter as plans are formulated.

Walking Liberty Half Dollar

Our raffle prize, an ANACS slabbed 1937 Walking Liberty Half Dollar graded MS-65 is expected to be raffled off at our March 4th club meeting. Your last chance to get raffle tickets will be at that club meeting. Cost of raffle tickets will be $5 / each. Some lucky person will get that beautiful corn that day....and it's a "blazer".

Our March 4th member meeting will feature a presentation by Bill D'Atri (Member # 27) on the subject of ancient coinage "Anchors in Time...Coins of the 2nd Punic War". Besides some great looking coins for that ancient period, figure on some really good historical perspective of that time.

Finally, many of our members are aware that our President Roy Brown is recovering from his operation. Roy.....we expect you to have a swift recovery so that you can be back chairing our meetings again. And don't worry...your Board is doing a good job of taking care of club matters in the meantime.

Hope to see all of you at the March 4th membership meeting......



Schedule of Events for the Month of March:

1. Monthly Membership Meeting: March 4th (Wednesday) at 7:30 PM at the Central Lutheran Church. Club members and general public welcomed. Elections of club officers will be held at this meeting. Club member Bill D'Atri will be giving a presentation on ancient coinage from the 2nd Punic War: "Anchors in Time... Coins of the 2nd Punic War". A bullet coin auction of no more than 10 coin lots will occur. Members wishing to submit coins for the bullet auction can bring them to the meeting.

2. YN (Young Numismatists) Meeting: March 13th (Friday) at 7:00 PM at the Central Lutheran Church. YNs, club members, and general public welcomed. There will be a session on "US Paper Currency - It's History and Grading of US Paper Currency".

3. Anchorage Coin Club Board Meeting: March 18th (Wednesday) 7:00 PM at the Central Lutheran Church. Club members welcomed.

February 4thMembership Meeting:

The membership meeting was called to order at 7:30 PM. Filling in for President Roy Brown (who is recovering from his operation) was Vice President Mike Orr. The following announcements were made:

Member Robert Hall pointed out that the Anchorage Coin Club is a club member of the Pacific Northwest Numismatic Association (PNNA), a regional organization of coin clubs that make up the Pacific Northwest area. Individuals can join the PNNA. interested members wishing to join can contact one of your board members for further information. Meantime. Robert has agreed to run on the PNNA Board in their upcoming elections this year.

Member Loren Lucason encouraged members to come up with ideas on how the Anchorage Coin Club can celebrate National Coin Week (April 19-25). The theme will be "Numismatics-The Key to Knowledge". Loren plans to have a display at the Loussac Library. Meantime, plans for a possible coin show at the University Mall are being explored for that weekend.

Winner of the door prize, a 1965 Special Mint Set, was member Mike Gentry.

Three special Australian calendars (sent to us by our sister club, the Tasmanian Numismatic Society) were also given away as door prizes and won by members Bruce Gamble, Mike Orr, and John Larson.

Winner of the membership prize, a 1943-S Jefferson Nickel in NGC-67 grade, was won by member Bruce Gamble.

Following a short break, the club's bullet auction was held. The following 10 lots made the cut:

1. 1899 Liberty Nickel / Fine

2. 1927 Buffalo Nickel / Fine

3. 1936-S Buffalo Nickel / VG

4. ANA Commemorative: World's Fair of Money / NYC-1997

5. Partial roll (20) each 1960-D Small date cents / circulated

6. Partial roll (27) each Canadian cents / 1939-56 / circulated

7. 1948 Roosevelt Dime /AU

8. 1911-S Lincoln Cent / Good

9. 1939 Mercury Dime / BU

10. 1943 Mercury Dime / MS-63

A presentation was given by Robert Hall on the subject of "Renaissance Coin Making" which included an excellent VHS tape showing how such coins were minted in that era.

Following Robert's presentation, the meeting adjourned at 8:45 PM.

Minutes of the February 18th Board Meeting:

The Board meeting was called to order at 7:00 PM.

Larry Nakata gave an update on the club's 10th Year Commemorative Sets. Letters have been sent out to members about the cutoff date of March 31st for placing orders on their numbered sets. Meantime, Mike Robuck, owner of The Alaska Mint (and Anchorage Coin Club member) will have a pattern set ready for our club's March 4th meeting for members to see. Mike can have numbered sets ready by our club's April membership meeting.

Larry Nakata also pointed out that the club has 30 remaining 5th Year Commemorative numbered sets left over as well as 39 bronze 5th Year Coins. The Board discussed and decided to have numbered sets limited to orders placed by our members and allow 30 additional numbered sets that coincide with the club's surviving 5th Year numbered sets. If any additional 10th Year sets are made, these sets will have reeded edges. It was pointed out that the club can sell the commemorative coins at our club's table at the Portland Convention in August. A decision will be made later on how many such coins will be minted.

