Index For This Month:
TASMANIAN NUMISMATIC SOCIETY INC.
The Secretary,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!
Tasmanian Numismatic Society, Inc.
G.P.O. Box 884J.
Hobart. Tasmania. 7001.
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:
The Editor,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.
Ravenswood. 7250. Tasmania.
Internet Page: http://www.vision.net.au/~pwood/tns.html
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
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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.
THE IMPORTANCE OF MONEY MUSEUMS' CONFERENCES.
1999 ICOMON REMINISCENCES. by Roger McNeice. OAM., FRNS.
This Museum is one of the most important in the world on account of the quality of its collections and spaciousness of its installations. It is located at the head offices of the Fábrica Nacional de Moneda y Timbre and contains an historical library with volumes dating back to the 16th Century.
It had taken a fair bit of organising but John Sharples, the
Senior Curator from the Museum of Victoria, and I had managed to secure
seats on the same plane to Madrid and this gave us an opportunity to catch
up with a lot of local numismatic chatter.
Late on Friday morning, 16th October, after 30 hours of flying and stopovers we eventually arrived and, after settling in at our hotel, John and I decided to stroll to the Royal Spanish Mint to stretch our legs and, perhaps, have a quick look around.
When we arrived, we were greeted by an old acquaintance of mine, Dr Rafael Feria, the Director, who made an excellent personal guide around this impressive, and relatively new, mint museum. He has every reason to be proud of his fine facility.
The official start of the Congress was not due until 6.00 p.m. on Sunday 18 October, so John and I had a chance to look around at our leisure. We were then, spontaneously, invited to a special press conference that had been organised to announce the Conference and the release of products to commemorate the Congress. Suddenly, we found ourselves at 'pride of place' when Rafael announced we were the first delegates to arrive - and had only just flown in from Australia. Our little stroll ended up four hours later when we returned to the hotel - and flaked! We then had about two days to be slightly jet-lagged tourists walking around the safe, beautiful and clean, city of Madrid - and we found the locals were friendly!
After all of the Congress delegates had been made welcome at the formal
occasion on Sunday evening, we attended a special exhibition of the 'Coinage
of the Duchy of Modena'. This was followed by a more informal reception
to allow the guests to get to know one another, make new friends and renew
On Monday morning it was down to work with a tight schedule of discussions, lectures and forums on a wide variety of Museum related matters - and problems. These included:
and Museum culture for the 21st Century - including new technologies.
Preservation of monetary collections - this included quite a range of techniques and the pros and cons of various materials used in conservation and restoration.
The evolution, financing and the protection of valuable collections were another important subjects.
Detecting, and countering, Counterfeiting has become the nightmare of many curators - this was discussed in depth and a follow-up conference was mooted for mid-2000. *(See footnote.)
Finally, to ensure that the usual high level of professionalism was backed up with the newest knowledge in the field, the need to adequately continue to train museum curators was seen as an integral subject that needed to be given the highest priority.
Many old friends such as Richard Doty from the Smithsonian Institute, Graham Dyer of the Royal Mint in London, Dr William Bischoff from New York, Dr Paola Giovetti of the Museo Civico Archeologico Italia, Ikawa Toshihiko of the Japanese Mint Bureau, Christian Logie of Belgium, Albert Scheffers from the Netherlands, Joe Cribb of the British Museum and myself, used to gather at a restaurant to discuss the day's findings and exchange international news and views on numismatics. These 'after-hours' international discussions were enlightening and provided much additional food for thought!
It was not all work, however
We did get a chance to experience the culture and hospitality of Spain when we were taken to an amazing display of flamenco dancing on Tuesday evening, and the following night we were given a wonderfully warm reception by the Lord Mayor.
Thursday was scheduled as a rest day, so some of us decided to travel south to the famous old Moorish capital city of Cordoba by means of the 250 km/h High Speed Train.
distance of 290 kms from Madrid, as the crow flies across the Sierra Morena
mountain ranges, didn't seem to take very long at all and - as Autumn in
Cordoba can be quite fresh - John and I were advised by Rafael to dress
accordingly for the trip.
This architecturally diverse city, which had been first settled by the Romans and then eventually occupied by the Muslims for centuries, is a beautiful place with the ruins of two great civilisations lying together in an atmosphere that I found absolutely fascinating.
