|Volume 67 No. 11||November, 2021|
The format of our November meeting has been finalized – we will meet in person at our usual downton location. This regular meeting will be available online for anyone who cannot join us in person. This will be our first attempt at using some new equipment, both ours and this venue’.
The ANA’s website has rules and applications for Collector Exhibits at both their March show in Colorado Springs and their August show here in Rosemont. Years ago CCC held workshops on building an exhibit for presentation at an ANA convention – we hope to have a similar support program in early 2022, but this time completely online.
Before we send out dues notices for 2022, we want to process those who have not paid for 2021. This issue has a list of members with unpaid 2021 dues. Maybe they forgot, or maybe there is an error in our records. Please help us here.
Paul Hybert, editor
The 1233rd meeting of the Chicago Coin Club was called to order by President Lyle Daly at 6:45 PM CDT, Wednesday October 13, 2021. Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, the meeting was held online only. Attendance was 26 individuals at the beginning of the meeting and reached a total of 32.
Club Meeting Minutes and Treasurer’s Report
The September 08, 2021, meeting minutes were approved as published in the Chatter, both in print and online.
Treasurer Elliott Krieter presented the Treasurer’s report for the September period. The September period had income of $35.00 (Dues, Shirt Sale) and expenses of $2,293.00 (Chatter Expense and ANA expense), giving the period a total of -$2,258.00. The report was approved.
Secretary Scott McGowan performed the second reading of the new member application for Pat Alexander, calling for a membership vote which approved Pat Alexander as a member. A first reading was completed for new member applicant Dan Shemwell. Dan’s numismatic interests include US and Foreign, Middle East and Africa. He is a member of ANA, PCGS, and NGC. Dan is recommended to the club by the club secretary.
Newman Numismatic Portal Symposium will be held October 15–17, 2021.
First V.P. John Riley introduced the Featured Program: Richard Lipman on John Miles Baker and the Magnificent 99 Company. After the presentation John indicated Rich will receive a speaker’s medal and an ANA education certificate.
Second V.P Melissa Gumm announced of evening’s five exhibitors.
The next meeting will be Wednesday, November 10 , 2021, both in-person at the Chicago Bar Association at 321 S. Plymouth Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60604 and online using Webex. In-person attendance requires masks be worn at all times. Be sure to bring ID for entrance into the Bar Association building.
Lyle Daly adjourned the meeting at 8:48 PM CDT.
Scott A. McGowan, Secretary
by Richard Lipman,
presented to our October 13, 2021 meeting.
On November 22, 1963 President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was assassinated. Vice President Johnson was sworn in on the same day. In response to an outpouring of demand, a Kennedy half dollar was approved and, on March 24, 1964, Kennedy half dollars were first released to the public.
The interest was enormous, with long lines to purchase them, and many turned away empty handed. Sound familiar? A non-collector, who was a director at a life insurance company, decided he needed to have one or more of these. Furthermore, he decided that he needed a way to show that his half dollars were purchased on the first day of release. This was, of course, before any first release slab designations were available. So John Miles Baker decided that he would have his post marked to prove the date of acquisition. However, this turned out to not be as easy to do as he thought. He went to multiple banks and was told that they had not received their shipments yet. When he finally found a bank that had them, he was told that they were for bank customers only. He must have been a very good salesman indeed because he spoke to the bank manager and managed to purchase one coin. After many more bank visits, he was able to acquire two more.
He now went home and, using Elmer’s glue, he affixed the three coins to their individual envelopes in the upper right-hand corner. He fortuitously, as it turned out, put himself as both the sender and recipient. No doubt with a bounce in his step, he went off to the post office to have his envelopes hand cancelled with that date. In response to his request, he was told it could not be done because the cancellation would damage the coin and that was illegal. Baker correctly argued that it only applied to coins that were manipulated for fraudulent purposes. The postmaster then told him to just put the coin in the envelope instead, but that suggestion was rejected. The postmaster then told him it would get damaged in the mail so Baker proposed that, since he was both the sender and recipient, that the clerk could just “deliver it” to him after cancelling it. The postmaster had run out of reasons but still said he did not feel comfortable doing it.
