March, 1998

1995, 1996, and 1997
American Numismatic Association
Outstanding Local Publication

Meeting 7:30pm, Wednesday, March 4
Talk and trading 7:00-7:30pm
VFW Post 1307
1601 Weld Road
Elgin, IL
Not a member?
Come and join us anyway!


March Meeting
Super Raffle in May
February Minutes
Board Meeting
Book Sharing
New Advertisers
Last Newsletter
Chicago Coin Club to Meet at CICF
Coin of The Month -- The Eritrean Nakfa
Security Features

March Meeting

Roger bear will give this month's program on "Storage and Preservation of Coins." Bring along any of your own ideas and questions on the subject.

Bring along a bit of extra cash of the Super Raffle.

Bring along some show and tell. I'll have my new bills (see later for details.)

March Prizes

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Super Raffle in May

We will have a super raffle in May. The prizes are a 1/10th oz. Silver eagle and a Series 1917 $2 United States Note. As in the past, the tickets will be $1 each. We'll have some at the March meeting for you to take along and sell to friends if you'd like.

Note: This was originally announced for April, but we didn't get the tickets for the March meeting. So now it will have to be in May.

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February Minutes

ECC Meeting 482
Feb 4, 1998
Opened:around 7:45
Closed:around 8:50

President Doug Nelson called the 482nd meeting of the Elgin Coin Club to order at 7:45pm at VFW Post 1308.

Secretary's Report

The minutes were accepted as published.

The membership accepted the Steve Hardman family as members. Steve and Alysia were present. Welcome, Steve, Alysia, and Jason.

The membership also accepted David Jones, who has returned to the fold after a four-year absence. Welcome back, David.

The membership also heard the first reading of Joe Miller. Welcome, Joe. We should be accepting you next month.

Treasurer's Report

Don gave us the numbers in the box and you accepted them after discussion. The numbers in the box do not reflect the $480 we paid the VFW that night for use of the meeting room for the rest of the year.

Show Report

Doug reported that the annual show will be on the last Sunday in October this year, October 25.

Old Business

Marty K. asked whether I had sent the letter to the ANA. Yes. And whether we had received any answer. No. [Since the meeting, I received the answer that the items have been placed in a time capsule to be opened in 2092. I'll have the answer with me at the next meeting.]


Roger Bear, Clayton Hagemann, and Bill Shepard held a grading seminar. Before they started, Roger started five coins around the room for us to grade while the discussions progressed. During his talk, Clayton passed around sets of Indian and Lincoln cents and Buffalo nickels in the whole range of grades from good to the high MS range.

In the end Roger told us the grades of the coins he passed around. We didn't have the opportunity to question those grades.

We all enjoyed the evening. Everyone went away knowing a bit more about our hobby. Thanks Roger, Clay, and Bill.

Show and Tell

Frank S. showed us several beautiful calendar medals with animals.

February Prize Winners
Membership: No record
YN: No record
Raffle winners: Harry W., Marty K., Steve H., Margaret M., Alysia H., Jim D.
Door: David J., Don E., Dennis K., Jim D., Bill S.

After a break to sell tickets, we drew the winners listed in the box. By then it was 8:50. Doug closed the meeting.

Submitted by Mike Metras

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Board Meeting

Don, Jim Davis, Jim Clevenger and I got together at Don's February 18 in the evening for a board meeting.

We agreed to have the Super Raffle in April and set the prizes as listed earlier in this Newsletter. Mike Cerny will be making the tickets.

We also tentatively decided on the annual show raffle prizes: $10, $5, $2.50 gold and a couple Prestige proof sets. As last year, we will have a "gold or cash" clause so you can sell tickets to your non-collecting friends, telling them they can win cash instead of the gold coins.

We talked about the advertisers at the end of the Newsletter and on the internet. I will be sending all who advertise here a letter in the near future as an official recognition of their contribution.

We also talked about a possible club library, a way to have books available to members. The consensus was that it would demand too much work for someone, to say nothing of a place. See Book Sharing below for the alternative that we came up with.

Finally, we set prizes for March.

