Volume 9 Issue 4                                                     INTERNET EDITION                                                             April 2004.

We trust that this issue of the Internet Edition will continue to provide interesting reading. The name of this Internet based newsletter is in keeping with the content so, bearing in mind our disclaimers, the Internet links selected are usually complimentary to the featured article in regard to: (1) illustrations and, (2) additional important information. Please also bear in mind that some Internet links are of a temporary nature.



Anyone who wishes to apply for membership to the non-profit making organization, and who is prepared to abide by the rules of the Society and its aim of promoting the study and enjoyment of the hobby of numismatics, should contact the following address for an application form and details of subscriptions: 


Tasmanian Numismatic Society.

G. P. O. Box 884J

Hobart. 7001.



It was with the upmost sadness that our T.N.S. President, Roger McNeice O.A.M., alerted fellow members of the 'Tasmanian Numismatic Society' of the sudden, but peaceful, passing of our long-time friend and colleague, Tom Williamson, during the night of Sunday 15 - 16th March 2004.

Tom had been in indifferent health in recent times, with the occasional hospital stay, but he had always managed to attend meetings and hold on just a bit longer - this time the burden just grew too heavy. Tom's oft-stated wish was to leave this earthly coil from the familiar surrounds of his own home - and his wish was eventually granted. His last illness was very brief and, although medical assistance was called, he slipped away and was unable to be revived.

During his last few years, after the death of his beloved wife, Molly, Tom devoted much of his energy to Society affairs and maintained ties with this circle of friends. In particular, his closest friends, Roger and Chris Heath will miss him the most due to their very regular social contacts with Tom.

As Roger stated, "He will be sorely missed as a mentor - but mainly as a friend who was always available when I a needed a friend."

Many members can also closely relate to Roger's feeling of loss, as Tom was a real personality who touched everyone with whom he came in contact.

He joined the T.N.S. in 1972 and during his time with the Society he served 17 years on the Committee in various capacities. He was a generous member in regard to financial donations towards costs associated with numismatic social functions and also with his time and friendship.  

He was also an imminent J.P. in Hobart prior to retirement.

On a personal level, my wife, Ailsa, and I - who counted Tom as one of our friends -  will also mourn his departure and extend our deepest sympathy, along with that of other Society members, to those who held him dear.


Tom Williamson - T.N.S. Life Member


1919 - 2004





Those few T.N.S. members who have not forwarded their now overdue annual subscription for 2003, are reminded to do so immediately or their names will have to be removed from current mailing and membership lists, effective as at the end of this month, and any accumulated Society awards/benefits will be forfeited.

If a change of postal address/phone number has recently occurred, the Secretary would also appreciate your advice so that correspondence can be re-directed if need be. Please, always contact the T.N.S. Secretary, at the above postal address, if circumstances have altered, or if a temporary 'leave of absence' is required.



Please forward my thanks to our fellow T.N.S. Associate Member #368, Ian Hartshorn, and the other major contributors for the great glossary error/variety terms in the March newsletter.  Even applied to tokens, and to non-error tokens, these are a boon to collecting.  Of course, I also do collect coins and errors, but many of the terms we also use in token collecting, and some I had heard before but I was unfamiliar with the exact meaning.  The listing, provides a quick and concise way of sharing this kind of information!  I wish other numismatic groups would adapt this type of informative article. Regards, Jerry Adams T.N.S. Member #363


P.S. - Jerry, who is an architect by profession, underwent successful surgery on Friday 19th March 2004, for a severe case on tendonitis that was affecting his right thumb and wrist. His typing and drawing hand will be 'out of action' for about two weeks, but prior to the operation he had the opportunity to forward a brief report of the Houston token show he attended on Saturday 13th March. His report and a few photos will be in our next edition but no doubt, Jerry will feature his latest acquisitions in forthcoming articles on his temporary web-site page : http://www.gbronline.com/tokenguy/index.htm



During an action at Polygon Wood near Ypres, on 26th.September 1917, L/Cpl. Frederick Robert Fox (Regtl # 1010 - 12th Battlion) won the right to be awarded the Imperial Military Medal.  He was wounded at least 2 - 3 times in face and legs by close-quarters rifle-fire, but survived to return home after 4 years and 100 days overseas - including the Gallipoli campaign -  and died 23/1/1968 in Hobart after a long civilian life as a storeman at A.C. Webster & Sons, Derwent Park in Tasmania.

