Volume 14 Issue 1           Formerly published as the 'Tasmanian Numismatist' - Internet Edition' (Est. 1996)              January 2009


Remember - be astute when you are handed change - not all the wonders of numismatics have been discovered yet - and they don't have to be shiny and new! This edition again features an assortment of  'trivia' that I think is of interest and I trust it will prove educational and entertaining to you as well. 

All or any prices quoted in articles in this newsletter, unless stipulated, are estimates only and they should not be considered to be an offer to sell or purchase the items mentioned or used as illustrations. Please note that the photoscans of numismatic items are usually not to size or scale, but - wherever possible - they are from the authors' own collection or the extensive picture library of the 'Numisnet World' - Internet Edition.

Any comments published in this privately produced newsletter do not necessarily reflect the views of the 'Numisnet World' (Internet Edition) nor its Editor.

Bearing in mind our public disclaimers, the Internet links selected by the authors of this newsletter are usually provided as a complimentary source of reference to the featured article in regard to: (1) Illustrations and, (2) to provide additional important information. These items may be subject to copyright.

We trust that this issue of the 'Numisnet World' (Internet Edition) newsletter will continue to provide interesting reading.

PLEASE NOTE - RE-STATED DISCLAIMER: Where on-line web-site addressess are supplied, they are done so in good faith after we have checked them ourselves - however, our readers are advised that if a personal decision to access them is made - it is at your own risk.





Edited by Graeme Petterwood. © 2009.


2009 - and still growing!


Please accept my invitation to make a contribution if you feel you have something numismatically themed that may appeal to a general level of interest and fulfills our stated editorial guidelines. I am always prepared to look at it - and if need be - assist in presentation.

However, not every submission will be automatically accepted for publication if common courtesy and acceptable moral standards are not upheld or the subject matter is not considered 'generic' enough for this type of newsletter, nor if the subject has already been covered in depth in earlier editions.

This is, obviously,  not a scientific-style journal - our object is to educate, certainly - but, in an entertaining way for the average hobbiest collector. - G.E.P.




When I was asked whether I had any interesting serial numbers amongst the Australian polymer banknotes that  I own - I knew I had - and, also, that I had written an article about them just a few newsletters ago. The enquiry was easily satisfied - but it had been a long search for me to find just three Oz notes that fitted the criteria that is most expected from serious number collectors..

However, the query did make me have another browse through my accumulation of World notes - those little, old, tatty pieces of paper I fondly call my collection - and I discovered that - whilst I didn't have very much to flaunt, I did have some that could 'nearly' be classified as 'starters'.


How many numbers does a note have to have to be 'interesting' - a run of  3 - 4 numbers; or perhaps - a group of 2 or 3 different pairs; a sequence of a particular number?

Combinations of numbers has always been a fascination  to most people - many have a 'lucky' number or a group that has special meaning to them..

In a few instances when I have been given access to, or have acquired, an old bank note accumulation - that may appear to be a fairly random group at first glance -  I have often found that an obvious number pattern, of some sort, was being developed by the original collector..

It doesn't take a genius to work out that the acquisition of certain numbers is usually a 'bona fide'  collecting theme - even if it not always pursued vigourously.

The few  items, shown below, came from such an group that I acquired many - many - years ago. They have languished, until recently.


BAKU 1918

The first few 'starters' that  I noticed, came across came from a city state, Baku, which was still part of the Russian Imperial Empire in 1918.

They are a decidedly ragged lot and several show obvious signs of a serious repair effort to either extend their useful life as currency or by a collector who considered them a bit special.  As mentioned,  I obtained these notes years ago - along with a few more notes from another former cirty state, Batum.

Some of these places no longer exist, or, if they do, they are not as important as they were prior to the Russian Revolution.

I wouldn't think that a huge amount of notes would have been produced in Baku, or Batum, so I feel justified in claiming that these few pieces of paper currency would probably qualify as interesting - even if the number sequences didn't add a little more to their desirability.

Even though their condition really consigns them as space fillers, they are not notes that are readily available at a local dealer or market stall.

As fodder, for a 'just starting-out'  bank note accumulator in the early 1960's, they were quite OK at the time.

They caught my attention in a heap of other Russian notes that were on offer in bulk. 

I haggled quite a bit over a few visits and eventually bought all that the ex-dealer had on hand - regardless of condition - at a reasonably equitable price for both of us - and I have never regretted the rich field it opened up for me other than the numismatic one.

Obviously, the originally owner had an idea for a theme - as simple as it was -  and that makes it interesting to me - as a 'magpie'!

(The prefixes are in Russian Cyrrllic so I will translate those couple of initials that may be a problem.)


The 'special theme' banknote serial numbers from Baku

1918 Baku - 5 Rubles Serial No. IF 1525;  10 Rubles Serial No. AKK 5858;  50 Rubles Serial No. DP 4656

'Standard Catalog of World Paper Money' - 6th. Edition, Volume One  - Cat. Ref. Nos. S723; S724; S733.




