CONA November 2019 Newsletter

When: 7 p.m., November 20, 2019
Oakstone Academy: 939 State St. Westerville, Ohio 43081
Topic: 1952 and Seattle
Speaker: Chris P. (1952) and Marie G. (Seattle)

November Presentation

Century 21 Exposition 1962 – Seattle World’s Fair. Was held in Seattle Washington. The emphasis on this fair was science, technology, and industry. Main part of my presentation will be the Million Silver Dollar Display along with various medals and tokens. By collecting items from this fair, I am able to combine many of my hobbies. — Marie 

 1952 was a pivotal year around the world. There were many changes – social, economic, political and numismatic. A king died, ushering in the reign of a queen still on the throne today. A Republican was elected president of the United States for the first time since the Great Depression. But more importantly (at least to me) a woman had too much 41st birthday cake, resulting in a birth the next day .. which is United Nations Day. So let me share my collection of coins from 1952. – – Chris 

October Presentation

 Most New Jersey colonial notes were signed by three men of good character and standing. However, collectors especially prize 1776 notes signed by just two people, Bruce S. said during a presentation he called Colonials 101.

The British confiscated the notes before the third man could sign them and placed them in circulation. Collectors call them “raid” notes and pay a premium for them. Icing on the cake is the fact that one of the two signatures on the raid notes was placed there by John Hart, a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

 Here is Bruce’s list of the Top 10 Colonials

  1. Libertas Americana medal
  2. 1709 NY indented bill of credit 
  3. Brasher doubloon
  4. Higley copper
  5. Vermont landscape copper
  6. Banana-nose contemporary counterfeit copper
  7. Fugio cent and 1776 Continetal Currency note
  8. Pine Tree shilling
  9. Spanish milled dollar
  10. Wampum

Osborne Mint tour

Steve Petty is working on setting up a tour of the Osborne Mint in Cincinnati for the spring.

The Osborne Mint, minters of our Green Hat medal, traces its history back to Z. Bisbee’s establishment of a private mint in Cincinnati in 1835.

In 1860, when Illinois Sen. Abraham Lincoln decided to run for president, the company provided him with inexpensive campaign tokens to give away during his campaigns in both 1860 and 1864. Both sets of dies are still in the company’s vault today. 

Expanded Show and Tell

Next May or June, I’d like to do an expanded show and tell as our main presentation – 10 speakers, 5 minutes each, their favorite coin. 

This won’t require any preparation, just a willingness to share a coin you really like and tell us why it’s so special to you. 

Bill K. is the the first person to volunteer for this. No Green Hat medals for this. If you’re interested, please let me know and I’ll start a list. — Gerry 

Bill Bierly’s In God We Trust book 

CONA member William Bierly’s 352-page hardcover book In God We Trust: The American Civil War, Money, Banking, and Religion is being released this month.  by Q. David Bowers 

The national motto “In God We Trust” is familiar to all of us. Look in your pocket change or wallet and you will find it on every United States coin and paper bill. Before reading the manuscript to Bierly’s book I thought I knew all about the subject. 

Some years ago I wrote an article, “God in Your Pocket,” for my local Presbyterian Church, telling of the motto’s use on coins. I knew it appeared on pattern coins in 1863 and in 1864 made its first appearance on a circulating coin, the bronze two-cent piece, a new denomination introduced that year. I had the obscure knowledge that “In God We Trust” is the motto of the State of Florida and was used on certain National Bank notes issued in that state in the second half of the nineteenth century. I also knew that the $5 Silver Certificates of the Series of 1886 illustrate the reverse of a Morgan silver dollar of that year, with the motto as part of the design. 

But what I didn’t know were 101 other details—make that many more than 101 different details—as to how the motto came to be, how it was used over the years, and the wide cast of characters in the Treasury Department and elsewhere who participated in its use on money. 

All too often, books, newspaper columns, and magazine articles about popular subjects lack many details. For Whitman Publishing I wrote a volume on President Ronald Reagan, and I read every book and important study I could find. There were very few details about his personal day-to-day life. Not to worry about the historical personalities involved with “In God We Trust.” While you might not learn the names of the protagonists’ pet cats or their favorite dime novels, there is not much else missing in Bierly’s excellent narrative. Dozens of cast members play cameo roles and small walk-on parts. 

It is probably correct to say that no other researcher could add to Bill Bierly’s efforts! He collaborated with professional numismatists, leaving no stone (or coin) unturned in the creation of this book. Commonly believed myths and misunderstandings he examined, debunked, and corrected. Hundreds of historical images were collected, many of which have never been published in a numismatic reference, to which have been added beautiful photographs of rare coins, patterns, tokens, medals, and paper currency, including close-ups of important characteristics. All of this required a lot of work, creativity, and careful attention to detail. 

Further on the subject of detail: I enjoy learning about and digging deeply into previously unexplored subjects. I have written books on the Waterford Water Cure (a health spa in Waterford, Maine, that counterstamped coins as advertisements), The 

Strange Career of Dr. G.G. Wilkins (about a countertstamper who was a dentist, also operated a restaurant with a caged bear in front, and was suspected of passing counterfeit money and also burning down a neighbor’s barn), and, for good measure, books about Alexandre Vattemare (a French numismatist who visited America and became important to the development of libraries here) and Augustus G. Heaton (the teenaged coin dealer who founded the American Numismatic Society in 1858). 

Each of these books was popular in its time, despite their obviously obscure subjects. Readers find satisfaction in a well-told story that brings new depth and insight. 

That is precisely what we get with In God We Trust, debuting this holiday season. Anyone with a combined interest in American history and numismatics will find a new world of important information, fascinating details, and previously unconnected relationships. 

The motto “In God We Trust” is hardly history alone. It is so much more, and it means different things to different people. Today there are vocal critics who feel that it has no place on coins or paper currency. For that matter, some believe that God has no place in public (and in some cases, private) life. On the other hand, many more people do indeed believe in the Supreme Being. Sometimes it just seems the naysayers get all of the publicity. 

Bill Bierly’s In God We Trust approaches the subject respectfully on all sides, with color, personality, dashes of humor, and dogged pursuit of the truth. He has given us a smorgasbord: there is a lot to choose from. If you are a collector and strictly so, with no interest in the million points where numismatics touches American history, you can simply immerse yourself in the coins, paper money, tokens, and medals. If you are like me, however, and enjoy every historical highway and byway connected to American money, you will read and find pleasure in the entire book from start to finish.

By: Gerry Tebben

Interested in past CONA Newsletters? Please visit the Newman Portal for a vast collection that dates back to 2011!

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