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ACCent: The Monthly Newsletter of the Anchorage Coin Club

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Volume 19, Number 8

August 2006

August Membership Meeting
Mon., August 7th, 2006 Central Lutheran Church

7:15 PM Meeting



    Greetings Fellow Numismatists:

A fabulous time was had by all that attended the July coin club picnic.

It was nice to see club members and their family and friends attending the event.

The auction was a great success with over 50 lots sold, including many quality numismatic items and bargains. The auction raised over $1100.

Bidding at Auction

Bidding at Auction

Thanks to all club members who donated and participated in this auction. Support like this is what will continue to make the coin club succeed and grow. I would like to thank Larry Nakata for assembling and cataloging all the auction lots. Also, a very special thanks to Mike Nourse and John Larson for clerking and collecting for the auction lots. Last but not least, a very special thanks to Maribel Nakata who donated the two raffle coins she won to the club auction - a very generous gesture of support for the club that we truly appreciate.

Now that we just completed our annual picnic and auction, it is a good time to remind everyone that the club is having another auction during our annual Christmas party in December (only 5 months away!). The Christmas Auction is your opportunity to submit that extra coin or numismatic item for sale. Of course, you also have the option of donating items to the club to benefit our programs.

The club is currently accepting any and all lots for that event. Numismatic items can be dropped off to either Carl’s or Roy’s shop.

Please help support the club and spread the word of numismatic education throughout our community. With everyone’s help, the club will continue to reinvigorate the YN program. I would like to see a combined effort by everyone to help expand and increase membership and participation in the club. Any and all positive suggestions are always welcome and encouraged in order to improve the club.

Anchorage Coin Club July 22nd Summer Picnic

Anchorage Coin Club July 22nd Summer Picnic
Centennial Park

I look forward to seeing everyone at our August 7th meeting (the first Monday of August, 7:15 PM start at Central Lutheran Church).  

All going well, we should be able to get back to our normal meeting schedule by September. At that time, we hope to get back to meeting on the 1st Wednesday of the month. 

See you at the August 7th meeting…..Sincerely, Carl.

Auction Lots on display at the Picnic

Auction Lots on display at the Picnic




Schedule of Events for the Month of August

  1. Monthly Membership Meeting: August 7th (Monday) at 7:15 PM at the Central Lutheran Church (Main Community Room). The Central Lutheran Church is located at 1420 Cordova St. on the corner of Cordova and 15th Avenue.   Members, YNs, and general public welcomed.
  2. Anchorage Coin Club Board Meeting:  August 16th (Wednesday) at 7:00 PM at the “New Cauldron Restaurant”   located at the University Center.  Club members welcomed.   


Minutes of the July 19th  Board Meeting

The meeting was called to order at 7:15 pm by our club president, Carl.

Meeting was held at the New Cauldron Restaurant located at the University Center in Anchorage.

First order of business was review of all correspondence and bills.

The remainder of the meeting looked at making certain all logistics were ready for the coin club’s Summer Picnic to be held on July 22nd.  Stan Mead will be picking up all of the food and items for the picnic. Larry Nakata will have all auction lots consolidated with auction sheets (we are looking at over 50 auction lots at this time). Bill Hamilton will have the barbecue grill delivered at 11:30 am. The Parks and Recreation people will set up three picnic benches at our picnic location. John Larson will head up the sale of raffle coin tickets. Volunteers will show up at 11:15 am to help set up. All is in readiness for Saturday.

Following this discussion of the logistics,  the meeting was adjourned at 8:00 pm.


Club President Carl as Auctioneer

Club President Carl as Auctioneer


by Mike Nourse (Life Member #1)

    Summer 1908 work came up a bit short with 47 miles of track laid, 4 miles short of the goal. Time was of the essence since a law was on the books requiring that a railroad line be completed within four years after the beginning of construction. Temporary tracks were laid on the frozen ground for those last 4 miles to bring supplies to the river for the bridge construction starting in spring.