What are your lucky last numbers?

It took me a while to realise that, within this small collection of British Armed Forces Special Vouchers (shown below) that I bought  years ago,  the last two digits - 05 - may have played an important part in the serial number sequence for someone. 

Of course, they may have been original acquired that way - straight from a packet on special at a bookstore hobby section -  or a dealers scratch-box. .

They were reasonably priced in a job lot of other bits and pieces I looked at, and, at that time back in the 1990's - several large hoards had been discovered that had been made for use in Germany in the 1950's era  and were being dispersed -  these vouchers were being used as  'note fillers' in a commercial deal -  "so many notes for so much" - starter kits.  I saw them, and considered using  some for an illustration of a military article I was writing, so I paid a relative pittance - in the overall scheme of things, and felt I got a real bargain. They are top quality - never issued -  a very attractive numismatic product, and they round off any note collection.

Two other vouchers for 5 New Pence (in the final 6th series) - that were in the same group - were produced under contract by two different British-based note printers; 'De La Rue' (formerly Thomas de la Rue) and 'Bradbury, Wilkinson & Co'. - but were un-numbered.

They are very similar in style to the serial numbered 10 New Pence notes (shown below) which were written about in our December 2008 issue.




Note 'starter kits' back in the 1980's usually contained a few 'de-monetized' uncirculated British Armed Forces Special Vouchers.

This collection featured the numbers '05' as the last digits in the serial numbers. (Notes not to scale)

Notes were produced by two different printers. SCWPM - 7th Edition, Volume Two - Cat. Ref. Nos. 

One Pound M2, M29, M36. Five Pounds M23.

Ten New Pence M45, M48. Fifty New Pence  MM49.



M. R. Roberts' 'NUMI$NEWS' - December 2008.

It's worth mentioning that I had composed the brief article (above) about 'end numbers' on BAF notes in mid-November 2008 in preparation for this issue  - however -   it seems great minds think alike.

The mid-December issue of 'Numi$News', featured these same basic group of British Armed Forces military vouchers, and it seems that they were  retailing at the December bargain price of only AUD$12.95 for the 7 notes set (plus local surface mail postage of AUD$6.95) from Bob Roberts' Wynyard Coin Centre.  A special deal could even be obtained for bulk purchases. They may still be available - so check with Bob.

Whilst I am showing the two different printers' efforts with the 10 New Pence in the article - there is also the 5 New Pence that made the original set of 7 notes - which was also produced by the two major printers.


On close examination, these B.A.F. 5 New Pence vouchers have minute differences in colour and the finer design.

(Top) 'Bradbury, Wilkinson & Co'.

(Bottom) 'De La Rue' (formerly Thomas de la Rue)


Overseas postage, insurance and packaging is currently AUD$20.00 minimum on any order from Wynyard Coin Centre so it always pays to get the current  'Numi$News' and make a few selections to make up a reasonable parcel. P.S. - There are some super great bargains in Australian banknotes at present.

Bob is always giving away genuine  'bonuses' with great prices and excellent quality - and even refunds on special occasions - so get your copy of  'Numi$News' - which is free - it contains prices, lots of information, an availability list and order form. It can be obtained on application directly from:


M. R. 'Bob' Roberts' - Wynyard Coin Centre.

7 Hunter Arcade,

Sydney. 2000. 

New South Wales.

Australia .

Phone (02) 9299 2047 Fax: (02) 9290 3710




There are always random number arrangements that catch and hold our attention.

Short 'up or down' sequences are usually popular - even though most number 'purists' tend to ignore small petty groupings - they prefer the more austere running numbers forward and reverse to be in long strings e.g. 12345 or  54321; radar numbers that read the same both ways e.g. 12344321; sequences of pairs or trebles e.g. 454545, 123123; or stairs up or down e.g. 122334, 988776 or something similar.

Number sequences are usually only limited by lack of imagination.



An insipid brown 7 x 5 cms. hand-trimmed 1919 (issued 1920) 15 Rubles Russian currency note numbered AA 007

These type are often called Babylonians because of the number of languages used -  but could it also be - 'From Russia with Love'? 

How's that for a stretch of the numismatic numerical imagination?

SCWPM - 7th Edition, Volume Two - Cat. Ref. No.  98




 1985 Austrian 20 Schilling - Serial No. H 706050 J - sometimes the first glance isn't enough.

Always look at, think about, and read serial numbers from all directions to see any possible patterns.

SCWPM - 7th Edition, Volume Two - Cat. Ref. No. 148



BANK NOTE VARIETIES - and other things!

