Volume 10 Issue 4 INTERNET EDITION April 2005.
The name 'Tasmanian Numismatist' is used with the permission of the Executive Committee of the 'Tasmanian Numismatic Society' however, any comments published in this privately produced newsletter do not necessarily reflect the views of the 'Tasmanian Numismatic Society', its Executive Committee or its members. Bearing in mind our public disclaimers, the Internet links selected by the authors of this newsletter are usually provided as a complimentary source of reference to the featured article in regard to: (1) Illustrations and, (2) to provide additional important information.
Any notices of concern to 'Tasmanian Numismatic Society' members will be included in the 'Society Snippets' section.
We trust that this issue of the 'Tasmanian Numismatist' (Internet Edition) newsletter will continue to provide interesting reading.
TASMANIAN NUMISMATIC SOCIETY.
Anyone who wishes to apply for membership to the non-profit making organization, and who is prepared to abide by the rules of the Society and its aim of promoting the study and enjoyment of the hobby of numismatics, should directly contact the following postal address for an application form and details of subscriptions:
Tasmanian Numismatic Society.
G. P. O. Box 884J
The 'Tasmanian Numismatist' (Internet Edition) newsletter welcomes all 'Tasmanian Numismatic Society' members and hopes to bring you a broad range of numismatic entertainment, as well as a little education - and answer a few questions along the way. If you like the Internet Edition or have any positive comments about a particular subject we are always glad to hear from you!
We always encourage T.N.S. members to contribute medium-sized numismatically based articles that may be suitable for publishing - so if you think that you may have something that fits this broad ranging category, please don't be hesitant in bringing it to our notice. Whilst we cannot promise publication in all instances we will certainly give it our sincere consideration and, if required, we can smooth off any rough edges and undertake editing on your behalf.
This issue marks the completion of the 9th. year that the 'Tasmanian Numismatist - Internet Edition' (est. April 1996) has been published.
Originally conceived as an experimental, privately produced and funded, off-shoot of the 'Tasmanian Numismatic Society's' official bi-monthly 'Tasmanian Numismatist' printed newsletter (est.July 1995), the Internet Edition has continued to be published on a monthly 'free-to-air' basis to voluntarily promote the Society and the great hobby of numismatics in particular. The name 'Tasmanian Numismatist' is used with the permission of the Executive Committee of the 'Tasmanian Numismatic Society' - however, any comments published in this autonomous newsletter do not necessarily reflect the views of the 'Tasmanian Numismatic Society', its Executive Committee or its members. We look forward to completing our decade of service to the hobby in April 2006.
We have learnt that Mrs.Jill McNeice has been selected to join the National choir that will be representing Australia at the Gallipoli Dawn Service on 25th April 2005, which will be the 90th Anniversary of the famous Landing at Anzac Cove. Congratulations, Jill - it is a great honour!
No doubt the offers to 'carry your bags' will start flowing in shortly! Jill will be accompanied on the trip by her husband T.N.S. President Roger McNeice O.A.M.
The couple plan to combine business with a well-deserved holiday by extending their trip to visit the sights of Egypt, meet some obligations at the British Museum in London, relax in some European cities, including romantic Paris, and, if time permits, they may visit the Somme battlefields and the Heilly Station Cemetery in northern France where Roger's great Uncle, Hector Charles Long D.C.M., is buried.
(The story of Hector Charles Long D.C.M. was told in Roger's book, "Honoured Grave". Refer: http://www.vision.net.au/~pwood/Jan2002.htm )
Tasmanian Numismatic Society - Correspondence & Subscriptions
All official correspondence for the
'Tasmanian Numismatic Society' - including membership applications,
subscriptions and donations etc. - should be in writing and forwarded
directly to the Secretary of the T.N.S. (postal address above)
and not to the 'Tasmanian Numismatist - Internet Edition'
newsletter's postal address which is reserved solely for newsletter
correspondence and literary contributions. The organizational H.Q. of the
Tasmanian Numismatic Society is located in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia.
The home office of the privately produced 'Tasmanian Numismatist - Internet
Edition' newsletter, is located in Launceston, 123 miles away from the
Society's H.Q., and, whilst we can pass on e-mail requests, we have no
system in place to handle the Society's financial arrangements.
E-Mail Correspondence - T.N.S. Members only
In a continuing effort to contain the annual postage costs - and hard-copy newsletter production and copier maintenance etc. - the Executive Committee requests that, if you now have an e-mail address and Internet access, please register the details with the T.N.S. Secretary in writing via the Society's official Post Office address.
This authorised information will then be added to your membership details and will remain private under official guidlines. Unless advised to the contrary and signed written permission is supplied, the e-mail address will only used for delivery of Society correspondence when neccessary. For obvious reasons, those members who have already supplied e-mail address information are requested to advise the Secretary, in writing, if any changes are made to the registered details.
Commercial-sized Swap or Trade Lists Policy
Recently, the Internet Edition was supplied with a very comprehensive list of world coins and banknotes from a regular international (non-member) correspondent - with a request- 'could we please publish the details of the list' - with the view to initiate a sale, trade or swap deal with T.N.S. members or other readers.
We have had to refuse politely because of the long established policy of the 'Tasmanian Numismatist - Internet Edition' to remain relatively non-commercial outside of a few selected 'Tasmanian Numismatic Society' sponsors' periodic advertisements - which are still subject to editorial scrutiny. In our role as newsletter volunteers operating a non-commercial site, we are not geared to handle any other sort of semi- professional business. Normally, in the event of a request such as this, we are quite happy to advise T.N.S. members and other readers that a list of items is available and it can be accessed by direct contact with the vendor (subject to our disclaimers) - and we will even supply a contact address or link if authorised - but, unfortunately, we cannot publish large lists in full.
If we started to ease our guidlines and started publishing individual members or reader's 'doubles' lists etc. in this newsletter we would soon be inundated with similar requests from unregistered and unknown Internet traders.
On occasion, we have been approached by members and other readers requesting substantial amounts of additional in-depth information about individuals mentioned in previous articles in this newsletter. However, whilst we are often as fascinated as they are to know more, we regret that we are unable to spare the time to do any additional research into subjects - and, in some cases, families and friends of the individual - that goes far beyond the scope of the numismatic article.
However, if we do have any extra information to hand that may be of assistance, we will gladly pass it on but, in most instances, we have already quoted the references we have used and recommend for further reading - and, as half the enjoyment is in the search, please do what we have done - enjoy yourself!
INTERNET EDITION by Graeme
Petterwood © 2005
by Graeme Petterwood © 2005
Remember - be astute when you are handed change - not all the wonders of numismatics have been discovered yet - and they don't have to be shiny and new!
This edition again features an assortment of 'trivia' that I think is of interest and I trust it will prove educational and entertaining to you as well.
All or any prices quoted in articles in this newsletter, unless stipulated, are my estimates only and they should not be considered to be an offer to sell or purchase the items mentioned or used as illustrations. Please note that the photoscans of numismatic items are not to size or scale and - wherever possible - are from the editor's own collection.
