Volume 9 Issue 8                                                   INTERNET EDITION                                                          August 2004.

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 many Internet links are of a temporary nature.



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: 


Tasmanian Numismatic Society.

G. P. O. Box 884J

Hobart. 7001.





The First 'Century' of Publication - a note from the Editor.

By counting on my fingers - and referring back to April 1996 as the known starting point -  I believe I have calculated that this non-commercial edition is a bit special in that it is the 101st. time this Internet newsletter will have been published.

The 'Tasmanian Numismatist - Internet Edition' originally started off as an experimental off-shoot from the official 'Tasmanian Numismatist',  which is the newsletter of the 'Tasmanian Numismatic Society', but it soon gained a life of its own, outgrew its parent and has now reaching a maturity of sorts with this issue.

The starting of a new 'century' of Internet newsletters is a daunting task but, while I still have something to offer to numismatics, I will continue on and keep enjoying what I do - with a lot of help from my family, particulary my son Paul, who is the technical whizz behind the scenes who makes it all eventually happen out there in cyberspace - and has done since this newsletter was first conceived 100 issues ago. Without his assistance it would never have happened.

Over the years, a substantial number of national and international Internet Links have been established, sister club relationships have been fostered and many individual contacts have been made - that record is one that I feel proud of both as the Editor and as a contributor.

From time to time, the format of this Internet Edition newsletter has changed to meet different contemporary demands but it continues to base its publishing policy on the same basic guidelines suggested for the official 'Tasmanian Numismatist' bi-monthly newsletter that is produced for the 'Tasmanian Numismatic Society' - of which I am proud to be a member. 'Education' and 'Entertainment' are two keywords that have been foremost in ensuring the modest success that this non-commercial publication has achieved in the greater scheme of things.

As the Editor of both newsletters, I would also like to express my sincere thanks to those members of the T.N.S., other associated clubs and Internet Edition readers who have contributed articles and worthy ideas for publication over the last 100 editions - and encourage them to stick with me for this next 100.



An Editor's Award is available for presention for a suitable published article, received prior to Nov-December of the current year, that the editor judges to be worthy of special recognition. This is not a T.N.S. members' only award and any 'Tasmanian Numismatist - Internet Edition' reader is eligible to submit numismatic literary items. Articles should be designed to be entertaining and educational -but not over technical nor too long - and may be subject to some editing if need be.

There may be more than one award presented, however, it is at the sole perogative of the current Editor whether any award(s) will be made each year.

The Editor's Award consists of a Certificate of Recognition and a single annual subscription (or a numismatic prize to that value) to the 'Tasmanian Numismatic Society' for the following 12 months. Any further entries from T.N.S. members, or 'Tasmanian Numismatist - Internet Edition' readers, for this year should be submitted immediately to qualify for  publication consideration within the current time frame for the 2005 Editor's Award. 


Due to Winter being on us with a vengeance again this year, the Society has advised that, at present, they have little in the way of other social event 'snippets' to report in this edition of the newsletter. Members are urged to take due care on the roads, in particular, as our bout of icy weather continues - and if you have already contracted the dreaded  'dog's disease' - take two aspirins and go to bed.



Wrest Point Hotel Casino - Hobart

Saturday October 9th - Sunday 10th October 2004


In regard to the the forth-coming ANDA-APTA Show at Wrest Point Hotel-Casino, we will continue to publish updates of any information that needs to be provided for T.N.S. members and any of our other interested readers. We also remind T.N.S. members that their voluntary assistance is being solicited and it would be gratefully appreciated if they could aid the T.N.S. and the ANDA-APTA organisation in ensuring the smooth running of the event by chipping in for a few of the tasks.

As previously mentioned, we have been advised that T.N.S President, Roger McNeice will be acting as Tasmanian co-ordinator between the T.N.S. and ANDA.

For those T.N.S. members who wish to get  involved, Roger can be contacted at either of his usual phone numbers for details.

T.N.S. President, Roger McNeice O.A.M.

Tasmedals' Office -  (03) 6227 8825

Tasmedals' Showroom (Hobart)  - (03) 6231 5281.




by Graeme Petterwood

This edition again features an assortment of  'trivia', that I think are of interest and trust they will prove educational and entertaining to you. 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! Please note that all prices quoted in articles in this newsletter are estimates only and they should not be considered to be an offer to sell or purchase the items mentioned or used as illustrations.  Note - the photoscans are not to size.

Please note: The article 'What is it Worth' will now appear in our October edition due to Internet space restraints for this issue.




16th - 18th August 1966


As a former Gunner with the 6th Field Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery as well as a numismatist, it was of great interest to me to have received, from fellow member and token collector extraordinaire, Jerry Adams of Texas, a small brass token that had seen service in Vietnam at Nui Dat - a place familar to many Australian troops during the conflict. The story of the Battle of Long Tan, near Nui Dat, is now etched into the pages of Australian military history and, as a nation, we have gone on to other conflicts, but we should never forget the ultimate sacrifice made by 18 of our young National Servicemen and memories of the pain and anguish of the 24 others who were wounded in this action at Long Tan on August 18th., 1966.

