Volume 8 Issue 4                            INTERNET EDITION                   April  2003.


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

 

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 contact the following address for an application form and details of subscriptions: 

THE SECRETARY.

Tasmanian Numismatic Society.

G. P. O. Box 884J

Hobart. 7001.

Tasmania.

 

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SOCIETY SNIPPETS

 

An invitation to a 10.30 a.m. official morning tea at the Tasmanian Museum & Art Gallery in Hobart on Friday  7th March 2003 turned out to be a little more than our T.N.S. President, Roger McNeice, expected.

Wandering in, Roger was rather surprised at the number of  people in attendance - smiling Museum staff, officials and assorted other guests were gathered in the room apparently waiting for the morning tea to officially commence.

The surprise was absolutely complete when it was announced that an important part of the event had been laid on especially for him! 

A shocked - "you could have knocked me over with a feather" - Roger was called forward to be presented with the 'Certificate of Distinction' (for) 20 Years of Voluntary Service (as) Curator of Numismatics (for the) Tasmanian Museum.

The 'Certificate of Distinction' may well have been a well-earned reward in recognition of his 20 years of voluntary service to the Museum - but, in fact, a prestigious award of this type is only earned by hard work and a genuine dedication to the task.

As the delighted Roger stated afterwards, it was basically a labour of love that provided him with that dedication.

 

CONGRATULATIONS, ROGER - WELL DONE!!

Roger McNeice

 

The 'Tasmanian Numismatic Society' is proud to recognise another of our founder's personal milestones of success and we realise the importance that a 'Certificate of Distinction' of this calibre would mean to any dedicated volunteer.           

As fellow numismatists, we also realise the importance and the availability of the TMAG collections for research and, to those members and readers who have not visited the 'Money Room' at the Museum in Hobart, we recommend that you make the effort and see what Roger and the staff have achieved in the 20 year period under his curatorship. 

This would be one of the most important numismatic galleries in Australia and, for its diversity, would even give some other international displays a great run for their money!

 

 

LOCAL COST FACTORS THAT AFFECT US.

We have often mentioned the local costs involved in keeping a non-profit club, like the 'Tasmanian Numismatic Society', at a level where members receive their hard-copy newsletters, the occasional award or prize and the running of the regular 'social functions' that usually needs some amount of financial input. 

Many times, it is the same members who are making donations of time, materials and extra cash to supplement the annual subscription budget - which, when you think about it, is relatively small compared to the increases in costs right across the board.

Again we have been hit with a savage increase of over 10% in postage rates, prices of copy paper have been sneaking up and attract even more GST, and maintenance of our aging office equipment is costing a little bit more each time it is needed.

Every impost is one more than needs to be met from our limited fund base. Our Tasmanian membership has consolidated into a dedicated group over the last few years but it really needs to grow locally with a few new faces. See what YOU can do!

The only way that associations like ours can continue to survive at this level is to learn to think laterally and go back to square one if need be. One of the things that has happened, is that we have no recognised 'home' at the present, and that is a mixed blessing, of course. We have currently changed our meeting structure back from the heavy formal affair - that needed a costly meeting room - to a friendly social event that is coping well with things at the moment but that also means that  it occurs at different venues and that makes it hard for visitors to find us and attend. The public liability curse is now effecting clubs all over the country and we are no exception. 

It also seems that just a few members are apparently starting to shoulder most of the workload in arranging these events.

Ideas on how to still have fun, contain costs - and still lift our public profile here at home are always welcome.

Have your thought about how YOU can put in your '2 Bob's worth'?

 

It was great to receive an unsolicited donation of A$25.00 from our International member, Jerry Adams of Texas, during March and this will be well used by the Society in ensuring our hard-copy newsletter costs will be met again next month. 

Thank you, Jerry! 

 

THANK YOU!

