Volume 10 Issue 2                                                   INTERNET EDITION                                                      February 2005.

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 'Tasmanian Numismatist' welcomes all our Tasmanian Numismatic Society members and readers and hopes to bring you a broad range of numismatic entertainment, as well as a little education - and answer a few questions along the way. If you like our Internet Edition or have any positive comments about a particular subject we are always glad to hear from you!

We always encourage readers to contribute medium-sized numismatically based articles that may be suitable for publishing - so if you think that you may have something that fits this broad ranging category, please don't be hesitant in bringing it to our notice. Whilst we cannot promise publication in all instances we will certainly give it our sincere consideration and, if required, we can smooth off any rough edges and undertake editing on your behalf.




Notices have been sent out to existing members to remind them to forward their 2005 subscriptions to the Secretary as they are now due.

If it has slipped your mind, please make a note to put it in the mail at your earliest convenience.

Current rates:

Full adult membership (with voting rights) -                    A$20.00 p.a. Eligible for all Society Awards.

Associate or Internet membership (no voting rights) -    A$10.00 p.a. Eligible for some Society Awards.

Junior membership (no voting rights) -                          A$10.00 p.a. Eligible for some Society Awards.

Full international membership -                                     A$25.00 p.a. Eligible for all Society Awards.

Our Secretary thanks those member who have already done the deed and sent in their subs early - it saves a lot of extra postage not having to chase them up



It is confirmed that the A.G.M. of the Tasmanian Numismatic Society is set down to be at Tolosa Park, Glenorchy on Sunday 20th February 2005, commencing at  11.00 a.m. The Meeting will be held in conjunction with our Annual BBQ and all financial members and guests are invited to attend. It will be B.Y.O everything and that way everyone gets to have what they like or whatever fits in with dietary requirements. 

We need to point out that those T.N.S. members, and their guests, who choose to attend do so at their own risk.

All present elected Committee positions* will be declared vacant on the day, and nominations will be called to fill these positions for the next twelve months.

In the event of more than one nomination for the vacancy, a ballot of members present at the Meeting will be held to determine the incumbent.. Previous Committee members are eligible for re-election to any position. All financial members are eligible for nomination and should try to attend this most important annual meeting.

If you are considering nominating for any of the above positions and, if you consider that you may be unable to attend the event for any legitimate reason, you may contact our T.N.S. Secretary, Mr. Chris Heath, and lodge your intention in advance if you wish. Normal Society election procedures will be observed.

Committee positions are currently held by:

Honorary Patron:                                                  Mr. Bill Bleathman.

President:                                                            Mr. R. McNeice OAM; FRNS.*

Vice President (North)/Editor/Public relations:        Mr. G. Petterwood.*

Vice President (South)/Public Officer/Secretary:     Mr. C. Heath.* 

Treasurer:                                                             Mr. K. Hogue.* 

Committee/Internet Webmaster:                             Mr. P. Petterwood.* 

Honorary Auditor:                                                  Mr. R. Watson. 



DATE:       FEBRUARY 20th; 2005

PLACE:      HUT 12, "Bottlebrush" - TOLOSA PARK, GLENORCHY.

TIME:        11.00 a.m.



From time to time, numismatic groups, such as ours, like to 'beat our own drum' by producing something unique, or different, to draw attention to the fact that we exist - or have something important we need to to 'crow' about.  This year, the 'Tasmanian Numismatic Society' is already heading towards the completion of its 42nd year and it's something we current members should be proud of. The selection of medallion examples was purely arbitrary and the illustrations are not to scale.

The introduction to the following article is an adapted extract from the 'Tasmanian Numismatist - Internet Edition' August 1998, as the Society was preparing to celebrate its 35th Anniversary.

'From small acorns have grown mighty oaks!’

"The first meeting of the Society was held in early October 1963, and the group consisted of Roger McNeice, John Richmond and Lou Watson. They had gathered  at 333 Macquarie St., Hobart, after they had been brought together by an advertisement placed in the Hobart ‘Mercury’ in September of that year, by a very youthful Roger McNeice. This small, but optimistic, group decided to proceed with the formation of a numismatic club - which was to be known as the ‘Hobart Numismatic Society’, but as the membership continued growing in November, and then again in December 1963, and became more diverse, the relatively informal organisation decided it needed to change it’s name to the more appropriate one we know and use today - the ‘Tasmanian Numismatic Society’, which it formally did on January 24th.1964. At the same meeting, with the election of a special committee consisting of Brian Curtain, Roger McNeice and John Wiltshire, who were then charged with the responsibility of preparing a formal Constitution, the solid foundations of our current organisation were laid. Because of the passage of Time, many of those original members are no longer with us, unfortunately, but we still see Roger McNeice gracing our meetings - and contributing greatly to our Society’s well-being! You could say that our organisation has enjoyed a modicum of success, to have survived the ups and downs of the last 35 years."     'Tasmanian Numismatist '- AUGUST 1998



 Jan.1964 - Brian Curtain & Roger McNeice.


By 1969, the Society felt confident enough to commission K.G. Luke of Melbourne to produce a limited issue medallion under the Tasmanian Numismatic Society's banner to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Sydney - Hobart Yacht Race. The medallion (# 38), which was struck in Silver (75) and Bronze (225), depicted the yacht 'Rani' which won the intial race which started on Boxing Day 1944 and finished in early January 1945. The first race featured just nine yachts. The first winner, 'Rani', was skippered by a British naval officer, John Illingworth. It was Illingworth who convinced a group of friends to turn a Christmas 1944 cruise into a race. 'Rani' took six days, fourteen hours and twenty-two minutes to reach Hobart. The medallion shows the 'Rani' under sail as its reverse, and a logo of a Kangaroo and Emu within an outline of a Tasmanian map as its obverse. This design has become the generic T.N.S. obverse on the majority of the Society's struck medallions (see below).