Due to the threat of computer viruses that were forecast to hit the Internet system on January 1st. 2000, the 'Tasmanian Numismatist - Internet Edition' felt obliged to purge its archives from 1996 and placed them on disc for safe-keeping prior to the arrival of the dreaded 'Millennium Bug'.
Whilst we felt that the decision was a very wise one, the information contained in that 4 years of newsletter issues became inaccessible to readers, except by request. Even though Internet links are directed to the old newsletter pages from various Search Engines they will turn up blank..
In an effort to satisfy those readers and new collectors who have requested that some of the articles be again made available for research, we have decided to update a selection of the most popular stories and re-publish them and get them back into the current system.
This issue will concentrate on the North American continent and will feature colonial coinages of the United States of America and especially Canada.
EARLY COLONIAL COINAGES.
The American Colonies.
Australia wasn’t the only British colony that was caught up in the London Home Office’s years of reluctance to commit a sufficient amount of official coinage to enable colonists to establish a little financial stability in their market places during the early 1800's
The American colonists also suffered from the same lack of English coins as the Australians and also had to make do with tokens and a mixture of coinages obtained from passing trade ships or bought direct from commercial manufacturers.
In a similar effort to clarify the exchange problem they also issued a Table of Coins - however they were obliged to cater for differences within the individual American colonies, who all had independent governments at that time.
(The table of coins shown below is valued In Imperial Pounds (20 Shillings), Shillings (12 Pence) & Pence - Modern Decimal equivalents are $2.00, 10 Cents and approx. 0ne Cent on accepted conversion ratios.)
England Philadelphia New York
0 0 6
0 0 9
0 0 9
0 5 0
0 7 6
0 8 0
0 5 0
0 7 6
0 8 0
1 1 0
1 14 0
1 16 0
0 16 0
1 7 0
1 9 0
0 16 0
1 6 6
1 8 0
1 7 0
2 3 6
2 6 0
1 16 0
2 17 6
3 3 0
3 12 0
5 15 0
6 6 0
3 6 0
5 8 0
5 16 0
0 4 6
0 7 6
0 8 0
* * *
0 1 4
0 1 6
By inflating the values it meant that it was improbable that coins would be ‘exported’ back to their countries of origin where they did not have the same buying power - thus the action achieved the purpose of keeping the coinage in the colonies. This practice of inflating the values of the more useful silver coins, in particular, was termed "crying up", and each of the 13 new American colonies were guilty of "upcrying" their silver coins as the mood struck them.
The coin that bore the brunt during the small change shortage in the Americas was a coin well known to Australian colonists as well, the silver Spanish eight reales (or as it became called by the colonists - the Dollar, after the Dutch ‘daalder’, which itself was a derivative of the German "thaler’).
The Spanish dollars, which were gradually finding their way North from Mexico and Peru through the Bahamas, were usually well worn or underweight from clipping, but they were made from good quality silver, about 420 grains of .9350 fine, and, therefore, very acceptable in places where the demand for silver far exceeded supply. To alleviate the lack of small change the dollar would be cut into 8 pieces, or bits, each bit being 1 real which equalled 12.5 cents - thus 2 bits was equivalent to a quarter dollar.
Prior to1642 the value of the Spanish dollar was 4/6 (54 pence), in June that year the price was ‘upcried’ to 4/8 (56 pence) and three months later, to 5/- (60 pence).
In 1682, just before the minting of silver coins ceased in Massachusetts Bay colony, which had been producing a 72 grain shilling (compared to the British sterling coin of 92.6 grains) since 1652, to try and keep the ‘silver’ coinage in the colony, the Spanish dollar was ‘upcried’ again by over 22 percent and was valued at about 6/- (72 pence). By 1692 it was 6/2 (74 pence) and by 1705 it was 7/- (84 pence).
Other silver coinages were also dragged up in value during this time of ‘upcrying’, even the British sterling coinage - enough to create concern amongst British exporters and merchants who were finding it difficult to sell their wares to colonists who would rather keep their locally over-valued silver.
In response to these concerns, Queen Anne (1665 -1714) issued a royal proclamation that came into law in 1707 when the English Parliament decided to ratify that the Spanish dollar would be valued at 6/- (72 pence) in the colonies, and that any other silver coins could not be traded at any more than 33 percent above the English Sterling rates for the equivalent coin.
The Americans conscientiously ignored the proclamation in most colonies, except Virginia, until after the Revolutionary War - although rates stabilised to some extent in 1759 with the Table of Coins.
From the start of American colonisation, enterprising people were importing copper and silver tokens and making unofficial coinage to try to offset the official reluctance to issue coin of the realm.
The first coins were minted by John Hull of Massachusetts Bay Colony after authority was given in 1652 by the General Court of Massachusetts.
Hull produced Shillings, Sixpences and Threepences from West Indies bullion with punches made by Joseph Jenks at his Saugus Iron Works. The original issues of coins were very simply stamped NE (for New England) on one side, and Roman numerals denoting value on the reverse, but eventually more elaborate designs, including the Willow, Oak and Pine trees series, were implemented to deter counterfeiters, and a two-penny coin was added to the range. All coins between 1652 -1682, when the coinage was abandoned, are dated 1652 although we know from the records that the Willow was issued between 1653 -1660, the Oak between 1660 -1667 and the Pine between 1667 -1682.
In 1659, Cecil Calvert, the second Lord Baltimore, inherited most of the colony of Maryland from his father and he ordered a very small amount of coinage from England, bearing his likeness and calling him ‘Lord of Mary’s Land’ (in Latin).
Lord Baltimore issued a Denarium (Penny), a Groat (Fourpence), Sixpence and a Shilling all showing his family coat-of-arms and values in Roman numerals on the reverses - however by 1770 most of his coins had disappeared from circulation and only a few patched up or holed examples are found today outside of museums.
There were many more issuers, both private entrepreneurs and officially sanctioned businessmen who made coinage for a price for the different colonies.
Mark Newby, from Dublin, brought ‘St. Patrick’ copper farthings and half-pennies with him when he arrived in America. In May 1682 these coins were officially accepted as legal tender by the General Assembly of New Jersey. (A small decorative brass insert above the large crown featured on the obverse could, in theory, classify these as early bi-metallics.)
A Royal Patent authorising a tin token ‘farthing’ to be produced under franchise, was granted in 1688 to Richard Holt and was the first issued for the British colonies in America.
Known as ‘American Plantation Tokens’ these nearly pure tin tokens were issued as 1/24th. Part Real - based on the Spanish 8 Real or Dollar coin.
Another patent to make tokens for Ireland and the American colonies was obtained, from King George I, by Englishman William Wood, who issued half-pennies, pennies and twopences bearing an American rose on the reverse and the monarch’s head as the obverse.
The first twopence issue was undated but subsequent issues in other denominations were from 1722 -1724 and a final issue released in 1733, three years after Wood had died.
The tokens made from 75 percent copper, 24.7 percent zinc and 0.3 percent silver were not popular and were rejected by the colonists.
Many of Wood’s Irish farthings and half-pennies, dated 1722 - 1724, proved just as unpopular in the Emerald Isle and these ended up in America as well.
