Chatter


Volume 66 No. 2 February 2020


Minutes of the 1212th Meeting

The 1212th meeting of the Chicago Coin Club was called to order by First Vice President Lyle Daly at 6:45 PM, Wednesday, January 8, 2020, at the Chicago Bar Association Building, 321 S. Plymouth Court, Downtown Chicago with 24 members and 2 guests: Anne Anaszewicz and Denise Kitchen.

V.P. Daly announced that all photographs and videos are prohibited without explicit approval.

The November and December minutes were approved as printed in the Chatter. A detailed November - December Treasurer’s Report showed $7,196.91 in revenue, $7,779.80 in expenses, and $33,896.90 in assets. A detailed 2019 Year End Report showed $53,103 in revenue, $55,849 in expenses, and $33,897 in assets. A motion was passed accepting the report. As this was the last report by Steve Zitowsky, Treasurer for the last 16 years, he received a warm round of applause.

The first reading was held of membership application for Denise Kitchen, a former member returning after raising her family.

Old Business:

New Business:

Second V.P John Riley introduced featured speaker Deven Kane who delivered a program Six Kingdoms, One King –The Coinage of Alfonso the Magnanimous and the Crown of Aragon. Following a question-and-answer period, John presented Deven with an ANA Educational Certificate and a personally engraved Club medal suspended from a neck ribbon.

John Riley announced the evening’s 14 exhibitors.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:31 PM.

Respectfully Submitted,
Carl F. Wolf, Secretary


Speaker’s Wor[l]d
Six Kingdoms, One King – The Coinage of Alfonso the Magnanimous and the Crown of Aragon

presented by Deven Kane,
to our January 8, 2020 meeting.

At the risk of over simplification, a king has multiple kingdoms when the kingdoms are arranged in a “personal union” instead of in an “empire.” An empire tries to use the same everything, everywhere – the same language, set of laws, currency, and more; an empire also aspires to some permanence. Under a personal union, there is not much effort at common institutions and integration; it is relatively simple to break off a kingdom due to succession or other reasons.

The presentation started by showing three numismatic reference books for this area:

Next up were maps of the Iberian Peninsula from 790 and 900, showing the thin band of non-Muslim states across the north, extending south from the Pyrenees Mountains. Our attention was focused on landlocked Aragon in the middle, with Navarre to the west (with a shoreline on the Atlatic) and Catalonia to the east (with a shoreline on the Mediterranean). A few simple coins were shown from the Union of Aragon and Navarre, from 1063 to 1134, which ended in a succession crisis because the last king had no son, only a brother in a monastery. He left the monastery to become king, married, had a daughter who was betrothed to the Count of Barcelona (Catalonia), and then he returned to the monastery. Local military successes against the Muslim forces provided for expansion and new kingdoms to the south, increasing the exposure to the Mediterranean. Following the 1231 capture from Muslims of the Balearic Islands, the Kingdom of Majorca was created and given to a younger son but, following antagonism towards Aragon, Aragon conquered the kingdom and reincorporated it into the Crown of Aragon. This was kingdom #2.

With the earlier abandonment of claims in Southern France, continued southward expansion was the only option, with the Kingdom of Valencia created in 1238 with settlers from Aragon and Catalonia to form kingdom #3 of the Crown of Aragon.

The story of Sicily, as kingdom #4, offers intrigue and ties to much of Europe. In 1266, at the behest of the Pope, Charles of Anjou deposed and killed the Hohenstaufen King Manfred of Sicily, with Manfred’s daughter Constance married off to the future Peter III of Aragon. The March 30, 1282 popular uprising against Charles of Anjou resulted in the rebel’s asking Peter for help – he soon conquered the island, but the War of the Sicilian Vespers lasted for 20 years, with all original protagonists dead by the time of peace; the old Kingdom of Sicily was divided into the Avegnin Kingdom of Naples (the southern mainland), and the Aronese Kingdom of Trinacria (Sicily) ruled by a branch of the House of Barcelona. (Trinacria is Greek for three-cornered, and has been used as a name for the island of Sicily.) When Deven showed a gold coin of Manfred (1258-1266), he pointed out the Hohenstaufen Imperial Eagle centered on one side, and asked us to look for this image later.