Varieties are, sometimes, accidental changes in a note's appearance - and, sometimes, they are sanctioned differences that are just not mentioned until someone 'spots the difference'. The poor old cataloguers are usually playing a 'catch-up' game all year with official data - but we all need to be continually observant. for those little things that the issuers don't always tell us.

When 'varieties' turn up, and we usually have no catalogue or similar reference to tell us which note is the 'different' one,. it is always a mystery that begs to be answered. We have featured variations in past newsletters but the general public still hungers for more information about these little abberrations than periodically turn up to haunt us.  "Have we got a dud?" - they ask - as they compare the notes in their purse or wallet..

We all know that counterfeit notes are supposed to be handed in and that there will be no compensation - so, if the denomination is high - so are the levels of accompanying frowns.

"Is it real?" - That is probably the first thought that sweeps through our minds as well - but we can't wait to get our hands on the notes for our own 'expert' opinion.  In some instances, we might even be able to relieve the worry from tsomeone else's mind - one way or another. 

Collectors collect all sorts of things from all sorts of places from all sorts of people!. 

Anyhow, it might well be a genuine  'variety' - and there have been a few in the Australian and New Zealand note issues of recent years.


Due to colour confusion between two denominations, the Five Dollar note was recoloured, some design changes made, revised prefix sequence and an orientation band applied in 1995.


 Prefixes numbered HC95 through to KC95 on some $5.00 notes were printed with 'narrow' (finer lines) orientation bands.

Top: Sample, broad band (thicker lines), BK95 prefix note - Bottom: Sample, narrow band, JL95 prefix note.


A further signatory positional change was made in 2002 when the RBA Governor's name and title were given top precedence.

Broad orientation band. (This sample prefix BA 06  - issued 2006)


The Reserve Bank of New Zealand issued One Pound notes bearing the signature of the Chief Cashier, Gilbert Wilson, during 1955 - 1956 with 3 different prefix arrangements. The first was Letter over Number (from H/2 - J/9); the second was rarer - Number over Letter (0/K); the third was the 3 number prefix (001 - 020). Other denominations also had various official prefix arrangements during the 1934 - 1967 pre-decimal era.


During the years of European conflict and ensuing turmoil in the era from 1910 - 1950 , many notes were produced in fairly uncontrolled circumstances by contracted printers hired by desperate Governments to get as much money onto the streets as quickly as possible because of hyper-inflation.

As a second string to the main collecting theme you may have - inflation money is usually so cheap and readily available that it can make a very attractive and interesting place in your World bank note section - a great talking point is the huge 'values' that were being printed at that time in history - but to also find that there are 'varieties' is an added bonus.

As mentioned, we have covered this inflationary era in numerous newsletters - but a quick review of some of the 'variations'  may help some of our newer readers and collectors become aware of what sort of thing is 'out there' and what can form this interesting collecting sideline.


Subtle design variations, coupled with colour variations, prefix differences - are obvious in these high denomination German bank notes issued during 1922 - 1923 (shown below) which proved to be 'not worth the paper they were printed on.'



 German 50,000 Mark Reichsbanknotes dated 19th. November, 1922.  (2 varieties in collection.)

SCWPM - 7th Edition, Volume Two - Cat. Ref. No.  79, 80.



German 100,000 Mark Reichsbanknotes dated 1st. February, 1923. (2 varieties in collection. )

SCWPM - 7th Edition, Volume Two - Cat. Ref. No.  83a - (without T at the bottom left of portrait)




Re-edited from the 'Tasmanian Numismatist' (January 1999) as an article of interest.

Researched, compiled and written by Graeme E. Petterwood. © 1999, 2009.


Back in 1998, the announcement about the inclusion of Hay Internment Camp notes in Greg McDonald’s ‘Pocket Book Guide to Australian Coins and Banknotes’ in 1998 had sent my thoughts back to that era when I was a child - when people were locked away because of their race, their religion or their political beliefs and when Australia was at War!

While I was searching for a little more information about the Hay Camp, I came upon a paragraph that mentioned the Camp as a possible site for Japanese prisoners-of-war prior to the serious troubles at Cowra in August 1944 - and, of course, one thing always leads to another - and before long I was checking out an incident at Cowra that had remained a 'secret' for years.

My initial source of information was a report of the sale of an Australian awarded George Cross, in a 1994 edition of the now defunct  ‘Australian Coin Review’- which, as I have said previously, was a great source for reference material, particularly in the area of militaria and the fascinating true stories that go with it. This was no exception!

On July 13th 1994, nearly 50 years after the ‘incident’ at Cowra that posthumously earned Private Ralph Jones the George Cross, this medal  was placed at auction through Noble Numismatic Auctions in Melbourne. Private Ralph Jones’ George Cross was one of only ten ever awarded to Australians - and another was awarded to Private Benjamin Gower Hardy who, in company with Ralph Jones, earned his medal the ‘hard way’.