The list goes on and on, as each of the colonies endeavoured to address the coin shortages as best they could, by authorising tokens and ‘coins’ to be made locally, buying coinage and tokens from the manufacturers in London and elsewhere, and even utilising tradesmen’s tokens as legal tender.
The 13 original colonies of Virginia, Carolina, New York(e), New Jersey, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, Kentucky, Maryland, Vermont and Pennsylvania were all active in their efforts to overcome the problem, but it would eventually be solved only years after they had became one nation.
Some of the early efforts were beautifully designed and produced - but other’s could only be described as ‘blacksmith’ issues.
The Americans had to put up with this polyglot of coinage until 1787, when the first few decimal cents and half-cents, stating defined values, were manufactured in Massachusetts, and then, the famous Fugio Cents were authorised by Congress on Saturday, April 21st. 1787 and were coined, in New Haven, Connecticut, from copper bands that had once held French-supplied gunpowder kegs together during the Revolution.
Eventually the first United States Mint issues were produced by Robert Birch in 1792.
The ever faithful Spanish dollar and its ‘bits’ continued to circulate, with official sanction, until 1857 and currently a dollar in Fine to Very Fine condition is valued at approximately A$195.00
The Colonial Issues of the Canadian Provinces.
The similarity in experiences with our coinage (or perhaps - lack of coinage might be more correct) has given former British colonies, Australia, America and Canada, a numismatic link that binds us all together. This next section has a strong Canadian connection.
The Canadian settlements, with their rich French heritage as well as the British influences from the American colonies, were ‘doubly blessed’ with their mixtures of unofficial coins and tokens that circulated in lieu of the coins of the ruling monarchs, either French or English, during their first 150 years.
By necessity, the following article has had to be severely condensed, and it was only with the invaluable assistance of Dominic Labbé of the ‘Association des Numismates Francophones du Canada’, that I think that I have covered the general scope that indicates that Australian, American and Canadian early colonial small change coinages had a lot of problems in common, but that ingenuity and perseverance always pays off!
O Canada! Our home and native land! True patriot love in all thy sons command. With glowing hearts we see thee rise, The True North strong and free!
From far and wide, O Canada, we stand on guard for thee. God keep our land glorious and free! O Canada, we stand on guard for thee. O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
- Official Lyrics of 'O Canada!'
The words of the Canadian National Anthem were only officially adopted on 1st. July 1980 from an amended 1908 version after many fine unofficial national songs were written by enthusiastic and patriotic Canadians as far back as 1880.
" It was first sung on June 24, 1880. The music was composed by Calixa Lavallée, a well-known composer; French lyrics to accompany the music were written by Sir Adolphe-Basile Routhier. The song gained steadily in popularity. Many English versions have appeared over the years. The version on which the official English lyrics are based was written in 1908 by Mr. Justice Robert Stanley Weir. The official English version includes changes recommended in 1968 by a Special Joint Committee of the Senate and House of Commons. The French lyrics remain unaltered. "
Well before Canada even had a proud national song, the strength of its dual French and English cultures was highlighted in the innovative concept of its currency - and coinage - that basically started with a pack of cards, and, which has developed into the impressive array we have seen over the years.
Newfoundland and Nova Scotia (Acadia), and the rich fishing grounds off the coast, had been ‘discovered’ in 1497 by Englishman John Cabot (1425 -1500), who believed that they may have been part of Asia, and the first English settlement of St. John’s dates from about 1500.
In 1534 a French explorer, Jacques Cartier, had raised the French flag and had taken possession of Canada for his king, but settlers were loathe to leave the mother country and eventually English authority was firmly established in 1583 by the navigator, Sir Humphrey Gilbert,(1538 -1583) who had been knighted, by Queen Elizabeth I, for service in Ireland.
Gilbert, aged 45, was tragically drowned the same year - but he is recorded in history books as the discoverer of Newfoundland - even though the settlement of St. John’s had been established 80 odd years before.
Several French settlements had also arisen along the southern coast of Newfoundland after 1600, at or near Placentia -but these were eventually handed over to the English in 1710.
Nova Scotia was originally colonised in 1604 by a Frenchman, Sieur de Monts, who had called the land Acadia, but after changing hands several times over the next hundred years, it was finally relinquished to the British in 1713.
Many of the early French settlements were originally set up in an effort to populate Canada, in a hurry, when it was seen that the English were gradually infiltrating from the northern colonies of the Americas.
Short term prisoners, in France, were offered free pardons to take their liberty in Canada, penniless nobles and their families were offered lands on which to try and rebuild their lives - and of course there were the free settlers from all walks of life looking to Canada as a place to make their fortunes away from the turmoil of Europe.
At first the influx was male dominated but, in a plan to balance this unevenness and create a stable population, King Louis had orphan girls and other destitute female ‘wards of the state’ (known as ‘Les filles du Roy’) gathered up and offered free passage to the colonies as potential marriage partners, or servants for the settlers. A similar scheme had existed for Australia, in the early colonial days, with English women of all ages, taking up the offer to start a new life - and the process also worked well for France, with ship-loads of women being sent to the Canadian provinces.
French coinage first appeared in 1670, after an edict, dated 9th. February 1670, was authorised by Louis XIV (1638 -1715) to provide for the settlements in New France (the St. Lawrence River area now known as Quebec), Arcadia, Newfoundland and the far-away French West Indies.
Provision had been made to melt down old copper coins at the Nantes mint to make 2 Denier coins, but for some unknown reason this was not done and the only coins produced at that time were 200,000 silver 5 Sols, and 40,000 silver15 Sols.
The Sols, however, were not a popular coin with the New France colonists and the value was raised by 33.3 percent in 1672 in an attempt to keep them in local circulation, but to no avail.
By 1680, like many other silver coinages elsewhere in the world, the Sols virtually disappeared with the trading ships that called each Spring, and by 1685, the coin shortage had became acute enough for the Intendant, Jacques de Meulles, to try and redress the situation as best he could.
Without minting facilities for coinage or a printing press with suitable paper for currency, the sturdiest and most satisfactorily paper he was able to use, to implement a range of hand-written paper money Sols to pay his troops, turned out to be - playing cards!
By authorising the use of full cards for 4 Livres (4 English Pounds), then a half card for half that amount, and a quarter card for 15 Sols (or about 15/- shillings), de Meulles had intended to give the troops temporary wage relief - this successful measure, in a gradually more sophisticated form, was extended by subsequent governors and indendants for nearly 75 years, until about 1760, and covered at least 22 issues of the ‘temporary’ script.
Each new issue was intended to replace the previous issue - so, with the severest of penalties for with-holding any of the old card money, none of the original examples of this peculiar currency are available today and, all of the few remaining later issues, are protected by the Heritage and Culture Act and must remain in Canada.
However, in the meantime, Louis XV (1710 -74) had not been altogether idle in regard to the coinage problems being experienced by his colonial offspring in New France.
In December 1716, King Louis XV had authorised, by edict , the minting of several copper coins - but owing to technical problems with the quality of the copper (it was too brassy) the first and second attempts, in 1716 and then in 1720, to issue a range of 6 and 12 Deniers was virtually abandoned, with only a few extremely rare to unique samples seeing the light of day.
