Index For This Month:
TASMANIAN NUMISMATIC SOCIETY INC. SOCIETY SNIPPETS. 'IT'S ALL GREEK TO ME!' AROUND THE TRAPS. FROM THE COLUMNS. INTERNET NEWS. BLAST FROM THE PAST. EDITOR'S YEAR 2000 INVITATION. NEXT ISSUE. REMINDER. PREVOIUS ISSUES AVAILABLE FOR VIEWING
TASMANIAN NUMISMATIC SOCIETY INC.
Tasmanian Numismatic Society, Inc.
G.P.O. Box 884J.
Hobart. Tasmania. 7001.
Our members meet at 8.00 p.m. on the 2nd.Thursday of each month (except January), in our social rooms at the Masonic Club, 181 Macquarie St., Hobart. Tasmania. Visitors are always welcome!
Any literary contributions or relevant and constructive comments regarding numismatics are always welcome and can be sent to the T.N.S. or directed to:
Ravenswood. 7250. Tasmania.
Internet Page: http://www.vision.net.au/~pwood/tns.html
The ‘Tasmanian Numismatist’ is published and distributed FREE, on a monthly basis, to members of the Tasmanian Numismatic Society Inc. and selected associates and institutions. This publication is the only official newsletter of the ‘Tasmanian Numismatic Society Inc.’ and its aim is to promote the hobby of numismatics in an entertaining and enjoyable way, under the guidelines suggested by the executive committee of the T.N.S.
All details of a commercial nature, organisations,
items or individual arrangement to buy, sell or trade are provided as information
only, and any consequent dealings are between the parties concerned.
The ‘Tasmanian Numismatist’ takes no responsibility for disagreements between parties, and also reserves the right to only feature information that it considers suitable in promoting our hobby to our members under the guidelines suggested by the Society. Deadline for contributions or amendment to copy is 7 Days prior to the beginning of the month of publication.
This newsletter and its contents are copyrighted ©,
but anything herein (except as noted below) 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. Usually, we
are not too hard to get on with - and, as long as you undertake to give
credit to the author and the ‘Tasmanian Numismatist’ we don’t mind
This permission, however, does not extend to any article specifically marked as copyrighted © by the author of the article. In the latter case, you must get explicit permission from the author either directly or through the ‘Tasmanian Numismatist’ to use that material.
All opinions expressed in material published in this newsletter are those of the authors, and not necessarily those of the ‘Tasmanian Numismatic Society Inc.’ or the Editor.
Whether it's the finish of the old or, perhaps, the start of the new millennium -
WELCOME TO THE YEAR 2000 - and all its numismatic challenges.
The events of 1999 are now
behind us - for better or worse - and those of us who have successfully
braved the Festive Season will soon be gearing up for another busy year
on the numismatic front. The double advent of the year 2000 and the Sydney
Olympics - and all the associated hype - has certainly throw down the gauntlet
as far as we are concerned. Manufacturers from countries all over the globe
are targeting all imaginable aspects of our hobby. As dedicated collectors
we are going to be hard-pressed to make decisions of an informed nature
and this is where our 'Tasmanian Numismatic Society' affiliation
will prove to be invaluable. It is the intention of the 'Tasmanian
Numismatist', as the Society's official newsletter, to endeavour
to keep our members and readers up to date - as far as possible - and on
as broad a scope as needed, in all the major aspects of our hobby during
the coming 12 months.
We intend to continue with the newsletter format that we have established, but we will be always open to suggestions on how to improve and advance the portrayal of items presented for our readers' enjoyment and knowledge. We will also continue to welcome all positive input, under our usual basic terms of reference, from correspondents who can advise or who want advice about the broader numismatic picture as we head into this exciting new year.
If we can do a little better than our best of 1999 - we will be happy!
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING.
Our next scheduled general meeting is the Annual General Meeting on 10th. February 2000 at our Social Rooms located at the Masonic Club, 181 Macquarie St., Hobart, Tasmania commencing at 8. 00 p.m.
