Volume 7 Issue 3                             INTERNET EDITION                             March  2002.



The Annual General Meeting of the Tasmanian Numismatic Society was held on 14 February, 2002 at the private residence of President Christopher Heath commencing at 8.15p.m. The following report is taken from the Editor's informal notes.

At the outset members were advised that due to current circumstances the meeting would be as flexible as possible with only the more formal aspects adhered to until we reached General Business. 

After the previous A.G.M. Minutes, and Reports from the President, Treasurer and Editor were given, accepted and tabled for later official distribution, the meeting adopted a most frank atmosphere to discuss the problems that are in front of the Society for the coming year and to choose the most appropriate direction to channel our efforts. 

Fortunately, the discussions were extremely positive and new ideas, or the expansion of previous suggestions, were all given a fair airing with input from those present. Several interesting newsworthy items were spoken of but, as they are not finalised, they must remain in the 'still to happen' section - however, if all these possibilities do bear fruit, they have the potential to create a great time for T.N.S. members who choose to be active participants.

After some discussion, it was decided to create an official Northern Chapter, responsible to the T.N.S. Executive, through a second Vice-President and a sub-committee made up of those northern members who care to contribute ideas. 

As soon as possible an informal meeting will be arranged to sort out the details of a promotional agenda and what sort of  'assets' can be mustered.

The Society had previously discussed the decision un-incorporate as the benefits no longer can be justified against the recently increased cost of incorporation, and advice was given that this action had been ratified after an Executive Committee meeting late last year.

We were dismayed to learn, in December 2001, that the huge increases in the rates for obligatory public liability insurance required by the Masonic Club played a crucial part in their decision to sell their properties, including the building in which held our monthly meetings. Other social clubs who also used rooms in the facility were also affected.


The meeting was called to order for the election of Officers for 2002 and those elected are:

President:                Christopher Heath.

Vice-President:        Roger McNeice

Vice-President:        Graeme Petterwood (Northern Chapter).

Treasurer/Scribe:     Charles Hunt.

Editor:                     Graeme Petterwood.

General Committee: Tom Williamson (Provision for 2 extra Committee) (South)

                                Debbie Martyn, Robert Newbold, Paul Petterwood. (Northern Chapter).

Auditor:                   Richard Watson. (To be confirmed)



Due to the pending sale of the Hobart Masonic Club buildings, many non-profit social clubs, such as our own, are now in the unfortunate position of being without their traditional meeting place. Whilst we are endeavouring to ascertain the availability of an economic and suitable alternative, our meeting schedule has to be altered to suit these circumstances.

As several members have tentatively volunteered to make their private residences available on occasion - and to be fair to them - we have decided to hold our meetings on a temporary ad hoc schedule, most probably bi-monthly, at a venue to be decided at each previous meeting - details of which will be advertised in the 'Tasmanian Numismatist'.

Meetings will be relatively informal and members will be advised of progress at those times.

Prospective visitors should contact the Society direct, or an Executive Officer, for current information.

At this point, it has been decided to maintain the informality by holding our next general meeting at the residence of Chris Heath in the form of a (BYO food and other refreshments) BBQ and the members will participate in a 'think-tank' session during the gathering. If you would like to attend and/or need directions, RSVP as soon as possible. 

The time will be at 11.00a.m. on Saturday 16th. March, and the address will be:

Mr. Chris Heath 

1Fern Court, 

Claremont, 7011.


Phone:  (03) 6249 1369



We have been asked to advise those few members of the Tasmanian Numismatic Society who have not remembered to renew their subscription for this calendar year 2002 that, at the end of this month, they will be considered inactive and un-financial unless temporary dispensation has been granted by the Committee.

All accrued entitlements and Society benefits, including preferential discounts on special merchandise, pre-release purchase opportunities etc. - and delivery of the 'member's only' Tasmanian Edition of this newsletter - will then cease.  

Inactive members, who seek full re-instatement with restored benefits and who were previously considered to be in good standing in the Society and its Committee, may apply for renewed membership without all the necessary formalities; however, renewed membership may be deemed to be as a new membership unless arrears, as fairly determined by the Committee, are paid. 

The Society and its Committee reserve the right to veto all applications for membership or re-instatement.

