submitted this report on the January 16, 2021 virtual
Philippine Collectors Forum. Thanks! Earl Honeycutt, Neil Shafer, Allen Menke and John Riley kindly provided image assistance.
Philippine Collectors Forum
Virtual 'Zoom' meeting Notes by John Riley and Dennis Tucker
The Philippine Collectors Forum met for the second time virtually on Saturday, January 16, 2021 as a mid-winter 'escape' from home lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Using the 'Zoom' platform, 54 collectors came together for the most diverse range of Philippine numismatic topics to date. The meeting was timed to begin at 7 PM Eastern
time so that fellow enthusiasts in the Philippines could join (8 AM on Sunday morning in Manila). It was however a challenge for a European participant to join at 1 AM in Germany!
Our most far-flung group of interested participants ever, a collector in Canada was also online.
John Riley hosted the interactive meeting and welcomed the participants - glad to see such interest. John briefly restated the PCF's educational mission as an ANA member club
and spoke on the hopes to re-engage personally at shows once the virus clears. The Worlds Fair of Money (American Numismatic Association's summer show in Chicago/Rosemont)
is on the calendar for August 10-14 with a PCF gathering tentatively scheduled for Friday afternoon, August 13. Fingers crossed. John discussed Cookie Jar Collectible's upcoming mailbid
featuring some 500 medal lots and over 150 tokens. Ray Czahor operates Cookie Jar Collectibles and advises he will have still have lots for books and other related Philippine items.
No date yet set for publishing the mailbid, Ray has had a few scheduling setbacks.
The first speaker slot was a free-form discussion around the 2021 marketplace, trends seen and interesting items crossing the auction block. Stacks-Bowers is hosting several auctions this
month and all areas of high-grade early USPI coinage continue to perform extremely well. Kelly Norris pointed out a 1909-S U.S. Philippines Peso coin in PCGS MS-62 sold for $900 this week
(Heritage) - roughly three times the amount we were seeing on the convention floor one year ago. While this may be an extreme example, it is worth noting. Another coin that has seen
considerable interest and recent price increases is the 1905-S Peso coin (straight serif), a scarcer late-stage die, with high end AU and low Uncirculated specimens bringing $8000-$10,000 and
upwards at auction. Ken Seymore pointed out the astronomical "real estate footage" difference for this subtle variety in the first digit of the coin's date! Ken elaborated about several other early,
high grade examples showing extreme interest and rising prices - among them, the 1912-S Peso. Sandy Lichauco in Manila commented also on current conditions seen in
the Philippines and it is apparent in both countries that one can't go wrong at this time blending quality and scarcity: it is recognized now more than at any previous time and pricing is only
Ken reports that USPI coins are being scooped up on the bourse, with red coppers particularly "crazy." However, Ken warns that collectors should beware because Red coppers can turn
red/brown over time. His advice is to be happy with Red/Brown or else figure out some way to keep Red coins red (with dessicants, environmental control, etc) because the grading firms don't
guarantee their slabs to be 100% protective. Ken referred to Bill Elwell, who years ago encouraged him to collect high-grade circulation strikes instead of following the crowd and being
overly enamored with Proofs. He described his personal approach to building a well-balanced "matched set" of grades, color and eye appeal within a collection.
Lot 20436 PHILIPPINES. Mint Opening Silver Medallic Proclamation 2 Reales, 1861. Isabella II
Earl Honeycutt then discussed an 1861 medal, H-16, that sold for $5,300 in MS-62 (Stack's Bowers, 1/15/21) against a catalog value of $400-$500. The medal is a rarity, identified by
Earl as being the only one Ray Czahor has ever seen.
Next to present was Joe Boling, American Numismatic Association's Chief Exhibits Judge. Normally tied up with official duties during the ANA summer convention, the PCF was glad to
welcome Joe for a powerpoint presentation on the rare 1945 pattern 100-peso note (Block letters 'PV') of the Japanese Occupation period. Printed in Baguio in northern Luzon, examples
are exceeding rare with only three examples known. Similar in appearance and design to the familiar 1000-Peso (Pick-115) with block letters 'PU' issued during the final months of WWII
(thin paper notes usually seen with purple ink on the front of the notes bleeding through to the back), the backstory of the PV 100-Peso remains a bit of a mystery in terms of authorization
and circulation intentions: the Japanese wartime economy was in fatal decline at this point in the war. Obscure enough to have not yet drawn counterfeiters, Joe has been called upon to
authenticate examples on the few occasions they have come to auction. Joe spent some time going over the diagnostics shared by known notes; not surprisingly, the same note has
been referred on different occasions. Their provenance can now be tracked thanks to this detailed research and authentication is available for any specimens that emerge in the future.
