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CONA May 2019 Newsletter

May Meeting

When: 7 p.m., May 15, 2019
Oakstone Academy: 939 State St. Westerville, Ohio 43081
Topic: CAC Seated coins
Speaker: Steve Petty 

May Presentation 

Stephen Petty will give a presentation on the rarity of CAC’d Seated coinage. This presentation is an overview of an article being published in the next issue of The Gobrecht Journal.

CAC, or the Certified Acceptance Corp., is a company that reviews coins in PCGS and NGC holders and determines if they are above average for the grade. If they are above average,a green sticker (green bean) is placed on the holder. If they are exceptional for the grade, a gold sticker (gold bean) is placed on the holder. CAC-stickered coins tend to receive premiums both in buying and selling,so they have become another way of evaluating whether one is acquiring a coin good for the grade.

Stephen has determined the percentage of PCGS and NGC mint-state Seated coins that have received CAC beans (5¢, 10¢, 20¢,25¢, 50¢, Seated $1 and Trade $)for all dates and mint marks. He had also been provided with a portion of the CAC database to determine the percentage of all Seated coins that have been sent to CAC for evaluation. Using this information, he has also determined the number of Seated coins that might receive CAC stickers.

April Presentation 

A power outage April 17 forced the cancellation of last month’s meeting. John’s presentation on Peace dollars is being rescheduled to July.

By: Gerry Tebben

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

CONA March 2019 Newsletter

March Meeting

When: 7 p.m., March 20, 2019
Oakstone Academy: 939 State St. Westerville, Ohio 43081
Topic: Society of Medalists and a Q&A
Speaker: Steve Petty 

March Presentation 

Stephen Petty is going to deliver a two-part presentation. He’ll begin with a brief presentation on the Society of Medalists and seque into a Q &A with several of our members.

From 1930 to 1995 the Society of Medalists issued two medals a year is an effort to encourage sculptors and make their creations available to the public. A total of 129 medals were issued; 135 if one considers the six medals issued with Issue #128. Several coin designers contributed to the series, including Laura Gardin Fraser,winner of the ill-fated Washington quarter design contest; Hermon A. MacNeil, designer of the Standing Liberty quarter; and John Flanagan, whose design actually appears on the Washington quarter

In the second part of his presentation he’ll interview a few of our members about their lives and collecting interests. You all will have to guess who may get interviewed! As you may recall he did something like this at several meetings a few years ago and it was interesting to learn interesting facts regarding our club members.

February Presentation

Despite terrible weather, 32 members ventured out in February to hear Rachael W. presentation on apothecary weights and Gerry Tebben’s presentation on collecting manhole covers.

We’ve all encountered apothecary weights, with their cryptic markings, and wondered what they are. Rachael had the answer.

They were used by druggists compounding medicines. The weight went on one side of a balance beam scale and a powder or such went on the other. Some weights look like coins, others are flat sheets of brass.Two, she said, actually doubled as Civil War tokens.Scale and weight maker John P. Gruber issued an 1863 token that showed a scale on one side and an eagle on the reverse with the legend APOTH. WEIGHT/ ONE DRAM/1863.

The ONE DRAM reverse was also mated with an obverse advertising Warmkessel’s beer hall.

A dram was equal to 3 scruples.

Pharmacists lost their scruples in the 1960s when metric weights replaced apothecary troy weights.

From our ANA Representative 

It almost seems like its getting warmer, it’s light out earlier or later however you look at it. March and April are two busy months . First the National Money show is coming up March 28-29-30. It’s close by, just across the border into Pittsburgh, Pa., The second largest coin show in the country. I plan on being there at least Friday. (Long day trip)

Do not forget about April. More and more dealers and collectors are going to join together for national coin week and put old collectible coins and currency into circulation hoping to get more people into our great hobby. How about joining the fun? I have lots of wheats to put out there in those penny bowls at cash registers and plan on spending some Ike dollars and a few other choice collectible coins. Join the fun, put out some older coins, tip your waitress or waiter with something special, who knows it could bring new members into our club. Make sure you have fun doing it I know I am.

