Volume 4 Issue 12                                                                                          December 1999.

Index For This Month:

  • TASMANIAN NUMISMATIC SOCIETY INC.
  • SOCIETY SNIPPETS.
  • AROUND THE TRAPS.
  • THE KING OF ICELAND & OTHER OBSERVATIONS.
  • INTERNET NEWS.
  • MILITARY MEDALS.
  • CHRISTMAS MESSAGE
  • PREVIOUS ISSUES FOR VIEWING

  • TASMANIAN NUMISMATIC SOCIETY INC. Anyone who wishes to apply for membership to our non-profit making organisation, 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 addresses for an application form and details of subscriptions :-
    The Secretary,
    Tasmanian Numismatic Society, Inc.
    G.P.O. Box 884J.
    Hobart. Tasmania. 7001.
    Australia.
    Our members meet at 8.00 p.m. on the 2nd.Thursday of each month (except January), in our social rooms at the Masonic Club, 181 Macquarie St., Hobart. Tasmania. Visitors are always welcome!

    TASMANIAN NUMISMATIST.

  • Any literary contributions or relevant and constructive comments regarding numismatics are always welcome and can be sent to the T.N.S. or directed to :

  • The Editor,
    Tasmanian Numismatist.
    P.O.Box 10,
    Ravenswood. 7250. Tasmania.
    Australia.
    Internet Page : http://www.vision.net.au/~pwood/tns.html
    Email : pwood@vision.net.au

    The Tasmanian Numismatist’ is published and distributed FREE, on a monthly basis, to members of the Tasmanian Numismatic Society Inc., and selected associates and institutions. This publication is the only official newsletter of the Tasmanian Numismatic Society Inc.’ and its aim is to promote the hobby of numismatics in an entertaining and enjoyable way, under the guidelines suggested by the executive committee of the T.N.S.

    All details of a commercial nature, organisations, items or individual arrangement to buy, sell or trade are provided as information only, and any consequent dealings are between the parties concerned.
    The ‘Tasmanian Numismatist’ takes no responsibility for disagreements between parties, and also reserves the right to only feature information that it considers suitable in promoting our hobby to our members under the guidelines suggested by the Society. Deadline for contributions or amendment to copy is 7 Days prior to the beginning of the month of publication.

    This newsletter and its contents are copyrighted © , but anything herein (except as noted below) can be fairly used to promote the great hobby of numismatics; however, we do like to be asked by commercial interests if they wish to use any of our copy. Usually, we are not too hard to get on with - and, as long as you undertake to give credit to the author and the ‘Tasmanian Numismatist’ we don’t mind too much!
    This permission, however, does not extend to any article specifically marked as copyrighted © by the author of the article. In the latter case, you must get explicit permission from the author either directly or through the ‘Tasmanian Numismatist’ to use that material.
    All opinions expressed in material published in this newsletter are those of the authors, and not necessarily those of the Tasmanian Numismatic Society Inc.’ or the Editor.
     


    Index
    SOCIETY SNIPPETS.

    T.N.S. MEETINGS.

