Volume 6 Issue 12                    INTERNET EDITION                                    December 2001.











Selected items from the official 'Tasmanian Numismatist' newsletter may have been included in this Internet Edition version that has been provided for 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. 



We regret to advise that, after our Committee meeting held in Launceston on Saturday 1st. December, Committee member Tom Williamson felt a little unwell and retired to his hotel room after a long day. Later that evening he was taken to the Launceston General Hospital by ambulance after developing what appeared to be classic symptoms of a heart attack. 

This was confirmed at the hospital and Tom was admitted immediately to the Intensive Care Unit. 

Tom has previously had a history of heart problems and has already had a triple bypass some years ago and this has created its own problems with the necessary tests that needed to be done. He was stabilised, and at time of writing he was still in the L.G.H., but arrangements were being organised to get him back to Royal Hobart Hospital.  

With Tom alone, in a hospital far away from his home, northern members of the Society have contacted him by phone and visited him to check on his condition and were pleased that he appeared to be in a cheerful and positive mood bearing in mind his condition and some rather uncomfortable after-effects of the tests that had been done. 

As members know, our Vice-president Roger McNeice and Tom Williamson are long standing and close friends, as well as numismatic colleagues, and Roger has been in frequent contact, by phone, with the hospital and northern members to get the latest news and we know he will not rest easy until the matter is resolved and Tom is home again and on the mend.

Postponement of BBQ.

A postponement of the proposed BBQ and General Meeting to be held on Sunday Dec. 9th at Vice-president Roger McNeice's residence at Taroona has been announced, and those members who have previously indicated their intention to attend have been advised directly.

Due to the overwhelming combination of factors that have arisen - including some heavy pre-Christmas business commitments, a new book launch and family considerations, it would have been virtually impossible for Roger to arrange the event with any peace of mind - so he has indicated it will now be re-organised for mid January 2002 when members will be more readily available to attend and the pressure of business and private obligations will have eased considerably.

December Committee Meeting update.

In regard to the huge increases in insurance costs for public liability, and the effect it will have on social clubs and societies, we must advise that we, and some other Hobart-based clubs, have already been indirectly caught up in this particular problem. 

Because of the increasing urgency of the situation, a special meeting of an official quorum of the Society Committee was held in Launceston on Saturday evening December 1st. and several resolutions were discussed and recommended and were to have been raised at the December BBQ and General Meeting. This will now occur in mid - January, at a time to be confirmed.

The Committee of Tasmanian Numismatic Society has been officially reminded by the Committee of the Hobart Masonic Club that their substantial buildings at 181 - 183 Macquarie St., Hobart are on the market for immediate sale - due mainly to the increased costs involved in maintaining the heritage buildings and, now, the huge new imposts by insurers etc. 

Newspaper advertisements state that  'Expressions of interest' close on December 14th. and serious efforts will be made prior to the New Year to conclude any potential deal. 

Obviously, that means several smaller non-profit clubs - including ours - that regularly use the premises may be without a common meeting place in the very near future depending on the future purposes that the buildings may be used for. 

This will have serious ramifications as far as holding regular general meetings in a central and secure environment are concerned, especially bearing in mind the nature of our own hobby, and the previous generosity of the Masonic Club

It has been suggested that, as an interim measure, T.N.S. general meetings could possibly be held at the residences of several volunteer host members in the southern area of the state on a two monthly roster system.

Northern Committee officers and members have now been alerted to the situation, and it may be possible to transfer several meetings to Launceston on a relatively ad hoc basis.  

It was also briefly discussed whether we could even link up with another friendly Northern club - the Launceston Lapidary Club - and occasionally share their meeting place and exchange information about our hobbies. The imaginative idea was raised by T.N.S. member Debbie Martyn, who is involved with both organisations. Obviously, any such suggestion would need to be formalised - and thought through by both club committees - before any arrangement was made.

The Committee meeting also addressed the burgeoning costs in maintaining our position as an incorporated body. After a discussion, and taking into consideration several informed observations mentioned by Debbie Martyn, it was decided that the value of the arrangement has now been outweighed by the expense and we should seek to un-incorporate at the earliest possible time. The name of the Society would remain unchanged except for the wording 'Incorporated' would be deleted from our banner, however, the Constitution will need to be revised at the next Annual General Meeting to cover the changed circumstances - and it would be an ideal opportunity to cater for the addition of previous amendments, if necessary.


