Volume 6 Issue 8
INTERNET EDITION August
Selected items from the official bi-monthly 'Tasmanian Numismatist' newsletter may have been included in this Internet Edition version that has been provided for 'Tasmanian Numismatic Society' members and any other readers who are interested in the hobby of numismatics. We draw readers attention to our notifications and disclaimers located at the conclusion of this monthly Internet Edition.
TASMANIAN NUMISMATIC SOCIETY - SPECIAL NOTICE!
The Tasmanian Numismatic Society has announced that, due to the lack of attendance by sufficient members and also some Executive Committee officers at the monthly meetings during the Winter period in Hobart, the decision to impose a 3 month Meeting Recess until Thursday November 8th. 2001 has been made. This will become effective immediately.
Further notices will be forthcoming if other changes are considered to be necessary.
'Tasmanian Numismatist' - Editor's Note.
Please note that the current Meeting Recess in Hobart called by the Tasmanian Numismatic Society will not alter the schedule of the bi-monthly hard-copy 'Tasmanian Numismatist' - Tasmanian Edition (Sept - Oct.) nor the monthly Internet publication of the 'Tasmanian Numismatist' - Internet Edition.
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD? by Graeme Petterwood (T.N.S. Member # 332).
I have written this article not as Editor but as a concerned numismatist who wants to preserve my hobby in the long term - and the many wonderful personal associations I have made over the last decade as a member of a remarkable numismatic club.
I have attempted to play Devil's Advocate by painting a grim picture of what might be in store for some Australian hobby and social clubs - such as numismatics - as well as also trying, hopefully, to point one way to the future by the astute use of the new technological revolution.
From editorial pleas included in newsletters and journals received from associated Australasian numismatic clubs it is apparent that, over the last 12 months or so, many have gone to the trouble of canvassing or sending out questionnaires to all their registered members asking for suggestions in how to improve their organisations, build membership, hold functions - in fact ANY ideas that would help overcome the various problems that we all are now starting to face.
It must be said, from my own personal observances and involvement with other social and semi-official groups, that these problems of cause and effect are occurring with ALL types of organisations, not just numismatics!
Unfortunately, the reported responses in our own hobby field of numismatics have apparently been disheartening in the main and, with the exception of the usual 'Faithful Few’, the club Committees might just as well saved their efforts and the cost of the postage. The old guard in some clubs appears to have either, put the entreaties and questionnaires in the 'too hard' basket or, given up the ghost and sunk silently into the apathy of maintaining the status quo.
Some long-established clubs, particularly those that only have a small membership base, are now being forced into seeking other survival options such as amalgamating with larger organisations, possibly broadening their range of collectibles beyond their numismatic specialities, or face the danger of slowly, but surely, unravelling as no younger - or newer - active participants are coming into their diminishing ranks.
No Members at Meetings means no Meetings for Members!
Like many other types of hobby and socially oriented clubs, associations and societies all across Australia - and now noticeably evident in other international areas - those in the numismatic field, are finding that, amongst other things, the impact of modern technology can prove to be a double-edged sword.
In the case of the smaller more isolated clubs outside of the major metropolitan areas, it is likened to the proverbial Sword of Damocles - and it is hanging by the slimmest of threads!
The ease and advantage of the Internet to obtain and disperse fast, professional information cannot be underestimated in the complicated equation that has heralded the impending demise of many small organisations that totally relied on the educational and social exchanges between members to maintain strength of their hobby.
In fact, that physical interchange is still vital - and it must be nurtured vigourously!
People were meant to communicate face-to-face and that is why we were blessed with countenances that can be read as part of our body language, as well as being endowed with the five other physical senses that supplement the sixth - that of reason.
For all the wonderful things that it can supply, the Internet is still as faceless and as bland as any other electronic robot and, sometimes, it can even be an ideal tool to hide behind if the reason for non- physical contact is not that of distance but a more venal one. This can apply to those insidious people who use the Internet for passing and perpetuating dubious information - and the old ‘pig in a poke’ moral springs to mind most easily in the instances of buying or selling by Internet.
An untouched original of an computerised scan of a desired item, for instance, can be taken as reasonable in most cases but.....Caveat emptor! These days, computerised enhancement has reached a wonderful sophistication as many of us are aware, but for some innocents, the naive belief that the "if something is in print it must be right" syndrome is, unfortunately, alive and well. Even some well 'educated' collectors can be fooled by a skilfully doctored photoscan.