Unfortunately, as all old soldiers must, he eventually faded into history - and somewhere along the way his medals, including his Military Medal, also went astray or was diposed of without his surviving family's knowledge or permission. On behalf of the Fox family, I am interested to learn if any of our members or readers who collect military medals may have eventually acquired the set - or just the MM - for their collection.

The younger generation of Fred's family would now dearly love to have this official recognition of his bravery back home where it belongs - if possible - and are prepared to negotiate for its recovery (within their means), or, at least they would like to know that it has 'a good home' now, after all these years.

Obviously, a replica just doesn't seem to hold the same family ties as the original would - but they have no other symbol to display of Fred's courage as a young man in terrible circumstances - so they make do. All original MM's are named so it would not be a hard job to identify his name, rank and serial number.

Any information may be directed, in confidence, to the Editor at the postal or e-mail addresses as shown at the conclusion of this newsletter.

Fred Fox MM was actually christened Robert Frederick Fox, but the Army had him listed as Frederick Robert Fox on their records and I would presume that his MM would have been embossed or etched accordingly. The same records list him as being one month short of his 20th birthday when he enlisted - but the family records show that Fred, like hundreds of other young Aussies, may have been a bit loose with the facts regarding his date-of-birth. No matter, now!

He was on Gallipoli when Australia 'won it's spurs' and he shared the triumphs and tragedies of France and Belgium with many of his Tasmanian 12th Battalion, A.I.F. mates who didn't come home so please, readers, take the time to drop me a line if you have Fred's Military Medal in your care - as he was also my great-uncle.



Pvt. Frederick Robert Fox - Regtml No. 1010 - 12th Battalion, A.I.F.

 Photo: September 1914 prior to departure.

Imperial Military Medal





A brief report by Graeme Petterwood T.N.S. Member # 332

On February 22nd. 2004, I attended a gathering of some the descendants of the convicts who had  been sent to Van Diemen's Land in their thousands.

Along with at least a thousand of fellow descendants, we followed the row of inscribed terracotta bricks that has been laid in the main street of Campbell Town, Tasmania, looking for our convict(s).

It must be emphasised that this project was completely self-funded, by the organisers aand the people of Campbell Town, without State or Federal financial input and, now, by the sale of these indivually engraved bricks. The bricks will be laid as required but already they stretch along passed the main business section  of the town.

It is a truly moving experience to read the names, note the ages, and the severity of sentences that were handed out for what we would now class as a triviality.

About 68,000 convicts of all types were sent to Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) during the Transportation era and many passed through, or were kept at Campbell Town to build roads, bridges and other buildings that were deemed to be necessary to support the garrison and the prisoners themselves.

The famous Campbell Town 'Red Bridge' was formed from bricks made by convicts, and their presence can be felt as visitors wander the town and other surrounding areas and see the remnants of their passing. The Convict Trail, which will eventually be about 10 miles (16 kms.) long, starts and will finish at the Red Bridge.

The 1.5 million clay brick bridge was originally built on dry land - and then the convicts had to dig a new river course to divert the waters beneath the arches.

The idea of this memorial to these real people who suffered, in some cases, a fate worse than death by sending them from their families and homes, was originally conceived and brought to fruition by Mr. John Cameron and a dedicated group of local helpers.

At the opening, a special limited issue of Campbell Town Convict Cash was offered for sale to the public as an additional fund-raising effort.

Printed on heavy paper the set of 5 notes, in a vertical strip, depict various aspects of Campbell Town and convict life. Descendants of convicts were also able to purchase screen-printed  'broad arrow' T-shirts suitably inscribed, and I have been advised that some of these mementoes are still available for purchase to the general public, as well as some copies of the official programme - which was produced in the form of an 8 page informative newspaper "The Convict Courier."

Any of our readers, who had an ancestor who passed through penal servitude in Van Diemen's Land, can apply to purchase their 'own' terracotta brick. It will be made and laid and a research Certificate, detailing the known facts, supplied for a small additional fee. In conjunction with an agreement with the Northern Midlands Council, any upkeep charges on the brick are waived forever.

It will also be possible to 'adopt' a convict and dedicate a brick that, in some cases, will be their only known headstone.

Details of costs of a brick and/or other souvenir items should be obtained by making an application directly to:

John Cameron.

P.O.Box 51, Campbell Town

Tasmania, Australia 7210.

Ph: (03) 6381 1438

Int. Ph: + 61 3 6381 1438





Campbell Town Convict Cash (Set of 5) Souvenir £2 notes with a common reverse. (Actual size 16 x 8 cms).

