February, 2000
Year 7, Issue 2

1st Place Outstanding Local Publication
American Numismatic Association 1995, 1996, and 1997
Second Place in the same contest in 1999

Meeting 7:30pm, Wednesday, February 2
Talk and trading 7:00-7:30pm
VFW, 1601 Weld Road, Elgin, IL
Not a member? Come and join us anyway!

February Meeting
February Prizes
January Minutes
Board Meeting
Editor's Notes
March Auction
A Little of This...
   A Little of That...

Coins from My AD-Æ collection
Ethiopia's Money
Index to other ECC Newsletter articles


In February we will look at some slabbed coins and try to guess the conditions the slabbing companies assigned to them. Bring along your thinking caps. You should have better feeling for naming a coin's condition after this month's exercise.

Bring along something for show and tell.

As last month, we will collect dues for 2000 from those who have not already paid: $10 full member, $15 family (all members), $5 for a junior member alone (under 18). Remember, we cut you from the Newsletter mailing if you have not paid during March or earlier.

February Prizes

January Minutes

ECC Meeting 505 - February 5, 2000

President Doug Nelson called the meeting to order at 7:35.

Secretary's Report

The Minutes were accepted as published.

Treasurer's Report

The numbers in the box were accepted as presented.

Show Committee

The Elgin Coin Club Show date is October 29, the last Sunday in October. Don will be preparing the applications and they should be done this month. There will be two mailings, and we hope to get them out soon.

New Business

Don nominated Chris Ruckoldt for membership. He left early so we will all vote on his nomination at the February meeting. Chris' coin interests are 2-cent pieces, Indian cents, and large cents.

We also had Henry Kavolus and Charles Lendman as visitors. Henry heard about us through the Newspaper article. He collects coins in general. Thanks for coming out, hope to see you again. Charles is a former member and officer of the club and a friend of David Jones. His interests are 1892 dated material and Political Advertising coins. Thanks also for coming back. See you next month.

Elgin Coin Club dues are still being collected for membership. Please pay Don Cerny at the next meeting if your dues are not yet paid. The dues are listed earlier in the Newsletter.

Jim announced a new YN challenge. This year the YN's are to try to put together a complete clad quarter set to date. YN's will be allowed to choose their prize from a number of slabbed coins Jim has.

Roger brought several copies of the Elgin Coin Club article from the Courier News from December's meeting. He also had his Elgin Commemorative half dollar for anyone who wanted to look at it. He will bring it to the meetings in the future for any who want to look at it. Sorry, this coin is not for sale.

Show and Tell

Marty brought in a 2000 cent he got from a Cheerios promotional box. Each specially marked box contains a 2000 cent that comes in a commemorative card. Every 2,000th box contains the new Sacagawea gold-colored dollar and every 4,400th box contains a certificate for 100 of the new dollar coins. Eat your Cheerios.

Frank brought in a 2000 commemorative calendar medal from the Hoffman mint.

Don E. brought in a complete set of Lionel Train Catalogs from 1950 to 2000. All aboard.

Jim D. had a beautiful Ben Franklin Half dollar MS 67 proof coin.

Don D. found an AH dated copper coin 678 AH (Islamic Calendar) 1221 AD. What a find.

Mike M. had some Certificates of Deposit of George Smith's Marine and Fire Insurance Company of Sinipee, WI, dated July 10, 1844, used before paper currency was standardized.

Reed G. had some interesting misstruck coins: A Delaware Quarter struck on a nickel planchet, a broad struck nickel and a 1965 silver dime? How did that happen.


Mike had a very informative program on Ethiopian currency. Too bad it ran long and he had to cut it short. [Ed note: The program is written in short form later in this Newsletter.]

January Prize Winners
Membership: Jim D.
YN: Shane R.
Raffle winners: Frank S., Reed G., Roger B., Don E., Mike C., Charles R., and Mike M.

The meeting closed around 9:00 pm.

Submitted by Jennifer Schulze

Board Meeting

Because of a healthy snow on the day we were to meet, we did not have a board meeting this month.

Editor's Notes

This edition of your Newsletter introduces a new series by Don Dool, "Coins from My AD-Æ Collection." Don is going to share with us his copper coins with AD dates. Æ (AE written together) is the abbreviation for aes, the Latin word for copper. Most ancient collectors and many foreign collectors use that abbreviation when referring to copper coins. Look forward to learning a lot about the copper coins of the world during the next months. Welcome aboard, Don.