Time is now running out so, if you have not already done it, please send the subscription amount of:-

$20.00 for full voting rights membership (adult), 

$10.00 for non voting associate or junior membership (under 18) or ,

A$25.00 for full International membership (adult) - to the address shown below.

Prospective new members can request Membership Application forms and other details by applying directly to:

Chris Heath.

P.O. Box 12 Claremont, 7011 

Tasmania. Australia.

Phone: (03) 6249 1369




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

Please also bear in mind that some Internet links are of a temporary nature.


THE ÆGIS of PONTOS?                       by Graeme Petterwood (T.N.S. Member #332).

Ten years ago, in my numismatic 'childhood', I came into possession of a rather beat up and corroded 7.5 gram. 'lump' of bronze that appeared to be a very old coin. It was mixed in with a small handful of unidentified Roman coins that I had purchased just so I had some Ancients in my collection of world coins. They were probably the cheapest of the cheap! 

After eventually 'buying the books' and doing my homework I had successfully put a name on all of them - except the 'lump'.

In those days, I was probably as green as that particular piece of metal in regard to preservation and cleaning methods.

It was so badly affected by the green evil that I threw caution to the winds and cleaned it rather more harshly than I knew I should - just to see what it actually was. 

The pencil rubbings I tried to make of the designs were inconclusive, so it was back to work this time with even more vigour and a calculated measure of real nastiness. I now shudder at my sin - but an abrasive paste cleaner, steel wool soap pads and a flat blade scraper worked wonders, when used judiciously.

Eventually, a few more decipherable marks started to emerge from within the 'green grott' and, by using my most powerful magnifier - and a bit of vivid imagination - I realised the coin was just possibly early Greek. When I had started working my way through the handful of coins and found this heavy piece I had virtually discarded that idea because, from my meagre knowledge at that time, all Greek coins were supposed to be beautiful and made of silver or gold - and this was absolutely none of those!

I had used several good Roman catalogues and some not-so-comprehensive Greek booklets - which were the only ones at my disposal at that time - but none gave me any joy in identifying the 'lump' so it was consigned to the too hard section and thrown into my little Blackwood junk coin box with others of its ilk and there it languished for years until it started to lose some of its steel-wool acquired shine.

They say the Lord moves in mysterious ways -  two or three years ago, I was visited by a friendly local missionary who proved to be interested in ancient history and artefacts and, the next time he was in the area, he dropped in with an auction catalogue of Ancient coins that he had sent for because of the inclusion of Biblical era oil lamps.

I suppose I was always a lost cause, however, the catalogue he gave me certainly wasn't  wasted, because -  lo and behold - one of the lot descriptions seemed to ring a little bell in the back of my mind.

Did I have an ancient Colonial Greek bronze coin - minted well before the birth of Christ - in my possession? 

The auction lot description read something like this:

Ancient Greece, Amisos (Pontos), time of Mithradates VI Eupator (121-63 BC), bronze AE21

Obv.: Aegis with Gorgoneion at center
Rev.: Nike advancing to right, carrying palm branch, Greek legend AMI - SOU across, monograms.

My 21mm. bronze coin certainly appeared to have a Gorgon type head as the obverse, and a striding winged figure that could be the goddess of victory, Nike, carrying a palm branch over her shoulder and a bit of hard to decipher lettering on the reverse, so perhaps the question had been partly answered after all those years. It could be that my coin may have been minted elsewhere than Amisos (modern Samsun, Northern Turkey) on the southern shores of the Pontos Euxinos (the Black Sea), as I could not reconcile the very worn lettering with the legend as stated on the auction lot coin  but it filled nearly all the other criteria. I also presumed that my enthusiastic cleaning effort to remove most of the verdigris had probably destroyed any real value that the coin may have had plus a little more of its detail - but at least I knew a little more about what it might be - perhaps, one day I would know more!

Resurrected, from amongst its peers in my Blackwood junk box, the 'lump' was then studied intently for a day or so, recorded as possibly being a Pontian ægis, and then tucked away in a slightly more appropriate place at the end of my tiny collection of modern era Greek coins.