Produced to commemorate the Opening of the Campbell Town Convict Trail, February 22nd. 2004

Limited Edition - © John Cameron 2004.





The famous re-strke Maria Theresa Silver Thaler trade coins, dated 1780, which are 39.5mm diameter and about 28.07 grms contain approx. 83.33% Silver and 16.66% Copper (actual silver weight is about 23.89grms per coin) have become a legend with numismatists all over the world and there are few established world coin collections that wouldn't have at least one of these beautiful coins stashed away.

According to Krause's 'Standard Catalog of World Coins it is estimated that there were somewhere in the vicinity of 800 million of these siver coins re-struck in 7 major mints (and many smaller mints) over the last 200 years.

It is therefore of interest to know a little more about their history.

The initial design for this Trade Thaler originated in 1773 at the Gunzburg Mint located in Burgau which at that time was part of Austria but was later annexed to Bavaria.

There had been various previous conventional Thaler issues bearing the likeness of the Archduchess Maria Theresa dating back to 1741 and which continued until she married  in 1745. She was the Archduchess of Austria and Queen of Hungary and Bohemia (1740-80), and consort of Holy Roman Emperor Francis (Franz) I.

Their marriage was a love match, unusual for the times, and they had 16 children - of whom two sons would become Emperors of Austria and one daughter, Marie Antoinette, would become Queen of France.

During the joint reign of Maria Theresa and Franz, regular Thaler issues were still made in Austria with her effigy and, after Franz's death in 1765, she had issued a decree on July 21 1766 that all coins bearing the portrait of her beloved Franz were to be continued but all would be dated 1765 with special letter mintmarks to show the actual year of issue. However, Maria Theresa re-instated her image on the general coinage, including the Trade Thaler, even though she co-ruled as Dowager Empress with her son Joseph II. The posthumous coins of Franz I were only issued occasionally and ceased with her death in 1780.

Joseph II also issued his own coinage, Thalers included, as did the succeeding Emperors but the popularity of the Maria Theresa coin design from Gunzburg Mint in Burgau for trade purposes in the Middle East was destined to head into numismatic history. They actually remained legal tender until October 1958.

Vienna, Prague, Milan, Venice, London, Paris, Brussels, Kremnitz, Karlsburg, Rome, Birminghan, Bombay and Florence were all mints that produced these attractive trade coins all dated 1780. For many years little was known about how many and where these coins were minted - and, although details are still very scarce, some dedicated research has unearthed a few interesting facts. We are unable to go into great detail in this condensed article but Krause's Catalogs gives mintages from several of the major mints, dating from 1920 - 1975, however, mintage numbers from smaller mints is unavailable due to the intermittent strikings. It is believed that many unofficial restrikes - as well as forgeries - were produced in the Middle East due to the acceptance of the coin as the prime trade coin in the area.

1920 - 1937    Vienna                52,069,465

1935 - 1939    Rome                 19,496,729

1935 - 1957    Paris                  11,809,956

1936 - 1961    London               20,159,070

1937 - 1957    Brussels             10,995,024

1940 - 1941    Bombay             18,864,576

1949 - 1955    Birmingham          3,428,500

1956 - 1975    Vienna                 9,924,151

At first glance, it is impossible to ascertain from which mint that the Thalers originated, but it appears that  there are slight differences that have given researchers a clue. An extensive study of these differences has been undertaken over the years by various numismatists and the results, to date, have been recently compiled on the Internet by Thaler collector and internationally recognised U.S. numismatist, J.D. White, who is also the Webmaster for our friends at the the Worldwide Bi-metallic Coin Club. http://www.wbcc-online.com/



Central Image by J.D. White


The variation in design of the coin edge arabesques, and the saltires after the date, are the most noticeable features - once we know about them.

For those members and readers who have a Maria Theresa Thaler in their collection, the information and illustrations on J.D. White's site may provide part of the answer to the vexing question of where it came from.

(Thanks to J.D. White, I now know that mine (shown above) is a Vienna 1957 - 75 issue. It cost me AUD$10.00 some years ago and I still reckon it was good value!)


Main References:

J.D. White Website - http://www.jdsworld.net/article/m_theresa_thalers.html

Standard Catalog of World Coins by Chester L. Krause & Clifford Mishler, edited by Colin R. Bruce II.



The following report has been compiled from several news sources listed below, however, there are many more that are available for perusal.