    The following edited details were taken from the unconfirmed minutes of the Committee Meeting held on October 28th and the General meeting held at the Hobart Masonic Club on November 11th 1999 and, as such, are for member’s information only - and future T.N.S. historians!
    Fresh back from his vacation in the U.S., Vice-President Christopher Heath again took over the hot-seat as Acting Chairman and thanked Kevin Hogue for his valiant efforts in controlling the unruly horde at the previous General Meeting - which from all reports, actually went very well. With the introduction of two visitors from the north of the state and interesting 'show and tell' and 'buy and sell' segments, Kevin did a great job in keeping the ball rolling. Thank you, Kevin!
    Our President, Roger McNeice, was still away in Europe at the time of this meeting, but he had advised that another business trip, this time to New Zealand, was on his schedule virtually immediately on his return to Tasmania. He proffered his apologies for his absence from the Committee Meeting and also the next General Meeting to be held on November 11th (Can we carry your bags next time, Roger?)
    Our Society finances are still reasonable - and we are still able to pay the costs incurred in the production of our newsletter - so Treasurer Charles Hunt advised our Committee.
    Society Secretary, Geoffrey Forrest, advised that correspondence had been received and tabled from those other Australian clubs with whom we enjoy good relations. He also had received information via Internet from "eBay" regarding that organisation's method of making available facilities for the buying and selling of numismatic items for those members who may be interested. Chris Heath took the opportunity during 'General Business' to recount his experiences and mention numismatic acquisitions he attained during his recent trip. Whilst Chris didn't have a lot of time to shop around, because of his itinerary, those members of the Society who had asked him to keep an eye out for them were happy with the items he had managed to pick up on their behalf.
    We are still endeavouring to promote publicity for the Society by means of the 'Community Diary' segments in our local newspapers, but available space is at a premium and we still wait our turn. In an endeavour to continue promoting national and international recognition for the Society, the Committee thought it was appropriate to mention that the Year 2000 'Tasmanian Numismatist' Editor's Award Certificates for newsletter contributions have now been forwarded to our Canadian collaborators, Dominic Labbé of the 'Association Des Numismates Francophones Du Canada. (ANFC)' and Jérôme H. Remick III, (better known as 'Jerry') who has also been a member of our Tasmanian Numismatic Society as well as the ANFC and the 'Société Numismatique de Québec (SNQ)' for many years.
    (Members should note that the Editor's Award is open to all contributors who have items published - it is made at the Editor's discretion and, on special occasions, more than one annual Award may be made available.)

    DECEMBER GET-TOGETHER.
    Our President, Roger McNeice, and his charming wife Jill, have cordially invited members of the 'Tasmanian Numismatic Society' to attend the 1999 get-together which will be held in the gardens of their residence at Taroona.
    Where - 8 Orana Place, Taroona. Tas. (The turn-off to Orana Place is just opposite the Taroona Hotel.)
    When - Sunday, 12th December 1999.
    Time - 11.00 a.m.
    Please note that, as this a B.Y.O. function, those members who wish to attend are requested to bring along their own choice of meat or whatever, suitable for a BBQ luncheon or their dietary requirements - plus their own brand of 'liquid refreshment'.
    Our hosts will provide side salads, desserts - and lots of good company!
    T.N.S. Secretary,
    G. P.O. Box 884J;
    Hobart. Tas. 7001.
    R.S.V.P. - For catering requirements Roger and Jill will need an idea of the number of prospective guests.
    If you haven't already done so - and you would like to put in a few pleasant hours - please contact our Secretary A.S.A.P. on (03) 6273 5199 (Evenings) prior to our 9th December General Meeting so that we can advise our hosts of the numbers to expect.

    Index

    AROUND THE TRAPS.
    Bruce Dooley's 'Coins 'n' Things' at Shop 3E in the Centreway Arcade in Launceston has evidently proven very popular - so much so that he had an unwelcome visitor late one evening, 4 weeks ago, who forced an entry and used one of Bruce's own briefcases to spirit away several $'000's of stock. Bruce urgently needs replacements to fill up the gaps so he has asked that we let our local members and readers know that he is in the market to buy as well as to sell quality numismatics and exonumia.
    Phone him for an appointment (03) 6331 8187 on Thursdays or Fridays between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.

    We have also heard on our grapevine that 'TasMedals' of Victoria St. Hobart have now been officially authorised to produce, as well as mount the replicas of the Tasmania Police Integrity Medal.  It's great to see a Tasmanian firm getting Tasmanian work!

    Index

    THE KING OF ICELAND & OTHER OBSERVATIONS. By Jørgen Sømod.
    Correspondent Jørgen Sømod, of Denmark, has recently forwarded several brief email articles about two little known Australian-Danish connections from the 19th century. (Refer 'Tasmanian Numismatist' - June '99 edition, for a previous article from Jørgen .)
    Jørgen reminds us that the people of the Republic of Iceland once had their own 'unofficial' king, Jørgen Jørgensen.
    The island of Iceland was originally settled by Norwegian Vikings in the early 9th Century and first became an independent republic in 930 A. D. but, eventually, came under official Norwegian sovereignty from 1262 until 1380.
    When Denmark and Norway were united at that time, under the Danish crown, the island became a Danish outpost but, by 1918, Iceland was regarded as an independent kingdom in union with Denmark.
    During WWII, while Denmark was under Nazi control, Iceland held a plebiscite and again became an independent republic. (At Jørgen's request I have made the several grammatical corrections needed in his translation from old Danish….. Ed..)

