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Mr_Norris_LKNS's Blog

18 Nov 2020

LKNS Featured on Coin World Podcast

Young Numismatists Exchange | Mr_Norris_LKNS

Hello all!Just wanted to let you all know that yours truly was recently interviewed by Jeff and Chris of Coin World Magazine's podcast last week, and that the podcast was published today! If you would find amusement in hearing me talk about the Legacy Knights Numismatic Society and answer Jeff and Chris's questions about our history, what we do, and where we're going, CLICK HERE to get to the podcast, then give it a listen.Jeff and Chris start out with a discussion on the US Mint's activities recently regarding the WW2 Victory coin issues; the LKNS portion starts a little less than halfway through. However, I would encourage you to listen to the whole podcast, as they offer a good discussion of the Mint topic that seems to have so many collectors annoyed. In fact, the Coin World podcast features lots of good topical discussions and interviews. One of my favorites is their interview with Fred Schwan, someone I consider a numismatic influencer for his work with WW2 numismatics and military numismatics in general. Scroll through their episode listing and see what interests you. Make your commuting time more fun and useful by learning more about your favorite hobby.

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02 Nov 2020

New LKNS Season Off and Running

Club Exchange | Mr_Norris_LKNS

The first Legacy Knights Numismatic Society meeting of the 2020-2021 school year is in the books. We were able to register 20 members, and although we would have room for a few more, I am very happy. Given how the pandemic has impacted how people think about social gatherings, 20 kids in an after school program is great. It's actually right in the middle of our membership average over the years since we've started. Maybe the pandemic is not as much a factor on our numbers as is the fluctuation in class sizes of eligible grades from year to year. I'll have to look into that.We started out with an introduction to LKNS for the benefit of our several new members, and as a review for the returning members who hadn't been to a meeting in a long time due to the cancellation of the last three months of in-person school events last year. Some things could be dry, especially for kids, but if you keep them involved as you go through, and break it up with a few giveaways here and there, you can hold their attention awhile longer.Normally we give out Red Books to our new members. They are usually not current year Red Books; we ask for donations of Red Books from people who want to upgrade to the latest year, because it's not so much the latest prices that we need from these books as much as the information, grading guides, mintage figures, etc. that you can find in a Red Book. I like the size of the Red Books because our students can throw one in their school bookbag without taking up too much space or adding too much weight. Because we haven't been meeting with other coin clubs, we haven't been able to gather second-hand Red Books like we used to. But we have a month to get some.\Next month we have a special presentation about elongated coins for our meeting. The Elongate Collectors Club (TEC) provided this lesson plan to us through a Miami Valley Coin Club member who attended one of the national ANA shows. They made a nice donation of some souvenir elongated cents so that every member could have a couple. I also managed to find a couple of 100+ lots of elongated cents on eBay for a great price. You see these machines across the country but you don't realize how many there are until you start looking on places like www.pennycollector.com and sorting through them by state. They are most common in zoos, museum gift shops, and other local tourist attractions. The National Museum of the US Air Force isn't far from our school and they have 3 machines producing a dozen designs. Kings Island has machines all over the park it seems. The retired designs are fun to find. I managed to find the last retired design of the NMUSAF (back when it was called the USAF Museum) that I was missing: The Apollo 15 capsule. Now I believe I have the complete "official" collection (I've come across a few others but I don't know if they were actually made at the AF museum or not).It's so much fun seeing the kids getting interested in something, learning, and having fun together over a common interest. I'd encourage anyone who loves kids first, numismatics second, to consider starting a YN club at your local school. Schools need volunteers to help interest the kids in learning and developing their minds. Numismatics definitely supports a good well rounded education through all the connections to history, science, math, economics, languages, and cultures. Put together your idea for a club and approach your local school administration. You should have a good basic knowledge of numismatics to start a club, but you do not have to be a professional at it or even know all the answers. You will learn with the kids! Being an organized person in your planning helps (I'm not great at that but am learning). Being organized in running meetings helps too, but when dealing with kids, you can't let a little chaos get in the way of having a good time! Know going in that the kids have limits to their attention span... structure is good, tyranny is not. You'll have to keep them engaged by keeping it simple, keeping it moving, and keeping them actively engaged.But always remember, the kids are more important than the coins.If you believe that, you will make a good club coordinator.What's most important to them is that you care about them, and will make a safe place for them to have fun while learning. They will surprise you with what they learn!