The advent of the Internet and all of its wonderful Search aids has been a godsend to amateur numismatic detectives like myself and, as I have developed my hobby interests more as a writer/researcher than as an avid accumulator, I have started to revisit some of my own older coins as a source of inspiration for articles and to provide knowledge about the past. 

It is always hard to picture or identify  a coin from a very brief written description in an Auction catalogue, so recently on a whim I hunted up a bit of Pontian history (which I knew absolutely nothing about prior to the search) and then pottered around trying to find an adequate Internet scan of a 'Pontian ægis' - just to confirm the classification of my coin.

Whilst I was about 99.99% sure of the origins of my bronze 'lump', I had not been able to nail down a really good picture from any source, including previous visits to the Internet.

However, this time, I discovered several newer and extremely interesting sites that provided extra enlightenment - and a few more better quality scans for me to look at - as well as maps where the Pontian mints were located.

I recommend that readers invest a little time being further educated about these fascinating times and places that were so important in the development of metallic coinage as we know it, by looking in on some of the fine Internet sites mentioned below.




Examples of Pontian Ægis 121 - 63 B.C. (Off-centre strikes).


P.S.  Something decipherable and nice to look at has recently sold for about A$75 on an e-bay auction but, the price of the little bronze 'lumps' similar to mine starts at about A$10 +/- (Refer worn example above.)


A Brief History of Pontos B.C.

During the period around 1000 BC, the first exploratory adventures by the Greeks, in the area of the Euxeinos Pontos (the Black Sea), took place primarily searching for gold and other minerals and, by the 8th century BC, the trading posts that had been established were beginning to develop into more permanent settlements. 

The real start of colonisation was when the traders from the town of Miletus founded another trading city at Sinope (Sinop) because of its harbour and its accessibility to the inland areas. In the course of time, other centres with important trade influences started to emerge and grow; the political relations with the other colonial cities, with other Greek cities, and also with indigenous people also started to sow the seeds towards the creation a new cultural group. In the first centuries of their existence the colonies had remained true to the social and political ideals as their founding towns, but the influence of the Greek cities in the region was too alluring to the local people who willingly adopted Greek culture and Greek thinking. The impact of the Greek culture on the indigenous people in the area was tremendous and must have had a huge impact on their own social and cultural systems

This was the period of Alexander the Great and his successors, and the economic and political power of the Greek cities was at its highest level. Later, during the reign of the King Mithridates VI Eupator of Pontos, - and at the time of the issue of my ægis - the Greek language had even become the official language of many people in Asia Minor.



Recommended reading - Main References.







From personal experience as a self-confessed 'magpie' of long-standing, I believe that the most fulfilled amateur numismatist is the much maligned 'magpie' who collects anything and everything that takes his or her fancy and then makes the effort to find out something about it. You could say that inquisitive 'magpies' are 'as happy as a larks' as they usually know a little about nearly every item in their accumulations and are always happy to share that knowledge. The old saying 'Knowledge is Power' is one of numismatics most profound truths - and we must not forget the 'thrill of the hunt' or the profound pleasure when 'we corner our prey' and that 'variety is the spice of life!'  Is it any wonder we 'magpies' love the diversity of our hobby!!



In our last newsletter we advised of the acquisition of the Australian Coin Review by the Australasian Coin & Banknote Magazine. We also mentioned the fact that Mick Vort-Ronald would no longer be required to carry on his editorial duties, as the A.C.R. is to be absorbed into the surviving magazine by its own active editor and owner, Mr. Brian Ahearn.

Mick, who is author of many authoritative books on early Australian banking and Australian banknotes from all eras, will continue to contribute articles of interest to that magazine.



What some people may be unaware of is that Mick has, for many years, owned and operated the famous multiple award winning  Kadina Banking and Currency Museum which is located on the Yorke Peninsula in South Australia. 

The building dates back to 1873 and the Museum complex is open for organised tours and individual visits from Sunday - Thursday between 10a.m. - 4.30p.m. most months of the year except June. To help cover running costs, a small fee of $4.00 (Adults) $3.00 (Concession) $1.00 (Children) is the current levy. (Updated January, 2002)

This is Australia's only privately owned and operated museum of banking and money and with 2,500 moneyboxes, 50,000 newly minted coins, a vault 'wallpapered' with uncut banknotes, gems, minerals, fossils, meteorites, bank memorabilia and equipment, it is an absolute 'must- see' for anyone heading into this fascinating and historically rich area of South Australia.