* Insurance Tip for Members and Readers

Please bear in mind that public liability responsibility also extends to private residences. It is advisable that all household insurances clauses be checked on a regular basis, notwithstanding the limit normally included on the basic policy, so as to provide sufficient protection to all concerned if an accident occurs on the premises or grounds - even to an uninvited visitor - and to off-set any litigation that may follow. Additional cover can be purchased from your insurer, for an extra fee, of course!







We trust that this Internet Edition will provide some interesting and additional reading during the end of year festive season. 

Bearing in mind our disclaimers, some of the links selected for mention in our segments will, no doubt, add to your reading pleasure - and may even tempt you into a new interest or assist in your numismatic educational processes, if you care to follow them up.



In our last issue, thanks to T.N.S. member # 363 Jerry Adams of Texas, we briefly mentioned the release of a new CD-ROM 'MAVERICKS 2001' by Tony Chibbaro and Randy Partin, covering thousands of U.S. un-attributed tokens. We have recently received some additional information from the researchers which we are pleased to share. The CD contains -

Orders and payment by cheque (in U.S Dollars) should be forwarded to:-

Randy Partin

1314 Keystone Pointe

Auburndale, FL  33823

Phone: 863-965-2947  Int. Ph: 1-863-965-2947



Amongst the American stories of the tokens of the mid 1800's are many that, at first glance, may appear to border on the mundane but, with further investigation, we find that some have a life of their own that starts to rival the more high profile and adventurous stories that abound. The stories connecting the tokens of three Texas coal towns - Thurber, Lyra and Strawn - are  good examples. 



As numismatists, we are interested in the tokens and script of these defunct coal towns as a collectible, but each time a piece of this sort of history passes through our hands we need to give a thought to where it was and what it meant 100 years ago.

The story of the coal town of Thurber relates to the often violent and bloody confrontations of the early coal miner's unions and the management of the Texas and Pacific Coal Company and the barbed wire fenced-in private town with its own rules that used these tokens and script to keep the miners in debt to the company. There are tales of those who bucked the company system and those who successfully lived on its edge, the greed of those few empowered versus the basic needs of the multitude of workers; and the eventual melding of many ethnic groups into the diverse American culture because of the realities of life that confronted them. For some, it was the opportunity of a lifetime after the even worse hardships they had left behind in Europe and elsewhere. These people became American citizens in places like Thurber, Texas.   

A great detailed article including the early historical data of the ghost town of Thurber, Texas, is available for Internet readers on Jerry Adams' site: http://www.geocities.com/captain_america_1943/page21.htm   This is recommended reading.


LYRA, Texas.

Lyra was on a graded earth road north of State Highway 108 and northeast of Strawn in southern Palo Pinto County. The community was a trading post and post office by 1876. With the building of the Texas and Pacific Railway through the area in 1880, and the discovery of coal near Strawn, Lyra developed to a population of 1,000 in 1915. Lyra later declined after the closing of the Strawn mines and the opening of oilfields in other parts of the county. By 1936 the population of Lyra had decreased to 300; in 1940 the community had one store and a population of fifty. By the mid-1950s population statistics were no longer available for Lyra.


Above is photo of two pieces of paper script from Lyra, which was used as money, or tokens, in the small town. Pieces were available in 5 cent, 10 cent and 25 cent coupons, and all are extremely rare. Each piece of paper measures about 50 mm x 22 mm in size, and is printed on heavy coloured paper, and was torn from booklets of script. 

STRAWN, Texas. 