All financial members are strongly urged to attend this meeting, - you will be asked to actively participate in the annual election of officers - and you will also be encouraged to contribute positive ideas that will help our new Committee to plan another successful year
Whilst all current officer bearers are eligible for re-election to their previous position - or any other that is declared vacant - we also welcome and encourage nominations from any financial member of the Tasmanian Numismatic Society, Inc. to aspire for any of the positions on our Committee and Executive Committee.
All positions will be declared vacant during the course of the AGM - according to the rules of the Constitution of the Tasmanian Numismatic Society, Inc. - and nominations for each position will be called for.
The positions to be declared vacant and the present incumbents
President: - Roger McNeice.
Vice- President: - Christopher Heath.
Treasurer: - Charles Hunt.
Secretary: - Geoffrey Forrest.
Honorary Auditor: - Richard Watson.
Editor: - Graeme Petterwood (Northern Tasmania).
General Committee (Minimum of 4 positions): - Philip Nichols, Kevin Hogue, Tom Williamson, Shane Matson (Northern Tasmania) and Paul Petterwood (Northern Tasmania).
The nomination, which must have been properly seconded,
will then be put to the financial members present and, if there is only
one applicant for the position, that nominee will be declared elected -
In the case of there being more than one candidate for the vacant position, a vote will be called for and the nominee who attracts the majority of votes by acclamation, from the financial members present, will be declared elected - by majority.
In the event of a tied vote and if a recount is inconclusive, the Constitution allows for the successful nominee to be selected by a traditional and accepted method.
Whilst it is desirable to have one member elected to one position, our rules do not preclude officer bearers nominating and being elected to multiple positions, or a member volunteering to act in a temporary capacity to fill a position, if -
(1) - there are insufficient nominations forthcoming to fill the vacancy or if -
(2) - unavoidable circumstances preclude the active participation of a duly elected member for an unspecified period that could however, in the Executive Committee’s opinion, detrimentally affect the normal procedures of the Society.
Fresh nominations can be called for, by the Executive Committee, during the course of the monthly general meetings, to fill any such vacancy for the balance of the term of office or, the temporary aspect of the position may again be ratified and extended until such time as the elected member can resume the responsibilities of the position or until the next election of officers, whichever comes first.
This notification will be repeated in the February 1st. Edition and the election results will be published in the March issue, and the Internet edition, of the 'Tasmanian Numismatist', which is the only official newsletter of the ‘Tasmanian Numismatic Society, Inc.’.
DECEMBER 1999 GET-TOGETHER.
'IT'S ALL GREEK TO ME!' by Graeme Petterwood. (T.N.S. Member # 332.)
Numismatics can be dated back into antiquity if we consider the countless methods of exchange and barter as legitimate items within our scope. However, the advent of coinage, as we have come to recognise it, only occurred relatively recently in historical terms and it is at this important turning point I will start our journey.
The precise moment that someone decided to make a piece
of precious metal into the roundish lump that we can describe as a coin
is unknown, but scholars estimate that it was between 650 - 625 BC. The
event occurred somewhere in western Asia Minor (Asiatic Turkey) when, either
Greek settlers in Ionia, or their neighbours, the Lydians, decided to knock
up a few coins
The first coins were a mixture of gold and silver- which is known as electrum - and as this alloy was found naturally in Lydia it lends weight to the theory that the initial batches of this new invention were produced there. After eons of using bullion as the major financial trading tool it was evident that by establishing smallish ingots of a guaranteed weight and fineness that many problems would be overcome, like that of not having anything to jingle in your pockets when you went to the market.
To facilitate trade - and also control the finances of their states - the cities of Ionia, and the kings of Lydia, had started the coinage revolution that soon spread to Greece itself and the islands of the Aegean.
The designs of these early Greek coins was usually very simple, with various animals and insect totems that signified their place of origin, and then, circa 600 BC the caricature of a human head first appeared on the obverse of the uniface flans. The reverse normally only featured the marks of the minter's punch and it took another 50 years or so before the idea of using both sides of the coin was implemented by the Greeks. However, from then on, the designs were only restricted by imagination or technical experience and, as some of the early Greek silver coins are the most beautiful ever produced, they obviously lacked neither.
silver was in reasonably plentiful supply in northern Greece, - Macedonia
and Thrace - it was obvious that it would be utilised as the metal of choice
in those areas. One problem that did arise, of course, is that these silver
coins were originally made by many different Greek cities all around the
Mediterranean and, in the early days, their weights tended to vary. As
value was still based on actual bullion weight and not a stipulated denomination
as modern coinage is, it became essential that some strict sort of standard
was set - particularly in the area of precious metal coinages. The Greek
bronze coinage, of that time, was - as most coinage is today - only a token
of value and was compared to the intrinsic value of a greater value coin.
