Coin of the Month
A Bag of Coins and ...
Evolution of the Twentieth Century Coinage
Index to other ECC Newsletter articles|
This month we auction member coins. If you have coins or other numismatic material to sell, bring it to the meeting and see what your associates are willing to give you for them. No one gave me a list of coins to publish before hand so I have no early list here for you to look over beforehand.
We have elections for vice president and treasurer in December. We will accept nominations in November. Please, think seriously of running for one of the offices.
Let's have a Good Show and Tell again this month. What is that good thing you got this month, that you got at the show.
October 31 is our annual show. Come ready to have some fun. We will have all the following and then some more:
The youth auction has been a great success the last two years and it promices to be as great this year.
If you have raffle tickets to turn in, please turn them into Jim Davis or at the front desk by one pm so we can get everything in order for the drawing at three.
As far as I know, no one has said they were going to have an exhibit. If you are planning on exhibiting something, please call Don at 847-888-1449 and let him know so we can make sure we have an exhibit case for you.
Have a great show and a fine Halloween.
President Doug Nelson called the meeting to order right on time at 7:30.
Accepted as published
* The Balance does not reflect the income from the sale of the tables for the show. 16 tables are now sold for the show.
Treasurer's report was accepted.
Jim D. still has raffle tickets for the show available to sell. Every little bit helps the Club.
The contest is still on for any YN collecting a full set of Rooseveltdimes. The prize is a free Silver Eagle.
There was a printing error on the raffle tickets. It shows that a Half Sovereign is a prize, but it should say that the prize is a Sovereign.
Jim D. conducted a survey of the new circulating quarters. Georgia was the one most members liked with 12 votes. The other numbers were Delaware 0, Pennsylvania 0, New Jersey 6, and Connecticut 4.
Roger spoke about Gloria Rovelstadt, who recently passed away from cancer. He has coordinated with Elgin Community College and Allied Movers to dismantle and move the monument her husband, Trygve, created. It will be displayed at ECC for one year. Allied movers will move the monument free of charge to the college. It should be on display at the college in a week. Look for the article in the Courier News and the Herald about its move to ECC.
Jim D. visited Gloria before she passed away and she donated an Eisenhower medal and a Governor Staten medal to the Club. She also donated some modern commemorative sets, and some prestige proof sets for the YNs. One was used at this meeting for a YN prize, the others will be used at the YN auction at the show.
Jim D. has an almost complete set of Trygrove Rovelstadt's medals.
If anyone is interested, Roger has several articles covering Trygrove and his many accomplishments.
Rich had a suggestion for a new meeting hall for the Club. Elgin Community Bank has meeting rooms available to community groups. Doug said that he would look into it and see if it is feasible. Some of the amenities that the VFW offers are its handicapped accessible and it provides the room we need for the meetings.
December will be the month for election of new officers, vice president and treasurer. Anyone interested in either position or nominating someone for the positions, we will be taking nominations at the November and December meetings.
Mike M. brought in a Millennium Canadian quarter set he picked up at the ANA Show. Each month has a quarter with a different millenium theme. He also had a circulating set of Ukrainian coins. He passed around a 1999 ANA commemorative medal and a medal he received for speaking at the show. While he was there he bought an excellent specimen of a French Mint medal commemorating the 100th anniversary of the French Mint and he had four uncut dollar bills from the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. He also picked up a church-key medal, featuring the Eiffel Tower and Napoleon.
Reed had 2 Georgia quarters with different die breaks on them.
Don D. brought in a copy of his first published article in the October World Coin News. The article is "The Siege of Leyden in 1573 Yielding Coinage." Look for more articles in the magazine. He will be writing one per month for the next year. He also brought in a medal/plaque, which featured the commemoration of the opening of the Museo San Martino in Buenos Aires. It happens to be a museum Don had frequented before and has a special meaning for him. What a find!