Next up was kingdom #5, Sardinia. Although the king of Aragon had been given the claim to Sardinia and Corsica in 1297, the invasion took place in 1323, with the Kingdom of Sardinia and Corsica formally created in 1324 – the conquest of Sardinia was not completed until 1420, at which time Genoa still controlled Corsica, so Corsica was dropped from the name of the kingdom.

The 1410 death of Martin of Aragon, without a son, resulted in a meeting at Caspe to choose a successor from contenders. In 1412, Ferdinand of Antequera, the paternal uncle of the king of Castile and nephew of Martin of Aragon, was elected king of Aragon. Following his death four years later, his son, the Alfonso of this talk’s title, became king of Aragon, and spent most of his 42-year reign (1416-1458) in Italy. He was known differently in the different kingdoms:

Kingdom #6, Naples, was added in 1435 as the Neopolitan House of Anjou died out. There does not appear to have been any attempt to consolidate the coinage of his realms, and each kingdom issued distinctive coinage. We saw large silver coins from many of his realms, and at first glance they appear similar to the groats, deniers, and such struck at that time in Europe. Aragon is usually mentioned in the legend, along with the name of the local kingdom. Many have a facing or profile bust of Alfonso; some used devices which had been used on the local coins before Aragon gained control. The shown coins weighed from 2.93 to 3.48 grams; in addition to local standards, the range reflects the manufacturing process and clipping.

The coins of Sicily are generally of poor quality due to pressure by pirates and the need to pay for the conquest of Naples. An interesting piece, with a Hohenstaufen eagle, identifies itself as from the Duchies of Athens and Neopatras – following the War of the Vespers, Catalan mercenaries found employment in the Byzantine Empire until the Empire ran out of money, at which time they conquered the Duchies of Athens and Neopatras, and swore fealty to the Arogonese King of Sicily. The legends remained even after the duchies fell to a Florentine adventurer and were under threat from the Ottomans. A coin minted in Naples includes CICILIE CITRA ET VLTRA in the legend, which refers to Sicily on this side and beyond (on the other side of the Straits of Messina), referring to the Italian mainland (Naples).

The small coins from Alfonso’s kingdoms were cruder than the large silver coins, and are found worn and beat up due to their heavy circulation. In silver or billon, the shown examples weighed from 0.39 to 0.93 grams. A diner from Sicily even has the Hohenstaufen eagle.

Two gold coins were shown. A florin of Majorca, from about 1340 and in 75% gold, was shown as an example of a coin struck in the Spanish realms; half florins were also issued. The worn state of the gold coins suggests heavy use, and the artistry is not as nice as on the coins from Florence. A 1½ ducat (1442-1458) of Naples and Sicily has an armored knight on horseback on one side, and the quartered arms of Hungary, Jerusalem, Aragon, and Naples on the other side.

Aragon became less important once Castille had the New World and trade routes to the Indies. Deven concluded the presentation with major historical events from after Alfonso the Magnanimous.


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Show and Tell

Items shown at our January 8, 2020 meeting,
reported by John Riley.