By 1721 the technical problems with the copper had been overcome (by importing copper blanks from Sweden) and a series of 9 Deniers was issued which continued into 1722.
Approximately 534,000 pieces were made and sent to New France from La Rochelle mint, but - believe it or not - the colonists didn’t like this copper coinage either, and only 8,180 pieces were eventually put into circulation, the balance was returned to France.
Over the years until 1760, many types of French coins made their way to Canada including large shipments of billon (a low-grade mixture of silver and copper) as well as good copper, silver and gold.
These billon coins were quite often made for France itself and then usually countermarked, in some way, for use in the colonies - these included a 15 Deniers, issued between 1692 -1707 and a Mousquetaire of 30 Deniers between 1709 -13.
Silver ecus of various denominations were available from 1720 -24 as well as a 3 Livre coin known as ‘le petit Louis d’argent’ and a pure silver Livre, between 1720 -23 a Louis d’or (gold) and its Half were also issued.
Another common French coin, minted in many places, known as a Sol Marque with a value of 23 Deniers, and its Half, was also issued during 1738 and became available in New France for a period of about 22 years until Canada finally came under British control.
The old ‘playing card’ money, some of which was still in circulation, was supposed to be replaced by redeemable ‘ordonnances’ or Treasury notes in 1758 - but - the British Government chose not to redeem the playing card money, and the French ‘ordonnances’, after the Treaty of Paris was signed in 1764.
Understandably, this left the French settlers with a sense of distrust about paper money - and the British colonial administration - that would last for years.
In 1758, the French colony of Isle St-Jean was acquired by the British military and was then governed from Nova Scotia until 1770, when it was granted the status of a British colony in it’s own right.
Isle de St-Jean, like many of the former French possessions, was re-named by the British in 1794 - in this case, Prince Edward Island, in honour of King George III’s second son, Prince Edward, who was Duke of Kent at that time.
(Edward’s daughter, Victoria, was eventually destined to inherit the throne of England after her uncles, King George IV died in 1830 and then King William IV in 1837.)
Coincidentally, by 1813, like his fellow colonial governor Lachlan Macquarie in Australia, a severe shortage of suitable English coinage had caused the newly arrived Governor Smith of Prince Edward Island to turn his hand to money-maker - and what did he chose to do?
He mutilated 1,000 Spanish dollars by punching out a centre disc to create two coins!
Unlike the Australian Holey dollars and dumps (dated 1813) which had a value placed on them by Governor Macquarie of 5/- and 1/3 (15 pence), those of Prince Edward Island were valued at 5/- and 1/- (12 pence).
Also unlike the Australian versions, which had their values clearly stamped on them, the local holey dollars were left - as mutilated, except for a small circle, resembling the rays of the sun, made from 10 triangular punch marks placed, strategically, on the Spanish monarch’s forehead on the ring section, and on the throat of the king on the plug.
It says something for the Canadian colonist’s ingenuity, or perhaps governmental naivity, when more of the dollars, than were made and issued, continued to appear in the colony.
By 1814 the whole lot had to be recalled - but the local merchants decided that, as the extra coins had been made from good original silver Spanish dollars, they might as well accept them and continued to trade with them for some time as a ‘token’ coins!
Many contemporary forgeries of these coins are known and care should be taken if any of these pieces of Canadian history comes your way! They are usually made, exactly like those of old Prince Edward Island fame - from genuine Spanish 8 Reals.
In 1812 the British had troubles on their hands, that stemmed from the infiltration of Americans into the western areas of Canada, and which flared into an actual war between 1812 -14. During this period the British used ‘Army Bills’ to finance their little war and, after successfully defending the Canadian territories, they restored some faith in paper notes by completely redeeming the bills.
This positive action is also seen as probably paving the way for the eventual establishment of the Canadian banking system at a later date.
Also during this time, the influx of imported token half-pennies and pennies was increasing to the point that, in 1817, a law was passed, firstly in Nova Scotia, to prohibit the importation of any more of these copper pieces and ordering the circulating ones to be withdrawn within a three year period.
Lightweight Antedated 1814 Half-Penny Britannia-Eagle Copper Token (Breton Cat.# 994)
For a period in1823, the Nova Scotian government held back the token tide in their area by successfully authorising and issuing a series of semi-regal tokens of their own, which without sanction from the British government, were made secretly by a private mint in England and featured the monarch George IV and the words ‘Province of Nova Scotia’ on the obverse, and a Scotch thistle, value and date on the reverse.
The two Canadas were slower in acting - however, in 1825, a law prohibiting the importation of new private issues was passed - but with no deadline on the withdrawal of circulating issues, the law was virtually rendered ineffective, particularly in Lower Canada , which was suffering from a deluge of trashy copper tokens.
Also a ‘loophole’ in the wording of the law allowed new tokens bearing the old date ‘1825’ to appear on the scene right up to 1838.
Most of the first issues of these ‘1825’ tokens were well made and acceptable, but gradually poorer quality pieces, many made from laiton, a yellowish metal cheaper than copper and up to 5 grams lighter in weight than the normal article, started to appear in larger volumes and action was needed to control the profiteers.
One way of trying to beat the problem, had been to authorise the Bank of Montreal (still operating), between 1835 -1836, to issue 72,000 half-penny tokens each year.
The ‘Trade & Agriculture’ tokens, which were made in Birmingham, were incorrectly marked ‘Sous’ (the French plural instead of ‘Sou’ the singular) - but they were accepted without alteration.
In 1838, the Banque du Peuple (now defunct) issued its first controversial sou token, which has now become known as the ‘Rebellion Sou’.
The issue of 12,000 pieces, dated 1837, was prepared from dies engraved by Jean Marie Arnault of Montreal, who had been persuaded to include a small star and a Liberty cap on the reverse, as an act of defiance, by an accountant who had espoused an unsuccessful French uprising, known as the ‘Revolt of the Patriots’ during that year.
Also during this time, a Montreal change-broker, Denis Chapin was responsible for the importation and manufacture of many thousands of cheap imitation pieces and we shall discuss his involvement, with Jean Marie Arnault in particular, in a later article.
A new issue of 84,000 was immediately ordered from Belleville, New Jersey, to replace the offending ‘Rebellion Sou’ which also had considerable variances in size and weight.
Both the Birmingham and Belleville Mints produced many variations in their designs over the few years they provided their tokens, however, while the quality and weight was barely acceptable, they were soon swamped with another deluge of counterfeit copies.
During the following years from 1838 until confederation in 1867, the actions taken by the banks, who persisted with their issues of better quality pence and half-pence, started to bear fruit as the number of poor quality or counterfeit pieces gradually diminished and disappeared from circulation.
Many of these quality tokens were made by well known English manufacturers like Boulton & Watt and Ralph Heaton & Sons, and prepared from quality dies with correct metal specifications adhered to.