Till next month — Bob ANA Ohio District Rep.

By: Gerry Tebben


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

CONA April 2019 Newsletter

April Meeting

When: 7 p.m., April 17, 2019
Oakstone Academy:939 State St. Westerville, Ohio 43081
Topic: Peace dollars
Speaker: John R.

April Presentation

On March 10 or 11, 2015, out of a lark, after seeing a 1921 Peace dollar on eBay going for a rather low price, I decided to bid on it. I always had an admiration for the Peace dollar series, and since I had recently gotten a copy of the 2013 Guide to US Coins: Prices and Value Trends: in part edited by CONA’s own Tony Cass and Gerry Tebben, I decided to go for it. To my surprise, I won it. A few days later it arrived and was much nicer than the photos had indicated. I put it in my rudimentary collection of Peace dollars consisting of two 1923-D dollars acquired by my wife when a lady had cashed in her husband’s silver dollar collection for $1 each.

After a few days, the three dollars looked like a lonely bunch, and looking in the book, it seemed that a great number of Peace dollars were going for what seemed to be ridiculously low prices for the degree of rarity than the mintages indicated, I bought a few more. The snowball began to roll downward. By My birthday, May 13, 2015, I had gotten a complete date and mint set of all the Peace dollars, plus a number of true rarities. – John R.

March Presentation

Steve Petty treated us to a two-part presentation – a revealing Q&A with Marlene C., Marie G., and Mike R., and a report on the Society of Medalists.

The Society, which was active from 1930 to 1995, issued 139 medals that were designed by some of America’s greatest sculptors, including coin designers Laura Gardin Fraser, Herman MacNeil and Anthony de Francisi.

Steve recounted how he came to buy an almost complete set in one transaction.

Heath M., who came up from Dayton, said he chanced upon a herd of silver 1993 dinosaur medals a few years ago that had been placed on eBay by a guy who bought them from a scrap-metal dealer.

Grading Seminar

April 6 was the CONA grading seminar held at the Oakstone Academy with the hosts/grading presented by John Roberts and Tony Cass. We had 14 attendees that had the opportunity to evaluate and assign grades to at least 50 coins.

The session started at 10 a.m. and went until after 2p.m. Everyone was so excited that they are planning for the next seminar.

The first group of 20 US type coins were graded and evaluated by all. We then graded a second group of 20 US coins and evaluated the results with the attendees. Finally, we graded John’s final group of 10 coins, tokens and medals from all over the world. What a fun time and challenge that group was to all of us. – Tony

First CONA Medals Distributed

CONA President Spence S. awarded the first CONA medals at the March meeting. The 1-ounce silver medals are being awarded to speakers and others who contribute significantly to the club.

John R. receives one for his January presentation on ancient coins. Steve Petty, was awarded a medal for his March presentation on the Society of Medalists. Marie G., below, was honored with a medal for her work as the club’s treasurer

Gerry Tebben also received a medal for his February presentation. Rachel W. was not present, but will receive her medal later for her March talk.

By: Gerry Tebben 

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

CONA February 2019 Newsletter

February Meeting

When: 7 p.m., February 20, 2019
Oakstone Academy: 939 State St. Westerville, Ohio 43081
Topic: Apothacary tokens and manhole
Speaker: Rachel W. and Gerry Tebben

February Presentation 

In keeping with the shortness of the month, the meeting will feature two brief presentations – Rachel W. is going to talk about apothacary weights and Gerry Tebben is going to give a presentation on manhole covers.

Apothecary weight tokens were based loosely on the troy weight and used by pharmaceutical chemists and bullion merchants from 1878 until the late 1960s to measure out powders and medicines. The apothecary weight token system began in Great Britain with the British Weights and Measures Act. In 1960, apothecary weights became obsolete and were formally abolished starting in Australia. Everything was replaced by metric weights soon after. – Rachel W. 