Strawn, on State highways 16 and 108, Farm Road 2372, and the Missouri Pacific Railroad in south-western Palo Pinto County, was one of several towns developed about 1880 when the Texas and Pacific Railway began service. The site, known earlier as North Fork for its location on Palo Pinto Creek, was laid out on the land of two early ranchers, Stephen Bethel Strawn and James N. Stuart. Stuart built the area's first house in 1875. A community to the west, Russell's Pocket, and one to the east, Davidsonville, were merged to form Strawn. The population was 400 in 1891. The first Palo Pinto County oil was discovered near Strawn in 1895, but development awaited the interest of the Strawn Coal Mining Company and the Texas and Pacific Coal and Oil Company in 1915. Twenty wells were producing near Strawn before the end of the year. The Strawn field is made up of three separate pools extending over an area six miles long and two miles wide. The Strawn Oil Company drilled its first natural gas well in the area in 1924. In 1903 the Johnson brothers sank the Mount Marian coal shaft at Strawn. They sold the mine to Fort Worth interests that opened the Strawn Coal Mining Company; this company merged with another mine at Lyre, three miles north of Strawn, in 1914. By 1920 the payrolls of the two mines totalled $75,000 a month, and the mines produced 1.6 million tons between 1910 and 1920, most of which was sold to railroads. When the railroads converted to diesel, production fell drastically, although the Strawn mine survived until 1946. In 1940 Strawn was incorporated and had a bank, a post office, many businesses, and a population of 1,107. The population was down to 817 in 1960, 786 in 1970, and 694 in 1980. The town is a centre for local farmers and oilfield activity. In 1990 the population was 709.



Amongst the acquisitions that Jerry Adams picked up on a recent trip to Houston is this very nice 1900 Strawn Coal Mining Company token in aUNC condition. This scarce 'in this condition' token appears to be hard Brass with a good surface, rims and sharp lettering and, on the reverse, it states that it is 'Good for 25 in Merchandise' .There are two reverse varieties known.


Even more so than the usual tradesmen's tokens of various types that we come across, the tokens of these Texas coal towns are ingrained with the raw emotions of real people reaching out to those of us who see beyond the old piece of worn metal or a faded paper coupon. What do you think?



J. C. Koen, A Social and Economic History of Palo Pinto County (M.A. thesis, Hardin-Simmons University, 1949).

William R. Hunt

The Handbook of Texas Online is a joint project of The General Libraries at the University of Texas at Austin and the Texas State Historical Association.      http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/view/SS/hls79.html



Private collection of T.N.S. Member #363 Jerry Adams.


STRAHAN, Tasmania.

We have a small fishing village on Macquarie Harbour in Tasmania named Strahan (also pronounced Strawn) that was once closely connected with the mining industry as well.  However, it was not coal that was discovered in the region.

Once, this was the main outlet for  the thousands of tons of processed ore from the silver-copper-zinc, tin and gold mines in the adjacent area and the famous Huon Pine timber, so prized for use in the early shipbuilding trade, was also floated down the rivers from the wild regions to the south-west, and then sawn and shipped from the port. 

These days even small remnants of this scarce timber commodity are harvested or gathered under licence from around the Strahan area for the fine furniture manufacturing market.


The majority of towns on the West Coast were established as mining towns with the exception of Strahan.

Frederick Ormiston Henry was the pioneer storekeeper at Strahan. He opened a trading house in 1883 and often traded provisions for gold in his dealing with prospectors.

There were two railways built to connect the port of Strahan with the mining fields – to Zeehan in 1892 and Queenstown in 1896.

Strahan reached its greatest heights and at the end of the 19th century and had a population of more than 1500 and more than 200 buildings, but Strahan’s glory days were short lived like all the other mining towns. When the Emu Bay Railway line from Burnie to Zeehan was opened it stole much of the trade and the port dwindled even more as mining fields closed down. Soon Strahan was only serving the Mt. Lyell Co. in Queenstown and when the mine chose road transport in 1963, Strahan was the port until the Lyell smelters closed in 1969.

The town still boasted many substantial residences, hotels, emporiums, etc. etc. when I first visited it nearly 50 years ago.

The area is so fabulously rich in minerals that they will never ever completely mine it all - and it has at least one mountain (Mt. Lyell) which is nearly solid silver-copper-zinc. They have been chopping away at it for well over 100 years and the furnaces at the Mt. Lyell Copper Mine never stopped. In the early days, all the timber was taken from the nearby forests to make coke to fire the furnaces and for building construction, and regrowth never occurred due to the heavy influx of toxic fumes from the smelters. The hills surrounding the mining town of Queenstown near Strahan were like a lunar landscape until recently when vegetation started to re-appear - years after the mine modified its processing methods to fit in with new environmental standards. 