After a 1839 report from Lord Durham pointed out the causes of two civil uprising in 1837, caused by discontented colonists - both French and English, could be put down to the fragmented governments of the two Canadas, it became obvious to those in power that, to retain the colonies, some action would need to be implemented.
It appeared that a few dominant officials in these ‘local’ governments were not even caring for the colonists under their jurisdiction, particularly if they were of a different creed or background, and, in many cases, the were controlling them by tyrannical means.
Without going into the cultural and religious diversity that was arising in the two different areas of Canada - the area along the St. Lawrence River and surrounds, re-named Quebec, was known as Lower Canada after the Constitutional Act of 1791, and the areas to its west became known as Upper Canada - it became politically imperative to unite Canada to save it from utter disintegration.
Lord Durham’s suggestions for ‘responsible’ government were heeded, and a system of divided sovereignty was put into place during the period 1848 -1855, with the executives holding office at the discretion of the colonial representative assemblies.
In 1841 the two Canadas united to form the Province of Canada - a huge colony with a plethora of different coins and tokens that also had to be sorted out by the authorities.
With the realisation that unification of the major part of the country had now happened, the banks of Lower Canada - the Bank of Montreal, the Quebec Bank (now known as the Royal Bank), the City Bank and the Banque du Peuple (both now defunct) - which had started their own process of united participation by issuing Boulton & Watt one and two sou pieces in the Spring of 1838 - known as ‘habitants’ because of the reverse image showing a typical Canadian - also now combined again and started to issue half-pence and pence.
It is interesting to note that many of the big issues of ‘habitant’ coins, dated 1837, were successfully crushed into bullion blocks, in preference to melting, when they were eventually withdrawn from circulation.
The Bank of Montreal was the first to be given authority to issue 480,000 half-pennies and 240,000 pennies in 1842 and another release of 1,440,000 half-pennies in 1844.
By 1850 a strong push for a distinctive Canadian coinage was underway, led by Sir Francis Hincks who was Inspector-General at that time, but it was disallowed by the British Government until a compromise was reached in 1851 when the decision to allow a system of decimalisation based on a Canadian Pound was implemented.
By 1853 - after continued persistence by Sir Francis Hincks - an Act was in place, which established a type of ‘dual’ currency with the officially used standard Pounds, Shillings and Pence alongside an officially condoned Dollars, Cents and Mils, and, whilst no actual coinage was struck, it paved the way to the eventual use of a completely decimal system of dollars and cents to come into force in 1857 when the minting of coinage was authorised and the first large cents dated 1858, and bearing the likeness of a young Queen Victoria, were designed by Leonard C. Wyon at the Royal Mint for the Province of Canada.
The new coins were exactly of 1 inch diameter and 100 of them weighed 1 pound - but all this meant nothing to the public who didn’t particularly like them at first, because of their light weight, and the coins had to be discounted by a fifth to get them accepted into circulation.
The government even bought up a large quantity of 1857 tokens issued by The Upper Canada Bank to clear the way for the official issue. After being kept in storage in Montreal for a number of years these excesses were taken to Toronto in 1873 and melted down as copper bullion.
Initially the new Canadian Dollar was valued as the American dollar at that time - about $4 .866 to the Pound sterling.
The other provinces of New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Is., had followed the events of the decimalisation process a little more slowly and applied them in a more diverse fashion.
New Brunswick’s decimal currency was based on the American gold dollar and commenced in 1861, Newfoundland based its coinage on the good old Spanish dollar in 1865, and in 1859 Nova Scotia sets its rates based on $5.00 to the Pound Sterling - but didn’t issue its cents and half-cents until 1861, while Prince Edward Is.(which did not join the Confederation until 1873), didn’t do anything until 1871 when it opted for the gold American dollar decimal system and issued an attractive 1 cent coin that had been produced at Heaton’s Mint in Birmingham..
Between 1867 - 1873 the separate provinces of Canada (except Newfoundland which held off until 1949), had united to form one of the greatest new countries of the Northern Hemisphere and its coinage followed suit from 1870 when the provinces ceased to issue their own coins.
Another problem that had caused concern amongst the hierarchy, was the huge amounts of American silver coins that had been brought into the provinces and which were circulating at face value, until rising bullion prices in the late 1840’s caused a decline in their numbers.
However, by 1853 the problem had returned, when an alloyed silver American coinage was introduced and again great quantities headed north into the Canadian provinces - this glut, in America silver and silver alloy coins, that was ‘dumped’ into coin- starved Canada became known as the ‘U.S. silver nuisance’ .
In 1869 an effort to remove these coins was made, and about $1 million were gathered and exported - and it apparently hardly dented the economy!
It eventually took a great effort by Montreal exporter William Weir, who was appointed by the government in 1871, to find and remove another $3 million.
CANADIAN BLACKSMITH TOKENS
In conjunction with Dominic Labbé (ANFC # 193).
Like the tale of an early Australian token-maker, Mr.
Erichsen of the die-makers, Hogarth, Erichsen & Co., who, reputedly, made an
occasional poor quality silver threepence when he felt in need of 'refreshment',
an old Montreal story tells us that an alcoholic blacksmith began to make his
own money in 1820 or so, to pay for the expense of quenching his thirst.
What he produced were copies of the used British and Irish regal copper coinage in circulation in Montreal at that time and so, the story goes, the blacksmith tokens were born. The blacksmith in question was probably not an alcoholic but a counterfeiter with a good idea to make cheap money. In actual fact, it is known that several sources were probably responsible and the tokens would have been produced over a period of years.
Back in the 1830's, most of the base coinage available to Canadians was in very bad shape.
Legal copper coins were well worn, and many tokens (English, Irish or Canadian) had been introduced into circulation - and most of these copper tokens were too light or even made from a cheaper brass alloy.
We have to
remember that in those days money was worth its actual weight - unlike today
where money is worth what the government says it's worth - so an easy way to
make money was to make lightweight tokens.
If you took a Pound of copper to make 2 Pounds value of halfpenny tokens, you doubled your money minus the minting costs. As some tokens weighed only one-third of the official standard and were made in brass, the cheaper alloy, you can imagine all the money that could be made by coiners. Some reports even state that anything about the size of a half-penny would go into circulation - and this included military clothes buttons! (Refer illustration - Montreal Militia button used as coin)
The first series of tokens are British coin imitations that can be divided into two groups.
The first and most popular type is the Britannia halfpenny replicas. (Example: H. Wood Cat. # 11)
Looking like English copper coins, many have a special detail that distinguishes them from originals. Their design is inverted!
The coiner was fooled by the mirror effect and he engraved the die just like he saw the coin - so, when it was used to strike the blanks, the designs were inverted. (Refer illustration -Britannia facing the wrong way)
show no lettering, few obvious details and overall they have a bad look, as not
much relief is present on them and they look like very worn coins. (Example:
H. Wood Cat.# 1 - 4 reverse variations)
Some details are also absent on certain tokens - like Britannia's head, part of her arm or her shield.
The other type is the Irish harp imitation. Those tokens show the traditional harp but with less details than on the legal ones. Again, no legends are shown. Both groups exist in copper and brass, the latter being the crudest.
second series of tokens is the North American imitations.