Josh brought in a new uncirculated set of quarters that he purchased through his mother's bank. The bank is selling the sets with two coins in each.
|Raffle winners:||Dennis, Ed, Adam, Michael, Al, and Rich|
Meeting closed at 9:00 pm.
Submitted by Jennifer Schulze
Don Cerny, Jim Davis, Doug Nelson, and Mike Metras got together October 20 at Don's for the board meeting.
We talked a lot about final preparations for the show.
Jim reported he has received 183 sold raffle tickets from members. He still has many more. We are hoping that the members who have them now can be able to sell all they have. We also are hoping for a repeat of the good sales that we have had at the door of the show in recent years.
Try to turn in any outstanstanding raffle tickets to Jim Davis at the show before 1pm to make it easier on his bookkeeping because he is also running the YN auction. Thanks.
As for the YN auction. Jim has it well in hand. He has a bit more than half the lots he wants. He will be going around at the show during the morning asking for donations from the dealers and any one of you that may want to donate something. Thanks in advance for your help. This has been a great success in the past and we would like to keep that up.
Beyond this and choosing the raffle and membership prizes for the month, we spent a lot of time with our usual coin bantering. We have wonderful coin BS sessions on these Wednesday eventings; it isn't all business. Remember, these are open meetings. You do not have to be an officer or memeber of the board to attend. If you want to take part sometime, just ask one of the officers or me for directions.
This month's subject is not really a "coin"-of-the-month subject. Rather it concerns a bag of coins I bought from a friend recently. The bag came from a coin handling company, you know, the ones that have the armored trucks that move money around the bergs to keep the economy moving with hard currency and cash.
Their counting machines run into a lot more that just good old US coins. People put a lot of other things in the coin machines too. So to recover some of theri losses, these companies sometimes sell the junk coins that their counters eject. I got ten pounds of that "junk" for $15 last month. I was amaized at what I found in that bag.
The most unusual item was a miniature 1978 quarter. This finely detailed, clad wonder measures a mere 8mm. I found it among the lint in the bottom of the bag.
The Canadian coins more than paid for the bag--their $25.25 is worth a bit over $17US. They also helped bring my Canadian date collections up to date. Of the 84 quarters, 25 were different dates. Of the 106 cents, 37 were different dates. 24 dimes yealded 16 different dates and 16 nickels brought 11 different dates.
Beyond Canada were the coins of 47 other countries with Germany coming in second with ten marks and France third with 11.55 francs. Number wise, after Canada's 230 coins, Mexico was far behind with 46 followed by England with 38.
Cassino quarter tokens from many different cassinos accounted for 108 of the tokens and remaining items. Most of these other items were more or less quarter size with some nickel size. Dave and Buster's supplied 23 of their tokens. Wednesday Company had 12. There were 23 car wash tokens, 12 parking tokens, and three for your restroom stop. Japan weighed in with 13 different tokens with all Japanese on them. And finally there were also a rather surprising 35 off collor tokens.
Finally, there were 35 truely crude plastic copies of US coins. There is no way these should or could ever deceive any mechanical device into thinking they were real coins. I have not idea how they made it into the bag.
So, in the end I cannot say I made a fortune on this. But it was a lot of fun going through a bag of unknowns again. It was almost like the old days of looking for some unknown gem that was hiding in a bag of cents like I did when I was a lot younger. I may even do this again some year. It was fun.
[Editor's Note: The following text is the text of a talk Jim Davis gave to the club during our July meeting.]
(c) by Jim Davis
I would like to discuss the changes of regular issue coins of the U. S. in the 20th century.
From 1901 to 1906 most US coins were very similar in design. With the exception of the one cent and the one dollar, all the minor coins were very similar in design and they looked a lot like the coins issued by both France and Switzerland. The same goes for the gold coins from the $2.50 to the $20. The only real exceptions were the Morgan Dollar and the Indian cent. The term Indian cent is a misnomer since it really isn't an indian but Liberty wearing a headdress.
