Volume 8 Issue 6                            INTERNET EDITION                   June  2003.

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



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.






For those Tasmanian Numismatic Society members or other newsletter readers who were not able to attend, it is of interest to learn that, during the very successful AGFEST event held at Quercus Park near Carrick in Tasmania from 1 - 3 May 2003, a special souvenir token was struck and marketed on site by medal specialists 'OZMINT' on behalf of the organising body. 

The packaged 30mm brass token was struck to celebrate the 21st. anniversary of the 'Field Days', a feature that was originally organised by the Rural Youth Organisation of Tasmania Inc. in 1983 and which has grown to be Tasmania's premier agricultural event. This year a record total of well over 78,000 people passed through the gates.


The AGFEST token is mounted as a low insert in a plastic sealed card which, on the presentation side, photographically shows an aerial view of the site, bathed in brilliant sunshine. 

On the variegated green back, a short history and some of the features of the event are supplied. 

The packaging, as well as the token, is very well designed and manufactured in keeping with previous OZMINT products. 

Set in a finely striated representation of the surrounding seas, the token obverse features a central outline map of our island State of Tasmania which includes within its borders a representation of sunshine over mountains, a tractor working the land, a sheaf of wheat - as well as the profile of a horse's head and also that of a Merino ram. 

The word AGFEST, in relief outline, stretches horizontally across the bottom third of the map - and, arched around the rim from the A to the T, are the words CARRICK TASMANIA in solid relief. The token is plain edged.

The reverse of the token is mainly in relief script, with the word AGFEST (again in relief outline) on the plain field. 



(arched and incused within a polished scrolled exergue at top centre rim )





1983 - 2003 

(arched and incused  within a polished scrolled exergue at bottom centre rim)



We have been advised that a very small supply of the special edition AGFEST tokens has been temporarily reserved by our Bookroom committee at the 'Tasmanian Numismatic Society' for those members and other 'Tasmanian Numismatist' newsletter readers who were unable to personally attend the show but desire to obtain one for their Tasmanian souvenir token collections. This offer is definitely limited, both in time and in numbers, so please contact the 'Tasmanian Numismatic Society' Secretary for availability details as soon as possible during June -  and mention this notice. 

A small packaging and post-out fee will be charged in addition to the cost of the token.


OZMINT have also advised that those collectors who missed out on the limited special edition Penguin Railway Centenary release of April 2001, may be in luck as a small unsold residue has been located and is available for purchase.

BUT - once they're gone - that's absolutely IT! 


"On 15 April, 1901 the railway line between Ulverstone and Burnie was opened and the train stopped at Penguin for the first time.

Trains continued to travel the line until 1978 when passenger trains ceased. The station was put up for sale and was purchased by Ron Gee’, a local identity, who removed it to his property. In 1997 the Penguin History Group approached Mr. Gee with a proposal to purchase the station and re-instate it on its original site. With the assistance of the Central Coast Council, the land was purchased and the station is now restored and back on site. 15th April, 2001. celebrated the official opening of the station and 100 years of railway in Penguin."

To celebrate the occasion a special limited edition of 2000 carded 30mm. golden brass medallions - with the descriptive text as quoted above - were issued.


Several new OZMINT souvenir token releases that are now available from participating organisations on the Tasmanian Tourist Trail include: The Penitentiary Chapel (the last place many early felons visited before they dropped out of sight); The Bush Mill at Swansea; and the spectacular Russell Falls in the Mt. Field National Park. These tokens will only be available at the venue.  Trade enquiries for OZMINT products should be directed to the company:



TAROONA. 7053.

TASMANIA. (PH: 03 6227 8825)





We have received a timely reminder from David and Kim Newell of The Stamp Place, Hobart that they will be attending the Antiques Fair at the Albert Hall, Launceston on Monday 9th June, 2003. 