Neil Shafer then provided a fascinating look at Philippines "exographica" (as in exonumia, exographica describes all things paper with monetary value) - some of these items never
before displayed. This richly illustrated discussion was wide-ranging and included various pieces of prisoner-of-war material from the Spanish-American War and World War II,
plus other items. Loan notes; a paper Puente Colgante bridge token; commisary ration cards; canteen checks; emergency small-change scrip issued by restaurants; Santo Tomas
internment-camp meal tickets; a Japanese rail ticket, in Tagalog; Japanese internment cmap postcards and correspondence; a U.S. base club ticket ("821 Club" on the small bill font
of a 10-centavos JIM note);
a Manila Electric & Light Company first-class fare ticket; a mysterious and disputed Canlubang Sugar Estate "Emergency BIll Money" 1-centavos note dated
June 1, 1942 (possibly a fantasy note as the sugar plantation's published formation date is in 1948). Finally, Neil showed us military 5- and 10-cent "Mex" paper U.S. Marine Exchange -
Cavite tokens and another for the 14th U.S. Infantry (10 cents). The Infantry company chit was handwritten "This is what we by (sic) beer with!" Wonderful material and a most
Jeff Shevlin, the "So-Called (Dollar) Guy" was to join us following Neil but was held up by technical problems, John Riley instead described Jeff's project in concert with the Moonlight
Mint to market 100th anniversary commemorations of the (1920) opening of the Manila Mint - true in design to the Wilson Dollar. The obverse die is, in actuality, the original as rescued
from the rubble of the Manila Mint in late 1945 by U.S. Army Warrant Officer Lloyd Spriggle and spirited to the United States where it sat unrecognized for 60+ years. The reverse
carries a 2020 date and is marked "To Commemorate the Anniversary of the Opening of the Mint." Jeff can be reached via www.So-CalledDollar.com for more information or to
purchase an example of this handsome 100th year commemoration.
Next presenters were Earl Honeycutt and Sandy Lichauco - separated by 7000+ miles, they were able to partner well! The 3rd edition of Earl's book PHILIPPINE MEDALS & TOKENS,
out since July 2020, is selling well, through eBay and elsewhere. Sandy reported that the book has caused a boom in interest in Philippine medals and tokens, with more coming
on the market and more being slabbed. NGC has certified approximately 250 medals, and PCGS about 50. Since the book was published in July 2020, collectors have reported
about 150 previously uncataloged medals. Earl asks anyone who has a relevant Philippine medal or token that isn't included in the 3rd edition to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dennis Tucker, Publisher at Whitman, was next introduced and shared some of the going-ons with his company including comments on the updated U.S. Philippines section of the classic
Red Book and plans to expand the Philippines section of the Cherrypickers' Guide, Dennis has asked our group for information on the more popular varieties in the USPI series that
aren't published else in mainstream numismatic references. Dennis touched also some of the new U.S. mint commemorative medal issues (including unfortunate materials pricing increases).
An exciting potential development under consideration is a new coin storage album for the Philippine series - possibly a limited edition "reprint" similar to the classic 1964 Whitman
Bookshelf album that housed type coins from the Spanish period, through the U.S. issues and also modern issues up to the 1960's. Stay tuned on that! Dennis' interest in the
Philippines Collectors Forum from his desk at Whitman is greatly appreciated.
For an aspect of Philippine numismatics that we haven't previously visited at the PCF, Allen Menke - a long time Order and Medals Society (OMSA) member - gave us a talk on a unique
military medal awarded to a sailor for bravery during the battle of Manila Bay in 1898. The Specially Meritorius Service Medal for enlisted sailors and marines during the
campaign off Cuba are known, although very rare. Only some 100 medals are known for live-saving actions in the West Indies campaign, reconaisance work ashore and
the cutting of communication cables at Cienfuegos. But a special version was prepared, with a silver ring encircling the obverse motif and presented in 1912 to Paymaster W.W. Galt
for intrepidity under fire in delivering a critical ship's pump to the U.S.S. Raleigh to effect emergency repairs. Allen's talk was illustrated with color photographs of the regular
and special-issue medals. Allen has a book on the topic that is available for sale: he can be reached at email@example.com. He is normally involved with OMSA functions
elsewhere during the Worlds Fair of Money and it was a delight to include him in our Saturday virtual meeting.
Fred Schwan then held the floor to speak of his group, M.P.C. Fest (gathering at the A.N.A. convention as Military Money Collectors Group) and our shared interests in
numismatics of the World War II period. Fred spoke on 'Fun with Victory Notes,' a thought-provoking way of looking at different collecting 'angles' of these readily available
and inexpensive USPI series 66 overprinted Treasury Certificates. Fred took us through a type collection 1-Peso to 500-Pesos, overprinted stamps, 'short snorters,' replacement
'star' notes and exotic errors (inverted overprints and the like). But the educational aspect often overlooked is collecting by plate identification number and position markers and
what they mean. A valuable open forum ensued concerning the number of notes to a sheet and related production "mechanics." We hope to develop a separate high-detail article
in the near future on paper money printing and preparation.
After a most enthusiastic 2.5 hours, the floor was opened for general discussion - our member in Germany, Matthias Voigt, spoke on his collaboration efforts with Neil Shafer in anticipation
of a revision in the not-too-distant future for the guide to Philippines Emergency Guerrilla issues of WWII. Matt is a serious collector and researcher in this specialty area and desires all input,
suggestions, and especially new 'discoveries.' Matt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks to all participants and speakers - wonderful participation and conversations. This is a great time to pursue your interests in this unique, historic and meaningful specialty area.
Depending on the pandemic's duration and if topics and speakers will offer themselves, perhaps we can do this again in the coming months. Hope to see you, in person, in Chicago in August!
"The number of collectors who signed in (54) really surprised us, particularly from "around the world."
I've said before that the pandemic hastened the arrival of the future by a number of years. It was always inevitable that this technology would someday be cheap, easy and ubiquitous, and that day has arrived. Birds of a numismatic feather can flock together now no matter where they're sitting on the planet. The quantity and quality of conference speakers and attendees has ratcheted up a number of notches. There's no going back.
To read earlier E-Sylum articles, see:
NEW BOOK: PHILIPPINE MEDALS AND TOKENS, 3RD ED
BOOK REVIEW: PHILIPPINE MEDALS & TOKENS, 3RD ED.
Wayne Homren, Editor
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