The Harbour floor near Strahan is reputed to be metres thick with tailings originally washed down by the Queen River from the mines at Zeehan, Queenstown and Rosebery. This mineral effluent was then fed into the King River that eventually empties into the huge relatively shallow Harbour.  Both rivers were like thick grey moving sludge - and nothing grew along their banks for years. They are now starting to re-generate but it will take more than another 100 years to wash away the heavy metals already deposited. Ironically, Macquarie Harbour also has one of the world's cleanest wild rivers feeding into it - the renowned Gordon that cuts through some of the most picturesque wild natural scenery left on this planet.

To ply their profession, Strahan fishermen must first brave the often rough enclosed waters of the shallow Harbour, pass through a narrow, violently turbulent exit named most appropriately Hell's Gates, to access the even wilder Great Southern Ocean. Sometimes, they don't come back.

A good pictures of the current Strahan fishermen's wharf, the Gordon River - and a few other Tasmanian places of interest can be seen at: http://www.tassiemoot.com/tasmania/tasmania.html

(If you are involved in the scouting movement there is also some other interesting information available at this site!)


Whilst the early traders or mining companies in the town of Strahan, Tasmania did not issue tokens or script, the original Duchy of Avram grounds and mansion located in Strahan - and overlooking Macquarie Harbour - was the home of self-appointed, H.R.H. John, the Duke of Avram and at least two very limited series of token coinage and script were issued through the Strahan branch of the Royal Bank of Avram (in 1982 and 1985) bearing the Duke's armorial crests. Another limited series of the enamelled goldine token 'coinage' was produced by the Royal Bank of Avram, in 2000, to celebrate the millennium. The new colourful updated issue of 6 tokens featured the new style crests - granted for use with the permission of Prince John as previously. 

The first series are listed in 'Unusual World Coins' by Colin R. Bruce II. (Krause Publications)




Original series of Ducals issued in 1982 and repeated in 1985.


Millennium series of Ducals issued in 2000 (Photo enlarged to show new detail.)


His Grace, the Duke has his own Internet site, and illustrations of the full range of the attractive token coinage - and details of his own fascinating story and his personal Duchy - can been viewed at: www.grandduchy.org




From time to time, we will continue to feature edited items that we have previously noted in commercial, or other club, Internet or hard-copy publications that we consider interesting enough to pass on to 'Internet Edition' readers.  

The first excerpt is from the Elgin Coin Club's (September 2001) Internet newsletter and provides some interesting facts about the older European Union coinage which is being replaced by the Euro. This is Part 2 of the article by Jim Davis of the Elgin Coin Club. Full text available: http://www.prairienet.com/coins/ecc/ 


THE COMING EURO CONVERSION.                                                  By Jim Davis

The euro has actually been in use since Jan 1999 but not for everyday commerce. You can buy travellers checks in euros but there are few places to spend them and you eventually have to convert it to local currencies anyway. Mostly the euro has been used for electronic transfers and has also been traded like a commodity not unlike gold or oil. When the euro was first introduced it was worth $1.18 to 1 euro but currently trades about 1.18 euros to the dollar.


Each country issuing euros will produce eight different denomination coins and six different denomination notes. The coins will come in denominations of 1 euro cent, 2 euro cents, 5 euro cents, 10 euro cents, 20 euro cents, 50 euro cents, 1 euro (100 cents) and 2 euros. All coins will carry a common reverse by denomination, but each country will produce an obverse specific to that country. Euro notes will be printed in denominations of 5 euros, 10 euros, 20 euros, 50 euros, 100 euros, 200 euros and 500 euros. The euro issuing countries have been pre striking the coins for at least 2 years with the date 2002 and have been stockpiling them in secret locations throughout Europe. During the last week of 2001 the coins and notes will be transferred to banks and other places of exchange under high security to insure a plentiful supply of coins and currency is available on Jan 1,2001. In some stores items are already shown with 2 prices one in local currency and the other in euros. During the transition period people who make purchases in local money will receive their change in euros. This is reminiscent of what happened in 1971 when England changed to a decimal system and their monetary system was completely changed. One advantage of a single currency is a person travelling from country to country will have to make fewer exchanges of currency. The euros you get in Paris are worth the same as the euros in Frankfurt or Rome or Athens or wherever euros are issued.