Opening times 10.00 a.m. - 5.00 p.m. Admission $6.00

David has also advised that the date of the postponed May show at the Max Fry Memorial Hall in Trevallyn, Launceston has now been re-scheduled for Saturday 21st June, 2003.  Opening times 10.00 a.m. - 4.00 p.m. Admission Free.

The Stamp Place can be contacted at (03) 6224 3536 if prospective or established clientele require them to include anything special in the numismatic and philatelic stock and accessories they are preparing to bring to Launceston for these shows. 



A new international Internet member of the 'Tasmanian Numismatic Society' is anxious to make contact with other members with similar interests. His name is Savo Popovic from the city of Banja Luka, the capital of the Republika Srpska (Serb Republic).

I wish to make email contact with other members of the Tasmanian Numismatist Society. My field of interest is World Paper money - especially World War II issues.  I'm interested in exchanging information and Paper Money etc with all T.N.S. members. Please email me.  Regards Savo Popovic.  e-mail: savo72@yahoo.com


A recent email enquiry was received from Mr. Denis Darmanin from the famous George Cross island of Malta.

Denis is a collector of uniform buttons, both military and civil. He has requested contacts from any our members, or readers, who may also be collectors of this type of exonumia with the view on possible exchange of items or information.

Email contact address: button@onvol.net

Having an avid interest in military history, Denis has also written and published several very interesting articles about such events connected with Malta. They make absolutely fascinating reading.  His main sites, including copies of several of the articles, can be located at:






In our 'Wanted Known' column for this issue is a request from Mr. Denis Darmanin of Malta in regard to military and civil buttons. Whilst buttons are not precisely a numismatic item, the famous George Cross Medal awarded to the Mediterranean Sea island of Malta definitely fits the category. It is a great story that should never be forgotten.

This award, a famous numismatic example, was granted as the reward for the collective courage and dedication to duty of the inhabitants of Malta during times of bitter conflict during WWII - particularly between 1941 - 1942.


The Mediterranean island of Malta has an area of 316 sq.kms (122 sq.miles) and now has a population over 320,000 who speak English and Maltese and are, in the main, Roman Catholics. The average climate is from 10 -14 degrees Celsius in January through to 23 - 29 degrees Celsius in August. 

Malta became an independent state within the British Commonwealth in 1964 then a republic in 1974, but, it was once the home of British strategic air and naval bases, including dry docking and ship repair facilities at the capital, Valletta.

Today it is hard to imagine that such a beautiful setting was a scene of utter devastation during those terrible times when the whole world was at war and the Mediterranean Sea was a killing ground.

During WWII, the island of Malta was subjected to night and day attacks from the air-forces of the former Third Reich and its ally, Italy, with such fierceness that on April 15th. 1942, King George VI  made the historic decision to award the George Cross to the island population as a whole in recognition of their steadfastness and collective bravery.

The full story and the picture of the original hand-written letter advising of the award made by King George VI can be seen in full on the following sites:






"To honour her brave people I award the George Cross to the Island Fortress of Malta to bear witness to a heroism and devotion that will long be famous in history."


A Brief History of the George Cross.

"The George Cross was instituted in September 1940, and was to be a reward for heroism for civilians, both men and women, and also to members of the Armed Forces when the instance 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 himself was in extreme danger.

From its inception until 1947 only 105 George Crosses were awarded and since then - approximately - 50.

There was an amendment made in the Royal Warrant whereby living recipients of the Empire Gallantry Medal could exchange their original awards for the George Cross.

All issued crosses were engraved on the reverse with the recipient's name together with the date of the London Gazette notification. Rank and unit of military awardees was usually also added where applicable."

Main Reference:  

Medals - a compilation of major international medals first published by Wordsworth Editions Ltd. (1993)


The following article has been reproduced in full with the permission of the author, Mr. Joseph Vella, and provides us with an idea of why Malta was chosen to receive its prestigious award. 

Refer: http://www.aboutmalta.com/grazio/joe8.html for further information about Malta G.C.