The successful introduction and establishment of the Gold Dinar concept will sound warning bells in some financial quarters - or so the commentators have stated. In August 2003 the first .917 fine Gold Dinars rolled off the machines at the Royal Mint.



The denominations initially issued were the Dinar and Quarter Dinar but other values of a Half and a Four Dinars coin are to follow.

According to Islamic law, the dinar is a specific weight of gold equivalent to 4.3 grams and its value is based on world demand for gold. Whilst they will have values based on the current gold price in the region they are intended as a trade system between Islamic nations. The nations would continue to use local coins and currency for domestic use while the Gold Dinars would be used for multinational trade transactions.
These coins were minted for Malaysia after years of planning by ex-Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad - mainly in an effort to counteract against the influence of the U.S. dollar and speculators. Mahathir said that the gold dinar trade would bring more stability to world trade and national economies. He argued that currency traders have turned national currencies into commodities and made transactions "totally hidden from public eye".
The Gold dinar had been the currency of Muslim world until the collapse of the Ottoman empire in 1924. Being the single currency at that time, the dinar helped in uniting the Muslims, and as a result  trade flourished. Thus, a vast Muslim rule was established with the dominance on knowledge, economy and global power.

"Malaysia does not accept the dictates of the IMF and the World Bank and if other Muslim states follow the same, we can have our own strong Islamic trading, finance and banking system", Mahatir told the visiting journalists in his office at Putrajaya - the site of the new administrative centre for the federal government in Kaula Lumpur.
"We do not care about the dictates of the IMF as we are an independent and a sovereign nation", he said proudly, adding that the Muslim world possessed plenty of wealth which was not being invested in productive trade and economic activities.

"I was pleading for the  'gold dinar' among the Muslim states to eliminate the bias of the dollar".

The country was proposing the issuance of the gold dinar to "strengthen, specially the weak economies of the Islamic countries on the pattern of euro", Mahathir emphasised, while arguing that "if Europe can take care of its countries why can't we follow the same pattern".

The former Malaysian premier, Prime Minister Mahathir, last year proposed that the gold dinar would eliminate paper money which has no intrinsic value and would cease making exchange rates arbitrary and subject to manipulation as seen during the Asian financial crisis. "The risk of speculation can be reduced to almost nothing. World trade can actually expand because the cost of business will be much reduced as the need to hedge will practically disappear."

The dollar, franc, mark, pound, rupee, and all the other currencies of the world are called fiat currencies, that is, they are paper money made legal by law or fiat, although not backed by gold or silver and not necessarily redeemable in coin.

The result of a gold-backed currency in the world could cause the US dollar to crash in value.

Some suggest the gold dinar would cause a shift in economic power from the West to the East.

Trading in Islamic dinars is also planned to open up on the Internet.

Royal Mint Exchange Sdn Bhd chairman Datuk Dr Awang Adek Hussin said purchasing the Dinar was an effective mode of savings as the value of gold was much more stable compared to currencies.
The value of the Dinar was minted to resemble those used during the reign of Caliph Umar-Al-Khatab in Arab and would follow the market price of gold.
“The introduction of the Dinar here is as a commodity, particularly for savings purpose and not as currency or legal tender,” Dr Awang told a press conference..
He said the introduction of Dinar provided an alternative mode of investment for the public who would normally place savings in banks or purchase property or land.
“It is definitely a lot cheaper than jewellery because you are only paying RM (Malaysian Ringgits)10 as a premium for each coin regardless of its value.”

Main References and Recommended reading









by Graeme Petterwood

From time to time, the question is asked, "I have an old brass coin, a bit bigger than a 10 cent coin, with a hole in the middle - it has Chinese writing on it!  What is it?"

If it is, in fact, Chinese - and not Japanese, Vietnamese, Korean or Tibetan - the likelihood is that it is a brass Chinese One Cash coin.

Those that are most commonly found in this country are the ones that were brought to Australia, by the thousands, by early Chinese gold miners.

The secondary industry of gambling tents, grog shops and opium dens that sprung up on the goldfields ensured that, at least, some Chinese became very wealthy as much of the miners' silver and gold accumulations usually ended up in their hands. To some extent, in the mining communities in isolated areas, the brass Cash were traded amongst the Chinese as token coinage in lieu of Imperial coins.


To identify the age and value of many older Chinese coins is often quite difficult if the finder does not have access to a specialised Chinese coin catalogue, however, with todays Internet technology - and a lot of patience - it is possible to find out quite a lot about the Cash coins.

