|Volume 68 No. 9||September, 2022|
Session I of the 1243rd meeting of the Chicago Coin Club was called to order by President Lyle Daly at 6:45 PM CDT, Wednesday August 10, 2022. This was a hybrid in-person and online meeting. Attendance at the meeting was 16 in person and 22 online, for a total of 38 attendees.
Club Meeting Minutes and Treasurer’s Report
The July, 2022 meeting minutes were approved as published in the Chatter, both in print and on the CCC website.
Treasurer Elliott Krieter submitted treasurer’s reports for the July period, stating income of $770.00 (CCC-NYNC Joint Dinner payments) and expenses of $76.00 (Chatter expenses), for a net July total of $694.00.
New Members and Communications
Secretary Scott McGowan announced there were no new membership applications, or club communications, to report.
First Vice President John Riley introduced the Featured Program: Lawrence Lee on Indian Peace Medals at the Denver Museum. Following the presentation, John virtually presented Lawrence with a CCC Speaker’s Medal and ANA education certificate.
Second Vice President Melissa Gumm introduced the evening’s six Show and Tell exhibitors.
The next meeting will be the second session of our August meeting, on August 20, 2022, in person and online in Rosemont, Illinois in Room 21 of the Donald Stephens Convention Center.
Lyle Daly recessed the meeting at 8:46 PM CDT, to be reconvened on August 20, 2022 at 12:00pm.
Session II of the 1243rd meeting of the Chicago Coin Club was called to order by President Lyle Daly at 12:00 PM CDT, Saturday August 20, 2022. The meeting was held at the Stephens Convention center in Rosemont, Illinois during the 2022 ANA World’s Fair of Money. This was a hybrid in-person and online meeting. Attendance at the meeting was 47 in person and three online for a total of 50. President Lyle Daly called for a motion for an abbreviated meeting agenda, which was moved and seconded. Due to session II being an abbreviated meeting, there were no meeting minutes or treasurer’s report for approval, no Old or New Business to be presented, and no Show and Tell.
Lyle Daly’s opening remarks included a thank you and congratulations to the ANA for a great convention and a huge thank-you to Steve Zitowsky, the Convention Host Club Chairman, and all his committee chairs, and the CCC volunteers who all contributed to the convention success.
Secretary Scott McGowan announced there were new member applications for their first reading. First readings were completed for Christopher Propheter, Mary N. Lannin, Ray Oshinski, Floyd Aprill, Raul Buendia, Helen (Louise) Boling, Albert Azarias, and Dr. Ralph W. Ross.
Scott McGowan then presented a 1966 ANA Diamond Anniversary / Chicago Coin Club tab button to the club archives. The button was made by Adcraft Manufacturing Company in Chicago which was founded in 1919, the same year the Chicago Coin Club was formed. It was donated from the bourse floor to the Chicago Coin Club by Blair Soucy, B&R Coins and Currency of Terryville, Connecticut.
First Vice President John Riley introduced the Featured Program: Gilles Bransbourg on Inflation and Coinage in the Late Roman Empire. Following the presentation, John presented Gilles with a CCC Speaker’s Medal and an ANA education certificate.
John then presented a CCC Speaker’s Medal and an ANA education certificate to Mark Wieclaw for his June, 2022 presentation on The Golden Age of Coinage.
The next meeting will be the September 14, 2022, at 6:45pm CDT, in person at the Chicago Bar Association and online.
Lyle Daly adjourned the meeting at 1:04pm CDT.
Scott A. McGowan, Secretary
by Lawrence J. Lee, PhD,
presented to our August 10, 2022 meeting.
This presentation uses the Crane Collection of Indian Peace Medals at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science to give an overview of Indian Peace Medals – the collection might be weak in common areas and strong in narrow areas, but its breadth and scope make for an impressive presentation. Mary (1902-1982), the daughter of a governor, and Francis (1903-1968), the son of a banker, were dedicated amateurs with a modest fortune to spend. After a medical scare in 1952, they decided to devote the rest of their lives pursuing their dream of collecting Native American artifacts. From 1952 to 1968, they crisscrossed the country, ultimately putting together one of the largest collections of Indian objects in existence.
