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ACCent: The Monthly Newsletter of the Anchorage Coin Club

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Volume 17, Number 2

February 2004

February Membership Meeting
Wed., Feb. 4th, 2004 Central Lutheran Church

6:30 PM YNs, 7:15 Meeting



    At the start of the January meeting Jim Hill was given a 1987 Mint set for the membership prize and Frank Jasper was given a 1972 Proof set for the door prize. The new raffle prize coin was announced. It will be a MS64 prooflike 1879 Morgan Dollar. Tickets are $5 each or $20 for five tickets. The raffle coin is presently at Carl's location at the University Center. The coin will be circulating among the other coin dealers in the coming weeks.

Coins, especially nice ones, turn all of us collectors into kids-YNs- Young Numismatists. The members we call YNs are taking a more active role in our coin club. Under the direction of Don and Marilyn Stubblefield, YNs will be completing the club calendar project that started in 2003. The calendar, slated to be released in 2005, will feature images of early US paper money. Included among the notes will be colonial currency, broken bank notes, and gold certificates. If you have an interesting note that should be pictured in this Don and Marilyn.

YNs are very important to the future of this club. After all, every one of you started as a YN and look where you are now. Current outstanding YNs....Justin, Kyra, and Danielle in particular...have given informative numismatic presentations. Current and future YNs involved with the club can earn a Boy Scout merit badge by completing a numismatic project. Future YNs at the Polaris School were treated to 80 minutes of coin collecting advice from Bill Hamilton. Soon thereafter those kids took part in a tour of the Alaska Mint.

At the club meeting Marilyn Stubblefield announced the start of the ANA Ancient Coin project. YNs up to age 22 are invited to participate. All of you will be eligible to win an ancient coin presented by the American Numismatic Association (ANA). Check the YN Corner for more details.

After discussing past and future projects, Stan Mead (our club president) gave a talk on several aspects of coin collecting. Coin etiquette, handling coin dealers, and the importance of accurate grading were the key points in his talk.

We then went to the 15 coin bullet auction. After the auction the ANA video about grading mint state coins was started. The rest of this information packed video will be viewed at our February 4th meeting. We look forward to seeing you there.

Our next club meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, February 4th at the downstairs meeting area of Central Lutheran Church. For this year, 2004, we want to arrange the meetings so that they finish around 8:30 PM To make this happen, YNs are asked to come and start their YN meeting at 6:30 PM on February 4th. The YN meeting will last for 45 minutes,.

At the conclusion of the YN meeting, the membership meeting will start (7:15 PM). The membership meeting will finish up by 8:30 PM. Presentations will be kept to about 20 minutes.

These were suggestions for improvements to our meeting agenda.

See you at the meetings on February 4th.....Your Editors.


Schedule of Events for the Month of February:

  1. YN (Young Numismatists) Meeting: February 4th (Wednesday) at 6:30 PM at the Central Lutheran Church (downstairs meeting area). YN Justin Samorajski will give a presentation on "Coin Magic". COME SEE THE MAGIC!!! YNs, club members, and general public welcomed.

  2. Monthly Membership Meeting: February 4th (Wednesday) at 7:15 PM at the Central Lutheran Church (downstairs meeting area). The Central Lutheran Church is located at 1420 Cordova St. on the comer of Cordova and 15* Avenue. Greg Samorajski will moderate an open discussion on " insights on things to look out for when purchasing coins by mail order or online". Members, YNs, and general public welcomed.

  3. Anchorage Coin Club Board Meeting: February 18th (Wednesday) at 7:00 PM at the New Cauldron Restaurant located at the University Center. Club members welcomed.


Minutes of the January 21st Board Meeting

The meeting was called to order at 7:15 PM by President Stan Mead. The meeting was held at the Hillside Family Restaurant located at 12870 Old Seward Hwy.

Following a distribution of correspondence to Board members in attendance, the Board went into a review of bills and correspondence.

President Stan Mead brought up the issue of upcoming election of Anchorage Coin Club officers in March. Our club

bylaws dictate new elections be held at the March club meeting each year. This year, 2004, will see election of officers for President, V ice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, and one Board seat. The other two board seats are filled by the past president of our club and by Justin Samorajski...who still has one more year to go on his term. In accordance with our club bylaws, officers will be elected by vote of those members attending the March 3rd club meeting. A notification of the election will go out in this month's and next month's newsletter. Your Board encourages our members to run for these offices. Interested members can contact any of the Board officers or make your intentions known at our February and March meetings.