    Jørgen Jørgensen, the son of a Copenhagen clockmaker, was born in 1780 and, during his early days, he became an adventurer. He arrived in Iceland in 1809, after the Napoleonic Wars, and decided to proclaim himself 'King' - a position he held for about 100 days before moving on. He eventually returned to Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) were it is reported he died sometime around 1838. Jørgensen had apparently lived in Sydney in 1803, prior to his Icelandic adventures, and included in his memoirs were comments about the Australian part of his life and how things were during those early days of the colony.
    Numismatically, Jørgensen made the following observations in his diaries.

    " In the early days of the history of New South Wales, food was very expensive because of the rare deliveries from England. It was not unusual to pay 10 Guineas for one gallon of Rum - undiluted if you were lucky! Tobacco was also very expensive and Tea was never under one guinea for a pound. Even coins were inflated in accordance with the general high cost of living. The normal penny coins circulated as twopence and the halfpence as a penny. Copper coins were brought to Australia from England by ship's captains who could then make a profit of 100% without any trouble. The colony was eventually swamped with these copper coins. In fact it was worse than when Wood's Halfpence were abolished by Dean Swift*. Governor King eventually had to ban further importation of that type of coin and avoided further speculation by reducing the values of the copper coins back to their original values."
    *(The reference may refer to Jonathan Swift (1667 - 1745), of Gulliver's Travels fame, who was the Dean of St. Patricks in Ireland at the time Wood's Hibernia copper alloy coinage was released. Because they were unacceptable in Ireland many of these brass coins were returned and sent to the American colonies.)

    Not all books about coinage were written for or by numismatists.
    Jørgen recounts of one old Danish book that he has read which was written expressly for Danish merchants in 1882 to enable them to know the accepted bullion value of coins from around the trading world of those days.
    The book by R.W. Bauer was entitled " Haandbog i Mønt - Maal -og Vaegtforhold." - which translates as - "Handbook in Coin - Measures and Weight Relations". In the 2nd Edition, on page 329, is a reference to 'Australia - New Holland Coin'.

    "Here, as in England, they use a Pound of 20 Shillings and each Shilling has 12 Pence. The value of this coin can be calculated like that of Jamaica (page 244) which uses the Spanish and Mexican Piastre (8 Reales). The Piastre (also known as a Dollar) is also circulating here (in Australia) in large quantities and is taken as 50 Pence under the ruling of 14th September 1838. An Australian Pound (in silver coin) can thus be taken as equalling 18 Kroner 46.15 øre.
    In Australia they have struck special gold one and half Sovereign coins like the English except that they have slight differences. One thing they do have on the reverse is the word 'Australia'. The gold coin Sovereigns were originally struck under the name of 'Australian Pound' and the weight was 175/623 (.2809) English Troy Ounce which equals 8.7369 French grams. Its fineness is 916.7 and thus contained 8.0089 French grams of Fine gold. It can be calculated that 32 such (Australian) gold coins equalled in value 35 English Sovereigns or 1 Australian Gold Pound was equal to 19 Kroner 86.20 øre. Besides the English gold, silver and copper coins are also the Mexican and Spanish silver Piastres (so called 'dollars') South American Piastres, North American gold and silver Dollars and English East Indian Company Rupees. Also gold is used in ingots and gold dust.
    The small change (copper) currency has a lower value, as the Spanish or Mexican silver Piastre was fixed at 5 Shillings or 60 Pence, and the value of a pound of small change was 15 Kroner 38.46 øre."