The first major group of design changes came in the years 1907 to 1909. Then president Teddy Roosevelt was not happy with the current lineup of coin designs. He felt more artistic designs were possible much like those of ancient Greece or Rome. To that end he contacted August St. Gaudens the man who had designed Teddy Roosevelt's presidential inaugural medal, to create new designs for the Eagle and Double Eagle. St. Gaudens was also considered to design a new one cent coin but failing health prevented it. The St. Gaudens Eagle is popularly known as an Indian head design but in reality is another version of Liberty wearing a head dress similar to the indian cent.
The Double Eagle, considered by many to be the finest coin the U.S. has ever produced, was originally struck with roman numerals representing the date. Although this was an effective design element artistically it was determined to be not very practical. The two main reasons for the change to arabic numbers were arabic was easier to read and it was easier to change the date from year to year. It only takes 4 places to change an arabic date but takes anywhere from 2 to 9 places for the same date in roman numbers, especially for years ending with an 8.
During all of 1907 and most of 1908 the Eagles and Double eagles were struck without the motto "In God we trust." This was done on the request of Teddy Roosevelt who felt the use of that motto in this manner was improper. After the election of 1908, which Roosevelt lost, congress overrode his objections and passed a law forcing the motto be added to the coins.
In 1908 Bela Pratt's Quarter and Half Eagles were introduced. These designs were radically different from anything else the mint had produced. First it was the first US coin to realistically depict a native american despite complaints the person on the coin looked sickly. Second the design of the coin was recessed below field level. There is a mistaken impression the coin is incuse. But on a true incuse coin the highest points of the design would be the deepest into the coin, on this coin the fields were raised to match the highest points of the design. Two other major complaints about the coin besides the appearance of the Indian were that the recesses collected dirt and germs and the coins did not stack properly. Amazingly there was very little fuss about Pratt's initials on the obverse considering the flap that initials would cause a year later on the one cent coin.
With 1909 being the 100th anniversary of Lincoln's birth, many celebrations were held around the country honoring him. Many tributes were proposed including placing his likeness on a coin, but which one? The primary guideline was the law stating no coin should be changed before 25 years unless congress acted otherwise. This eliminated the gold coins, they had just been changed. The dollar was not used because the denomination had been discontinued 5 years earlier. The dime, quarter, and half had not been around for 25 years.
This left the one and five cent coins. I feel the fact the one cent was 50 years old combined with Barber's ego lead to the one cent denomination being used.
Although the new one cent became very popular the public missed the Indian cent. So in 1913 the Indian returned to the only coin that could be changed, the five cent coin. James Fraser's Indian design was a composite drawn from three individuals. They were Iron Tail, Two Moons and John Tree. The strong rugged design was considered the most truly American of the coin designs to date. The design on the reverse was drawn from a Bison living in the New Your City zoo. The animal's name was Black Diamond and was a gift to the zoo from P . T. Barnum. Just a note the Indian five cent is the last coin to be issued without the motto" In god we trust".
In 1916 WWI had been raging for two years but the U.S. had not yet entered the war. Coincidentally the 25 year statute had expired on the Barber silver coinage and people bored with Barbers coins were calling for design changes. The government took this golden opportunity to not only upgrade the artistic merits of the coins but also to use them as propaganda statements.
A. A. Weinman's designed the ten cent piece. To be accurate this coin should be called a Winged Liberty dime not a Mercury dime as many call it. Mercury was a male Roman god with wings on his feet. The figure on the dime is female with wings on her cap to symbolize freedom of thought. Weinman had stated the use of the fasces on the reverse was to symbolize the country's unity of strength and our readiness to defend ourselves and the olive branch wrapped around the fasces to symbolize our love of peace.
Herman Mc Nell's semi-nude Liberty on the new quarter was not the first time she appeared this way on US money. The 1896 five dollar silver certificate had a similarly dressed liberty.