Historical References: http://www.anzacday.org.au/history/vietnam/longtan.html   and http://www.maori2000.com/vcoy67/nuidat2.htm

Please, take the time to read these reports.


Proximity of Nui Dat to Long Tan



A search of the Internet for details about the token was not very successful and, although there was sufficient evidence to convince me that it was initially produced for use by Australian troops in canteens and clubs in Vietnam, I would now consider this token is relatively scarce outside of those that came back as souvenirs with our own servicemen. Jerry had originally provided me with some basic detail from a catalogue compiled by Paul Cunningham which has answered some of the questions I needed answers to. The detail is herewith:

Token description: AUSTRALIAN / 5 c / ARTILLERY (same reverse) Brass-round-21millimeters diameter.

The Cunningham listing # is: VN3410 and it had a book price of US$8.00 at the time this compilation was published. Paul Cunningham notes that the 1st Australian Task Force Artillery was an allied unit and that the place the tokens were used was Nui Dat Camp (Ba Rai, Vietnam) which was also the same camp and location used by the Royal New Zealand Artillery who issued a Kiwi token which came in both 21 mm size and 24 mm size. No date is given on either.


After a follow-up conversation, Jerry then put me in contact with Ray Bows, author of a newly published - and already internationally well received - book about the Vietnam experience. The title of the book is: "TIME-LINE VIETNAM - The Tiger that Ate the Fire Base."  of which I hope to be able to offer a review, to those interested in that era of military history, at a future date.

Former U.S. Army Master Sergeant Ray Bows, who is an expert on Military tokens - particularly those from the Vietnam era - was the originator of the some of the information that was compiled and utilised by Mr. Cunningham in his 1998 publication. In due course, I hope I may also be able to bring to our readers some of Ray's own experiences as well as details of those other military tokens that  formed such an integral part of servicemen's lives at that time.

The following note was received from Ray Bows and provided additional insight into the use of the Australian Artillery token

"Dear Graeme, There were two allied military token types listed in my 1988 catalogue on  the Vietnam War. The Australian Artillery piece was listed as 950AUAL-5,  and as described and pictured per your recent message.  In my original  catalogue of 1983, the piece was listed as number 2519AF-5.  This piece was issued by the first Australian Task Force Artillery, Ba Ria, Phuoc Tuy Province Battery, Nui Dat Base Camp, Phuoc Tuy Province.
The mission of the Australian Artillery was to protect Highway 15 (Line of communications) in the eastern portion of the Rung Sat Special Zone. The  Rung Sat was known as the "Forest of Assasins" was characterised by General William Westmoreland as "one of the most savage pieces of terrain in the world."  The Australians occupied this Viet Cong infested area under the control of the US Army's II Field Force.  The token listed was used at the Peter Badcoe Club of the Australian Logistic Support Group at Vung Tau, in addition to being used at Nui Dat. These tokens found their way into other clubs throughout Vietnam but were periodically culled out of circulation during monthly accounting.  Each different club's tokens were only authorised for use in that specific club in an effort to protect Military Payment Certificates, which protected the US dollar and which kept dollars from falling into the hands of the Communists with which they could buy weapons and ammunition on the world market.  The Artillery Battery served from Septemeber 1965 to December 1971.  It has been my experience that by 1968, when I arrived in Vietnam, that many of these tokens were no longer in use and therefore they coincided almost exactly with the battle that you mention....."


The Australian Artillery Five Cent token.



Sample U.S. Military Payment Certificate (Series # 641) issued between 31st August 1965 - 21st October 1968 - 10 Cents note


Other denominations in the U.S. -  MPC series # 641:

5 Cents - Violet on Blue

10 Cents (as shown) - Green

25 Cents - Red

50 Cents - Orange

1 Dollar -  Lilac. Woman at right.

5 Dollars - Green. Woman with wreath of flowers at centre


US and ALLIED TOKENS of the VIETNAM WAR - Ray Bows, 1983
VIETNAM MILITARY LORE - Another Way to Remember -
Ray Bows, 1988

Standard Catalog of World Paper Money (Volume 3) - edited by Colin R. Bruce II & George S. Cuhaj, 1997

MILITARY TOKENS OF THE UNITED STATES, Volume 2 (Overseas Issues)  - by Paul Cunningham, 1998



Amongst my medallions is one that, until recently, had me more than a little puzzled.

I had received the 39mm medallion from fellow T.N.S. member, Jerry Adams, some years ago along with a broad cross section of assorted U.S. tokens which became the base of my exonumia collection. Whilst it is still a small collection in the scheme of things, items like these have given me a wonderful area of numismatics to study - and they certainly keep me from ever becoming bored with my hobby. 

Jerry had treated the medallion as an item that didn't fit into his own token collecting criteria so he sent it to me as a gift to investigate at my leisure.

The legends were all in Latin and, whilst I have not studied the language, I did recognise enough words to realise that  the white metal medallion obviously was designed to commemorate the victory of General George Washington at Boston on 17th March 1776.