On other business, it was decided that the coin show event planned for next month at the Shipcreek Mall will be put on hold. At this time there is not enough participation to warrant moving forward with a coin club sponsored show.

This decision by the Board led to further discussion on how the club can get more volunteer help in organizing such events. It was recognized that to organize such events, it takes commitment and manpower. As the year progresses, your Board will be looking at ways to address this issue.

At the close of 2003, our members provided a number of suggestions and ideas on ways to improve our newsletter and coin club. Among the suggestions made was that we look at ways to shorten our monthly meetings. At this time, our monthly coin club Wednesday meetings end around 9 PM. Since Wednesdays are school days for our YNs, it was recommended we look at ways to end our meetings at 8:30 PM.

In discussions, the Board agrees and accordingly made the following decisions:

That the YN meetings start at 6:30 PM effective our February 4th meeting. The YN meeting to end by no later than 7:15PM.

At 7:15 PM, the club membership meeting will start and end by no later than 8:30 PM.

Presentations at the YN meeting and membership meeting be limited to 20 minute presentations on subject matter.

Accordingly, the February 4th meeting will have YN Justin Samorajski doing a YN meeting presentation on "Coin Magic" and his dad, Greg Samorajski, moderating an open discussion on " incites on things to look out for when purchasing coins by mail order or online".

Other changes for 2004 will see food provided at each club meeting hosted by different people. We have a core group of volunteers who are willing to rotate this function. YN Kyra Mead will be providing the food for our February 4th club meeting. Thanks go to Kyra for doing this.

The YN meetings in March and April will see a program designed to provide a Boy Scout merit badge. As the year progresses, we are looking for volunteers to do presentations to the YNs on numismatic subjects of interest. One key YN program this year will be for developing a club calendar for 2005. Volunteer help will be needed on this particular project.

The final issue of discussion was on the matter of display cases that are now being brought to our meetings by President Stan Mead. The purpose of those cases is for club members to display, sell, and/or trade coins and numismatic items. An announcement will be made in this month's newsletter encouraging members to utilize these display cases. This was one of the ideas submitted at the close of 2003 as a suggestion to improve the quality of our club meetings.

As there was no further business to discuss, the meeting was adjourned at 8:00 PM.

TRIVIA: Who was the first person to make counterfeit United States bills?

Answer: "Benjamin Franklin, using items from nature, instead of his signature."



    The trivia question in this month's newsletter is one of many useful tidbits of information provided by Kyra Mead and Danielle Kirchen at the January 7th YN meeting.

Their presentation, "Currency Collection and Safe Storage", was an exceptional presentation. Kyra started off the meeting by explaining that like coins, you need to learn how to protect your paper currency. Numerous sleeves, holders, three ring binders, hard cover plastic cases, slips and protective cases were demonstrated and shown how to be used properly.

Danielle followed this up by demonstrating and showing the different types of books (Remember: Read the book before you buy the coin) that are available to the currency collector. The Black Book, Confederate currency, Early American Currency, US Paper Money, Paper Money Errors, and Colonial paper currency books were shown. These informative books show prices and pictures of all types of such currency.

The girls showed examples of what to look for in star notes, radar & repeater notes, Funny Back, and low serial numbered notes. Examples and a short presentation on how to collect Confederate & Horse Blanket Bank Notes, Fractional and Colonial currency were demonstrated along with bank wrapped notes and 32 sheet uncut notes. Soon the topic went into error notes, ink smears, faulty alignments and miss-cut notes. Lots of paper currency notes were shown and discussed at this meeting.

After Kyra and Danielle gave their presentation, they passed out $ 1 Silver Certificate notes to all YNs in attendance. Kyra and Danielle are more than willing to give a more in-depth presentation on paper currency subjects... just ask them.

Kyra and Danielle would like to thank Roy Brown and Bill Hamilton for providing necessary materials for their presentation.

At the YN meeting, the 2005 calendar was discussed. It was brought up that some of the months in the calendar could have the YNs use pictures of obsolete bank notes such as a $3 or $4 bill, Colonial, Eagle or any other interesting note that the public or some collectors are unaware of.

The American Numismatic Association (ANA) also has programs this year for the YN. Among the programs slated for this year are the "Early American Copper Coin Project" and the "Ancient Coin Project". Don and Marilyn Stubblefield will be working with the YNs on these projects. For more information, go to the ANA's webpage: to the YN Programs section.