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Book Sharing

As stated above, even though it may be a great idea, we have no means of setting up an Elgin Coin Club Library. But we have a workable alternative if you want to help make it happen. We can lend to each other.

Everyone of us has several books we do not have to have available all the time. We're proposing that we share these with each other. How could we do this?

  1. Everyone who has books they are willing to lend to fellow members, make a list of those books and give it to me. I've agreed to compile and keep up the lists and make copies for everyone.
  2. Everyone receives a list.
  3. If you see something someone has that you'd like to borrow, call the person with the book (if s/he has listed his/her phone number, an optional thing) and ask them to bring it to the club meeting. Or ask the person at the meeting to bring the book to the next meeting. Or make other arrangements. The important thing is that this is an agreement between the owner and borrower, not the club.
  4. Return the book to the owner at the next meeting. Again you can make other arrangements with the owner.
This can work if we respect each other's books. The club cannot guarantee anything here. The exchange has to between you and your agreements must be yours. If someone mistreats this, we are a small club, the name of the malefactor will get out. There's nothing hear saying you must lend a book to everyone who asks.

I'm sure each one of us has something that someone else in the club would love to borrow for a while. And I think most of us would like to share many of our books. Just think, you can get a fellow member hooked on some of the same things you're hooked on. Let's at least talk about it.

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New Advertisers

Please notice that we have two new advertisers this month: Sonny Henry's Auction Service of Mendota, IL, and Pioneer Coins of South Elgin.

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Last Newsletter

One more piece of business. If you are one of the few who have not paid your 1998 dues, this is your last Newsletter.

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Chicago Coin Club to Meet at CICF

The Chicago Coin Club (CCC) will hold its March meeting during the Chicago International Coin Fair (CICF) on Saturday, Mar 14, at 1 PM. Jane Guyer will talk on Primitive Money in 19th Century Equatorial Africa. The CCC will give out a genuine manila, brass ring money used in West Africa. Everyone is welcome to attend. If you are taking in the show Saturday, please stop in and join them. CICF is at the Merchandise Mart downtown Chicago from March 13 to 15.

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Coin of The Month -- The Eritrean Nakfa

Eritrea, independent from Ethiopia since 1993, lies long and narrow along the southwestern coast of the Red Sea. Sudan sits to the north and west, Ethiopia to the south, and Djibouti occupies its southeastern tip. It is made up of dry, searingly hot deserts and pleasant fertile mountain valleys.

Click here to see a map of Eritrea.

Eritrea's capital, Asmara, a long time trading crossroad, sits at 7,600 feet on the northern end of the Ethiopian Highlands. It enjoys 70 to 80 degree F temperatures year round while the Red Sea Port of Massawa just 35 air miles away scorches in 100+ temperatures in the cool season.

Eritreans are about equally divided between Moslim and Christian. They speak several languages, the dominant being Tigrinya and Arabic. Many also speak English, as you can see on their money. There is no official language.

The area was once part of the great ancient kingdom of Axum. You can find ruins all over from that time. This route between the Red Sea, the Nile River, and the African interior has seen much turmoil. Among others, the Ottoman Turks in the 16th century and the Egyptians and Italians in the 19th century took their turns stirring up things. Finally in 1899, Italy moved in and established the permanent colony of Eritrea. In 1936 after acting as a base for invading Ethiopia, Eritrea became a province of Italian East Africa. When England drove out the Italians in 1942, Eritrea became a United Nations Mandate under joint Ethiopian and British control. In 1952 England handed external control over to Ethiopia of a still-internally independent Eritrea. But in 1962 Ethiopia annexed Eritrea and the Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF) was born to begin a 30-year fight for independence.

Over the years several groups joined in the fight for independence. They sometimes fought each other. In the end independence came on May 24, 1993, after the final fall of Mengistu Haile Mariam and his Marxist military government.

I was one of many American soldiers at a communications station in Asmara in the late 1960s. In our off time we wandered the highlands and lowlands of Eritrea, down many roads we were not supposed to be on. We were stopped many times by the ELF. I know of no one who was harmed by them nor had anything stolen. But I do admit it is hard to say no to a "request" for binoculars or some food when looking down the barrel of an AK-47.