Elections are expected to occur at our club's March 4th membership meeting. Your Board encourages members to volunteer and run for the offices that are available: President, Vice-president, Secretary, Treasurer, and one Board seat.

National Coin Week events (April 19th - 25th). Discussed was a coin show, possibly at the University Mall, for the weekend of this event. Member Carl (of Carl's / University Mall) is checking with the University Mall management on availability of space for that week. More information should follow by the next Board meeting.

Final order of business discussed was the upcoming ANA Portland Convention scheduled for August 5th thru 9th. Volunteers will be needed to man our club table during the convention. Larry Nakata will be posting a request to the membership in the next newsletter to seek volunteers. The ANA is planning a boat passenger cruise for interested ANA members that will dock in Seward sometime in August. The members would be bused up to Anchorage for that evening. Discussed was the club hosting an event that August evening at the Anchorage Museum of History and Arts. The Board agreed that this would be a good event to host. More information will be provided by the ANA on dates of arrival. Planning for the event will then proceed.

As there was no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 8:30 PM.


by Larry Nakata (Member #41)

Friday the 13th must have been a bad evening to have the YN meeting. I failed to consider that the particular evening would be the same evening which saw the start of our city's Fur Rendezvous events and the opening of the carnival in the downtown area. I figured it out when I saw that spectacular fire works display coming from the downtown I walked into the church where we have our YN meetings.

Still...we did have two YNs show up for the session, which was on the subject of "Alaskan Tokens". What followed was a pretty good presentation on the history of Alaskan tokens, the types of tokens that are collectable, and how to use books on the subject of Alaskan Tokens to attribute such coins. Our club president, Roy Brown, was nice enough to lend me source material and considerable amounts of Alaskan tokens for the YNs to look at.

As an exercise, the YNs were given a number of tokens to attribute from the source material provided by Roy. For your information, this same source material is available at the Loussac Library. You can also get with Roy if you need to research such coins.

Did you know that Alaskan tokens fall in two categories, those made before statehood and those made after statehood? For the most part, the majority of tokens made before statehood were trade tokens. After statehood, tokens evolved into advertising type tokens or tokens that commemorated significant events in Alaska. The more collectable type tokens come from the pre-statehood days.

Our two YNs benefited greatly by taking home a number of Alaskan tokens for their collection. The tokens they took back were ones that they attributed in the source material provided by Roy.

Though you YNs missed a good session with some pretty nice freebie tokens, we still have the March 13th (another Friday the 13th) session coming up. This time, I have plans to do a session on "US Paper Currency - It's History and Grading of US Paper Currency". Figure on an exercise on grading of US Paper Currency and some freebie samples to take home that evening.

This time I want to see a good turnout of YNs for the next meeting ......Larry.



by YN Sarah Bilak (Member #177)

Editors Note: YNs Sarah Bilak and Corey Rennell submitted three articles that we are publishing in this month's newsletter. Thanks go to Sarah and Cory for these articles:

The Anthony dollar was first minted in 1979. The reason why it was minted was that in 1976 the Eisenhower Dollar was not circulating too well (probably because of the weight).

In 1977 the Treasury wanted a smaller one dollar coin. Finally when the dollar became a top priority it was decided that the dollar would be a little larger than a quarter, but heavier than a quarter. In this way the two coins could easily be distinguished.

Susan B. Anthony Dollar

Susan B. Anthony Dollar

Then it was decided what to put on the dollar. Since most people in the Carter administration were committed to social issues, the most important one became the women's liberation movement. It was decided to honor the well-known suffragette leader, Susan B. Anthony, to put on the coin's obverse. The reverse is of an eagle landing on the moon. This coin was designed by Frank Gasparro.


by YN Sarah Bilak (Member #177)

The Columbian half dollar was the first silver US Commemorative.

In 1890 plans were being made for Americans to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Columbus landing in the New World by holding an exposition in 1892. The exposition was postponed until 1893 because the exhibits were not yet placed in the building. Finally, at noon on May 1st, 1893 the exposition was opened. The exposition showed American progress in art, architecture, technology, science, and agriculture. The total estimate of people who had come to the exposition was about 300,000 on opening day.

The Columbian Exposition half dollars were sold for a dollar each as souvenirs. The first Columbian Exposition com was sold for $10,000 to Ewychaff, Seamans and Benedic.

Columbian Exposition Half Dollar

Columbian Exposition Half Dollar

The Columbian Exposition half dollar obverse of a portrait of Columbus was designed by Charles E. Barber. The reverse is a replica of Columbus' flagship, the Santa Maria, with the two globes under it representing the old and new world.