I suspected it was a replica, but I knew very little else and it eventually it got moved into the 'not enough time' basket and then was filed away until I could devote more energy in seeking to identify it. The medallion designs appeared to have been well minted with a soft smoothness, but it was still very attractive and all the words in the legends were sharp and legible so I had imagined it should not have been an impossible task to nail it down.

However, it took a little bit longer than I thought it would - but, once I do get started on a project, I do tend to get persistent - even if it does take some time.

Firstly, if it was a replica, I needed to find out something about the original - if there was such a thing - and that meant getting a full and accurate translation of the Latin.

The language translators I have in my computer program do not cater for a Latin - English combination so it was a case of typing in the Latin phrases one at a time and hitting the SEARCH button and hoping something came up. As we all know SEARCH engines can be very contrary and send a searcher mad at times so it was gratifying when the words COMITA AMERICANA turned up a positive answer fairly quickly.

From there on it was just a case of following the lead to start getting a few more of the answers about the origins of the medallion.

The main source  was found at the site: Coin and Currency Collections in the Department of Special Collections, University of Notre Dame Libraries.




Comments:   "One of the most encouraging early victories during the Revolutionary War was the British evacuation of Boston on March 17, 1776. During the harsh winter months Henry Knox had transported a number of canon from Fort Ticonderoga in western New York to Boston. As soon as this heavy artillery arrived Washington mounted the canons on Dorchester Heights overlooking the city. Under the threat of bombardment the British troops quickly fled, making Boston the first major city liberated from British occupation. Eight days later, on March 25, 1776, the Continental Congress authorized a medal to commemorate this event. Up through 1787 Congress authorized ten additional medals commemorating war heroes, however no medals were actually produced until 1790. In that year the federal Congress commissioned the Paris mint to produce these long overdue items. The Washington Before Boston medal was considered the most important and was the largest in the series, which is now referred to as the Comitia Americana (or American Congress) medal series. A gold example was presented to Washington along with a collection of eleven silver medals (nine of which were from the eleven medals authorized by congress); the gold exampe is now in the Boston Public Library while Washington's collection of eleven silver medals now resides in the Massachusetts Historical Society.

Since the first striking in 1790 the Paris mint has reissued these American Congress medals at various times in gold, silver, copper and bronze examples. The dating of examples can often be determined by the small symbol stamped on the edge of the medal: an antique lamp, 1832-1841; an anchor with the letter C, 1841-1842; a galley prow, 1842-1845; a pointing hand 1845-1860; a bee, 1860-1879 and a cornucopia 1880-present. In the 1860's hubs (i.e., punches for the images and legends) were made from the Paris dies and sent to Philadelphia were they were used to produce new dies for American struck examples. As the hubs did not produce deeply impressed details in the Philadelphia made dies, the medals made from these dies lacked the clarity and fine lines of the Paris strikings. Some decades later entirely new dies were produced in Philadelphia, modelled on the originals but with different letter punches.

The obverse displays an undraped bust right of Washington based on the bust by Jean Antone Houdon with a Latin legend that translates as: To George Washington supreme general of the army defender of liberty (EXERCITVVM refers to a trained and disciplined army). Below is COMITIA AMERICANA, which is a Latin version of "The American Congress." At the truncation is the signature of the engraver Benjamin Du Vivier, DV VIVIER / PARIS . F. (for France). The reverse displays Washington on this horse with four of his commanders on Dorchester Heights; it has often been noted the horse hoofs do not align with the grouping of horses. Washington points below where we see his troops and in the distance the city of Boston. To the far left two canons behind a parapet can be seen pointed at the city while in the foreground two canon and some canon balls lay on the ground. The Latin legend translates as: For the first time the enemies are put to flight. The Latin exergue translates as: Boston recovered the 17th of March 1776. To the far right on the canon in the foreground is the engraver's signature DV VIV."


The article goes on to point out the various die combinations and restrikes that have occurred and the various metals the medallion has been struck in  - it is now estimated that at least 31 varieties of the original have been discovered - and this is not counting the smaller modern replicas that I now consider mine to be.

It was proving to be a far harder thing than I imagined to nail down any details of this replicas' history.



'Washington Before Boston' 17th March 1776 Medallion - White metal Replica

(Replica - 3mm thick wide-rimmed reproduction - approx. Size 39mm, Weight 20gms)



Bronze version of the genuine (68.3mm, 134.4 gms) 'Washington Before Boston' medal




HOSTIBUS PRIMO FUGATIS   - (in exergue) BOSTONIUM RECUPERATUM / XVII MARTII / MDCCXXVI   - (at bottom right on cannon in the foreground) DU VIV

COMPOSITION: Bronze      

WEIGHT:  [about 2,075 grains]     (134.4 grams)          

DIAMETER:  68.3 mm          


Over the years, the reverse of the medal has been restruck with new dies both in Paris and in the United States. This bronze specimen shown above has no edge marks, and it has likely been struck at the US Mint about 1890 from dies executed by Charles E. Barber.


Noted amongst 'WASHINGTON EXONUMIA - FOR SALE' items.