Manhole covers are probably the most important numismatic item in the history of the world. They’re not only round and dated, they save lives by preventing inattentive people from falling down holes. – Gerry Tebben

January Presentation 

On the Crossroad: The Hellenistic Kingdom of Cappadocia:

Elephants, it turns out, weren’t very good in battle, John R. said as an aside during his presentation on the coins of Cappadocia and the inbred rulers whose portraits appear on them.

Romans, he said, had a long history of dealing with the oversize creatures that the Cappadocians sent into battle. “They knew all you had to do was make a lot of noise and the elephants would turn around and run.”

The Kingdom of Cappadocia issued coins from the 5th century B.C. to the early first century A.D. They typically show the king on the obverse and a god on the back.

John said the coins of Cappadocia run scarce but inexpensive. Coins with a known population of just a handful can be purchased, when they’re available, for just a couple hundred dollars.

Some of the rulers are known mostly by their coins. Little survives about them. Citing Ariarathes III (230?-220 B.C.) as an example, John said, “You could write it (his biography) in one sentence.”

CONA Medal Struck

Efforts to develop a presentation medal that the CONA club can offer to presenters and other deserving club members and guests is being realized this month with the minting of 250 medals.

This two-year effort , initiated in 2017, was led by a Presentation Medal Committee consisting of Geoffrey G., Chris P, Don T. and Max L. (our young nut) with later assistance from Janis T.

By November 2018, a preliminary design was forwarded by the committee to Stephen Petty to finalize, locate an engraver and to get a first strike minted.

By early December the design was finalized and Osborne Coinage Co. (Ted S.) was selected to finalize the art, develop dies and provide pricing for 250 medals.

The CONA Board approved this scope of work and the selection of the Osborne Coinage Company at our 2018 Christmas Party.

In late January, Spence S. and Stephen Petty, based on a vote of the Board, agreed the first strike was acceptable and authorized Osborne Coinage Company to strike 250 CONA Presentation Medals.

We should have these for the club’s use no later than the March CONA meeting. The first strike medal will be given to our historian, Bruce S., for archiving.

From our ANA Representative

Hope you all are staying warm, what a see saw weather pattern we have been having. I am looking forward to April when temps start to warm up and it is coin month ( yes not coin week but coin month )

Here is something we all can participate in and have some fun. Hundreds of dealers and collectors are using the month of April for national coin month, not week. Close to a million coins will enter the cash registers and tip pockets all over the country.

Some specially marked (holograms) coins will be used in change that can be redeemed for high value coins by following the instructions. Yes dealers and collectors are putting old and valuable coins into regular circulation to help boost the hobby.

It’s something we all can do. We all have a roll or two ( HA HA ) of wheat pennies, why not use some of them for change or put into the give-a-penny, takea-penny dishes that are at most retail stores and gas stations.

One dealer is going to use his for tips at eating places but is also going to let the waiter/waitress know that the change is something special. Just think if just 1/2 of one percent of over a million coins makes a new collector. Try it I am. – Bob, ANA District rep Ohio

By: Gerry Tebben

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

CONA January 2019 Newsletter

January Meeting

When: 7 p.m., January 16,2019
Oakstone Academy: 939 State St. Westerville, Ohio 43081
Topic: : Hellenistic Kingdom of Cappadocia
Speaker: John

January Presentation

On the Crossroad: The Hellenistic Kingdom of Cappadocia:

A Brief History as Seen Through Its Royal Coinage

Cappadocia was created as a Persian satrapy by the Achaemenids during their conquest of Anatolia. Cappadocia’s sparsely populated lands were purposely populated by Iranian peoples between the mid-sixth century BC and Alexander the Great’s conquest of Persia in the mid-fourth century BC to provide a buffer between the Persian heartland and the Greek city-states bordering the Aegean Sea. Cappadocia became a crossroad between the Persian world of the East and the Hellenistic world of the Mediterranean. Both influences would be seen in Cappadocia’s coinage once the satrapy became a kingdom in its own right soon after Alexander’s death in 323 BC. Cappadocia’s history was turbulent, and its coins interesting, with some being remarkably beautiful. —John

Best Christmas Party Ever!

