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December, 2001
Year 8, Issue 12

Award Winning Newsletter

Meeting 7:30pm, Wednesday, December 5
Talk and trading 7:00-7:30pm
VFW, 1601 Weld Road, Elgin, IL

Not a member? Come and join us anyway!

December Program

Our annual holiday dinner. Starting at 7 PM followed by the club meeting.


November Minutes

ECC Meeting 526 - November 7, 2001
Opened:   7:45     Beginning balance:   $146.85
Closed:   8:59     Income:   $  ?
Members:   16     Expenses:   ?
YNs:   0     Current balance:   $956.00
Guests:   7         

President Doug Nelson called the meeting to order at 7:42.

Secretary's Report

As printed in November's newsletter and was accepted. The meeting number was corrected as of last month's newsletter, it had previously been incorrect.

Treasurer's Report

Balance: $956.00
The Treasurer report was accepted. The club's P.O. Box was paid (increased from $42 to $55 for next year). The club's ANA membership was also paid.

Old Business

There was none.

New Business

Greg was voted into the club. Sunday 11/11/01 the Rovelstad Statue will be dedicated in Elgin. Article about dedication can be found at end of newsletter.


Before the White Elephant, we had our customary raffle and membership drawings. The winners were:

The winners of the show coins were:

  1. $10 gold coin - Chuck C.
  2. $5 gold coin - Jim C.
  3. 2000 Silver Eagle Proof - Mike M.
  4. 2000 Silver Eagle Proof - Don A.
  5. 2000 Silver Eagle Proof - Don A.

The meeting closed around 8:59 P.M.

Submitted by Frank S., Fill-in Secretary.

Board Meeting

Doug, Jim, and Don got together at Don's Wednesday night Nov 28 at 7 PM for the monthly board meeting of the Elgin Coin Club.

It was discussed that some members would like to have sausage at the dinner. In that case we would have to trade off either ham or beef. This year it was too late to do anything about it.

Mike is bringing in a group of wheat pennies and whoever comes closest to the actual count wins them.

Show and Tell

Don D. brought in 4 coins. A 1656 Pfennig from Northeim, an 1809 five Centimes from Westphalia, an 1808 Pfennig and an 1813 coin from Maluka.

Better than uncirculated?

By Jim Davis

For as long as people have been collecting coins one of the strongest motivations is to get the best example of a certain coin they can afford. If someone has a coin that grades good they want one that grades fine. If they have a fine, they want an extra fine. If they have an extra fine, they want an uncirculated. And if they have an uncirculated, they want one with the best strike and luster possible.

When I first started collecting seriously in the mid 1970's there were basically three uncirculated grades. The grades were uncirculated, brilliant uncirculated and gem brilliant uncirculated. In the late 1970's the ANA established more precise grading standards than those previously published by both Brown and Dunn and James Ruddy. The ANA used as its blueprint the 70-point scale conceived by Dr. Sheldon in his book Penny Whimsy. In the ANA grading standards the uncirculated grades composed of values from 60 to 70. So now coins that were previously sold as uncirculated now became MS-6O, coins previously gem BU now became MS-63 and gem BU coins were sold as MS-65.

During the late 1980's the major grading services PCGS, NGC and ANACS had defined grading to such pinpoint precision coins in the entire ms range became possible. The most common grades issued are MS-6O, MS-63, MS-64, MS-65, MS-66 and MS-67. These coins for the most part have well-established buy and sell prices that are easy for both collectors and dealers to use. In business strikes the off grades of MS-6l, MS-62, MS-68 and MS-69 are relatively scarce and often requires some negotiating to find an agreeable price.

In spite of these advances some collectors and dealers still find something missing. In a given coin series two coins with the same number grade can vary widely in price. This is especially true in four series of US coins. The first coins I can recall with special strike characteristics were standing liberty quarters. Those coins that were struck with full head detail were priced substantially higher than those without full heads were. As time went by I learned about Full split band winged liberty dimes then full step Jefferson nickels and finally full bell line Franklin halves. Franklin halves are unusual as they have two other strike characteristics that bring premiums over average strikes. Those are the ability to clearly see the words pass and stow on the Liberty bell and to see three wisps of hair in front of Franklin's ear. It should be noted that except for full head Standing Liberty quarters and the three wisps Franklin halves all premium strike characteristics appear on the reverse of those coins. It's possible that a combination of the reverse dies being in the lower or anvil position in the press along with specific metal flow characteristics of that coins design could have something to do with it. The last thing I noticed with special strike pricing is all of these coins are 20th century series. The only 19th century series that has a pricing structure similar is the Morgan dollar series. In this series coins that have mirror proof-like surfaces or better yet deep mirror proof-like surfaces bring strong premiums. Proof-like pieces exist in other series but I have never seen a definite price structure for deep mirror proof-like Seated dollars or Trade dollars or even Barber coinage.