(1) "MEDALS COMMEMORATING THE BATTLES OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION---US Mint issue, 1973. Lot of 10 medals, plus one "mint medal" in a bookshelf folder. The medals are mint-made reproductions of some of our earliest and most important medals, such as "Washington before Boston" or the feats of " John Paul Jones" These pewter medals come with a 44 page booklet, that gives a well written and illustrated history of each medal.

A cardboard slipcover, as issued"   Est.. US$75.00   http://www.thecoppercorner.com/forsale/medals.html

(2) "Lot 1407. Military. Medals. U .S. Military Figure Medals. Lot of 13 different Pewter Medals.

One only- Major Henry Lee, with relief of Lee on front and Latin writing on reverse, commemorating Lee, 1779, Wright, artist.

Two only - General Anthony Wayne medals, with relief of Wayne receiving a wreath from an allegorical figure on front, and Stoney-Point Expugnatum, with battle relief on reverse, Gatteaux, artist.

One only - General Daniel Morgan, with relief of Morgan receiving wreath on his head from an allegorical figure, detailed battle relief and Latin on reverse, Dupre, artist.

One only - Colonel De Fleury, with relief of battle figure and Latin on front, and Stoney-Point relief on reverse, reproduction, 1980, noted.

Three only - General Horatio Gates, each with a bust profile relief of Gate on front, and two men arguing amidst a battle scene on reverse, Gatteaux, artist.

Four only - * Washington Before Boston medals, with bust profile relief of Washington on front, and three men on horses and Latin on reverse, Duvivier, artist.

One only - Lt. Col. William Washington, with relief of Washington on horseback in the midst of a battle scene, with angel flying overhead, Duvivier, artist..

All are similar in design. approx. 37mm. Each Unc and in original display boxes."  Est. $50-100

Could the first item indicate the origin of the mysterious replica medal? At least, these notifications start to give us an indication of a possible value range.



After a more intense search over several days just trying to find the right combination of key words to load into my Internet Search Engine, I finally hit a mini-jackpot and got another confirming run-down on the 'Washington Before Boston' 39mm Pewter reproduction medallion.

The minting date for this particular medallion appeared to be a little uncertain, and several variations were mentioned in the way the medallions were presented, but, with all the other facts at hand, it now seems that the mystery has been solved - at least as far as the WHAT, WHERE and the WHEN (near enough) are concerned.

Should I now ponder HOW MANY were minted - or should I let sleeping dogs lie?. 

It is highly probable that a series of releases covering individual coins, or coin sets  were made to celebrate the main historical dates that marked the American War of Independence..e.g. the 'Boston Tea Party' 1773 and the 'Washington Before Boston 'event 1776 and other occasions, up until the war ceased in 1783.

(There are over 3,000,000 sites on the Internet regarding the Revolutionary War if you wish to browse aand refresh your memories of American history.)

Bicentennial Reproduction of Americas 1st Medals
Year: 1976
Issuing Authority: Continental Congress
Minter: United States Mint
Denomination: None
Size: 1 1/2 inches in diameter (39mm)
Metal: Pewter
Grade: Mint state
Obverse (Front): George Washington bust
Reverse (Back): Washington with army on horseback
Comment: See product information
Order #: Washington
Price: $8.50


The first in the U.S. Mint's ten-piece series of pewter reproductions of America's First Medals, voted by the Continental Congress to commemorate the decisive military actions of the Revolutionary War. This medal was awarded to General George Washington for the liberation of Boston in 1776. The original, prepared by Pierre Simon Benjamin Duvivier, chief engraver of the Paris Mint, was struck in gold and is in the collection of the Boston Public Library. The obverse bears a profile after the bust of George Washington sculpted by J.A. Houdon. The Latin inscription translates, The American Congress to George Washington, commander in chief of the armies, the assertor of liberty. The reverse bears in Latin at the top: The enemy put to flight for the first time. To the left, General Washington, on horseback points toward the departing British fleet, while the American army makes ready to occupy the city. Latin inscription below: Boston retaken, March 17, 1776.This medal comes in the plastic case and contains the original paper work with the entire story as issued from the U.S. mint.

Refer: http://www.wscoin.com/ItemList.cfm?ID=331



In December last year, we advising of temporary changes to be made to the U.S. 5 Cent Nickel coin. The Schedule was for the release of a series of designs in commemoration of the Louisiana Purchase, and Lewis and Clark's expedition. 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. A depiction of Monticello will return to the nickel in 2006. The obverse will continue to bear the likeness of President Jefferson.

Nickel reverse: Louisiana Purchase/Peace Medal design"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. The medals were presented to Native American chiefs and other important leaders as tokens of goodwill at treaty signings and other events.  The design, by United States Mint sculptor/engraver Norman E. Nemeth, features two hands clasped in friendship - one with a military uniform cuff, symbolizing the American government, and the other with a silver band adorned with beads and a stylized American eagle, representing the Native American community with whom the United States sought good relations.


Nickel reverse: Keelboat design

2004 - The Second Design: "Keelboat"

Due for release on 2nd. August 2004, the second commemorative Jefferson nickel will feature 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 Lewis, the 55-foot keelboat could be sailed, rowed, poled like a raft, or towed from the riverbank. The design, by United States Mint sculptor/engraver Al Maletsky, shows Captains Lewis and Clark in full uniform in the bow of the keelboat."