These rarer blacksmith tokens are copies of different standard Canadians tokens. There are some imitations of the Ships, Colonies and Commerce series, the Royal Bust, Irish Harps and the Tiffin tokens.
Collectors should be careful in this case and be able to distinguish between a worn and relatively worthless genuine token and a blacksmith's imitation.
Another recognised group are the uniface tokens.
Like their names imply, these tokens have only one side struck, and generally portray a man's head. Those tokens are generally very rare or unique and not available to basic collectors.
Finally, the last group is made up of tokens with original designs.
There are the Anchor & Union Jack token, Peck's tokens and the Riseing Sun Tavern. (Spellings are correct - as shown on tokens. The Riseing Sun Tavern was believed to have been located in Toronto.) It is stated that, to avoid the strict laws on counterfeiting, obvious 'mistakes' or garbled inscriptions were made on the blacksmith tokens, particularly those made across the border in the U.S.
These tokens were often referred to as 'bungtown' tokens and, in some instances, it is known that imitations of these replicas were also made - an ironic twist to this unusual chapter in Canadian token history.
The GLORIUS BITIT (instead of BRITT.) is the commonest blacksmith token and the beginner in blacksmith token collecting should easily be able to get a copy of the 'Glorius Bitit' without breaking his purse. Some say that this token was made in Vermont, U.S. where many secret mints were located in the 1800's. However, it is listed as being of Canadian origin since a lot of these tokens were found in a Canadian hoard.
But the most
famous blacksmith tokens are the VEXATOR CANADIENSIS. (Breton Cat.# 558)
These are mainly satirical and were designed to protest against some of British rulers.
The legend could have been translated to 'The Tormentor of Canada', but lack of quality in the strike makes it look like 'Ventor', which means trapper. It may have been a deliberate error, perpetrated as a kind of legal protection, in case the government should discover the token makers.
Even if they are dated 1810 and 1811, those tokens are antedated because a law, enabled in 1825, forbade the manufacture and further supply of private tokens. For some authors, these VEXATOR tokens are not included in the blacksmith's category but form a separate group.
Blacksmith tokens are not graded like other coins or tokens as, generally,
only three basic grades are used that are far easier to use than the Sheldon
numerical scale. The rule of thumb is that a Fine token is an average one, the
Very fine is a bit better and the Very Good is usually a bit worse! The best
rule is to look at the coin, evaluate it for yourself and, if you like it - buy
Charlton's 'Standard Catalogue of Canadian Colonial Tokens' and 'Coins of Canada' are also good sources of information.
The price of these tokens varies considerably, with most common tokens selling for 15 - 40 dollars, other can be bought for between 100 - 400 dollars and you need to negotiate for rarities. Always be very careful when buying expensive pieces and try to be sure that are really what they should be. Many attribution errors are seen in that field.
Some great Canadian numismatists were blacksmith collectors like R.W. McLachlan, Eugene Courteau and Howland Wood. In 1910, Howland Wood published a monograph on the topic of 'blacksmith tokens', and this work is still being used as the standard reference.
Illustrations in this segment supplied by Dominic Labbé. (Association Numismates de Francophones Canada)
Coins of Canada. (16th. Edition.) - by J.A. Haxby and R.C. Willey. by The UnitradePress1998.
Striking Impressions. (2nd. Edition.) - by James A. Haxby. 1986.
Popular Illustrated Guide to Canadian Coins, Medals, etc. by Pierre Napoleon Breton. 1894.
The Canadian Blacksmith Coppers by Howland Wood. 1910.
A FEW SIGNIFICANT CANADIAN BANKNOTES
and a bit of other stuff of little value - that is invaluable.
One of the many things that the late Jerry Remick III did, some years ago, was to send me a few Canadian banknotes and coins along with a few of his famous Christmas Greeting medallions and his special 'Wooden Nickels'. Whilst I already had an interest in numismatic things from Canada, I appreciated these small gifts as well as his thoughtfulness and, particularly, I valued his encouragement to continue with the development of the 'Tasmanian Numismatist - Internet Edition' in 1996.
Jerry would regularly pound out reviews and articles on his old portable typewriter - he wasn't into the latest electronic technology so he told me - and with an accompanying letter (complete with many 'white-outs') he would commiserate with me on my state of health, while down-playing his own fraility, until we eventually reached an understanding. Jerry passed away in his apartment in Ste-Foy, Quebec, Canada on March 2nd. 2005 and almost immediately tributes to his life started to flow around the numismatic fraternity of the world. Thank you, Jerry, for the wonderful gift of your friendship over the years. "La Force soit avec tu"
I have decided to review some of Jerry's more simple numismatic gifts one more time, along with a few other significant notes of a paper money era that has now also started to fade into history with the growth of the polymer note usage around the world. In memory of Jerry.
All items used as illistrations in this article are from the author's collection, and are not to scale.
The late Jerry Remick's generic reverse medallion with examples of 1999, 2000 and 2001 Christmas gift medallions
Two typical wafer-thin original style Wooden Nickel greeting cards dated 2000 from the late Jerry Remick.
In 1870, the Canadian Government decided to issue a 25 Cent Dominion of Canada note - often knicknamed a 'shinplaster' - in an effort to halt the flow of U.S. silver coinage that was circulating in the country. The U.S. Dollar was only valued at 80 cents Canadian at the time but the silver coins were being accepted at par due to a shortage of Canadian silver coinage - however the banks were discounting the U.S. coinage at the rate of 20% when it was eventually passed in. Those who bore the brunt of the discount were not pleased and pressure was applied to politicians for remedies to be taken (as mentioned in the previous article). The only answer was for Canada to set in motion a scheme to mint more coins but, in the meantime, an interim measure was required - thus the printing of the first batch of the 25 Cent notes.
This issue was only intended to be a temporary measure but the notes proved to be most popular with the public and two further issues were made in 1900 and in 1923. The latter issue was produced in two varieties. The first, as shown below, shows wording "AUTHORIZED BY R.S.C. CAP. 31" and a red check letter before the number. The letters that may be encountered are A, B, C, E, H, J, K, L or M.
A later printing had the check number in black to the bottom left of the denomination number 25 and does not bear the authorization. Those notes with signatory G.W. HYNMAN as Controller of Currency attract a 25 - 50% premium against others in this issue.
1923 Dominion of Canada 25 Cents issued in Ottawa under the Seal of the Dept. of Finance and with the Authorization wording.
The Central Bank Act of 1934, saw the creation of the Bank of Canada which was to be responsible for all further issues of Canadian paper money amongst other matters fiscal. The old Dominion of Canada notes started to be replaced in 1935, even though some chartered banks continued to issue their own notes for another six or seven years. By January 1st. 1950, the Bank of Canada had assumed responsibility for redeeming any outstanding chartered bank notes.
The first emissions of Bank of Canada notes, covering 9 denominations - C$1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1000 were actually issued as English and French text notes - thus making 18 different notes. The obverses of the notes from C$1 - 100 featured members of the Royal Family of the time and the C$500 had Sir John A Macdonald (the first Prime Minister of the Dominion in 1867) whilst the C$1000 featured Sir Wilfrid Laurier (Prime Minister 1896 - 1911). The reverses all were peopled with allegorical figures or scenes. A special purely commemorative C$25 was issued that year to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the accession of the ruling monarch George V but these were never considered to be part of the normal 1935 circulation issues.