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23 Oct 2020

Starting A New Year For A YN Club

Young Numismatists Exchange | Mr_Norris_LKNS

The first official meeting of the Legacy Knights Numismatic Society for the 2020-2021 school year is scheduled for Monday, October 26.After missing the last 3 meetings of last year, it's going to be good to be able to return to somewhat normal... however, even normal isn't quite the same with pandemic rules.

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07 Oct 2020

Doolittle Tokyo Raiders US Mint Medal update

Medals | Mr_Norris_LKNS

[UPDATE TO THE UPDATE: I added two photos of the actual medal as delivered from the US Mint. It really is as good as the picture of it on the Mint's website.]

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28 Sep 2020

US Mint CGM Replica Prices Quadruple

Medals | Mr_Norris_LKNS

I enjoy history, particularly WW2 history. I am not a frequent shopper of United States Mint products... not that I find anything wrong with them, but I've never been a mint set subscriber or anything. I'd more likely buy a numismatic item I wanted at a coin shop or coin show. But I have seen some of the Mint's commemorative medals, and some of them I like; especially some of the WW2 related ones, and a few Presidential ones. When I read the news from Coin World Magazine that there was a tremendous price hike in the works, I thought I'd better investigate.The United States Mint creates the Congressional Gold Medals as they become authorized by Congress. Typically these recognize an individual or a group, and the reason or occasion for Congress awarding them the medal. Medals have been awarded to military personnel (not to be confused with the Medal of Honor and other medals for valor), pioneers in medicine, science, aviation and space exploration, humanitarians, even entertainers and athletes. US citizenship is not a requirement for recipients, you just have to be appreciated for some notable reason by the US Congress. The Congressional Gold Medal has about the same level of prestige as the Presidential Medal of Freedom; however, far fewer CGM's have been awarded in spite of having been authorized for much longer. The PMF has been awarded to over 500 recipients since its inception in 1963 during President Kennedy's term (with 102 awarded by President Reagan and 123 by President Obama). By comparison, the CGM has only been awarded 163 times (as of April 2019) even though it has been around nearly 200 years longer, since the Second Continental Congress authorized it and first awarded it in 1776 to then-General George Washington! It must take a great deal more cooperation to get two-thirds of Congress and their respective committees to agree on granting such an award, than for the President to decide you deserve recognition. The CGM is not the kind of medal you wear around your neck or pinned to your jacket; it's more of a trophy type medal that you would display on your desk or in a prominent display case.I can't confirm it but I've heard that the Mint uses the sales of CGM replicas made in silver and bronze to fund the production of gold medals. That is what you are getting when you buy the 1-5/16" or 3" bronze or silver medals from the US Mint. Congress does occasionally authorize actual Congressional Silver Medals and Congressional