Although it is believed public outcry called for a change in the design there was little apparent public reaction and most of the correspondence between the mint and Weinman dealt with the positioning of the eagle on the reverse. In a similar situation as on the dime, the use of a combination olive branch in one talon and a shield in the other told the world the US believes in peace but is prepared to fight.
Weinmas's Walking liberty half is generally regarded as one of the most attractive coins the mint has ever produced. At the time of issue the eagle on the reverse was criticized for having too large wings for its body and also having too long legs. This coin also stated America's position on WWI as Liberty is looking eastward toward Europe. She is also wearing a flag while carrying oak and laurel branches symbolizing military and civilian honors.
In 1918 the Pittman act called for the melting of millions of silver dollars so the silver could be sold to England and then shipped to India. This was done with the provision the silver would be later replaced and recoined into silver dollars.
In 1920 legendary numismatist Farran Zerbe proposed a dollar coin honoring the end of WWI be issued. While waiting for the new designs to be selected, the mint, to comply with the Pittman act, struck dollars with Morgan's design starting in 1921. By the end of 1921 the new Peace design was ready and the coins were struck until 1928 when the silver purchases from the Pittman act ran out. The design was briefly used again in the mid 1930s, mostly to try to bolster the economy during the great depression.
Personally I feel the overall lineup of coins issued from 1922 to 1930 represent the finest designs this country has ever produced: the Lincoln cent, Indian/Buffalo nickel, Winged Liberty dime, Standing Liberty quarter, Walking Liberty half dollar, Peace dollar, Bela Pratt's Quarter and Half Eagle, and St. Gaudens Eagle and Double Eagle.
1932 was the 200th anniversary of the birth of George Washington and, like for Lincoln 23 years earlier, there were many celebrations held in his honor. Many people felt that if Lincoln was on a coin why not Washington. There was talk of a special half dollar. But by that time many commemorative half dollars had been issued. Many abuses in the commemorative half dollar program had taken place. Some claimed the halves were struck only for private gain and that the distribution of the coins were sometimes questionable. With the mint striking so many commemorative half dollars the production of regular half dollars suffered. From 1922 to 1932 there were only 5 different date and mintmark combinations of Walking Liberty half dollar.
In 1929 President Hoover ordered a halt to all commemorative halves. To get around this order it was decided to place Washington on the quarter and to strike enough for everyday use making them common enough to discourage hoarding and speculating. The main reason the quarter was chosen was due to its size and the fact the mint disliked the Standing Liberty quarter saying it was too hard to get a good strike and the design was too busy for the size of the coin. Although the Washington quarter was intended as a one year issue, it was so popular, the mint kept the design quietly replacing the Standing Liberty quarter. Several artists submitted designs for the new Quarter. Unfortunately Laura Fraser's design was not accepted in favor of the one designed by john Flannigan. I personally feel Fraser's design is superior artistically and now 67 years later the design is being used for a $5 gold commemorative.
In 1938 the Indian nickel turned 25 years old and was eligible to be replaced. Due to wear problems, most noticeably in the date, a new design was sought. Since the two most popular presidents had been taken the third most popular, Thomas Jefferson, was next. The mint ran a contest and a design by Felix Schlag won. In typical government logic they told Schlag, "We love your design. It's perfect. Now change it." The original reverse showed Monticello at an angle with a tree in the foreground and for some reason that design was deemed impractical and was changed to the more mundane front view that is still used today. One interesting note: when the coins were first released there was a rumor the image of Monticello was actually the White House with the flag was missing. The rumor also claimed the coins would be recalled therefore making them scarce. When the mint came out with a statement stating the facts the rumor quickly died.
In 1945 just after the end of the war in Europe President Franklin Roosevelt passed away. A grieving nation called for a coin to be issued honoring the him. The dime was chosen mainly to tie into the March of Dimes, a charity Roosevelt was involved with. The coins were released in January 1946 to coincide with that year's fundraising drive of the March of Dimes.