For a few years, the Cranes tried to fund their own museum in the Florida Keys but attendance was disappointing. After searching around for an institution worthy of their collection, in 1968 they bequeathed their entire estate to the Denver Museum of Natural History (as it was then known). The Crane Collection is part of the museum’s Department of Anthropology. An entire hall in the museum is devoted to permanently displaying various objects from the Crane Collection on a rotating basis. The Cranes are considered to be the last of the great collectors of American Indian artifacts. As such, they close out the book Collecting Native America 1870-1960 as the last of the grand amateur collectors.
The Crane Collection consists of thousands of Native American objects – not just peace medals. These include ceramics, textiles, basketry, and stone objects. Many of the specimens in the collection are original and unrestored. The Cranes also traveled to Central and South America, collecting Mesoamerican artifacts that are now almost impossible to find. The subcollections are important in their own right. Not just another collection of arrowheads, the lithic specimens in the Crane Collection almost all have provenance and in many instances, still contain the original shaft and fletching Functionally, the all-purpose basket was the ancient equivalent of Tupperware, wheel barrows, or suitcases. They were all individually hand-made and are surprisingly durable. The Crane Collection contains supreme examples from many cultures and artisans. Mary Crane loved the colorful Native American blankets and rugs, and thus the Crane Collection has enough examples to warrant its own book on the subject.
There are about 180 coins, medals, and tokens in the Crane Collection relating to Native Americans. Not all of these object are Indian peace medals but including fakes, restrikes, and originals, about 160 of them are. A peace medal was a physical proof of a treaty. The Cranes bought most of their Indian peace medals from “The Coin Hunter” Catherine Bullowa of Philadelphia. They also purchased from Erich Kohlberg who had a store in Denver; John J. Ford, Jr. sold four pieces to the Cranes, along with some artifacts and other items.
The dean of American researchers on Indian Peace medals was Francis Prucha (1921-2015) of Marquette University. Dr. Prucha was a personal friend of the Cranes, visited them at their home several times and helped them select many of the medals in their collection. In his book Indian Peace Medals in American History, Dr. Prucha suggests the Crane’s collection of Indian peace medals was one of the finest institutional collections in the country. After an exhaustive three-year analysis of the collection there seems little reason to doubt this assessment.
Under Dr. Prucha’s tutelage, the Cranes learned the Indian peace medal series did not begin with America but was practiced by the French, Spanish and English colonists long before America was an established nation. Two of the earliest medals in their collection are corroded specimens of fur trapper tokens featuring George I, privately issued in 1714.
Two of the more puzzling peace medals are uniface silver concoctions from the reign of King George I and George II, with wing and calumet hangers; the only other peace medal where these unique hangers are found is the 1764 “Happy While United” series. Both medals were purchased in 1962 from a New Hampshire dealer who, in turn, claimed to have bought them at a Boston auction in the 1940s; they are thought to be bogus medals probably meant to fool collectors.
While the Crane Collection does not include an original Quaker/Easton/Duffield peace medal from 1757 with the engrailed edge, it does have one of the early U.S. Mint restrikes (Betts 401). At some point in the past, a museum accession number has been written on the obverse of the collection’s medal; this is one of the most disturbing practices of early museum tradecraft, and is no longer practiced. The collection also includes one of the copper restrikes that were made in the last stages of the obverse die’s life. This particular medal was purchased from John J. Ford and is just slightly less damaged than the one sold for $900 as Lot 46 in his 2006 sale. Multiple examples of this medal with the advanced die damage still exist and are highly collectible.
The collection has a nice slate gray example of the rare King George III and Queen Charlotte marriage medal, still containing its rawhide thong hanger – only 19 specimens are listed in the Adams census. The silver twist of medal around the thong was tested by XRE and found to be sterling silver. It appears a marriage medal was repurposed as a peace medal.
There are multiple examples of the George III young head peace medal in the Crane collection in various sizes including a nice slate grey example of the 76mm version. These medals were handed out in large quantities to Natives willing to fight the American colonists. In this case, the British medal was for allies in war. The wear on this piece is on the reverse, indicating the piece was worn for some time.
The 1814 version of the British Indian Peace Medal shows a corpulent King George III with a double chin. A large 76mm example has numerous edge dents but was obviously a prized possession of some Indian chief.