The Moorish influence was reflected everywhere with its architecture, shaded 'arabesque' patios and sparkling fountains - and the famous Great Mosque of Cordoba was a tourist 'must see'. It was started in 786 AD by Caliph Abdul Rahman, and it took over a hundred years to complete. It is the biggest mosque outside of Mecca although it is only about 30ft high and had the indignity of having a Christian cathedral built within its pillars during the reign of Charles I of Spain.
I wished we could have stayed longer, but Rafael, John and I still had important ICOMON work to do back in Madrid.
The Congress wound up on Friday 22 October with a presentation of the
new Euro coinage and notes. At each break in the Congress we were presented
with information booklets and samples of many coins and medals including
a special medal struck for Congress delegates - plus a trial print of the
postage stamp issued to commemorate the Congress.
That Friday evening, a Special Dinner was organised by our extremely gracious Spanish hosts, and this was enjoyed by all - even though it was to bid us farewell before we went our separate ways.
Immediately following the Congress, I had arranged to spend a week in Great Britain visiting the British Museum and attending a meeting of the British Numismatic Society. One day, however, I hope get the chance to re-visit the impressive Museo Casa de la Moneda in Madrid - and enjoy much more of beautiful Spain at my leisure.
* Roger acknowledges the fact that without the support of the Tasmanian Museum Director, Patricia Sabine, and the Museum Trustees he would not have had this wonderful opportunity to attend this prestigious international congress and take part in its learning processes. Later this month, he will be attending a special follow-up conference, in the Netherlands, which will discuss the ever-present menace of Counterfeiting at all levels within the numismatic sphere, but particularly at museum acquisition levels.
U.S.A. - 1. (Anchorage, Alaska).
As many of our members are aware, we have maintained a very enjoyable 'Sister Club' relationship with the 'Anchorage Coin Club' of Alaska for the four years we have been on the Internet. The 'ACCENT' newsletter is always amongst the leading American numismatic club newsletters regularly published through this technological media and by hard-copy.
This newsletter also has, on several occasions, taken out the winning prize awarded by the American Numismatic Association for Best Publication and it always contains a great deal of well-researched information from across the numismatic spectrum.
The A.C.C. has a strong membership including many young numismatists and they contribute to the many excellent articles published each month in this highly recommended publication.
As a reminder, and for those new T.N.S. members and our other readers who have Internet access, the address to this always interesting site is: http://www.alaska.net/~nakata/coin_club.htm
U.S.A. - 2.
Those members or readers who have heard of eBay auctions but who are unaware of how they work may like to look in on two of our regular correspondents' sites. Both Jerry Adams from Texas, and Mike Metras from Elgin Coin Club - Illinois, currently have US eBay sites that are of some interest.
AUSTRALIA. - (Tasmania).
This one is a lot closer to home - in fact it is just down the road for some of us!
Klaus -Peter Effenberger has been accumulating international coins for many years during his world travels and now has contacted us and asked if any of our T.N.S. members would like to help him 'dispose' of them.
Coins range over 30 years and are from virtually 'A - Z' countries.
He is prepared to consider offers and can be contacted for full details at his e-mail address: email@example.com
Ignacio from Peru wants contacts who might want to swap with his Peruvian coin spares. His e-mail is: Nacho666@terra.com
I have a large list of worldwide coins, included Roman coins, at very cheap price. If you are interested please contact me at my e-mail address. Thanks in advance and regards, Federico. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
LOTS OF SAND - NOT MUCH GOLD!
by Graeme Petterwood.
(Quote from a tourist, overheard by the author, while panning for gold at Sovereign Hill, Ballarat - 26/10/1990)
'California! California! California! - For San Francisco California
Direct! - To the Goldfields - Sailing Immediately!'
'Terms - £30 - 40 (including wine and spirits) for Cabin passage.
£20 - 30 Intermediate.
£15 - 20 Steerage.
Freight - £6 per Ton.
Horses - £50 (Food and water found, Groom provided.) A fortune to be made by any man. Horses are worth £300 - 400 in California.
Seeds 20/- a case suitable for starting a garden complete.'
So reads the shipping news of the early 1850's in the Australian colonial
The reason for this was, of course, the discovery of gold in the Californian Territory.
Sutter's Mill (Reconstruction) John Sutter Sam Brannan
On 24 January 1848 while checking the water in the sluice of a nearly completed sawmill, carpenter James W. Marshall noticed tiny golden flecks on the bottom of the millrace. It was that most sought after of metals - Gold!
The site of the discovery was about 65kms (40 miles) from Sutters Fort, the headquarters of John A. Sutter (1803 - 1880). Sutter, who had been granted over 20,000 hectares (50,000 acres) on the banks of the American River east of San Francisco by the Mexican governor of California, tried to keep the news quiet to protect his farming and ranching empire from gold-crazy prospectors - but to no avail!