In March 1909, temporary tracks were laid across the ice of the Copper River so supplies could be brought across allowing the line to continue to be built on the other side of the River that summer. One locomotive was left on the far side of the river to work on construction there. Supplies during the summer of 1909 were brought up to the bridge construction site by sternwheeler steamships on the Copper River. These supplies were used to build the railroad from the bridge construction site at mile 51 out to the Tiekel River at mile 101 by fall.

The Miles Glacier bridge would have three piers and four spans of 300, 400, 400, and 450 feet. Holes were cut through the nine foot thick ice of the Copper River in March 1909 to begin digging three holes down to the bedrock for the piers to stand on. Digging continued through late fall of 1909, and the piers themselves were constructed during the winter of 1909 - 1910. The piers were ready by early spring 1910 for the four spans, but the steel was delayed by two months. Three of the spans had to be built while the river was still frozen thick enough to support temporary posts which would hold up the bridge spans while they were being built.

The steel arrived on April 10 of 1910. Working a 16 hour shift, span 1 was completed in 13 days and span 2 was finished in only 6 days. It was a gamble to start building span 3 this late in the season because the ice would give way soon. Span 3 was the longest at 450 feet, and with one final push in the form of working 40 hours straight, it was completed less than 12 hours before movement of the Miles Glacier would have caused the ice holding it up to give way and destroy all of their work. The fourth and final span of the bridge was built in a different way which did not require temporary posts, and was completed on June 19, 1910. The impossible bridge had been built by bridge engineer A. C. O'Neel.

Now that the Miles Glacier bridge was completed, it was time to get to work laying track. Besides, there were still more bridges to be built further down the line. Time was of the essence, since a law was in place which required a rail line to be completed within four years of the beginning of construction, and that four year deadline was coming up in early spring 1911. Chief engineer Michael J. Heney knew that as much work as possible had to be done during the summer months, and the line was completed through Chitna at mile 132 by fall 1910.

Once again, work continued on the rail line through the winter, especially with the four year deadline looming. Two large bridges had to be built; the Kuskulana Gorge bridge and the Gilahina bridge. The Gilahina bridge would be the longest wooden bridge on the rail line at 880 feet, with a height of 80 to 90 feet. Both bridges were built in the dead of winter when daylight is only a few short hours and temperatures held steady at 30 to 60 degrees below zero, not counting the wind chill. Wood splits from the cold at those temperatures, and dynamite had to be used to dig holes for the wood pilings.

Wooden Bridge as seen today

Wooden Bridge as seen today

The amazing effort by the railroad workers allowed construction to be finished on time. The rail line was completed at the end of March, 1911. On a warm, sunny day of 38 degrees above zero, the final spike, made of copper of course, was driven in the afternoon of March 29th. Sadly, chief engineer Michael J. Heney had died that winter and did not get to see the completion of the railroad. The rail line had cost $20 million to build which includes $1.5 million for the so called Million Dollar Bridge which crossed the Copper River between the Miles and Childs Glaciers.

Meanwhile, there was still the issue of getting coal from the coal fields at Katalla (remember Katalla?). Coal could be used for running the railroad engines, heating buildings, powering ships, and smelting copper. Prior to 1904 the law in Alaska was too restrictive to allow coal mining, but the law was liberalized to allow claims to be made that year. Coal mining was still not allowed, but at least claims could be made. The waiting game had begun. In 1906 the laws concerning coal mining were further tightened, and in 1907 Chugach National Forest was created by Teddy Roosevelt, which forever locked up parts of the Bering River coal field near Katalla.

It was an endless struggle from the claim holders in Katalla to get the laws changed to allow coal mining. They even went as far as to have a Katalla coal party in 1911. After six years of waiting to have their coal fields opened to mining, they shoveled a coal shipment from Canada overboard in protest. Unfortunately for them, it was too late. That year the Guggenheims converted the Copper River and Northwestern steam engines from coal fired to oil fired. They also determined that a copper smelter would not be built in Alaska. The high grade ore would be shipped to smelters out of state and the lower grade ore would simply be left in the ground. In the end, coal would continue to be imported from other states and Canada. A few holdouts stuck around Katalla as late as 1917, but there was never to be a rail spur from the Copper River and Northwestern to Katalla, and the town was slowly fading away.