The Christmas banquet was probably our best ever. Great food, great company and the silver flowed like water.

Just inside the banquet-room door, Lexa, banquet chair; Denny and Joan sat
at a table piled high with wrapped presents and greeted members as they arrived.
Work began several months earlier when Steve negotiated the catering contract and ended just before the banquet with Lexa, Denny and Joan wrapping gifts as door prizes.

John set the tone with his invocation that reminded all of us how blessed we are to be members of a club that is so welcoming and accepting. Lexa said a record 67 people attended.

President Spence presented this year’s awards:

  • Best Presentation – James, for his talk on type set albums and collecting
  • Star Performance award – Harold, for keeping us straight with the IRS and other help
  • President’s Award – Bruce, our historian

Spence also gave Oakstone Academy, our meeting place, scholarship money and Cheryl, a life-member plaque.

The evening ended with the awarding of wrapped door prizes

By: Gerry Tebben

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

CONA November 2018 Newsletter

October Meeting

When: 7 p.m., November 21,2018
Oakstone Academy: 939 State St. Westerville, Ohio 43081
Topic: : Anti-Counterfeit Task Force at Work
Speaker: Beth Deisher

November Presentation

In January 2017, Beth Deisher was asked by coin industry leaders to leave retirement to lead an effort to combat counterfeit coins entering the United States. She is currently serving as director of anti-counterfeiting and coordinates the work of the all-volunteer 44-member Anti Counterfeiting Task Force, supported entirely by donations and the 501-C-3 Anti-Counterfeiting Educational Foundation.

Beth, who served as editor of Coin World from 1985-2012, will provide an overview of the formation of ACTF, it’s mission, and a close-up look at how the task force works with federal law enforcement to stop the flow of counterfeit coins and precious metals bars into the U.S. marketplace. Also, she will share plans for 2019 as the task force expands education/training and awareness for law enforcement, dealers, the collector community, and the general public.

CONA has been a member of the Industry Council of Tangible Assets for several years and contributes annually to the Anti-Counterfeiting Task Force.

October Presentation

When Mike saw a large framed shield come in the door at the Ohio State Coin Show a few years ago he knew what is was and that he had to have it. “It was on my numismatic bucket list.”

Mike began collecting coins as a boy and vividly remembers the 1900 Canadian 25 cent shinplaster his dad gave him and the 1963 Whitman black book A Guide Book of United States Fractional Currency that had a photo of a shield.

Fractional Currency, bills ranging in denomination from 3 to 50 cents, was a Civil War expedient, placed in service to make up for the gold, silver and even copper coins that disappeared with the first shots.

The Treasury Department sold the 20 5/8 x 24 5/8- inch shields to banks as a counterfeit deterrent. Each shield had 39 uniface notes (20 obverse and 19 reverse) attached to it and cost $4.50. It didn’t sell well and most were stored for years in the basement of the Treasury Department where they sustained water damage.

Mike said the shields weren’t popular. “Most people didn’t want to spend a whole lot of time figuring out if their 3 cent note was a counterfeit, “ he said.

Dues are Due

It is time to renew your membership for 2019…

  • Single membership – $15.00
  • Family membership – $21.00
  • Youth 18 years or younger – free

Mail to CONA, PO Box 1561, Dublin, Oh 43017 or pay at the meetings.

By: Gerry Tebben

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

CONA October 2018 Newsletter

October Meeting

When: 7 p.m., October 17,2018
Oakstone Academy: 939 State St. Westerville, Ohio 43081
Topic: Fractional Currency Shield
Speaker: Mike

October Presentation

Mike is going to bring his massive 20×25-inch fractional currency shield to the October meeting and talk about the shield’s purpose and history. In the 1860s the U.S. Treasury produced framed shields of the new fractional currency issues to familiarize bank tellers with the bills. The 39 notes on the shield were printed on one side only.

