The Early American Coppers Club has issued its newsletter Penny-Wise regularly since September 15, 1967. Publication dates for six issues a year are January 15, March 15, May 15, July 15, September 15, and November 15. A row of thirteen stars separates articles. Public meetings of the club begin with introductions as each person gives their name, home city and area of collecting interests.
National meetings have grown from an evening dinner to a three-and-a-half day convention. The pattern in recent years includes a reception on Thursday evening, Educational Forum on Friday evening, educational seminars on Saturday, EAC Sale on Saturday evening and general business meeting Sunday morning. A public bourse is open Friday through Sunday.
In recent years, donations from members support a reception on Thursday night as part of the convention. There is no formal program. It is a time to meet old friends and for new members to establish those friendships.
An evening of ‘black velvet and white gloves’ describes the Half Cent Happening held on Thursday evenings during national conventions. Coins for inclusion in the Happening are announced in advance. Members are encouraged to bring examples of designated varieties. Each variety is displayed on a table carefully watched by a volunteer monitor. Members attending are encouraged to examine the coins and assign an order of preference for fine quality.
The Large Cent Happening, added in 1994, and Colonial Happening, added in 1995, are patterned after the highly successful Half Cent Happening. An Educational Forum is presented as the Friday evening program at national conventions. Non-competitive exhibits offer members an opportunity to show important items from their collections.
EAC conducts a private sale of consigned coppers in conjunction with the annual EAC convention. This simplifies the need to comply with local ordinances related to public auctions. Members send coins to the cataloguer prior to the sale and a catalog is produced for distributed to all members. A space on the bourse floor is reserved for viewing sale lots. Although mail bids are accepted and encouraged, most lots are sold to bidders who attend. The commission rate charged is a sliding scale based on total proceeds of the sale. Proceeds from the sale defray costs of the annual convention and help fund P-W.
The sale catalogs feature cover art related to the host city. Since 1984 the cover design has been by Steve Fischer.
EAC Sales include occasional lots offered for entertainment and refreshment. These frequently include a six-pack of some local beer. Proceeds go to the club. Penny-Wise reported on the first counterfeit beer lot in EAC history sold at 10:05 pm on April 27, 1991. This was six Bud Lights in a "Sam Adams" carton.
After the 1970 ANA convention, Denis Loring wrote a brief article "One Day at ANA" for P-W. It was only one page and covered little more than one purchase, a new variety, 1796 NC-6. In 1971 Loring submitted a slightly longer report of the ANA convention and in 1972 a day-by-day account of the convention was submitted by John D. Wright. In 1973, both Loring and Wright wrote daily reports. Denis called his report "D.L.'s Diary" and it has been called that ever since. Loring's diary is so well known and popular that it is now copied, sometimes with acknowledgment, by other authors in other publications.
Mike Packard acquires low-grade cents and stamps them with the year and locale of the convention, following a tradition established by Tom Wolf. These are given as souvenirs or pocket pieces. Packard thinks of them as "bangers."
In the early days of EAC, a committee was formed to update and publish references on half cents and large cents. Committee members have changed and responsibilities have shifted. It is tradition that progress toward completion of these references is reported at EAC meetings. It is also tradition that announced completion dates pass, are revised and pass again.
Every member is entitled to an opinion about what "EAC grading" represents. Traditional EAC grading is considered "technical" grading based on an evaluation of wear and deduction of points for problems such as corrosion, pitting, cuts, dings, prior cleaning or recoloring. EAC grading is in constant conflict with "market" grading that attempts to rank coins based on relative value.
Dr. Sheldon, writing in Penny Whimsy, credits Dr. George French with the invention of "old cent whist." In its simplest form, two collectors compare collections and score one point for having a variety and a second point for having a nicer piece than the competitor. More complex scoring may be used for games with several competitors. Whist is a popular activity when small groups of collectors gather.