Ralph Jones’ small group of medals realised A$102,000 - a small price to pay for the grand sum of someone’s life taken in such harrowing, but little known, circumstances as the ‘Cowra Breakout’.



 Private Ralph Jones and Private Benjamin Gower Hardy (posthumous George Cross recipients)

The George Cross was instituted on 24th. September 1940 by King George VI after the London Blitz. 

It is considered the civilian or non-combatant equivalent counterpart to the Victoria Cross.



During the darkest hours of the early morning of 5th. August 1944, the No. 12 Prisoner of War Group Camp at Cowra, 320 kilometres west of Sydney in New South Wales, became a war zone when 1104 Japanese prisoners decided to escape or die.

The shame of being ‘allowed’ to be captured was an unspeakable disgrace to the Japanese serviceman who believed that they could never return to their homeland with such a dishonour surrounding them.

‘To die like the carp’ was to liken oneself to a revered Japanese fish that dies calmly and without a struggle in a dignified manner, and that, coupled with the Japanese tradition of ‘Bushido’ or warrior tradition, enabled the planners of the escape to form a volatile and desperately fatalistic group amongst the prisoners at the 64 acre site.

The Prisoner of War Camp at Cowra contained a mixture of prisoners-of-war and it was guarded by members of the Australian Militia, the 22nd. Garrison Battalion - mainly men considered to be too old to be in the front line on active duty, and the Japanese section was held by the 12th. P.O.W. Company.

Many of the Italian prisoners were sent out to local farms, as day labourers, they caused no problems and were happy to be out of the war. The Koreans and Taiwanese, likewise, had settled in reasonably well and were not perceived as too much of a threat to the stability of the camp.


The attitude of the newer Japanese prisoners, however, had been very belligerent at first, but eventually they appeared to have settled down and were allowed privileges and to participate in playing sports, such as baseball and sumo wrestling.

The prisoners, many of whom had been wounded in action, were mainly front-line troops captured in New Guinea as the tide of war had turned against them. Their wounds had been tended to and they were well treated, well-fed and well housed in Cowra’s ‘B’ Compound and were under International Red Cross supervision and had no real problems, in fact, there was no real bitterness against their Australian captors, whatsoever.

The only problem that could not be foreseen by the Australian captors was the Japanese deep sense of shame - the disgrace at being captured.

The prisoners knew that they had virtually no chance of escaping from Australia and returning home to Japan, so the determination was formed amongst the officers, in particular, to regain honour by doing battle with their Australian foe, and perhaps dying heroically in the attempt to ‘escape’.

Rumours of the planned breakout had filtered through to the Commandant, Lt.-Colonel (later Colonel) Montague ‘Monty’ Andrew Brown, from a Korean prisoner in June 1944, who warned that the Japanese were acting submissively as they were trying to lull the guards into a false sense of security.

Brown took the warning seriously, and asked for, and received, additional arms from Sydney in the form of two Vickers guns and a Lewis gun - he also decided to separate the Japanese Officers and N.C.O’s from their other men.

This, in itself, was a mistake as Japanese units tended to be like family structures with the officers regarded as the father figures and given the same patriarchal loyalty and devotion by their troops.


On the morning of Friday August 4th., Lt.-Col. Brown informed the Japanese Officers to pack and be prepared to be moved to Hay Prisoner of War Camp after breakfast on Monday morning. In fact, this was another big mistake in prison protocol by Lt. Col. Brown, as only civilian internees were usually advised in advance of the movements between camps.The Japanese soldiers were furious when the decision was announced on the Friday morning, but at that time most of them had no idea that the officer hierarchy had been considering a breakout.

During the Friday all usual activity ceased as groups were taken aside into their huts and told that the time had come for them ‘to die like the carp!’

The Australians believed that the sulleness and withdrawal of the Japanese back into their huts was caused by Commandant ‘Monty’ Brown’s announcement about their officers and N.C.O’s were being moved to Hay Prison camp on the Monday.

The Japanese Officers came to the realisation that their plan had probably been uncovered - and decided that it was now or never!

Trusted N.C.O’s and hut leaders, who were in on the planning, were advised that the breakout would take place that night for several reasons - firstly, it was pay night for garrison troops and they usually relaxed with a few drinks and played cards.

Secondly, at this time, the machine guns were not manned permanently, as the garrison troops were still training with them, and they were still mounted on their mobile trailers and would be properly set-up on Monday when the officers were to be moved out.

In fact, the Japanese plans for escape were very vague and it appears that they really did not matter once the breakout occurred - what mattered was that their honour could be restored!


The signal was to be a bugle call by Sergeant-Pilot Tadao Minami **, at 2.00 a.m. on Saturday morning, when most troops would be asleep and then an accumulation of weapons consisting of baseball bats, sharpened gardening tools and eating utensils would be used to overwhelm the guards, seize their weapons and then mount a major assault on the nearby army recruitment centre to obtain more sophisticated military weapons to make a real fight of it.