By mid-May the rumour reached a Mormon merchant, Sam Brannan, who was shrewd enough to see the potential fortune from supplying prospectors - and he made sure the word was spread after going to Sutters Mill to see for himself!
Brannan returned with a bottle full of gold-dust and ran through the streets with the cry of,
"Gold! Gold! Gold from the American river!"
Within a few weeks San Francisco virtually had no men left! - The Rush was on!
Tools and supplies from Sam Brannan - of course!
In August 1849 the Californian price of flour increased to $4.00 kg
and potatoes to $1.25 kg - compared to Australia at that time (potatoes
were about 0.2 cents kg) prices were astronomically high! Clothing was
in extremely short supply and, in any case, was soon reduced to rags in
the hard conditions encountered on the goldfields.
This was the time that the young Levi Strauss, from New York, struck it rich by making his famous denim trousers.
Unfortunately, for every entrepreneur who achieved riches through diligence, there came the other type of opportunist who was out to make a fortune from the goldfields by less honourable ways.
In 1848, just before the rush, the population of California was about
20,000 - but by 1852 it had grown to 225,000 and the territory had become
part of the United States of America.
San Francisco had recovered from its initial depopulation and had exploded with new life as the immigrants poured through the main entry port to the goldfields.
Mining camps had sprung up overnight with such colourful names as Hangtown (Placerville), Liar's Flat, Rawhide, Red Dog and Poker Flat. Populations of these camps were usually made up of a grand mixture of Europeans, Asians, South Americans and Australians - but with the miners from Australia also came the dregs of the colonies - the ex-convicts!
These men, lured by the thoughts of easy pickings, teamed up to form some of the most villainous gangs of thugs in the growing city of San Francisco. The worst gang was the 'Sydney Ducks' and it is believed that their vicious treatment of their victims prompted the formation of the Committee of Vigilantes led by the influential merchant, Sam Brannan.
Between 1849 and 1851 there had been over 1,000 murders in San Francisco and the corruption of law-enforcement officers had led to the situation where the 'Ducks' were getting away with many of these murders, as well as arson and blatant robbery, without any repercussions.
On 9 June 1851, and then for a period of 10 weeks, the Vigilantes took the law into their own hands and rounded up many of the worst offenders, tried and hung some and banished many more 'on threat of death' if caught again!
During a 5year period, the Committee went into recess and reformed whenever it felt it was needed. It was finally disbanded in July 1856 when the gold rush moved back into Montana and the eastern states.
It is reported that, in its heyday, 'Frisco had 46 gambling dens, 48 bawdyhouses, 537 saloons as well as 144 restaurants.
Gold was also having its effect at home
Small quantities of the precious metal had been discovered in 1839, ten years before the Californian strike, by the Polish explorer, Paul Strzelecki, near the New South Wales town of Hartley.
Like John A. Sutter, the colonial governor of N.S.W., Sir George Gipps, feared the effect it would have on the settlers and convicts in the area so he had the news suppressed.
In 1841, Hartley was again the scene of another find - this time by an Anglican minister and geologist, William Branwhite Clarke - and, again, the news came to nothing
However, early in 1849 on a property 160km from Melbourne, a boy named Chapman found 1000 grams of the stuff and took it to a jeweller in the city to see if it was worth much. This time there was no chance of a cover-up and the search was on!
In June 1851 near Ready Creek, just 25km southwest of Bathurst, N.S.W., a prospector named Hargraves discovered diamonds while hunting for gold. His search continued and, after another month and 80km further north at Turon River, a 39,564 gram nugget later to be known as the 'Kerr Hundredweight' was discovered.
Edward Hammond Hargraves was later found to have cheated two of his partners to claim the reward bounty and an annual pension - but the discovery heralded the start of the real rush!
Just as in California, the population of
New South Wales and then Victoria was dramatically increased.
During the boom period, of about 10 years, Australia grew with the influx of 740,000 new arrivals from all over the world.
They arrived by all manner of ships, from the new American designed and built clippers down to the uncomfortable, overcrowded hulks out of Liverpool and elsewhere - after paying exorbitant fees for the privilege.
Fees were also being imposed on the non-British miners by the N.S.W. Gold Management Act of 1852, as well as a licence requirement for all miners and traders who worked on the goldfields.