  1. Mark Wieclaw provided a Public Search Announcement (PSA). He recently purchased coins from families which had parents who were duped by two companies, one of which was run by a former director of the US Mint. They two companies are US Money Reserve and United States Commemorative Gallery. Mark showed some examples and shared some real horror stories.
  2. Melissa Gumm four banknotes of the Peoples Republic of China. They are all from the 5th series of notes, and feature Mao Zedong (Tse Tung) on the front. On the back, “Peoples Republic of China” appears in 5 languages: Mandarin pinyin, Mongolian, Tibetan, Uyghen, and Zhuang.
    1. The 10 Yuan features a rose watermark, and the three gorges of the Yangtze River on the back.
    2. The 20 Yuan has a Lotus watermark, and Scenery of Guilin (Forest of Sweet Osmanthus) on the back.
    3. The 50 Yuan features Mao for the watermark, and the Potala Palace (the winter palace of the Dalai Lama from 1649 to 1959, now a museum and World Heritage site) on the back.
    4. The 100 Yuan features Mao for the watermark, and the Great Hall of the People (a state building on the western edge of Tiananmen Square) on the back.
  3. Lyle Daly showed something old and something more recent.
    1. A 1 Real of Carlos and Johanna, 1542-1570. This Spanish colonial silver coin was struck at the Mexico City mint (indicated by an M), during the 1535-1570 tenure of Luis Rodriquez as Assayer (indicated by an L).
    2. Medals and Book on the USS Constellation:
      1. Lyle’s wife visited Baltimore in August, 2019, and brought back the book USS Constellation, an Illustrated History and a medal, labeled as a “Commemorative Coin,” celebrating the ship’s centennial diamond Jubilee, 1797-1972.
      2. A “relic” medal from 1955, created from the 1855 ship’s bronze hull sheathing, which was replaced in 1955.
      3. Lyle pointed out that neither medal is a coin, and the USS Constellation in Baltimore harbor is actaully the second USS Constellation. Historic Ships of Baltimore, the organization that now operates the museum of which Constellation is a part, does not present the ship as having been the original vessel. They acknowledge that the first vessel was broken up in 1853, and present the accounts provided by more recent editions of Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS).
  4. Deven Kane showed a range of items.
    1. A 1975 Spanish Coronation Medal, by Marín, for Juan Carlos I, King of Spain. This bronze medal has a diameter of 80mm and weighs 154.2 grams. The bust of Juan Carlos is on the obverse, surrounded by the circular legend: JUAN CARLOS I — REY DE ESPAÑA. The Royal Crown is on the reverse, with the date NOVIEMBRE 22 / 1975 below it.
    2. A 1975 bronze Proclamation Medal to go with the above medal. This bronze medal has a diameter of 80mm and weighs 145.9 grams. The superimposed heads of Juan Carlos and Sofía are on the obverse, surrounded by the circular legend: JUAN CARLOS Y SOFIA REYES DE ESPAÑA. The reverse is the same as on the coronation medal.
    3. An example of tin ”Hat Money” made about 1841 or 1842 in Pahang, where it was valued at 1/25 of a Mexican 8 Reales. This cracked piece, measuring 76x78mm at the base and weighing 187.33 grams, is pictured on page 155 of Opitz’s book on ethnographic money. There are only 25 of these listed on Acsearch.
  5. Bob Feiler showed recent acquisitions.
    1. 1909 Liberty ”V” nickel for reference, and then one with denticals and reeded edge – made outside of the mint.
    2. A 1984/1988 double headed “magician’s” Jefferson nickel. Bob provided an explanation of how these items are made outside of the mint, using a specialty drill, lathe, and industrial adhesive.
    3. A 1921 Morgan dollar with pieces of a belt buckle soldered on the reverse.
    4. An 1807 British token commemorating the end of the British slave trade in 1807. (It would take some more years for slavery to be abolished in British lands.) The edge has been worked to create a ”pie crust” type of edge, most unusual. The reverse legend appears in Arabic.
  6. Robert Leonard showed four nickels and a new book on counterfeit coins.
    1. A counterfeit Shield Nickel dated 1868 and with a yellowish tint. Made of German Silver in 1869-70 in Brooklyn, it is of type Zack 1868 Z1-B.
    2. A genuine Shield Nickel, 1883.
    3. A counterfeit Jefferson Nickel dated 1944, with a bluish tint, and without a large P minmark over Monticello. Made of Monel Metal in 1954 in Erial, New Jersey, it is of type Zack TD2-TDA.
    4. A genuine Jefferson Nickel, 1945 P.