The Hobart Cup Centenary (# 42), which was celebrated in 1974, also occasioned a K.G. Luke commissioned medallion from the Society. This was their second medallion and the quantities and the metals used were the same as the first. The reverse featured two racehorses with jockeys, one at a gallop and the other walking - the generic obverse design was used.



Tasmanian Numismatic Society's 3rd Medallion (# 46) - Trugannini 1976 (51mm. Silver & Matte on Polished Bronze)

Tasmanian Numismatic Society's  5th Medallion (# 64) - 150th Anniversary of Organised Cricket in Tasmania 1982 (51mm. Silver & Bronze)


As time progressed so did the number of 51mm. medallions commissioned by the Society. The Trugannini medallion of 1976 (# 46) is one of the most striking that the Society produced, in my own opinion. The manufacturer was Pobjoy Mint of London. The metals being used still remained Silver and Bronze, but the quantity of Silver being struck had increased slightly to 100.

The medallions were mainly produced to commemorate a significant Tasmanian event - the 4th medallion (# 49) in 1977 was to acknowledge the closure of Port Arthur as a prison in 1877 and the 5th medallion (# 64) was to celebrate the Centenary of organised cricket in Tasmania that had occurred  in 1882 at the tasmanian Cricket Association Ground.  Both of these medallions were made by Stokes of Melbourne.

In 1983, the Society reached a significant milestone when it held its 20th Birthday and issued its 6th medallion (# 69) produced by Brims Medallions of Melbourne - this particular year a Gold-gilded bronze (70) and a Silvered bronze (25) were introduced as limited issues and were only available at the anniversaty dinner and to cater for members orders.

Sir John Franklin and his wife Jane, Lady Franklin have enjoyed an historic prominence in Tasmania - and the rest of the world, for that matter, - for the exploits that both performed during the tenure of Sir John  as Governor of Van Diemen's Land during 1837 - 1843. Their stories can be found elsewhere, suffice to say that they left an indelible imprint during their presence on the island. Refer: http://www.vision.net.au/~pwood/June2000.htm

To celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the Franklin's arrival, the Society commissioned Hafner Mint of Melbourne to produce another stunning large medallion (65mm) in Silver (40) and Olympic Bronze (150) - there were also special issues in this medallion (# 78) in Copper (30), Pewter (3), polished trial specimens (2) and a edge numbered (1 - 50) Uniface specimen. Most of the Society's medallions are either edge-numbered or accompanied by a certificate and some cases a descriptive text.

The Society has continued to organise the striking or casting of  medallions to commemorate Tasmanian events, or Society members' achievements and other significant Anniversaries or milestones - and it should be noted that other very limited issues of some of the Society's various medals have been produced in the various solid noble metals or plated versions in silver or gold to fulfill members' orders.

Society members are asked to contact the Secretary direct if they wish to query availabity, or otherwise, of any of the medallions shown in the article.

It is envisaged that an updated list of the Society's medallions would be included in a forthcoming volume planned by Roger V. McNeice O.A.M., F.R.N.S. for 2005-6 release, which would compliment his two previous catalogues in the series "Tasmanian Commemorative Medals and Medallions", and which would also cover the numerous Tasmanian medallion issues from other sources from 1990 up until the present.



Tasmanian Numismatic Society's 7th Medallion (# 78) - Sir John and Jane, Lady Franklin 150th Anniverary arrival in Van Diemen's Land 1837

This medallion, produced by Hafner Mint for the Society, was 65mm diameter x 4mm thick and accompanied with a descriptive booklet.



Tasmanian Numismatic Society 8th Medallion (# 87 - by Hafner Mint) - 51mm Bronze featuring generic obverse and celebrating the 25th Anniversary.

Tasmanian Numismatic Society - association with the Tasmanian Museum Series (? -1997) 32mm. in various metals and wreath reverses.



Tasmania's 1st. International Coin Fair 1991 - Macintosh & Degraves Replica Shilling (33mm. Aluminium and Brass)

Both tokens were identical in design.

The Aluminium token was a special limited issue (100) for invited guests to N.A.A.- T.N.S. celebratory Dinner.

The Brass version was available to the general public for a fee at the Fair.



Tasmanian Numismatic Society's 35th Anniversary Medallion -  the Society's logo obverse with a descriptive text reverse 1998 (40mm Cast Pewter)

The identical Gold-plated very limited issue was made available against members' orders.


During the course of preparing this article, I have learnt that several complete collections of T.N.S medallions have very recently come on to the market, due to collectors' retirements, and have been entrusted to Tasmedals of Hobart for sale in the near future.

If any of our T.N.S. members or readers wish to complete, upgrade or establish their own collections I suggest that an immediate call be made to Mr. Roger McNeice O.A.M., before these sets are dispersed or sold off in total. Many of these medallions were only issued in limited quantities, as mentioned in the article above, and will become very scarce once they have been locked away again into major collections. They may not become available again for another 5 - 10 years - so act now!


Tasmedals Pty Ltd - Retail Outlet:
Shop 2, 41-43 Victoria Street
Hobart, Tasmania, 7000
Phone: 03 6231 5281

Tasmedals Pty Ltd - Head Office:
8 Orana Place
Taroona, Tasmania, 7053
Phone: 03 6227 8825 Fax: 03 6227 9898


Main Reference and Catalogue Numbers.

Tasmanian Commemorative Medals and Medallions 1853 - 1990 (Volume 2)  by Roger McNeice O.A.M., F.R.N.S.


P.S. - Amongst my small collection of numismatic wonders are several other instances of 'beating our own drum' from within Australia and around the world that I would like to share with our readers in our next issue. A grand hobby such as numismatics should be celebrated whenever possible!




by Graeme Petterwood © 2005

Remember - be astute when you are handed change - not all the wonders of numismatics have been discovered yet - and they don't have to be shiny and new!

This second edition for 2005 again features an assortment of  'trivia' that I think is of interest and I trust it will prove educational and entertaining to you as well.