-- WWII --

By Joseph Vella

In 1814, by the Treaty Of Paris Malta became a British protectorate. It was not until 1835 that the first of Malta's many constitutions was granted with the nomination of a Council of Government. Under British rule Malta soon became a naval fortress, headquarters of the British Mediterranean fleet, and gateway to Britain's far flung Empire. Malta was too strategically important to be allowed much internal freedom, so that representative constitutions were arbitrarily given and taken away over the years, by colonial authorities. Nonetheless by 1929 a body politic emerged, which was chiefly made up of the Constitutional, Nationalist and Labor Parties, a pattern which remained virtually unchanged until ten years later.

On September 1, 1939 WWII started and Malta found itself at war by default, through its association with Britain. At that time the political spectrum in Malta was sharply drawn between Nationalist party members who identified closely with Italian values and culture, and Constitutionalists voters who tolerated, or benefited from British colonial rule. Viewed as an internal threat by the British, prominent people with declared sympathy for the Italian cause were placed in North African concentration camps for the duration of hostilities. The possibility of widespread civilian strife or uprising by Axis sympathizers at war's onset struck fear with local authorities, but it never happened. Whatever kinship the Maltese held for Italy came to an abrupt end in 1940 when incredibly the Italian air force indiscriminately bombed civilian targets, causing death, causalities and property destruction.

By an accident of nature Malta lay athwart the supply routes from Italy to North Africa, which gave Britain air and sea control over Italy's Mare Nostrum ( the Mediterranean). In October 1940 Grand Admiral Erich Raeder, C-in-C of the German navy proposed the occupation of Malta to the Fuhrer, which was declined. By 1941 Malta was under severe air bombardment by the German X Air Corps under General Seisler operating from Sicilian air bases, some 93 km away. Battered, flattened and wrecked by the full onslaught of the Axis power, Malta stood up and showed its tormentors a clenched fist of resistance. By October of the same year Hitler issued the remarkable order to Paratrooper General, Kurt Student to prepare, in cooperation with the Italians, for operation "Hercules", the conquest of Malta from the air -- an airborne assault that never materialized.

By 1942, the bitter struggle for control of the central Mediterranean reached its climax. To the German mind there was then no alternative: either Malta, the thorn on their side must fall, or the German Africa Corps under command of the legendary desert fox, General Erwin Rommel would be lost. Field Marshall A. Kesserling, C-in-C German Armed Forces in the area, decided Malta was too great a nuisance to be allowed to live. It was to be smashed, made silent and uninhabitable, then invaded. Accordingly he ordered a change in the German attack tactics on Malta, from single sorties or small formations, to carpet bombing by dense concentrations of bombers.

The entire "Fliegerkorps" in Sicily, consisting of three hundred fifty aircraft, was thrown against Malta with a vengeance, pouncing on any ship or plane which tried to succour the island. The Germans systematically selected one point after the another, and pounded away day and night, until each target was pulped out of existence. Bombs were dropped by the ton: by the hundreds of tons: by the thousands of tons. In April 1942 alone 6,730 tons of bombs were dropped, a dubious record of airborne wholesale destruction which still holds true to this very day. The German High Command thought the obliteration of Malta and its people was complete. But they were wrong. Under the crescendo of exploding bombs and mounting casualties, the hardened Maltese and their British comrade-in arms stood firm and fought back as best they could.

However passionately Benito Mussolini and the German Armed Forces Operations Staff desired Malta's capture, the decisive factor again was Hitler's determination that no full scale invasion be attempted. Meanwhile in Malta, British Governor and C-in-C General Sir William Dobbie, was replaced by Field Marshall Lord John Gort V.C, of Dunkirk fame. This transfer of power signalled Britain's determination that Malta should not be allowed to die, for if it fell the Mediterranean sea would be lost and the North African campaign gravely imperilled.

