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ACCent: The Monthly Newsletter of the Anchorage Coin Club
Membership Meeting 1st Wed. each month, 7 PM, Central Lutheran Church, 15th and Cordova
Vol. 20 No. 9
NEXT MEETING SEPTEMBER 5th
BRING YOUR COIN AND TELL US THE STORY
Pattern coins are a natural part of the mint's process of choosing coin designs. Designs for regular circulating U.S. coins generally do not change very often. When it does artwork is reviewed and dies are cut for the best candidates.
Just a few pattern coins are struck. First they are checked for how well they strike up - we do not want any flat spots. Then they are shown to the power people who make the decisions.
After that they go the lab where they are tested to death. Acid tests, wear tests, and a battery of other tests essentially reduce the coin down to a small piece of metal. But that is not the whole pattern coin story. If it were you would have to be president to own a U.S. pattern coin. You see there were people who worked at the mint who had keys to the cabinet. At night they would load up a pattern coin die in the press and strike a few for their friends and very generous numismatists.
This "midnight minting" was probably most prevalent between early in the year 1859 about 8:35 at night and late in the summer of 1885 at 9:15 in the morning. Seems the head of the mint was in on some of this. Nobody was too worried about how many pattern coins were struck back then. Fortunately for the numismatists who came along much later wanting to know the rarity of pattern coins some records were kept by those who struck pattern coins for themselves.
Another twist to the tale comes with the fact that old and unused coin dies were sold as scrap iron. If someone were to get a tip (say from a mint employee) as to which load of scrap came from the mint they might be able to pick up a die or two. Thus people outside tie mint might have struck coins with the unused pattern dies.
All this considered pattern coins are still official U.S. mint coins and they are exceedingly rare. J. Hewitt Judd, M.D. compiled the definitive book on pattern coins in 1959. He assigned a numbering system to them which is still the
Whitman has updated Judd's work and added a bit about rarity and recent auction selling prices........
It was as if the clouds had opened up for us so we could a have a nice, sunny picnic lunch. Steven Mead was our Burger Chef and there was plenty of drinks, chips, and desert.
There were over thirty of us at the picnic. The hungry coin viewing ones were under the pavilion cover. The smart ones were out in the sunshine. And even though the kids ran around everywhere they did not find Mindy the missing nurse or the black bear living at Kincaid park.
We started he club's annual donation auction. It was packed with good numismatic material. The 28 lots sold included coins from Bill Fivaz and a last minute donation of a privately struck proposed coin pattern. It was a one and a half ounce slabbed silver coin.
We also drew for the raffle prize and I did not win. It naturally went to the one who bought the most tickets. The next prize is a two and a half dollar Indian Gold piece dated 1915. It was graded AU-58 but it looks gem BU. Start buying your tickets at the next meeting.
The next meeting will have choice lots from Bill Fivaz in the bullet auction.
Some of the best lots in the auction were club commemorative token sets. Included was the one with a gold nugget. Next year will be the club's twentieth anniversary. It is time for you to put some thought as to what design should be on our Double Decade Commemorative token. The club has already received art from Jim Hill. Appropriate designs might Alaska scenery, animals, or the Anchorage skyline. It was suggested that we might be able to use one of the designs not chosen for the Alaskan State Quarter. Submit your art or design suggestion to any of the club officers, bring it to a meeting, or drop it off at one of our local coin shops.
I would like to thank everyone who donated to auction. So far $547 was raised. All of the money goes towards regenerating the young numismatist program and sponsoring coin shows.
The meeting was called to order at 7:15 pm by president Loren Lucason. Details of the upcoming picnic were discussed over dinner. A schedule of events was laid down. The twentieth anniversary club token was briefly discussed and after dinner the meeting adjourned at 7:45 pm.
Last month's answer:
MORGAN: The name given to the silver dollar designed by George Morgan and put into circulation in 1878. Minting of this dollar stopped in 1904 but casino owners needed gambling tokens and had power in Washington so a large mintage was put out in 1921.
IF you reach up to a strippers G-string and pull out a dollar because it had a red seal... YOU are probably a numismatist
BULLET AUCTION FEATURE COIN OF THE MONTH
1879 Morgan dollar slabbed at MS-64 PROOFLIKE
Bright white coin with a sharp strike. Starting bid $39.00
EVERYONE HAS A FAVORITE COIN. BRING IT TO
THE NEXT MEETING AND TELL US WHY IT IS