Reference: United States Mint (URL. http://www.usmint.gov/mint_programs/index.cfm?flash=yes&action=nickel_series )



I recently received an email from a reader in British Columbia, Canada commenting on the article about early Indonesian currency ('Tasmanian Numismatist' - May edition) and mentioning that several of the notes, that I had illustrated in the story, had recently come to his attention along with some 1920's European inflation currency.

"I read with interest the article on the Japanese occupation currency.  In clearing the estate of a family friend we came across a number of old bank notes. There were 4 of the 10 Roepiah notes shown in the article as well as a 100 Roepiah note.  There were also German prewar inflation currency from circa. 1920 and Hungarian Korona notes from 1920. Would these be of interest to collectors?"

I have contacted the enquirer and answered his question in general, however, the note did remind me that there are many Australian readers who are probably aware of the scope of J.I.M. (Japanese Invasion Money) but the currency situation in the defeated nations of Europe just after the First World War remains a mystery.

A newsletter, such as this, cannot hope to do justice to the whole gamut of political problems that created these phenomena in Germany, Austria  and Hungary, but I can present a thumbnail sketch to start you or a journey - if you care to take it - into a rich area of numismatics that is often overlooked.



On past occasions, as I browsed through my European banknotes in the company of my ever curious grandson, I used to get asked those questions that most kids ask as they become aware of the buying power of oblong pieces of paper (or Polymer) with numbers on them.

"Is that real money? Is it 10,000 dollars? Can I buy stuff with it?" 

In most cases I would have answered, "Yes! That is real money - it is not the same as our money, but you can buy something with it if you lived in the country where it was made!"  Once upon a time, when he was 'little', I would then have gone into the finer points with my grandson at a financial level that he could understand - down amongst the icecreams, sweets and soft drinks. These days, he is a very numismatically-educated young boy for all of his 6 years- and I believe he will be an avid collector one day. His grasp of numbers is a little awesome and he prefers to do 'add ups', 'times' and 'take froms' at school in preference to a lot of other things - except play - and I know he is capable of 'extracting' the 'gold out of your teeth' to get banking money for his Christmas vacation.


It is still a little early for him to really understand the concept of inflation money but he knows that what he could buy for 20 cents a few short years ago now costs 25 cents. If he had lived in Europe during the early 1920's, he would have needed to be a mathematical genius to keep up with the inflation that was rampant at that time.

The situation had been brought about by the huge repayments the German and Austro-Hungarian Empires had to make to pay for their part in the First World War.

One of the notes (shown below 'k') reflects the growing unrest about what most Germans considered to be unfair treatment. If the note is turned sideways, the man appears to have a 'vampire' at his throat and this was taken as a hidden reference to the financial 'blood-sucking' that Germany saw itself being subjected to by the way of war reparations applied by the victorious nations after WWI. In fact, this situation was one of the catalysts that started Germany back on the road to conflict.

You will see, in these notes, the growing financial strain that the nation was facing and why this left the way open for political upheaval and the rise of nationalism.

Refer: Additional recommended reading regarding scale of reparations.






(a) 1910 One Hundred Marks printed on fine paper - dated Berlin 2nd April 1910 (207 x 102mm)

(b) 1910 One Thousand Marks - largest denomination issued in this series - dated Berlin 2nd April 1910 (185 x 110mm)


On 28th. June 1914, the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife Sophie had been assassinated in Sarajevo in Bosnia by a group of young anarchists.

This tragedy culminated in a declaration of war by Austria, on Bosnia and Serbia - who were held responsible for the murders.

Austria- Hungary, prompted by its greatest ally, the German Empire, had been looking for an excuse to invade Serbia - which they did on 28th.July 1914.

The German Empire had been formed by an expansionist Prussia in 1871 and it was obsessed with the fear that Russia and the other Slavic states would rise again to make war on Germany. They considered that it would be better to strike first and gain the advantage.

However, the numerous treaties, obligations and political deals that had been arranged throughout Europe by all the other paranoid nations meant that escalation was a foregone conclusion.

As the war progressed to encompass all of Europe by 4th. August 1914, greater demands were placed on the economy of the German Empire and the hoarding of precious metals, including coinage, became a 'fact of life' even up to corporate levels.

The Prussian Kaiser Wilhelm II, and his hierarchy, had decided that it would be quicker to print notes suitable for some of the countries that were either occupied by the German Army, or those who had allied themselves to the Empire, than to devote the hard currency, manpower, time and essential resources that would be needed for the manufacture of armaments and munitions, to such a trivial thing as the production of small change!

A few special issues of Darlehenskassenscheine (State Loan currency notes) were issued on August 5th 1914, in relatively small denominations ranging from 1 - 50 Marks, and another issue was made during the war years 1917 - 18 in denominations 5 and 20 Marks.



