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ACCent: The Monthly Newsletter of the Anchorage Coin Club

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Volume 15, Number 8

August 2002

August Membership Meeting
Wed., Aug 7th, 2002 Central Lutheran Church

7:00 Open, 7:30 PM Meeting



A great day was had by all at the club's summer picnic. About 40 people attended the event and not a drop of rain fell. It was good to meet more of the family members. Parents, children, and grandchildren enriched the picnic and made for an enjoyable afternoon.

Larry's wife, Maribel, added energy to the fun with her idea of a sack race. The race was won by YN Krystal Stubblefield and her partner, one of Carl's nephews. Carl's dad, Milo, bought a bunch of tickets and won the raffle prize - 3 nice silver dollars. The dollars were given to Carl. Carl's other nephew won the Frisbee toss. Stanley Mead's daughter, Lisa, won the jar of Wheat Cents by guessing 629 coins. There were 630 coins in the jar.

Every one of the YNs won coins in the scavenger-hunt looking for plants. They found the plants around the edge of the

baseball field so, this year, we did not lose any of the kids in the woods and there were no encounters with bears.

The main event was the Big Money Game - a quiz game for YN's. Each YN in turn chose a question from the board relating to a U.S. coin designer. If they could not answer the question in 30 seconds the question was put back on the board. They could use the Red Books and some had coaches though the coaches were not much help.

Justin Samorajski won the game without any help from the grown-ups. First prize was a gold 1/10th ounce eagle. The other contestants each received a silver 1 ounce Olympic medal from the Alaska Mint.

The expert operation of the barbeque by Bill's son, Robert, and Larry's delicious new recipe for barbequed chicken helped us all go home with a little weight gained.

The, still warm from the oven, chocolate frosted brownies were a perfect end to a great day of good food, good games, and good people in the park.....Your Editors.



Schedule of Events for the Month of August:

  1. Monthly Membership Meeting: August 7th (Wednesday) at 7;30 PM at the Central Lutheran Church. Club members, YNs and general public welcomed. The August 5th membership meeting will feature a presentation by Larry Nakata, Loren Lucason, and other members on "Proof Coinage". A bullet auction of no more than 15 coin lots will occur at this meeting. Members wishing to submit lots can bring them to the meeting.
  2. There will be no YN (Young Numismatist) meeting for the month of August.
  3. Anchorage Coin Club Board Meeting: August 21" (Wednesday) 7:00 PM at the Central Lutheran Church. Club members welcomed.



A reminder to all YNs that there will be no YN meeting in the month of August. Our club traditionally only holds an overall membership meeting during August. So....YNs are certainly welcome and encouraged to come to the Wednesday, August 7th club meeting at the Central Lutheran Church starting at 7 PM . Your board members will have their regular board meeting on August 24th.

Hope you are enjoying your summertime. YN meetings will resume again in the month of September. Please check your monthly club newsletter........Larry Nakata.

Note: There was no Board meeting held on July 17th.



At this time, we have commitments from 19 people for attendance at this year's seminar to be held at the Westcoast International Inn. There have been some cost savings in some of the budgeted areas for this seminar, but we still need to have a few more of you agree to attend....with 6 weeks to go before the seminar is to happen. We have already begun to pay for some of the upfront costs of the seminar...and, in doing so, have made the commitment to proceed with the seminar.

Club member Roy Brown has been contacting a number of you on attending this event.

Your board wants to encourage our members to make commitments to this seminar. It's been three years since we last held this type of an event. This seminar was put together as a result of requests and the desire of our members.

Based upon a membership poll held at our February 6th meeting, the seminar topics will be on:

Grading with an emphasis on Gold Coins,

Counterfeit Detection with an emphasis on Gold Coins,

Investment in Gold Coinage,

U.S. Gold Coinage, and time permitting.....

Foreign, Ancient, Byzantine, and Medieval Gold Coinage.

The cost of the seminar is $250. Meals will be provided during the three day seminar with course material provided. Our instructor for this seminar will be Mary Sauvain / Numismatist with the Minneapolis Gold, Silver & Numismatic Services, Incorporated. Mary works in Colorado Springs.

For those of you considering attendance at this seminar, your support is needed.........Larry Nakata.


by Mike Nourse (Life Member #1)

Do you collect gold coins? If you do, and your last name is not Rockefeller or Gates, your gold coin collection is probably in the form of a type set. For the new collectors out there, a type set is a set of coins that contains only one coin of each major design used for each denomination. A type set is typically built without regard for the dates that are on the coins; it is only the design that matters.

Because the date on a coin for a type set is irrelevant, and only the design matters, collectors often get the least expensive, most common date available within each design as a way of keeping the cost reasonable. This is particularly important when building a gold type set where even the most common issue of each design is still going to run you some big bucks.