There were several attempts by the British navy to reinforce Malta with food, guns and ammunition. The larger and most significant of these convoys was code named "Pedestal". Some sixty surface ships and eight submarines set out of Gibraltar headed for the besieged island. So fierce was the ensuing sea and air battle that every single one of the ships was hit. One the "Ohio", a fourteen thousand ton American tanker was marked for special treatment. Hit and damaged by more blows any ship can endure, she made her agonizing way to Malta under constant air attack strapped between two escort destroyers, with a third vessel acting as her rudder.

By Autumn 1942 the German-Italian effort to subdue Malta came to a final end. The island now rearmed, resumed its former function as a deadly predator on the Axis supply routes to North Africa. The pendulum had swung again. In recognition of the great discipline and valour shown under siege by its people, King George VI awarded Malta the George Cross that same year. In September 1943, Admiral of the Fleet Sir Andrew Browne Cunningham, C-in-C Mediterranean, sent a radio message to the Admiralty in London, England, which read in part, "Please to inform your Lordships that the Italian battle fleet now lies at anchor under the guns of the fortress of Malta". In May 1945 the war in Europe came to an end, and with it Malta had earned a place of honour in the annals of world history.
Special thanks to Mr. Paul Spiteri of Troy, Michigan, for his help in making this article possible.
E-mail to Joseph Vella: joevella@prodigy.net


(The story, and other graphic illustrations of the fuel tanker S.S. 'Ohio' and other ships involved in Operation 'Pedestal', can be found on the Internet. Refer: http://www.usmm.org/malta.html )

The S.S.’Ohio’ was torpedoed and set on fire, then she was bombed and repeatedly strafed. She was so badly damaged that she was abandoned, but she refused to sink even though the bottom of the engine-room was blown out, she was dead in the water, and the decks were awash. With a few volunteer seamen re-boarding her and manning the only operational gun, she continued to fight. The 14,000 ton ‘Ohio’, with her precious cargo, was eventually lashed to and towed into port by two English destroyers with a tugboat acting as a rudder.




(1) Being torpedoed during the attack. (2) Being lashed to and towed by destroyers. (3) Entering Harbour aided by tugs.


In late September 2002, a little later than the actual 60th anniversary of Operation Pedestal, many of the survivors of the conflict gathered for a reunion which was held in Malta. The group consisted of English, American, as well as a few German and Italian, seamen and airmen  The re-enactment of the arrival of the S.S. 'Ohio' and its destroyer escort vessels - played by similar vessels - was a highlight of the reunion. The original S.S. 'Ohio' lays on the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea, broken in two pieces some miles outside of Valletta harbour where she was scuttled.

The Mayor of Valletta presented the city's greatest honour to all Allied survivors after detailing the events of August 1942.

"It is for these reasons that the Valletta City Local Government, has agreed to confer, for the first time, the title of HONORARY CITIZEN OF VALLETTA to you present and to others in absentia."



Signed, today, the 25th of September 2002,
Paul Borg Olivier, Mayor of Valletta and Simon Cauchi, Executive Secretary.
Thank You.




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

A section of this article was originally published in the 'Tasmanian Numismatist' - October 1999 issue under the title 'Do Svidanyia, Nickolai 'but, with the 85th. anniversary of the deaths of the Russian Czar and other members of the House of Romanov imminent, it seemed appropriate to take another look back to a time that is rapidly fading from living memory and will soon only be available to historians.  

The former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, during its zenith, covered more than a seventh of the Earth’s surface - which made it the largest country in the World. Just over a decade ago, this mighty union, which had been held together from 1917 in a peculiar mixture of choice and duress, started to fragment - and this is part of the story of the slumbering bear! 

Many developments have taken place in that last decade that may be an indication of the direction that Russia is heading.

   Nicholas II - 10 Kopek                                          

The shocking news that Nicholas, the Imperial Czar of Russia, had been executed on July 19th. 1918, by his Bolshevik captors broke upon a horrified world, in late July of that year, when it was announced that because of ‘innumerable foul crimes against the people’ he had been found guilty and the death sentence had been carried out.

The Bolsheviks also announced that Czarina Alexandra and her five children - Alexei, Olga, Maria, Tatiana and Anastasia had been moved to a secret place for their own safety.