September Presentation

Coin World Senior Editor Jeff Starck discussed his career, the need to connect with YNs and collecting affordable coins.

Starck said he became interested in coin collecting in 1995 when a double die cent captured collectors imagination. That interest led to an internship with Coin World and eventually a full-time position.

Responsible for foreign coin coverage, Starck said he has covered coin shows in Berlin a doze times as well as Tokyo and, last winter, Beijing.

“It’s wonderful that wherever you go in the hobby there are so many similarities,” he said.

He noted, though, that modern issues and commemorative medals take center stage in China. Coin World’s booth at the Beijing International Coin Exposition was mobbed when the newspaper distributed 500 silver-plated medals showing a buffalo on one side and a panda on the other.

He said he’s see the medals offered on auction sites for as much as $50.

One area of affordable interest are the coins struck by U.S. Mint’s for other nations, he said.

He referred collectors to the online Collector’s Checklist for Foreign Type Coins Made by United Stated Government Mints.

By: Gerry Tebben

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

CONA September 2018 Newsletter

September Meeting

When: 7 p.m., September 19,2018
Oakstone Academy: 939 State St. Westerville, Ohio 43081
Topic: Numismatic journalism
Speaker: Jeff Starck

September Presentation

Coin World Senior Editor Jeff Starck gets to travel the world in pursuit of stories about coins. You’ll find his byline on stories from Beijing (China), Berlin (Germany) and Sidney (Ohio).

Jeff will talk about “my lif in numismatic journalism, which has allowed me to travel coin shows around the world”.

“I also will explore some affordable areas of world coin collecting that offer fun and just enough challenger to keep in interesting.”

Jeff, who joined Coin World’s staff in 2004, has been a collector since childhood and fondly remembers the challenges of completing Whitman folders by pulling coins from circulation and searching rolls from the bank. His current collecting interests focuses on Missouri-related numismatics and exonumia. He is the primary writer for the World Coins section in the monthly Special Edition and is responsible for Coin World’s coverage of world coins and weekly International page. He graduated with a bachelor of arts degree from Webster University in St. Louis where he was editor-in-chief of its weekly student newspaper.

Acts of Charity

The summer picnic gave rise to tow acts of charity. McDonald’s marketing department donaed to CONA a set of five tokens it issued to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Big Mac sandwich (two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, pickles on a sesame seed bun).

Each token is good for a Big Mac. The set was auctioned at the club’s summer picnic with proceeds going to the Ronald McDonald House.

The auction also had a bag of 26 Indian cents. I bought in for $5 and was surprised to see several semi-keys in about good or less. I placed them in the August club auction, where they sold. In our house found and windfall money goes to charity, so the proceeds were used to buy boxes of diapers for the Homeless Families Foundation.

Two of the pennies were culls. They were deposited in a jar of change that we will donate to the Salvation Army. Somebody will be surprised this Christmas.

A message from Patty

My Dear Green Hats,
Before too much time passes I want to give you all my sincere thanks for the incredible job you did at this recent Ohio State Coin Show. Once again, you came to work, help, made the dealers feel valued and appreciated, worked as a seamless team and made all of my prep work worthwhile. To the person, the dealers could not say enough about how great you were and how much they appreciated everything you did to make their show a success. One of the dealers said that he always tells other dealers that, “They should do our show because, even if they do not make much money at some of the larger shows, they will never feel as well cared for as they do at OSCS.” He said he looks forward to this show as a welcome back for him. He cited the help from the Green Hats, the Hospitality Room, the questions about if there was anything he needed, the advertising which produces a good attendance, and the water, dealer bags, and personal thank you notes that are not given anywhere else.

So once again, a big THANK YOU to you all. I have, of course, not had enough time to crank all the number, but our attendance was over 550, our raffle sales were strong both by you and the public, and we made some money. I iwll have a firmer report at the October CONA meeting. In the meantime, please begin to think about some ways to celebrate our 20th Anniversary Show next year.