The array of weapons readily available to the prisoners was certainly less than formidable - but still deadly - to some Japanese the idea of dying in honourable battle meant far more than the escape - and a sharpened spoon or a baseball bat was a means to an end.

However, some of the younger Japanese soldiers did not wish to do either and the dissenters were quietly and quickly murdered in the huts by their more aggressive and militant comrades when, during the last few minutes they refused to obey the orders.

Another 138 managed to avoid being murdered by their fellows, and remained behind in the compound in ‘disgrace’.

One reluctant young soldier did manage to escape from his hut, temporarily, and with wild screams he raced out into the compound thus awakening the camp - he was bludgeoned down and his throat was slit as the bugle call sounded, ten minutes earlier than intended, at 1.50 a.m..

Another 20 prisoners, who were still suffering from their battle wounds and were unable to take an active part in the escape, chose to stay behind and were incinerated when the ‘B’ compound huts were set on fire, as a diversion, by the prisoners as they burst from cover and ran screaming towards the perimeters in three different directions.

Between the machine guns and the Japanese were three barbed-wire fences, which they quickly scaled after throwing their coats and blankets across them and with some prisoners using baseball mitts to protect their hands.


Dead Japanese P.O.W's near the barbed wire fences draped with prisoner's overcoats - Cowra 6th August 1944


Two pyjama-clad garrison troops, Private Ralph Jones, almost 44, a former Englishman who had seen service during WW1 in Antwerp and who had ended up as a labourer in Goulburn prior to the start of the Second World War, and Private Benjamin Gower Hardy, a few weeks away from his 46 birthday , a former motor mechanic from Sydney, had been awoken by the scream of the escaping Japanese prisoner.

Refer:- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ralph_Jones_(GC)

They had donned their greatcoats and ran out to the nearest Vickers gun and immediately deployed the weapon.

Supporting troops from the evening guard, who would normally have been available to protect them, had been called away to cover the other two areas that were under heavy attack by the rampaging prisoners.

Private Charles Henry Shepherd, was to die by stabbing, and four others in the guard were to be wounded in some desperate fighting that saw more Japanese take their own lives before they were turned back into an area, called the Broadway, between the four compounds that separated the Japanese, Formosan, Italian and Korean P.O.W’s held at Cowra.


** The Japanese naval pilot, who was officially registered as Tadao Minami, was shot and wounded and, after calmly smoking a cigarette, he then cut his own throat and was found later still clutching the bugle that started the break-out.

It was later learned that he had been using an assumed name and he was actually Fighter-Pilot/Seaman First-Class  Hajime Toyoshima - and he was the first POW captured in Australia.

Toyoshima (alias Minami) had crashed on Melville Island after the 19th. February 1942 raid on Darwin.

He was taken into custody by people of the local Tiwi tribe, and he was escorted in a canoe to nearby Bathurst Island where Army engineer SGT Les Powell affected the official capture. He was later transferred to Cowra..


The two machine-gunners were left alone to stem the growing tide of over 200 of the most fanatical of the prisoners, who were now deliberately concentrating on this most dangerous of areas -their Bushido tradition of dying in battle was going to be fulfilled.

Over 23 prisoners died as they clambered over the last fence and charged the gun and many more of the wounded killed themselves, or had comrades perform the act of ritual throat slitting, called ‘seppuka’, during the initial assault because they had not died in battle. They would not be disgraced twice!

The sheer weight of Japanese numbers, could not be held back forever and when it became fatally obvious that the gun was going to be lost, Private Hardy was heard to yell to Jones, "Get going!" .

Jones dived over the backs of the P.O.W’s as they were trying to clamber over the front of the trailer - many were decapitated by the full force of the weapon still being fired by Hardy - but, unfortunately for Jones, he was caught, clubbed and repeatedly stabbed before he broke free - mortally wounded and finally he collapsed near the camp gate.

His dying words were, "They got us!"

Father Frank McGuinn, who had been awoken by the battle, found Private Jones as he lay dying so he anointed him and gave the Last Rites, even though he was unsure if Jones was a Roman Catholic.


Meantime, Private Hardy was desperately and successfully trying to disable the gun as he was ‘smashed to a pulp’ by the prisoner’s baseball bats.

He removed the firing-pin and threw it away into the darkness before he died, thus rendering the Vickers gun inoperable to the prisoners.

However, the supreme effort and sacrifice of the two men had enabled the other troops to begin to control the situation before it became irreversible.

The troops found that they still held 432 Japanese contained in one area, 231 had been killed, 107 were seriously wounded or injured trying to breach the wire fences and had been recaptured - but 334 had escaped into the night.