After four years of getting back on their feet, reestablishing basic services, they have finally issued their first series of coins and paper money as an independent nation. Until this January they had been using Ethiopia's money.

Their new unit, the Nakfa, is named after the northern city of that name that was their base of operations during the 30- year war. The Nakfa is divided into 100 cents with coins of 1, 5, 10, 25, and 50 cents and one Nakfa (more on them later).

Click here to see the note.

The 110 x 70mm (5-1/2 by 2-3/4 in.) notes come in 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 Nakfa denominations. The front of each is in multi-color intaglio (raised) printing. Each has a group of three distinctively different young Eritreans as the central portrait. Soldiers plant the Eritrean flag on the left and a camel stands below a camel-head watermark on the right. All denominations above 1 Nakfa have a silver hologram on the right side with multi-colored camels that appear and disappear as you move the bill around in the light.

The reverse is uniformly green on all notes though the design varies from denomination to denomination as follows:

All words are in English. Only the denomination is written along the edge in the local Tigrinian alphabet. It is also written in Arabic.

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Security Features

As many of you know, I do not make collecting notes and their vaguerities a habit. I have only a few special ones. When I bought this most necessary set, I looked at them closely and found several intriguing details. Many of these details may not be unusual to modern bill collectors, but they are to me. Each is keyed to the 10 Nakfa note here.

  1. The top and bottom pair of borders on each side include micro print. The front has "STATE OF ERITREA" and "10 NAKFA" in micro print. The reverse borders has "BANK OF ERITREA" and "10 . TEN NAKFA" in micro print. Click here to see boarder detail.

  2. The holographic strip on the left of all notes except one Nakfa has a string of camels that shine one after another in multi-colors as you move the note around relative to the light. The strip itself becomes silver at one angle. The denomination is included in this strip, but it does not change as you change the light. None of this comes out like the real thing when you copy the note. Click here to see holographic strip.

  3. In the lower left just above the denomination, each note has one or more small bars. The 1 has one, the 5 two, the 10 three, and so on. One reviewer says these are for the vision impaired. I doubt that because, although they are raised, they are quite small and all but impossible to distinguish one from another by touch. When copied, they do not show up on the holographic strip as anything more than a blackout of a camel or two. Click here to see the bars on the 1 and 10 Nakfa Notes.

  4. The camel-head watermark in the oval on the right doesn't copy, nor can I get it with my scanner.

  5. The intriguing camel below the watermark is registered with another on the reverse. The camel is solid and the ground outlined on the front. The opposite is true on the reverse. But when you look through the note, the camel looks uniformly the same from both sides, the camel is light and shows an outline while the ground is dark and shows no outline. This does not copy well. Click here to see the camel on both sides and through from the front.

  6. A vertical strip passes just to the left of each central group of faces. It reads "BANK OF ERITREA AERTIRE FO KNAB..." except that the letters are reversed in the reverse text so that the words can be read alternately from the front and back. This does not copy.

  7. The area for lower right denomination number on the front of each bill at first looks like a jumble of dark lines. But look at is closely and you can vaguely make out the denomination numbers looking as they look in the other corners of the note. The background for these numbers are made up of close horizontal lines, the foreground of close vertical lines. This number copies, but poorly. Click here to see the lower right corner.

  8. The denomination is embossed along the right margin in large letters. These numbers do not copy, but they are easily distinguishable one from another by touch on the different denominations. I suspect these are the vision-impaired devices on these notes, not the minuscule bars on the left as another reported.

  9. Lightly in the background of the front of the note you can read again "BANK OF ERITREA" and "TEN NAKFA." This background does not does not copy well. Click here to see a bit of the background.

  10. The background in the oval where the watermark is and where the soldiers are raising the flag must be made of very fine parallel lines as they become various moire patters when copied. These wavy patterns show up in printing finely spaces parallel lines. Usually printers do not want them, but here they are very helpful to governments trying to prevent copying. Click here to see the moire pattern.

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Look at the Elgin Coin Club Home Page for more information.

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