When King George VI was crowned in 1937, and the new issue was being planned, it was decided to produce a bi-lingual text instead of two separate denomination sets. Only one set ranging from C$1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 was released in 1937 and the C$500 was dropped from the denomiation range - although a C$1000 was also authorised, it was held-over and not issued until the early 1950's The other major change was the use of a new fractional prefix numbering system. In this issue the bottom letter signified the denomination i.e. A=1, B=2, C=5, D=10 etc. while the top letter indicated the series number. The King's portrait was on all notes from C$1 - 50 and the two remaining high value notes retained the portraits of the former Canadian Prime Ministers. The reverses were similar to the 1935 notes except some of the allegorical figures had been changed around from one denomination to another.
The bi-lingual notes of King George VI (dated 1937) featuring a centred portrait and various allegorical reverses.
The first Canadian notes of Queen Elizabeth II were issued in 1954 and the most obvious alteration from previous practice was the re-positioning of the portrait from centre to right side to save wear as the note was folded. The reverses also now depicted Canadian natural scenes instead of the traditional figures previously used. Due to the eventuall problem of using up all available prefixes - and also due to a large amount of C$50 and C$100 forgeries in this issue, a completely new note series was planned in 1969 for later release and the original series was withdrawn in early 1970.
This 1954 issue was also infamous for the 'Devil's Face' apparent in the representation of the Queen's hairdo behind her left ear - it was only after the notes were released that the illusion was noticed. The notes, bearing the signatures of J.E. Coyne and G.F. Towers - and some bearing the signatures of J.R. Beattie and J.E. Coyne - were immediately withdrawn and a modified version was released. Notes bearing the Beattie - L.Raminsky signatures and later issues are 'devil free'.
Regretably, I do not have a sample of the Devil's Face notes but they can be seen on the internet at various sites.Prices vary, but these notes do command a healthy premium of between 5 - 10 times beyond those notes without the face.
Defective notes, in the smaller denominations only (up to and including C$20), were replaced with 'star' (asterisk) prefixes.
In 1967, a special commemorative C$1 note was issued to celebrate the Centennial of Confederation but, due to the fact that many were hoarded, they attracted little or no premium and they soon started to appear in circulation in substantial numbers.
Canadian 1954 Series C$1.00 with the Western prairie and sky reverse.
Canadian 1954 C$2.00 with a Country vale in central Canada.
Canadian 1954 C$5.00 with a Northern stream and forest
The 'J.R. Beattie and L. Rasminsky' notes shown above have the 'modified' hairdo.
The new 1969 - 1975 series featured a multi-coloured Canadian Coat-of-Arms as well as many other anti-counterfeiting devices built into the design and the release of the different denominations were staggered due to the preparation times needed to produce the 7 values - C$1(dated 1973 - released June 1974) C$2 (dated 1974 - released Aug. 1975), C$5 (dated 1972 - released Dec. 1972), C$10 (dated 1971 - released Nov. 1971), C$20 (dated 1969 - released June 1970), C$50 (dated 1975 - released March 1975) and the C$100 (dated 1975 - released May 1976).
This series also saw the introduction of portraits other than the monarch on several denominations. The C$1, 2 and 20 featured a new bust of the Queen, as shown below, whilst the C$5 had Sir Wilfrid Laurier, the C$10 had Sir John A. Macdonald, the C$50 had William Lyon McKenzie King and, finally, the C$100 featured Sir Robert L. Borden. As with the previous issue the reverses were devoted to typical Canadian scenes or industries. The early notes in this series had double letter prefixes to denote denomination and series but, in 1981, a third letter was introduced to extend the life of the series. Asterisk notes in the double letter prefix were produced as usual if defective notes were discovered, but, in the event of a triple letter replacement an asterisk followed by an X was used.
Canadian One Dollar dated 1973 (issued 1974) - with 3 Letter prefix produced after 1981
Canadian Ten Dollars dated and issued 1971 - with 2 Letter prefix.
In 1979, an experimental issue (of C$5 and C$20 denominations only) was produced with the purpose of making the notes more 'machine-readable'. Some colours were strengthened and the red and blue serial numbers were replaced by a black number. Another major change was the removal of the bi-lingual BANK of CANADA from under the reverse vignette. The experiment was not completely successful and no further denominations were released.
However, certain valuable lessons had been learned and, from 1986 until 1993, the Bank of Canada released the first issues of a new series of notes specifically designed to assist the visually impaired and to fit in with modern sorting methods. The introduction of a metal One Dollar coin (the Loon Dollar) in 1987 saw the demise of the One Dollar note.
Canadian Loon Dollar 1987
The new reverses on the notes featured Canadian birds, and Queen Elizabeth II was featured on the front of the C$2, 20 and 1000 while all other denominations featured the same political figures from previous issues. Many additional security features, including more micro-printing, were incorporated in these notes. The denominations were printed at a size to assist those who needed visual assistance and a denomiation barcode was added to the reverse. Three letter prefixes and 7 digit serial number sequences are used and any replacement notes use an X as the third prefix letter.
Canadian 1986 C$2.00 with Two Robins reverse - and a sorting Barcode
The current range of Canadian banknotes was commenced in 2001 and again security enhancement was undertaken. The reverses feature 'children at play' as the theme. The following extract is quoted directly from the Bank of Canada web-site (address below) and you can see the new notes illustrated in colour.
"In 2001, the Bank introduced the new $10 note from the Canadian Journey series, followed by the $5 note in 2002. The Bank issued the new $100 bill in March, the $20 note in September, and the $50 note in November of 2004. As part of its ongoing efforts to improve the security of Canadian bank notes, the Bank of Canada will issue a $10 note with upgraded security features beginning 18 May 2005.
Notes in the new series are distinguished by new and enhanced security features to help fight counterfeiting and a tactile feature to help the blind and visually impaired identify the different denominations.
The new notes are the same size and retain the same dominant colours as previous bank note series. The Queen and the prime ministers shown on the new series are depicted on the same denominations. However, new portraits were engraved for both security and aesthetic purposes."
Bank of Canada - http://www.bank-banque-canada.ca/en/banknotes/general/character/2001-04_05.htm
Coins of Canada (16th Edition) - by J.A. Haxby and R.C. Willey 1998
CANADIAN MUNICIPAL TRADE TOKENS
I have just received a press release that Serge Pelletier's new book on Canadian M.T.T's has been published and is entitled 'A Compendium of Canadian Municipal Trade Tokens - 2nd Edition 2005' .
As our readers know, numismatists come in a 'large range of sizes' and Serge is no different except for one extra fitting - and that is of a military uniform.
