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ACCent: The Monthly Newsletter of the Anchorage Coin Club

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Volume 19, Number 9

September 2006

September Membership Meeting
Wed., Sept. 7th, 2006 Central Lutheran Church

7:15 PM Meeting



    It looks like we’ll have to put up with two more months of meeting in the Community Room.  The construction that is going on in the downstairs area of Central Lutheran Church is not expected to complete until the end of October….which means conducting our club meeting on “off dates” for the months of September and October.

Since the 1st Monday of September falls on Labor Day, the September club meeting has been scheduled for the 1st Thursday of September (September 7th) in the Community Room of Central Lutheran Church (7:15 PM). It made no sense to conduct our meeting on Labor Day.

Our club President, Carl, will be giving a presentation on the subject of “Toning on Coins”.  It should be a good presentation and we hope to see a lot of you come to the September 7th meeting … especially now that the Summer season has come an end. Meantime, Larry Nakata will bring the food for the September meeting.

We should have the new raffle coin available, an 1882 $5 U.S. Gold in AU58 condition (SEGS certified). Cost of raffle tickets will be $5/ticket or 5 tickets for $20. The raffle coin drawing to occur at our coin club’s Christmas Party meeting in December.

See you at the meeting……Your Editors.



I’d like to thank the people that attended the August meeting. I’m sorry I was not there because I had to play in my last soccer game of the summer. It was only the second meeting I have missed in the last two years so my track record is still pretty good. A special thanks to Loren Lucason and Bill Hamilton for heading a discussion on coin buying and investing. We did not have a presentation planned  but it seemed to work out well. I encourage everyone to attend the September meeting. Summer is coming to an end. Hopefully this fall the church will be done with its remodel and we can get back to a solid schedule of meetings. Have a safe and enjoyable Labor Day holiday and we will see you on September 7.….Sincerely, Carl.


Chinese Cash Coins

Interesting and Unusual Coin Facts

1.        The dates on Japanese coins minted prior to 1948 read from right to left.

2.        The Indian on the famous Indian Head cent is not really an Indian at all, but actually a white girl in an Indian headress.

3.        On the Island of Yap large stone money was used for a long time. The stones varied in size from 9 inches in diameter to 12 feet across.  The stones had a hole in the center for insertion on a pole so they could be carried by many men. The size of the stone measured the wealth of the family.

4.        Prior to 1900s, in the U.S. tobacco and nails were widely accepted as currency.

5.        The term “cash” originated from a Chinese coin. The round brass coin called a “cash” had a square hole in the center. 

6.        During World War II the U.S. one cent coins were struck from discarded gun shell cases.

7.        A foreign coin was the main coin in use for decades in the American colonies. The Spanish milled silver dollar, commonly known as the "pillar dollar" or "piece of eight" was legal currency in the U.S. until 1857.

8.        The word "dime" is derived from the Latin word "decima", which means the "tenth part".

9.        The Kennedy half dollar has been issued in three different metallic composition varieties, namely: .900 Fine Silver in 1964, .400 clad silver from 1965 and 1970, and cupro-nickel clad copper since 1971.

10.     The motto IN GOD WE TRUST first appeared on a U.S. coin in 1864, during the Civil War. In particular, the two-cent piece, first minted in that year, was the first coin with the slogan.

11.     The smallest monetary denomination coin ever issued in the U.S. was the half cent, minted from 1793 through 1857.

12.     The Booker T. Washington Memorial Half Dollar was the first coin to feature a portrait of an African-American. It was minted from 1946 to 1951.

13.     Calvin Coolidge was the first and only President to have his portrait appear on a coin minted while he was still alive.

14.     The Liberty Head Nickel, when first minted in 1883, did not have the word "cents" inscribed on it. Enterprising individuals illegally gold plated the coins and attempted to pass them off as $5 gold pieces, often successfully. These were commonly known as Racketeer Nickels. The U.S. Mint soon caught on to the scam and added the word "cents" to the nickels shortly thereafter.

15.     The inscription "E Pluribus Unum," meaning "One from Many" (e.g. one nation comprised of a union of many states) was first used on the 1795 Liberty Cap-Heraldic Eagle gold $5 piece.