So John asked him who could approve it, and the postmaster told him the Cleveland district office could so; the office was called, the same objections were raised, and a similar suggestion to just put it in the envelope was made. He swatted down their arguments, but he still received the same answer in the end. So, he asked who was the ultimate authority, and was told it was the post office department in Washington, DC. He offered to pay for the call, and it was made. He was told that they would need some time to look at all the regulations and they would be able to get back to him in some days. Desperate now, he explained the urgency of his request and, within a half hour or so, they called back to say they could not find anything in the statutes that specifically precluded him from having this done, so they were cancelled and hand delivered back to him. One of them was smeared so he broke it apart; the apocryphal story is that he took the half dollar and bought a burger. Thus, the first philatelic numismatic cover was born.
Ok, so what are philatelic numismatic covers? Simply, they are the marriage of a coin, medal, or token and a first day stamp cover. There are several terms used to describe them, including coin letters, philatelic numismatic covers, philatelic numismatic combinations, postal numismatic covers, first day coin covers, PNCs, and Mr. Baker’s preferred term, certified coins.
Now back to the story. Mr. Baker related that he returned home to his wife who was decidedly unenthusiastic. He showed it around to a few folks who thought his version of the Kennedys were pretty cool. Enthused, he headed off to show it to some coin dealers who were unimpressed. They told him something like, “That’s interesting, how would you like to buy some Indian head pennies?” Finally, one guy suggested that he take the covers to Margo Russell, the editor of Coin World in nearby Sidney, Ohio. He inquired and she told him to come on down. He showed it to her and she was very enthusiastic. Mr. Baker soon applied for a work transfer, and received a transfer to the much balmier San Clemente, California.
There, he went to a local coin shop and met Hal Silene, his eventual partner in the 99 Company. Hal gave him the insight that coin collectors would not be very excited to have their coins smeared with glue, so they brainstormed and came up the design for covers which have a window in the envelope to see both sides of the coin. They also would affix half of the stamp to a flap and have it cancelled on the first day of issue of the coin. Then they would load the coin into a surrounding piece of cardboard, decorated thematically to match the coin, and place it in the envelope, then the second half of the stamp was affixed to seal the envelope. They eventually received a patent on this process, which was mentioned in the minutes of the US Bicentennial Commission when they decided to produce a PNC.
Turns out the process did not necessarily work that way. The postal service often had very large orders for first date cancellations that would take many days but still were cancelled with the original date. It became much more complex when they travelled to foreign countries to acquire coins. One could not possibly acquire the coins, design the envelope and cardboard insert, and put it all together in one day – so they were predominately postmarked on the date but assembled later.
Again, back to the story. The newly minted partners needed a name for their company, so they looked around Hal’s shop and noticed his address was 99 Avenue Del Mar, and it became the 99 Company. They also managed to get a mailbox with the number 99 for a final address of 99 Company, Box 99, San Clemente, California.
As an aside, there was also apparently another individual, less entrepreneurial, who created his own similar cover contemporaneously – William Seifert. Also, there were others who, either at an earlier date or simultaneously, had created various forms of PNCs, notably H. Alvin Sharpe and Francis R. Anderson.
Their first commercial venture underway, they created a cover with the Kennedy half dollar and a newly released Kennedy stamp. In this case, the cancellation was made on the first day of the stamp’s issue. They made 1,000 and sold them all, first offering them at $7.50 and the rest, after they saw the demand, at $25.
The following year, Baker sold one of his two remaining original covers at an auction for $100. Two years later, with the growing success of the new hobby, the cover was resold at an auction for $2,000. Two more years later it sold for $18,000.
To commemorate the original two covers, a PNC was made ten years after the first two – it has a hand stamped cancellation by the original postal clerk who had stamped the first three covers. 850 were made, and I have the one from my dad’s collection.
From 1965-1979, Baker travelled the world to buy coins and have stamps postmarked the same day. This involved many adventures and near misses with robbers and government officials.
Baker estimated that he had sold about three million dollars worth of merchandise. At its peak, there were about two thousand subscribers who were paying $15 a month to receive 3 different PNCs. He had visited more than 50 countries and was offered a million dollars for his company. Everything was going very smoothly until he began to hear voices in his head on a trip to Israel. Reportedly, he tipped a servant $1,000 dollars, thought he had met Moses, and was himself Jesus. He was hospitalized and diagnosed with bipolar disorder. The result was that his business collapsed and was closed. He attempted an unsuccessful reopening of the company in the early 1980s.
Years later he was still hoping to restart his business. but was flat broke and deep in debt. Turns out he had even lost the other original first day cover. At that point, no one was interested in the remaining inventory. David Lisot was quoted as saying, “Nobody wants them.”