 

THANK YOU! - is also in order in a BIG way to Christopher Heath who stepped in at virtually no notice to assist with post -operative accommodation, transport and a lot of moral support after this Editor was finally able to meet the deadline with his Hobart based cardio-thoracic surgeon. For one reason or another, after the continual lengthy delays and hiccoughs since last year, it  meant that, when the operation was finally re-scheduled for 20th March 2003, Chris had been out of the country in New Zealand and had apparently only arrived back just a day or so before I was due in Hobart. He had been unaware of the schedule changes but, as usual, he was more than willing to assist my wife and daughters who had decided to accompany me due to the seriousness of the event. 

Whilst we had eventually fixed the accommodation changes due to a last two day delay in the schedule - coupled with an earlier than estimated release - our transport arrangements back to Launceston were shot down in confusion and those few days had to be catered for. (Maureen Healey of the 'Theatre Royal Hotel' in nearby Campbell Street had, earlier, proven to be most compassionate and made efforts beyond what you would expect a hotelier to do because that weekend the city had one of the heaviest accommodation demands placed upon it for years and beds where like 'hen's teeth'.)

The early hospital visits by Roger McNeice and Tom Williamson were also seen though a daze but I assure you they were very welcome and their offers of assistance did not go un-noticed. Thanks, boys!

 

Graeme (Mr. Ed.) and Tom Williamson

I would also like to thank those Society members, both local and international, who had offered encouragement and their well wishes when it was first learnt that I would need this triple bypass and a valve replacement surgery. The operation is now seen as relatively common-place, relatively safe and quick (I was actually in and out in 7days and I'm sure that they would have sent me packing in 6 if they thought that they could do it) but that statement is usually made by people on the other end of the scalpel or those who drop in as visitors. 

The lifestyle changes are what are going to be the hardest things to live up to as well as the 3 month rehabilitation period.

My recuperation will be lengthy and I already have learned by experience that it can be uncomfortable - but I am working at it .

 

Please enjoy this month's newsletter! I am glad to be here and able to present it you!

 

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'I TOLD YOU SO!'

 by Graeme Petterwood (T.N.S. Member # 332).

In December 1989, Telecom 'phonecards were tested in Geelong, Australia and then introduced in May of the following year with a series featuring South Australia. They were quickly adopted with enthusiasm by some members of the numismatic community as something as great as 'sliced bread' and these collectors were soon defining them as an additional and legitimate arm of our hobby. 

However, some of us still had deeper reservations and continued along our chosen paths of collecting coins and currency of the more usual kind - with a warning, to our more adventuresome 'phonecard collecting colleagues, to be cautious.

 

Typical early Australian Telecom 'phonecard (T3C1)

 

For a while, small fortunes were made before the frenzy of this new hobby facet  found its own level in the mid 1990's.

In 1994/1995 the (T3C1) Great Barrier Reef card (shown above), which was issued in December 1990, was catalogued at A$30.00 in mint (unused) condition, A$20.00 with 1 hole and A$10.00 with multi-holes. 

Another $10.00 face value card (T3C3) - depicting Brisbane at night in the same series - was commanding A$400.00 unused.

Such was the apparent strength of the market at that stage - but appearances can be deceptive.

In fact, this writer was fortunate enough to still make a tidy profit on a much sought-after $5.00 Olympics 1992 Swimming Card - (Code # N91042-2-3) that went into an Edlin's Auction in Canberra in August 1995 - bearing in mind it was purchased over the counter at face value. The Renniks 1994/5 edition of 'Collect Phonecards of Australia - 4th Edition' catalogue price on that card was suggested at A$700.00 unused but, in fact, it brought less than its reserve of A$200.00 at auction after the various handling fees deducted - so the warning was obvious that the shine was disappearing rapidly from the speculative scene.

 

 

100th Anniversary Royal Life Saving Society 'phonecard (L942233a)

 

Recently, a Limited Edition Life Saving 1994 Phonecard Pack was given to this writer by a friend who had originally bought them as 'a collectible with an investment potential'. Only 8,500 of this set were made available to the Australian public at a premium price of A$65.00 set.  