In our own hobby of numismatics, for instance, we all have heard the story about the person who rang a dealer to sell an item and wanted a firm commitment and an accurate valuation of a coin from a verbal description.
The dealer said "Perhaps, if you hold the coin closer to the phone....."
No matter how close we hold our coin, or whatever, to a computer screen or scanner, it does not compare to our ability to use our other God-given senses in assessing the actual item in a more satisfying way.
Initially, a new numismatist - or indeed any collector, is a wanderer seeking information about something that has caught his attention and held it fast - and, the easiest way to find that information is by way of the most accessible tool available in today’s technological era - the Internet.
Eventually the time arises, however, when the loneliness of a purely Internet oriented hobby becomes too great without any of the satisfaction that sharing provides, and unless an active club is on hand to offer that face-to-face contact it can mean that the numismatic community can lose another potential member without even knowing about it.
Any query that comes our way by Internet should always be answered as accurately as possible and a diplomatic suggestion made that the inquirer would be able to find out even more by contacting his/her local organisation and, in this way, we can help one another to achieve the best outcome.
Sometimes clubs actually gain a new member because of the Internet but, in this modern age, to be a part of a team is only part of the answer. We still have the usual initial challenges in front of us as we have always had, but if we can’t - or don’t - provide new or modern-minded members with enough stimulus to compete with, or at least supplement, the Internet ‘fast-fix’ - we may have already lost them!
Established club members must be prepared to cautiously embrace, or at least try to understand, the new technology for what it can be - an excellent learning tool. and an aid to newcomers to be introduced to our hobby.
As mentioned it can be a double-edged sword - or perhaps it would better be described as being more like that tempting Apple of Knowledge that was offered by the Serpent in the Garden of Eden!
The biggest potential problem that any club committee is now facing is that the club's communal spirit may start being eroded in favour of a return to solitary behaviour.
The availability and mystique of the new electronic aid to many inquisitive older members, who are just learning to tread exciting new ground, is proving to be irresistible. A full circle is occurring and no matter how popular a local hard-copy club newsletter is - or even a dedicated Internet Homepage - it does not substitute for the allure that surfing the Net provides in the short term.
The directness that personal interaction achieved at a meeting is now diminishing in favour of sitting in the comfort of one's home and chatting by email with someone elsewhere in the world for information that, probably, could have been had from a fellow club member just as easily. A direct discussion always beats a direct email or an Internet chat-room.
Making new numismatic contacts in this way is not a bad thing - unless it totally replaces the club as a focal point.
Some veteran members are now feeling satisfied with their lot and only wish to maintain a connection with their hobby by way of the Internet or the club newsletter - and for that we cannot reasonably blame them.
All clubs also have members who are tied into high priority occupations, or other involvements, at scheduled meeting times, while others are physically placed in a situation where attendance at meetings is, of necessity, rare or non-existent and they can only support the club financially with their annual subscription.
At least they are still professing to be interested - and for that the club committees thank them!
Regrettably however, there are other available and able-bodied members who, whilst still remaining financial, are increasingly retreating and using the Internet instead of making the effort of turning up for meetings. All clubs desperately need to encourage them to, at least, put in an occasional appearance to actively support their organisation in the physical sense.
The members who do take the few hours to regularly come along to meetings would like to meet them, to actually experience their 'stuff' and talk about things in a way that is impossible to do over the phone or on the Internet. The variety of discussion that comes with a larger attendance is one way of keeping interest and hobby knowledge at a high level.
Can we turn the Internet attraction to an advantage within our hobby? - I think so, but it will not be easy!
The Internet, however, is not the end-all of it - but it may even provide us with a small part of our own salvation.
Let us make use of it as a valuable communication tool to establish strong links between clubs and individual collectors at all levels. I have previously suggested that a directory of non-commercial club Internet email addresses be compiled and published, similar to the club meeting directories currently published in our two major Australian numismatic magazines.
Interested members with this facility can submit their email contact details in an effort to firstly encourage them to participate with others with similar interests to re-strengthen the hobby in their own backyard to start with. The security of information discussed is then effectively held by the correspondents on a one-to-one basis - unless they care to share.