The physical specifications of euro coins are as follows.

The 1 euro cent will be struck in copper plated steel, 16.25 mm and weigh 2.3 grams with a smooth edge.

The 2 euro cent will also be struck in copper plated steel, 18.75 mm weigh 3.06 grams and have a smooth edge with a groove.

The 5-euro-cent coin too will be struck in copper covered steel, 21.25mm and weigh 3.92 grams with a smooth edge.

The 10 euro cent will be struck in an alloy called Nordic gold (89% copper, 5% aluminium, 5% zinc, 1% tin), 19.75 mm, weigh 4.10 grams and have a shaped edge with fine scallops.

The 20 euro cent coin will be struck in Nordic gold, 22.25 mm, weigh 5.74 grams and have a plain edge. 

The 50 euro cent coin will also be struck in Nordic gold 24.25 mm, weigh7.80 grams and have a shaped edge with fine scallops.

Both the 1 euro and 2 euro coins will be bi-metallic.

 On the 1 euro coin the outer part will be yellow in colour and the inside white. The outer ring's alloy will consist of nickel-brass and the inner part's alloy will be cu-nickel, nickel and cu-nickel. The edge is described as interrupted milled. The 1 euro will be 23.25 mm, and weigh 7.5 grams.

The 2 euro will be the opposite of the 1 euro with the outer part white and the inner part yellow. The outer alloy will be cu-nickel and the inner part layers of nickel brass, nickel and nickel brass. The diameter will be 25.75 mm, weigh 8.5 grams and have a fine milled edge with lettering.


As far as the euro notes go there will be only one design per denomination. On the bills the word euro will be printed in both English and Greek and another fracture is the size of the bills increase as the denomination rises.

The 5 euro note will measure 120 x 62 mm or 4 3/4 x 2 7/16 inches

The 10 euro note is 127 x 67 mm or 6 x 2 5/8 inches.

The 20-euro bill is 133 x 72 mm or 5 1/4 x 2 13/16 inches.

The 50-euro note is 140 x 77 mm or 5 1/2 x 3 inches.

The 100-euro bill is 147 x 82 mm or 6 3/4 x 3 1/4 inches.

The 200 euro is 153 x 82 mm or 7 x 3 1/4 inches.

The 500 euro is 160 x 82 mm or 7 5/16 x 3 1/4 inches.

In comparison U. S. paper money is 156 x 66 mm or 6 1/8 x 2 19/32 inches.


What will happen to the old coins when they're turned in? 

Most countries will simply melt them down and recycle them into euros or other uses. 

Germany plans to turn some of its coins into washers for appliances or other items. With the notes, most will be burned and some will be shredded and used for compost.

There are as many ways to collect euro coins there are collectors. They can be collected by type or by country or by denomination or by any other way the collector desires. A complete set of euro coins consists of 96 pieces (12 countries x 8 coins). The face value of the coins is 46.56 euros or about $39.40. Many of the mints issuing euros will probably issue some kind of collector set usually in nice holders with lots of historical information. If you cannot obtain coins directly from either the mint of governments you can go to dealers who specialize in foreign coins either in person or via the Internet. Publications like world coin news would also be a good source for the new euro coins.

I have examined the proposed designs for the new euro coins and much like our state quarter program the images are of mixed quality artistically. The German coins are nothing special but the 1 and 2 euro coins do feature a nice image of an eagle. With the Greek coins there is a bit more variety particularly the 1 and 2 euro coins featuring ancient motifs such as the Athenian 4 Drachma owl on the 1 euro coin. 

On the Spanish coins the portrait of Cervantes is well executed and the cathedral of Santiago Compostela is also well done. There is nothing special about the French coins the 10,20 and 50 cents feature the familiar walking liberty that is familiar from previous issues.

If you like harps you'll love the Irish coins because that is all you will get. 

The Italian coins have an excellent mix of designs featuring familiar works by Raphael, Da Vinci and Botticelli.

All the Luxembourg coins feature the portrait of H.R.H. Duke Henri. 