All or any prices quoted in articles in this newsletter, unless stipulated, are my estimates only and they also should not be considered to be an offer to sell or purchase the items mentioned or used as illustrations. Please note that the photoscans of numismatic items are not to size or scale and - wherever possible - are from the editor's own collection.





Quote from the official homepage of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.

The Secretary of the Treasury is responsible for the selection of the designs, including the portraits, which appear on paper currency.

The July 11, 1862 Act of Congress provided:"That the Secretary of the Treasury be, and is hereby authorized, in case he shall think it expedient to procure said notes, or any part thereof, to be engraved, printed, and executed, in such form as he shall prescribe, at the Treasury Department in Washington, and under his direction; and he is hereby empowered to purchase and provide all machinery and materials, and to employ such persons and appoint such officers as may be necessary for this purpose."

In 1899, the U.S. Government (on the 1897 recommendation of the Secretary of the Treasury - Lyman J. Gage) authorised the release of a new, more fundamental, design Silver Certificate Series which replaced an artistically beautiful, but controversial, 1896 Series (aka 'Educational Series') which had featured some rather scantily clothed allegorical ladies on the $5.00 note, in particular, and had raised the public ire of the puritanical Watch and Ward Society's founder, Anthony Comstock. 

However, whilst it was the pragmatic outlook of the ex- banker Gage, who held the position of Secretary until 1902, that took the artistic concept out of all consequent American notes, it was, eventually, the price of silver itself  that sounded the deathknell of the U.S. Silver Certificates which had been first authorised in 1878 in US$50.00 - $100.00 denominations.


The following extract is from the Internet site: http://flyingmoose.org/truthfic/1896.htm

"Politics chose this moment to step in and play the 1896 currency series a devastating blow. The new currency designs had been progressing with the approval of J. G. Carlisle, the Secretary of the Treasury under President Grover Cleveland. Cleveland chose to retire at the end of 1896, leaving the Presidency open to either the "free-silver" advocate William Jennings Bryan or the Republican William McKinley. Neither candidate was ideal for Carlisle; he disapproved of Bryan's free-silver movement, believing it would lead to monetary instability, yet being a prominent Democrat he could not bring himself to continue in his office under the Republican McKinley. And so it was that, when McKinley was elected at year's end, Secretary Carlisle retired and the Treasury was placed in the hands of a new Secretary, Lyman J. Gage.

Secretary Gage, a bank president, preferred practicality to artistry. Shortly after taking office in 1897 he stopped the work of refining the 1896 designs, and instead announced his plans to have "practically one design" for all United States currency. The new designs would be simple, clear and straightforward. "Neither will fresco painters be called in to make [future currency] designs", the Times reported on May 4, 1897. "It can be said authoritatively... that no more of the so-called 'new certificates' will be printed," the Times went on to say. "It may take years to wipe out the entire issue and substitute bills."


1897 - 1902 Secretary of the U.S. Treasury, Lyman Judson Gage

The recently restored Bureau of Engraving and Printing building c. 1879

(The spire of the Washington obelisk is seen towering over the building.)

(The Atlantic Company of America, Inc. Refer: http://www.atlanticcompany.com/accomplish1.htm)


Amongst the new more subdued designs of 1899, was a $1.00 note that now is commonly known as the 'Black Eagle' due to the striking feature of an American Eagle - wings outstretched - that takes centre place on the obverse. Small portraits of Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant are shown in cartouches beneath the American Union flag. The 'greenback' reverse shows the austerity of design that was to become a feature of all U.S. currency.

Today, the earlier series of Silver Certificate notes, particularly from 1886, 1896 and 1899 are quite highly prized mainly because of their noble artistic attributes.



A well-worn, centre-holed and repaired example of the 'Black Eagle' $1.00 Silver Cerificate from the author's collection

Signatories - William T. Vernon and Lee McClung (2nd. Seal)

(Actual size 19 x 8 cms.)


The three low denominations produced in the 1899 Series, the 'Black Eagle' One Dollar, the 'George Washington' Two Dollars and the Sioux Chief 'Running Antelope' Five Dollars, all sported a blue obverse Seal that featured a badge enclosing scales and a key with a Latin inscription reading 'Thesaur. Amer. Septent. Sigil.' (The Seal of the North American Treasury).

In the Silver Certificate Series 1878, 1886, 1891 and 1896, other coloured Seals were used, sometimes brown and/or red. During WWII, a yellow seal was specially produced to be used on Series 1934A and 1935A (Signatories: William Alexander Julian - Henry Morgenthau Jnr.) in combat zones in North Africa and Europe. (These yellow seal Certificates are often known as North Africa Notes in the glossaries of U.S. currency catalogues).

A good U.S. currency reference catalogue - such as the "The Official Blackbook Guide to United States Paper Money" - is an essential part of any World notes numismatic library and will provide full details of the use of the various U.S. Seals.

We highly recommend "The Currency Gallery" - Internet site address details below - which was the initial inspiration and a source of much of this compilation.

It is of particular interest that the 1899 Series $5.00 Certificate created problems between the Sioux and Pawnee Indian nations due to the fact that the dignified Lakota Sioux chief Ta-to-ka-in-yan-ka,  known as 'Running Antelope', had declined to pose in his own tribal war bonnet in the photograph originally taken in 1872 by Alexander Gardner, so a smaller Pawnee head-dress was substituted by the engraver, George F. C. Smille, for the sake of artistic appearance and to fit the note centre..



Sioux Chief Ta-to-ka-in-yan-ka (Running Antelope) as portrayed on 1899 Series $5.00 Silver Certificate.

The original photograph of Running Antelope, taken in 1872 by Alexander Gardner, that was adapted in 1899.


For ease of identification, I have regarded the position of the Series designation in conjunction with  the serial number and the Seal because there are variations in the positioning of the wording 'Series of 1899'. The initial position was above the upper right serial number (1st Seal) before it drifted down below the upper right serial number and next to the Seal (2nd Seal - as shown on the scan above). Eventually it ended up being placed vertically to the right of the Seal (3rd Seal).