For those with a more numismatic outlook, Mick also offers to buy and sell suitable coins, banknotes and medals and has available a selection of his own books and Australian banknote display accessories, plus other assorted reference material.



Phone: (08) 8821 2906

Web page: www.yp-connect.net/~vortronald

Email: vortronald@yp-connect.net



Internet News is provided for information only and we ask that readers refer to our usual disclaimers in reference to any business dealings that may occur between parties. Selected and/or edited items are re-published with permission.



Canadian Municipal Trade Tokens. (Commercial Item).

The following interesting 'e-XONUMIA' news release (Vol.2) #7 was issued in late January by regular correspondent, author, World Coin News columnist and Canadian Municipal Trade token designer, Serge Pelletier. 

As this newsletter cannot keep up with the schedule of 'e-XONUMIA' news releases arriving each month, and to save missing any vital  releases, Canadian M.T.T. collectors are advised to check out further information at Serge's site at: www.eligi.ca/bonavita  

Please note that all comments and suggestions made in these 'e-XONUMIA' news releases pertain directly to customers of Bonavita Ltd., which is a subsidiary of Eligi Consultants Inc. and, whilst items do not necessarily carry our automatic endorsement, we can refer back to many years of excellent products provided to local Canadian Municipal Trade Token collectors, by this company.

Date of Issue: January 19, 2002
SASKATOON, SASKATCHEWAN -  In 1986, the Saskatoon Coin Club struck a 2-Dollar municipal trade token to commemorate their 25th Anniversary. The token had gone unnoticed by Serge Pelletier in his 1993 catalogue.  

"Soon after I published my third catalogue, I received a letter from the Saskatoon Coin Club pointing to my omission" Pelletier explains, "sure enough, after reviewing their information and the piece itself, the token did qualify as a municipal trade token and it will be listed in my next one".
Now, the coin club has taken 500 of those tokens and has counterstamped them with 40 in a oval to commemorate their 40th Anniversary.  "It is a bona fide counterstamp and will be listed as well" concluded Pelletier.

The 38-millimetre nickel-silver token features on its obverse a stamp and a 1967 Canadian silver dollar with the legend - COIN & STAMP SHOW / OCTOBER 25 & 26 / 1986 above, - 25TH ANNIVERSARY - is at 9 o'clock and - GOOD FOR TRADE AT / PARTICIPATING MERCHANTS / OR THE SASKATOON COIN CLUB / EXPIRES DEC. 31, 1986 - is below.
The reverse is the Saskatoon Coin Club's logo, which is an outline map of Saskatoon surrounded by symbols for potash, oil and wheat.  The counterstamp was added to that side, on the outline map.

Bonavita has the following pieces available:
Issue                     Mintage        Price
Regular                 2,000             $3.00
Counterstamped     500               $5.00
Bonavita is the exclusive distributor of both pieces for the Saskatoon Coin Club.
Further information at Bonavita's site at: www.eligi.ca/bonavita  


ARGENTINA (Commercial Item)

I am sure this request from an Argentinean dealer looking for potential e-mail customers and the special discount deals he has offered  is quite  understandable - as received......

Gentlemen, My name is Juan Carlos Shmidt and I am distributor of world coins. The reason of this note is to know if they can send me addresses of electronic mail of trade dedicated to the numismatists for then to be able to send them lists of prices of world coins. The prices are of until 50 smaller % to the international market and the quality is excellent. 

I hope they can help me and awaiting their restored, he greets them, 
Juan Carlos Shmidt (Union Internacional)

Morocco Set: 1, 5, 10, 20 Santimat; 1/2 - 1 Dirham 1987 (6 coins) UNC USD $4.80 
Rep. A. Saharaui Set: 1, 2, 5 Pesetas 1992 (3 coins) UNC USD $3.00 
Uzbekistan Set: 1, 3, 5, 10, 20, 50 Tiyin 1994 (6 coins) UNC USD$ 4.00 


Hello. I live in Russian Federation and want to trade several sets of currently circulating Russian coins on your country's coins. Email me if you are interested. With the best regards, Michael Y. Makeyev
From: "Michael Y. Makeyev" <ceo@belarus4you.comhttp://www.leodr.ru/coins



If you want an excellent site to keep up with world-wide sources for numismatic, financial, philatelic news I suggest readers have a look in on Coin Today  http://www.cointoday.com/  which is right up to date with all sorts of 'money matter' developments. Highly recommended.




