San Jose Coin Club    

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Ryan & Sally J.
March 18,




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This covers the first 10 years of the club. Research is being done to complete this document.

1947 The Founding of Todo Dinero Numismatic Association

On January 28, 1947, Helen Pearson's first ad appeared in Frank Freeman's column in the San Jose Mercury Herald. It asked if there were any coin collectors' clubs in the area. If not, she proposed to found one. Evidently her article attracted some attention, for on 10 Feb 1947, an article appeared again, this time co-authored by Helen, Mary Alice Blake and Douglas Smith.

Meetings were held in the Pearson living room on a weekly basis. The club was named Todo Dinero Numismatic Association and adopted a constitution and by-laws on 29 April 1947. Dues were one dollar per month, covering the cost of refreshments. Mary Alice Blake was elected president; Helen Pearson elected vice president and George Wright, secretary.

1947- 1948 Expansion and Outreach

By August, the size of the club had outgrown Mrs. Pearson's living room and meetings were moved to Meeting Room A in the San Jose Civic Auditorium. Meetings were reduced to twice per month instead of weekly. On 21 Dec 1947, president Mary Alice Blake married her friend Douglas Smith. Miss Blake, now Mrs. Smith, resigned as president and Helen Pearson filled out the remainder of her term. Meetings were again moved in March 1948 to more spacious quarters, this time in the Bamboo Room of the De Anza Hotel. Meetings were changed to one per month, on the first Monday of the month, a practice continued by the club until 1973.

About this time, Todo Dinero Numismatic Association was accepted as a member of the California State Numismatic Association. Members decided to experiment with a "dinner meeting" for their May meeting and election of officers. Syl Tully was elected president and Rudy Gjurovich was elected-vice president. Although the dinner meeting was hailed a success, there did not seem to be any plans at this time to make it an annual event.

President Tully (still alive and living in Vermon in 1993) was forced to leave the area for long periods of time. Shortly after his election, Syl turned the gavel over to Rudy Gjurovich. The dynamic spirit of this man would change the club forever.

Professor Charles Kappen once quoted Rudy as saying, "This club is all women. I've got to get some men into the club." Action was quick and decisive. The club took a booth at the Santa Clara County Fair in September 1948, gaining a reasonable amount of publicity. Rudy, who was elected president on his own in 1949, continued the practice, which became the major annual event of the club throughout the next decade. Good quality photographs of the booth and some of the people who manned it are preserved in the club historian's file.

1949 The California State Numismatic Association Convention

The decision of the California State Numismatic Association (CSNA) to hold two semi- annual conventions, one in the fall in southern California and one in the spring in northern California, paved the way for a singular recognition for the Todo Dinero Numismatic Association. In 1949, there were only five clubs in northern California. The granddaddy of all the clubs, the Pacific Coast Numismatic Society, was to host the ANA convention in the summer of 1949. The East Bay Coin Club and the Santa Cruz Coin Club were newly formed in 1948. It was through the efforts of such prominent members as Charles Kappen, Rudy Gjurovich and others that the club was honored with hosting the first of the "northern half" conventions.

The club was not small by this time. An attendance of 43 was reported for the March 1949 meeting.

The convention was held at the Saint Claire Hotel on 17-17April with 122 registrations and approximately 300 signatures on the visitor roll. General chairman Rudy Gjurovich greeted members and guests at the door in his silk top hat and waxed moustache. In addition, he entertained the attendees at the banquet with his lamppost act. Other members serving on the show committee were Charles Kappen, assistant general chairman, Roy Hill, Earl Parker, Mary Alice Smith and Dick Arrowsmith.

The rather famous token issued for this convention is properly a Cal State token, and does not bear the name of the Todo Dinero Numismatic Association. The tokens were struck by the CSNA secretary, Leonel Panosh of San Diego.

1950 Renaming the Club

The first task that Charles Kappen was faced with after his election to the presidency in 1950 was the name of the club. The name Todo Dinero Numismatic Association had been selected by eight members in 1947. Since that time, there were few, if any, of those people other than Rudy Gjurovich still active in the club. George Hodges instigated a change in the name to San Jose Coin Club, much to the objection of Rudy. In a vote of the membership, Hodges prevailed. The name was officially changed in 1950

1951 The history of the Club is documented

At some point in 1951, George Hodges documented the history of San Jose Coin Club on three typewritten pages in a folder. The original document rests in the club archives.