(c) 5th August 1914 State Loan Currency Note - 50 Mark. Largest denomination issued during 1914 - 1918 (150 x 100mm)


With the worsening coinage shortage at home, and the German government's actions as an example, the alternative was soon forth-coming!

The decision to print locally acceptable, small change 'trading' currencies, with a redemption date, was quickly made at district levels, by German and Austrian-Hungarian Burgermeisters (mayors) and their councils, to suit the needs of their immediate community, town or city.

As the First World War ground on with its terrible toll mounting each day, the mundane things like keeping the 'home fires burning' and the making and selling of the essentials of life also ground on. With the official currency losing its buying power and the shortage of small change for the day to day needs of many communities creating serious economic hardship, a multitude of these local issue 'token' currencies referred to as Notgeld, Gutscheine, Kriegsgeld blossomed almost overnight. Most were made of paper and printed with various degrees of expertise depending on the size of the community and its resources.

Soon the practice became widespread throughout the Empire, with many businesses also printing their own notgeld, as the metal coinages disappeared rapidly from the banks and the pockets of the public.

The first reported issue, totalling only 100 Mark, was made as early as July 31st. 1914 by the Buergerliches Brauhaus GmbH, Bremen, in values of 1, 2, and 2.5 Mark, on heavy paper, with hand-written signatures but not serial numbered.

So many instances have now been recorded, and more are still coming to the notice of those that specialise in this area of collecting, that it is obvious that hundreds of thousands of different value notgeld were in the German Empire's economy during 1914 -18.

The notgeld from one area was often acceptable or interchangeable in near-by areas but, like any situation that requires a certain amount of trust, there were also those who would arrange for the sale and distribution into general circulation of huge amounts of unsecured notes, that were nearly past their 'use-by date', and then to dishonour the late redemptions to make a tidy profit. Because of the 'unofficial' nature of the local currency and the naivety of some of the issuers in those early days, the abusers of the system were quick to take advantage of any loopholes.

Some entrepreneurs even printed their own spurious paper notes, and over 110 instances are known where whole denomination ranges of bogus notgeld notes were manufactured in the Hamburg area for districts that didn't even exist. Because of the sheer scale of the frauds, these notes would often be accepted and circulate for months until the redemption dates became due and then - there would be no-where to redeem them!



....... and Austrian Gutschein (Notgeld)


Examples of Austrian Gutschein (Notgeld)

(d) 10 Heller - valid period from 15th - 31st October 1921 (83 x 55mm)

(e) 80 Heller - valid period from 16th May - 31 January 1921 (79 x 53mm)

(f) 10 Heller - valid period from 26th May - 31st December 1920 (110 x 67mm)


We have comprehensively dealt with Austrian Notgeld in several previous articles, but a nice example of German Notgeld from the disputed area of Cologne (shown below 'g') will give readers an idea of the sort of article that could be produced. The well printed 5 Mark Gutschein was issued 18th October 1918 and is on a relatively heavy paper and is an example of the type produced by quality printers. However, in comparison another low value 50 Pfennig Kriegsgeld note dated 1918, from Rothenburg oder Tauber Stadt (Rothenburg on the Tauber River), is also on heavy paper but is very crudely designed and printed. Also, featured below, is a tissue-thin 1923 Gutschein for 500,000 Mark from Krumbach Stadt, to the south of Rothenburg in Bavaria, that was issued on 11th. August of that year and which had to be redeemed by 1st.September before its buying power was cancelled.

This note is hand-signed and it has a somewhat simplistic design, but it represent the thousands of similar issues that were flooding Germany and Austria at that time.

Currently, there is no full or accurate detail of all these issues of pieces of emergency money - although many hundreds have been identified and catalogued.

Many of these hugely varying sized notes notes are printed on inferior paper and are showing the ravages of time and their catalogue values are down in the 'few cents' cost range - but they do open up a huge collecting field and are extremely interesting to researchers.



           (g) Cologne Stadt 5 Mark Gutschein - 18th October 1918 (125 x 80mm)                 

(h) Rothenburg (oderTauber) Stadt (Bavaria) 50 Pfennig Kriegsgeld - 31st. October 1918 (96 x 60mm)



(i) Krumbach Stadt (Bavaria) 500,000 Mark Gutschein - valid period 11th August - 1st September 1923 (144 x 96mm)

 (j) Landau-oder-Isar (Bavaria) 500,000 Mark (The Trader's and Farmer's Bank) Bill of Exchange - August 1926 (170 x 100mm)

In recent years, because of the numismatic interest in notgeld, some fantasy issues have appeared which have further confused an already chaotic situation a little more, so - collectors beware! For the amateur collector it is usually a fact of life that they will never be able to identify these fantasies from genuine issues until they get a fair bit of knowledge under their belt. There are hundreds of books written by experts about the genuine notgeld issues - and they barely scratch the surface - so, if a few spurious issues are thrown in, what show has the novice got. The redeeming factor is that, because reasonable quality notgeld are now so cheap to procure, as a rule, it is not a worthwhile commercial exercise to make huge quantities of fantasies and make a profit - but they do turn up periodically as 'souvenirs'.

As mentioned, some 'enterprising' Germans actually did that themselves during the inflation period.