It appears that the African continent is virtually awash with large ‘Trunk Boxes’ or safety deposit boxes stuffed with more US Dollars than most of us could climb over without an oxygen mask. The tragic stories that abound on how these ‘Trunk Boxes’ came to be in the possession of their current holders often brings hot tears of anguish to the eyes. 

It is absolutely amazing how much bad luck has befallen many of the original owners of these legions of 'Trunk Boxes' - which are all apparently held in storage all over the African continent - and how the contents of the boxes and the fates of some of the individual owners were ascertained in so much heart-wrenching detail. 

It appears that most of the original 'owners' are/were investors in oil, diamonds, gold and other commodities, businessmen looking to start a new business with large amounts of ready cash, or slightly corrupt ones trying to avoid tax - or even really corrupt ones stealing in a big way from multi-national companies or from government departments.

We are talking many 'tens of millions of US Dollars' evidently in each 'Trunk Box' or safety deposit box; the sums range from US$25,000,000 up to US$400,000,000. 

From Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Lagos, Togo, South Africa, the Sahara and all sorts of places in-between, but particularly Nigeria - which is supposed to be absolutely bulging at the seams with US Dollars -  'doctors, pastors, administrators, company directors, widows of politicians, even the sons, friends or colleagues of accidentally killed or murdered businessmen or bureaucrats - and even State Governors - are finding that they now have to get these 'Trunk Box' US Dollars out of each of their countries - urgently - before the alleged contents are discovered and 'paid into consolidated revenue, seized by corrupt governments, claimed by unscrupulous business partners - or they are caught up with for either having had their hands in the till - or taking huge kickbacks from contractors of public works.' The reasons proffered are unusual in that ,whilst different names appear on the correspondence, it appears that many use exactly the same phrases and even words to describe their predicaments.

The power of suggestion - that triggers the emotion of greed - is very cleverly manipulated as this benevolent assortment of discreet 'Trunk Box' holders, or the tragic heirs of the fortunes included within, have singled out worthy individuals from the Internet with whom they considered they can establish a trust and beg for urgent assistance - with the highest level of confidentiality required - to protect their fiscal interest while they remove these huge sum of undeclared money from their nations. Unbelievably isn't it, that so much unclaimed money is lying around!  Yes, unbelievable!

In return for co-operation in providing them with 'full details of a valid and current bank account number and by organising other relevant documentation as a sign of mutual trust', they will give an assurance that the contents - from the ‘Trunk Box’ - that they will be risking against the honesty of the chosen ones, will be transferred to the nominated 'account of convenience' and they will pay out 10% - 30% commission when they eventually arrive to collect their share, in whatever country the lucky recipients - who must hold a valid passport - cares to nominate. Some only want a Company name and address, personal fax number and personal phone number plus an agreement by email of your willingness to assist and then they will send details.

You can tell how caring some of these people are as they quite often call down God's blessing on readers who might help.

The following example was received by e-mail in mid-February and is very similar to the previous scores that have crossed my desk this year - except for names, amounts and some circumstances. 

I now wish I had saved all the emails as they are wonderful in their own imaginative ways. This one is from a self-confessed crooked administrator who is looking for a 'reliable and honest person' to help him and to 'have your own cut'. 


"My name is xxxxx xxxxxxx,, colonel and Former Military administrator of xxx xxxxx, during xxxxxx's regime.
I made a lot of money during my regime in office, through signing of contract to non-existing companies.
This present government has find out that I use government money for my personnel investments and purchase of properties. 