Like Luxembourg all the coins of the Netherlands feature the portrait of Queen Beatrix. 

The Austrian coins have a fair mix of designs with a portrait of Mozart, various buildings and flowers. 

On the Portuguese coins various Royal seals are represented. 

With the Finnish coins the 1 and 2 euro are attractive but the minor coins feature a typical lion. 

Lastly all the coins from Belgium feature a portrait of King Albert. 

In conclusion the advent of the euro is the most dramatic change in both world currencies and numismatics that we will most likely see in our lifetimes. Whether or not it will succeed is anybody's guess but it will be interesting to watch.-  Jim Davis.



The following information was originally published in a WBCC Newsmail of May 1999 and republished, with permission, in the 'Tasmanian Numismatist' of June 1999 but serves as a reminder of 'what might be' as the Euro coinage becomes a fact.


POSSIBLE (Bi-metallic) EURO COINAGE.                                           by Gerhard Schön, Germany

It is not sure if they will have their own euro coins. As you probably know, NONE of Andorra's coins issued so far have seen actual circulation. They are using Franc and Peseta coins now without mention of Andorra, so it looks most questionable to me if they are allowed to have true euro circulation coins in their own name. After all, despite Andorra being a UN member since 1993, there have never been any Peseta or Franc circulation coins in the name of Andorra.

Gibraltar and Isle of Man:
Not sure about these since they adhere to the Sterling Standard.

Monaco, San Marino and Vatican:
Since all three countries have had their own coin types (struck to the specifications of French and. Italian coinage) in the past, I feel they will have their own euro coins as well (which would then be legal tender in all of euroland).

Réunion, Saint Pierre et Miquelon, Guadeloupe, Mayotte and Terres Australes et Antarctiques Françaises (French Southern and Antarctic Territories):
The above French overseas territories will use euro coins as sole legal tender but their names are not to appear on coins.

French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Wallis and Futuna:
These French overseas territories will continue to use the CFP Franc (which is tied to the French Franc at a rate of 1000:55)

Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Benin, Comoro Islands, Togo, Niger, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Mali and Burkina Faso:
The African countries listed above will NOT introduce any euro coins. They are using the CFA Franc which is tied to the French Franc and to the euro in the future (but as a sole responsibility of the French Ministry of Finance, not the European Central Bank.). People in these African countries are already worried if the French will devalue the CFA Franc again in terms of French Francs (the French did a 50% devaluation on 12 January 1994 after assuring the African countries they will not devalue). In these days, the French have again stated they will not change the parity.... This all has led, of course, to massive demand for French Francs in these African countries. For example, President Bongo of Gabon said his country will leave the CFA zone should the French change the parity again. The African countries have had some nice economic growth with their devalued currency since 1994 but of course it also meant that all imports from France had been at double cost since then.

French Guyana, Martinique,

The above French overseas possessions will use euro coins as sole legal tender but their names are not to appear on coins.



The following interesting news release #2001-6 had been issued in late September by regular correspondent, author, World Coin News columnist and Canadian Municipal Trade token designer, Serge Pelletier.  Canadian M.T.T. collectors can check out Serge's site at: www.eligi.ca/bonavita  


Indigenettework: First Nations Women in the Art Co-operative released today its Nakasgam (pronounced na-'kas-gum) token during a press conference held at the Thunderbird Park Carving Studio in Victoria.  The token commemorates the 50th anniversary of the repeal of the Potlatch ban.
Meaning "10 Dollars" in the Kwakwala ('kwa-kwa-law) language, the token's shape is inspired by the "money" used by the Kwakwaka'wakw (kwa-kwa-key-'walk) in their traditional Potlatch ceremonies, the "Copper", a large shield made of local natural copper and adorned with various traditional designs.  