It is now known, and confirmed by new forensic DNA evidence, that all were murdered, with three other members of their household and their personal physician, Dr. Botkin, who had been held with them and who may have been able to act as witnesses. A total of 11 people were taken down and shot to death in the darkened cellar of the house at Ekaterinburg were they had been              imprisoned, and their bodies were then burnt and thrown down the ‘Four Brothers’ disused mine-shaft 23 kms. from where they died - hardly the actions of a brave group of new Russian patriots with a regard for justice.

In a few months the rumours started coming out of Ekaterinburg, and the western world was appalled to learn that the whole Imperial family might have been killed in such a brutal fashion.

The actual truth of the matter was concealed for over 80 years by successive Soviet governments who allowed disinformation, rumours and counter rumours to circulate, to add to the mystique of the Romanov family - especially about Anastasia.

It was speculated, for many years, that she may have survived the massacre and had lived in hiding.

Impostors, some very convincing, were regularly coming forward with claims to be the ‘missing’ Romanov daughter.

Their horrendous deaths brought an end to the 300 year dynasty that proudly bore the double-headed crowned eagle crest on its currency as its right to rule and, whilst we may never know all the facts of that terrible night, history has shown us the chain of events that led to it.

In 1753, Russia abolished the death penalty, for certain crimes, and started to send its criminals and political dissidents to Siberia – never to return. By 1773, the grievances of the people began to erupt, violently, against Catherine the Great who had repressed religious freedoms in a deeply religious peasantry. This first revolt was put down, as was another in 1825, but the discontent continued to fester until 1855 when Catherine’s son, Alexander II, acted to lift the repression and give some liberation to the Russian serfs. The Russian nobility, however, resisted the changes and it is believed that they may have been involved in Alexander’s  assassination in 1881. 

   Imperial Russian One Ruble banknote 1898.           

                                                                                                        With the death of the well-meaning Alexander, another period of darkness descended over Russia that would last until 1905 – and it was in that year when an event occurred that heralded the violence that was to come!

Convinced that the only way to get a peaceful settlement to the civil unrest that was racking the country, many of the moderate members of the Church, and the general population, decided to petition the Czar directly for his intervention.

On Sunday, January 22nd. 1905, a procession lead by the priest, Fr. Georgi Gapon, approached the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg singing “God save the Czar” and requested to see Czar Nicholas II.  

The peaceful march ended in the square outside the Palace in a hail of gunfire when it was, mistakenly, seen as a revolt by the officer-in-charge of the Czar’s troops. This terrible tragedy left hundreds dead and became known as ‘Bloody Sunday’.

It also lead to a massive general strike that forced the Czar, and his government, to start implementing the reforms promised years before – but, as usual, these new promises were forgotten as things returned to normal and the government, which was controlled by the ruling class, continued to procrastinate.


It was about this time that a faith healer was presented at the Royal Court in an effort to help cure the dreaded bleeding disease, haemophilia, that was causing great concern over the future of Alexei, the Czar’s only son.

The uneducated, wandering holy man – from peasant stock – appeared to be able to give some relief to the sick child and, in doing so, he made a deep impression on Empress Alexandria. His name was Grigory Yefimovich Rasputin.

By 1911, with the Czarina’s approval, Rasputin had gained so much influence that he was appointing his cronies into positions of political power and high government office.

Most of these appointees were totally incompetent and soon Rasputin became an object of hatred because it was obvious that his power over the Czarina was allowing him to indirectly manipulate the Czar. 

When the ‘Great War’ started in 1914, and its horrors started to unfold on mankind, it did not take long for the rumours to start that linked the German-born Czarina and the mystic Rasputin to the German cause. 

It was a rumour that even the nobility could no longer ignore.

On December 29th. 1916, the debauched Rasputin was invited to a midnight ‘tea-party’ by a group of aristocrats who promised him a ‘night to remember’. The ‘tea’ was laced with a massive dose of poison.