But all those investment and property has be ceased (been seized) by the present civilian government and also my local account has be frozen. I did assign a contract of building a general hospital which never take place and that contract what about $7.5 million U.S dollars, this money is with me. In fact the total money in my secret account in a security company is $32 million U.S dollars and I need a reliable and honest person or person's or even an organisation to help me receive this money in his or her account because I want to run away from the country. The present civilian government want to probe the member of the ruling council, all administrators and past governors during xxxxxxx's regime.
This is a genuine business. It is my problem that I am discussing with you. So if you are interested, than declare it open by you sending me a email. I will give the person or person's or any organisation that is ready to help me receive the fund 30% of the total sum. All document of the secret account, including the certificate of deposit are available and can be given to you for verification and clarifications. My name and my picture was publish in one of the magazine call 'xxxxxxxxx' on the  x xxxxx xxxxx as one of the administrators who loot the government money. You can also use that as part of confirmation. 

I am not a small boy that I should be lie because of money, I have made money.
So try to assist me and also have your own cut. Thanks, as await your reply. Regards xxxxx "

It appears that the Internet is as good a place as any to start appealing for confidential trustworthy participants to enter into this type of "URGENT CONFIDENTIAL FINANCIAL TRANSACTION!" where the respondent eventually provides their own banking details, phone /fax numbers and other confidential information - or is requested to provide 'documentation' as an act of good faith to someone who says he is prepared to try and rort the system - and wants to get out of the country. The old saying 'there is one born every minute' seems very apt.




Our Search Facility Reports show that we get a number of hits on our archives that go unanswered, as we may not have previously covered the subject in a defining article, so we have now included this Q & A section in the newsletter to try and answer some of the unsolicited queries. We also have archives dating back between 1996 - 1998 which are no longer accessible on site. 

If you do make use of our Search facility for general information, check our new Miscellaneous Q & A's section or send a brief email to our e-post box at: pwood@vision.net.au  

This is not an offer to professionally evaluate items or an offer to purchase or become directly involved in commercial dealings. The most interesting or most frequently asked questions will be answered - to the best of our ability - through these monthly columns in a general manner as well as immediately and directly to the questioner. Except for email addresses all personal names and direct contact addresses that may be supplied will be keep anonymous for obvious reasons.


Recent Search Report Queries.

1939 Penny.

Presumably the enquirer was looking for details of the Australian 1939 Bronze Penny.

This date was one of the earliest issued during the reign of King George VI (1938 - 1952) and it was designed by Thomas Humphrey Paget (obv) and George Kruger Gray (rev). The 30.8 mm coin is composed of 97% copper, 2.5% zinc and 0.5% tin and weighs in at 9.45 grams - it is reported that 6,924,000 - give or take a few - were minted in Melbourne, Australia.

The abbreviated legend, on the obverse and surrounding the bare-headed effigy of the monarch, reads: 

GEORGIVS VI D:G:BR:OMN:REX F:D: IND: IMP. - short for GEORGIVS VI DEI: GRATIA: BRITTANIA: OMN: REX: FIDEI DEFENSOR: INDIA: IMPERATOR -  or  broadly translated 'GEORGE the Sixth, by the Grace of God Omnipotent King of Britain, Defender of the Faith, Emperor of India'. The designer's initials HP are located just below the truncated neck of the monarch.

The reverse shows the famous Australian Kangaroo hopping in full flight with the word AUSTRALIA around the rim above the mammal and the year 1939 beneath the tail and the word PENNY centred around the rim at the bottom. The initials of the designer KG are above the tip of the kangaroo's upwards arched tail and the 6 pointed Federation star is situated centrally below its head and the rim. There is no mintmark.

The latest catalogue I have - The Pocket Guide to Australian Coins and Banknotes - Ninth Edition by Greg McDonald - gives the price range for the standard 1939 Penny to be from about A$8.00 in V.F. - A$75.00 in Unc. with very substantial increases for the better qualities within this grade. The 1939 Proof is shown as being valued at approx A$14,000.00

There is only one 1939 Penny variety* (or mint error - depending on definition opinion) currently listed in recent catalogues, and that is one with a die flaw which left a small bar close to the rim and after the last A in AUSTRALIA on the reverse. 

Slight errors usually attract a small premium above catalogue price and the scarcer an error the bigger is the price - usually!  

In this case an average circulated 1939 Penny coin in Fine condition for example, with its relatively common variety, would be about A$3.00 compared to A$2.00 without the flaw. In dollar terms it doesn't seem much, but - think in percentages! 