It is not my intention to delve into the hundreds of years that Chinese coins have been produced - but I can tell readers that, prior to having Internet or access to adequate reference books, it took me years to track down information about the few different miners' Cash (samples below) that I discovered on an old Tasmanian gold-field shanty town that had disappeared completely back into the ground except for a few wide grooves where streets once were. By use of old museum photos I was able to pinpoint the local grog shop (by the number of men outside) and considered it a good spot to search - luckily, I turned up a number of cash including some that crumbled into small corroded chunks as I removed them from the soil. (Note the hole where one had been attached to a Chinese Joss- stick rattle.)

The biggest break-through in identiying their age came when I obtained a cheap Chinese produced replica set of One Cash coins from the famous Salamanca Market in Hobart, with details of the Qing (Ch'ing) Emperors from 1644 - 1911. This cheap set has paid for itself many times over during the last 10 years or so.



 Kang-hsi (Kangxi 康 熙 1662 - 1722) Obverse and Reverse       Shun-chi (Shunzhi 順 治 1644 - 1661) Obverse and Reverse.

The Emperor's names are signified on the obverse by the two vertical symbols e.g. 康  熙 and 順  治.


The two obverse horizontal symbols read T'ung Pao    (Circulating or current Treasure coin).


The Manchu lettering on the Kang-hsi reverse (shown above) reads Boo- Yuwan (Coin of Yuwan mint) and designates the Mint or Issuing Authority. (In this instance the Cash was authorised in Peking by the Board of Public Works). The reverse symbols on the Shun-chi Cash read Boo - Ciowan (Coin of Yunnan Mint - authorised by the Board of Revenue) http://www.sportstune.com/chinese/coins/mintmarks.html  These coins are both 27mm. in diameter.


The Qing (Pure) Dynasty was started by the semi-nomadic ethnic group called Man (Manchus) after they conquered the crumbling Ming Dynasty.    

The illustration below is of that replica set and, hopefully, it can be utilised to give any readers an idea of the Cash they may have in their possession. If used with a good catalogue e.g. 'Standard Catalog of World Coins' published by Krause Publications, it could open up a wonderful area of history as well as numismatics.

Please, also bear in mind that the previously accepted English idea of pronounciation of Chinese names has altered in the last decade so you may have to use a little bit of imagination when translating Emperors names - and they also tended to have several titlular names just to confuse the issue at times.

For instance:  Kangxi (r. 1662–1722) and Qianlong (r. 1736–95) are now the spellings associated with those Qing (Ch'ing) Emperors previously known as Kang-hsi and Chien - lung. http://www.chinaknowledge.de/History/Ming-Qing/qing.htm


Qing Shizu 清世祖 or Zhangdi 清章帝 (Aisin Giorro Fulin 福臨), reign motto Shunzhi 順 治


Qing Shengzu 清聖祖 or Rendi 清仁帝 (Aisin Giorro Xuanye 玄燁), reign motto Kangxi 康 熙


Qing Shizong 清世宗 or Xiandi 清憲帝 (Aisin Giorro Yinzhen 胤禛), reign motto Yongzheng 雍 正


Qing Gaozong 清高宗 or Chundi 清純帝 (Aisin Giorro Hongli 弘厲), reign motto Qianlong 乾 隆


Qing Renzong 清仁宗 or Ruidi 清睿帝 (Aisin Giorro Yongyan 顒琰), reign motto Jiaqing 嘉 慶


Qing Xuanzong 清宣宗 or Chengdi 清成帝 (Aisin Giorro Minning 旻寧), reign motto Daoguang 道 光


Qing Wenzong 清文宗 or Xiandi 清顯帝 (Aisin Giorro Yizhu 奕詝), reign motto Xianfeng 咸 豐


Qing Muzong 清穆宗 or Yidi 清毅帝 (Aisin Giorro Zaichun 載淳), reign motto Tongzhi 同 治


Qing Dezong 清德宗 or Jingdi 清景帝 (Aisin Giorro Zaitian 載湉), reign motto Guangxu 光 緒,

nominally assisted by Xianfeng's Empress Dowager Xiao Qinxian 孝欽顯太后 ,Yehenala Cixi 葉赫那拉慈禧


The Last Emperor - Aisin Giorro Puyi 愛新覺羅溥儀, reign motto Xuantong 宣 統


(Aisin Giorro is the family surname of the Qing emperors.)