Coins from the north were often remelted and restruck, in their own images,
by southern cities and island states that had little in the way of the
Ruins of a Silver mine at Mt. Laurion near Athens circa 5th Century BC
The introduction of bronze was a secondary, but necessary,
choice in more isolated places like the north Aegean, Sicily and southern
Italy and this would eventually promote the popular use of that metal into
the Roman coinage.
As silver supplies began to become scarcer from the traditional areas, small value bronze coins based on the silver Obol were acceptable. (More modern scholars have decided that the silver Obol (weight 0.73g) was generally used as a base unit in the major Greek cities and colonies.
By the mid 500's BC the coiners were becoming even more imaginative and each important city had its own distinctive major design - Aigina, an island off the coast of Attica, had issued a silver stater, that featured a sea turtle, in circa 600 BC.
Soon after that, the cities of Corinth had its Pegasus, Thebes had its distinctive Boeotian Shield and the coins from the city of Chalkis featured the front view of a four-horse chariot.
circa 525 BC Athens' famous bust of Athena and
the traditional Owl made their first appearances and elaborate types featuring
a variety of gods, goddesses, temples and other public buildings, fierce
animals, struggling wenches, naked satyrs etc. began to follow quickly
on their heels.
The variety of denominations in respect to the coin weights
that were available is still a bit of a mystery even today, but the following
table does give a rough idea of how it all worked in most places. Although
there are exceptions with coins produced in Sicily for example, (which
I will endeavour to explain later), the confusion of denomination terms
boggles the mind and I will quote a passage from David Sears ' Collecting
Greek Coins' to illustrate the point.
''The term 'stater' will often be encountered by the collector of Greek coins and they will wonder why it does not appear in tables of denominations. The reason is simple: 'stater' means the main denomination of a coinage and can, therefore, be a Tetradrachm, a Didrachm, or even a drachm. More often than not it applied to the Didrachm denomination which was the principal silver coin struck by the Greek colonies in Southern Italy…"
With this type of confusion we should be thankful for
our simple dollars and cents, but the table I have compiled may go a long
way in simplifying the problem that most of us find when we are trying
to put some sort of perspective on the different Greek silver coin names.
Bear in mind that the Obol (or Obolos) was also divided into various minute
fractions. To complicate matters even further is the fact that different
weight standards were used in different areas around the Mediterranean
and Aegean Seas. The average weight of a circulation issue Greek tetradrachm
coin, for instance, was only 17g, so the table indicates ideal weights
per coin - but these were rarely reached as the government of the day literally
got in for their tax 'chop' before the actual coins were put out for the
|Tritemorion (or Tritartemorion)||0.54g||1/8 Drachm|
|Obol (os)||0.73g||1/6 Drachm|
|Trihemiobol (ion)||1.10g||1/4 Drachm (1½ Obols)|
|Diobol (on)||1.46g||1/3 Drachm (2 Obols)|
|Triobol (on) (or Hemidrachm)||2.19g||1/2 Drachm (3 Obols)|
|Tetrobol (on)||2.92g||2/3 Drachm (4 Obols)|
|Pentobol (on)||3.63g||5/6 Drachm (5 Obols)|
|Drachm||4.37g||1 Drachm (6 Obols)|
|Didrachm||8.75g||2 Drachms (12 Obols)|
|Tetradrachm||17.50g||4 Drachms (24 Obols)|
|Dekadrachm||43.75g||10 Drachms (60 Obols)|
In the Greek Sicilian colony, the use of bronze coinage was based on the Litra, a small silver coin of about 0.85g. This was also produced as a large sized bronze coin which was intended to equal the intrinsic value of the silver version but, for ease of handling, it became lighter in weight and virtually became a token which, in turn, was divided into 12 onkia (ounces). Each onkia could also be divided, or multiplied, into smaller or larger denominations - for instance, the pentonkion equalled 5 onkion. The silver drachm of Attica, which was based on a slightly different weight standard to Greece, was also related to the litra at the rate of 5 litra to the drachm, compared to 6 obol to the Greek drachm.