1953 King of the Coin Collectors

A resume of the activities taking place at the 1953 Santa Clara County club booth contains the first reference to Rudy Gjurovich as King of the Coin Collectors. The title comes from an outfit that Rudy wore at the Fair: a top hat, frock coat and matching trousers. The entire front of the coat was covered with various kinds of coins made into jewelry pins, with encased US fractional currency adorning the shoulders. Obsolete bank notes in plastic covers were attached to the trouser legs from waist to cuff. There were no coins on the formal top hat, just a sign reading King of the Coin Collectors. The earliest versions of the costume included comic glasses and a false mustache. Rudy had marched in many parades with the same outfit and glasses for years, but this is the earliest reference to the money suit. A photo of Rudy in the early suit version appears in the July 1954 Calcoin News

In later years, the currency was removed from the trousers, with only the coat bearing numismatic items. Various configurations of the coat exist in photographic record because the coins had to be removed from the coat every time that it was cleaned! The suit was intended for fun and there was no special order used to replace them other than what might have developed through habit.

The most often seen photo of Rudy with the money suit comes from the 1964 publicity photo and was also used for the 1972 club medal.

1954 Development of a Club Logo

The original logo of the club was the 1937 nickel (the Indian side). A cut was made for this logo for use in membership cards for both the Todo Dinero Numismatic Association and the San Jose Coin Club. In his history of the San Jose Coin Club written in 1951, George Hodges was very critical of the image of the Indian, at least that portrayed on the membership cards. Although Hodges rarely took the lead in promoting an idea on the club form, he was tireless behind the scenes worker. He was one of the moving forces in the adoption of the logo.

Calcoin News reports that at the July 1954 meeting, suggestions were asked to replace the Indian design. In October, 1954, a logo featuring the first capitol of California was adopted. The building was modeled after the replica on display at the Fair Grounds. Charles Kappen drew the model that was actually used. The first example of the logo in print is found in the January 1955 edition of Calcoin News, along with the date 1946.

The date 1946 is in error. The first advertisement placed by Helen Pearson in Frank Freeman's column appeared on 29 Jan 1947 and the second on 10 Feb 1947. Hodges had a clipping of the February ad but it was not dated. Rudy Gjurovich was the only member that went back that far, but he was never a stickler for details.

Calcoin News quoted the April meeting of club as being its ninetieth (90th). Certain members planning for a celebration for the 100th meeting were very much aware of this count. Counting backwards at the rate of one meeting per month would establish the March 1948 meeting as the seventeenth and the first occurring some time in 1946. What was overlooked is that the club met twice per month prior to March 1948.

1955 Establishment of the Club Banquet

The club decided upon a "dinner meeting" to celebrate its centennial (100th) meeting. As with the earlier dinner meeting held in May 1948, normal club business was held after everyone had eaten. The meeting was held at the Town House Restaurant. As it would turn out, this meeting was to be the first in a series of annual club banquets, a tradition that continues to this day.

1956 The San Jose Coin Club Wooden Issues of 1956

The good news is that California State Numismatic Association (CSNA) had accepted the club's bid to host the spring 1956 convention brought with it a problem. Hosting this convention had certain costs associated with the entertainment of the guests which were not reimbursed by CSNA. The club treasury was very low, as this was long before the day of high profit coin shows. There was need to raise some money to finance the event.

One evening, Charles Kappen, Bill Webber and Bill Vennard, a Los Gatos printer (The Village Printer) met in the Carnation Creamery on The Alameda and Newhall to discuss the problem. The solution was to print a series of wooden money resembling Depression woods, and sell them through the club membership for one dollar per set to finance the convention expenses.

Vennard printed the woods for the club without charge. Printing was on 5x3 inch thin wooden strips. A set consisted of four pieces, a half cent with an 1804 dollar printed on the reverse, a two cent with a Roman Aes signatum on the reverse, a three cent with a Roman Aes Grave on the reverse and a twenty cents with a New York colonial note of 1759 on the reverse, all contained in a special printed envelope. The cuts for the numismatic items depicted were old Calcoin News cuts sold to the club by San Francisco coin dealer Earl Parker for five dollars. A total of 280 sets were reported to have been produced in the May 1956 issue of Calcoin News. The sales records, however, show that 284 sets were distributed as of 1960.