The total output of coins was 1,105,405. Today these coins are easy to find in grades EF to MS-60.


by YN Corey Rennell (Member #211)

From 1792, when the mint opened, until 1795 the price of copper was going up. And by the end of 1795, 100% copper Large Cents were costing $1.22 to make 100.

Flying Eagle Cent

Flying Eagle Cent

This had to change, and in December 1795, George Washington authorized Elias Boudinot, US Mint Director, to start making cents with 168 grains apiece instead of 208. The mint thought their problems were over, but they were wrong. These cents were pretty much refused in trade by banks and merchants. The bullion value was low making them unredeemable and they became filthy after only a short while. Underweight foreign minor coins and tokens circulated freely...much more freely than large cents. Stores did not want to deal with the large cents, so they made their products different prices according to what currency the customer paid.

For example, if the customer paid in gold the price would be cheaper than paying in silver. Silver would be much cheaper then paying in large cents. Economic politicians thought the large cent should be replaced by making a new copper-nickel cent.

By the 1840's the price of copper had started to rise again and by 1853 the cent cost more to make then it was worth just like what had happened in 1795. Chemists worked to find a combination that was not easy to counterfeit, but still of value.

On July 11, 1856, James Ross Snowden wrote Guthrie telling him that 88% copper and 12% steel worked and that he make 50 samples. These were the original 1856 Flying Eagle cents.

On the reverse of the Flying Eagle cent there is a wreath originally made for the 1854 three-dollar piece. It is a wreath of com, cotton, maple, and possibly tobacco. On the obverse, the design of the eagle is taken from the 1836 silver dollar.

There is no known amount of these cents (although some people estimate 1000 to 10,000), so if you're disappointed by its very expensive $150 (for a horrible coin) to $5000 (for an excellent coin), keep looking though your pocket change. You might find one.....Corey.



by Mike Nourse (Life Member #1)

Editor: From member Mike Nourse comes this excellent article:

And the next question is. what exactly am I talking about? In this case I am referring to United States Seated Liberty silver dollars.

While looking over the specimens I have in stock I recalled an estimate in one of my books that only 30 thousand seated liberty dollars remain in existence. However, this estimate is rather old and it comes from a book on seated dollars written by Weimar W. White back in 1985. Since that time, much research has been done.

Liberty Seated Dollar

Liberty Seated Dollar

In 1992, a long awaited volume covering all silver dollars was released. Called the "Comprehensive US Silver Dollar Encyclopedia", it is an array of 81 articles ranging from general to very specific. The articles are written by many of the most influential people in the silver dollar market of the 1960's to the late 1980's, and were compiled by John Highfill. However, this historical volume was produced at a time when the silver dollar market (and much of the coin market in general) was intensely focused on Morgan dollars. As a result, only one of those 81 articles on silver dollars focused on the regular issue seated dollars of 1840-1873, and the author did not give his estimate of the total number of survivors of all dates in all grades.

The next year, 1993, saw the release of "Silver Dollars and Trade Dollars of the United States" by Q. David Bowers. This huge two volume set contains a vast amount of information on all eight of the major dollar types, including estimates by several experts concerning the total number of seated dollars still in existence.

By the time this book was being written in the early 1990's, most of the major grading services had slabbed a large number of coins and were issuing population reports for use by researchers and collectors. While the date in these reports is somewhat inaccurate due to crackouts and resubmissions, it still can be useful if you know how to use it.

Before we explore the question of how many seated dollars have survived the 125 to 158 years since their production, lets see how many were made to begin with. Original mintage figures show that six and a half million seated dollars were struck from 1840 to 1873 at a total of four minting facilities. Guess what, folks....6 and 1/2 million is an extremely small number of coins to be produced, especially when spread over 45 different issues in 34 years. Vastly more Morgan dollars were struck in their first year of production (1878) alone. For another comparison, total production of seated liberty half dollars has passed the 6.5 million mark by only their fourth year of issuance.

Now, lets look at some of the estimates that are quoted in the Bowers Magnum opus. The first estimate is a revision by Weimar W. White of the estimate in his book of seven years previous. Using information from the grading service population reports, Mr. White revised his estimate upward to 38,200 pieces, or one half of one percent of the original mintage.

Estimates were given by two other guest authors in the Bowers volume. One of the estimates gives a range of surviving specimens between 100,000 to 130.000 pieces, and the other estimate is just shy of 130,000 pieces. The final estimate of surviving seated dollars in this book is a range of 40,000 to 80,000 pieces given by Mr. Bowers himself.

So what do I think? Well...I certainly do not have the enormous experience of the numismatists quoted in the Bowers book, however I have been a collector for 23 years and have been reading Coin World (including the ads) for roughly 20 years. In that time I have spoken to a large number of collectors and seen quite a few collections and visited quite a few coin shops. For all of that, I have found that while seated liberty dollars are not grossly abundant, they are quite readily available. To put a number to the words, I personally would estimate that 125,000 seated dollars are still in existence.

