November, 1998

1st Place Outstanding Local Publication
American Numismatic Association 1995, 1996, and 1997

Meeting 7:30pm, Wednesday, November 4
Talk and trading 7:00-7:30pm
VFW, 1601 Weld Road, Elgin, IL
Not a member? Come and join us anyway!
November Meeting
November Prizes
Show Results
October Minutes
White Elephant Sale
Board Meeting
ANA Summer Seminar July 1998 - Part 3

November Meeting

The November program will be our semi-annual auction of member coins. We have a few advanced listings at the end of this Newsletter. Bring whatever you have to sell and a few bucks to pick up something special.

We will also take nominations for President and Secretary for a two-year term.

Bring along some show and tell. Remember you can set up a few things for sale before the meeting if you want.

November Prizes

Come and see what the membership, raffle, and door prizes will be. No advance notice this month.

A Great Show is Over

The 36th Elgin Coin Club show is over. A great time was had by all. Thanks everyone for all your help.

Don Cerny talked to all dealers still at the show around two and every one indicated they had a fine day, were pleased with their location in the room, and probably would be back again next year.

Jim Davis, Don Cerny, other helpers, and several YNs all said they enjoyed a very enthusiastic YN auction. Some parents said they had come just for the YN auction after last year's auction. From what I heard, this year's will bring them back again next year. Well done Jim and helpers.

Members sold $426 in raffle tickets. Show visitors to the show bought $192. Four of the six raffle winners bought their tickets at the door. Congratulations all the winners:

We will publish full and final numbers next month.

October Minutes - 490th meeting

President Doug Nelson called the 490th meeting of the Elgin Coin Club to order around 7:45pm at the VFW. Here are the particulars:

Secretary's Report

The minutes were accepted as published.

Treasurer's Report

Don reported the numbers in the box and those present accepted them. The major part of the expenses are the cost of the gold for the raffle.

Show Report

Jim Clevenger reported that we have five or six tables left unsold for the show. We are getting there.

We also announced that we have to be out soon after the 3:00 closing of the show because the VFW had a dinner scheduled in the hall at 4:30 the same afternoon.

Old Business

I pointed out that I listed the ANA 1999 show chairmen in the Newsletter in response to David J.'s question about us helping ar the ANA convention.

New Business

A show of hands indicated that 9 or 10 of you have internet access to view our pages. I also renewed my semiannual request for contributions, whether full articles or simple fillers, for the Newsletter.

October Prize Winners
Membership: Marty K.
YN: Adam R, Shane R, Aylssa H, Jason H
Raffle winners: Mark F, Al M, Alex F, Clayton H, Rich E
Door: Mike M, Steve H, Daryl P, Shane R, Jason H

We sold tickets and drew for prizes before the auction so those wanting to leave early could do so. The winners are listed in the box.

Program - White Elephant Sale

We had quite a spirited White Elephant sale that raised $111.30 for the club after the sales and some cash donations were added up in the end. Thank you all for your contributions and for your bidding.

The items included a real white elephant, golf balls, political buttons, elephants on coins, a large Trivial Pursuit set, Hall of Fame cards, Statue of Liberty Coins and Batman cards.

Doug closed the meeting at 8:55.

Submitted by Mike Metras

Board Meeting

Don Cerny, Doug Nelson, Jim Davis, Jim Clevenger and I got together at Don's October 21 in the evening for a board meeting.

As you might guess, the show took the major part of our time. We ironed out the last minute tasks each was responsible for.

We resolved to collect the fees from the remaining advertisers who had not yet paid for their ads in this newsletters. Most are now collected as you read this.

I agreed to make identification tags for all members so we do not have to guess who each other is. Even though I send you all letters, I still have a problem now and again remembering who each is. It must be much worse for you who are newer. To encourage you to wear the tags, once we have them, we will have a special raffle for only for those who are wearing their tags.

ANA Summer Seminar - July 1998
Part 3

(c) by Mike Metras

[Editor's note: This is the third installment of the narrative of day to day activity at the July 1998 ANA Summer Seminar started in September's Newsletter and continued last month.]

Last month we ended with an auction about to start. Each year the ANA offers scholarships to young collectors ("young numismatists" (YN)) to attend the summer seminar. The YNs at the seminar organize and run an auction that provides funds for the following year's scholarships.

The YN auction is never a small undertaking. Its activities began on the first day of the seminar. Saturday was organization and announcement day, time to get things moving and let everyone know the auction was going to happen and where and when they could donate items. Kids were drawing and putting signs up everywhere.

