|Volume 66 No. 4||April 2020|
The club’s regular April meeting in downtown Chicago has been canceled. This should come as no surprise. Covid-19 is playing havoc with scheduled events in the real world, and in now our corner of the small numismatic world. Our club joins the growing list of clubs which are canceling in-person meetings and conventions.
We are looking into holding a virtual (on-line) meeting on the evening of our regular April meeting. I am confident we will have some numismatic program on the evening of April 8, but, because our meeting will be more than two weeks after this issue is printed, I offer no details here.
An email will be sent to all members as soon as we know what resources will be needed for viewing and participating. At that same time, the information would be posted on the club’s main webpage.
Paul Hybert, editor
The 1214th meeting of the Chicago Coin Club was called to order by President Richard Lipman at 6:45 PM, Wednesday, March 11, 2020, at the Chicago Bar Association Building, 321 S. Plymouth Court, Downtown Chicago with 20 members present.
President Lipman announced prohibition of all photographs and videos without explicit approval. He also asked members to stay attentive with public announcements on the coronavirus.
The February minutes were approved as printed in the Chatter. Elliott Krieter gave the February treasurer’s report showing $300.00 in revenue, $146.00 in expenses, and $34,292.90 in assets. The report was approved.
The membership application for Daniel Vaisrub received a second reading, and a motion was passed accepting him into membership.
The Secretary reported:
First VP Lyle Daly introduced James Davis who gave the featured program on U.S. Fractional Currency. After a question and answer period, Lyle presented Jim with an ANA Educational Award and a personally engraved medal suspended on a neck ribbon. Deven Kane arranged for the presentation to be broadcast on Facebook Live.
Lyle announced the following upcoming programs:
Second VP John Riley announced the evening’s 10 exhibitors.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:43 PM.
Carl F. Wolf, Secretary
presented by Jim Davis,
to our March 11, 2020 meeting.
This presentation provided an overview of Fractional Currency, starting with some background as to why such things were needed, and then covering the five issues with some interesting notes along the way. The more advanced collectors look for different paper types, signatures, and overprints, but those topics are not covered in this presentation. An appropriate starting place for the story of fractional currency is the presidential election of 1860.
Abraham Lincoln’s strong showing in the populous northern states allowed him to gather enough electoral votes (180) to be elected. Breckinridgw (72 votes), Bell (39 votes), and Douglas (12 votes) were the other candidates. Southerners were not happy with the results. While talk of secession had appeared over the years and in different places, the talk usually remained localized and faded over time. But with Lincoln’s inauguration in March of 1861, the idea of secession gathered strength and spread.
Soon, states passed resolutions of secession and war began with the attack on Fort Sumter, located in the harbor of Charlestown, South Carolina. On both sides, people thought their fine soldiers would soon scatter the rabble and rascals on the other side. Southern victories led to panic in the North, but the will to fight remained. When people panic, money has a tendency to disappear.
In 1861 every coin, except for the cent, was made of either gold or silver and its face value equaled the value of its metal. Some coins were sent outside the country, while others were hoarded. Soon even cent coins disappeared from circulation. To alleviate the shortage of small change, a number of coin replacements were tried by private parties. Copper tokens, in the size of the cent coin, were made bearing patriotic themes or names of businesses. An individual postage stamp was placed in a round, thin shell, with a mica window on top and a metal back with the name of the issuer on the back. A group of postage stamps were placed in an envelope bearing the amount. But these pieces were too expensive or fragile to be heavily produced and used. Finally, the US government developed a solution based upon postage stamps.
The idea was to print notes in value of less than one dollar, perforate the sheets, and then sell the sheets to merchants who could detach notes as needed to make change. The First Issue, from August 21, 1862 until May 27, 1863, had four values. The central device on the front of the brown 5¢ note was the design of the brown 5¢ postage stamp featuring Thomas Jefferson. Similarly, the design of the green 10¢ note featured the design of the green 10¢ George Washington postage stamp. For the 25¢ note, five of the 5¢ stamps were shown stacked — the top stamp was entirely shown, with the center and left side of the lower stamps shown. For the 50¢ note, five of the 10¢ stamps were similarly shown. It should come as no surprise that these are known as Postage Currency, what with that written across the top of the front. On the back was the statement that these could be exchanged for United States Notes in sums not less than five dollars; also present was a statement that these were receivable by the United States for all dues less than five dollars. A CSA watermark appears on some notes — a captured blockade runner was carrying paper from Great Britain, so the North used the paper!
The perforations were not very popular, so they were dropped — the later sheets needed to be cut by the user. Counterfeiters soon struck, resulting in a change. The Second Issue was issued from October 10, 1863 until February 23, 1867, in denominations of 5¢, 10¢, 25¢, and 50¢. All denominations used the same design, differing in only the denomination. The front names these as Fractional Currency, with one reverse statement changed to state these could be exchanged for United States Notes in sums not less than three dollars; the other statement was unchanged. A bronze oval ring surrounds Washington’s bust, at least that is where it should appear.
The Third Issue, from December 5, 1864 until August 16, 1869, included a 3¢ note; each denomination had a unique front design, with two front designs used on the 50¢ note. Many denominations had the back printed in either red or green. The 5¢ note, featuring a portrait of the Superintendent of the National Currency Board Spencer M. Clark, caused some controversy. There is no definitive story about why Clark chose his image for this note, but one story has Clark showing a proposed 50¢ design featuring his boss, Treasurer of the United States Francis E. Spinner. Spinner liked it, and asked who would appear on the 5¢ note; Clark replied, “How about Clark?” Spinner thought he meant a different Clark (of Lewis and Clark, perhaps?) and agreed. Congress was not happy, and passed a law forbidding the appearance of living persons on currency. The appearance of Treasury Secretary William Fessenden on the 25¢ note caused less controversy, perhaps because he was not responsible for choosing designs. After the law was passed, a new 50¢ design was used, replacing the one with Spinner’s portrait.
