December, 1998

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

Meeting 7:30pm, Wednesday, December 2
Talk and trading 7:00-7:30pm
VFW, 1601 Weld Road, Elgin, IL
Not a member? Come and join us anyway!
December Meeting
November Minutes
Program - Member Auction
Board Meeting
Final 1998 Show Numbers
Internet Report
ANA Summer Seminar - An epilogue
1998 Programs
1999 Programs
1998 Article Index
Bits from the 1922 Press
Index to other ECC Newsletter articles

December Meeting

The December program will be our annual holiday dinner. The dinner begins between 7:15 and 7:30 and is free to all members and their immediate family. Thirty six signed up in November. If you did not sign up please call Mike at 815-786-6779 to let him know you are going to be there.

During the meeting we will elect a new secretary and president. Jenifer Schulze has been nominated for the former and Doug Nelson for the latter.

We will also discuss our programs for next year. We have filled all months except February, March, April, and September. We would like to have presentations from the members next year. Please think about what you can give back to the club in the form of a presentation. Maybe two of you can get together and present something.

November Minutes - 491st Meeting

President Doug Nelson called the 491st meeting of the Elgin Coin Club to order around 7:50pm at the VFW.

Secretary's Report

The minutes were accepted as published.

We then welcomed four visitors: Wally and Lou Graf, Forrest Wagner, and Don Dool. We hope you had a good time and will come back again.

Treasurer's Report

Don reported the numbers in the box and those present accepted them. The numbers represent the income and expenses of the show. See the end of the board meeting notes for more details on the numbers.

Old Business

Marty asked what our internet address is. I said and reminded all that the internet and email addresses are listed in the data box on page 2 of every issue. See the article after the board meeting section of this edition for a report on our internet exposure after a year.

Someone reported that a girl left two books at the YN auction during the show. If you hear of anyone who left the books, let one of the officers know and we will get the books back to her.

New Business

Doug Nelson was nominated to be president for the next two years. Jenifer Schulze was nominated to be secretary for the same duration.

Someone asked about the holiday dinner. We sent out a sign-up sheet and 37 signed up for the dinner in December.

Show and Tell

We had two Show and Tell presentations. Mike Metras and one of our visitors, Don Dool.

I showed two coins. The first was a four shilling coin of The Gambia, an example of an unusual denomination. And more than that, it had a beautiful Slender-snouted Crocodile winding around the 4.

My other coin was a 1953, 50-piastre coin of Lebanon with a wonderful rendition of the giant Cedar of Lebanon. A Caduceus (doctor's symbol) identifies the bi-lingual coin as one made in Utrech, The Netherlands.

Our visitor, Don Dool, had some really interesting items. Don collects copper coins. He had a couple from Paraguay from the last century. He also showed a necessity copper coin of Santa Marta in Columbia. But his masterpiece was a wonderful square coin of Breslau in Selsia of the 17th century. I believe he said it was a coin made during a siege. I was so interested in the story that I forgot to take good notes. Thanks so much for sharing these with up Don. Please, show us more.

Program - Member Auction

We apologize to the coin sellers. We all were carrying on such fine conversations that it took forever to get off the break and get down to it. But we finally did, and yours truly was the auctioneer.

When all was over you had bought $128.25 worth of coins from your fellow members. To the sellers, we officers apologize for not getting things going earlier. But look at it this way too: if those who left really wanted your coins, they would have waited, or let the sellers know they were interested but couldn't stay.

We had no raffle because of the auction. Rich E won the membership prize and Mike C the YN Prize.

Doug closed the meeting around 9:30.

Submitted by Mike Metras

Board Meeting

Don Cerny, Doug Nelson, Jim Davis, and I got together at Don's November 17 in the evening for a board meeting.

Doug reported that he has the dinner set up to go for the December meeting. It'll be at 7:15 to 7:30 during our regular December meeting.

Jim Davis recorded a History Channel show on the Mint and the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. Looks good. It'll be our January program. We decided on some of the programs for 1999 and resolved to put the challenge to you members to come up with something for the remaining four months. The list is later in the Newsletter.

Final 1998 Show Numbers

Don and Jim are done counting the results of the show. They gave me the following rounded off numbers for publication.

Expenses - $894

Income -- $1558

That comes to exactly $665.19 on the Plus Side.

Ticket Sales

Thanks to everyone who bought and sold tickets. The following members sold $617 worth of tickets, giving us a bit more than the cost of the prizes and paper for the tickets.

If I missed anyone, I will correct it next month. Thanks again everyone--thanks for selling, and for buying.

Internet Report

One year ago the Elgin Coin Club went online with a home page at Between November 9 last year and the same day this year, the page was accessed some 841 times by people other than me doing maintenance on the site. The site is on several search engines. Several other numismatic sites, including the American Numismatic Association, list our site on their internet connections pages. And the Summer Seminar article of this year is listed on the ANA page.

I wish I could say we have one or more new members because of the internet, but I cannot. It has been fun working on it, especially putting the monthly letters out there. Look for new things in the next few months.


Summer Seminar
An Epilogue

(c) by Mike Metras

[Editor's note: This epilogue closes off the narrative of day to day activity at the July 1998 ANA Summer Seminar began in September's Newsletter and continued each month since.]

Last month ended with me heading west on US 24. But the story is not done. I must tell you the rest. I had 1000 plus miles between me and home that Friday morning.

This summer was hot, very hot. I was so busy having fun at the seminar that I hadn't notice it much. But now as I thought of more than 100 degrees crossing the planes, I decided to go north, to the Black Hills.