Rasputin was unbelievably strong, so the plotters bludgeoned him and, finally, had to resort to shooting to finish him off and they then threw his weighted body into the river – so the story goes!

Unfortunately, by then the damage had been done to Russia. 

Rasputin must go into the history books as one of the major causes for the demise of the Russian Empire.


The Russian government at that time was completely incompetent and, coupled with poor leadership in the field of battle, thousands of soldiers – mainly peasants – were sacrificed in vain attempts to halt the German invaders.

Some of the more able and humane Russian generals became totally disillusioned with the futility of the situation and, eventually, a mutiny broke out but was contained by March 1917. By now, even the politicians realised that things had to change and recommended, to the Czar, that a new government needed to be formed to resolve the serious problems confronting the nation.

It was then that Czar Nicholas made a major error of judgement.

He ordered that the Russian parliament be dispersed and, when it refused, he sent in his troops to enforce his commands.

His generals refused to obey the order and pledged allegiance to the revolutionary government.

On March 15th. 1917, Nicholas II, Czar of Russia, was forced to abdicate.


The new provisional government was faced with immense difficulties because of the effect of the War and internal political differences - and because it was broad-based and moderate it tried to be all things for all people and, for a while, it looked as if it would succeed.

The group was originally headed by a nobleman, Prince Georgi Lvov but, increasingly, it fell under the influence of a radical, Alexander Kerensky, who created an untenable situation for Lvov who ultimately resigned.

When the provisional government was first formed it was authorised by the St. Petersburg Council of Workers and Soldiers, or as it was known - the Soviet. With the aid of Kerensky, the Soviet was rallied to support a former exile who had returned from Germany and who brought with him a political idea, or cause, that was to change the country.

The cause was Marxism, and the exile was Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov - who used the alias of N. Lenin as his political name.


By September 1917, Lenin and his aide, Leon Trotsky, had overwhelmed the moderates and taken over control of the Soviet and forced Lvov to stand aside completely.

“All power to the Soviets”, was the catch-cry that was used when the Bolsheviks decided to take over the government on the opening of the All Russia Congress of the Soviets on 25th. October 1917.  (November 7th. by the Western calendar.)

Kerensky realised, too late, what Lenin’s true aims were and he was forced to flee when the government buildings and the Czar’s winter palace were stormed by the Army lead by Lenin’s Bolsheviks.

Within a few days, the whole of St. Petersburg, now known as Petrograd, was in Lenin’s hands and then, with the aid of conspirators in other major cities, a successful campaign was launched to overthrow the local governments and authorities.

The opposition forces formed a ‘White Army’ whilst Lenin’s Bolsheviks were the ‘Red Army’.

The deposed Imperial family had been held under house arrest at the Tsarkoe Selo Palace on the outskirts of Petrograd, which had again been renamed – this time as Leningrad, but it was feared that the ‘White Army’ may attempt to rescue them so Lenin had them moved. After a brief stay in the Siberian village of Tobolsk, the Czar and his family were again taken moved - and this time Ekaterinburg was chosen, as the town was completely under the control of the ‘Red Army’

All these movements took place in secret and culminated in the terrible fate that history has only just confirmed in the last few years as many of the secret files have been opened by the new Commonwealth of Independent States.


During the black years that followed the downfall of the Romanov Empire, the Communist stranglehold tightened on the country, and the Russian people experienced a far worse fate than that which preceded the event.

Siberia started to become relatively crowded – but it was considered to be a better option that the alternative.

For many years the instability and brutal repression was reflected in the many currency issues, rampant inflation, and sudden changes in any members of local officialdom that disagreed with the central Soviet and the iron will of a new leader, Josef Vissarionovich Djugashvili, who was known as Stalin.

Stalin was wise enough to maintain a ‘sort’ of reverence with the memory of Lenin - even though it is known that they did not enjoy that same respect in life. He had became politically active at the age of 17 and eventually had taken an important part in the 1917 Revolution as a 38 year old and he soon came to the notice of Lenin, as being a very ambitious man with superb leadership qualities.