Even though the Civil War had ended, the government still issued Fractional Currency. The fourth Issue, issued from July 14, 1869 until February 16, 1875, saw the introduction of a 15¢ note while still issuing 10¢, 25¢, and 50¢ notes. A proposed 15¢ design, featuring Generals Sherman and Grant, was never officially issued, but 25,800 Specimens of this piece were made available. Three 50¢ designs were issued, featuring Sam Dexter, Abraham Lincoln, and Edwin Stanton.
Plans to exchange the Fractional Currency notes with silver coins were already in motion when the Fifth Issue were issued from February 26, 1874 until February 15, 1876. This series had only three denominations — 10¢, 25¢, and 50¢ — with each denomination featuring a different politician: William A. Meredith, Robert J. Walker, and William H. Crawford.
A total of $368.7 million of Fractional Currency was issued. Estimates vary as to the number of notes not redeemed, from an esitmated $487,000 worth in a 1964 Treasury audit, to a range of $1.8 to $2 million by other sources. These notes are still legal tender to this day.
Around 1867, the Treasury produced a display piece showing 20 note fronts and 19 note backs. This Currency Shield sold for $4.50 from the Treasury. They were intended as counterfiet detectors, but their use might have been awkward because, if a bank had only one, a teller or clerk would have to leave his station to take the note to the Shield. Maybe it was mostly used as a decorative piece. The number of extant pieces ranges from 300 to 450. The most common Shield has a gray background, with maybe a dozen each known with the pink and green background.
|CSNS Convention||Chicago Coin Company|
|Harlan J. Berk, Ltd.||Kedzie Koins Inc.|
Items shown at our March 11, 2020 meeting,
reported by John Riley.
Reminder: You can email to John a description of what you will show at a meeting, to give him a start on this write-up. Send it to email@example.com.
March 22, 2020
Due to the spread of the infectious Covid-19 virus, all meeting rooms are closed until April 30th at the Chicago Bar Association, our normal meeting site. As soon as the news broke, Board members began to discuss how the regular meeting could be moved to a web based video conference. Since Deven Kane has considerable experience with this meeting method, he was appointed to investigate the feasibility for the Club. Deven conducted a trial run Saturday, March 21, with three Board members: Lyle Daly, John Riley, and Carl Wolf. They found Deven’s recommendations sound and called for an emergency video meeting of the Chicago Coin Club Board.
The Chicago Coin Club Board held an emergency meeting March 22, 2020 via web hosted video conference. President Rich Lipman called the meeting to order at 2:00 PM with the following members participating: Deven Kane, Paul Hybert, Mark Wieclaw, Steve Zitowsky, Melissa Gumm, Elliott Krieter, Carl Wolf, Lyle Daly, John Riley, and Scott McGowan. Bill Burd and Jeff Rosinia were unable to participate.
A motion was passed to officially change the April 8, 2020 meeting to a web based video and authorize the President to keep meetings online until we are able to reconvene in person.
After much discussion, the following mechanics were agreed to:
Paul Hybert, Editor of the Chatter, expressed his belief that printers will be closed through April, and there would be no hard copy of the April newsletter.
The meeting was adjourned at 3:05 PM.
Carl F. Wolf, Secretary
|Date:||April 8, 2020|
Visit our website, www.chicagocoinclub.org, for all the details on participating in an online club meeting. Participation in an online meeting requires some advance work by both our meeting coordinator and attendees, especially first-time participants. Please plan ahead; read the latest instructions on the day before the meeting!
|Featured Program:||Mark Wieclaw —
Dynastic Issues of the Roman Empire
Beginning with Octavius (Augustus Caesar), it was a common practice to have the portrait of the current emperor adorn the obverse of their coinage. This practice would continue throughout the remainder of the Roman Empire. In addition, many rulers showed one or more of their family members on either the obverse or reverse of the coins. These are referred to as dynastic issues. Most famously would be an aureus (gold coin), issued by Septimius Severus, 193-211 AD, that had his wife Julia Domna and both sons, Caracalla and Geta, appear on the reverse.
Due to time constraints, this presentation will focus on the Imperial issues. Provincial issues were so vast that it would be overwhelming.
Unless stated otherwise, our regular monthly CCC Meeting is in downtown Chicago on the second Wednesday of the month; the starting time is 6:45PM.
|April||8||CCC Meeting - Online Only! - Featured Speaker - Mark Wieclaw on Dynastic Issues of the Roman Empire
Visit our website, www.chicagocoinclub.org, for all the details on participating in an online club meeting.
|May||13||CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - Robert Weinstein on Coinage and History of the Apracas and the Indo-Parthians|
|June||10||CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - to be announced|
|July||8||CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - to be announced|
|August||4-8||ANA in downtown Pittsburgh. Admission is free for ANA members — for details, see http://www.worldsfairofmoney.com.|
|August||12||CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - to be announced|
|September||9||CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - James McMenamin on to be announced|
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CHICAGO COIN CLUB
P.O. Box 2301
CHICAGO, IL 60690
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