The second step is to invite other national clubs to do the same and then provide each other with a list of selected official contact email address so that we can direct information between clubs and their members at a professional and secure level.
The statistics tell us that hundreds of associated club members all over Australia now use the Internet and this should help us, as numismatists, to encourage our own hobby interest to the point that, ultimately, leads back to that desire to physically share it with others whom we are now talking to by electronic means. The most satisfactory way to do that is at a local club meeting!
Many international clubs and some dealer's sites are now including our 'Tasmanian Numismatist - Internet Edition' as well some other Australian clubs' Web pages amongst their Links and this helps us spread the message that the great hobby of numismatics still attracts a huge world-wide following.
Perhaps, in our own instance, by offering a special token Internet Membership rate, just to help defray costs, we may encourage some of the hundreds of uncommitted local, national and international collectors who are already reading our Internet Edition to consider enrolling into the Society as 'associates'.
We already have a small group of International fully subscribed members who regularly keep in contact by means of the Internet and these are eligible for all official Society awards, certificates and privileges just as if they were locally based.
The Internet 'Associates' could be offered access to the expertise of the Society - and any other associated clubs that cared to participate with us. They could also become eligible to a special Internet award system or special consideration for deals that occasionally are placed at the Society’s disposal.
Let's have your thoughts - if you are interested!
BUT WHAT IF .........!
Perhaps we all need to take a step back and consider the options of no longer having even one viable numismatic club in our home state.. It is an onerous situation, but it must be taken in the context of the times and the experiences of other clubs elsewhere. It is rather a daunting prospect for those of us who have put so much of ourselves into making our own 'Tasmanian Numismatic Society' one of the best known and prestigious numismatic clubs in Australia..
The irony is that part of this hard-earned national, and also some of our international, prestige has been achieved by our exposure through the Internet not through the current projects of our members.
There have been several notable exceptions, as there always are, but many of our ordinary members are starting to become invisible and are leaving it to the 'Faithful Few' to fly the flag!
The possible scenario starts out simply enough - a downturn at meetings caused by lack of interest for whatever reason, then active membership falls away and, consequently, there is inadequate funding to keep the essential club facilities alive.
The cost of maintaining suitable meeting premises - unnecessarily - is a financial impost on the purse of any club and eventually it would reach a point where the Committees would have to take appropriate action.
At this point in our scenario, it is likely that the club Committees would even be pleased to get some apologies for non attendance - so that they would know that absent members were still interested.
Member participation rates at meetings would have now commenced to slacken noticeably and, it would appear that the club organisational structure is also starting to become tired as the remaining members grow older - they know they urgently need a new influx of members who are excited enough to get the blood pumping again - but those who do care are not able to go it alone. Their will is not enough!
All our Australian clubs need help from all our members.
Have you any positive ideas? - and the drive to get support from those who can help?
Do YOU care enough to actively help? No interest - no club!
Look around us - the signs have already started to appear elsewhere and, unless WE get our own act together NOW, we won’t keep enjoying the numismatic comradeship we have had across the years!
Even the most traditional awards for active service to the club or society are then in danger of diminishing, firstly in number because of the cost factor and then in prestige value if only the same few participants are left to become eligible each year.
How long, for instance, is it since we, ourselves, issued an Encouragement Award to a new member?. I may be wrong but it might be at least a couple of years. When was the last major display night - not just the usual brief show and tell, (interesting as they are) but a quality presentation with a noted guest speaker?
Is it because of the embarrassment that might be caused because our members would be noticeable by their absence?
We have had our past moments of glory but without dedicated member participation at those times they would have been impossible! However, when was the last time we could find enough willing members to assist in mounting a successful local coin fair - let alone a major national one?
The scenario goes on and the negative snowball starts to gets bigger until such time as the 'Faithful Few', who always give 101% support, start to wonder whether it is worth the effort and then we start getting excuses and early retirements - with another corresponding decrease in available funds. For a non-profit club this will curtail essential activities such as the production and distribution of notices and our hard-copy newsletters - and heralds the final path into the oblivion of being a small local social gathering with no clout, whatsoever, in the Australasian numismatic world. With little noticeable activity by members, correspondence levels would drop - so why even bother having a costly postal mail box?
No contact, no club! Do we really want that?