16.      The U.S Mint estimates that the average life expectancy of a circulating coin is about 30 years, whereas paper currency usually only lasts for as little as 18 months.

17.      The Mint produced its first circulating coins (a "whopping" $111.78 worth) in 1793. This consisted of 11,178 copper cents. Today there is more than $8 billion worth of coins circulating in the US and, in the past 30 years, the US Mint has minted over 300 billion coins, worth in excess of $15 billion.

18.      If you have three quarters, four dimes, and four pennies in your possession, you have the largest possible amount of money in U.S. coins without being able to make change for a dollar.

19.     The slang term for a dollar ("buck") is thought to have originated in the early US frontier days when the hide of a male deer (a buck) was a common currency, due to the scarcity of coinage.

1653 Thaler of Saxony Germany



Schedule of Events for the Month of September

  1. Monthly Membership Meeting: September 7th (Thursday) 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.    There will also be a bullet coin auction of no more than 15 lots. Members, YNs, and general public welcomed.
  2. Anchorage Coin Club Board Meeting:  September 20th (Wednesday) at 7:00 PM at the “New Cauldron Restaurant”   located at the University Center.  Club members welcomed.   


From Stan Mead (Member# 64)

    This is just an update and a review to let everyone know where the Alaska Coin Commission is at this point in time.

As stated in an earlier article, 75% of the submitted forms related to the following themes: Denali/McKinley Mountains, Brown Bears, Salmon, Polar Bears, Northern Lights, Dog Sleds, outline of the state, Gold Panners, and the Big Dipper. These concepts and themes intermingle with one another to large degree so that it became impossible to place any one submission form into any one category. 20% of the submission forms related to the pipeline, fishing boats, whales, flowers (forget-me-nots & fireweed), and bush planes. 5% of the forms related to themes of moose, caribou, wolves, igloos, king crabs, etc. A couple of the funnier ones were Santa and North Pole, road kill (you had to see the picture) and one relating to the Exxon Valdez oil spill. The mottos for the state quarter were much easier to process:  “The Last Frontier”, “North to the Future”, “The Great Land”, and “The Land of the Midnight Sun”. These seem to be the favorites.

The April 4th meeting saw the Coin Commission working straight through the day (7 hours) and brainstorming different elements and concepts. Occasionally dividing into groups, we narrowed the theme process down to 10 of what the commissioners thought were the best narrative design concepts submitted by the public. With the general public in favor of 10 to 20 elements in their theme concepts, this made it easy for the commissioners once the narrative forms were finally reviewed and sorted out.

The May meeting saw us reviewing our process of selecting the best 10 narrative design concepts to make sure nothing had been left out of the process. Once the commissioners were assured that we did indeed do our best in representing the public input, we proceeded further. We finally narrowed the field down to 5 of the best narrative design concepts that we thought best represented what the public would like on the Alaska state quarter.

This the list of the 5 concepts and/or themes that the Alaska Coin Commission chose that represented approximately 75% of the narrative entries that were submitted:

The narrative design concepts were sent to the US Mint following our May meeting….more than 3 months in advance of the due date.

On July 26th, Gloria and Jean (Legal representative and Marketing representative from the U.S. Mint) requested that the Alaska Coin Commission send reference pictures for our selections. These pictures needed to be in the pubic domain in order to send them to the U.S Mint artist. We will receive five design concepts from the U.S. Mint for each submittal that we had sent in.

At this point in time, the Alaska Coin Commission is on standby awaiting to hear back from the U.S. Mint…..Stan Mead.