As a side, in case you run into them, there are two other abbreviations used by collectors of ancient and world coins. AU is the abbreviation for the Latin aurum, gold. And AG is the abbreviation for the Latin argentum, silver.

This Newsletter also has another installation of Dennis Kwas' "A Little of This...A Little of That." And next month Dennis will share his knowledge of Canadian large cents with us.

Wrapping up this issue in a recap of the Coins of Ethiopia presentation I gave last month at the meeting.

Enjoy and don't forget to submit your list of coins you want to sell in March.

March Auction

We will have our first auction of member coins for 2000 during our March meeting. As a member, you can sell your coins during the auction. There are no surcharges to either the seller or buyer. This is your auction. We act only as auctioneer. As buyer and seller, all sales questions are between you.

In order to let members know what to plan for and to let the sellers announce their items, I often publish some of the coins in the Newsletter before the auction. If you want to publish your coins, please fill out the form at the end of the Newsletter and give it to me at the February meeting. If you need more time, ask me at the meeting how to get your list to me later. Remember though, you do not have to publish your coins in order to sell them, just bring them to the March meeting.

A Little of This...
   A Little of That...

by Dennis A. Kwas

The N.O.I.S.E. coin show, which is held on the 3rd Sunday of each month, held it's last show at the Westmont location in December, 1999. Starting in January it is being held at the Holiday Inn in Itasca, still on the third Sunday of the month. The January 16th show was a success.

If you haven't been to a coin show for a while, make plans to stop and visit the new show site and see what's new in coins. The Itaska Holiday Inn is located on Irving Park Road just east of Rowling Road (old Rt. 53).

Please, don't forget the Lemont, IL, coin show held on the first Sunday of each month at the Lemont VFW hall (they have not moved). Stop by, buy some coin supplies - then buy coins and/or currency and things. At lunchtime you can even buy hot sandwiches made with TLC by the coin show's own personnel chef.

In December these two coin shows saw a great customer turn out for the last coin shows of the year in our area. It made a lot of dealers holiday season a little brighter, including mine. The January coin shows still saw strong buying.

Boy, you know, it would sure be nice to see Doug set up at some of the local shows again.

Here it comes...the new and improved U.S. dollar coin. Will it be welcomed with open arms as most say? Or will it be a victim of Y2K? Time will tell.

With all the to-do about the new quarters, the new dollar coin may be making its entrance at the right time for it to be well accepted. I am looking forward to its arrival.

By the way, Whitman has stopped making their Classic Books for Canadian Coins. They were the last of the three major U.S. companies that produced this type of album for the U.S. market, I believe. The company changed ownership again and they, of course, raised their prices on all their products--they can raise their prices but still have trouble delivering the product. We can blame it on Y2K--but not for long. I don't believe there is a company in the U.S. that is producing any storage books for Canadian Coins at this time for the U.S. market.

Does any one know where I can buy new 1/2 size coin tubes?

The Elgin Coin Club sure had a great turn out for our January, 2000 meeting. There were good Show and Tell items shown by a number of people showing different coin and currency items from their collections.

Coins from My AD-Æ Collection

Copyright by Donald H. Dool

When Mike asked for articles for the newsletter, I jumped at the idea. I approached Mike with the idea of an article each month featuring one or more coins from my collection, he agreed and here we go.

Like most collectors in this country, I started by collecting Lincoln cents, went on to the other circulating coins, and then graduated to one of the non-circulating series. In my case, it was large cents, thus my interest in old, large copper coins. Unfortunately, after thirty years I had lost interest in my collection. In 1994, while working in Buenos Aires on a billing project for Telecom Argentina, I found Buenos Aires had a large numismatic community. To fill my spare time I made the rounds of the coin shops; there are at least fourteen in the downtown area. I also found that every Sunday there was a flea market in Parque Rivadavia consisting of booksellers at one end, CD and cassette dealers at the other, and stamp and coin dealers in the center. As I had always made a point of buying coins during my travels and since large copper coins had always appealed to me, I began buying those I found of interest.

At this point I hit upon the idea of a date set of copper/bronze coins with the following parameters: one coin per date, one coin per issuing entity, i.e. country, state, city, etc. The earliest possible date is 1481, the latest whenever the last circulating copper or bronze coin is minted. With the current trend in the metallic composition of coins we may already have reached that point. The AD-Æ collection now contains over 400 coins with over 300 different dates and over 300 different issuers. Because more issuers are possible than dates, many dates are duplicated. Within the collection there are many possible sub-collections or categories limited only by one's imagination.