Thanks again,
Patty

What they’re saying about the show – The Reeded Edge Inc.

Ohio State Coin Show Demonstrates Once Again Why They are The Run Show in The Country!
September 4, 2018/in Market Reports News/by ReededEdge
This is a strong statement, and it’s not to be taken lightly. The Ohio State Coin Show on Labor Day Weekend in Dublin, Ohio proved once again why it is the single best run coin show in the country! How many show promoters would try to hold their venue on one of the most traveled weekends of the year? Furthermore, who would even fathom holding a show in Columbus during Ohio State football’s (probably the most popular college football program in the country) season opener? The combination seems like a sure recipe for disaster. Suffice to say, only a really fine-tuned coin show run by an equally committed organization could pull this off. We are pleased to say, that once again, the Central Ohio Numismatic Association with their host of Green Hats support staff put on a first class venue, defying the odds an making fimr believers out of us. When we hear that coins hsows are a dying breed, we always allude back to this venue. They advertise an market, they prove year-in and year-out that they have a contingent of collectors and members that remain loyal to the show, and perhaps most importantly, they make their dealers feel welcome. Rob and Robbie reported a stellar day of trading on Friday, followed by a solid day of selling on football Saturday. Only three days back from this year’s show, and their attention has already turned to next year’s anniversary show-which they have been told, is really going to be something special! Hats off to Patty Cass and her wonderful staff for a job well done. If only every coins show were run like this…well, we can dream, can’t we??

Here’s a link the post: https://www.reedededge.com/ohio-state-coin-show-demonstrates-once-again-why-they-are-the-best-run-show-in-the-country/

CONA Members Honored at ANA Convention

CONA Members Dave Fanning, Steve Petty and Gerry Tebben were honored for their work at the American Numismatic Association in Philadelphia last month.

Columbus numismatic booksellers Kolbe & Fanning took the Numismatic Literary Guild’s Best Book of Exonumia Auction Catalog award for the 2018 New York Book Auction catalog.

Steve Petty received two awards for his scholarship and writing. He was awarded the Liberty Seated Collectors Club’s Kamal M. Ahwash Literary Award for his article in The Gobrecht Journal, “An Overdue Update on the Survival Rates of Liberty Seated Dollars.” He was also awarded teh Token and Medal Society (TAMS) Literary Award for his article in the TAMS Journal. CONA members are familiar with both topics from Steve’s excellent presentation to the club.

Gerry Tebben was one of this year’s five recipients of the ANA’s Glenn Smedley Memorial Award for service to the hobby and ANA.

Liberty Seated Collectors Club at CONA Show – From Gerry Fortin’s blog

Stephen Petty provided attendees with initial research on CAC approval rates for Liberty Seated coinage. His presentation quantified the total amount of PCGS and NGC graded Liberty Seated coins, by denomination and separated by circulated and mint state grades. The same was done for CAC approval quantities from the online CAC population reports. Stephen separates the green and gold CAC stickered coins fro increased granularity.

Saturday September 1
The CONA show is unique Liberty Seated Collectors Club event as two regional meetings are held on Friday and Saturday. Stephen Petty recognized that certain individuals, due to full time jobs or CONA show preparations, are unable to attend the Friday session. Therefore he added a Saturday session that was very well attended. One cannot miss the CONA green hats and their bright yellow shirts. The same topic was covered, Rarity of CAC’d Seated Coinage, with deeper exploration by attendees.

By: Gerry Tebben

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

CONA August 2018 Newsletter

August Meeting

When: 7 p.m., August 15,2018
Oakstone Academy: 939 State St. Westerville, Ohio 43081
Topic: This meeting is devoted to preparing for the The Ohio State Coin Show
Speaker: No speaker

August Presentation

Our August meeting will be largely devoted to the show. However we will have the quiz, auction and raffle.

Help is needed for the Ohio State Coin Show – Thursday setup to Sunday takedow. Green Hats are what make our show special. Patty has signup sheets.