During the life of this particular 1899 Series, the notes were signed by 11 different combinations of 'Register of the Treasury' and 'Treasurer of the United States'.


Series 1899 Treasury officers and their length of term in office - Register's name listed first.

Judson W. Lyons 1898 to 1906 - Ellis H. Roberts 1897 to 1905 (1st & 2nd Seals);

J. W. Lyons - Charles H. Treat 1905 to 1909 (2nd Seal );

William T. Vernon 1906 to 1911 - C. H. Treat (2nd Seal);

 W. T. Vernon - Lee McClung 1909 to 1912 (2nd Seal);

James C. Napier 1911 to 1913 - L. McClung (3rd Seal);

J. C. Napier - Carmi A. Thompson 1912 to 1913 (3rd Seal);

Gabe E. Parker 1913 to 1914 - John Burke 1913 to1921 (3rd Seal);

Houston BengeTeehee* 1915 to 1919 - J. Burke; (3rd Seal) * H. B. Teehee was a Native American from the Cherokee Nation.

William S. Elliott 1919 to 1922 - J. Burke (3rd Seal);

W. S. Elliott - Frank White 1921 to 1928 (3rd Seal);

Harley V. Speelman 1922 to 1927 - F. White (3rd Seal).


Denominations issued per Series.

One Dollar - 1886, 1891, 1896, 1899, 1923, 1928, 1928A, 1928B, 1928C, 1928D, 1928E, 1934, 1935, 1935A, 1935B, 1935C, 1935D, 1935E, 1935F, 1935G,1957, 1957A, 1957B.

Two Dollars - 1886, 1891, 1896, 1899

Five Dollars - 1886, 1891, 1896, 1899, 1923, 1934, 1934A, 1934B, 1934C, 1934D, 1953.

Ten Dollars - 1880, 1886, 1891, 1933, 1934, 1934a, 1934B, 1934C, 1934D 1953, 1953A, 1953B.

Twenty Dollars - 1880, 1886, 1891.

Fifty Dollars - 1878, 1880, 1891.

One Hundred Dollars - 1878, 1880, 1891.

Any Series that has an additional letter after the date has had a small alteration in the design or a signature change etc. and is therefore classified as a fresh Series.


Although the 'Black Eagle' Certificates are often quoted as being rare, they could probably be more accurately described as being 'desirable' and the good ones are usually snapped up fairly quickly when they appear fror sale. Perhaps, one day, the finer quality notes will earn the 'rare' distinction as they are locked away into collections, but thousands of reasonable quality circulated specimens are still poked away in cupboards as family 'heirlooms'. One of the reasons that these particular Silver Certificates were hoarded is that they were one of the last series produced in the large size format and people believed that they would eventually become valuable as collector items. It is of interest that many of these large certificates were folded into quarters for ease of handling and, it is probable, that their size certainly played a part in their demise. The folding custom created the usual creased conditions that many certificates are in when offered for sale.

The illustration below re-inforces the belief that some members of the public consider that even the Black Eagle 'rubbish from the bottom drawer' is potentially saleable. Reasonable quality notes are selling at between US$30.00 - $100.00 and then increasing in price as finer quality becomes a criteria - but these two 'rags' had a starting bid of only US$2.50 and probably would not have attracted another offer from any knowledgeable collector.

(U.S.Silver Certificates, whilst no longer redeemable in silver coin, still retain their legal tender value so these were still worth at least US$2.00).


Samples of Series 1899 'Black Eagle' $1.00 Silver Certificates recently offered for sale on eBay.

Signatories - Judson W. Lyons - Ellis H. Roberts (1st. Seal)


Series 1923 - which saw the final stifling of artistic freedom on U.S. currency as advocated by Secretary Gage in 1897 -  was the last large $1.00 Silver Certificate, and 1928 saw the introduction of a smaller note - but the vignette of George Washington, which was similar to the portrait that was adopted for all US$1.00 notes up until the recent updates, did not have the same appeal as the 'Black Eagle'. It was also at this time that the portraits of famous Americans were standardised across the different currency note denomination ranges. The recently superceded portraits of George Washington $1.00, Abraham Lincoln $5.00 and the Alexander Hamilton $10.00 were those that were still being used when the issuance of Silver Certificates was curtailed.

The 1957B Series of Silver Certificates was destined to be the last due to the increasing price of the actual Silver Dollar that was still promised as being redeemable by the notes. In an effort to replace the Certificates with the standard Federal Reserve notes, an offer of redemption was made in 1967 and lasted until June 24th 1968.

The exchange rate of each dollar of Silver Certificate value - no matter what series - was calculated against the going rate of  .77344 ounces of pure Silver (the bullion weight of a Silver Dollar coin) and paid in Federal Reserve notes. At that time, it was estimated that about US$150 million in Certificates were exchanged - leaving about US$240 million still out there in the public's hands.


Small size Series 1935C US$1.00 Silver Certificate with standardised design.

Signatories - William A. Julian (Treasurer) - John W. Snyder (Secretary)

(Actual size 15.7 x 6.7cms.)


Recommended Reading

Browse Currency by Signature (The Currency Gallery) - Refer: http://www.currencygallery.org/sigs/sigs.htm

Browse Currency by Portrait (The Currency Gallery) - Refer: http://www.currencygallery.org/vignettes/vignettes.htm

Houston Benge Teehee (The Currency Gallery) - Refer: http://www.currencygallery.org/sigs/teehee.htm

William Tecumseh Vernon (The Currency Gallery) - Refer: http://www.currencygallery.org/sigs/vernon.htm

Lee McClung (The Currency Gallery) - Refer: http://www.currencygallery.org/sigs/mcclung.htm


Main References

The Official Blackbook Guide to Unites States Paper Money (32nd. Edition) by Marc Hudgeons and Tom Hudgeons - 2000.