The set contains 4 unused mint condition 'phonecards (including the card shown above) with a total face value of A$40.00  but, like Hungarian  post-WWII banknotes, they are no longer worth the plastic they are printed on because this type of card is no longer usable in Australian public phones because of changed technology. 

However, my friend (who also has other collecting interests) has another good reason to now consider them a bad deal and worthless to hold any longer - he is nearly right!  

Currently, these cards are appearing in some auctions at a starting bid price of about A$8.00 set  - if you can find a buyer!

 

Local dealers say that there is still a steady hobby-based interest but most of the more common magnetic strip cards are now retailing in the $0.50 - $1.00 range no matter what the face value of the card - exceptions are those cards that feature famous corporate images (such as Coca Cola ®) or images of popular personalities who have a collector following of their own. 

The collecting of 'phonecards is still carried on by those dedicated few true hobbyists who built up their accumulations when the bubble was at its zenith and who now cannot bear to part with them - especially for the pittances that are being offered. 

Like old calendar collectors who gloat that perhaps 1989 will come back one day, the 'phonecard collectors are waiting for the tide to turn a little more in their favour. I hope it does because, despite my own misgivings, I have a few unused mint conditions cards that I also retained (mainly because of their theme on 'Notable Australians') but, in the meantime, a rueful - 'I told you so!' - seems to be more appropriate!

 

I recently did a thumbnail survey of the Internet to gauge what interest is still remaining in 'phonecards. 

I sold my 'Olympic 1992' card too late to cash in of the boom times but, even as a non-believer, it still surprised me to note that from 1995 onwards the glittering 'phonecard bubble had apparently burst, all over the world as far as speculation and the 'making of a fast buck' was concerned. These days it appears that 'even swap' between collectors is more the done thing.

Many of the larger 'phonecard club sites made their last Internet entries back in that era as membership gradually faded away with the high flyers. The latest relevant information that I could find regarding the original Tamura-type magnetic strip Australian Telecom Phonecards (developed by the Anritsu Company), separate from the more modern call-cards, was by an Irish 'phonecard club who were also bemoaning the declining interest in the hobby, the prices realised at recent unprofitable card fairs and auctions, and the growing lack of enthusiasm and participation from dealers in that country. 

Once the 'collectibles' dealers pull the plug on an item it is time to get out - particularly if you are only in it for the cash returns.

 

The comments below are from a previous Australian article published in 1999, and were directed to answering a question on the future of call-cards in general. The question was posed by: Phonecards On-Line© which was published by Alan Cohen (October 17, 1999 - Issue #181) http://www.cardmall.com/pol/pol181.htm 

The writer who answered the query was unknown - but his/her observation, and somewhat prophetic forecast, is of interest to those who are still dabbling in this area of money-based collectables just for their love of the hobby.

 

"Your summary of the USA scene applies to much of the rest of the world. 

In many countries during the 1990s, numerous exploitive issues fuelled speculative markets and when the bubbles burst the markets for phonecards collapsed in a matter of weeks.

In my experience at least 95% of the New Zealand and Australian markets disappeared. There has been no sign of any significant recovery in these markets during the last 5 years. The 5% who have continued collecting have found the hobby to be very rewarding. A handful of full time dealers remain but they operate on the world market.

There is probably little point in waiting or hoping that the phonecard market will recover to the over-heated levels of the early 1990s. The card market has continued to evolve and phonecards are now just a part of the larger market for stored value and remote memory cards.

At the cheap end of the market there is a demand for what you call "pretty pieces of plastic" and common, low priced stored value cards. Further up the ladder there is a surprisingly robust market for attractive thematic or topical cards that are based on stored value. This market is largely based on the hundreds of millions of Japanese cards that have been produced since the mid 1980s. Cards in this category often sell for US$3 - US$10. 