With the demise of a reasonable sized, numismatically well educated and viable club in an area, the local dealers are left without a constant and reliable market - usually in the higher end of their merchandise scale. The dealers' prices then go up to help pay the rent and they are forced into selling low grade numismatics to maintain their turn-over. However, because local people won’t pay for merchandise that they can get cheaper elsewhere, the dealer eventually folds his tent when the cost structure and profit margins are no longer tenable. We then become an isolated numismatic backwater.
No dealers, no hobby, no club!
Our numismatic organisations - and thousands like it across the whole hobby and social spectrum - are facing the same type of technological and logistic challenges and, whilst there are some falling by the wayside, some are succeeding and indeed are thriving. Why? Because they became more efficient - even a little ruthless - and more business minded in their recruiting methods. We all need to approach the subject with well defined objectives in mind and if we find that we can’t get the non-attending members to support us in an active fashion we may need to go back to the drawing-board, and the basics, to perhaps restructure ourselves again. Sometimes it is better to prune hard than to lose the whole tree!
A successful club attracts new local members and a percentage of those will be prepared to get in and help do those things that keep us in the public eye. Success breeds success!
Perhaps we can stop that pessimistic snowball from gaining momentum.
BUT - for how much longer if we don't get out there in front and be prepared to stay there!
IS THIS THE WAY TO A FUTURE?
The success of the
Worldwide Bi-metallic Collectors Club is a good example of an idea from a club
that uses the Internet to swell its ranks of bi-metallic collectors. The WBCC members were originally
attracted to that forward-thinking club through the Internet but are now starting to establish a
presence at major coin fairs in the U.S. and Europe - and they are attracting major financial
sponsors. The WBCC is officially sponsored for the Basel World Money Fair by:
* Imprensa Nacional - Casa da Moeda, S.A (The Portuguese Mint) and Schuler Presses, Germany
The following notice was included in one of their weekly newsmails directed to me.
WBCC and ANA
Convention..........by Martin Peeters, WBCC Focal Point
The Worldwide Bi-metallic Collectors Club will attend the ANA World's Fair of Money® in Atlanta which is to held from August 8-12, 2001.
WBCC member Ray Lockwood, who is already a good friend of the 'Tasmanian Numismatic Society', has the chance to expose the WBCC to the USA numismatic communities, coin dealers and the US public. Ray is the WBCC Focal Point ANA Convention 2001. At his booth of the Central States Numismatic Society, Ray will give all information about the WBCC to the public. So if you go to Atlanta call and visit the WBCC booth #3.
WBCC Focal Point: ANA Convention
2001, Ray Lockwood, USA, email@example.com
WBCC New Encased Set....by Jack Hepler, WBCC Development Center
The Worldwide Bi-metallic Collectors Club (WBCC) has developed encased coins commemorating official WBCC representation at the World Money Fair, in Basel, Switzerland, and the American Numismatic Association Coin Fair in
Atlanta Georgia, USA. The four coins selected for this project are:
* Mexico, 2000, 20 Centavos
* New Zealand, 2000, 5 Cents
* Poland, 2000, 5 Groszy
* USA, 2001, Cent
The production run includes approximately 100 specimens of each coin. The draft design may be seen on the WBCC Homepage, Section WBCC Announcements: http://www.wbcc-online.com/encased_set.html
Orders for individual coin encasements or sets are now being accepted at the WBCC Development Center, Jack Hepler, (firstname.lastname@example.org). The four-coin set costs $10 US, which includes postage for US orders. Insurance, and postage
outside the US is extra. A single specimen may be ordered for $3 US.
The Worldwide Bi-metallic Collectors Club (WBCC) was established September 14, 1996 and is the very first Worldwide
Collectors Club using the Internet. Goal of the WBCC is exchange Bi-metallics and exchange knowledge about Bi-metallics
WBCC Webmaster, J.D. White, USA, email@example.com
WBCC DoCu-Centre: Frans Dubois, Netherlands, firstname.lastname@example.org
WBCC Public Relations: Cliff Anderson, USA, email@example.com
WBCC Research Centre: Paul Baker, UK, firstname.lastname@example.org
WBCC Development Centre: Jack Hepler, USA, email@example.com
WBCC Focal Point: ANA Convention 2001, Ray Lockwood, USA, firstname.lastname@example.org
WBCC Focal Point: Martin Peeters, Netherlands, email@example.com
WBCC Website: http://wbcc-online.com
"All That Is Bi-metallic" Webside: http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Estates/9540/bmhome.html
Bi-metallic Forum Page: http://network54.com/Forum/86625
Just returned from an extended honeymoon that started on June 22nd., Larry Nakata from our sister club - the Anchorage Coin Club in Alaska. Congratulations from all at the 'Tasmanian Numismatic Society', Larry, and may you and your bride enjoy your new status and "live happily ever after".