I daresay that some more experienced numismatists could also get caught, on occasion. as so many notgeld issues and denominations have not been identified. Notgeld expert, the late Dr. Arnold Keller (b.Jan.31st.1897-d.Dec.13th.1972), recorded that in 1914, 452 localities issued 5,500 notes and between 1916-22, small notes (under 1 mark value), were issued from 3,658 place and totalled 36,000 notes while large notes (over 1 Mark) came from 579 places and totalled over 5,000 notes. Multipy those figures by the number of notes printed in each denomination in each run and try to imagine the amount of notgeld that was in circulation along with the official Reichsbanknotes.

Dr. Keller also stated that the figures, quoted in his reports, were subject to correction due to many other institutions having issued notgeld and the records had been lost or destroyed during the war, e.g. Concentration camps and P.O.W. camps.

For those who are interested in collecting 1914 -23 German or Austrian notgeld it is suggested that you specialise in any one of the theme aspects e.g. Pictorial Themes - Animals, Buildings etc....., as even Dr. Keller acknowledged - it is nearly a hopeless task to put together a definitive range of German Empire notgeld.




(k) Ten Thousand Mark - dated Berlin 19th January 1922 - the famed 'Vampire at the throat of Germany' portrayal (painted by A. Durer) (210 x 125mm)

(l) Fifty Thousand Mark - dated Berlin 19th November 1922 -  featuring Burgermaster Brauweiler (190 x 110mm) - Largest denomination in this series.


 (m) Fifty Thousand Mark - as above (l) with background and colour variations to design


In Germany and Austria, for instance during the early 1920's wages were starting to be measured with a metre ruler as the value of the circulating currency plummeted. To offset this, a new range of notes were produced - with a few extra 000's tacked on. Then a few more.......... In terms of actual notes issued during this period, it has been estimated that a conservative figure would be about 10 BILLION pieces of paper. There were 30 paper mills producing paper just for banknotes.

There is a story that Albert Einstein went into the Vienna during 1922 to post a letter and after he bought his tram ticket and the postage stamp, the price of the tram fare home was too expensive, because the value of his money had decreased in just a few hours, that he had to walk home.

By 1923, the printing presses of 150 printers were going 24 hours a day and still couldn't keep up with inflation, and old previously un- issued notes with a value of One Thousand Mark, for instance, were being overstamped to read One Milliarde Mark (10,000,000,000) - and by February 1924, notes of up to 100 Billionen Mark (100,000,000,000,000) were being issued. To save time, many notes at this time were only being printed on one side on smaller pieces of inferior paper and many are now subject to 'foxing' (brown stains) as they age. It has been noted that subtle variations occur in identical denomination notes due to the urgency of production.




(n) 100,000,000 Mark - dated Berlin 1st. October 1923 - typical uniface-style note (150 x 85mm)

(o) 1000 Mark - dated Berlin 15th. December 1922 overprinted and re-issued in 1923 as 1,000,000,000 Mark (140 x 90mm)

Largest denomination in the 11 series that were during issued in 1923 was 10 Billionen Mark (10,000,000,000,000)


The German Reichsbank had issued 300 basic types and 30,000 varieties, while the German colonies issued another 3,800 notes, during World War I.

When the inflation started to escalate out of control in 1922 - 23, over 800 places had issued 4,000 notes between 10 -1000 mark and another 5,849 places issued 70,000 notes ranging from 1000 mark upwards. Don't forget to multiple those figures by the amount per run of each denomination.

All the notes shown in this arcticle are from the author's own collection and, the big numbered denominations not-with-standing, they would be - in the majority - valued by dealers at between US$0.50 Cents - US$5.00 each today. That is far more than what they were worth in their time.

It was reported to be cheaper to use the money as wallpaper than to buy a roll - and a few of the older surviving houses in those inflation ravaged nations have probably got a 'fortune' in banknotes stuck to the walls under the more modern layers of paper.

I have a picture taken in 1923, of two children playing 'building blocks' with a large pyramid of banknote bundles, and, on the usagold.com site, that of a German housewife burning wads of money because it was cheaper than firewood (see below 'q'). Refer: http://www.usagold.com/GermanNightmare.html

Another inflation anecdote relates the story of a woman shopper who was supposed to have left a basket full of Marks outside a store for a moment; when she returned the money was still there but somebody had made off with her basket.



(p- i & ii) 1923 Uniface German Reichsbanknotes - dated Berlin 9th August 1923 for 1 & 2 Million Mark

(q - i &ii) The original photo of a German housewife burning worthless Marks in the early 1920's.

 The 100,000,000 Mark note shown in the background of an Internet article, featuring the same picture, appears to be a semi-official issue from a Stadt und Landkreis (city & district) organisation, possibly in Hamburg. Note what appear to be the two Reichsbank Direktorium logos on the bottom of the note.


Virtually worthless 1922 - 23 Reichsbanknotes being pressed into a crate as waste-paper - enough for a loaf of bread?

Those on the floor appear to consist mainly of 1922 (19th. November issue) 50,000 Mark notes (similar to Illustrations l and m)

Date of photo not known.