However the most sought after cards on major themes such as Coke and Marilyn sell for hundreds and even thousands of dollars.

At another level there is demand by a few specialist collectors who seek to complete collections for individual countries. This may also involve considerable cost. Yet another group of collectors build up collections based on one card per country, or one card per system per country. Still others concentrate on first issues.

The evolution I mention sees stored value phonecards being used to make other small purchases. This can be vending machines, at laundromats and in parking meters. So the phonecard becomes a cash card.

Another major development is the emerging smart fare payment systems whereby the smartcard used to pay your fare on the bus, train, ferry or tram can also be used as a cash card and pay for phone calls. These cards can also be multi-function and carry a loyalty application and allow access.

On the banking side there have been several well publicised trials of chip based moneycards. There has been much gloating in some quarters over the lack of success but for collectors, shortages of important trial cards means there are great collecting opportunities. These cards can also be used to make phone calls. This was the situation in Atlanta and in the Australian trials on the Gold Coast. Some phonecard collectors have moved into these e-cash cards.

Today, there seems to be a small but strong international collecting base. In the absence of publications the Internet has become an important tool in the development of the hobby but many collectors are still out of its reach and swap and trade with contacts made during the earlier years of the decade.

The next decade promises to be full of interest as the stored value cards, based on chip technology become more widespread outside Europe. Many of our phonecards will not be so obvious as they become e-cash cards or smart fare payment cards or bank issued disposable, standalone or multi-application cards."

 

Interesting 'phonecard Internet sites with further links available include:

http://users.northnet.com.au/~webcards/

http://users.bigpond.net.au/tomwolf/index.html

 

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The following article was forwarding to us via T.N.S. member Jerry Adams of Texas who is also a member of the National Token Collectors Association of America.  

Due to the present situation one of Jerry's fellow NTCA members, John Kent, has been recalled to active duty with a combat unit - however, you cannot keep a good collector from pursuing his hobby no matter where he might be. 

John was enjoying his first visit to Afghanistan at the time this article was originally written and featured in 'Talkin' Tokens' the NTCA official monthly journal. It is re-printed with the permission of the author.

Operation Enduring Freedom

New Military Token Issue

by John Kent (N.T.C.A. Member #953)

On September 11, 2001 a great tragedy happened to our nation. Terrorists attacked the World Trade Center in New York City and the United States was in shock. Subsequently the U.S. Military was called into action and deployed to Southwest Asia. 

Along with the troops sent to defend our nation and root out the terrorists, many civilians were also deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom to attempt to offer the soldiers some of the amenities normally found at home. One of those amenities is the Army and Air Force Exchange Service or AAFES.  The AAFES is known to most soldiers through the PX (post exchange) or BX (base exchange) also called by historians and “old timers” just the exchange.  Most of us have seen old military tokens issued by exchanges throughout the US; most have the word “exchange” on them, but some do not.

 

I was called to deploy to Afghanistan on July 5th, 2002.  (Though we all knew it was coming we didn’t know when.)  I arrived in Afghanistan on 14 July 2002.  One of the first things all soldiers do when arriving in country after getting “situated” in their tent is to go to the PX to purchase needed, or wanted, items.  I had been in country a couple of days before I too took a trip to the PX.  I purchased a couple of minor items at the cash register and was supposed to receive a bit of change; but instead I received these little round disks good for 5¢, 10¢, or 25¢.

Being an avid token collector I knew exactly what I had. But to fly 15,000 miles around the world to acquire a new token for my collection had to be the highlight of my collecting “career”. I never expected that I would be able to pick up a new addition or two for my collection in Afghanistan!

 

My wife, being the loving and understanding woman that she is, has made sure that I receive my issues of Talkin’ Tokens (the NTCA journal) so that I can continue to read about and stay abreast of the hobby.  I read every issue cover to cover, and in every issue I see requests for articles about tokens.  Well, a few months passed and I had been picking up as many of the new tokens as I could get my hands on; not going out of my way but definitely keeping my eyes open.  I had a lull in missions, so I finally decided to track down some information on these new tokens and put pen to paper, so to speak.