Articles published in this segment are eligible for the current Editor’s personal Award. The winner will be selected and advised in November and, after any necessary consultation, the name will be announced in the December or early January newsletter. It remains the Editor's choice to make this personal Award which is open to 'Tasmanian Numismatic Society' members, sister club members, members of other numismatic clubs and individuals with whom the Editor has an affiliation by way of previous voluntary literary contributions.
The Award features a National and International category which takes the form of a Certificate and, either, a T.N.S. membership subscription (with all rights) for the following year, or, the Editor's choice of a numismatic item of equivalent value to an annual subscription of the "Tasmanian Numismatic Society. The manner of the Award can be determined by the winning contributor.
THE VALUE OF MONEY! by Graeme Petterwood (T.N.S. Member # 332).
It appears that most kids in developed countries soon get a fair understanding of the functions of money.
From a small child's point of view they know, almost instinctively, that a few round pieces of metal will get them something they desire - usually to eat or to entertain - and that by cajoling or putting on a tantrum that they will be, more often than not, rewarded by a frustrated parent.
Eventually they also wake up to the fact that certain sized or coloured coins will be better than others for achieving their goals and increasing the size of their reward but, at that early stage, folding money is just paper or plastic and, if you gave them a choice, they would probably opt for the coins.
Modern children are fast learners but, whilst many are still part of an affluent society, attitudes are being forced to change as parental income and job security is no longer guaranteed and the line between function and value has moved closer and even overlapped. A growing percentage of middle and lower income families, who traditionally made up the bulk of the workforce, are finding that the price of technological progress is high. Mainstream society has been forced to take several giant steps backwards and it is becoming more obvious, by the day, that the manipulative rich are getting filthy rich, the middle class are now a lot poorer, and the poor are now poverty stricken.
Value of money and Value for money - what is the difference?
Let's go back in time a little way to try to define that subtle difference.
Every generation can look back and say that things we wanted were cheaper in money terms than they are today - that signifies a contemporary value of money. If we lived during the Great Depression of the 1930's or in similar financially troubled times we would then highlight what we might need to get for our Dollar - if we had one.
That situation defines what value for money is all about.
When I was a child the whole world was at war and every penny was jealously hoarded and accounted for by the average middle class families. The essentials that make life bearable were hard to obtain during that era but most made do by practising value for money - but then there were the others; those who could get things by means of the value of money!
I could quote facts and figures such as the average wages between the 1930 - 1940's but suffice to say that, from my childhood memories, a Saturday afternoon trip to the double-feature movies plus a small bag of broken lolly pieces in 1945 cost about 5Pence - the equivalent of about 4cents (US 2cents) and that was nearly all my weekly pocket money - for a multitude of real chores - usually blown in one go! However, the movies had to be a kid's version of value for money or I stayed at home and banked some of the money at the school bank agency during the next week.
To save that valuable money many people resorted to various means to stretch it further, hand-knitted socks were darned, collars on shirts were turned, old worn sheets were cut and hemmed into pillowcases and handkerchiefs, boots and shoes were repaired at home, soap pieces were melted down and remoulded or used in a wire soap-shaker to make a lather, most houses had a few vegetable beds and fruit trees as well as a flower garden, hand-me-downs were accepted without shame and active recycling was a normal and constant part of life!
We kids usually walked, or rode a bicycle - if we had one - wherever possible, and used the public trams and buses when we had to - but at a Penny a section trip it was an expense that bordered on luxury for a kid so sometimes we walked part of the way first - or got off early and then walked. It was rare for a working-class family to have a car or a private telephone - a telephone call was expensive and only in dire emergencies did we run to the nearest public call-box and spend the two Pennies needed.
My late father grew to be a man during the Depression and, before he went off to serve his country for 5 years like thousands of other young family men, he had experienced the situation where he had absolutely nothing that he had not earned by the sweat of his brow or by the hard graft of selling small items, like tins of shoe polish, on a pittance of a commission.