Recently while reading some trade publications I have noticed ads for old style Washington quarters (1932-1998) with a full split beak on the reverse, Kennedy half dollars with a similar full split beak and Roosevelt dimes with full split bands on the torch. How far will this go? I have come up with a partial list of coins that can have premium strike characteristics. Some may be a bit far fetched but not much more than those previously mentioned.

Elgin Dedicates Pioneer Family Memorial Statue

Copyright by Mike Metras

Rovelstad Statue Dedication
Newly dedicated Pioneer Family Memorial

On November 11, Veteran's day, the city of Elgin dedicated Trygve Rovelstad's The Pioneer Family Memorial on the Fox River at the Public Library. Designed in the early 1930s and rendered in plaster of Paris in 1985, the bronze sculpture was erected after the latest fund raising campaign begun by the Pioneer memorial foundation began in 1999.

Mr. Rovelstad placed the stature on the reverse his 1936 Elgin Centennial Half Dollar. The coin was issued to finance the construction of The Pioneer Memorial in Davidson Park in Elgin. Its foundation was laid in 1934. The statue was only now set up in its current location.

Elgin Half Dollar
Elgin Centennial Half Dollar

Starting in 1999 the Pioneer Memorial Foundation, headed by Steve Youngren, quickly raised sufficient funds from area individuals, organizations, and businesses to have the sculpture cast.

The program handed out at the dedication describes the memorial in heroic language. "The Pioneer Family Memorial sculpture represents three phases of pioneering in America. The Central group depicts the Settlers. Preceding them is the Scout and following is the Youth. The sculpture is the representative of the common folk who came from all parts of the world to settle on the vast forest and prairie lands of Illinois and America.

"The Pioneer Father (whose bust is an idealized version of Elgin founder James Gifford) is looking ahead and pointing out the richness of the new lands where he will build his home and future. The Pioneer Mother is portrayed as an heroic woman, clad in a homespun gown, holding her first born babe, to whom she looks with love. She is a symbol of the loyalty and strength of those women who raised their families in a new and wild country. The Pioneer Scout was the leader in the westward march, who, though nameless, will always be remembered.

"The Pioneer Youth is depicted next to a scroll, indicative of knowledge and plans for the future."

During the dedication, Steve Youngren explained that the statue is placed on the River bank very close to the place where Elgin founder James Gifford is said to have first come ashore.

Trygve Rovelstad was born Sept 27, 1903 in Elgin. He was a life-long sculptor. During World War II he worked for the War Department and designed several military medals.

On the numismatic front, in addition to these military medals and the Elgin Centennial Half Dollar and other items, Trygve designed the Illinois Sesquicentennial medal in 1968 and the Chicago Coin Club's 50th Anniversary medal in 1969. These are only samples of his work.

CCC 50th
Chicago Coin Club 50th Anniversary Medal

Trygve was a member of the Elgin Coin Club for many years and attended often. Only Elgin Coin Club members who have been members for longer than 12 years remember that though. He died on June 8, 1990 at 86 years old. His wife, Gloria, was also a member of the Elgin Coin Club until she died a couple years ago. She attended periodically and never missed a White Elephant sale. She often contributed one item or another from Trygve's material for the sale.

So the statue is finally in place to honor Elgin's forefathers and stand tall there for centuries to come.

For more information on the Elgin Centennial half, see the January 1997, Elgin Coin Club Newsletter. The latter article is reproduced on Mike Metras' Money Meanderings: An Introduction to Numismatics CD-ROM book.

Visit the Elgin Coin Club Home Page or our Connections page for more information about the club.

Click here for an index to articles in other on-line Elgin Coin Club Newsletters. [Webmaster note: I have not updated this index since January, 2000. Until I update the index, please use the Search page to search the entire site for a phrase you are looking for. I apologize for any inconvenience.]

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The ideas expressed in the Newsletter are those of the article authors and not necessarily those of the Elgin Coin Club or its officers.