It took nine days for the escapees to be rounded up and, during this time, a further 25 died - they were either killed resisting capture, or had hung themselves, one even laid on the Cowra - Blayney railway line - and waited for the train which didn't come.  The troops arrived first.


Because the garrison troops were needed to contain the remaining prisoners, who were still considered extremely volatile and dangerous, the Australian officers from the nearby recruiting centre were mustered and sent off unarmed and commanding young untrained recruits armed only with bayonets until such time, ‘sometime between nine - thirteen hours’, that armed police, troops and farmers could be brought into the area to assist.

One Australian officer, Lt. Harry Doncaster, from Ballarat in Victoria, who had just turned  38, lost his life when he was killed by a bayonet that was seized by an escapee after it had been thrown down by an 18 year old panic-stricken recruit as he ran away.

The Japanese had sworn not to harm civilians if they escaped, and it was an oath that was not broken when they were confronted by the groups of vigilantes raised from the local population. Not one civilian was harmed, but several Japanese were shot on sight by civilians, because the populations of Cowra and surrounding districts were terrified by wild stories of Japanese atrocities.


The whole affair was kept under wraps, during the war, for fear of Japanese reprisals against Australian P.O.W’s and it took six years of effort by Col. M. A. Brown to have his two heroes eventually decorated with the George Cross - the non-combat equivalent to the Victoria Cross.

As it has been stated, "The two soldiers had fed and fired the machine gun against desperate Japanese soldiers before they were clubbed and stabbed to death. One wonders why this did not qualify as ‘combat’ duty!" (See Editor's Note re award criteria at the end of this article.)

The bodies of the dead Japanese were initially buried ‘en masse’ in secrecy, at night, wrapped in their P.O.W. red blankets, but by 1964 a well cared for garden cemetery was developed as the last resting place for those that had perished in the breakout. The remains of another 291 Japanese servicemen, who had died elsewhere in Australia during the war years, were also brought to the quiet garden and the Cowra cemetery now attracts about 1000 Japanese visitors each year.

The town now also has a sister city relationship with the small Japanese town of Inazawa.

The surviving leader of the outbreak was named as Sergeant-Major Ryo Kanazawa, and he was brought to trial on charges of murdering the four Australians, but he was found not guilty.

It had been adjudged as 'soldier fighting soldier in time of war'. (Further strengthening the public case for Victoria Crosses to have been awarded.)*

Kanazawa was eventually gaoled for 15 months for inciting a riot - the only legitimate charge that would stand up in an Australian court at that time of conflict. He was reluctantly repatriated from Cowra to Japan in March 1946 and even though he felt that his disgrace, in not dying, would not allow him to re-enter Japanese life, he was eventually accepted back into his village and became a farmer once more.

The last un-named prisoner left Cowra in January 1947.

Until Harry Gordon released his book, in 1978, very little true detail was known of the scope of the events that took place on the tragic early morning of the August 5th.1944 in Cowra.


Cowra memorial garden with a bronze plaque bearing the resemblences of the four Australians killed during the breakout and round-up.

Privates N244527 Ralph Jones G C., N 103951 Benjamin G. Hardy G C., N 387872 Charles H. Shepherd,

and (V58006) VX 52878 Lt. Harry Doncaster.


Editor's Note:-

In the minds of most people the V C is the premier award for bravery - and, whilst the medals are officially equivalent counterparts - the V C - For Valour - is given precedence over the G C - For Gallantry - when being formally worn.

'The Victoria Cross' - For acts of outstanding bravery.(Intended for bravery on the field of battle)

'The George Cross' - A reward for heroism for civilians, both men and women, also to members of the Armed Forces, when the instance does not earn or where the situation does not warrant a military award. The George Cross was only to be awarded where the most conspicuous courage was shown and where the recipient was in extreme danger.  


Main References :-

‘Die Like the Carp.’ by Harry Gordon published by Cassell, Melbourne. 1978.

‘Australian Coin Review’ published June 1994.

The Cowra Incident.’ from Living Australia. published by Bay Books Pty. Ltd.

Australian War Memorial - Canberra. - selected pictures (Cowra fences and Sgt. H. Toyoshima)

The George Cross. - Refer: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Cross

Australia at War - http://www.ww2australia.gov.au/allin/breakout.html




The following text and illustration is an extract from an Internet article seen on  "The E-sylum"  site - Volume 11, Number 47 .

"The number of fake £1 coins in circulation now stands at more than 30 million, according to the Royal Mint. How do you know if you've been given one? That £1 coin in your pocket could be worthless. The number of fake pound coins in circulation has doubled in the past five years and one in every 50 is now counterfeit."


Comparison chart showing real and fake English Pound coins.