After the war he again came back to virtually nothing and had to start from behind scratch with two young kids, an ill wife, big medical and, eventually, funeral bills, no house and, for a while, no job. Family were there to help as best they could, but social services did not exist in such a generous form as they do today - even if they are diminishing of late - so things were tough and value for money was always on the agenda even into the 1950's.
During his lifetime, my father had learnt both value lessons very well and this enabled him to survive and to espouse these lessons to us, his children - and for that we thank him, in retrospect. When you have little or nothing you can only strive to improve your lot or financially perish!
These days, some of our younger community members are having to learn those hard lessons about values again as the wheel of economic fortune turns downwards once more. The emphasis placed on the value of money has never been higher by those who have it - and the need to show restraint and exercise the creed of value for money by those that don't.
There are few free rides for the workers and it appears that even those that do occasionally need a lift aren't going to get it from those who put the value of money above all else even in a surreptitious way.
Our essential public institutions are all crying out desperately for funding just as stridently as our children would, but for more important reasons than gratification of a desire. Many care organisations, for instance, are facing cutbacks and even closure now the criteria has changed and the elected powers-that-be, or their bureaucrats, have hardened their hearts as they cope with an ever decreasing traditional tax base and a smaller budget. Governments and councils have now justified many indirect taxation measures and have appointed, or have become, bean counters, and are demanding value for money that they have forcibly collected from the population - by way of direct and the new indirect taxes - and which they think actually belongs to them. To obtain that value for money governments are resorting to the value of money as a means of enforcing and justifying their economic demands on the public. They have it, we need it - so we will do as they say to get some of it!
Numismatic history details in great depth the high regard that money was valued at by past civilizations.
To have money meant great power because the majority of the population did not have it at their disposal at all - and this still holds sway in many under-developed nations in the present day.
As time went on, and money became more accessible, the laws governing its misuse were strict - death, torture or imprisonment usually went hand in hand with those who recognised the value of money - and tried to acquire even more by various nefarious means.
However - at times - history records that money, particularly debased coinage or inflated paper currency, was actually forced on a society by a bankrupt or morally corrupt regime - and then there was no value for money!
These days, actual coinage or currency is basically represented by metal, paper or plastic tokens which denote a value far in excess of their intrinsic worth, but the intertwined value of money and the value for money formulas are still as relevant as they ever were to the same sorts of people - those who know what the value of a lot of it is to maintain a lifestyle, and those who have to make a little of it go a long way - just to live!.
The value of money and the value for money are actually two sides on the one coin - depending on who owns the coin!
THE MAN WHO LOVED WOMEN. by Graeme Petterwood (T.N.S. Member # 332).
In 1977, in France, and again in 1983 in the U.S., a comedy film of the above name was produced that told the story of a man who loved all sorts of women and whose affections were reciprocated. The story was excellently portrayed by the French - and, even after it was given the typical Hollywood treatment by the U.S. film-makers, it still proved to be reasonably popular because the storyline and acting was sound.
The point of this brief comment is that, over the centuries, some of the men who design and make money have loved the Ideal of Woman to the point of obsession and have quite often portrayed them on coins and currency with a rare delicacy that often reflected that adoration. Sometimes the portrayal is allegorical, but often it is taken from a real flesh and blood contemporary woman whose image was captured and will remain so for as long as the coin or banknote exists.
I recently had a memo commenting about an article I had written some time ago about Confederate States of America banknotes, in particular, one depicting a southern beauty, Lucy Petway Holcombe Pickens.
The writer, Ron Livingston of Clute, Texas, referred to a contemporary description and also a portrait he had seen published in a past issue of the American Numismatic Association journal that gave an insight of her outstanding beauty and intelligence - and his own words actually suggested the theme of this article as it was apparent that she had even woven her spell across the years. Refer: The Handbook of Texas Online. http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/view/PP/fpi2.html
"Lucy became highly acclaimed throughout the South for her "classic features, titian hair, pansy eyes, and graceful figure..... In 1850, after a visit with the family of Mississippi governor John Quitman, Lucy looked in on the legislature, which then adjourned in her honor. She enthralled the Czar of Russia and Lucy was a favorite at the Russian court.... She gave birth to her only child at the imperial palace on March 14, 1859, and named her Eugenia Frances Dorothea Olga Neva (the last two names being added by the Czarina). She was incredibly beautiful ....."