It has been the fashion in later years for some enterprising entrepreneurs to reproduce high quality replicas, sometimes of higher denomination Cash than the humble One Cash - so, if these larger coins look too good and pristine, it is possible they may be replicas and should be priced accordingly as ornamental pieces between $5.00 - $10.00 depending on size and packaging. 

A very basic genuine brass Chinese One Cash coin in reasonable condition can be picked up for about US$0.50 - $3.00 from dealers or even market coin stalls.

The Chinese also produced larger coin-type items  as non-circulating or commemorative pieces - these are commonly called amulets and most of these, and other presentation pieces, range from 40mm upwards. The amulet pieces do not have a mint, or place of issue, on the reverse in most instances just a 'lucky' design.

There are also pieces made as Palace issues, Birthday Cash and a plethora of what would have to be described as fantasy cash that originated at the Peking's Kung Pu Mint (Board of Public Works) and Tientsin Mint  - usually these 'fantasy' pieces from this mint are in 6, 9, 20, 30, 90, 300, 400, 600, 800, 900, 4000, and 5000 Cash values. Just to make life more complicated, a Rebel Cash coinage was introduced during the T'ai P'ing Rebellion between 1850 - 1864.

It is also a fact of life that the market abounds with genuinely 'made to deceive' fakes - every denomination in Qing Cash has been counterfeited at one time or another. Some of these can be checked out on the Internet along with the other quality fake coins that are now originating from China e.g U.S. Trade Dollars.


These reproduction One Cash samples are sized at 25mm which is the approx. size of many Cash coins.

Some earlier One Cash coins were made between 27 - 35mm.

Multiple Cash e.g. 10 - 500 Cash (which usually have the value on the coin in Chinese script) were produced in sizes varying from 35 - 55mm.




A typical large replica Cash-style ornamental piece.

This sample is actually sized at 40mm. and features the Shun-chi (Shunzhi 順  治) motto obverse and has ornamental dragons as a reverse.

All examples from the author's collection.


Recommended Internet Reading/References







As mentioned in our article about Chinese Cash, it is alarming that many quality produced counterfeits of other world coins are also originating out of China.

The .900 Fine Silver U.S.Trade Dollar has now fallen victim to this insidious trade in fakes and is being sold in places such as Internet auctions or salerooms.

Details have recently been forwarded by our T.N.S. member Jerry Adams of Texas, U.S.A.

The forum link shows how much confusion has been created amongst those who collect US Trade Dollars.






An alert from Prince John, Duke of Avram - who doesn't mind a good joke - saw a rapid check up on the CNN.com website to confirm the detail he had supplied. The following example of how to use the eBay to promote a bargain price land sale deal should make the most speculative Tasmanian land 'baron' sit up and take notice.


It appears that eBay was the way to go for seller 'fishstuffnthings' to push the envelope when he offered the entire state of West Virginia  for sale by auction.

His resume for the sale follows - with its spelling errors.

I, as emperor of West Virginia, have been appointed as steward of this sale," he wrote. "You are bidding on the ENTIRE STATE of West Virginia. Please note that this auction does not come with governing rites, nor the inhabitants of said property. You also may not change the state flag, bird, or so on.

This is merely for bragging rights, or to hang a sign in your garage that says, 'I own West Virginia.'

Also please note, you will have every right to succeed from the union, but that has been tried in the past without much success. I am also willing to relinquish the seat of 'Emperor' FOR FREE!"


"It could only happen in America!", is often the statement that is used by other nationals about the type of things that seem to fulfill Barnum's comment "There's a sucker born every minute!'  However, it was fairly obvious that this whole thing was meant to be a joke - and  it was fun while it lasted.

The auction actually did draw 56 bids - and the bidders had bumped the price up to just $1 short of $100 million before eBay learned of the joke.

Within minutes, the auction was unplugged and the state was "no longer available."

"Obviously, this buyer doesn't have the goods to sell," said Chris Donlay, spokesman for the San Jose, California-based eBay auction company.

The seller did not immediately respond to e-mails late Tuesday - nor did "nosnam1488," who was the highest bidder.
"As an eBay consumer myself ... that's a heck of a bargain!" joked Amy Shuler Goodwin, spokeswoman for West Virginian Governor Bob Wise - who's projecting a $120 million deficit for 2005.


If the great balladeer and singer John Denver (Henry John Deutshendorf Jnr. b. Dec 31st 1943 - d. Oct 12th 1997) were still with us he would have had a chuckle, I am sure.  Even though he was born in Roswell, New Mexico and moved to Colarado to live and grow up, his love of West Virginia as well - ('Take me Home, Country Roads') - was such that I'm sure he would have made a bid.