    5. Winston Zack’s new 2019 book, Bad Metal: Circulating Contemporary Counterfeit United States Coins. Bob read a paragraph from the book’s introduction, telling of how Winston was encouraged to attend ANA Summer Seminar by fellow CCC members, and the club’s mission of education – a nice reminiscence from years ago when Winston was a student of Bob and other club members, and how, through his book, Winston has become the teacher! Roles have been reversed, the student has become the master.
  7. Carl Wolf gave a travel summary of a Christmastime visit to the Route 66 Museum in Pontiac, IL. Upstairs was a War Museum, a moving tribute to America’s military, specifically veterans from Livingston County, with many uniforms, militaria, correspondence, and souvenirs from periods of conflict – mainly WWI and WWII. Carl pointed out a particularly impressive “short snorter” string of banknotes that is on display – paper money from different countries visited by a service member, taped end-to-end, and signed by multiple comrades as a fraternal keepsake. This one appears to be 13 or 14 feet long.
  8. David Gumm showed some books.
    1. The 1957 edition (2nd ed.) of Whitman Publishing’s Catalog of Modern World Coins – a book that covered the previous century of world coins, and a publication that introduced many collectors of the era to a wider range of coin collecting possibilities.
    2. Collecting Vintage Coin Boards, Albums, and Folders by Donald Kocken. A new book to an emerging specialty. A memory invoking look at how the hobby was marketed as early as the 1930s, and drew attention to including mintmarked issues to complete a set. Occasionally the early issuers would pay a (supposed) premium for a complete returned board containing, of course, the scarce and more valuable issues!
  9. Dale Carlson showed a medal for the Chicago Numismatic Society’s 50th meeting (March 6, 1908). In silver and as pictured in Bill Burd’s recent book on medals and tokens of the Chicago Coin Club. Dale spotted the medal, scarce in silver, in a dealer’s ”bargain box.”
  10. Steve Zitowsky showed a range of items.
    1. A Chicago dealer had sold an ”unknown token” to Steve many years ago. This piece remain a numismatic mystery until a similar piece recently was spotted in a national auction where it was identified as from the Princely States of India. This silver fanam of Travancore (1864) is notable for its central and bold ”R.V.” legend.
    2. A gold Unit of King Aphilas of Aksum (ca. AD 270/90 - 330).
  11. Robert Weinstein showed square and rectangular Indo-Greek and Indo-Scythian copper coins with hard, dark brown patinas. We do not know the names of these denominations, so we give them names based upon weight: the largest now is called a Full Unit, a coin weighing half of the largest is called a Half Unit, and so on.
    1. A copper Indo-Greek Full Unit issue of the Indo-Greek King Eukratides, struck while at war with the dynasty he had usurped. The obverse has a Greek legend, while the reverse has an Indian legend.
    2. A similar piece, but a Half Unit. These were mostly struck on smaller flans, using the die for a full-sized coin.
    3. Similar Indo-Greek Full Unit of King Heliokles II, with an elephant on the reverse, and still bilingual.
    4. A early copper Full Unit issue of Indo-Scythian King Azes (the Great). On one side the king is on a Baktrian camel, while a brahman bull is on the other side.
    5. Similar, but a Half Unit.
    6. Similar, but a Quarter Unit.
  12. Gerard Anaszewicz talked about the rare ”Danish Dennings” struck during the 1600s on oblong flans by Denmark, copying Russian coins of this era.
    1. A 1983 21-page offprint, by Brekke & Berglund, from the Russian Numismatic Society. Danish King Christian IV had these coins made, copied in the Russian style, to facitate trade with Russia. One side features a mounted horseman with lance, while the other side has only a legend.
    2. A piece with the Copenhagen mintmaster’s ”P” marking under the horseman, indicating the coins were struck by the mintmaster Johan Post, with the legend in the name of the Russian czar Mikail.
    3. A similarly styled Russian piece struck in the name of the czar Dmitri Ivanovich.
  13. Loren Miller showed a Slovakian token, dated 2007, commemorating Chicago attorney Jeffery M. Leving with legend in Slovak, ”25 years of Struggle/Leading Fathers to Equality.”
  14. Audrius Plioplys showed a book, titled Money Art, which he acquired after reading about it in the Numismatic Bibliomania Society’s newsletter, The E-Sylum. This book features the banknote creations of Slovak artist Matej Gabris. Audrius showed several high quality, painstakenly detailed fantasy ”Specimen” banknotes rendered by Gabris, and pointed out a ironic developing phenomenon – these fantasy notes are quite popular and are now being counterfeited! As a result the book details the elaborate security precautions now being employed – watermarks, and notes in polymer.