Keep in mind that even though my estimate is on the high side of the experts noted above.... 125,000 specimens are really an incredibly small number. It this number is correct then there is only one seated dollar for every two thousand people in the United States! What an excellent value that S200 will buy a very nice example of this popular series.

The last question that we need to try to answer is...where did they all go? These coins have been destroyed in enormous quantities by accident and most of them on purpose. A great many seated dollars were shipped to the Orient where they almost invariably found their way to the melting furnaces. Additionally, the US Mint was in the habit of melting silver coins that were either mutilated or worn out for their bullion to be reminted using the current design.

As for collecting seated dollars, the collector of average means will likely be satisfied to have two examples, one of the "no motto" variety of 1840-1865, and a ''with motto" specimen minted from 1866 to 1873. A nice specimen of either variety may be obtained in the $200 to S250 range. Try to pick out one of the scarcer low mintage coins-they do not sell for much premium over the more common dates.

For those individuals with more secure finances, a one a year set may be assembled in decent condition for about the same price as a luxury automobile. A complete 45 piece set will take years to put together and cost as much as a nice house with the 1870-S being the greatest stumbling block with only nine confirmed specimens in existence.

Good Luck!!



Our coin club recently got a pretty-good write-up in the February 9 edition of Coin World. The write-up complimented our club on the quality of our WEB Page. Excerpts from that article "Setting the example: Collectors may want to bookmark online coin sites" by Kevin Hatch / Coin World were as follows:

"The following numismatic club sites are setting the example online. They have all done a good job going past the contact text and are building their own communities online."

"There are more, surely, but these I came across while scanning numismatic sites over the last few months. They had what it takes to make me bookmark them in my own list."

"The Anchorage Coin Club does a good job online with a considerable amount of information packed in 12 months of online newsletters. It has added interactivity with a "test your grading skills" game displaying multiple coins to browse. Local collectors can also take advantage of the listing of Alaskan coin dealers and current specials. This club has created something for the numismatic community both locally and in general online. Yes, I found it listed at the top of many alphabetical lists of links, but I noticed it again and again on sites where many other clubs were listed only once. People remember valuable resources and list them so they can return."

Editors Note: The article by Coin World also said good things of our sister club's (The Tasmanian Numismatic Society) WEB Page: Congratulations to them on such a great WEB page.


by Thomas LaMarre

In terms of articles to fill out this month's newsletter, remember last month's poem (submitted by member Ben Guild) where we asked you to guess the mystery coin?! While browsing the ANA's Moneytalks section of their WEB Page we came across this article on this very coin:

Leave it to Washington. Back in the 1960's it decided to bring back the silver dollar after a 30 year absence. Then, after hundreds of thousands of coins had been struck, it changed its mind and ordered them melted.

Peace Dollar

Peace Dollar

In the summer of 1964 President Lyndon Johnson signed legislation authorizing the first silver dollars since the 1930's. Lawmakers liked the idea for several reasons. Senators from the Western states viewed the silver dollars as the traditional coin of the West. And if its production gave a boost to the silver mining industry, so much the better.

Others saw the production of millions of new silver dollars as a means to suppress the collector value of older silver dollars-as if it were some sort of crime for a coin to command more than its face value. On a more realistic note, additional silver dollars were needed to redeem a type of paper money known as Silver Certificates, payable on demand in silver. And because silver dollars had a much longer lifespan than dollar bills, the government could save on production costs in the long run.

Coming up with the design was no problem either- the Mint picked up right where it left off, with the beautiful Peace Dollar design. The "head's" side pictured Miss Liberty wearing a tiara of light rays. The other side had an eagle with folded wings, perched on a tiara of light rays.

The Denver Mint turned out more than 300,000 Peace dollars with the date 1964. But with silver in short supply, and speculators ready to make a killing, the Treasury and White House withdrew then-support. In what one newspaper described as the "Great Cartwheel Fiasco," all of the 1964 Peace dollars were melted...

Thomas LaMarre / Transcript 1392 / Feb. 3, 1998.


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-                    Roy Brown          Days: 563-6708
                                                                    Eves: 243-5732
V. President-                Mike Orr            Eves: 522-3679
Treasurer-                      Robert Hall        Eves: 561-8343
Secretary-                   Larry Nakata        Days: 269-5603
                                                                    Eves: 563-1729

Editors -                     Loren Lucason    Eves: 272-3700
                                    Larry Nakata
                                    Robin Sisler
                                    Mike Nourse
                                    Jim Susky
Club Archivist / Photographer - Robin Sisler

Board of Directors

Ann Brown-                      Days: 563-6708

Bruce Gamble-               Eves: 345-6273

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