"It's illegal to make or use counterfeited coins and the Royal Mint says people must hand them in if they think they have one. But how can you tell?
It all depends on the quality of the counterfeit, but key signs include a poorly defined ribbed edge, the wrong typeface and an indistinct design or bust of the Queen. A fake can also be slightly different in colour.
"Current fakes are what we call 'soapy' in the coin business," says Garry Day, who works for a leading coin dealer, AH Baldwin.
"This means the marking and detail on them, like the queen's head, are blurred and not very distinct."

Another way to identify a fake is to check the alignment of the coin.

Hold it so the Queen's head is upright and facing you - when you turn the coin over, the pattern on the reverse should also be upright.

Fakes can often be at an angle.
The Royal Mint's online design portfolio can also be used to easily identify what's genuine and what's not.  Since they were introduced in 1983, the design on the reverse of the coins has changed every year. Often the year and the design do not correspond on a fake.

Also, the Latin motto on the edge of the coin should correspond to the right year.

A simple test at any automated vending machine can also identify a suspect coin. A lot of counterfeit coins are rejected, often leaving you grappling to find another coin in your purse or pocket.  Ultimately, how easy it is to identify a fake comes down to its quality.

The good news is the fakes are getting worse, according to some experts.
"Quality is definitely dropping and fakes are now quite obvious, even to the untrained eye," says Mr Day, who has been studying the problem.
To read the complete article, see: How do you spot a fake pound coin?

Refer: (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/7628930.stm)


Reference: "The E-Sylum"

The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization promoting numismatic literature.

For more information please see the NBS web site at coinbooks.org


Those wishing to become new E-Sylum subscribers  can go to the following web page link


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To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, just write to the Editor at this address: whomren@gmail.com


Editor's Comment

It  is interesting that some speculation has now arisen whether the 'real' coin used to illustrated the article above  is in fact 'real' - at this stage I can really make no definitive comment.

The dark-coloured poor quality Pound coin I have recently obtained by chance, and closely examined visually, is dated 2000 and predates the English coin used as the example by a few years.

It features the old QEII head with the Dragon of Wales reverse - and further comparisons show a slight vertical misalignment.

 (Mine is approx. 30% misaligned with the Dragon 'walking downhill'. The words One Pound on the reverse are not centred but positioned at 6 - 4 o'clock)

The edge lettering etching is atrocious compared to other coins I have seen.  Pieces of letters are distorted or incomplete and it is etched with the English coin legend - DECUS ET TUTAMEN in Latin  - not the Welsh - PLEIDOL WYF I'M GWLAD.

The flan has several dents and splits - and the dot shown on my sample is the only sign of the  +   cross-shaped symbol that is normally located between the last word 'TUTAMEN' and the first word 'DECUS' in that form of legend.

The poorly defined milled reeding only extends partway to the rims and there is a definite smooth line between reeding and the over-raised rims.

The curve of the edge is noticeable as well - and it makes the coin difficult to balance upright.on a flat surface which is normally fairly easy with a coin of this size with its wide flat edge. All this could be attributed to natural wear and tear - but I would hesitate to give this as the reason for its appearance.

I believe that my 'coin' is definitely a 'dud'!  I hope the scans do the 'coin' justice


Dark coloration, poor definition, fractured flan, edge lettering incorrect and poorly applied, incomplete reeding, and an approx. 30% mis-alignment obvious when the coin is turned on the vertical axis.


(Please note that 'NumisNet World' has not endorsed the links supplied by E-Sylum but does include them in good faith to those readers who may be interested).

Caveat Emptor.



A TIME FOR CHANGE of Small Change!

During last year, a massive redesign schedule was implemented with the circulating coinage of Great Britain and, no doubt, the spurious Pound coins mentioned in the last article - and any other odd fake pieces that have been circulating  - will be gathered up, in due course, and consigned to the melting pot as the new coinage rolls out in 2009. 

No doubt, many of those family 'small change' hoards will also be surrendered over the holiday period.  Amongst them, there will be older coins that may be of interest to collectors - so keep you eyes peeled at places where coinage is usually in abundance and is handled quickly..

Even though, at first glance, it appears dis-jointed, the new coinage will be attractive to some purists in that it is an imaginative re-representation of traditional heraldry instead of the more modern-style artistry of flora and fauna that is so prevalent on many other world coinages.

It instils a certain sense of  continuence - even if the Shield is shattered into 6  jig-saw pieces. 

If you are observant, you will notice that each of the new coins contain a portion of the design that is the Royal Coat-of-Arms. 

The complete design adorns the Royal Shield and can be seen on the One Pound Coin (top of illustration).

Beneath the One Pound coin, the lesser 6 coin arrangement indicates the Royal Shield and how its pattern is incorporated onto the coins. 

It may be a matter of numismatic and technical conjecture about the 'new-old' designs, in future years, as coins wear and the original overall concept may be lost on international collectors  At this stage, until some of these coins are in this writer's hand, I will reserve judgement.

The weights, sizes and metal composition of the new coins will not be altered from the previous styles.