In April 1684, an ill-fated expedition led by 41 year old Robert Cavalier, Sieur de La Salle - with the blessing of King Louis XIV of France - set out in four ships L'Aimable. Belle, Le Joly and Saint-François to reach the Mississippi from the Gulf of Mexico and establish a permanent settlement. to retain the area for France.

In September, the Saint-François was seized by pirates but the other ships arrived safely at Santo Domingo and then proceeded towards the area where they expected the mouth of the Mississippi to be located. Unfortunately, explorer La Salle's reckoning was 400 miles out!

In January 1685, the expedition of men, women and children successfully made landfall on the Texas coast, but it soon started to fall into disarray when L'Amiable ran aground and the majorirty of the stores needed to set up the settlement were lost. It was decided to send Le Joly back to France, leaving La Salle with the Belle and  about 180 settlers and men, to continue with the expedition. After finding a suitable site in April of that year, the colonists began to form a settlement which was named Fort St. Louis. About 70 men who had been at an island camp on Baie St. Louis began to trek overland to the new settlement after being landed on the mainland while the Belle and another contingent sailed to the new site, with the stores needed. The ship arrived there in July.

In October 1685, La Salle decided to resume the search of the shoreline for the mouth of the Mississippi, this time by land and canoe.

Taking 50 men with him, he left the Belle, with 37 men aboard, to sail along the coast. The final tragic chapter started to unfold but the stubborn La salle pushed ahead with his quest. For the next month no contact between the two parties was made.

In December, the land party discover that Captain Richaud of the 'Belle' and his crew had been murdered in their sleep and the ship had been left abandoned.   

Part of La Salle's party re-manned the ship and tried to ready it to sail back to Fort St. Louis while he continued to explore the area by land - desperate now to successfully fill his task. Shortly after his departure, and un-beknowns to La Salle, a severe storm wrecked the Belle which had put out to sea to try and ride it out.

When La Salle returned, the ship had disappeared so he and his men were then forced to trek overland to Fort St. Louis.

By this time the situation was getting desperate, illness and Indians had claimed the lives of many of the settlers who had remained to establish the fort, so in January 1867, La Salle decided that the only chance of salvation and possible rescue was to divide the remaining 40 men into two groups and try to walk across the country to Illinois. This proved too much for his exhausted men and, in March 1687, La Salle was murdered somewhere on the trek near present-day Navasota, Texas.

The plight of the illness plagued settlers at Fort St. Louis was not much better. At the end of 1688 or early 1689, they eventually fell prey to marauding Karakawa Indians and the only survivors were several children who the Indians had kidnapped. The tragic story started to reveal itself in April 1688 when a Spanish expedition found the remains of the 'Belle' and realised that a disaster had hit the French settlers - but it took another 12 months for the remains of the fort to be found by another Spanish expedition.The French children, who had been captured by the Indians, were rescued by the Spanish and the mystery was eventually put together.


Now after more than 300 years, the recently re-discovered wreck of 'Belle', and the artifacts recovered, are being carefully evaluated.

One item that came to light still has the archeologists puzzled.

A 2,000-year-old coin — the only coin recovered from the wreck of the La Belle — was a Roman denarius, the major currency during the fifth century in Rome and throughout the central and western Mediterranean. Dating to A.D. 69, the coin bears a portrait of Otho Caesar, who ascended the throne by overthrowing the emperor Nero. After a crushing defeat in battle in April of the same year, Otho committed suicide.

BUT - how did a coin of this antiquity find its way aboard the 'Belle'? Was there a numismatist among the crew or was it a 'lucky' piece that may have been placed in the ship when the mast was stepped (erected). This supersition is still alive and well in various forms e.g. a coin under a foundation stone of a new building.



Fort St. Louis (artist's impression by Tom Jones) - Robert de La Salle - 'Belle' model - Otho Caesar Roman denarius A D. 69


Main References:





Attention Australian Coin Clubs!

With major emphasis usually placed on Australian Trader's Tokens, it appears that many other early Australian tokens that were made for use by Churches, Bread and Milk deliverers, etc.etc., may have slipped into the too hard basket in regard to a cataloguing system that could eventually be incorporated into a national register.


From time to time, I see well-written papers produced by colleagues in associated coin clubs' newsletters and I read them with interest - however, after that, they are filed and lost amongst the multitude of other documents as there is no way that I can afford the time to index all of them - nor the cost of buying existing catalogues that only tell part of the story. It is to the token collectors in each club that this gentle 'challenge' is addressed.