* Re - Varieties or Mint Errors.

A closer study of pre-decimal coinage in recent years is now turning up some surprising anomalies in the bronze coinage of this era and, more recently with the influx of so many different commemorative 20c, 50c and $1.00 coins being issued, many varieties (or errors) are now apparent in our decimal coinage, so - always inspect all your coins carefully! 

Dedicated variety collectors are still fairly thin on the ground and, although the number is growing rapidly, this is an area of numismatics that had been left behind in 1966 with the advent of decimal currency.  

Numismatic death came relatively quickly to this area of the hobby and Australian variety collectors were left in limbo when the catalogue producers dropped their varieties segments because they perceived a lack of interest. 

Many mainstream collectors had mistakenly considered that the chance to find varieties would all but disappear when the old bronze coinage was withdrawn and melted down. However, the millions of coins that were hoarded as keepsakes or as numismatic fodder are now starting to come to light again and this means, that even though there is a reduced overall source of coins to consider, there are still enough scattered around to make the effort of searching for errors a worthwhile exercise once again. The discovery of a major and previously unknown variety would create huge interest and that would create demand for varieties and, in turn, that demand increases prices. The economic wheels would then start turning again as dealers saw an opportunity to recreate a small - but profitable - niche market and Australian pre-decimal collectors, who thought they had exhausted their interest, realise that there is still another facet to be explored.


Lady Hazel Lavery.

The Unforgettable Face of Ireland.

from an idea by Mr. Terence Browne, Sandycove, Dublin, Ireland.

"How does an American woman who never set foot in Ireland until she was thirty four years of age end up as the currency icon after Irish Independence? With the introduction of the single European Currency we are set to loose Hazel Lavery from her last refuge, the watermark on all the paper currency, with effect from  9th February, 2002.." .........

This was the question and brief comment received from correspondent, Terence Browne, of Sandycove, Dublin, Ireland in early February, and, for those who mourn the passing of individual icons from European currency, the hauntingly beautiful portrait of Lady Hazel Lavery which has featured on Irish banknotes since 1928 will be one of those that will be remembered,  even if briefly, with a passion by older generations of Irishmen and women. Who was Hazel Lavery?

Our correspondent answered that himself in an additional comment in the email - and also in edited extracts from other correspondence (Dec. 1999) that is available from the Internet amongst the many references to the Laverys.

Quote - "Hazel Lavery brokered Ireland's treaty settlement with the British Empire in December, 1921. Four British Prime Ministers were taken by her; so too the Irish independence movement leadership of Michael Collins and Kevin O'Higgins." ........

It was a nice little intrigue that led to Hazel's selection over all the native beauties. Thomas Bodkin, then director of the National Gallery in Dublin was fond of Hazel and grateful to her for seeking to sponsor his candidacy for the office of Irish ambassador to London. Although she was unsuccessful in this effort on Bodkin's behalf, he engineered that the currency design brief would not be squandered on some squabbling committee. Bodkin secured the Irish Government's agreement to appoint John Lavery, the Belfast artist, to paint an image representative of Irish female beauty. Lavery was chosen as a mark of appreciation for his assistance with the Anglo-Irish Treaty negotiations in London between October and early December, 1921.  But it was Hazel who did the diplomatic work not John. With Bodkin's full knowledge and consent, Lavery chose to paint his wife. It was not until the papers hit the streets that the natives got to know who had been selected to represent Irish female beauty; a sixth generation American-Irish" ..... Unquote.     

Quote - "The portrait is of Lady Hazel Lavery (nee Martyn) who was a sixth generation Chicago gal (voted the most beautiful girl in the mid-west c.1902). Hazel married the portrait artist Sir John Lavery and, after a decade of flirtatious living (at least), she changed the course of Irish History. She is rumoured to have had a passionate affair with Michael Collins during the first Anglo-Irish treaty talks in London in 1921. 

Hazel drove Collins to Downing Street on 5th December, 1921 and convinced him at the very last moment to sign for peace instead of all-out war. The document was duly signed on the 6th December and the rest is history. 

Hazel was rewarded with the honour of appearing on our Irish currency where she survived to this day in the form of a watermark.  