 

My first stop was the local exchange where I spoke with the manager for the area of responsibility (AOR).  I was definitely lucky to find him for he had all the information I needed.  The tokens were first issued in Oman, which is the headquarters for this AOR.  They were issued in response to the Oman government not allowing AAFES to bring coins into the country.  In fact Oman actually confiscated some of the US coins when the operation was first initiated.

 

  

Current Omani coinage

 

To compensate for the lack of American coinage, at first AAFES gave candy bars or other small items in lieu of change.  But soldiers didn’t always want a candy bar, so they had to come up with something else. 

In countries where it is not illegal to have US coins, the cost of shipping large amounts of change from the states to each exchange is extremely high. The amount of change needed to keep all the exchanges running would be great and would amount to a great deal of weight. So, here in Afghanistan, as well as a couple of other countries where it is not illegal to have coins, tokens are issued due to lack of change in country. Many soldiers have coinage and they may use it at the exchange, but they always receive tokens in change.

These multi-color tokens are made of pressed paperboard and are approximately 40 mm in diameter. Obverse and reverse color combinations are the same for each token. They are currently being issued in Oman, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, and Kuwait, all in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. 

AAFES calls them gift certificates, good for 5¢, 10¢, or 25¢ in merchandise. Sounds like the definition of a token to me.

There have also been many military challenge coins created commemorating 9/11 and Operation Enduring Freedom.  I have picked up probably 10 or 15 different varieties, but those will have to wait for another article sometime in the near future.  

 

       

  Gift Certificate / 5¢ / AAFES

    5¢ / This gift certificate has a retail / value of 5¢ and is redeemable / only at your BX/PX. / AAFES 

(Paperboard, Round 40mm)

 

   

                          

  Gift Certificate / 10¢ / AAFES 

10¢ / This gift certificate has a retail / value of 10¢ and is redeemable / only at your BX/PX./AAFES

  (Paperboard, Round 40mm)

 

   

 

Gift Certificate / 25¢ / AAFES 

25¢ / This gift certificate has a retail / value of 25¢ and is redeemable / only at your BX/PX. / AAFES 

(Paperboard, Round 40mm)  

 

 One New Afghani banknote issued  by the Da Afghanistan Bank of the Democratic Republic.

 

 

AN ARTICLE in REVIEW

In June 2002, the Tasmanian Numismatist published a short article about 'Maverick Tokens'. The following is part of that article.

MAVERICK TOKENS

From time to time, readers supply us with scans of 'maverick' trade tokens that they ask about and need help in identifying.

Maverick tokens are those that have no obvious address - or sufficient other detail - with which to trace their place of origin. 

As you can imagine, trying to narrow these types down to an issuer, time slot, country etc. is quite difficult even though the actual token can be studied intently by the owner.  In this instance quite a lot was already known. 

The issuers were named as Williams Brothers (or Bros.) Direct Supply Stores Ltd. and the denominations clearly shown were in English. The range consisted of 3d., 6d., One Shilling, Two Shillings and the metal used appears to be tin.

The two higher denominations were presented as square tokens of various size, while the 3d. was round and the 6d. was an oval piece. The inquirer also mentioned having a 5/- brass token but an illustration was not supplied. 

 

 

From information available we knew that they are not within the series of traditional Tradesmen's Tokens issued in Australia or New Zealand during the late 1800's. So that left any other English speaking countries that issued money in those imperial denominations. Why not try England itself? ................

 

The results of our own searches at that time were not very encouraging and, after several determined attempts to track down the origin of the William Brothers tokens, we eventually appealed directly to our readers for information. 

Now, after 8 months, we have been enlightened somewhat by the receipt of a helpful email which is detailed below. 