By: Gerry Tebben

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

CONA July 2018 Newsletter

July Meeting

When: 7 p.m., June 18,2018
Oakstone Academy: 939 State St. Westerville, Ohio 43081
Topic: Type Collecting Foreign Coins in Albums
Speaker: Jim

July Presentation

I started out collecting United States coins. I got to the point where I couldn’t find or afford some of the coins I needed. I came across a few old foreign type albums which were fun to collect and it filled the void of collecting U.S.

Soon I was looking for Dansco and Whitman type albums made in the past. Once I found an album the question was, “Could I complete it?” The hunt was on!!

The talk will cover the topic of collecting foreign coins by Type or by Date in albums. We will cover a list of old type albums made in the 1960s and what are some of the foreign albums currently available from non-standard sources. We will discuss different ways you can make your own custom albums. — Jim

June Presentation Recap

Evans, chief scientist on the salvage of the S.S. Central America, discussed the 1857 shipwreck, the conservation of the coins and artifacts recovered and sang a contemporary song about the wreck of what has come to be called the “ship of gold.”

The story of the shipwreck has been told and retold since it was discovered in 7,200 feet of water 30 years ago, and court news appears in the paper even now as Columbus treasure hunter Tommy Thompson sits in jail, refusing to tell a federal court what he did with an estimated $2 million to $4.5 million worth of the recovered treasure.

In a fascinating presentation, Evans talked about the treasure and his work with it. Here are a few facts from Evans talk:

Steamship voyages from California to Panama and from Panama to New York with a trip across the Isthmus of Panama in between were the “fastest means of communication” between California and the East in 1857, before the transcontinental telegraph and railroad. “If you hit everything just perfect,” he said, it took 23 to 24 days.

The ship carried a commercial shipment of $1,219,187.43 in gold and an undermined amount of gold in the passengers’ pockets, pokes and vests.

The commercial shipment, he said, covered the seabed in gold coins, especially double eagles and ingots.

The coins, he said, “look like they were minted yesterday.” Because the waters surrounding the shipwreck are alkaline and not acidic, the copper in the coin’s 90 percent gold alloy did not leach out. Unlike most shipwreck gold coins, the Central America coins did not have the matte “shipwreck effect.”

He showed a photo of one business-strike double eagle that had such deeply mirrored fields it reflected the printed words of a book.

Ingots, which comprised abort 7/8 of the commercial shipment, were used to “transport large amounts of wealth to its final destination.”

Each ingot was stamped with its maker’s mark, weight to the 1/100th of an ounce, purity and value in dollars, with an ounce of gold figured at $20.672.

California gold is naturally alloyed with silver. Evans said San Francisco silver coins of the era were struck on silver that was parted from gold deposits.

In 1991, after salvaging $1,096,114.10 of the commercial shipment, salvors left the site. “We got all the easy stuff.”

In 2013, salvors, now acting under a receivership, returned to the site for the $100,000 left behind.

A safe in the ships debries field was too large to bring up. But, he said, it had rusted in its years on the bottom of the ocean. “The door fell off” when pushed, he said. Inside were pokes filled with gold. The canvas bags gave off swamp gas when they were brought up. “Boy did it stink,” said.

A volleyball size bag in the safe contained what Evans believes was the ship’s cash supply. He estimates the ship had $2,500 in cash to pay for labor and fuel. A sack inside the bag contained 9,600 dimes. Sailors, he said, were paid a dime a day.

The shipwreck also contained numerous $3 gold pieces. Collectors have long though the odd-denomination coins did not circulate. Evans said, “In 1857 in California they were using plenty of $3 gold pieces.

Fractional gold coins, too, were found in abundance. “If it was stamped, it traded,” Evans said.

The shipwreck took the lives of 425 men. Some 153 people, including all the ship’s women and children, were rescued in the hours it took the storm-battered ship to sink.

He said he saw photographs of people in the shipwreck. “When you see pictures of these people starring at you, it was just eerie. I feel like I know these people. It puts faces with the disaster.”

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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