Bronze Medals to be awarded to individuals or groups. Congressional Silver and Bronze Medals are rare, and are not the same thing as the replica CGMs made in silver or bronze that you can buy from the Mint. Typically the Congressional Silver and Bronze Medals are awarded as part of an award of a Congressional Gold Medal, whereas the main person leading a group effort might get the gold, his chief assistants or officers would get the silver, and the rest of the crew would get the bronze. This recognizes everyone's participation in the event commemorated at different levels of responsibility, activity, etc.; not to mention awarding gold medals to every individual in a large crew would be very expensive. Everyone who receives a silver or bronze Congressional Medal still played a part in Congress's recognition that the event deserved commemorating by awarding the CGM., and their silver or bronze medal is proof of that.As of this writing, 1-5/16" bronze CGM replicas are being sold for $6.95 plus shipping, and 3" replicas are being sold for $39.95 plus shipping. $40+ for a bronze replica isn't hateful if you really like the topic, and $7+ for a smaller replica would make collecting them an affordable hobby. Of the two, of course, the larger one is what I'd want. I was hesitant to order, though, at that price, simply because it wasn't as high a priority as some other things. Then Coin World Magazine announced in a Facebook post that the price of the 3" medals was going up.A lot.Afte r January 1, 2021, the price of the 3" CGM replicas in bronze are supposedly going from $39.95 to $160.What?! Whoa!!Supposedly the Mint loses money on these things; and that's driving the price increase. So now I wonder, how much have they been losing, and for how long?? because that's a pretty steep price hike.So I finally jumped and ordered my favorite WW2 design, just in case the price hike story is really true (and if Coin World reports it, I have no reason to doubt them).My favorite of the ones they have available is the Doolittle Raiders CGM replica. First reason is, it's WW2 history and I am fascinated with the story. Second reason, I live within driving distance of the original Wright Field (now Wright Patterson AFB) where Jimmy Doolittle spent some time before his famous raid (you can see photos of him with a Wright Field patch on his flight jacket); Dayton was also the hometown of his co-pilot, Dick Cole. Thirdly, my son and I have actually attended Doolittle Raider events at the National Museum of the US Air Force there, with Mr. Cole present. If you haven't seen a flight of 17-odd B-25's flying in formation and heard the collective rumble of their twin radial engines in flight, you've missed out.So the Doolittle Raider CGM replica is a natural selection for me, and someday my son will probably have it. If for some reason he doesn't want it, the price jacking happening this January will make $40 look like a bargain, and there shouldn't be any trouble selling it. Unless, of course, the price hike has the unintentional consequence of killing the CGM replica sales program and none sell for $160. I guess then, if Congress wants to issue a gold medal, we'll just pay for it in our taxes instead of by adding to our collections.Maybe I can convince somebody to buy me my favorite Presidential 3" medals before Christmas. :-)