Mountain roads sounded like the best bet for beating the heat. So I headed west out of Colorado Springs and took Colorado 67 north to the South Platt River. It was a nice winding drive along rocks and river. There was even a small forest fire being tended by a couple fire trucks. But I never would have meet my Tuesday deadline for returning if I would have stayed on those slow comfortable roads. So I rejoined I25 at Castle Rock and headed north through Denver and Cheyenne and the Wyoming grasslands in the searing heat. I spent the night in Torrington, Wyoming. The Weather channel told of 100 degrees again the next day.

Leaving Saturday morning, I met a Burlington Northern-Santa Fe coal train that I knew would later that day or evening be going through my home town in Illinois. I sent a "Hello" with it to be dropped off for Denise, my partner, when it passed through.

The next hundred and fifty miles were hot, rolling grassland. The only trees were in ones and twos along creek gullies. The only crops were hay and cattle.

In the middle of nowhere I passed a stage coach on the road, someone's reenactment of the past--how anachronistic, so tiny, so slow--the horses' clop clop clop verses the passing seventy-mile-per-hour cars and trucks. But they moved the commerce of the 19th century.

By early afternoon I was at Sylvan Lake in the Black Hills. It was in the lower 80s and thunder storms threatened. I set off for the top of Harney Peak via a round about way (I didn't know it at the time). Two and a half hours later after a thousand feet up and down and back up again three times, I stood at the top of South Dekota at 7242 feet. I stood at the top of the Native Americans' Holy Land, the Black Hills.

I rested and said a prayer to the four winds from the top and then headed back down by a more direct route. At one point I saw the peak far to the east. I was taken a bit back that I had walked so far.

It took two hours to return with only one, instead of three, ridges to cross. The weather, both the storms and the heat, stayed away all afternoon.

The camping areas were packed so I headed north. Deadwood was packed with people sitting in the streets, so I went farther north. Finally, I found a room in Spearfish.

Sunday I arrived at Bear Butte at an early 10:30. It was already 95 degrees. I was on very holy indian ground, on ground where tradition places Crazy Horse's body. I was in the presence of Wakon-Tanku, of Yahweh, of Jehovah, of Allah, of God, of He-who-is, of the source of all, of our Father-Mother. It was a beautiful morning and a beautiful place.

Bear Butte is a lighthouse on the high plains, a peak standing high above the surrounding land. You can see it from miles around. You can see miles from its sides. I would love to have looked in the four directions from the top. But it was so damn hot. I wanted badly to walk to the top, 700 or 1000 feet up. But my legs had not recovered from Harney Peak and it was just too hot. So I stayed down.

Like an astronaut in his safe capsule, I got into my air-conditioned car and headed east. Pierre was 105 degrees as I passed. Storms chased me across Minnesota. When I got out of the car at home, it was still 95.

Another pilgrimage to Colorado Springs over. Back to the real life for another 51 weeks. Or is this just a dream and that one week the real life?

1998 Programs

We had the following Programs this year. Thanks to all who helped to make them a success.

1999 Programs

During the board meeting this month, we worked up the following schedule of 1999 programs. Look it over. There are still a few open months for you to contribute your part. Please consider it. You'll have a lot of fun and I suspect you will learn as much as we will learn.

1998 Article Index

The following items appeared in the 1998 editions of the Elgin Coin Club Newsletter. The location of each is identified with the month and page number. If you are viewing this on the internet, look at the internet article index for an index with active links.

Bits from the Press

Jim Davis found the following items as he wandered through very old editions of the New York Times.

On January 14, 1923, the Times reported that Attorney General Napier of Georgia sent a letter containing $800 in Confederate currency to one Lee Squiggins of Massachusetts. Mr Squiggins had sent a letter to Jefferson Davis, "the President of the Confederacy," with a $500 war bond. The Attorney General "said that he made up his mind that 'No citizen of Massachusetts could ever say of Georgia that she allowed even the dead ashes of an obligation to go unredeemed.'"

In an October 10, 1925, letter to the editor, a Mr Lind, argued for a $2.50 bill instead of a $2 bill. His logic: it is an even division of the $5 and the $10 bills and would be much more convenient.

On January 4, 1922, Times announced that the Philadelphia mint had sent several hundred thousand Peace dollars to the Federal Reserve on the third. They continued that "the new coin was made in commemoration of the arms conference at Washington. It is designed with the head of Liberty on one side, and upon the other a dove [emphasis mine] upon a mountain top... The first dollar was sent by special messenger to President Harding."

It took until January 20 to get the story correct when a story buried inside the page reported that "the bird on the new peace dollar is an eagle, not a dove. Moreover, he [surely, not she] is the only eagle with folded wings on an American coin with the exception of the bird on the ten dollar gold piece." They continued, "Ornithologists have been horrified to hear the eagle described as a dove of peace.... In fact it took some inquiry among mint officials to find out what bird it really was." [Communications were not the best then either.]

On January 7, 1922, the Times reported that "Miss Anna Williams, whose likeness appears on the old silver dollar,...says she is not a bit disturbed by the change" to the new peace dollar. Williams, then the head of kindergartens in Philadelphia, was quoted as saying, "Why, when I'm nearly of retiring age should we talk of something in my youth? ... Now if you want to discuss kindergartens--" "Her eyes brightened." The article concluded, "Miss Williams was an art student and when the Bland [sic] dollar was decided upon she was selected as the type fitted to adorn the coin." [According to Breen, when the secret got out much later that she was the model, she lost her teaching job. Evidently, she was back in favor again by 1922.]

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