Our next meeting will held on Wednesday, February 4th at 6:30 PM. Please note the time change for the YN meeting. YN Justin Samorajski will be doing a presentation on "Coin Magic". Looking forward to seeing everyone at the February 4th meeting..... Don and Marilyn Stubblefield.


On March 3rd elections will be held for the following Anchorage Coin Club positions:

Our club's bylaws require that such elections be held every year at our March club meeting by those members in attendance.

We are looking for good people to run for these respective offices. Interested members can contact any one of our club officers or make your intentions known at our club meetings in February and March.

We are looking for good people willing to volunteer their time and efforts... .Your Board.



    Some changes are going to be implemented in our meeting format for 2004. Among those changes are:

Members are encouraged to continue providing suggestions on ways to improve the quality of our meetings and club.....Your Board.


by Kyra Mead (YN Member #224)
and Danielle Kirchen (YN Member #234)

Crisp Uncirculated (CU): Paper notes qualify for the CU designation only when they remain in the same condition as issued. The paper must be firm and crisp. There must be no indication of mishandling, counting marks, corner tip folds or corners that are not sharp and square.

About Uncirculated (AU): These are notes that appear to be in crisp uncirculated condition, but after close examination show minute signs of handling. An AU note may show a slight center fold.

Extra Fine (EF): Such notes are still crisp. There will be evidence of handling, such as minor folds and creases. The corners will begin to lose their square edges. Traditionally, an EF note may show three folds.

Very Fine (VF): Very Fine notes show moderate circulation that retain some crispness but exhibit several folds and creases. Signs of handling should be anticipated on such notes. No tears on the edges are permitted. Corners begin to show a rounded appearance.

Fine (F): Such notes begin to feel soft or limp. The paper demonstrates a number of folds, creases, smudges, minor edge tears, and colors that are starting to fade.

Very Good (VG): Very Good notes show heavy circulation. Such notes may have tears, thick extensive smudges, faded colors and heavy creases or folds. Such creases or folds might cause a separation of the paper in the center of the note. The note must be intact.

Good (G): Notes in this condition will exhibit blemishing that is severe. Corners of such a note may be missing from wear.

Note: Special considerations apply when evaluating and grading error notes. In particular...folds, tears, and other mishaps which create the error must be ignored and taken into account when assigning a grade.


by Stan Mead (Member #64)

    For the last four months (excluding our famous Christmas Party) our coin club has gone back to the fundamentals of grading coins. Taking into account the presentations and grading of paper currency, peace dollars, nickels, circulated and high end coins we have spent the better part of year 2003 in trying to understand the grading systems and the art of grading coins.

This is a continuation of a 4 part series in understanding and the grading requirements for circulated and uncirculated coins.

Grading has been and still is a hot topic when in 2003 "Coin World" used a blind test procedure where they selected 15 coins and submitted them to each of the coin grading services. None of the grading services were aware of the test being conducted over an 11 month period. The results were published in a two part series in their May 26th and June 2nd issues. The results surprised me as well as other collectors. There was no consistency in the grading of any one coin by the grading companies. One coin could have been graded "AU" at one grading service, the next could have given this same coin an MS64 grade....and yet another could have put this coin in a "body bag" as cleaned, "whizzed", or altered. The conclusion is that the grading services do not employ a uniform criteria standard.

You as the buying party have the power. You have the power of knowledge, the power to buy or not to buy, and the power to walk away. If you are at a coin dealer's shop, take all the time you need to inspect the coin before buying it. If you feel pressured to buy, walk away. If you buy form the mail ads or Ebay, only buy from someone that will give you a guarantee and/or a return privilege. That someone should have a rating of 99 percent or more. If you are thinking about buying a coin that is graded MS65 and you do not like it, then do not buy it just because that grading service gave it an MS65 grade. You do not know how many times this coin may have been resubmitted. This is where greed comes into play and why the grading services like the idea of re-submittals and/or the same coin being submitted to different grading services. This keeps them in business and is one of the reasons why they are not more uniform in their standards.

Greed by some dealers and grading services from a one grade difference can be in the thousands of dollars. Coins can be overgraded in "slabs" as well as outside them.

Knowledge is power.

In our presentation series, we have discussed buying coins from mail ads that read "Gem Brilliant BU, Select BU, etc" with no grade given and with such coins selling at bargain basement prices. Such coins are most likely to be AU coins or worst.

I know a lot of us in the Anchorage Coin Club have attended quite a few 3 day seminars in the past on the subject of grading. Keep in mind how on that first day we were all over the place on our grading of that coin. Then... after a few days, remember how we were more focused on the grade.