by Loren Lucason (Member # 97)
If you have been a good, dedicated American coin collector the only coin reference book you ever needed was the venerable “Red Book”. An updated issue has come out every year since 1947. It lists all the regular U.S. types as well as commemorative coins, foreign occupation coins, and some important tokens. Mint mark locations, mintage numbers, and value estimates are listed for each coin. Recently a comparable book, “The Coin Digest”, started publication. Either one will give you all you need to know to be a collector of U.S. coins. For the latest U.S. coin values monthly price guides issued.
For coins of other countries the only comprehensive reference is Krause and Mishler’s (KM) “Standard Catalog of World Coins”. The daunting phone book sized volume covers about one century (back to 1901). It lists all the countries in alphabetical order, provides pictures of the coins and value estimates. This and the Red Book will cover most of the coins you will ever come across however if you want to collect world coins minted before 1901 there are KM’s going back to 1601. Each book covers a century and is about the size of a phone book.
That covers by far the largest percentage of all coins ever minted in the world. To get details on particular countries there are regularly issued guides such as Charlton’s “Canadian Coins” and Coincraft’s “Standard Catalog of English & UK Coins 1066 to Date”. Other references exist for other countries.
Davenport cataloged the large European silver Thalers and had books published. Thalers were first issued after a huge deposit of silver was discovered in Joachimsthal (Joachim’s valley) in Bohemia in the late 1400’s. They were called Joachimsthalers. Huge numbers  were released and the name was shortened to Thaler. Other countries released similar coins calling them Talers, Daalders, and Dalers. The name of our dollar comes from this line.
Thalers are important because they brought western coinage out of medieval times. They were struck with renaissance portraits and art. More than 2000 years of eastern (Chinese) coinage has been cataloged but it consists mostly of cast bronze coins with a hole in the middle and the rulers name in the caption. Middle eastern (Arabic) coinage has been cataloged back to the dark ages but it too has mostly the rulers name; no art.
Arabic Ummayad Dynasty Coin
Struck coinage started about 600 B.C. in Greece. At first it just had a recognizable mark that guaranteed it had the proper weight of gold (or electrum). Then they started getting creative with marks and by 550 B.C. they had lions and bulls, and by 480 B.C. kings and Greek gods were showing up on coins. Their artistic renditions got so good that by 425 B.C. Sicily was striking coins thought to be the most beautiful coins ever minted in the world, ever. This ancient age of beautiful coins continued through to the end of the Roman empire. Sear and Seaby cataloged the entire series. Their reference texts are available to anyone who wants to get that far away from American coins and deep into coin history……Loren Lucason.
Athenian Tetradrachm from 45 BC
by Larry Nakata (Life Member# 3)
    In the June issue of our club’s newsletter, I brought up the matter of Technical Grading vs. Market Grading. As a follow-up to the June article, I want to focus this month’s article on the subject of “Technical Grading”.

Technical grading standards revolve around the Sheldon system which rates the condition of a coin on a scale of 1 to 70. A coin graded as “1 or AG1 (About Good 1)” condition would be considered a coin in poor condition that is barely recognizable. A coin graded as “70 or MS70 (Mint State 70)” condition would be considered a perfect coin with no flaws.

Photograde by James F. Ruddy

Within this 1 to 70 scale, technical grading standards tend to be most effective in grading circulated coins. The ANA grading standards book,  “The Official American Numismatic Association Grading Standard for United States Coins”, describes the most commonly used circulated grades:


Note that the lower grades look at the overall wear on the design and surface on the coin. The higher grades look at wear on the high points of the coin’s design. When grading a coin, the coin collector should know where these high points are in the coin design.


The Official ANA Grading Guide

I would recommend that any collector should have a good magnifying glass with good lighting when grading a coin. I started out with one of those hand-held reading magnifying glasses with the built-in light. Reading magnifiers can be bought at stores like Walmart and are even sold in coin shops at very reasonable price. As you get better at grading and start to buy more expensive coins, I would recommend you get a set of Bausch & Lomb magnifying lenses. Such lenses would enable you to look at the coin’s high points and design in great detail. I have a set of 4 Bausch & Lomb lenses ranging from 7x to 20x magnification. Back when I bought them some years ago, those lenses cost anywhere from $25 to $50 each depending upon the magnification. Expect to pay a bit more at today’s prices for these Bausch & Lomb lenses. They can be purchased through your local coin shop.

Another thing that I would strongly recommend is that you get a good Grading book. Among the Grading books you can purchase on technical grading are:


How one gets good at grading coins is to look at a lot of coins and compare those coins to the pictures in the Grading books. Try taking rolls of circulated coins and use your Grading book.

In the next article on grading, I’ll be covering the subject of grading uncirculated coins. Note that I avoided covering technical grading of uncirculated coins in this article. If you note the description for the AU55 and AU58 grades by the ANA Grading book, the word “EYE APPEAL” comes to play….Larry Nakata.

Brown and Dunn Grading Guide 


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