Some of you may be following my series of articles in World Coin News on one of these collections within the collection, "Coins of Conflict." I am starting this series of articles with another sub-collection, Portugal and its colonies.

In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, Portugal was a major player in exploration and colonization. One of its more notable figures were Prince Henry the Navigator (1394-1460), a patron of explorers. But the most famous explorer was, no doubt, Ferdinand Magellan, who was born in 1480 and killed during his attempt to circumnavigate the globe in 1521. His crew continued on without him and was successful in the attempt. Portugal's high point was its claim to Brazil, however the kingdom was too small to colonize this huge territory and its fortunes were downhill from that point on.

The Coins

The first coin is from Portugal and the others from various Portuguese colonies.


Portugal obverse This crown-sized coin is an 1852 XX (20) reis (Eklund 93, KM-482) struck during the reign of Maria II (1826-1853). Portugal reverse

Obverse: MARIA II DEI GRATIA (Maria II by the grace of God) surrounds the Portuguese coat of arms.
Reverse: PORTUGALIÆ ET ALGARBIORUM REGINA (Queen of Portugal and Algarve) surrounds a wreath with the value, XX, in the center above the date.

Madeira Islands

The next coin is from the Madeira Islands, which are located about 360 miles west of Casablanca. Madeira Island is illustrated on an Italian map dated 1351 and was probably know in Europe even earlier. The Portuguese first arrived when Goncalvez Zarco was driven into the area during a storm in 1418. Zarco sighted the smaller island, Porto Santo. Madeira itself was discovered two years later. Colonization was begun at once by Prince Henry.

Madeira obverse This coin of Madeira is an 1842 X (10) reis (Eklund 165, KM-2) also struck during the reign of Maria II. It is slightly smaller and similar to the XX Reis. Madeira reverse

Obverse: MARIA II D G PORTUG ET ALG REGINA surrounds the Portuguese coat of arms.
Reverse: PECUNIA MADEIRENSIS (Madeira's money) surrounds a wreath with the value, X, in the center above the date.

Azores Islands

The third coin is from the Azores Islands, discovered by Diego de Silves around 1427. The first Portuguese settlement was on the island of Santa Maria in 1439. The islands were under Spanish control from 1580 to 1640.

Azores obverse This beautiful 1842 crown-sized 20 reis (Ecklund 159, KM-15) was struck under Louis I (1861-1889). In 1887 Portugal counter marked these coins with G P for GOVERNO PORTUGUEZ and reissued them for use in the Azores and Mozambique, this particular one, like most of the coins, was not counter marked. Coins struck for use in Portugal indicate the value with XX while those for the Azores show 20. Azores reverse

Obverse: LUDOVICUS I DEI GRATIA (Louis I by the grace of God) surrounds the Portuguese coat of arms.
Reverse: PORTUGALIÆ ET ALGARBIORUM REX (King of Portugal and Algarve) surrounds a wreath with the value, 20, in the center above the date.

Terceira Island

The last coin is from Terceira Island. In 1826, John VI died and succession to the throne was contested. The constitutionalists on Terceira in the Azores supported Johns' oldest son Pedro who was emperor of Brazil. In 1828 Pedro declined the throne in favor of his daughter Maria. However his younger brother Miguel was proclaimed king and Maria went into exile on Terceira Island in the Azores. The entire Portuguese fleet attacked Terceira and was driven off. The Azoreans along with Brazilians and British mercenaries invaded Portugal and defeated Miguel. Maria II came out of exile and regained the throne in 1834.

Terceira obverse This 1830 5 reis coin (Ecklund 83, KM-5) was struck by Maria II while she was in exile on Terceira. Eklund mentions that this coin was struck in England. Terceira reverse

Obverse: MARIA II DEI GRATIA surrounds the Portuguese coat of arms.
Reverse: PORTUGALIÆET ALGARBIORUM REGINA (Queen of Portugal and Algarve) surrounding a wreath with the value, V, in the center and above the date.

Map of these
places (click for enlargment)

Map of these places (click on map to enlarge it)


Ethiopia's Money

The following summarizes the talk given by Mike Metras January 5 on the coins of Ethiopia.

Ethiopia is an ancient country in Northern Africa. Throughout its long history Ethiopia used many forms of primitive monies that included salt bars and cowrie shells.