Sunday afternoon and late evening and Monday noon and afternoon the youth accepted donations in Loomis Hall's main lobby. You could donate items outright, willing all money directly to the YN fund. Or you could consign items to the auction. In the latter case, you had to pay 30% of the hammer price to the YN fund. Some donated one way, others the other, still others donated both ways.

As the YNs received the items, they prepared the catalog, no small task for what became a 300-plus-lot auction.

In the middle of Tuesday afternoon, a YN politely interrupted class to hand out the 13-page catalog. It listed 179 donated and 111 consigned lots. Others appeared on a supplemental sheet the night of the auction.

Lot one was a 1944-D cent, 40% off center. Rome, Greece, the Marshall Islands, the Soviet Union, Canada, Japan, Nepal, a "Mason Jar from Hell!" and many other places were listed. An Armenian tram and a Katanga cross took my immediate interest.

I was at Cripple Creek during the first viewing Tuesday evening from 6 to 10. So I had to view about 45 lots in about half an hour during the only other viewing time, 6 to 6:30 just before the auction. The math tells the story: 2/3 of a minute (40 seconds) for each, counting time required to get the someone's attention to fetch the items. In the end I saw most of what I wanted to see and had my catalog appropriately marked.

People had pretty much filled the same 300-person room we opened in five days earlier and more were coming in as I entered. I walked along the back to the far side. Tension was raising. Sonny was warming the crowd. Everyone was ready. The 1944 cent went on the block at 6:35. The marathon was started.

Although the YNs did all the work, kept all the books, and collected the money, our very own Sonny Henry of Mendota, Illinois, was the principal auctioneer. Bill Fivaz and Ed (I forgot his last name), also professional auctioneers, spotted and helped when Sonny needed a rest. But Sonny's unmatched energy kept things rolling.

Lot A-26, Armenian trams of 800 years ago and a couple modern 500 dram notes, came to the block. I sat up and got into the bidding. 10, 15, 20, 30, 32.50, 35, 37.50,..., and finally 60. It was mine. A bit more than market value. But I wanted it and the overpayment could go to the YNs.

1922 and 1923 Peace dollars went for $60 for the pair. Ten common Indian cents went for $52.50. A Princess Diana metal for $75. Two common Japanese coins for $25. The YN fund was growing.

Lot A-36 was unusual--an uncirculated pair of Bill Fivaz' underwear, slabbed between glass and authenticated! It not only went for $100 once, it was returned for re-auction and brought $100 the second time.

The original plaster models for the 1998 Oregon ANA convention medal, signed by the artist, Virginia Jansen, brought $750 to the fund. A bag of cowrie shells brought $52.50.

Spirited bidding continued. There was time to come and go. This was an all-evening event.

Much later, after I had left and returned a few times, I picked up a group of Canadian tokens and an English 1-1/2 pence for a respectable $12.50. My luck continued. I won an eight-inch Katanga cross. The consignor, a friend, later told me bluntly that I had stole it; but he was glad it went to a collector.

Two hobo nickels went for $70 each. But 18 really nice condor tokens went for only $160, a steal at less than $10 each. A canceled Olympic coin die, selling originally for $49 just last year, went for $250.

Spirited bidding late in the auction brought $300 for a 100% off center 1796 dollar. Donated back, it immediately went for $150 again.

How do you close such a long night? The exhausted auctioneer just stops with the last lot and collapses. Not Sonny, he circulated among friends for quite a while afterwards. But the auction ended after eleven--a delightful 5-hour marathon was over for another year.

Thanks for all the effort from the YNs, their adult helpers, and especially Sonny Henry's spirit and energy.

Afterwards, we filtered in and out of conversations and made our way back to Loomis Hall where we fell into more conversations. By a little after one I turned my alarm and fan on and my light off.

And there was morning and evening of the fifth day.

Day six, Thursday morning, July 16, the last, started as the others, with a breakfast full of food and conversation. We all were getting nervous, the end was near, though not at all at hand.

Chris took us through the decline and fall of the Byzantine empire. Having survived tremendous internal strife that included Crusader occupation from 1204 to 1261, the empire, then under Constantine XI, fell to the Turks under Mohammed II on May 29, 1453, thirty nine years before Columbus discovered America. The eastern Romans had lasted almost a full thousand years after the western Roman empire had fallen in 456.

But let us not forget that as their western counterparts did, the easterners fought quite a bit among themselves. During that 1000 years at least 30 emperors died at the hand of their fellow Romans of decapitation, dismemberment, poison, stabbing, blinding, maiming, and being buried alive, among other things.