If you are ever in Dublin you should visit her at the National Gallery.

I would also highly recommend her biography "Hazel - A Life of Lady Lavery"  by Sinead McCoole, Lilliput Press 1996. ........ Unquote.


 Lavery, a widower since 1891, met Hazel Martyn Trudeau (1887-1935), the daughter of a Chicago industrialist of Irish extraction, on a painting trip to Brittany in 1904. Hazel was thirty years younger than John Lavery (1856 - 1941), she was then engaged to a Canadian, a Doctor Trudeau, who died shortly after their marriage and left her with a small daughter, Alice. 


"Mother and Child" - by Sir John Lavery.

(Lady Hazel Lavery with her daughter, Alice.)


In 1909 she and Lavery married and she became Lavery's most frequent sitter.  

Hazel was a beautiful and fashionable woman who also liked to draw and paint, in fact she was quite talented in her own right and her paintings were used as illustrations in several well known books of the era, including 'A Little Brother of the Rich' by Joseph Medill Patterson, published by The Reilly & Britton Company, Chicago, 1908.

Patterson was an important working member of the famous Medill - Patterson newspaper families of Chicago and he later went on to found the New York Illustrated tabloid 'Daily News'. He was also a highly decorated hero from WWI and a politician as well as serving as editor of the 'Chicago Tribune'. His choice of Hazel as an illustrator for his book indicated her talent.

A sample of one of her paintings used as a frontispiece can be seen at : http://vox.popula.com/vintage/covers/draft1.html

Lavery, obsessed by her beauty, painted her many times in various relaxed casual poses after they married and one painting in particular 'The Red Rose' is regarded as one of his best works - although in fact it had been over-painted three times with various famous sitters. Started in 1892 as a portrait of a Mrs. William Burrell, it was transformed in 1912 into that of Sarah Bernhardt and later, for a brief period, to that of Viscountess Curzon. The final rendition with the face of his wife, Lady Hazel, is the most memorable. Refer: http://www.firepowr.com/lavery.html

However, the most widely known portrait of her is that which adorned the Irish pound note until the 1970s. It was still found in the watermark of all Irish paper currency until the recent introduction of the Euro. 



Banknote scan showing facial portrait only - courtesy of Terence Browne . 

Portrait  of Lady Hazel Lavery entitled "Cathleen Ni Houlihan"  by Sir John Lavery.                                                                


The Irish Free State government invited John Lavery to paint his wife's portrait for the Republic's currency as a token of gratitude for the help he and Hazel, by then Sir John and Lady Lavery, gave to the Irish delegation during the negotiations for the Anglo-Irish Treaty in London in 1921.

Another portrait of Lady Hazel Lavery with her hand to her chin and leaning on an Irish harp was used on the 10, 20, 50 and 100 Irish Pounds issued by the Currency Commission Irish Free State between 1928 - 1937. The lower denominations - 10/-, 1, 5 Pounds - from all the various issuing agencies continued to feature the face only portrayal.

The Currency Commission of Ireland 1938 - 1939 issued the 10 pounds with the full design and again in the 1940 - 1941 issue.

The Central Bank of Ireland also had the full portrait 10 pounds and 20 pounds issued between 1943 - 1944 and another issue with variations in banknote text that overlapped between 1943 - 1945 and covered the complete large denomination range. 

Both portrait designs were continued by the Central Bank of Ireland over the years until on 4th. April 1977 the public saw the last of the 50 and 100 Pounds issued with Lady Hazel as the featured icon. 

Although there is no printers' names on the Lavery notes, those between 1928 - 1959 were produced by Waterlow & Sons Ltd. and those from 1959 - 1976 were from Thomas De La Rue, both located in England.

From February 1976, there was a progressive replacement of the Lady Lavery designs with a more comprehensively 'Irish' series but her portrait remained as a watermark until the national currency was superseded by the single European currency on January 1, 2002.



Standard Catalog of World Paper Money (General Issues) Vols. 2 - 3 - Edited by Colin R. Bruce II & George S. Cuhaj.


Internet Sources.






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Members of the Tasmanian Numismatic Society are still eligible for any literary awards offered under the Society's guidelines.




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