He was ruthless after Lenin’s death in 1924 and rapidly climbed the political ladder until, in 1941, when the German invasion of Russia took place, he assumed full and absolute leadership. From then on, Stalin ruled Russia totally and despotically - just like a Czar -  until his death in 1953.


Lenin and Stalin just prior to Lenin's death.

However, Stalin still retained Lenin’s portrait, as the father of Marxism and Communism, on stamps, coinage and currency notes - and his successors carried on the practice. For all the years he was in power, Stalin was not depicted on any form of official Russian currency or coinage.


 U.S.S.R. (1992) issue 500 Rubles with Lenin depicted.

The C.I.S. was formed in 1992 after the resignation of the moderate Russian Premier, Mikhail Gorbachev on Dec. 25th. 1991 and the U.S.S.R. voted to end the treaty of union and, in effect, dissolved itself in favour of a democratic system.

Never again will the double-headed crowned Russian Eagle flag fly over Russian palaces even though we still see it on memories of the past, such as the old coins and banknotes that still appear in our collections – and it has reappeared, minus the Imperial crown, on coinage issued since 1992.

Rampant inflation occurred in the next few years after the changeover and, eventually in 1997, the currency was heavily devalued a 1000 fold and, now in 2003, it has now 'stabilised' at 100 Russian Rubles = US$3.20 - or approx. A$5.00



 (1995) 10,000 Ruble note was re-issued as a 10 Ruble note (1997).



(1995) 5000 Ruble was re-designed and issued as 5 Rubles (1997). 

In 1993, the major monetary change saw many C.I.S. notes re-designed to show the new Russian tri-colour flag flying over the Kremlin. The old 500 Ruble (shown above) was re-designed w/o Lenin and Soviet obverse logos and the new flag and Kremlin scene was inserted in the cartouche. At that time of gross inflation the value of the note soon dropped to be worth 5 Kopecks and it was deleted when the first of the currency reforms was introduced in 1995. Its buying power had been reduced to approx 1/4 of One Australian cent - in other words the paper cost more than what the note was worth!

It is now Lenin’s portrait that is disappearing into Russian history, and it was even discussed, in the Russian Duma (parliament), if it would be appropriate to remove Lenin’s embalmed body from his public tomb in Red Square and bury it.

Imperialism had lasted in Russia for over 400 years with all its terrible imperfections – but, how long will Lenin and Stalin’s 74 year bloody legacy last in the psyche of the resilient Russian people. 

Indications are that, with generations knowing no better than living by the State's rules - coupled with the ingrained propaganda and existing bureaucracy that has still to be eroded away - it may take longer than the world expects.


Main References/Illustrations.

'Tasmanian Numismatist' - Oct.1999. Edited excerpts from previously published article 

History of World War I - Editor-in-Chief AJP Taylor, Compiled by SL Mayer. (Octopus Books 1974).

Standard Catalog of World Paper Money - Modern issues (Vol.3). Edited by Colin R. Bruce II and George S. Cuhaj

Imperial Russian Banknotes from the Author's own collection.

Modern Russian Banknotes - Internet sources:







A short email from international T.N.S. member Jerry Adams, received on 14th May 2003, alerted us to the fact that, at long last, the U.S. Government has now officially 'bitten the bullet' in regard to colouring up their currency.

Whilst the pre-dominant colours still remain the old familiar greys and greens, it is the thin edge of the wedge for major reforms - long overdue - in bringing the currency into the 21st. Century. 

"They unveiled the newest $20 bill here today, which has more color -  of course they are not in general circulation yet, but here is a link to see what they will look like:  http://www.moneyfactory.com/newmoney/ "


About the New Notes - Courtesy of the U.S. Bureau of Printing and Engraving.