Perhaps individual clubs might consider making it an in-club project for their members to list or otherwise detail the most common types of tokens that they have, or have seen, in their home states as a simple starting point. Many new - and not so new - numismatists are unaware that this interesting facet of our hobby exists.

It is not our intention to steal anyone's 'thunder' or use their in-depth research if any collector's care to share their knowledge - but we amateurs in this area of collecting would like to know generally what sort of stuff is out there and, to hopefully, put it into a clearer perspective.

The various types of tokens - and their uses - needs to be identified and explained for other novices like yours truly.

I feel that it might be possible to eventually achieve some sort of positive result if, firstly, the job is broken up into basic categories.


Already, as a collector of certain types of U.S. tokens, I found that a very handy medals and exonumia catalogue that I have, uses a very basic system to cope with the plethora of US tokens. It specifies approximately 60+ basic types and sub-types - and although many illustrations are shown of the variations it does not list many individual items as such - but it has supplied a simple formula for each category of token based on type and sub-type.

This particular catalogue 'Tokens and Medals - A guide to the identification and values of United States Exonumia.', produced by Stephen P. Alpert, does not incorporate grading and any prices are based on an average token for its type. In some instances, there is a 'cross-over' in type definition but the catalogue handles it well by cross-referencing.

Something like this could provide a common starting-point if we can get some suggestions on type definitions that might be adopted as an Oz national standard.

Once a suitable formula for these basic groups had been established it would then be possible to expand into the several sub-categories - composition, commemorative, etc etc. and finally individual items.

BUT - we seem to need a starting point!!

I have made a few examples (below) just off the top of my head, but I am looking for more 'professional' assistance or an existing formula that might be used.

The examples given are only an illustration of a starting point and, of course, they are as flexible as required. If a better system is eventually forthcoming that is great!

By amending the American catalogue system and applying it to Australian conditions for instance, a N.S.W. Amusement token issued could be listed as NA followed by a number 19 standing for c.1900 - 1999 or extended if actual issue date known e.g. 1956 then another letter e.g. F or G meaning 'Free...' or 'Good For....' 

A token listed as NA1966G would be a NSW Amusement token issued in 1966 and is 'Good for ...' 

A Tasmanian Communion token for use in the Methodist church community during the 1800's would be designated as TC18M the final letter(s) signifing the religious organisation - while a Western Australian Church communion token from the 1800's would be WC18RC (Roman Catholic)  - or P for Presbyterian, C for Congregational, M for Methodist, E for Church of England, or any other suitable letter(s) could be used for any other group that issued these types of early church tokens. 

If I listed a VB18G, it would mean Victoria Bread token c. 1800's 'Good for...' and ST1937G, is a South Australian Transport token issued 1937 and 'Good for....'

I realise these 'type' examples are somewhat cumbersome but if a uniform system could be implemented it would be great for starter-collectors of Oz items - and, who knows, it may also encourage a more international interest in our exonumia products.

An excellent article about the history of church communion tokens in Queensland was written by Melvin Williams and re-published by the QNS on their web-site.



The ball is on the ground - who will be the first to kick it? Or, if the game has already started, will someone tell me the score - and are we playing as a team?





All details of a commercial nature, organisations, items or individual arrangement to buy, sell or trade are provided in good faith as information only, and any consequent dealings are between the parties concerned. The ‘Tasmanian Numismatist’ and its 'Internet Edition' version takes no responsibility for disagreements between parties. (Refer disclaimers.)


We have received a recent e-mail request from Grammie Vahia of Honiara in the Solomon Islands, (who also has a small collection of Australian coins) and wants to contact dealers or collectors also interested in coins with a view to trade, buy or sell.

Grammie's e-mail address is : grammie_vahia@hotmail.com




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All details of a commercial nature, organisations, items or individual arrangement to buy, sell or trade are provided in good faith as information only, and any consequent dealings are between the parties concerned. 

The ‘Tasmanian Numismatist’ and its 'Internet Edition' version takes no responsibility for disagreements between parties, and also reserves the right to only feature information that it considers suitable in promoting the hobby to our readers.  Deadline for any literary contributions or amendment to copy is 7 Days prior to the beginning of the month of publication. The contents of this Internet newsletter, and all prior issues, are copyrighted ©, but anything herein can be fairly used to promote the great hobby of numismatics; however, we do like to be asked by commercial interests if they wish to use any of our copy. 

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