In May 1851, the N.S.W. Governor, Sir Charles Augustus Fitzroy, had declared that all rights to any gold found in the colony belonged to the Crown and that a monthly licence fee of 30 Shillings (30/-) would be introduced. In some cases this resulted in a 60/- impost on foreign miners and was considered unwarranted and resented by the majority on the goldfield!
After confrontations and petitions the N.S.W. government, fearing trouble, reduced the cost to 10/- a month. This was closely followed by the Victorian Governor, Charles Joseph LaTrobe, who brought the fee, for that state, down to 1 pound (20/-)
On 2 May 1854, the appointment of the unpopular Sir Charles Hotham
as Lieutenant Governor of Victoria was gazetted and this caused further
unrest. Hotham was concerned at the loss of revenue caused by the reduction
in the licence fees and, like others before and after, he decided to make
up the shortfall by another method.
He declared that all licence conditions would be adhered to - no exceptions!
Strict and sometimes violent administration was implemented, and this enforcement of the 'pay up or else' attitude united the miners who, by now, felt that they were not getting a fair go from the Victorian government.
The formation of the Gold Miners Association in September 1854 was to give a united voice to air the grievances of many of the men who considered that the miners should have the right to set up a system that was equitable for the conditions of the goldfield being worked. In some areas, gold was alluvial and reasonably easy to mine, but in other places it meant that precious time had to be spent in digging shafts and hard rock drilling had to be undertaken before a return could be expected.
Respect for authority, especially English, was always rather non-existent
amongst the mix of ethnic groups that made up the goldfields population.
To make it worse, the authorities made no effort to compromise in the ever-increasing atmosphere of civil unrest.
In early October 1854, the seething came to the boil at the Eureka Hotel near Ballarat in Victoria.
In the early hours of 6 October 1854 a miner, James Scobie, was brutally kicked to death after becoming involved in an argument in the hotel. It was alleged that the licensee of the hotel, James Bentley, and 3 others were involved.
The defendants pleaded 'Not Guilty' on October 12 and all were acquitted
- much to the anger of the other miners who considered that this was a
case of favouritism by the despised police.
Events then started to escalate as the miners decided to take the law into their own hands!
On October 17, the Eureka Hotel was put to the torch and a riot broke out!
Three miners were apprehended and charged with arson - but, because of the deteriorating situation and pressure from the Ballarat Reform League, a retrial of the Scobie case was held and Bentley and his cronies were convicted of manslaughter on 23 November.
A few days later, however, the men involved in the hotel fire - Fletcher, McIntyre and Westerby - were also brought to trial and convicted.
This enraged the miners who rationalised that the trio only did what the law had failed to do by delivering out a form of justice to a murderer.
A petition was organised and sent to Governor Hotham who, true to form, ignored it and the deputation who presented it.
The stage was now set for the confrontation that many say was the beginning of the end of the English dominance of Australia.
Nov. 28 - Hotham sends military reinforcements to the
goldfields. The miners seize arms and ammunition from a supply wagon.
Nov. 29 - At a mass meeting, at which over 12,000 Ballarat residents attended, many of the miners burnt their licences in protest and swore to uphold their rights. A hastily put together flag was improvised and the 'Southern Cross' flew as a symbol of defiance against authority.
Nov. 30 - The miners were subjected to a rigorous licence check. Trouble erupted, shots were fired when many of the miners could not produce their papers and retaliated to the police harassment ordered by Commissioner Robert Rede. After the Riot Act was declared, the miners began to erect a rude stockade type fortification on Baker's Hill near an area known as the Eureka Lead. They had decided to make a stand!
Dec. 2 - Over 1000 miners had originally gathered at the rough slab stockade to help defend the site. Poorly armed with homemade weapons, many were sent out to try and secure more guns and ammunition as well as provisions. Some never came back when faced with the reality of the situation..
Dec. 3 - Early in the morning, at 3.30 a.m., the remaining 120 or so miners awoke to find they were facing at least 276 fully equipped professional troops and cavalry sent by Governor Hotham. The surprise was complete and the outcome predictable! Within 15 minutes the 'battle' was over - 22 miners died from shot and bayonet plus 5 soldiers perished. The flag was torn down by Trooper John King - the rebellion was crushed!
Dec. 4 - Governor Hotham declared Martial Law in the Ballarat district and ordered the arrest of the Eureka Stockade ringleaders for High Treason - punishable by death.
Dec 8 - Of the 1000 men who had actively supported the rebellion only 13 were captured and brought to trial. The trial was to last for 3 months as each man was required to face the court individually.