The town of Kennecott, on the other hand, was not fading away, at least not yet. While the railroad was being built, work was underway from 1908 through 1911 to be ready to produce copper ore when the railroad was completed. Supplies were brought up the Copper River by a river steamer named Chittyna (the original name of Chitna). The buildings had been built and the equipment was in place. This allowed the first train full of ore to leave Kennicott just one week after the copper spike had been driven. That first train arrived in Cordova on April 8, 1911 to a huge celebration. It must have been quite an event!

From this point on, it was to become business as usual, with trains making the trip from Cordova to Kennicott on a regular basis. Four years later, in 1915, there were three round trips made each week, and the mine was now turning a profit. Full production was reached in 1916 when 120 million pounds of high grade ore was removed from the mine, with a value of $32 million. One has to wonder how many of those 120 million pounds made it from the smelters in the Northwest down to San Francisco to be minted into shiny new 1916-S Lincoln cents?

The mine became even more profitable over the next few years as World War I greatly increased the demand for copper and other metals. During the war, $2 million of copper was being shipped to the smelters in Washington state. In addition, the train was a tourist trap, carrying numerous passengers. The most popular part of the trip was of course the million dollar bridge, with it's close up views of the Miles and Childs glaciers. Even President Harding took a trip on the CR & NW railroad during his visit in the early 1920's; the first President to visit Alaska.

Meanwhile, in Katalla, a railroad had finally been built from near Carbon Mountain to the docks in Katalla by the Alaska Anthracite Railroad in 1918. The railroad hauled about 20,000 tons of coal from mines to Katalla, but it was never profitable. It only lasted 4 years and was closed in 1921. The new industry in town was oil, and during the 1920's and early 1930's, around 1,000 barrels of oil were being produced and refined each month. The oil was for local consumption with some being used in Cordova as well. One night shortly before Christmas in 1933, the refinery was accidentally burned down by a watchman trying to keep warm. That put an end to the oil industry in Katalla, as well as the city itself. The population shortly thereafter dropped to zero, and has never risen above that number since.

One of the Railroad Tunnels as seen today

One of the Railroad Tunnels as seen today


The Alaska Syndicate, run by the Guggenheim brothers, made a fortune from the Bonanza mine and the Copper River and NorthWestern railroad. However, like everybody else, they were hit hard by the depression. The reduced economic activity caused the price of copper to collapse to levels where the whole operation was running at a loss. It would turn out that 1932 would be the last year that the railroad would be run in the winter. Mining continued for three more years, but summer 1935 would be the end of mining activities. It was just too expensive to keep the mine running when there were new lower cost mines opening in Chile. The buildings in Kennecott were simply abandoned, and have never been used for mining since then, even though there is still a great deal of high quality copper ore still in the ground.

The railroad was kept active, just in case mining might resume. However, prices remained low throughout the 1930's. In September 1938 an application was filed to abandon the CR & NW railroad, and it was accepted in January 1939. The CR & NW would be known from that time forward as the Can't Run & Never Will. The last train had run on November 11, 1938. If only they had kept the dream alive for a short while longer, World War II would have provided an incredible fortune to the Alaska Syndicate as the price of copper skyrocketed. We are all familiar with the famous copper shortage during that war which led to the production of our 1943 steel cents. In the final analysis, a total of $28.6 million was spent on the railroad and the mines, and about $210 of copper was removed, obviously a huge money maker for the Guggenheims.

Unlike Katalla, Cordova survived the end of mining in the area. Cordova happens to be an area with great fishing, and canneries were built to process the large catches. Cordova survives to this day due to a healthy fishing industry. Not so for Kennicott and McCarthy, which have also been abandoned other than as summer tourist spots. Chitna survives today though it is hardly a boom town any more. There is a small population living there, but it probably would be a ghost town as well if it was not connected to the highway system.

The rail lines did see one final use. During World War II an air strip was cleared from the flats 13 miles from Cordova. There was still a locomotive on hand, so it was used for transportation from the city to the air strip until the rails were removed and a road built in 1945. The process of removing the rails and replacing them with a road continued, and reached the Miles Glacier bridge in 1958. Construction continued past the bridge with the intention of eventually connecting Cordova to the road system, but the 1964 earthquake caused one end of span 4 to drop into the Copper River. At 2 million pounds, it was too heavy to be put back on the pier. It would sit there for over 30 years before finally being placed back on the repaired pier, but even now the road just turns into a narrow trail a short distance after you cross the million dollar bridge, and there does not seem to be any hurry to continue building the road.