American Numismatic Society - FAQ's - Refer: http://www.money.org/faq.html

eBay Auctions - Refer: http://coins.listings.ebay.com/Paper-Money-US_W0QQfromZR4QQsacategoryZ3412QQsocmdZListingItemList

The Bureau of Engraving and Printing - Refer: http://www.moneyfactory.com/document.cfm/18/118/118

The Department of the Treasury - Refer: http://www.ustreas.gov/education/history/secretaries/

The Atlantic Company of America, Inc. - Refer: http://www.atlanticcompany.com/accomplish1.htm




Just had a timely reminder from our T.N.S. Member, Jerry Adams of Texas, that one of the newest  U.S. 5 Cent Nickel designs is getting close to its release date.

It appears the newest nickel coin will start hitting the streets about February 28th. 2005.

The new bust design of the esteemed American patriot, after whom the 5 Cent Jefferson Nickel coin has been commonly named since 1938, has been altered from full profile to 3/4 and turned to the left  - to give it depth - and the word Liberty has been re-fonted into script similar to that which would have been used by Jefferson.

The Monticello building (Jefferson's home) on the reverse has been temporarily replaced (a revamped Monticello version will be back in 2006) by a resurrected profile of the famous American Bison or Buffalo that had appeared on a previous Nickel. The noble beast now also faces in a different direction but is still set 'traditionally' on a raised mound of grassed earth. It has been given a slightly more dynamic portrayal than the previous version 1913 - 1938 which accompanied the Indian Head Nickel - the animal appears more 'athletic' because of its back-sloping positioning which was used by the artist to fill out the planchet and I suppose that does give the famous 'buffalo' hump even more prominence.

I'm sure that most collectors can live with the design which is inheritantly a great one of implied strength being held in check.

It is eagerly being awaited by most of the U.S. numismatic fraternity, however, some are bemoaning the fact that numerous changes in coins - and currency - over the last few years have been upsetting the 'stability' and they liked things as they were - a bit like an old comfortable pair of slippers.

Well, in this instance, with the 'new' reverse, we are taking a 67 year step backwards, design-wise, even if it for only 12 months, and I wonder what the re-action will be this time. If I was given a choice, I think I would prefer the inspiring character of the 'Buffalo'...



'Monticello' and the American Bison used as reverses on the U.S. 5 Cent Nickel coin.

"Monticello" West Facade photo © 2002 Mary Ann Sullivan.




 U.S. 5 Cent Nickels 1913, 2001 and 2005

The new Bison reverse was designed by North Carolina artist Jamie N. Franki, and engraved by U.S. Mint sculptor-engraver, Norman E. Nemeth.



U.S. Mint  - http://www.usmint.gov/mint_programs/index.cfm?flash=yes&action=nickel_series




This is not an offer to professionally evaluate items or an offer to purchase or become directly involved in commercial dealings. The most interesting or most frequently asked questions will be answered - to the best of our ability - through these columns in a general manner as well as immediately and directly to the questioner if possible. All names and direct contact addresses that may be supplied will be kept anonymous unless advised to the contrary.


Recently, a U.S. correspondent asked the "What is it?" question about a curious envelope and a note that had been in their possession for some time - and, whilst we have discussed the note mentioned on the envelope on several previous occasions - this time there is a slightly different aspect that took my attention.




I wonder when, and how many of, these 'begging letter' envelopes went out ?


As most of our readers are probably aware the pre-war 10,000 Mark 'Vampire' note is the one that we had most recently featured in our August 2004 newsletter.  

In that issue, we had provided a brief explanation about the hyper-inflation that had occurred in Germany in the early 1920's.

Refer: http://www.vision.net.au/~pwood/aug04.htm 

However, it appears, or at least I assume from my interpretation of the wording of the email, that the actual note with this envelope was a small-sized U.S. Ten Cents fractional currency Series of 1874 (Red Seal with a long narrow key) - in rather worse condition than the sample shown below.

Somewhere in times long gone, I assume that the envelope, with its heartfelt plea, and this particular U.S. note had joined company and  stayed together whilst the original 1922-dated 10,000 Mark 'Vampire' Reichsbanknote has disappeared - perhaps it was re-sold for whatever it could bring at a later time.

With the 10 Cent fractional currency note shown, a Green Seal version, with long key, and a Red Seal with short key were also issued, but there are virtually no price differences shown in the current catalogues. Estimated numismatic value in average circulated condition would be between US$5.00 - $8.00 however, prices are slowly, but steadily, rising by all accounts. It has been estimated that as little as US$2,000,000 face value is still outstanding in all denominations of U.S. fractional currency due to the fact it was used to cover the shortage of coin after the Civil War and most of these small denomination notes saw heavy use and were redeemed prior to their condition becoming so worn as to render them useless. Better quality specimens often attract a premium when they are offered for sale.

The portrait on the 10 Cent note is of William M. Meredith, Secretary of the Treasury in 1849.

Refer to a good U.S. paper money catalogue for other Fractional Currency notes and details.


United States Series of 1874 (Red Seal - long key) 10 Cents fractional currency note featuring William M. Meredith.

(Actual size 8.3 x 5.3 cms.)


It is possible is that the intriguing envelope and its original contents, mentioned above, may have been part of a charitable 'begging letter' program - or, perhaps a scam -  at the very least, the wording on the envelope was very 'imaginative'.

In this instance, 10,000 Mark notes were actually cheaper than chips and were used to fuel the stoves in inflation-ravaged Germany during 1923 - 1924 and were recycled as waste paper to make paper pulp for more notes. At that stage, the Reichsbank was adding more zeroes to the notes its printers were churning out instead of trying to continue producing more of the lower denomination notes because the cost of paper was more than the value of the note itself.  At the height of the money-madness, the bank employed about 30,000 workers and used 1783 printing presses in 133 different printing houses and still couldn't  produce enough.

Some people even used banknotes as cheap wall-paper - and a day's wages was collected in a clothes-basket or a suitcase - which was the preferred method of transporting the bundles of near-to-worthless Reichsbanknotes to the shops before the next round of inflation occured within a few hours.