Maria Theresa Thaler (click for enlargment) In ancient times a kingdom centered in the northern city of Axum ruled all the southern Red Sea and issued many coins. We saw those coins a year ago with Mike's video, Axum, Coins and Places.

From the early 1800s until very recently the coin of choice was the Maria Theresa Thaler shown here.

One other pre-modern series of coins comes from the city state of Harar in eastern Ethiopia. It issued several crude coins made of shell casings until Ethiopia absorbed it its growing empire in 1887.

Ethiopia's first modern national coins were those of the Emperor Menelik II in 1894. Menelik II, wanting to establish the independence of Ethiopia, issued a series of silver coins designed and struck by the Paris Mint. They were 1 dollar (bir), 1/2 dollar (alad bir), 1/4 dollar (rub bir), 1/8 dollar (temum bir), and 1 girsh (1/20 bir). He also issued a copper 1/100 dollar (bir matonya). The silver coins all shared the same basic design.

The obverse reads in Amharic, "Menelik II, King of kings of Ethiopia." The date is below the bust. The reverse reads, "Conquering lion of the tribe of Judah." The denomination is written in exergue along with the mint mark A of Paris and the cornucopia and torch privy marks.

The first reverse design with a staff and flag in the lion's left paw was soon changed to a more robust lion with staff in its right paw, a more fitting posture. Some of the minor coins were minted in a new Addis Ababa mint. These have no mint mark.

Ethiopia's modern coins are dated by the Ethiopian calendar (7 to 8 years before ours - 1887EE = 1994). The last date on Menelik's coins is 1895EE (1903) even though coins were made as late as 1928 with that same date.

Only the lower denominations were ever used much. The well-known Maria Theresa Thaler remained the coin of choice of the great majority for commerce.

A die originally intended for a silver 1/8 bir was used to make a copper 1/32 bir. Its denomination was ground out of the dies and coins were made from the effaced dies until new dies could be made to reflect the new value.

With his coronation in 1930 (EE1923) Haile Selassie issued a series of 1, 5, 10, 25, and 50 Matonya (matonya=1/100th) coins all of the same design. The obverse reads in Amharic, "Haile Selassie I, King of kings of Ethiopia." The date (unchanging 1923EE) along with the denomination is below the bust in Amharic. The reverse reads, "Conquering lion of the tribe of Judah." The denomination is written as a number in exergue. There never was a dollar-sized coin. The early 1 matonya was made in Birmingham, England, at the King's Norton mint. All others were made at the Addis Ababa mint. The Maria Theresa Thaler remained the coin of choice of the great majority for commerce.

While Italy occupied Ethiopia between 1936 and 1941 the coins of Italy were current in their new Italian East Africa. Italy added "E IMP," "and Emperor (of Italian East Africa)" to the inscription around Victor Emmanuel. The Maria Theresa Thaler was the only coin with much currency.

After England took Ethiopia from Italy and gave it back to Haile Selassie in 1941, England tried, with little success, to establish the shilling-cent system of the East African Currency Board. Ethiopian suspicion and desire for national identity lead to a new series of coins designed in Philadelphia by John Sinnoch (obv) and Gilroy Roberts (rev). The bust of Haile Selassie and the date 1936EE (1944) are on the obverse, the Lion of Judah and the denomination of 1, 5, 10, 25, or 50 santim (cent) in Amharic on the reverse. These have been made at Philadelphia, Birmingham, and the Royal mint. These coins were used into the late 1970s.

The original 25 cent coin was round like the 50 cent and close to the same size. Enterprising people quickly discovered they could silver plate the former and pass it for the latter. Few could read the denomination. After a bit more than 400,000 were made they were withdrawn from circulation and hand scalloped. Later ones were minted with a special milling collar to form the scallops.

The new Socialist Ethiopia of the post-Empire released a new series of minor coins depicting the glories of work and the people. Made at the Royal Mint, these coins have a lion with the name Ethiopia and the date 1969EE (1977) on the obverse. The circulating coins were minted at the Royal mint in England. Their proof set was made by the Franklin Mint.

Ethiopia, both Imperial and Socialist, has created several commemorative and special issue coins that have little to do with the everyday economy of the people. Most were meant as presentation pieces or items to take money from the coin collector.

Resources: scans by Metras

Gill, Dennis. The Coinage of Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Italian Somalia. Long Island, 1991.

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