Serge, who is a serving transport officer in the Royal Canadian Army has been of a 4 year tour of duty outside of his own country and has only recently arrived home to finalise his latest book on the run, however, judging on Serge's past literary productions I would say that this newest publication will be an asset to any numismatic library and a useful tool for collectors of Canadian Municipal Trade Tokens - at any level. The attributes of Serge's books usually consist of the attention to detail that a dedicated collector finds invaluable - I would expect that, at least, most of the following will also be available in condensed form in the new compendium that is intended to provide a summary of years of M.T.T. production in Canada. The Compendium contains approx 4,300 listings in its 125 pages and has been completely updated from the original edition published in 2002 and is intended to be a companion volume to Serge's previous authoritive works on Canadian Municipal Trade Tokens.
Half-Letter size (14 cms. x 21.5 cms)
All currently known Municipal Trade Tokens listed
Convenient, alphabetical ordering by municipality
Realistic up-to-date values for normal, plated and silver issues
Detailed mintage figures, technical data and statistics
Detailed index allowing you to find municipalities quickly
'A Compendium of Canadian Municipal Trade Tokens (2nd. Edition) 2005'
Price is C$20.95 postpaid. PayPal accepted (use email@example.com)
Major Serge Pelletier in dress uniform early in his career - and the "man at work" with cargo manifest for Afghanistan in 2002
Contact Address :
Box 11447, Station H
Nepean, ON K2H 7V1 Canada.
Telephone: +1.613.823.3844 Fax:+1.613.825.3092
U.S. COMMEMORATIVE NICKELS 2004 - 2005
In December 2003, we advised our readers of temporary changes to be made to the U.S. 5 Cent Nickel coin. The U.S. Mint schedule was for the release of a series of designs in commemoration of the Louisiana Purchase, and Lewis and Clark's famous expedition to the Pacific. The U.S. President enacted Public Law 108-15 to modify the Jefferson five-cent coin (nickel) in 2003, 2004 and 2005, to reflect images evocative of their historic expedition into the Louisiana Territory and beyond.
Portrait of Lewis and Clark with Sacajawea, her husband Toussaint Charbonneau with Clark's slave, York,
and another member of the expedition standing at the rear.
The first details of the new nickels published by the 'Tasmanian Numismatist - Internet Edition' were in August 2004 shortly after the release of the first coin in the series and when we had an actual sample kindly supplied by our T.N.S. Member, Jerry Adams of Texas.. We have maintained this principal as coins were released.
The first coin featured the "Louisiana Purchase/Peace Medal", which was the first of the two new reverses to appear on the 2004-dated Jefferson nickel and depicted a rendition of the reverse of the original Indian Peace Medal commissioned for Lewis and Clark's expedition, bearing the likeness of America's third president on one side, and symbols of peace and friendship on the other.
U.S. 2004 Jefferson Nickel with Peace Medal and Keel Boat reverses - Standard 2001 Nickel with Monticello reverse
(Illustrations not to scale)
The second design "Keelboat" was released on 2nd. August 2004, and featured an angled side-view of the keelboat, with full sail, that transported members of the expedition and their supplies through the rivers of the Louisiana Territory in search of a northwest passage to the Pacific Ocean. Built to the specifications of Captain Merriwether Lewis, the 55-foot keelboat could be sailed, rowed, poled like a raft, or towed from the riverbank.
A third coin, released in early 2005, had a new contemporary image of President Jefferson as the first major change in coin design set-up for some time. It was also interesting to see that the US Mint had recycled the American Bison Nickel 5 Cent coin in a newer form. The Bison - or buffalo as it is commonly called - is facing in a different direction than the previous 'Black Diamond' version that was produced from 1913 - 1938. This earlier Nickel featured as its obverse the famous Indian Head in profile. The new coin appears to have a flatter less precise engraving of the bison than the introductory artwork depicted and, unfortunately, this failure of the bison interpretation to measure up to the more rugged 1913 version does detract somewhat from the 'strength' of the new coin. The striking Indian Head obverse was not featured this time as it is now well and truly superceded, but the new rather pleasing 3/4 profile bust of Thomas Jefferson flies in the face of recent US tradition which usually portrays the bust as a full profile. The word 'Liberty' is written, in the contemporary script of Jefferson's time, within the field of the coin near the bust.
U.S. 1913 - 1938 Indian Head Nickel with 'Buffalo' reverse - 2005 Jefferson Nickel with Bison reverse.
(Illustrations not to scale)
It was intended that the two reverse designs (Peace Medal Nickel 2004 and
Bison Nickel 2005) would recognize the American Indians and wildlife
encountered by the Lewis and Clark expedition and the progress and culmination
of the journey would be depicted by the still to be released 2005 (Ocean
in View!) Nickel .
In late 2005, the final U.S. Nickel in the Westward Journey Series will be released and will show a representation of the the first sight of what was thought to be the 'Pacific Ocean' from the shores of the U.S. coast by Lewis and Clark's overland expedition. The new Jefferson 3/4 profile bust will be used as the obverse accompanied by a note from Capt. William Clark's diary dated November 7th 1805 - "Ocian in view! O! The joy!"
Unfortunately, Clark was a little out with his geography and, in fact, he was looking out at the estuary of Columbia which is about 30 kms from the Ocean.
It actually took the expedition another fortnight to get it right and, while Clark's spelling wasn’t even that great, we can forgive him… after all, he’d come a long way, over 6500 kms.of unexplored wilderness, to reach this spot .
The US Mint, in its wisdom - and to the chagrin of historical purists - corrected Clark's spelling mistake and the coin wording now reads - "Ocean in view! O! The joy!
The final design was created by the United States Mint Artistic Infusion Program artist, Joe Fitzgerald, of Silver Spring, Maryland, and was sculpted by United States Mint sculptor and engraver Donna Weaver. The reverse artwork of the final nickel has now been publically released and is shown below.
U.S. 2005 Jefferson Nickel - "Ocean (Ocian) in view! O! the Joy!"
The U.S. Mint advises that a depiction of Monticello is to return to the nickel reverse in 2006 and the obverse will continue to bear the likeness of President Jefferson. At this point in time, there has not been any indication if the images will revert back to the original designs or whether new contemporary versions will be forthcoming.
United States Mint: http://www.usmint.gov/mint_programs/index.cfm?flash=yes&action=nickel_series
Washington HistoryLink.org: http://www.washington.historylink.org/output.cfm?file_id=5360
WANTED KNOWN - Tasmanian Enterprise.
If you are considering attending a numismatic convention, planning a business trip, or just wanting to enjoy a visit to Launceston, in Northern Tasmania, and you need excellent private accomodation in a self-contained unit at a very reasonable overnight rate you couldn't do better than by contacting Bruce and Elizabeth Clark at:-
Local Ph: (03) 6334 1514
Internet site: www.kilmarnockhouse.com
Kilmarnock House is within an easy safe strolling distance to the city centre and close to all major shopping facilities and, over the past two decades, has proven to be ideal choice for individual or family comfort.
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This permission, however, does not extend to any article specifically marked as copyrighted © by the author of the article. Explicit permission from the author or the Editor of the ‘Tasmanian Numismatist ' (Internet Edition) newsletter is required prior to use of that material.
'Tasmanian Numismatist' (Internet Edition).
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