After the American Revolution, British peace medals were given to tribes in Canada. The Prince of Wales medal was presented to tribes in 1860 to commemorate the Prince’s visit to Canada. Victoria’s head is featured, with the prince’s insignia and date are hand-engraved, making each of these medals slightly different. A large 76mm size is present.
A superb example of the 1872 so-called Hendry Chief’s Medal is present. Only 25 of these medals were presented. Because the medals were silver-plated electrotypes, many of the Natives did not like them. This one was un-awarded. The Ford specimen of this medal sold for $11,000 while the LaRiviereone brought $18,000 with a hanger.
A scare Treaty #3 medal presented on the Sein River Reservation in 1873. The Cranes purchased it from H.B Roloff of British Columbia, their main source for Canadian material. The present ribbon is not original.
In commemorating Treaty #6, 118 medals were issued by the Canadian government in 1876; the present one was presented to Chief Mitawassi (Big Child). In this era, treaties were signed annually – Treaty #4 in 1874, Treaty #5 in 1875, and so on.
A unique Unnumbered Treaty medal was purchased by the Cranes from the Sotheby auction in 1969. The auction lot also included a Union Jack flag, a photo of the recipient wearing the medal and a letter from Lt. Governor Alexander Morris giving the background of the medal – making it well documented. It was presented to the Sioux chief Tun-Kan-Sekyana (Sun Worshipper) in 1870. Believed to be one of the only photographs of a Native wearing a peace medal that is still extant, Sun Worshipper proudly wears his Victorian peace medal in an 1895 photo in the collection.
A 1901 silver medal was struck to commemorate the visit of the Duke and Duchess of York to an assemblage of over 20,000 Natives gathered outside of Calgary. The pin-back is also made of sterling silver and shows an Indian propelling a canoe towards the viewer. The present connecting scarlet ribbon is not original. The copper version of the 1901 medal was struck for presentation to Natives; a proof example was made for collectors and is much more common than the silver version. The Crane Collection includes two examples of both the silver and copper.
Moving to American Presidential Indian Peace Medals (IPMs), most numismatists are aware the series was supposed to consist of an obverse image of the sitting president and a reverse image that attempts to show the virtues of the American system of government. There are enough exceptions to this pattern that, coupled with the Mint’s decision to restrike from original dies, makes the entire series rather complicated.
There are three known 1789 Washington oval peace medals: one in the ANS, the Crane specimen, and one in the Winterthur Museum. They are much cruder in design and craftsmanship than later George Washington oval medals. The ANS and Crane specimens appear to be similar to each other; the Winterthur specimen has several different design elements that make it unique. Betts said the personage Washington is meeting was the Greek goddess Pallas; Belden and Prucha said it was the Roman goddess Minerva; Rulau suggested John the Baptist. It is Athena, one of the oldest images on coins.
The reverse of the George Washington 1789 peace medal is one of the earliest depictions of the American heraldic eagle. Nothing is known of the engravers of these first American peace medals; the first year’s likely are from New York, while later issues were crafted by Philadelphia artisans. The precision of the lettering suggests a competent silversmith; the poor quality of the eagle seems to indicate one can be a craftsman without being an artist. Shell medals had the obverse and reverse hand engraved on separate sheets of metal (in no relief, as for a printing plate), then the two pieces were joined by a band serving as the rim.
All problematic medals in the Crane collection were subjected to XRE testing. These metallurgical tests gave exact alloy content of medals, an important clue in determining authenticity. These amazing machines allow almost instant identification of complex alloys. While not definitive, such testing gives a modern assist in the detection of counterfeit medals. The composition of the Winterthur 1789 GW IPM is not right.
The struck George Washington bronze “Seasons” farming scene medal with loop has a mintage of 60 specimens. The present example was purchased by the Cranes in 1967 from Catherine Bullowa.
The John Adams medal was struck by the Mint many years after the President had died. A silver restrike using the second reverse is present, with the hole and thong in it added after it left the Mint. This introduced the Peace And Friendship reverse design, with clasped hands and crossed calumet and tomahawk.
One of the most spectacular IPMs in the Crane Collection is the round large size Thomas Jefferson shell piece, which is the variety passed out by Lewis and Clark on their Corps of Discovery tour. This specimen was purchased from Catherine Bullowa in 1967. Fakes are known: the “A” has a pointed top on the genuine pieces and a flat top on the known fakes.