Cordova is accessible by ferry and airplane though, and they have a wonderful museum there where one can see artifacts from the CR & NW railroad. It is a fascinating place and it only costs $1 to get in. On top of that, you can drive out to the bonanza mine during the summer. It is a great drive with spectacular views of the Wrangell Saint Elias mountains, and beautiful colors in the fall. You drive as far as you can, and you reach a parking area shortly before a river. You can only cross the river on a foot bridge and then you catch a van ($5) on the other side which takes you to the mine. There are regular tours which are well worth it as you get to climb all the way up through the large ore processing building, which is still in pretty good condition and is being restored. It all makes for a fantastic trip, especially if you have some knowledge of the history of the great Alaska copper rush before you go!……Mike Nourse.


by Mike Nourse (Life Member #1)

    While we are discussing the copper rush that happened nearly a century ago in Alaska, there is another sort of copper rush going on right now. It involves BU rolls of Lincoln cents minted before 1982.

In a recent edition of the Greysheet, it was noted in that commentary about rolls that dealer bid prices have gone up to a minimum of $1 per roll for these 95% copper cents.  Very interesting, and fun to watch if the bullion value of copper continues to edge higher. We’ll see where the prices of these cent rolls go if copper happens to break through the $4 barrier or even $5. The real question is:  Is it time to stash a few bags of pre-1982 Lincoln cents in hopes of a further increase in the minimum bid price?

Nobody knows, but it could focus attention on a group of coins that were way off anybody’s radar screen just a year ago…..Mike Nourse.



LOT #                    DESCRIPTION

  1. 1909-S Lincoln Cent. Net Good (Reverse scratch).  Price Realized: $22

2.        1955 S/.S/S Lincoln Cent (RPM #1)  MS64 Red.  Price Realized: $3

3.        1953P Franklin Half Dollar in MS63 condition. Price Realized:  $13

4.        1886P Morgan Dollar MS64.  Price Realized:  $28

5.        1964 Austria 50 Schilling Silver Commemorative in Proof Condition. Commemorating the 1964 Olympics.  Price Realized:  $10

6.        1970 10 Riyal Silver Commemorative Proof Coin. Honoring Dwight Eisenhower. Government of Ras Al Khaima.  Price Realized: $10

7.        1980 Isle of Man 1 Crown Commemorative in BU condition. Commemorating the Moscow Olympics. Price Realized: $8

8.        Series 1928-B $1 Silver Certificate. Fine. Price Realized: $13

9.        Series 1953 $2 Red Seal U.S. Note. Very Fine.  Price Realized: $10

10.     Series 1934-C  $5 Silver Certificate. Very Fine.  Price Realized: $15

11.     1980 U.S. Liberty Commemorative Half Dollar in BU condition.  Price Realized: $3

12.     Siberian 5 Kopek coin in VG condition. Minted somewhere between 1761 and 1799. Price Realized:  $14

13.     1974-D BU Roll of Lincoln Cents.  Price Realized: $2

14.     1970-S BU Roll of Lincoln Cents.  Price Realized:  $4.50

15.     1908 U.S. $2 & ½ Gold Indian in XF40 condition.  Price Realized:  $185

16.     Limited series print (#39/250) of a hand drawn rendition of a $500 U.S. Federal Reserve Note (Obverse side). This print was made by artist Tim Prusmack.  Price Realized: $16

17.     Medieval coin-  Mamluks of Syria. Minted during the time of the Crusades. Circa 1260 AD. Price Realized:  $15

18.     Eight (8) buffalo nickels in circulated grades (Good to Fine):  2 each 1935/ 4 each 1936/ 2 each 1937.  Price Realized: $10

19.     Set of five (5) coins-  1906 Liberty nickel G/  1907 Liberty nickel G/ 1913 Barber dime AG/ 1970-S Jefferson nickel (nicely toned coin)/ 1969-D Lincoln cent BU. Price Realized:  $7