Baker had a stroke in 2003. I was able to track him to 2006, but have not seen anything on him since, not even an obituary.
As with any new item of interest in the numismatic community, there develops an environment around it with catalogs and price guides, and organizations devoted to that area with meetings and publications. The community that grew around the collecting of PNCs was no different. At one time there even existed a Philatelic Numismatic Combination Producers Association. Although the 99 Company was originally the preeminent producer of PNCs, there were many others who also jumped on the bandwagon.
One such company was Joram PNC covers, run by Joe Ramos, which was known for making covers using silver bars. The first ingot PNC was commemorating Father’s Day in 1972. He was also a prominent member of SPAN (the Society of Philatelists and Numismatists) – an organization we will discuss later. PANart was another. Numbatellics and Hutt commemoratives of New Zealand were others. The Franklin Mint was a big producer and reportedly sold more than 25 million dollars of PNC products in one year. The U.S government and many foreign governments also began producing them as well. A company called Showcase Presentations developed novel packaging for PNCs.
The Society of Philatelics and Numismatics (SPAN) was started as a member society for collectors of PNCs, not unlike the International Banknote Society or the Barber Coin Collector Society. SPAN started in March 17, 1968 in Fresno and rose to the same level of prominence as SPMC and TAMS. They sponsored meetings, had their own monthly publication (the exSPANsion) which started as a bimonthly product and became monthly in 1974. Their first meeting was at the Disneyland Hotel in 1968 when they came out with the first issue of exSPANsion. SPAN’s first annual hobby day was in August, 1973. The first official SPAN souvenir card was issued during the annual hobby day at the St. Louis ANA national meeting in 1979.
SPAN eventually named annually a man, woman, country, and young collector of the year. SPAN reported having over 100 members by the first anniversary, with 22 life members; they reported 293 members as of 1987. The national organization also spawned a number of regional groups like MetSpan of New York.
Like any other member-driven organization, SPAN attempted a number of different schemes to increase membership, including offering a Patron Membership with a platinum card and free advertising in the exSPANsion. They also issued mini PNC membership cards starting in 1981.
A who’s who of numismatists were on the SPAN board, including John Miles Baker and past ANA president Walter Ostromecki who served in multiple positions within SPAN up to and including president. Joe Ramos, a prominent producer of PNCs, was mentioned earlier and Eva Adams, former director of the Mint, was deeply involved. Margo Russell of Coin World was a huge booster of the hobby, with very frequent articles in her publication. In 1974, Baker and Russell were named SPAN man and woman of the year. Maurice M. Gould, a prominent dealer was also very involved. Also playing a prominent role was Ed McLung who was a cofounder of the NLG, a leader of many numismatic groups, and an editor of many of their publications. Many of these and other well-known individuals were enlisted as meeting and convention speakers on behalf of the hobby.
SPAN was still viable at least until 2001 – I saw a reference to a website from then, but a Google search now comes up empty.
John Miles Baker and the 99 Company were certainly no slouches either. The 99 Company attempted to sell their products through many different channels, including subscription sales, auctions, and advertisements in major coin publications. The 99 Company very publicly donated their collectables to the Smithsonian, the National Geographic Society, and the ANA, including 100 copies of their newsletter The 99News. The 99News was designed to communicate to the collector, and was reported at one point to have a circulation of about 3,500. At one time, a subscriber received a newsletter and three PNCs a month for $20. Baker was also a very frequent speaker at conventions and coin club meetings, often bringing along PNCs as quiz prizes.
John Miles Baker had many adventures in tracking down product for his PNCs. Reportedly, he took a trip to Hong Kong a few days before President Nixon visited China for the first time, and paid a tailor a substantial amount of money to go to China and obtain coins and stamps which were also postmarked on the date of Nixon’s visit. His company also sponsored at least one month-long trip to international mints. To commemorate Nixon’s inauguration in 1969, the president was convinced to sign five commemorative covers, with two going to The Smithsonian (for its philatelic and its numismatic divisions) and ANS, SPAN, and The American Philatelic Society each receiving one. Baker was also involved in the US government’s efforts to produce PNCs commemorating the US Bicentennial. The American Revolution Bicentennial Commission issued its first cover, which sold 750,000 units. Baker was also involved in a similar venture for the Olympic committee.