The original inquirer also mentioned a 5/- brass token - which still appears to be a mystery piece. 

Perhaps, the inquirer would care to follow up with an exchange of information direct with the Grange Museum of Community History in Brent, London or contact us again.

 

"Re your enquiry about Williams Brothers tokens on the Internet (http://www.vision.net.au/~pwood/june2002.htm ), this firm was a shop in Craven Road, Harlesden in the former London Borough of Willesden (now part of the London Borough of Brent), north-west London. The local history museum, the Grange Museum of Community History, has what we presume to be a full set of these tokens: viz.: 1 d, 2d, 3d, 6d, 1/-, 2/- and 20/- (£1) tokens. The 20/- is brass, the others are all tin.  

The 20/-, unlike the others, is not uniface. As you point out, there are variants reading BROS. as well as BROTHERS.
Any further questions about this firm please do not hesitate to contact me."
Yours sincerely,
Malcolm Barres-Baker
Projects Officer,
Grange Museum

Email: Malcolm.Barres-Baker@brent.gov.uk

 

Another mystery is on the way to being solved. Thank you, Malcolm! 

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ANOTHER REMINDER

For those of our members who also have an interest in philately, a timely reminder has arrived from fellow T.N.S members David and Kim Newell of The Stamp Place, Collins St; Hobart  that the Tasmania 2003 National Stamp Exhibition is to be held at the Wrest Point Convention Centre Boardwalk and Wellington Room from April 11 - 13th., 2003.

This exhibition will be well worth the admission which is a $5.00 charge for Adults (but children are Free) but this Entrance fee covers the duration of the exhibition - and the exhibition programme 

Show Bags, FREE stamps and children's activities are planned as well as all the usual events at such an prestigious Exhibition.

Opening hours will be: 

Fri.   April 11 -  1.00p.m. until 5.00p.m.

Sat.  April 12 -  10.00a.m.until 5.00p.m.

Sun. April 13 -  10.00a.m.until 4.00p.m.

 

TASMANIAN NUMISMATIST.

The ‘Tasmanian Numismatist’ newsletter is the only official newsletter of the ‘Tasmanian Numismatic Society’ and it is published periodically and distributed by post, or hand delivered, directly to members of the Tasmanian Numismatic Society and selected associates and institutions.

The ‘Tasmanian Numismatist’ (Internet Edition) has been provided with space on this privately maintained Internet site and is currently presented on a monthly basis by the member-provider with the aim of promoting the hobby of numismatics.  All matters pertaining to the T.N.S. are re-published with the permission of the current Executive Committee of the  ‘Tasmanian Numismatic Society and the Tasmanian Numismatist' (Internet Edition) abides by the same basic guidelines suggested for the official 'Tasmanian Numismatist' newsletter.

Please note that all opinions expressed in material published in the 'Tasmanian Numismatist' (Internet Edition) are those of the authors, and not necessarily those of the ‘Tasmanian Numismatic Society or the Editor. 

Any literary contributions or relevant and constructive comments regarding numismatics are always welcome.

The Editor,

Tasmanian Numismatist (Internet Edition). 

P.O. Box 10,

Ravenswood. 7250. Tasmania.

Australia.

Internet Page: http://www.vision.net.au/~pwood/tns.html

Email: pwood@vision.net.au

 

DISCLAIMER: All details of a commercial nature, organisations, items or individual arrangement to buy, sell or trade are provided in good faith as information only, and any consequent dealings are between the parties concerned. 

The ‘Tasmanian Numismatist’ (Internet Edition) takes no responsibility for disagreements between parties, and also reserves the right to only feature information that it considers suitable in promoting the hobby to our readers Deadline for any literary contributions or amendment to copy is 7 Days prior to the beginning of the month of publication. The contents of this Internet newsletter, and all prior issues, are copyrighted ©, but anything herein 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. 

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) is required prior to use of that material.