Have you ever thought that maybe we have not really learned to grade properly but rather graded on the basis of that instructor's or the grading services standard?

It's something to think about....Stan Mead.


by Stan Mead (Member #64)

    Knowing the natural colors which a coin will tone over period of time is critical to any color (tone) ollector. Copper, silver, and nickel will tone to different colors depending on the metal and alloy used. Knowing the types of metal and alloy...and the process to which it will naturally tone in any series is very important as unnatural colors might indicate artificial toning.

Toning "tarnish" is a thin film on the surface of a coin. This film is between 1 to 2 one-hundred thousandths of an inch. You all have seen a sheen of oil on top of water or a soap bubble floating in the air. The multi colors spinning and moving...this is what toning is about....a thin film on the surface of the coin and the light reflecting off that surface as seen by your eye.

Is toning good or bad? It depends on the collector and the reasons of why and how it achieved its tone.

For many years the attitude by most collectors was that "Brilliant was BEST". Coins were repeatedly dipped and cleaned with solutions, acids, silver polish, etc. in order to get them Brilliant White.

Today you see those same coins being artificially toned, graded, and slabbed. Do you think these coins will have an "Artificial Tone" designation on the slab? Not in most cases.

In the Coin World December 15, 2003 issue, David Bowers has an article "Natural vs. Artificial Toning" in which he states, "Just about every silver dollar coin in existence, dating before 1950 will have at least some natural toning." (There are some exceptions). "However, of a given 10,000 Seated Liberty coins in existence today, with fully brilliant surfaces and edges... 9,999 have been made that way in recent times."

In the Coin World December 29th, 2003 issue, David Bowers also states "Over a long period of years, the retoning, "artificial toning", and recoloring of coins has been an essential part of dealing and collecting, but one that is talked in hush-hush tones, if, indeed, it is discussed at all."

So one must ask himself, why is this coin toned? You need to look beyond the tone and at the coin itself to see, what in most cases today, is what the toning hides.

In the 1960's it was to hide flat strikes, carbon spots, counterfeits, wear, abrasion, and cleaning. In the 1970's, it was to hide cleaning, wear, and abrasions. The 1980's, it was to hide cleaning, wear, abrasions, and for "color collectors". In the 1990's artificial toned coins started to be mass produced to keep up with the demand by "color collectors". The 90's artificial toned coins started to be mass produced to keep up with the demand of "color collectors". How many toned coins do you really think are natural toned when you can divide the categories into original natural toned, intentionally artificial toned, accidental natural toned, intentionally natural toned, accidentally artificial toned, and real artificial toned. Are we confused yet?

There are so many ways in which the "coin doctors" try and fool the color collector that one must continually stay in tuned with the process so as not get burned to often.

Years ago when I first started collecting toned coins (the first one I bought ended up being artificially toned), most people thought 1 was nuts for buying damaged coins (how many times were their Brilliant White coins dipped?). Soon after learning that my first toned coin was artificially toned, I stepped back, started to read up on the subject (Buy the Book First), bought myself a few videos, and learned enough to know that I still can and probably have bought some artificially toned coins. Watching and following coins go on Ebay I have noticed that for a common date Morgan Dollar the price can increase from $50 to hundreds of dollars for this coin because of the toning on the coin.

Attractive toning can indeed enhance the value of the coin. Did I mention the different types of toning on a coin? Rim, rainbow, fluorescent, very dull, spotted, heavily toned, light iridescent, etc. Where does this leave the "color collector" like myself? Since color falls under "Eye Appeal" and you have the Technical Grade vs. Market Grade that comes into play, it's all eye appeal to me. I would much rather buy a toned (to my liking) MS64 coin that is one of a kind, than a MS65 Brilliant White coin that could have hundreds or thousands of coins in this grade.

I once ordered a graded MS66 Buffalo nickel that was described as "beautifully toned". When I received this coin, it was completely black with no luster under the color. Needless to say, I was glad that I bought it with a money back guarantee because this coin was shipped back the same day with a letter expressing my feelings towards this coin. I was very surprised the next day when the dealer called and apologized, admitting that this coin was truly "butt ugly".

In conclusion, this short article will only add confusion to the subject that leaves many questions unanswered. My heart and money will always go for a nicely toned Buffalo nickel.... Stan Mead.


The Anchorage Coin Club

Club Officers

Board of Directors


Club Archivist / Photographer


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