"We are very excited about this project" said Lou-ann Neel, Kidi'kle'logw, Ika'wega (pronounced kee-dee-clay-'louwg, eek-'ya-way-'ga) a founding director of Indigenettework and the Kwakwaka'wakw artist that designed the piece , 

"The Nakasgam coin has been created in the spirit of the Potlatch and the Copper traditions to carry a message of honour, to acknowledge and recognize all those who have kept these important teachings and traditions alive with integrity - during the 67 years of the Potlatch Ban and the 50 years since the Ban was repealed".
The Nakasgam bears an original Raven design created by Lou-ann Neel in a style and form consistent with the work of her great-grandfather, Charlie James 'Yakudlas (pronounced 'ya-koo-glass) and her grandmother, Ellen Neel 'Kakasolas (pronounced ka-ka-so-'loss).  "The Raven was chosen because of the rich historical legends associated with this being, and the parallels that the Raven's legends and teachings have to our modern world" explained Neel.  "Raven is also represented in Kwakwaka'wakw legends as a messenger - carrying important messages from one tribe to the next, always maintaining
the highest degree of integrity and truth in the messages he conveys".
The Nakasgam token will mark the beginning of a new era of tradition by leading the way for further Copper-shaped tokens to be created, and thus generate greater awareness of the rich and sophisticated social, economic, political, legal and cultural systems of the Potlatch and the histories of the seventeen tribes of the Kwakwaka'wakw.
The Kwakwaka'wakw Potlatch.
All Native Peoples have ways of celebrating and honouring one another, for the Kwakwaka'wakw  on the Northwest coast of
British Columbia, they do so in the Potlatch.  It is a ceremony hosted by a Chief and his family; guests are invited to witness the events that take place before them. 
Prior to 1884, the Potlatch played a major role in the Kwakwaka'wakw Society, it was their way of life. The Potlatch was a place where families gather, where names were given, where the birth of a baby was announced, where marriages were conducted and where families mourned the loss of a loved one.
Today it is rare to hold a Potlatch for these specific purposes, although wedding and memorial Potlatches are becoming more standard. The Potlatch is also a place where a Chief would pass his rights and privileges to his eldest son, and where claims are made and validated. Gestures are made at Potlatches to display one's wealth and, more importantly, to share it with others.
The Potlatch Ban.
In the late 1800s, the dominant ideology in British Columbia for dealing with the "Indian Problem" was that assimilation was the only salvation for a doomed race.  The government was thus keen to implement policies that accelerated the process of assimilation that they viewed as inevitable.  The repression of potlatching was a key element of the provincial government's
plan for controlling British Columbia's First Nations people. Legislators
and administrators claimed that the native system of political control was irresponsible.  They intended to substitute a responsible form of government through the development of band councils.  The authorities viewed the Potlatch as fundamental to the chiefs' ability to maintain their influence, thus curtailing the effectiveness of the Band Councils to promote assimilation.
In addition to the authorities' perception that potlatching was undermining their efforts to assimilate the native population, the practice was considered inherently evil by some sectors of the Canadian community, especially church groups and Indian administrators. In 1883 a petition was made to a federal official by white and Indians in the name of their religious affiliation; concern about the Potlatch had gone beyond the missionary in the field to become a problem for the higher administration of
his denomination. The Potlatch was more than immoral, it had come to be defined as the grossest of obstacles to the Christian development of Indians. Sustained outrage and complaints resulted in the passaged of "Bill 87" on April 19, 1884, which amended the "Indian Act" of 1880.  This amendment banned potlatching and became known as the "Potlatch Law". 
Potlatching continued regardless, either by stealth, open defiance, or lax enforcement by sympathetic authorities.  Some attempts were made by some authorities to enforce the law but no avail.  The Potlatch Law remained on the statutes of Canada until the "Indian Act" was revised by "Statutes of Canada Chapter 29", proclaimed September 4, 1951.  After many years of virtual non-enforcement or blatant evasion of the ban, the provisions relating to potlatching were quietly dropped without fuss.  A range of other amendments were made at the same time to increase the personal autonomy of both status and non-status Indians.
The Raven.
In the Kwakwaka'wakw culture, the Raven, Gwa'wina (pronounced 'gwa-wee-na), along with other supernatural beings, serves as a link between the mortal world, spirit world and the world beneath the sea, through song, dance and ceremony.  

It connects all aspects of the living world and links everyone with the knowledge and teachings of their ancestors.  