It may be of some interest that I have only ever seen one printed photo of piles of money on a hand-cart - and I think that load of cash was being delivered in bulk for distribution. Those famous 'wheelbarrow' pictures, that are always quoted as being evidence of the method needed to carry enough money to buy a loaf of bread, may exist but, actually, wheelbarrows were rarely, if ever, used to carry money. I have not been able to find a single scan on the Internet of an individual with a wheelbarrow full of German Marks on the way to the bakery for that loaf of bread - 'but it sure sounds good, so, never let facts spoil a good story!'.

It is also now known that some of the pictures of the hyper-inflated notes, in bulk, were posed and used as propaganda a few years later at the start of the Depression to support the 'democratic' election of a charismatic German 'saviour' who was promising he would drag the nation out of the economic mire.

The German public also saw the optical illusion (shown below) on the 10,000 Mark note and compared it with the Allied 'blood-suckers' feeding on Germany - an interesting concept that had some merit, in fact. These were the sort of things that, in 1929, put the bitter, but charismatic, ex-corporal Adolf Hitler and the nation, on the course for WWII.

(Hitler had been gassed and wounded - and twice been awarded the Iron Cross for bravery - during WWI and he had become obsessed with the idea that he had been selected by a divine force to personally lead the German nation back to greatness. By restoring its dignity, empowering it - militarily and financially - once more, and by the purification of the Aryan race, Hitler believed his fate and that of Germany were pre-ordained.. History has recorded the terrible outcome of his dream.)

Recommended Reading - Refer: http://www.historyplace.com/worldwar2/riseofhitler/index.html



German Inflation during 1923 - 24

(a) Woman using money as fire kindling; (b) Money being baled as waste-paper; (c) Delivering the day's wages in baskets.


In the case of the mysterious envelope, the cost of the printing it would have far outweighed the contemporary value of its contents. Perhaps, an enterprising U.S. entrepreneur, (or a charitable organisation) may have decided to 're-vitalise' the old German currency by appealing to the generosity of the public to support a 'worthy' cause.  Perhaps it was one way of earning a little money during the Great Depression. They may have been even sold on commission by hundreds of desperate out-of-work men in the same way that pencils, shoelaces and other knick-nacks were hawked on street corners at that time.

At this point in time, I have not been able to locate any reliable information about this scheme but I would like to know about it.

It seems that the $2400.00 value referral was being made to the approx. value of 10,000 German Marks prior to World War I -  which had been 4.2 Marks to the US$1.00 in 1914 - not the value of the actual post-WWI  'Vampire' banknote as described on the envelope. That 'pre-war' formula works out just about right.

At the time of its release date on 19th January 1922, the famous  German 10,000 Mark 'Vampire' Reichsbanknote only had a buying value of about US$50.00 but  it had dropped to US$25.00 by July 1922.  At the beginning of 1923 it would only have had a buying power of about US$1.00 and, in June 1923, it was virtually worthless. By 1st September 1923, the German public  would have needed about 10,000,000 Marks to buy US$1.00 and by November 20, 1923 its exchange rate was up to 4,200,000,000,000 and, eventually, in mid February 1924, it would reach the inflation pinnacle at 100,000,000,000,000 Marks to the U.S.dollar.

That would mean that a stack of 10,000,000,000 x 10,000 Marks notes would have be needed to buy one U.S. Dollar- if the older notes had still been in circulation.

A silver Dime at that time would have been worth an awful lot of Marks - you do the sums!

Refer: http://www.sammler.com/coins/inflation.htm


One Milliarde (1,000,000,000) Mark overprinted (Sept 1923) on an un-issued One Thousand Mark note dated 15th December 1922.

This would prove to be a low denomination as notes up to 100 Billionen (100,000,000,000,000) Mark were printed in mid-Feb. 1924.

(Actual size 140 x 85mm.)


To put it into a simple context - in 1922, the famous loaf of German bread cost 163 Marks. By early September 1923, this figure had reached 1,500,000 Marks and at the peak of hyperinflation in November 1923, the loaf of bread cost 200,000,000,000 Marks - or a pile of 20,000,000 x 10,000 Mark 'Vampire' notes

It is no wonder that the PRICE on the envelope was so negotiable!!


In late 1923, the Reichsbank money value rates were being decreased every hour, by huge percentages, and no-one wanted to get caught with devalued money.

 Note the large wicker baskets used by a cabbage-buying housewife and the lady who is advertising her trade as a seller of 'greens' and 'potatoes'.


There were 3 different versions of the 10,000 Mark 'Vampire' note issued with the date 19th January, 1922 (See below)

The sample shown is Pick # 70 and it has serial numbers upper left and lower right within the rectangular frames both front and back .

A note with a similar obverse, Pick # 71, has a different monochrome reverse (See scan below) but the serial numbers, upper left and lower right, are only within obverse frame as in Pick # 70

The final note, Pick # 72, has only one serial number on the obverse which is situated centrally above the word 'Reichsbanknote' and the denomination. This note is smaller (180 x 100mm) than # 70 and # 71 - it has the same obverse as the other two notes but the same monochrome reverse as Pick # 71.

For those who haven't spotted the 'Vampire' - Turn the note anti-clockwise. The man's left shoulder is the Vampire's hat, the crease in the neck is the creature's left eye. It's beaked nose extends to the man's left ear and the area around the man's 'adam's apple' is the mouth of the vampire and it's chin is formed by the line of the shirt.



 Pick # 70 - 10,000 Mark 1922 (Portrait painted by A. Durer)

(Actual Size 210 x 125mm)

Pick #71 - 10,000 Mark has same obverse as # 70 but with different pattern monochrome reverse. (Size 210 x 125mm)

Pick #72 - 10,000 Mark has the obverse and reverse the same as # 71 but is a smaller note. (Size 180 x 100mm)




Standard Catalog of World Paper Money (Vol 2 - Eight Edition) - by Albert Pick, Colin R. Bruce II and Neil Shafer (Editors).


