US Coins

New book released on Alaskan monetary history

Tinnahs & Seal Skins, Gold Dust & Bingles, Projecting Alaska’s History Through Its Money, edited by Dick Hanscom, has been released by Alaska Rare Coins.

Images courtesy of Alaska Rare Coins.

The following information is from a news release issued by Alaska Rare Coins about the release of a new book:

Tinnahs & Seal Skins, Gold Dust & Bingles:  Projecting Alaska’s History Through Its Money.  Edited by Dick Hanscom

From the back cover:

"The history of a country is often reflected in its money. For Alaska, this is especially true.

"Alaska natives may not have had what we consider money, but they did have items that represented wealth. The tinnah (large shield-shaped pieces of copper) represented vast quantities of blankets. A tribe’s 'face' rose and fell upon the acquisition and destruction (!) of tinnahs.

"The Russian exploitation is expressed in their use of parchment notes, with no real value. With the sale of Alaska to the United States, it was the U.S.’s turn to neglect Alaska. It was the wild, wild 'west' in fisheries and sealing.

"With the gold rush, things started to look up for Alaska. Wealth, it seemed, was on every creek. Gold dust and tokens were the medium of exchange because any U.S. currency that happened to make it to the territory did a U-turn back to the lower forty-eight to purchase more goods.

"All while this was going on, others were developing other sectors of the economy. Gold drove the economy, but other factors were leading to a more stable population.

"For this anthology, articles have been gathered from many different sources. Some are not numismatic in nature, but they give information about a location or biography that I think enhances collecting enjoyment.

"Many articles have appeared in Alaskan Token Collector & Polar Numismatist over its 37 years. A number have been written by the editor. There are several articles that have been written specifically for this book. Most articles are illustrated with black and white photos."

The book is divided into 12 roughly chronological chapters:

            Dentalium & Trade Beads
            Russian American Company
            Fish, Fur & Traders
            Gold Rush
            Promotion & Development
            Personalities – the issuers
            Currency, Scrip & Checks
            Depression – ARRC
            Modern Numismatics
            Personalities – the Collectors

The book is 396 pages, 9” by 6”.  The cover is full color with text printed in yellow on black. The paper-bound edition is available for immediate shipment for $29.95 postpaid by media mail, or $33 via priority mail (U.S. orders only. Please contact us for non-U.S. orders). 

Hard-bound copies are available on a prepaid, special order basis for $70.  These orders will be accepted until June 15.  Delivery will be made in July.

To order, telephone (907) 452-6461, or send orders to:
Alaska Rare Coins
551-B Second Ave.
Fairbanks., AK 99701

More from

Take a short quiz to test your numismatic knowledge

2015 March of Dimes Special Silver Set inching toward sellout

U.S. Mint silver bullion sales down year-over-year for the third straight month [INFOGRAPHIC]

85 Percent of authorized 2015 March of Dimes Special Silver sets sold out during first three days available

2015 Coin and Chronicles sets to include Reverse Proof Presidential dollar

Keep up with all of's news and insights by signing up for our free eNewslettersliking us on Facebook, and following us on Twitter. We're also on Instagram!

Community Comments