A reasonably comprehensive and very popular gold type set contains twelve coins: Three one dollar gold pieces; two each of the $2 1/2, $5, $10, and $20 gold pieces, and the one lonely $3 gold coin. There are two keys to this set, the $3 piece and the type two gold dollar, which was produced in very limited quantities in late 1854, 1855, and early 1856. The design of the type two dollar used too high relief for such a small coin, so it had to be redesigned to the type three design which is identical on the obverse to the $3 gold piece.

There were some striking issues with the $3 gold pieces, but nothing major enough to warrant a complete redesign. In fact, there were no major modifications to the $3 design throughout its entire 36 years of production from 1854 through 1889. The obverse of these coins shows the country of origin around the perimeter with a Liberty head in the center wearing an impressive hat with feathers sticking up out of it. This design gives the coin it's name of either 'Indian Head $3 Gold' or '$3 Princess', but most collectors seem to simply call them $3 gold pieces due to the uniformity of the design over the years.

So, you need one of these things for your gold type set. Which one should you get? Well, there are quite a few choices. This denomination was produced continuously in one form or another every year from 1854 through 1889 with no gaps, at a total of four mints, though the vast majority of the production took place at Philadelphia. A complete set of business strike $3 gold pieces consists of forty coins, which does not include the Proof only dates of 1875 and 1876 or the unique 1870-S coin. Out of those forty date and mint mark combinations, three of them are reasonably common and easily available. The other 37 are quite scarce. If you are looking for a specific date other than the common ones, then good luck! You may need it, since a lot of those coins only become available once in a while even though they are not much more valuable than the common dates.

Which are the three dates a collector should avoid? It is the three most common dates that should be avoided: the 1854, the 1874, and the 1878. These three dates can easily be found by simply flipping through a few numismatic periodicals. There is plenty of supply out there of these three dates to easily supply the few date collectors, so the excess supply is used to provide coins for type collectors. Therefore, by buying one of these three dates, you are getting a coin that has minimal demand from date collectors.

Of course, avoiding these three most common dates means that you will have to shell out some extra $$$ for a scarcer coin. Lets take a look at what those extra dollars can do for you when buying a $3 gold piece in Extra Fine condition. In that grade the three common issues have trends values of $625 to $650. That's already a lot o money, but if you can afford to wait a bit longer to save up another $100, that opens the door to coins that are at least ten times rarer than the three common issues. Some possibilities include the early civil war years of 1861, 1862, and 1863 (mintages between 5000 and 6000), or the later dates of 1887, 1888, or 1889 (mintages 6100, 5200, and 2400 respectively). If you can handle going a bit further, say to $900, that brings even more selections into the realm of possibility, such as the 1871 which has an original mintage of a mere 1300 pieces. That would sure give you something to brag about!

If those prices are too rich for you, as they are for many of us, look to the Very Fine grade for your type coin. The three common dates run from $550 to $580. In this grade, increasing your budget by 20% opens the possibility of acquiring such scarce items as the above mentioned 1871, or even the 1880 with a mintage of only 1000 pieces or the 1883 with only 900 pieces produced. These coins are easily 25 to 50 times scarcer than the three commons. These are absolute bargains at 20% above common date prices!

As you can see, there are lots of good options available when it come to choosing a three dollar gold piece. You can even add some interest by picking out one of the six mint marked issues. Other than the very rare 1854-D, the mint marked coins range from a Trends value of $650 for the 1856-S up to $1075 for the 1857-S in Very Fine condition. In Extra Fine grade they make quite a leap in price, to a low of $1050 for the 1856-S and a high of $1850 for the 1857-S. These mint marked pieces are expensive, but they are also historic, particularly the four coins from the San Francisco mint, which were produced almost exclusively from the gold mined during the great California gold rush, which began in 1848 and was still going strong when these coins were minted.

When you do go shopping for your better date $3 Princess, you should give serious consideration to buying a slabbed coin. Remember that slabbed coins can always be broken out of the slab if so desired. Three dollar gold pieces have a history of very heavy counterfeiting, as they are worth substantially more than their gold bullion value. Those of you who have been ANA members for a long time will remember back in the 1970's when ANACS was the only grading and authentication service around, and they would analyze one series of gold coins each month in their publication The Numismatist, with details of how many coins of each date were submitted, and how many of those submitted coins were real and how many were counterfeit. The statistics were rather scary as many dates had more counterfeits than real coins! Now, after twenty-five years of certification, the number of counterfeits on the market has been greatly reduced, but the fact remains that most of the three dollar pieces available that are not slabbed are that way for a reason. They are either counterfeit, cleaned, altered, repaired, re-engraved, tooled, or otherwise modified. Even if your numismatic budget is such that a cleaned piece is the only one that can be afforded, still have it slabbed by one of the certification services such as ANACS, PCI, or SEGS who will confirm it's authenticity and assign it a net grade. Good advice: it is always better to buy a cleaned real gold coin than a cleaned fake gold coin!

So remember, there are three dates of three dollar gold pieces (1854, 1874, and 1878) that are readily available, while all the others rank as either scarce or rare. Spend a few extra dollars, or set your sights one grade lower to get one of these scarce or rare pieces. They probably will not increase in value any faster than the three common dates unless a few more people start collecting the $3 princess series by date, but you will have a coin that has a story behind it along with a level of scarcity that you can easily brag about!... Mike Nourse.