A catalog of 99 Company emissions, also known as the orange book, was also created; it listed the covers produced from 1965 to 1969, including information about the covers which was essentially the same information provided with the PNC itself. It also had multiple indices that listed the covers by country, topic, year, etc.; a place to record exhibition prizes won; and a pullout list of current values. The covers themselves were housed in annual binders, and were filled as mentioned before with coins, tokens, medals, and even elongates.
While spending time researching this story, I had a chance to reflect on John Miles Baker. Clearly, he had an entrepreneurial spirit with a good understanding of how to create and ride a wave of enthusiasm for PNCs. He was very public in promoting his products, and managed to enlist many prominent people in the numismatic community to aid his efforts. He very likely was not the first person to develop the concept, but he was the one who, using no doubt his salesman’s skills, successfully commercialized the product. One wonders – if he had not developed a debilitating mental illness, would the PNC be of collector interest today?
|CSNS Convention||Chicago Coin Company|
|Harlan J. Berk, Ltd.||Kedzie Koins Inc.|
Items shown at our October 13, 2021 meeting,
reported by Melissa Gumm.
|Date:||December 8, 2021|
|Time:||6:00PM Cocktails (cash bar),
with complementary hors d’oeuvres.
7:00PM to 10PM Dinner and Meeting
|Location:||Maggiano’s “Little Italy,” 240 Oakbrook Center, Oak Brook, IL 60523 (on the east side of the Oak Brook Shopping Center).|
The cost is $64 if paid by Friday November 19, and will be $74
if paid after that date or at the banquet.
Early commitments and payments are greatly appreciated.
Our group will be meeting in the spacious Francesca room which
can accommodate 65 to 85+ people; we will have plenty of room
to accommodate members, spouses, guests, and friends of members.
We will seat 6 people, rather than 8, per table in deference
to Covid-19 concerns.
There will be a private cash bar in the room for those wanting
an alcoholic beverage.
Make your reservation by mailing your check (payable to Chicago
Coin Club) to P.O. Box 2301, Chicago, IL 60690; or by paying
electronically (see the Chatter Matter page for details).
• Our dinner will start off with a Classic Tomato Bruschetta, followed by a Classic Caesar Salad.
• There will be three Entrees: Chicken Parmesan; Salmon with Lemon & Herb, Broccoli, and Crispy Vesuvio Potatoes; and Mom’s Meat Lasagna with Marinara.
• Dessert will be served individually to each guest: Mini Cheesecake, Vera’s Lemon Cookies, or Chocolate Truffles.
|Parking:||Plenty, and free.|
|Program:||The speaker is Cliff Mishler, on Unbridled Perspectives on the American Numismatic Association and its Community Connections. CCC member and ANA Governor Cliff Mishler will provide an Insider’s view of today’s ANA. Current Club members serving as officers and governors in the ANA are invited to join Cliff at the podium for a forward-looking discussion around maintaining a parent organization that is vital and mutually beneficial.|
Annually, a Club membership review is completed to identify members whose dues are in arrears. The members in arrears are contacted to inquire about dues payment to bring them current. Many factors influence individual member’s continued membership, and we understand that some members decide to no longer participate in the Club. This year, 35 individuals are scheduled to dropped from the membership roles as of January 1, 2022 unless dues are brought current. The Chicago Coin Club is sorry to see members leave, wishes them well in their Numismatic endeavors, and welcomes back rejoining members.
October 20, 2021
Committee chair Steve Zitowsky called the meeting to order at 7:02pm CDT. In attendance: Steve Zitowsky, Dale Lukanich, Deven Kane, Mark Wieclaw, Paul Hybert, Greg Gajda, Mike Gasvoda, Dan Shemwell, Rich Lipman, Scott McGowan, Carl Wolf, and Lyle Daly.
Steve started the meeting with a review of the 2021 ANA WFoM committee review and what we did well and what we need to improve on. Consensus was that we did very well across the board. ANA representative Jennifer Ackerman provided feedback that everything went well, and that the ANA is pleased with the support and duties provided by the CCC.
The ANA also advised that Monday of the 2022 show week will be another Dealer Day. The 2021 Dealer Day was very successful.
What can we do better?
Steve announced that both the US Mint and the BEP attendance at the show is still to-be-determined (TBD).
Steve asked the meeting attendees who chaired committees in 2021 if they wanted to return to those positions in 2022.
Host Club Committee assignments: *
Host Club Committee: Chair Steve Zitowsky, Assistant Chair Dale Lukanich.
Money Talks: Chair Mark Wieclaw, Assistant Chair Rich Lipman.