"The 'Great War' Children's Peace Medal"

Re-reading a N.A.A. Journal (Volume 13, 2002) I stumbled upon an in-depth article written by Les Carlisle and Peter Fleig regarding "The Great War Children's Peace Medal" (pages 48 - 72) and, due to the fact I have a slightly mysterious gilded Peace Medal in my possession as well as a normal issue (without ribbon), I decided to check them out.

The original concept of the Peace medal idea was relatively simple - give every Australian child a commemorative medal to celebrate the end of the Great War of 1914 - 1918 and the treaty of peace that was to be officially signed in 1919.

Of course, the logistics of such an operation proved to be far more daunting and would take a considerable amount of fine-tuning prior to fruition of the idea..

The medal makers needed to be approached, patterns and final designs selected, tenders allocated, the number of children determined from each state, the eligible age span - and the most appropriate method of distribution discussed with all relevant public groups.  Still sounds like a straight-forward proposition doesn't it - only Murphy's Law  hadn't been taken into consideration and, as we all know that under that imaginative 'law' - if something can go wrong it will.


The problems were all minor - or even petty - but they caused commercial, technical, and some parochial, friction most of the way from the original medal design to the finished article hanging on its red, white and blue ribbon. Initially the medal was to be presented to school children but a decision was made to supply one to every child betwween 0 - 16 and this significantly increased the requirement - and the pressure to manufacture them.

Local government or community groups in various states became involved in the distribution of medals to under-school-age children - and in some instances these groups set the age parameters. This caused another problem as some parents felt that their children had been been shunned by local bureaucrats.

Some of the smaller medal-makers dropped out of the initial tendering process and eventually the finalists were Sydney-based Amor Ltd. and Angus & Coote: A.J. Parkes of Brisbane; Schlank & Co. of Adelaide; Platers Ltd. and Stokes & Son of Melbourne. Of these, Stokes & Son would be the major supplier due to their capability to produce an excess even under considerable committment in other essential medal production areas.

An amount of non- co-operation between Stokes and the other die-makers also added the commercial 'jealousy' factor to the equation. Two manufacturers, Platers and Angus & Coote withdrew their tenders and several others were unable to prepare their own dies and had to rely of dies supplied from the major companies.

The manufacturers were charged with using 'identical' dies from  the official artwork and the initials of the company are incorporated under the representations of War and Peace shown on the obverse design and, if applicable, under the Sailor and Soldier on the reverse.

The artists intials CDR (Charles Douglas Richardson) would normally be under the figure of War and the Soldier but  A.J. Parkes used its own initials AJP

The time-frame from start to finish gradually extended and it took up to 2 years for the whole operation to be finalised. As is always the case, some areas were short-supplied and others had enough for a thriving secondary trade at 'special prices' to be established for those who desired the Peace Medal but were ineligible.


The N.A.A. article mentions the fact that 'off-metal' Peace Medals were known in Silver (for presentation purposes), unsilvered-bronze (which may or may not have been plating errors) - but no mention of a gilded version. My mystery gold-plated medal is still a mystery, even though the article opened my eyes to other aspects of the original release and made me look very closely at my own standard sample as well.

The gilded medal has no ribbon ring, nor any signs one had been affixed in the usual position, but there is a slight groove across the rim near the dove over the left shoulder of the walking woman at about 1.00 o'clock. It can be seen easily at 11.00 o'clock on the scan of the reverse.

The biggest mystery is that it is uniface except for the makers name. The signature on the reverse, AJParkes BRISBANE, is in an upset from horizontal position as shown  - but it's very existence lends some legitimacy to the medal. 

Is it a genuine item or a more contemporary copy? I would like to find out what occasioned its manufacture without going to the source, if possible.

The original Peace Medal features, as its obverse, the walking woman in billowing robes with two symbolical figures of chained War and awakening Peace at her feet.

Above her, to each side, are doves in flight. The mystery piece has the same design but, due to the gold-plating, some of the more finer detail appears smoother but, all-in-all, the major features are discernible, paricularly under magnification, and the maker's initials AJP are in the right place below the helmeted and chained figure of War with his broken sword.

There are slight size differences which I have noted and the standard silver-plated copper base issue with its sailor and soldier with their accoutrements, has a slight concave feel to the reverse and a convex obverse, indicating that it is a struck medal whilst the gilded version appears rather flat-ish in comparison - more like a casting. The narrower rim of the mystery piece shows some signs of smoothing under the gilding and it is not as flat and even as it should be for a struck planchet..

With the standard Stokes and Son Peace Medal, there are some very obvious die cracks apparent on the reverse which indicate that the particular die used on this medal was just about at the end of its working life. All cracks progress from the rim into the design - one through the top of sailor's cap and down through his face as well as another through his sword handle; one crack is up through THE PEACE OF 1919 banner; one goes into the soldier's bayonet and another through  the 'C' of VICTORY and down into the orb of the sun.



26 x1.5mm Gilded Parkes Uniface Peace Medal (AJP obverse - A.J. Parkes Brisbane reverse)

27 x 2.0mm Standard Stokes and Son Peace Medal (CDR / S.&S. obverse  -  ----- / CDR reverse) with ribbon rings.

(Scans not to scale. Medals from the author's collection.)


Main Reference

"The Great War Children's Peace Medal" by Les Carlisle and Peter Fleig  - N.A.A. Journal (Volume 13, 2002) (pages 48 - 72)




The Paper Issues.

For those readers who collect, or even dabble in, New Zealand currency I have discovered a very interesting 128 page illustrated book on the subject.

It was written a few years ago but it covers the complete range of New Zealand's decimal paper banknotes, which were superceded with polymer substrate from 2000,and you know that it should be one of those books that are essential for your international numismatic library as it is a complete reference.

Reviewer's Quote - "It is the standard work for all future reference."

This is a First Edition limited production and I have discovered that some copies are still available from the author - so don't wait until the only source of supply is the secondary market and you pay through the nose!