Not all women are beautiful to all men, and we all know that 'beauty is more than skin deep' but, sometimes, we do tend to 'judge a book by its cover' - and to complete the trilogy of sayings we may add, 'beauty is in the eye of the beholder'.
The Ancient Greeks featured a plethora of Goddesses or other representations of feminine determination, beauty or strength on their coinage as did many other early civilisations and, even today, various versions of Britannia, Roma and Liberty are still with us as a reminder of those attributes. The practise of portraying recognisable living women on Greek coinage, for instance, became evident from about the Third century B.C. and had become firmly established in the Roman Empire by the First Century B.C. and it continues to this day.
For instance, as the wife of the Emperor Claudius, Agrippina Junior (16 A.D. - 59 A.D.) had received more open acknowledgments of a formal role in government than any woman before her and she was the first wife of a living princeps to bear the title Augusta, and the first living woman to appear on gold and silver coins, in a portrait profile identified by name, during her lifetime. Contrary to popular misconceptions, her 5 year relationship with Claudius appears to be a lot more than a political ploy to attain power and promote her own son, Domitius Ahenobarbus (37 A.D. - 68 A.D.) - at least in the early part.
Banished by her infamous brother, the former Emperor Caligula, who was eventually murdered by the Praetorian Guards in 41 A.D., she was recalled by her uncle Claudius and they married in 49 A.D.
Agrippina's son, (renamed Nero Claudius Caesar Germanicus in 50 A.D.), was adopted by the Emperor so as to have an heir, but it was only after the Emperor was poisoned in 54 A.D. did Aggripina Junior gain the notoriety with which history has labelled her with rightly or wrongly. It appears that poison was a popular way of dealing with domestic problems in those days as Nero had his mother poisoned in 59 A.D. when she fell out of favour after he found her strong will clashed with his own ambitions.
When the young and very attractive Julia Titi was given the title Augusta, a series of undated gold aureus, silver denarii and bronze dupondii were issued in her name by her proud father, the Emperor Titus (41 A.D. - 81A.D.)
The reverse types, in both noble metals, associate her with the beautiful goddesses, Venus, Ceres and Vesta.
Her silver denarii portraits show Julia wearing a diadem; the first living woman to be so depicted; her hair is a mass of curls, arranged around her forehead and the rest of her hair is braided and fastened in a bun on the back of her head.
Her beauty became well known when her dupondius and sestertius coins which were struck in copper, bronze or orichalcum base metals gave them a wider circulation than her gold aureus and silver cistophorus (also known as a tetradrachm or 3 denarius) and the silver denarius. Her style was copied from the coins by many young contemporary Roman women.
Julia Titi lived, for some time, as the teenage mistress of her uncle, Domitian who had fallen in love with her, but she had virtually disappeared from history's pages before the tyrannical and ever suspicious Domitian became Emperor in 81 A.D. and before he married Domitia Longina in 82A.D. The wild and beautiful titian-haired Julia Titi died in 91 A.D. at the age of 30.
(For a sculpted glimpse of her beauty refer to: http://www.getty.edu/art/collections/objects/o7598.html ).
In turn, Emperor Domitian's wife, Domitia Longina was implicated in her husband's assassination in 96 A.D. - but she survived the repercussions of the palace plot by retiring into private life and she died in 150 A.D. at a very old age. Her coinage, issued in the three major metals, shows a strong faced mature woman and even though she is shown holding out an olive branch to a child on one coin's reverse it is not thought that she had children as the Emperor's short-lived successors were all adopted.
The famous Egyptian queen, Cleopatra, who it is believed had come to the attention of Emperor Julius Caesar (100 B.C - 44 B.C.) when he was in his 50's and finally the famous Roman general Marcus Antonius (83 B.C. - 30 A.D.), was a mature 39y.o in 30 B.C. when she and her husband committed suicide in Alexandria after incurring the wrath of Emperor Octavian (Augustus) Did the intelligent Cleopatra become a victim because she chose to side with her Roman husband and become involved in the political struggle that resulted in the war being waged by Antony and Octavian, or did she have a plan of her own to save Egypt - and why did Antony decide she was really a woman he was prepared to die for by staying in Egypt with her when he could have escaped to fight another day even after he had been deserted by his fleet and troops?