Exhibits: Chair TBD, Assistant Chair 1 Paul Hybert, Assistant Chair 2 TBD.
Ambassadors: Chair Scott McGowan, Assistant Chair Greg Gajda.
Young Numismatists: Chair TBD.
Pages: Chair John Riley, Assistant Chair TBD.
Club Table: Carl Wolf.
Members at Large: Deven Kane, Mike Gasvoda, Dan Shemwell.
Mike Gasvoda offered to help coordinate a CCC/NYNC joint dinner if we decide to plan one.
Show Medal: Group discussions on a 2022 Club medal for the convention. Should we create one, do we have enough time to create one? Need for the selection of a designer, mint, and cost changes of the used metals from time of concept to minting. Mark Wieclaw recommended discussion with Bob Feiler for ideas and recommendations.
Hexagonal Medals: Carl Wolf advised we have only eight hexagonal medals, which are used for Money Talks speakers and recognition of committee chairs. Cost has increased from $22.50 to $29.84 each before engraving and ribbon. A new purchase would require CCC Board approval before going to the club membership. Recommendation that Steve Zitowsky reaches out to the Board on this issue.
National Money Show: Steve asked if we should have a CCC booth at the March 2022 ANA National Money Show, and asked if anyone was planning on attending.
Coasters: Scott McGowan asked about coasters that the CCC had issued in the past. Carl Wolf indicated they were usually for Central States Show. Question if we should issue one with CSNS on one side and ANA WFoM on the other, but who would cover cost?
Exhibitor Classes: Paul Hybert confirmed that the 2022 exhibitors will have the normal 23 classes for exhibits – the rules and application for 2022 are on the WFoM webpage. Paul also reminded that the Exhibits Chair should be going to local clubs to recruit exhibitors. Steve Indicated he would reach out to the 2021 Chair.
Ambassador Shirts: It was noted that any interested sponsors should contact the ANA.
Show Location: At present time the 2022 show is schedule to be in Hall F of the Donald E. Stephens Convention center in Rosemont, Illinois.
Next meeting will be January 19, 2022, unless a sooner meeting is needed to discuss medal requirements.
Chair Steve Zitowsky adjourned the meeting at 7:58PM CDT.
Scott A. McGowan
Secretary, Chicago Coin Club
after the meeting, the following agreed to play their
previous role for the Committee:
Committee Chair Collector Exhibits: Marc Ricard
Committee Asst. Chair Ambassadors: Jeff Amelse
Committee Chair Pages: John Riley
Committee Asst. Chair Pages: John Kent
Committee Member-at-Large: Jack Smith
|Date:||November 10, 2021|
|Time:||6:45 PM CST (UTC-06:00)|
At the Chicago Bar Association, 321 S. Plymouth Court, 3rd or 4th 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.
This will be our first attempt at a regular in-person meeting in the Covid-19 era. We will try to support remote viewers, but please be prepared for possible diifficulties.
|Online:||Visit our Online Meeting webpage, at www.chicagocoinclub.org/meetings/online_meeting.html, 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 —
The Story Behind the “Official” 100th Anniversary Medals of the Chicago Coin Club
This presentation will explain the difference between the “Official” oval shaped medal and the round banquet medal. The medal’s concept will be covered, as well as the complete design and production process. In addition, there will be background details about the design features ( Chicago Water Tower and Buckingham Fountain) and more details.
Unless stated otherwise, our regular monthly CCC Meeting is in downtown Chicago and also online on the second Wednesday of the month; the starting time is 6:45PM CT.
|November||10||CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - Mark Wieclaw on The Story Behind the “Official” 100th Anniversary Medals of the Chicago Coin Club|
|December||8||CCC Meeting - Annual Banquet - Featured Speaker - to be announced
At Maggiano’s “Little Italy,” 240 Oakbrook Center, Oak Brook. The cost is $64 if paid by Friday November 19, and will be $74 if paid after that date or at the banquet. Early commitments and payments are greatly appreciated.
|January||12||CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - to be announced|
|February||9||CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - to be announced|
|March||9||CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - to be announced|
|March||10-12||ANA’s National Money Show at the Broadmoor Resort, Colorado Springs, Colorado. Details at https://www.money.org/NationalMoneyShow|
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.
If you would like to receive an email link to the latest issue instead of a mailed print copy, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can resume receiving a mailed print copy at any time, just by sending another email.
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.
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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