The Cranes bought both large (76mm) and smaller (63mm) silver medals of James Madison. It is thought perhaps only 15 are known of the large version.
Only 32 of the large size James Monroe medals were struck; one of them is present, while the Ford sale had only the smaller sizes.
John Q. Adams was not happy with his portrait as engraved by Moritz Furst – he thought his nose was too pointy. In a letter to the Mint, President Adams called Furst “a wretched medalist and a half-witted man.” Only 95 large size Adams medals were struck. The present one was authenticated in the 1970s by ANS curator Henry Grunthal.
A large size Jackson medal was purchased from Catherine Bullowa in 1967; the present gnarly leather thong may or may not be genuine. Only 87 of this large size are thought to have been minted.
The Crane Collection has two of the large size Van Buren medals: one purchased from Erich Kohlberg and one from Catherine Bullowa. Only 106 medals were struck, meaning one of these duplicates may be available for trade.
While 60 John Tyler medals were struck, an unknown number were later melted, making this one of the rarest medals in the series. There was not one in the Ford sale, for instance. The Cranes bought one, along with 16 other IPMs, in 1960 from Bullowa. It is thought this is the largest private transaction of American silver peace medals to the time.
149 large Zachary Taylor silver medals were struck but 112 were later melted. The Cranes were more interested in the original silver medals, but did collect the Mint restrikes on occasion. Their copper one needs some conservation.
With the Millard Fillmore presidency, the reverse of the medal was changed to a more complex scene of an Indian agent instructing a chief in the wonders of agriculture. Athena’s plow makes the transition to the new motif. A plain bust replaces the prior draped bust on the obverse, and the fourth reverse design type has a plow between the agent and chief.
The Mint struck 150 of the second size Franklin Pierce medals but later melted 22 of them. This is one of the few instances where the Cranes settled for a smaller 63mm medal, preferring instead the larger 76mm when possible. The different sizes were distributed depending upon the perceived rankings of the recipients.
Francis Crane may have had a fondness for President James Buchanan as his collection included a genuine large size silver Buchanan medal as well as two counterfeit examples. Additionally he owned a 63mm silver and bronze restrike as well.
A new low in American iconography was reached with the Abraham Lincoln reverse imagery showing one Native American scalping another. The design was included on a few of the Buchanan medals but its association with Lincoln is particularly disturbing. Equally incongruous is the image of an Indian in a war bonnet plowing a field. This beat up medal was owned by a Cree warrior in Canada named King Vanaways.
Perhaps realizing the inappropriateness of the Lincoln reverse image, beginning with Andrew Johnson a new classical reverse was made showing Columbus shaking hands with an Indian before a monument to Washington. A total of 90 large size medals were struck.
The most common Indian peace medal is that of Ulysses S. Grant. Its unique design, only used for Grant, is in fact Grant’s inaugural medal with a peace pipe added on the obverse to distinguish it as a peace medal. It is also the only IPM with the Bible in its crowded imagery; one thing missing is Grant’s name! This example has no hole – meaning it is a later restrike that has been silver plated.
By 1877 the reverse image of the peace medal series seemed to change as quickly as the government’s attitude towards the increasingly bellicose Natives. The shape of the Rutherford Hayes medal changed to an oval, an alteration that did not prove overly popular among the recipients.
Only five silver Chester Arthur medals were struck. The present one has tested as silver by XRE, but is still being authenticated. It was purchased in 1961 from Erich Kohlberg for $350.
The last American Indian peace medal to be struck was that for Benjamin Harrison in 1890. With all Indians on reservations and the frontier “closed,” there were no treaties being signed. Very few were minted in silver, though collectors could purchase the copper version. The design on the reverse still features the wonders of agriculture with Athena’s plow.
Besides Indian peace medals, the Cranes collected any interesting medal that included Native Americans or had to do with peace overtures. This included fur trapper medals, Betts medals, and other items relating to their interests. A few of these other medals follow.
A 1782 Frisian (Netherlands) medal shows America as an Indian princess (Betts 602). It is a relatively common medal in copper, somewhat scarcer in silver.
A 1666 French colonial medal commemorates the expulsion of the British from the island of St. Christopher. Again, the Americas are depicted as an Indian princess (Betts 42).
