San Jose Coin Club
Last Updated by:
Ryan & Sally J.
SAN JOSE COIN CLUB HISTORY
THE FIRST 10 YEARS
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
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
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"
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
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
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
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
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
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
1955 Establishment of the Club Banquet
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
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.