    The current recognised weight of the Australian Sydney Mint Sovereign 1855 - 1870 is now accepted as :-
    Weight :- 7.988 grams.
    Composition: - 916.6 Fine (22 carat) 91.67% Gold - 8.33% Silver
    Actual Gold Weight: - .2354 oz. Troy
    In 1871 the composition of the Sovereign was changed to 91.67% Gold - 8.33% Copper in line with the English Sovereign.
    Most of the Mexican and Spanish Dollars circulating at that time contained .903 Silver or .7859 oz actual Silver weight.
    At the time this book, by R.W. Bauer, was being published, Australia was undergoing great changes in manufacturing and the mining boom was just about to go into high gear but the economy was already starting to suffer severe fluctuations. Land speculation had started to fizzle out and some Victorian banks were collapsing, yet, it would be another few years before the severe depression of the 1890's became a reality. For a decade Australia would languish in the financial wilderness until the growth in rural enterprises, particularly wheat and wool, lifted the country out of the doldrums.

    Index

    INTERNET NEWS.
    Many of the articles we present from sites on the Internet are often in such depth as to be too complex for our Society's locally produced newsletter to cope with - except in this brief form. To those who do not have Internet access please accept our apologies for not being able to expand on several of our more fascinating stories. However, if you would like further information about the subjects mentioned in this segment, drop us a line and we will endeavour to assist.

    We received an interesting email from Jerry Adams, webmaster of 'Talkin' Tokens', after his return from a recent trip to meet up with other friends who are members of the Texas Token Collectors at their annual token show in Houston.
    The 'Talkin' Tokens' homepage can be accessed at: - http://www.members.home.net/tokenguy/
    This group of long time friends and collectors, who regularly turn up for the Houston show, usually take their excess tokens to sell or exchange and it was discovered that, amongst them, were three that were identified as 'dubious'. It appears that even experienced local token collectors can occasionally get caught with better than average replicas that have been passed off and accepted as genuine. It appears that the questionable items were recently purchased through an eBay auction and, it is also believed, that they may have passed though several other innocent buyers' hands before the truth was eventually revealed.
    These particular U.S. dollar sized aluminium tokens were not relatively expensive, but they highlight the fact that even 'cheapies' can be, and are, faked. Two of the fakes were of the dollar size Barrier Bros. Dept. Store tokens from Lubbock, Texas and the other was like an aluminium token of Wood and Miller, Thermopolis, Wyoming. Collectors should be aware of the recent influx of fake tokens made to appear like aluminium dollar size tokens. The origin of the fakes seems to be near the Bryan-College Station, Texas area. If enough of these deceptive pieces are put onto the market they can still make a handsome profit for someone. With some scarcer tokens now bringing thousands of dollars, there is always the possibility that the manufacturers of these cheap fakes will be tempted to take the next step up the greed ladder.
    Jerry's message to the average token collector was sensible and very simple - 'Caveat Emptor'.


    Back row l. to r.: Bob Smith, Jim Kattner, Travis Roberts, David Durocher
    Front row l. to r.: John Byars, Jerry Adams

    (Above) A FEW MEMBERS OF THE TEXAS TOKEN COLLECTORS at the HOUSTON TOKEN SHOW - Nov. 13th 1999.
     

    The term 'Don't take any wooden nickels' changed meaning when a little parcel of 20 or so of these cheap wooden token discs arrived in my mail recently. These were very acceptable to my growing collection of American exonumia - Thank you, Jerry!

    Our sister club, the 'Anchorage Coin Club' of Alaska, continues to provide great articles for their club members and also for international Internet readers like ourselves The November issue of their prize winning newsletter, 'ACCent', contained an extremely good one - "MEDIEVAL ISLAMIC COINAGE" by Richard Bilak (A.C.C. Member # 176) which is about some of the development of early Islamic coinage. It should be read by numismatists who have specimens of these interesting types in their collections. The article touches on the political and religious history of Islamic coinage in a most easy to read manner and we are gently educated along the way. This is a great article about "Early Post Reform Coinage" - the Islamic coinage of the Umayyad Caliph. The complete article and all illustrations can be accessed at: - http://www.alaska.net/~nakata/coin_club.htm While catching up on some numismatic 'surfing' it was noticed that the homepages of 'TasMedals', which had been under review for some considerable time, have now been substantially upgraded with a lot of new information. For those with an interest in Medallions, Lapel Pins, Military and other essential Service Medals, this quality site can still be accessed at: - http://www.tasmedals.com.au/ - and it contains ordering details of their Year 2000 Medallion range. For those people who showed interested in the Duchy of Avram currency as described in Colin Bruce II's 'Unusual World Coins' and the stories previously published in this newsletter, we would advise that the Internet site of John, Duke of Avram is now located at: - http://www.royalbanker.org John recently contacted the 'Tasmanian Numismatist' and advised that his heraldic page was still under construction but anyone was welcome to visit the site and to make inquiries.