Legends of the Raven serve as a stable conduit between traditional and modern ideals.
Many legends refer to the Raven as a trickster or prankster - one who generates confusion and havoc with his antics. Other legends speak of the Raven as the transformer... the being that has the ability to transform itself and all other living beings from human to other worldly forms and back again. But Raven is also represented in Kwakwaka'wakw legends as a Messenger - carrying important messages from one tribe to the next, always maintaining the highest degree of integrity and truth in the messages conveyed.


Raven's tail.  Legend:  NAKASGAM between tail feathers. VANCOUVER ISLAND / BRITISH COLUMBIA / 2001 / VALID FOR $10 AT PARTICIPATING / MERCHANTS UNTIL 31 DECEMBER 2001 / (Eligi Consultants mintmark) in six lines below the tail.

Raven's face in the upper part.  The lower part is divided into two portion and bears the following legend: "THE COPPERS / ARE REAL & STAY" / ... TODAY AND / THROUGHOUT in four lines on the left side and THE 50 YEARS / SINCE THE / POTLATCH BAN / WAS REPEALED in four lines on the right side.
Issuing Agency:  Indigenettework
Designer:  Lou-ann Neel
Mint:  Eligi Consultants Inc.
Diameter: 49 x 37 mm (at the widest points)
Edge: Plain
Composition     Mintage     Price
Antique Copper    1,000       $15.00
Nickel Plated        125          $20.50
Gold Plated          125          $26.50

Those interested in getting some of these unusual indigenous-style tokens should contact the exclusive distributor: 

Bonavita Ltd,

Box 11447, Station H, Nepean, ON   K2H 7V1

Canada. (Tel: +1-613-823-3844 / Fax: +1-613-825-3092).
Shipping and handling and taxes are extra. MASTERCARD and VISA accepted
E-Mail:  ray@eligi.ca  Web Site:  www.eligi.ca/bonavita
For more information please contact: Serge Pelletier (Tel: +1-301-873-1575)
E-Mail:  info@eligi.ca



Bearing in mind the huge disparity between our populations, it is interesting to compare what is happening to the small change supply in the U.S.A. and Australia.



 Enough, already!  (To coin a phrase!)

A surplus of coins attributed to the softening economy has prompted the U.S. Mint to begin layoffs.

Instead of 23 billion new pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters next year, mint officials now believe that they'll need 15 billion. The mint made too many coins during the past year. The mint has begun laying off 357 workers nationwide, including workers at major coin plants in Philadelphia and Denver, U.S. Mint spokesman Michael White said Wednesday.

The drop in demand for new coins is staggering, said James Benfield, executive director of the Coin Coalition, a Washington lobbying group that supports the dollar coin. Benfield and others speculate that the coin glut is being compounded by many coins coming back into circulation after months or years on dresser tops and in shoe boxes.



The Sunday Tasmanian - Nov.18th; 2001.

Coin shortage rocks business.

Australia faces being short-changed by a national coin shortage. Shops, car parks and other coin-dependant outlets are putting up signs pleading for people to have the right change when they pay. The Reserve Bank is coming to the rescue by almost doubling its order of coins from the Royal Australian Mint. In an average year it orders around 300 million coins, ranging from 5c to $2. This year it has boosted the order to 500 million to cope with the shortage.

 "We are aware there is a shortage and want to ensure there are enough supplies to meet demand especially as we come into Christmas, " a Reserve Bank spokesman said.

The shortage appears to have resulted after responsibility for coin circulation was passed from contractors such as Armaguard to banks. A Mayne Logistics Armaguard spokeswoman, Serena Williams, said the new system may have caused 'hiccups' with supply.

"It is a short term problem and we have been working hard to ensure the change is smooth," she said.

Retailers are appealing to people to fossick down the backs of lounges, ferret through car seat covers and fiddle through sock drawers for change.




Hi there, I live in Victoria but enjoy reading the Internet Edition newsletter. My main interests are Aust. penny & halfpenny varieties, Aust. decimal varieties and G.B. farthings by date. If anyone shares any of my interests I would also enjoy corresponding direct. Cheers. Ian Hartshorn   Email: cobwebs@optusnet.com.au


Hi - I am an Italian world coins collector and I am looking for new collector for to have new exchange. Please if you are interested send me a message and your trade list.
Ciao - Paolo,   Email: Paolo Beltrami






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