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04 Sep 2020

After Action Report: the "Better Late Than Never" LKNS Auction

Club Exchange | Mr_Norris_LKNS

On Monday, August 31, the Legacy Knights Numismatic Society held its annual Student Members Only Year End Auction for our 2019-2020 school year members.Normally the auction would have happened in May towards the end of the school year, after the students had earned a school-year's worth of Knights Payment Certificates, or KPC, for their participation, to use for bidding in the auction. However, the pandemic threw a wrench in that when the school closed its doors for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year. Fortunately I was able to stay in touch with our members and parents through email, Facebook, the school e-newsletter, telephone, and the US Postal Service. Our student members were given a summer extension to complete projects normally due in May, which allowed several to earn LKNS medals as well as additional KPC for the auction. Activities were logged and KPC awarded, and auction items were catalogued so the students could plan their bidding.

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20 Jul 2020

The "Better Late Than Never" LKNS Auction

Young Numismatists Exchange | Mr_Norris_LKNS

As an extracurricular activity of our school, the Legacy Knights Numismatic Society has been waiting for some word on back-to-school operational plans for the 2020-2021 school year. We finally got the official plan in writing today. Depending on how you feel about the pandemic and governmental and societal handling of it, the plans will either look like too much, not enough, or a reasonable approach under the circumstances. I believe our school is doing the best it reasonably can, and they do plan to return to the classroom in about a month. Of course this could change as the state and local situations and governmental requirements change. But if it's safe to get back to the classroom and safe to do sports activities again, then it isn't unreasonable to hold other extracurricular activities, as long as we pay attention to reasonable health precautions.LKNS missed its 2019-2020 annual student members only auction because the school was closed for the pandemic. Ohio has been gradually reopening and the state has issued guidance for reopening schools. So that the faithful 2019-2020 members who worked throughout the years to earn KPC to spend at our auction aren't cheated out of that opportunity, We will start the 2020-2021 year by holding our 2019-2020 auction.We have a pretty good collection of auction items started, even though donations were hampered a bit by the pandemic (not being able to meet with people to promote the auction and receive donations, etc). Still we will do OK and have a good time with it.Hopefully we can even turn this into some energy for renewing memberships for the 2020-2021 year.Normally we make the auction kind of a party. We like cookies (they are round and flat like coins), and we wash them down with some bottled water. This time though they will have to be served individually so that the kids aren't touching or breathing on other kids' cookies and water bottles when they get their own. It's possible we might have to skip those altogether... I hope not, because sugar-fueled bidding really makes for a great auction. :-)We usually have the kids bid with paper Knights Payment Certificates denominated in pre-decimal British pounds sterling (pounds, shillings, and pence). We might skip the paper currency this year just to reduce handling it and passing it around. Instead, maybe we'll keep a list of credit for each student.We will put all the auction items on a display table and allow them to be viewed but not handled by any but the auction hosts until the items are won. It's important to see the obverse and reverse of what you're buying, so we will still try to accommodate that.We hold the auction in a large open room, so we will have plenty of tables, chairs, and space to spread everyone out around the room for social distancing. Plus, the kids are being encouraged to bring and wear masks for school (we will see how that goes). We can probably have their won items brought to them at their seat rather than have them walk past each other. Of course, they get excited and have a hard time sitting still, so maybe walking to the table and back would be better than not. (Hmmmm, might have to rethink the cookie-fueled bidding thing...)Maybe this will be a good model for other meetings. With a little thought, clubs could find a way to meet in person again by employing some reasonable health precautions. Lots of clubs involve older people, so I wouldn't want to see any of them catch a virus; but a lack of social contact and loneliness is also taking a toll on people's mental health, and there's a link between the health of a person's mind and their body. So hopefully a safe, healthy balance can be found. If nothing else, we are all a little more aware of how germs spread and can practice good sanitation and hygiene habits in our daily lives.

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01 Jul 2020

WW2 Numismatics "Top Ten"

Collecting Tips | Mr_Norris_LKNS

Noted numismatic author and specialist Mr. Fred Schwan has frequently listed his favorite Second World War collectible as the common Allied Military Currency (AMC) 2 Franc note. To him, this note represents "history in your hands", as so many of these went with Allied troops on D-Day, to allow a medium of exchange for commerce. These notes are fairly common and can be obtained in excellent condition for very reasonable prices, so it is not their rarity that makes them valuable; it is their connection to a tremendous event in history.

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17 Jun 2020

Medieval Die Maker Demonstrates His Craft

Coins | Mr_Norris_LKNS

Rudiger the Moneyer (a.k.a. Mr. Carson Engle) was the medieval moneyer who created our club's first coin die set in 2018. I documented the process of getting a medieval-style hammered coin made for our club in my blog here at the time. Now Mr. Engle has produced a video demonstrating the die carving process from a blank piece of prepared steel bar stock to a finished die. Follow this link to see the video. You may be surprised at how many steps there are; or you may be pleased when you see some of the techniques that confirm in your mind what you had guessed was involved in certain steps. For anyone interested in the diemaking process, or would just enjoy seeing a miniature work of art come to life, this is for you. (Click this link to be taken to YouTube.)