Our 1213th Meeting

Date: February 12, 2020
Time: 6:45 PM
Location: Downtown Chicago
At the Chicago Bar Association, 321 S. Plymouth Court, 3rd floor meeting room. Please remember the security measures at our meeting building: everyone must be prepared to show their photo-ID and register at the guard’s desk.
Featured Program: Brett IrickThe Art of Cherrypicking, and Ten Mistakes to Avoid When Buying
The best way to “cherry pick” – also known as making a very good buy – is without alarming the selling party and/or other auction bidders. With over fifty years in the hobby, a number of techniques have been learned and effectively executed at auctions, coin shows, and in dealer show rooms. Past American Numismatic Association president Bob Campbell advised, in a talk on this subject, that “big sharks swallow little sharks.” Two years ago Central States Numismatic Society governor Andy Kimmel developed a presentation on mistakes to avoid when buying coins and other numismatic material that will be presented as part of this talk. The information shared in this talk and audience input will sharpen your buying skills. Exceptional examples of cherry picks will be shared with those in attendance.

Important Dates

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.

February 12 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - Brett Irick on The Art of Cherrypicking
February 27-29 ANA’s National Money Show at the Cobb Galleria Centre, Atlanta, Georgia. Details at http://www.money.org/NationalMoneyShow
March 11 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - Jim Davis on Fractional Currency
April 8 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - Mark Wieclaw on Dynastic Issues of the Roman Empire
April 23-25 81st Anniversary Convention of the Central States Numismatic Society at the Schaumburg Renaissance Hotel & Convention Center, 1551 North Thoreau Drive, Schaumburg, IL. There is a $5 per day admission charge, but admission is free for CSNS Life Members. For details, refer to their website, http://www.centralstatesnumismaticsociety.org/convention.
April 25 CCC Meeting - 1pm at the CSNS Convention, which is held at the Schaumburg Convention Center. No admission charge for our meeting.
Featured Speaker - to be announced
May 13 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - to be announced
June 10 CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - to be announced

Chatter Matter

http://www.ChicagoCoinClub.org/

Contacting Your Editor / Chatter Delivery Option

chatter_editor@yahoo.com

The print version of the Chatter is simply a printout of the Chatter webpage, with a little cutting and pasting to fill out each print page. The webpage is available before the Chatter is mailed.
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Club Officers

Elected positions:
Richard Lipman- President
Lyle Daly- First V.P.
John Riley- Second V.P.
William Burd- Archivist
Directors:Melissa Gumm
Deven Kane
Dale Lukanich
Mark Wieclaw
Appointed positions:
Elliott Krieter- Immediate Past President
Carl Wolf- Secretary
Elliott Krieter- Treasurer
Paul Hybert- Chatter Editor, webmaster
Jeffrey Rosinia- ANA Club Representative

Correspondence

All correspondence pertaining to Club matters should be addressed to the Secretary and mailed to:
CHICAGO COIN CLUB
P.O. Box 2301
CHICAGO, IL 60690

Payments to the Club, including membership dues, can be addressed to the Treasurer and mailed to the above address.

Payments

Renewing Members Annual dues are $20 a year ($10 for Junior, under 18). Annual Membership expires December 31 of the year through which paid. Cash, check, or money order are acceptable (USD only please). We do not accept PayPal. Email your questions to Treasurer.ChicagoCoinClub@GMail.com Members can pay the Club electronically with Zelle™ using their Android or Apple smart phone. JP Morgan Chase customers can send payments to the Club via Quick Pay. To see if your Bank or Credit Union is part of the Zelle™ Payments Network, go to https://www.zellepay.com Please read all rules and requirements carefully.


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