In 1948 the trend of honoring famous americans on coins continued with the Franklin half dollar. Why Franklin? He was probably the most famous non-president from colonial times. Artistically the coin pales in comparison to the Walking Liberty half dollar and the small eagle on the reverse looks like it was an afterthought added only to comply with the law that states all coins 25 cents and up must include an eagle. Originally, Franklin was to be put on the one cent to tie in with "A penny saved is a penny earned," but the thought of bumping Lincoln was unacceptable. With the nickel only 10 yrs old, the dime two years, and the quarter 16, the only coin left was the half. Another reason the half was chosen was similar to the reason the Standing Liberty quarter was replaced. Despite its artistic merits it was hard to get good strikes on a consistent basis, especially in the center of the coin and Liberty's left hand.
In 1959 the reverse of the Lincoln cent was changed from the wheat reverse to one featuring the Lincoln Memorial. This was the 150th anniversary of Lincoln's birth and the mint felt they had to do something. Apparently they never heard of the saying "if it ain't broke don't fix it."
In 1963 just weeks after President Kennedy was shot in Dallas Treasury officials started working on a coin featuring the slain president in a manner similar to Roosevelt. At the time three different denominations were being considered: the quarter, the half and the dollar. The dollar was rejected and Mrs. Kennedy said no to the quarter because she didn't want Washington removed. This left the half dollar. Even though the design was only 16 years old, an act of congress quickly ended the series and the Kennedy halves went into production. I guess since Franklin was not a president he was expendable.
In 1971, partially at the request of western casino owners and western politicians, the dollar denomination was revived this time with the image of Ike on the obverse. Why was Ike chosen? The way I gather, it is because in 1969 not long after the moon landing, Ike passed away and this gave the mint an opportunity to honor another president who had just passed away, without replacing a previously honored president. They also wanted to commemorate the moon landing by NASA, a government agency that owes its existence to legislation signed by Ike. Helping matters along was the president at the time Richard Nixon who was Ike's vice president in the 1950s.
In 1976 to honor the nation's 200th anniversary, a competition was held to select special reverses for the quarter, half, and dollar. The coins were struck in both 1975 and 1976 but all are dated 1776-1976. This is not the first time dual dating was used on Us coins, many commemorative halves feature dual dating for example the sesquicentennial half and the Elgin half.
In 1979 plans were made to issue a smaller size dollar coin. The idea was the smaller size would be easier to carry and would eventually replace the dollar note and encourage the use of the two dollar bill. This coin was also to break tradition and not use a former president or return to a more generic image of Liberty. The original designs featured a flowing haired Liberty not too dissimilar to the Liberties from the 1790's. At this time the women's movement was campaigning to honor a woman on a US coin in the same manner Presidents had been honored. It was decided to use Susan B. Anthony, one of the leaders of the woman's sufferagate movement. After an initial rush to get their hands on the new coins, the coin quickly fell into disfavor among the general public. On aesthetic reasons the coin was called ugly and people complained the size was too close to that of the quarter. This lead to the coin gaining the nickname "Carter Quarter" after the president at the time. Two more reasons for the unpopularity of the coin: vending machines did not take the coin and cashiers did not have an extra slot in their registers for the coin. Only recently has the coin starting to circulate more freely. This is thanks to refitted vending machines that now take the dollar coin, mostly in post offices and mass transit stations.
Now it is 1999 and there is hope for the future. The 50 state quarter program is underway and hopefully will not be exploited for political reasons like the commemorative programs have been. Also I hope that the new artistic designs will be an improvement to those currently in use.
Finally next year, the last in the millennium, we will see the
issue of the Sackajawea dollar. This will be the first coin to
depict a native american in 62 years. We can only hope changes to
the cent, nickel, dime and half dollar are not far behind. But
that's just my opinion, I could be wrong.
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