EDITORS NOTE: This is the final month in which your editors are posting comments from our coin club members on their views regarding the issue of our club expanding it's gaming license to include pull-tabs. Expect that in the next few months a mail vote will occur with our adult membership on this matter. are final comments for your consideration.

From member Bill D'Atri:

The Agony and the Ecstasy (Or: Why I'm all for using the Club's Non-Profit Status to its Full Potential)

Those folks that know me know I promote education for youngsters, collectors, dilettantes, and dealers. During my reign of terror at the helm of this ship, I was very direct in promoting education as one of the cornerstones of the club's mission in life. In my very myopic world, the more we know the more meaningful our association with numismatics becomes.

Some members of the club have apparently been agonizing over the ethical implications of pull-tabs, particularly when it comes to using the club's nonprofit status as a means to an end. In my perspective, the "End" in this case is Education. To cut to the quick, I'm all for it.

Basically, I suppose some members disapprove of the "gambling" aspects of a pull-tab program because it's a "dirty" endeavor. Please save this type of concern for the pulpit or the pew, or wherever else you place yourself in a house of worship, as this is where this type of soul-searching belongs.

The simple fact is that I, and many like me, have supported the club's educational agenda for years, through individual research, program support, interaction with other members, and plain old elbow grease. That's right, I've spent my time and money hi support of the club's educational agenda, and I'm rightfully proud of it. It should not be assumed, however, that I, and those like me, should be automatically and un-necessarily burdened when other funding mechanisms are available.

Why not have an alternate funding source to support the club's educational agenda, with no direct ties to the "Coins vs. Cards" issues that have plagued our attempts at shows?

Since many members are also dealers, it could be construed that it behooves them to have uneducated buyers procuring their wares, as the thought of an expanded educational program causes them concern. This is not meant to be any other than a stimulator of thought, so don't think I'm singling out dealers. I've paid the price of not doing the research, not participating in the training, or not staying attentive during the presentation, and through my lack of preparedness I'm sure I've made quite a few dealers very happy over the years.

I've learned through both direct study and via the school of hard knocks, and it's my contention that direct study is the more palatable of the two (if you're more interested in memorable, stay with the school of hard knocks, which is unrivalled when it comes to memorable).

It is also my contention that all members of the club would have the opportunity to grow numismatically via the beneficial revenue streams a pull-tab program would present. An additional, and yes, anticipated, side effect is that someone else can help to subsidize both you and me for once!

As a group, someone might say that we have good ideas. That same someone would probably also say we don't have good vision. What I'm advocating is we take off the self-imposed blinders, and get some pro-active and progressive programs in place.

We can continue to annually scramble to get enough people to attend simple things like the September Educational Seminar. Or, we can support an exciting, empowering program that will provide opportunities for all of us to enhance our education.

So, we can agonize till the cows come home by maintaining the status quo, or we can embrace new and unique direction.

Agony or Ecstasy? You make the call. .....Bill D'Atri/ Past President.

From member Roy Brown:

Coin Club Financial Stability

I will start off saying I am all for anything that will work, to keep our Coin Club exciting, educational and fun for all that attend our meetings. But!

The financial aspect of the Coin Club right now is not going to work much longer. We have a very few of the members doing all the work & paying the expenses out of their own pockets.

"Thank you to the members that are doing this".

We had one of our members volunteer to set up & run a shop to sell rippies & pull tabs if we got the gaming permit. In that way one of our own members would be controlling the sales, filling out the paper work, and reporting to the Board of Directors.

I hear some people are against this, but no one has come up with a better idea. We have in the past had Coin & Card shows, but that doesn't seem to work any more, so if our Coin Club is to keep growing and expanding our educational teachings, we must get more revenue.

If anybody has any better ideas of a better or easier way of doing this, we would love to have them present their ideas at any of our Club Meetings.....Roy Brown.

From member Bill Hamilton:

"The Anchorage Coin Club seminar that is to be held on September 13-15 has only 19 people registered for the seminar. So the club may have to make up the difference. If the difference is anywhere from $1000 to $1500, can the club afford this?!

If we had proceeds from pull-tabs, our club could pay for all and make this seminar free to it's club members. So I feel that pull-tabs will be good for the club to raise the needed money.

I am a life member of the Anchorage Coin Club. All of you in the club should know me since I have been active with this club for many years.

I am willing to set up a pull-tab store and run it. To do this, I will need to get a $25,000 bond and an operator's license. I am willing to do this.

Such a pull-tab operator is required to provide a monthly report including daily summaries of pull-tab activities. Such an operator is also required to provide an accounting of gross receipts and expenses. I am willing to do this.

It's up to you to then decide if we can benefit as a club from the net proceeds that can come from expanding our gaming license to include pull-tabs".......Bill Hamilton.



The Anchorage Coin Club

Club Officers

Board of Directors


ANA Local Club Representative


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