It currently retails at only NZ$40.00 - that's about US$28.00 or A$38.00 incl G.S.T. at present exchange rates - and that is cheap when you consider that it covers virtually everything you would care to know about standard and special issues. Descriptions, security features, common error notes - and a few not so common - are thoroughly discussed and there are many other extras that were included by the IBNS member and author Scott de Young.

If you want to know more, a comprehensive review can be read at: http://www.nzbanknotes.com/scottbook.asp or http://homepages.ihug.com.au/~scottdy/

Further details can be obtained direct from the author:

Scott de Young
E-mail:  scottdy@ihug.com.au


P.S. Have a look at the various "nzbanknotes.com" Forums - they are comprehensive, interactive, educational, illustrated and cover coins, notes, miscellaneous bits and pieces from all over the world as well as New Zealand currency and coinage. A real eye-opener and highly recommended site.

Refer: http://www.nzbanknotes.com/first.asp




Why is it that when we see the sign 'WET PAINT' we tend to reach out and touch it?

What is the first reaction when we show one of our prize numismatic pieces to a non-collector - they reach out to touch it! Touch is one of the main senses we possess - probably the most important. It conveys pain or pleasure and myriads of other information and sensations with just a brief brush of the fingers.

Most numismatists are taught, from the earliest stages, that valuable coins - or other such collectibles - are not to be handled aggressively and that caution must be exercised when allowing others to handle specimens - particularly bronze - that may not protected by plastic, glass or paper.

It seems a pity that the most important part of sensory enjoyment is denied to a novice by an experienced numismatist who knows only too well the damage that can be done by the chemical reactions involved in that brief touch. Like some other unprotected bodily functions, the exchange between collectible and toucher may be devastating.  What is the answer?

Prepare an easily accessible 'package' that we can have ready for use to make the whole process painless and we have already won the first round.

First of all we LET them touch something of little value to get rid of that first impulsive NEED to touch.



An assortment of interesting circulated loose coinage in various conditions.

O.K. for handling & touching - for educational purposes.


We then quietly explain the need for care in handling as we take another step up the educational stairway with a few more samples that we keep especially for the purpose and only then - if we are prepared for the possible outcome - do we clearly and deliberately demonstrate the care we expect by presenting them with a SPECIAL item in the most appropriate way.



1927 Canberra and 1934-5 Victoria Centenary Florins in Brilliant Uncirculated Condition. 1923 Half-penny in Very Fine Condition

No un-supervised touching.


While we cannot stop the toucher from dabbing the finger on the 'WET PAINT' we can protect our numismatic assets by these few very quick lessons and by our demonstration.

However, I must admit that I love the simple 'ornate-ness' of some of the older and well-worn silver coins in my Middle East collection. I have since I first obtained them years ago. It is not just because they are a noble metal with tons of history behind them - but for that warm sensory pleasure that only touch and imagination can convey.

As a hobbiest collector, first and foremost, I believe my hobby should give my all the pleasure it can so, perversely, I will probably continue to store some of them in easy-access plastic pockets - and I nearly always reach out to touch 'WET PAINT'!



Egyptian .833 Silver (1916 - 1335 AH) 10 Piastres and .833 Silver (1908 - 1326 AH) 20 Qirsh

Clean hands holding permitted - for pleasure purposes.





Arabic numerals.

The symbol for 5 is usually fully closed e.g. ( 0 ) and should not be confused with Zero which is shown as a dot.


In the Arabic world the Hejira date (AH) may be indicated in Arabic numerals and the Christian date in Western numerals, or both dates represented in either form. 

Some coins carry dates according to both locally observed and Christian eras.

Countries in the Arabic sphere generallly date their coins to the Hejira date (AH = Anno Hegirae). Hejira is the name of the Mohammedan era, which commenced on July 16, 622 of the Christian era (AD = Anno Domini) when the prophet Mohammed fled from Mecca, escaping to Medina to avoid persecution from the Koreish tribesmen. Based on a lunar year, it is 11 days shorter than our usual solar year of 365 days.

A lunar year 'rule of thumb' formula for Arabic coins is to deduct 3% of the AH date then add 622 to give an approximate A.D. date. Many older Arabic coins carry two dates - the first can be the 'accession' date of the ruler to the 'throne' - then there will be a 'year' date which needs to be added to the accession date to give the date at the time the coin was minted.

Example - 10 Piastre coin above:

(Accession date 1333 AH shown on reverse - the Arabic year date 1335 AH on the obverse shows a difference of 2 years that the ruler had been in power) 

Formula:  3% of 1335 = 40.05. deduct this amount from the date and round = 1295 then add 622 = 1917 (give or take 6 months)

Accurate mintage date was late 1916 AD.

Example - 20 Qirsh coin above:

(Accession date 1293 AH +  33 years in power (as shown at top of coin) = 1326 AH.)

Formula: 3% of 1326 = 39.78 deduct this amount from the date and round = 1286 then add 622 = 1908 AD (give or take 6 months)

Accurate mintage date was early 1908.

Just to complicate things a little more some Arabic dates are based on the Solar year (usually shown as SH) - this means that 621 or  622 is just added to the date on the coin without using the lunar formula. Formula: 1379 SH + 621 = 2000 AD.

For instance, Iraq uses the AH system while Iran uses the SH dating system - but Iran did use the AH system until 1971. Another country that used the AH and then changed to the SH dating systems was Afghanistan. It is also a fact that the so-called Arabic numberic system was originally an invention of  the Hindus but it was adapted by the Arab traders about 662 A.D and, by 800 A.D., it was well established in the West and Europe due to the Arab expansion across the known world.

Many quality catalogues of world coins and currency have accurately worked out the detailed Arabic numeric tables  - as well as many others from Asian countries that may not list details in a style of numerics we can understand.


Main References:

Uri's Page http://www.geocities.com/uripi/arabic_numbers.html

Standard Catalog of World Coins 1901 - Present  by Chester L. Krause and Clifford Mishler - Colin R. Bruce II, Senior Editor.




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