    Index

    MILITARY MEDALS.
    As some of our members are aware I am also the editor of the 'Artillery Historical Trust News'. Occasionally an article comes to my Artillery Trust 'desk' that may be of interest to those members who specialise in military medals. The following notes are from an article that will be published in January. The correspondent, Claude Shegog of Mowbray, was in the Royal Australian Signal Corp. attached to the 6th Field Regiment during 1941-2 in Tasmania before then serving in New Guinea where he was then attached to the Coastal Artillery and Anti-Aircraft Batteries at Milne Bay and, finally, in the Philippines. Claude recollected that his Great-great grandfather, Sgt. Major James Shegog, had taken part in the Crimea campaign. Claude's son, Major Andrew Shegog, currently O.C. of the 103rd Signal Squadron in East Timor, now proudly holds in trust the medals that have been passed down through the family from the Crimean War. Claude also included a copy of the obituary of his Great-great grandfather, taken from the 'Launceston Examiner' dated Monday, April 27th 1896, and it was of such interest that I have decided to present it, in an edited form, for our readers. Included in the medal group are the 'Crimea War Medal' with 3 clasps that commemorates the Battles of Sebastopol, Inkermann and Balaclava, the Turkish Medal, and the Distinguished Conduct Medal which carried a 20 Pounds annuity.

    OBITUARY.
    A Crimea Veteran.

    On Friday last there passed away at the ripe old age of 85 a Crimea veteran of no mean distinction in the person of Sergeant-Major James Shegog, late of the 5th Dragoon Guards, whose death took place at Glen, near Lefroy, where he had lived since his arrival in this colony. It is not given to many men to hold such a record for distinguished service in the field as was possessed by the late Sergeant-Major. Born in County Monaghan, North of Ireland, in the year 1811, he served five years in the Royal Irish Constabulary, after which he enlisted in the 5th Dragoon Guards on December 21, 1834 and served in that celebrated regiment 21 years and 103 days, securing his discharge on March 22, 1856. At the outbreak of the Crimean war in 1854 Mr. Shegog had completed service sufficient to entitle him to his discharge, but he volunteered to go out with his regiment to the Crimea, being at that time the rough riding sergeant-major. On arrival at the seat of war he was appointed orderly to General Sir Yorke Scarlett and is several times referred to by Mr. A. W. Kinglake in his 'Invasion of the Crimea.' This writer says that he "had attained to high skill as a swordsman and was a valorous, faithful soldier".

    At the charge of the Heavy Brigade on that ever to be remembered 25th October, 1854, which took place just prior to that of the Light Brigade …Sergeant-Major Shegog was at the head of the brigade in attendance on Sir James Yorke Scarlett, who, accompanied by his aide-de-camp, Lieutenant Elliott, and Bugler Baker, rode in front of his troops and, having in the excitement of the charge outpaced the brigade, these four men rode at a mass of cavalry many thousands strong, and were completely engulfed in the Russian columns.

    "Of course," says Kinglake, " the incursion of the brigadier and the three horsemen with him had more of the 'forlorn hope' that could belong to the enterprise of the squadrons which followed him into the columns; but, upon the whole, these combats of Scarlett's and his aide-de-camp were more or less samples of that war of the one against several which each of the 'three hundred' waged. They cut their way in and they cut their way out."