The United States government is issuing currency with new designs and security features beginning with the $20 note in late 2003.The redesigned currency is safer, smarter and more secure: 

Safer because it is harder to fake and easier to check; 

Smarter to stay ahead of tech-savvy counterfeiters; and 

More Secure to protect the integrity of U.S. currency.

The most noticeable difference in the new design is the subtle introduction of background color, which makes it more burdensome for potential counterfeiters because it adds complexity to the note. The color will also make it easier to distinguish between denominations because different background colors will be used for each denomination.

However, despite the addition of color, the new note preserves the distinct size, look and feel of the traditional American “greenback” – the world’s most familiar and circulated currency.

The Federal Reserve System and the Department of the Treasury are committed to continuous improvements in currency design in order to protect the economy and your hard-earned money. 

To ensure this, we expect to introduce new currency designs every 7-10 years.

The issuance of the new $20 note will be followed by a new $50 note in 2004 and a new $100 note in 2005. Decisions on new designs for the $5 and $10 notes are still under consideration, but a redesign of the $2 and $1 notes is not planned.



The New Color of Money

The most noticeable difference in the notes is the subtle green, peach and blue colors featured in the background. Different colors will be used for different denominations, which will help everyone -- particularly those who are visually impaired -- to tell denominations apart.

While consumers should not use color to check the authenticity of their currency (relying instead on user-friendly security features -- see below), color does add complexity to the note, making counterfeiting more difficult.

The new bills will remain the same size and use the same, but enhanced portraits and historical images of Andrew Jackson on the face of the note and the White House on the back. The redesign also features symbols of freedom -- a blue eagle in the background, and a metallic green eagle and shield to the right of the portrait in the case of the $20 note.

Security Features
The new $20 design retains three important security features that were first introduced in the late 1990s and are easy for consumers and merchants alike to check:

(a)The watermark -- the faint image similar to the large portrait, which is part of the paper itself and is visible from both sides when held up to the light.

(b)The security thread -- also visible from both sides when held up to the light, this vertical strip of plastic is embedded in the paper. “USA TWENTY” and a small flag are visible along the thread.

(c)The color-shifting ink -- the numeral “20” in the lower-right corner on the face of the note changes from copper to green when the note is tilted. The color shift is more dramatic and easier to see on the new-design notes.


Because these features are difficult for counterfeiters to reproduce well, they often do not try. Counterfeiters are hoping that cash-handlers and the public will not check their money closely.


Counterfeiting: Increasingly Digital
Counterfeiters are increasingly turning to digital methods, as advances in technology make digital counterfeiting of currency easier and cheaper. In 1995, for example, less than 1 percent of counterfeit notes detected in the U.S. was digitally produced. By 2002, that number had grown to nearly 40 percent, according to the U.S. Secret Service.

Yet despite the efforts of counterfeiters, U.S. currency counterfeiting has been kept at low levels, with current estimates putting the level of counterfeit notes in circulation worldwide at between 0.01 and 0.02 percent, or about 1-2 notes in every 10,000 genuine notes.

Secret Service Director Basham credits a combination of factors in keeping counterfeiting low: “Improved worldwide cooperation in law enforcement; improvements in currency design, like those in the new $20 notes unveiled today; and a better-informed public all contribute to our success in the fight against counterfeiting.”

Public Education
Because the improved security features are more effective if the public knows about them, the U.S. government is undertaking a broad public education program. This program will ensure that people all over the world know the new currency is coming, and help them recognize and use the security features. The outreach will include cash-handlers, merchants, business and industry associations and the media. With roughly two-thirds of all U.S. currency held outside the U.S., the public education program will extend worldwide.

“From Wall Street to Fleet Street, from St. Petersburg, Florida, to St. Petersburg, Russia, our goal is the seamless, smooth introduction of The New Color of Money,” U.S. Treasurer Marin said.


It is interesting to note that , in fact, coloured currency is not totally new to the United States.

The Series 1905 Gold Certificate picturing George Washington was commonly known as a 'Technicolor' note due to the 'extra' colours (mainly Orange-gold hues) incorporated into the designs.



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