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26 Apr 2020

Hawaii Love Note

Paper Money-U.S. | Mr_Norris_LKNS

Thought I'd share my latest find. As many know, one of my favorite topics in numismatics involves items related to the Second World War, particularly money that would have been in circulation during the war, from any country. Some of the most popular wartime numismatic items would be the emergency paper currency issues, particularly the gold seal "North Africa" notes and the reddish-brown seal "Hawaii" notes. I put these descriptions in quotation marks because, although that is how they are commonly known, and indeed were used in those respective locations, these notes saw use in wider ranges than those specific geographic areas.The attached photos are of a 1935-A US One Dollar silver certificate of the Hawaii overprint emergency currency variety, serial number S49597732C. In the blank spaces on either side of President Washington's portrait, someone has inscribed "A Kiss for you Hon - X" and "Loving you always. X" ("X" being a shorthand symbol for a kiss in a love letter; and "hon" being short form for "honey", a common term of endearment). In the blank spaces above and below the Hawaii overprint on the back, the inscription reads "I love you, Hon." and "You are my Sweets".After the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941, the US Government was worried that an invasion of Hawaii might be imminent. Being a populous US territory, Hawaii required a significant quantity of US currency for its local economy to function. In addition to the destruction and hardships a Japanese conquest would bring to the locals, another credible concern was that the currency that could be captured by the Japanese could be used against American interests. It was decided to swap out the regular US currency being used there (and in additional territories around the Pacific) for a special issue that could be demonetized (i.e., declared worthless) by our government should a significant amount be captured. These special emergency notes were overprinted with the word "HAWAII" on both the face and the back (see photos) and used a reddish-brown Treasury seal on the face as opposed to the blue seal on regular issue notes. This "brown" seal had been used on other notes, but it was distinctive enough with the "Hawaii" overprint that it made them easily distinguishable among circulating currency. These notes were meant for circulation in designated Pacific theater areas, and not for the mainland US. Conversely, "mainland" currency was recalled in these locations and exchanged for "Hawaii" notes; anyone retaining "mainland" currency in these areas could be considered to be in violation of Federal law. Fortunately, the invasion of Hawaii by Japanese armed forces never materialized, and the devaluation of these notes was never necessary. The issuance of Hawaii notes was discontinued, and regular issues were resumed.The Pearl Harbor attack generated a massive patriotic response among the American people, with many individuals signing up for military service or defense work specifically to avenge their country against Japan. Hundreds of thousands of individuals who may never otherwise have visited Hawaii or other far-flung Pacific territories did so through the performance of their wartime duties. The long distances and fear of the uncertainties of war caused many a young heart to long for some other young heart, with the promise of love's affection upon their return to keep them going. Souvenirs would be collected along their journeys and often sent home to their loved ones. As these travelers went about their daily lives, they encountered strange new currencies. These notes too would end up being sent home as souvenirs, often with a message scrawled across them or in the margins, whether an annotation of how or where it was acquired, or perhaps a more personal note.Perhaps most numismatists with even a passing interest in World War Two are familiar with "short snorter" notes, which took either the form of a single note with a collection of signatures of people met by the bearer, or a string of notes cellophane-taped together in sequence as acquired during the bearer's travels. Also fairly commonly known, although far more widespread in history than World War Two, are "love tokens", or coins which have been defaced and engraved with a name, image, or romantic message as a tangible memento of affection between the giver and its recipient. The Love Token Society defines two requirements: that it be made from a legitimate coin, and that it be engraved by hand [as opposed to commercially produced]. My newly-acquired Hawaii note falls somewhere in between. It is not made from a coin, so by a strict Love Token Society definition it is not a love token; but like a coin, it indeed was originally created as a form of government-issued currency to be used for facilitating commerce, and subsequently modified by a private individual to convey a message of affection to another. Yet it doesn't quite arise to the level of a short snorter, because whoever wrote on it chose not to include the name of either the giver or the recipient. Maybe names were assumed unnecessary, as the sender and recipient were understood to be the same as the sender and recipient of a letter in which the note was included. Or perhaps one or both parties had reasons to keep the nature of their relationship under wraps at the time. Or perhaps at the time it was inscribed the writer wasn't sure of the recipient's proper name due to the whirlwind nature of their romance. Or perhaps the inscriber hadn't narrowed down the choice of recipient to a specific individual!So instead of a love token or a short snorter, I have a love note written on a Hawaii emergency note. Is this a new category of Second World War numismatics? Or just a defaced Hawaii note? It's possible it was inscribed after the war, but due to it being in very nice, lightly circulated condition and fairly clean, I like to think that it was likely a wartime souvenir between two long-distance lovebirds, with the traveler reassuring the recipient that, despite traveling to far-flung exotic and possibly romantic locations, love and affection between them would remain faithful and true... making this the paper currency version of a love token.

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