    As mentioned previously Sergt.-Major Shegog secured his discharge at the close of the war, and became troop sergt.-major of the Staffordshire yeomanry cavalry, which position he held for 11 years, when he retired from the service altogether. In 1880 he came to Tasmania … where he has resided since; it certainly seems strange that a man who has made himself so famous in history should have resided here so long and yet so few knew it. The deceased was recommended for the Victoria Cross by Sir Yorke Scarlett, but was not fortunate enough to receive it. He, however, obtained the medal 'for distinguished conduct in the field' which carried with it an annuity of £20; the Crimean Medal, with clasps for Sebastopol, Inkermann and Balaclava; and also the Turkish Medal. After retiring from active service he made application to be appointed a Yeoman of the Guard but was regretfully refused on account of having exceeded the stipulated age. It has been suggested that a military funeral should be tendered the deceased. Strictly speaking, this is an honour he is not entitled to, but seeing it is so seldom that the members of the Tasmania Defence Force have an opportunity of paying this tribute of respect to so distinguished a soldier it would have been a graceful act to have availed themselves of it when one was offered them.

    POSTSCRIPT.
    Historical data tells us that on October 25th. 1854, the 4th, the 5th and the 6th Dragoons, who last fought together at the Boyne, rode together again in the charge of the Heavy Brigade at Balaclava. In this action, eight hundred men, commanded by Major General James Yorke-Scarlett, himself a past Commanding Officer of the 5th Dragoon Guards, routed nearly three thousand five hundred of the Tsar's finest cavalry, with minimal loss to themselves, and so demoralised the Russian horsemen that they did not dare follow up the subsequent disaster to the Light Brigade later the same day.

    Crimean War Medal

    The Crimean War Medal was sanctioned on the 15th December 1854 by order of Queen Victoria. Two clasps were also authorised at this time, for the battles of Alma (20th September 1854) and Inkermann (5th November 1854). The clasp for the battle of Balaklava (which took place before that of Inkermann, on 25th October 1854) was not authorised until 23rd February 1855. The clasp for the fall of Sebastopol (9th September 1855) was granted on 13th October 1855. A clasp was also awarded to the Royal Navy and Royal Marines for actions in the Sea of Azoff (25th May - 22nd September 1855), being announced in the "London Gazette" of 2nd May 1856. The clasps are worn in date order, with the clasp for Alma being closest to the medal.
    The medal itself is a 36mm disc of sterling silver, bearing the diademed head of Queen Victoria on the obverse, together with the legend "VICTORIA REGINA" and the date "1854"; the reverse shows a Roman legionary (carrying a gladius and circular shield) being crowned with a laurel wreath by a winged figure of Victory; to the left is the legend "CRIMEA," which is written vertically. The suspension is an ornate floriated swivelling suspender unique to the Crimea Medal; the clasps are also unique, being in the form of an oak leaf with an acorn at each extremity. The ribbon is 27mm wide, pale blue with yellow edges.

    APOLOGY

    The following email was received from Mike Hargreave-Mawson, (Web Officer of the Crimean War Research Society) and, after checking, we sincerely apologise for inadvertently omitting the usual references to the fact that Mike was the source of the illustration and accompanying text regarding the Crimean War Medal, in our article about Sgt. Major James Shegog. 

    (Tasmanian Numismatist - Internet Edition, December 1999). SORRY, MIKE - WE WILL FIX IT, A.S.A.P.!

    Mike has graciously reminded us that we can still access his own fine detailed article of the Charge of the Light Brigade and other actions on the Web at the Crimean War Research Society site: http://www.crimeanwar.org/

    Additional details of the Crimean War Research Society: http://www.hargreave-mawson.demon.co.uk/cwrs.html

    Index

    The

    ‘TASMANIAN NUMISMATIST’

    sincerely wishes our friends, associates, colleagues as well as our many readers and their families, throughout the world,

    ‘A Safe and Merry Christmas!’

    We look forward to 2000 with excitement - and we hope that all the good things that you wish for yourselves will be forthcoming.

    Index


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    This newsletter and its contents are copyrighted © , but anything herein (except as noted below) can be fairly used to promote the great hobby of numismatics, however, we do like to be asked by commercial interests if they wish to use any of our stuff. Usually, we are not too hard to get on with - and, as long as you undertake to give credit to the author and the Tasmanian Numismatist’ we don’t mind too much!
    This permission, however, does not extend to articles specifically marked as copyrighted © by the author of the article. In the latter case, you must get explicit permission from the author either directly or through the ‘Tasmanian Numismatist’ to use that material.