The value of Greek coinage is very rarely shown on the
individual coin, but Greek numbers and the Greek alphabet, in upper and,
occasionally, lower case, are linked so if you do get a number it will
often be in this sort of alphabetical form.
eg. A PP = 1+80+100, or I H = 10+8, or Z K P =7+20+100, or M B = 40+2, or X D =60+4, or G P P = 3+80+100 = 183.
Collecting Greek Coins. by David Sear (Stanley Gibbons Guides - 1977)
Greek Coinage. by N.K. Rutter (Shire Archaeology - 1983)
Greek and Roman Coins. by J.G. Milne (Methuen & Co.Ltd. - 1939)
To be continued in due course……..
AROUND THE TRAPS.
For those members with an interest in basic Roman coins I hope to get to you - very shortly!
the meantime check out the latest availability list of Roman coins from
'NUMI$NEWS', which is published by one of Australia's leading
numismatic dealers. 'NUMI$NEWS' can be sent free on request:
M.R. Roberts’ Wynyard Coin Centre,
7 Hunter Arcade,
Sydney, 2000. Australia.
Phone :- (02) 9299 2047 or Fax :- (02) 9290 3710.
FROM THE COLUMNS.
"The end of the millennium is, of course, 12 months away, but most people seem incapable of recognising the logic of this. Instead they focus on the changeover of the first digit of the year date, as if this has some magical or universal significance."
Bruce goes on to highlight the fact that throughout history
and, indeed throughout the world, that the date we live by has been subject
to all sorts of human changes and interpretations. We have had solar and
lunar calendars, that had to have a few days added on occasion to bring
them up to date, and we have had calendars from the Sumerians, Egyptians,
the Greeks and the Romans. Some even gained, or lost, months at a time
when they needed to be adjusted.
A prime example was when Julius Caesar had a Greek (or was he an Egyptian) astrologer, Sosigenes, restructure the Roman calendar to give us a 365 day year with an extra day every 4 years. His eventual successor, Octavian, also known as Augustus, played around with the length of the months to suit his own whims. The Julian Year, however, was 11 minutes 14 seconds too long so eventually things fell out of kilter again.
In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII proclaimed that the day after October 4th 1582 would be October 15th and every 400 years the leap year arrangement would be dropped. Protestant countries were very reluctant to accept the changeover and it was not until 1752 that England started to use the Gregorian calendar, China introduced it in 1912, Russia in 1918 and Greece changed in 1923.
As you can imagine things were rather chaotic - add to
that the situation where some countries still base their systems on the
old lunisolar set-up and are still forced to add those extra days every
so often - and you can see why. One other problem that also faces the date
number crunchers is the fact that, not only are some calendars not based
on the "Christian" model, but they can also vary from place to place
- and also from human intervention. Calendars can commence at the time
of change of a ruler, or at the time of a momentous event - like the flight
of Mohammed from Mecca to Medina in 622 AD which is known as the Hegira.
The Islamic calendar is also lunisolar but adding extra months is forbidden - thus Islamic events occur 11 days earlier each year. Since 1920 AD in Iran, for instance, there have been three systems used - Solar Hegira (SH), Monarchic Solar (MS) which commenced in March 1976 and was based on the founding of the Iranian monarchy in 559 BC, and then back to SH after the Shah was deposed the following year.
So, the year 2000 AD is really only the figure 2 followed by three zeros for many other calendar users - and its advent will just be another day. As Bruce Fuge has pointed out, "Dating can still be a bit of a problem for all of us!"
"Are You Having Difficulties Finding a Date?" by Bruce Fuge, Mintmark No.197. The Numismatic Society of Auckland Inc.
BLAST FROM THE PAST.
EDITOR'S YEAR 2000 INVITATION.
Senior Full Membership (18 years and over) $20.00
Junior Full Membership (Aged up to 18 years) $10.00
Associate Membership (excludes voting rights) $10.00
Institutional and International Membership $25.00