One of the most poignant “peace” medals was produced by an eccentric British Quaker named Daniel Eccleston. The piece seems to be a satire on the right of colonists to take Indian territory. The first line of the reverse, showing a downcast Indian, begins “This Land Was Ours.” This medal is scheduled for museum conservation.
The Pierre Chouteau medal comes with both a Washington and a Van Buren portrait. The present pewter example was found in a grave in Montana and was lovingly notched on the edges by its owner.
Not much is known of the origins of the so-called Nebraska medal. It comes in silver or pewter, with reeded edge or plain edge, and can be die struck or cast, making for many variations. It is called the Nebraska medal because it was being made as late as 1905 by a Native American in Pender, Nebraska.
The Cranes also collected medallic artwork featuring Native Americans. A Seated Liberty half-dollar has been re-carved into a scene showing two reclining Indians watching a ship sail away from them towards the sunset. Perhaps they are hoping it does not return. The reverse is an indecipherable monogram.
[The Denver Museum of Nature and Science is the premier museum of natural history between Chicago and the West Coast. I wish to acknowledge the following: Dr. Steve Nash, DMNS Director of Anthropology; Melissa Bechoefer, DMNS Collections Manager; and Jeff Phegley, DMNS Asst. Collections Manager. Special thanks to the Central States Numismatic Society for a grant to examine and study the Crane Collection.]
Published March 25, 2022, the 147-page printed book Annals 9: Indian Peace Medals and Other Medals at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science by Lee and Nash is the first examination of the medals of the Crane Collection. The book is available for purchase, and a free PDF version is available online at the DMNS.
|Chicago Coin Company|
|Harlan J. Berk, Ltd.|
|Kedzie Koins Inc.|
|Classical Numismatic Group|
Items shown at our August 10, 2022 meeting,
reported by Melissa Gumm.
August 24, 2022
The meeting was called to order by club President Lyle Daly at 6:01PM.
Board members present for the meeting were Lyle Daly, Melissa Gumm, Elliott Krieter, Scott McGowan, Paul Hybert, Mark Wieclaw, Steve Zitowsky, Carl Wolf, Deven Kane, Bill Burd, John Riley, and Rich Lipman. Absent was Jeff Rosinia.
Lyle Daly adjourned the meeting at 8:03pm CDT.
Next CCC Board Meeting on November 16, 2022.
Scott A. McGowan, Secretary
|Date:||September 14, 2022|
|Time:||6:45PM CDT (UTC-05:00)|
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.
Because things can change between when this is written and we meet, please bring your face covering to the meeting – all attendees must follow the city’s and building’s rules.
This will be another attempt at a regular in-person meeting in the Covid-19 era. We will try for a better experience than in the past, but please be prepared for possible diifficulties.
|Online:||For all the details on participating online in one of our club meetings, visit our Online Meeting webpage at www.chicagocoinclub.org/meetings/online_meeting.html. 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:||Jeffrey A. Amelse —
Early Half Dollars: Overdates and Some Interesting Late Die State Varieties
“Early Half Dollars” include the flowing hair designs of 1794-1795, draped busts of 1796-1807, and capped busts of 1807-1839. This talk will focus some of the overdates and more interesting late die state marriages of the capped bust halves. Varieties are readily attributable from the pictures and information on the BustHalfAddict’s Information website and the pioneering book by Al Overton (later volumes co-authored with, and now replaced by, Don Parsley). I became interested in these due to my prior interest in Large Cent varieties and die states. Like Large Cents, there are a tractable number (several hundred) of die varieties (die marriages). However, they appear to be much less studied, mid grades are available at more affordable prices, and mostly in better condition. Many have been cleaned over the years, as was typically done for early collections. In fact, my understanding is that some auction houses even encouraged cleaning during the first half of the 1900s. It surprises me that many are offered on eBay without die variety attribution, so this series is ripe for cherry picking. I have assembled a collection of over 200 pieces, including most of the overdates, Red Book varieties, and other interesting late die state varieties, and will share examples of these.
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.
|September||14||CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - Jeffrey Amelse on Early Half Dollars: Overdates and Some Interesting Late Die State Varieties|
|October||12||CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - Steve Feller on Stagecoach and Post Office Scrip of the American Civil War|
|November||9||CCC Meeting - Club Auction - no featured speaker|
|December||14||CCC Meeting - Annual Banquet - details to be announced|
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