Her representation on coinage shows that she was no astounding beauty but there was something about her that captivated those two powerful Roman soldiers, Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, and it has given rise to a whole industry that has re-invented her life story and physical appearance in a more popular image - and the questions are still being asked.
Read additional interesting reports on her life at :
http://www.royalty.nu/Africa/Egypt/Cleopatra.html and http://interoz.com/egypt/cleopatr.htm
In more modern times we have continued to see the wives, queens and empresses of powerful men portrayed on coins and notes along with other famous ladies, female politicians and intellectuals - but it is the portrayal of those other 'special' women that have captured the designer's eye that are most memorable.
It has been said that certain actresses, for instance, have an affinity for the camera that lifts them from being just another face on a screen into a star, regardless of their talent. There are also women, who lived long before the camera was invented or widely used, who have endowed coinage and currency with their likenesses and, with some of them, it is evident that the depiction is tempered with the artist's indelible impression of their character - be it strength, intelligence or beauty.
Some are well known and some are nameless but, still, the representation of their faces has the power to haunt men as if we had met them in person only yesterday and could not forget them.
Without meaning to be overly sexist or patronising, "The Man who Loved Women" strikes a familiar chord with many men and, in our hobby numismatics, we have many reminders of the reason why!
A SINCERE THANK YOU!
We have received a nice note of thanks from Jerry Remick (T.N.S. Member #112), in recognition of the recent award of Life Membership bestowed on him by the Tasmanian Numismatic Society.
Canadian based, Jerry states that, whilst he humbly accepts the honour of being our first International Life Member, he feels that he does not merit it and that every one of the 3000 articles or scores of books he has written over the years was only designed as an aid to numismatists at all levels and ages for the most basic of reasons - he wanted to help collectors everywhere enjoy their hobby as much as he has - by knowing about it.
Jerry has been an active member of the T.N.S. for over 30 years and has regularly contributed articles, reviews and words of encouragement to other Society members, virtually since its inception.
For this long and honourable service he was awarded his well earned Life Membership.
CONGRATULATIONS AGAIN, JERRY!
AROUND THE TRAPS.
After a recent trip to Colorado to attend the ANA Summer Seminars, our well-known Elgin Coin Club correspondent and author, Mike Metras has just announced the release of his first solo numismatic publication.
The innovative CD-ROM book. entitled 'Money Meanderings' has been years in the making and covers a wide spectrum of Mike's numismatic interests that will entertain and educate the readers for years to come.
We recently featured a brief reflection of Mike's meanderings in Sicily during 2000 and this time it appears that he is meandering through the memories of past articles he featured in the award winning Elgin Coin Club Newsletter during his 6 year tenure as Editor. This CD - ROM book will prove to be almost as fascinating a journey through the historical and geographical areas that have left a lasting impression on an inquiring numismatic mind.
Fractional Currency, The 1964 Peace Dollar, A Horde of Five Thousand Cents, A Pennsylvania Quarter Error, A Time Table of Colonial Coins, The Roman As, The Byzantine Follis, The Nickel Three Cent Piece, The Eritrean Nakfa, Sicilian Coin Collections, The Lincoln Cent, The Tasmanian Devil, The 1998 ANA Summer Seminar, and The Minting Process are just a few of the more that 85 articles appearing in the just released 'Money Meanderings: An Introduction to Numismatics'. Assembled and edited by Michael Metras from Elgin Coin Club Newsletter articles, 'Money Meanderings' holds a wide variety of fascinating knowledge for the beginning and seasoned collector alike.
Money Meanderings is available for US$17.95 postage paid.
Send check or money order to Michael Metras, Box 314, Somonauk, IL 60552-0314.
For international readers who are interested, you can also contact the author at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
A few little notes of memorandum received from the U.S. in recent times. Take the time to have a look in on these good friends' new sites. You will be more than pleased when you do!
An email recently received regarding a redirection from information published in our last newsletter:
"Just a quick note, reading on the web today, found out that the NBCi area that I have one of the two web hosting spots for the Token Tales website is folding up the tent on the web space, so looks like the Token Tales website will be on just one web address by end of July (the geocities one)." http://www.geocities.com/captain_america_1943/index.htm
Regards, Jerry Adams - (T. N. S. Member # 363.) Keller, Texas.
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