20.     Morgan Dollar (1878-1891) coin album. This coin album is made of non-reactive material that will not tone coins.  Price Realized:  $10

21.     Eisenhower Dollar (1971-1978) coin album. Non—reactive type.  Price Realized: $12

22.     Foreign coin-  1886 Sweden 2 Ore is XF condition. Price Realized: $5

23.     2006 U.S. Mint Proof Set (10 coin set). Price Realized:  $26

24.     Modern U.S. Mint Commemorative:  2006 Benjamin Franklin Silver Proof. Price Realized: $55

25.     Full set of BU 1982 Lincoln Cents in nice display holder. Price Realized: $6

26.     ANA Medallion- American Numismatics Association “Thank-You” Medallion for participation in their National Coin Week Program. Price Realized: $2

27.     Modern U.S. Mint Commemorative:  1987 U.S. Constitution Proof Silver Dollar. Obverse has been specially plated. Price Realized: $7

28.     Limited Edition U.S. Bicentennial Gold Set. Features a set of gold plated 1976 Kennedy Half Dollars with special gold plated Bicentennial stamp. Price Realized: $7

29.     Set of Year 2000 U.S. Quarters with obverse side of coins specially painted in nice display holder. Price Realized:  $7

30.     Paper Currency:  World War II Wartime Note. 1940 100 Yuan note used in the China campaign. Paper note made by the American Bank Note Company. Price Realized: $15

31.     Lincoln Cent Bracelet. Price Realized:  $10

32.     Set of six (6) Numismatic Books:   Price Realized: $14

·         Red Book “Guide to Double Eagle Gold Coins”- 2004

·         1964 Blue Book

·         “Wooden Nickels”- 1966

·         “History of Gold and Money 1450-1920”  copyright 1969.

·         “The Story of American Coins”- 1966

·         “Dow Jones Guide to Interest”- 1975.

33.     No Cents Liberty nickel XF. Heavily Toned.  Price Realized: $5

34.     1921 Buffalo nickel VF condition. Price Realized:  $13

35.     1930 Buffalo nickel VF condition. Price Realized:  $3

36.     1834 Bust dime AG condition. Price Realized:  $16

37.     1929-D Liberty Standing quarter Fine condition.  Price Realized: $17

38.     1932-D Washington quarter in Good condition.  This coin has a hole drilled. It was someone’s attempt to make a pendant.  Price Realized:  $10

39.     One (1) lot of Stack’s Auction catalogs.  Price Realized:  $13

40.     One (1) lot of miscellaneous numismatic catalogs. Price Realized: $2

41.     U.S. Mint Beginner Set (includes cent, dime, and half dollar). Price Realized: $12

42.     Alaska Mint 2005 Goldpanner Medallion with Nugget. Price Realized: $23

43.     Alaska Mint 1899-1999 Goldpanner Medallion with Nugget. Price Realized: $26

44.     Alaska Mint 2004 Goldpanner Medallion with Nugget.  Price Realized: $24

45.     Alaska Mint 1998 Goldpanner Medallion with Gold Plate. Price Realized: $35

46.     Alaska Mint 2005 Eagle Medallion. Price Realized: $18

47.     1847 Large Cent VF30. Price Realized: $30

48.     1968-S Kennedy Proof Half Dollar. Price Realized: $6

49.     2005- P&D Kennedy Half Dollars in BU condition. Price Realized: $4

50.     1898-S Morgan Dollar. Price Realized:  $28.

51.     1940 Walking Liberty Half Dollar PCGS64. Price Realized:  $45

52.     1936-D Walking Liberty Half Dollar HTGS63. Price Realized: $60

The Final lot was a “Surprise Grab Bag” of various Numismatic coins and items. Price Realized: $165.

Thanks go to Bill Fivaz, Carl, John Larson, Jim McFarlane, John Pastos, Matthew Isada, Roy Brown, Loren Lucason, Mike Robuck, Jim Hill, Larry & Maribel Nakata, and all who attended the picnic for donation and bids made on all numismatic items. We raised $1119.50.


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