The aftermath of the trial was that 12 of the 13 prisoners were acquitted
and no action was taken against the other.
During 1855, the Victorian Government set in motion reforms that enabled the miners to make their own mining laws, and also set about re-structuring the police force in an effort to win back public support.
Later that same year an article appeared in the Melbourne 'Argus' newspaper, dated 26 December, which read:
'Sir Charles Hotham was taken seriously ill on Saturday night with an attack of English Cholera. The symptoms were indicative of some danger ….'
It was ironic that, just prior to Hotham's death on New Years Eve, a newly elected responsible Victorian government was sanctioned by the British Imperial Parliament. The first Cabinet elected contained, as members for the district of Ballarat, Messrs. Peter Lalor and J.B. Humffray - both who were at the Eureka stockade and who had avoided capture.
Lalor was, in
fact, the elected Commander-in-Chief of the miners at the uprising and
had been left for dead after the battle. His wound was so serious that
he lost his left arm.
For many years Lalor held the position as Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Victoria.
An eloquent speaker, Lalor was an obvious choice by the miners who were swayed by his call for volunteers.
He wrote of his feelings at the time:
'I looked around me and saw brave and honest men who had come thousands of miles to labour for independence………. The grievances under which we had long suffered, and the brutal attack of that day flashed across my mind; and, with the burning feeling of an injured man, I mounted the stump and proclaimed - 'Liberty!'
The armed miners gathered around Lalor and took the oath
'We swear by the Southern Cross to stand truly by each other and fight to defend our rights and liberties!'
The Southern Cross flag flown at Eureka stockade was a makeshift banner that was designed by a Canadian miner from Toronto, named 'Captain' Ross, who was fatally wounded during the uprising. In truth - he fought and died for his flag!
The flag was described in the 'Ballarat Times' by Raffello Carboni:
'There is no flag in Europe or the civilised world half so beautiful….. The flag is silk, blue ground, with a large silver cross; no device or arms, but exceedingly chaste and natural.'
It is now believed that the flag was sewn by miners wives from a blue
woollen mohair fabric that was readily available from the local tent-maker,
and white cotton lawn material came from a petticoat - but to the congregation
on that day it didn't matter only that it had become the symbol of their
The torn flag was carefully restored - as best it could be - and it is now in safekeeping in Ballarat Fine Art Gallery for future generations to consider if it is the flag that symbolised the birth of democracy in this country!
No one will ever know how much gold was taken out of the ground around Ballarat during those turbulent years, but the effect was dramatic in the history of Australia - and it has reached forward into our lives a century and a half later.
Men are still seeking gold, making coins, and then locking them away.
What is it that makes this metal so precious in the eyes of man?
Perhaps it is as the tourist said: 'Lot's of sand - not much Gold!'
FROM THE COLUMNS.
Australian Coin Review,
P.O. Box 1410. Dubbo, N.S.W. 2830. Australia.
Ph: (02) 6885 9478 Fax: (02) 6884 4443
SOME PLACES OF INTEREST.
Queensland Numismatic Society Inc. P.O. Box 431, Lutwyche. Q'LD 4030 - Meets the 1st Friday of each month at 7.30 p.m. at the Royal Blind Society of Q'ld, 34 Cleveland St., Stones Corner, Brisbane.
The Australian Numismatic Society - Q'ld Branch. P.O.Box 78, Fortitude Valley, Q'LD 4006 - Meets the 3rd Friday of each month at 7.30 p.m. at the Resource Centre, Newstead House, Newstead, Brisbane.
Newcastle Numismatic Society. P.O.Box 523D, Newcastle West 2302 N.S.W. - Meets 1st Tuesday of each month at 7.30 p.m. Sharp at the TPI House, Cnr. King and Auckland Sts., Newcastle, N.S.W.
The Numismatic Association of Victoria. P.O.Box 615D, GPO Melbourne VIC. 3001. - Meets the 3rd Friday of each month at 8.00 p.m. at the Celtic Club, 320 Queen St., Melbourne.
The Perth Numismatic Society (Inc). P.O. Box 259, Fremantle, W.A. 6160. - Meets the last Wednesday of each month (except Dec.) at 7.30 p.m. on the 4th Level, Australia Place, 15 William St., Perth.
The Numismatic Society of South Australia Inc. P.O.Box 2029, Kent Town, S.A. 5071. - Meets the 3rd Thursday of each month at 7.45 p.m. at the Royal Society Rooms, behind the State Library off Kintore Avenue, Adelaide.