The situation in Hungary, after World War I, follows the same general inflationary path of Germany in that over-stated war reparations, imposed by some of the greedier Allied nations, were draining the economic life-blood from the defeated countries. At that time the empires of Austria and Hungary were intertwined and both suffered similar bitter fates for being in the Germanic alliance during the conflict.

Businesses were putting up prices in an effort to maintain a feasible 'break even' profit margin, wages would then need to rise to cope with higher prices and this created an ever-quickening upwards spiral that eventually got completely out off control. Many business could not cope and closed their doors.

Inflation and then hyper-inflation threw the empires of Germany, Austria and Hungary into chaos as money became virtually worthless. Coupled with the massive bouts of unemployment, the scene was being set for the disasters that culminated in another European conflict and, then, a terrible war that engulfed the world once more.

In 1923, the situation became so desperate that the German Government  introduced a new stabilising currency, the Rentenmark, which was valued at One Rentenmark equalling 1000,000,000,000 Reichsmarks. It also knocked off most of the zeros from the new designs in Reichsmark issues that were then issued at par with the Rentenmark from 1924 onwards until the last issue of Rentenmarks was made in 1937.  In 1939 the swastika first appeared on a 20 Reichsmark note.


During 1914 -15, the Oesterreichisch-Ungarische Bank (Austrian-Hungarian Bank) issued a follow on series from the 1913 - 14 issue of 20 and 50 Kronen notes, that ranged over I, 2, 5 and 10 Kronen. Prior to these series, and after a currency name change in 1900, the denominations ceased at 1,000 Kronen - a note issued in 1902. During the years of turmoil the buying power of the currency started to decline and notes with values of up to 1,000,000 Kronen were issued in 1918.

Peace, at first, brought with it a sense of economic relief and the currency was revalued downwards to equate with its buying power but it was a short-lived relief.

Hungary achieved separation to become a communist-dominated republic in 1918 - but it was a short-lived experiment that brought with it a fair amount of political upheaval and the country fell back into the monarchal system - although it had no king - in 1920

By 1919 - 1920 the economies of both countries were in deep trouble with rampany inflation and notes with values of 10,000 Kronen were appearing from the printers and the old Austro-Hungarian notes were being overprinted and being issued by the Deutschõsterreich Bank - and the Magyar Nemzeti Bank (Hungarian National Bank) started to issue currency in 1919 with notes between 10 and 1000 Korona (Kronen).

During the 1920's inflation period, there were several series of Korona notes issued by various issuing authorities and, whilst efforts were made to control the post WWI inflation, the denominations crept up and in September 1923 a note of 1Million Korona was issued.

In 1925, the Pengo system was introduced, initially as a provisional overprint on unissued 1923 notes, until the resumed Magyar Nemzeti Bank currency was printed with Pengo denominations in 1926 -27 in the denomination range from 5 - 1000. There were several small revaluations in 1938 - 39 but, at that time, the politics of Europe were changing and most currencies were locked into place - at least at the official level. 



Overprints - issued in 1919


 Oesterreichisch-Ungarische Banknotes with various coloured stamps showing the Deutschõsterreich Bank overprint - issued in 1919.

(r) Thousand Kronen note dated - Vienna, 2nd. January 1902 (193 x 130mm)

(s) Two Kronen note dated - Vienna 1st. March 1917 (125 x 83mm)


Magyar Nemzeti Bank (Hungarian National Bank)

(t) Pre - hyperinflation 100 Pengo note - dated Budapest 1st July 1930 (176 x 90mm)

Largest denomination is this early series.


This was a currency that would eventually show the world's highest inflation rate after WWII when a note with a huge denomination of 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 Pengo = EgyMilliard B.- Pengo = One Thousand Million Billion Pengo was printed but not issued due to a financial reform that saw money re-valued and the Forint system replace the Pengo in late 1946. At one stage, during this hyper-inflation period, prices were known to be rising at least 10 times a day.


(u) Hungarian National Bank 1,000,000,000,000,000 Pengo note - dated Budapest 3rd July 1946 (173 x 85mm)

A similar design and dated note (Green) was printed, but not issued, with a denomination of 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 Pengo

Largest denomination actually issued in this series was 100,000,000,000,000,000,000 Pengo


If I have inadvertently added a few extra zeros due to a different understanding of terms such as 'Billion' I don't think it will make much difference these days - but feel free to knock a few 000's off if you think they should go!  It won't cost you a brass razoo!



"A Guide and Checklist of World Notgeld 1914 - 1947"  by Courtney L. Coffing 1988.

"Standard Catalog of World Paper Money, Volume Two - 8th Edition" by Albert Pick. (Krause Publications) Colin R. Bruce II and Neil Shafer, Editors.

'usagold.com' - Refer: http://www.usagold.com/GermanNightmare.html


NEXT MONTH - What Became of J.I.M.? - (For those who were too young to know!)

                      - What They Do to Coins! - (Some Use - some Abuse.)

                      - The Wonderful World of Gaming Chips - (Place your bets, Ladies & Gentlemen!)




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