A bus load of students skipped afternoon classes to tour the Denver mint. They walked the floor among the machines making the coins, put their hands in a hoppers of new pennies and nickels and dimes, immersed themselves in the racket and clatter and din and chaos that permeates that factory of the metal tokens of our commerce. Every collector needs to experience this at least once. (See my full rendition of this tour in the January, 1994, edition of the Elgin Coin Club Newsletter.)

No one in our class went to the mint. Instead we each gave our reports:

As the afternoon ended, Chris presented us with our Certificates of Completion signed by past ANA executive director (seems there was still question of the current executive director), Ruthann Brettel. Chris had modified the certificates appropriately to include a Byzantine coin with an icon of Christ. I took a few pictures. We gave formal thanks to each other for a delightful six days and said our formal good byes.

At six we all began to gather in Loomis hall for a "Graduation Reception" to end the week. We ate goodies, drank punch, and talked for an hour.

Dinner was our Graduation Banquet Buffet, the grand send off. The only resemblance to earlier meals was that it was in the same rooms as the daily meals. We queued up in four lines to choose from the following menu: Italian tomato basil salad, tropical fruit salad, sunned cherry encrusted pork tenderloin with mango BBQ sauce, broiled Mahi Mahi in escabache sauce, broiled chicken with apple aioli, roasted garlic potatoes, and wild rice pilaf. Dessert was triple chocolate terrine with grandmarnier glace. It tasted as good as its names were fancy.

After the dinner, the instructors all received awards of appreciation. Among other awards, Anthony Swiatek gave out several President's awards recognizing the recipients' special contributions to numismatics.

Finally we were told the seminar was done. "Go in peace to enjoy the great hobby of Numismatics for another year." We all gave our resounding "Amen." Well, anyway, if we didn't say it in just those words, that was the official end, that was how it felt.

But it was not the real end, not at all. Some were leaving, some had left already. But another much-waited-for event was about to start. The annual Gallery Mint Museum bull session, a must-see event, began at nine.

ANA Summer Seminar pewter metal desiged by Virgina Jansen and Ron Landis and struck by Gallery Mint Museum in Colorado Springs during the seminar. Virginia's side is the Eagle, Ron's Miss Liberty.

Ron Landis, one of the Gallery Mint's founders, described how they engrave coins the way they did it when the mint was established in the 1790s.

Virginia Jansen designed and engraved one side of this year's token and Ron Landis designed and engraved the other.

Virginia used the 1998 ANA Convention medal to describe the how one creates a medal like it.

  1. Start out with a drawing considerably larger than the final medal. The drawing and all but the last version of the medal are several times larger than the final medal so you can more easily do detail work.

  2. Make a clay model from the drawing.

  3. Make a negative plaster cast of the clay model. Clean up the engraving.

  4. At this point you can use the negative plaster model as a mold to create a large final bronze (or whatever) casting or you can continue creating the medal. To make the metal you next create a plaster positive of the negative.

  5. Make a rubber negative.

  6. Make an epoxy positive. This is a very hard, large version of the medal.

  7. Use a reduction machine to create a positive hub the size of the final metal.

  8. Use the hub to create the die.

  9. Strike the metal.

    Seems like a simple enough process in description. But the detail requires the artist. Virginia did a wonderful job with this metal.

    This bull session was a real bull session because after short descriptions of their respective tasks, Ron and Virginia invited everyone up to look and ask questions. We did just that.

    But we were really were waiting for this opportunity to also besiege his crew who had an actual coin press there stamping out the pewter tokens to commemorate 1998 summer seminar. We all not only got one or two tokens each, but most of us each also had the coiner make one or two "errors"-- broadstruck, off-center, brockage, off-metal, and what-have-you-other ill-conceived forms of the tokens.

    Slowly the formal bull session metamorphosed into many little groups with people moving from group saying their goodbys for the year. I passed around until I ended up with a die-hard group determined not let the week end. But we finally broke up a bit after three.

    And there was morning and evening on the sixth day.

    Day seven, Friday, July 17, and I did not rest, though I did not get up until 10:30. I put my stuff all together and moved it to the car. Several were still around, but most had already checked out and caught their planes or driven away to return home for another 51 weeks before the 1999 version of this wonderful week starts this all over again.

    I signed out at 11:30 and headed for the ANA library for a last look around and to check out a book. At noon, I headed west on US 24 on my round about way home.

    December's Newsletter brings you an epilogue, my circuitous return to reality.

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

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