2009 Great Britain Coinage

Bottom row (l. to r.) – One Pound; Fifty Pence; Twenty Pence; Ten Pence; Five Pence; Two Pence and One Penny


Main Reference

The Royal Mint: http://www.royalmint.com/home/home.aspx




The 'Tasmanian Numismatic Society' and it's members  lose a special friend.

The Committee and Members of the ‘Tasmanian Numismatic Society’ were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of a great friend, Mrs. June Holmes, in early December 2008.

Many of us knew June as a wonderful helper within the Society since its inception in 1963 - and a friend to anyone who needed one - we were also aware of the deep bond of care and love that existed between her and her husband, Bill, during the hard times as well as the good years. 

We extend our deepest and most sincere condolences to T.N.S. Life Member and friend, Bill, on the loss of his greatest treasure.






We have been asked to advise our Australian readers, in particular members of the T.N.S., that a change of a long established postal contact address has occured.

As from January 1st  2009, the official postal address of the 'Tasmanian Numismatic Society' will be altered to that shown below.

All written correspondence, current subscription fees and enquiries etc., should be forwarded directly to:-


Tasmanian Numismatic Society.

C/-  Mr. C. A. Heath - (Hon. Sec.)

P.O. Box 12.


Tasmania. 7011.






(Renamed) 'NUMISNET WORLD - INTERNET EDITION' July 2007 - to date.


Early issues of the 'Tasmanian Numismatist - Internet Edition', from 1995 - 1999. were permanently archived and are not linked directly - copies of articles are available only by email on request.

http://www.vision.net.au/~pwood/aug03.htm  - 1995, 1996 - 1997 (Volumes 1 and 2) Archived.

http://www.vision.net.au/~pwood/ept2003.htm  - 1998 - 1999 (Volumes 3 and 4) Archived.


By refering to the the 'Newsletter Archives' or 'Search' function located on the Home Page, you can directly access all Volumes.

http://www.vision.net.au/~pwood/tns.html  - January 2000 (Volumes 5 - to date).

In January 2006 it was decided to grant each new issue its own URL link. which would henceforth appear in the current Index for fast find:

http://www.vision.net.au/~pwood/mar07.html  - 2006 (Volume 11)

The final Index of the 'Tasmanian Numismatist - Internet Edition'

http://www.vision.net.au/~pwood/dec07.htm  - 2007 (Volume 12 - Issues 1 - 6)


Full details of initial 'Numisnet World - Internet Edition' (2007)

http://www.vision.net.au/~pwood/dec07.htm  - (Volume 12 - Issues 7 - 12)

For full details of 'Numisnet World - Internet Edition' (2008)

http://www.vision.net.au/~pwood/dec08.htm  - (Volume 13 - Issues 1 - 12)



'NUMISNET WORLD' - Internet Edition. Volume 13 – December 2008. (Content Reminder)

Issue 12. December 2008:-

The Ring of Fire. - The rim of the Pacific Ocean is the meeting place of the moving tectonic plates that make up the earth's surface - it is also the area in which a very large proportion of humitity has lived for millennia. The coins and banknotes often show depictions of this uneasy relationship with nature.

Banknote Printers to the World  - A brief resume of a few private bank note printers - past and present - who have left  historic, indelible numismatic marks.


'NUMISNET WORLD - INTERNET EDITION' Volume 14, Jan. - to date 2009

Issue 1. January 2009:-

The Numbers Game - Some tattered pieces of virtually worthles paper money that have numbers that we collectors  tend to notice.

Bank Note Varieties - and other things! - At first glance, they look the same - but then those 'little differences' become noticeable and we take a second look..

The Story Behind the Story - Cowra Breakout revisited. - A war story that took place within Australia and had been archived for more than half a century..

Fake Pounds Circulating in Great Britain - "Large quantities of fake One Pound coins are making life miserable for English shoppers" - E-Sylum.

Bereavement - The 'Tasmanian Numismatic Society' and it's members lose a special friend with the passing of Mrs June Holmes in December 2008..

Change of Official Postal Address 2009 - Please note - the official postal adress of the 'Tasmanian Numismatic Society' has now changed.





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The ‘Tasmanian Numismatist’ newsletter is the only official newsletter of the ‘Tasmanian Numismatic Society’ and it is published periodically and distributed by post, or hand delivered, directly to members of the Tasmanian Numismatic Society and selected associates and institutions. All matters pertaining to the T.N.S. are re-published with the permission of the current Executive Committee of the ‘Tasmanian Numismatic Society.

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

Please note that all opinions expressed in material published in the ''NumisNet World'' (Internet Edition) newsletter are those of the authors, and not necessarily those of the Editor. 

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The Editor,

Numisnet World - (Internet Edition). 

P.O. Box 10,

Ravenswood. 7250. Tasmania.


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

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