‘NUMISNET WORLD’


Volume 16 Issue 6          Formerly published as the 'Tasmanian Numismatist' - Internet Edition' (Est. 1996)         June  2011


 

 

‘NUMISNET WORLD'

INTERNET EDITION

Edited by Graeme Petterwood. © 2011.

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

Bearing in mind our public disclaimers, any 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 -  or  - (2) To provide additional important information. 

Some illustrated items - including their designs and packaging -  may be subject to existing copyright restrictions. In such instances, they may not be replicated or their images reproduced or republished - unless prior permission is sought from, and given by, the originator, owner or licensee of such item, design or packaging.

 

Please consider my conditional invitation to make a literary contribution if you feel you have something numismatically themed that may appeal to a general level of interest and fulfils our stated editorial guidelines. 

As Editor, I am always prepared to look at it - and if need be - assist in presentation.  However, please be aware that not every submission will be automatically accepted for publication.  We regret the imposition of 'editorial control' - but previous experience has necessitated the following conditions.

If common courtesy, and normally acceptable moral standards are not upheld, or, the subject matter is considered to contain plagiarized or defamatory content, or, if it is not considered 'generic' enough for this type of newsletter, or, if the subject has already been covered in depth in earlier editions - it may be refused, held aside or selectively edited.  This is, obviously, not a scientific-style journal - our object is to educate, certainly - but, hopefully, in an entertaining way for the average hobbyist collector.  - G.E.P.

 

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. 

Wherever possible - illustrations (*enlarged or otherwise) are from the authors' own collection or the extensive picture library of the former 'Tasmanian Numismatist' -  Internet Edition and the  'Numisnet World' - Internet Edition. © 1996 - 2011.

(Fair 'acknowledged' use of any original scan is allowed for educational purposes.)

*Please note that the photoscans of items are not always to size or scale.

 

PLEASE NOTE - RE-STATED DISCLAIMER: Where on-line web-site addresses 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.

 

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THE RANDOM 'GOLDEN' THOUGHT OF THE DAY!

by Graeme Petterwood. 2011

 

Just prior to WWII, most major trading currencies were based on the International Gold Standard and had issued banknotes to reflect that situation.

Russia had circulating paper Chervonets (Gold Rubles) as well as basic Rubles, the UK and Australia still had paper notes based on Gold Sovereigns, China also had its Custom Gold Units as well as basic Yuan denomination notes - and the US had its famous Gold (and Silver) Certificates circulating alongside the basic Federal Reserve Bank Dollar denomination notes.

 

Shopping for a single cabbage - with a basket full of hyper-inflated German paper money (1923)

 

After the crushing defeat of WWI,  the down-trodden Germany had been forced into using devalued and new notes issued by the Rentenbank  (Stabilization bank and backed by German real estate) and those issued by the Golddiskontbank (Gold Discount bank) in 1923-4 that were based on the Gold Standard - and the British Pound Sterling - after rampant hyper-inflation made the Reichsbanknotes (Marks), issued by the Reichsbankdirektorium, virtually worthless - except as pretty waste-paper.

Many articles have been presented previously in this newsletter about this era of hyper-inflation - so we have selected just a small selection of notes and one link as a reminder.

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

 

Note - the scans used as illustrations are sized to show detail - and are not all to scale!

 

 Reichsbanknote 100,000 Mark  - 1st. February 1923.

Reichsbanknote 100 Million Mark, 22nd. August 1923 (Uniface) (KM#107)

By the end of 1923 most of the the official notes were in denominations of Billions!

Reichsbanknote One Milliarde Mark (English One Billion) (KM#113a)

over-printed Sept. 1923 on 1000 Mark dated 15 Dec. 1922

*Regrettably, I don't have samples of all the issues of hyper-inflation notes for illustration purposes - but you get the idea! 

 

Russian  Chevronets - (Gold Rubles).

(One Chevronet equalled 10 Standard Rubles)

Issued 1937 - presumably to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the 1917 Revolution.

 

N.D. (1925) Commonwealth of Australia - Half Sovereign note. (KM#15c) (Library scan.)

N.D. (1927) Commonwealth of Australia - One Pound note (KM#16c)

" .....Promises to pay the Bearer ONE POUND in gold coin ......."

 

1930 Central Bank of China - 10 Customs Gold Units

 

Eventually, intrinsic backing of banknotes with precious metals, particularly Gold and Silver, was declared 'obsolete' and virtually unworkable after WWII - and the Gold and Silver Standards - in relation with circulating 'paper' money - have languished ever since in most major nations - even though the metal stockpiles are dusted off and shuffled around in secret vaults from time to time.

However, with the actual Gold price - at time of writing - hovering at near AUD$46.18 per gram - plus the Oz dollar currently buying about US$1.07 -  Gold again seems an attractive investment to those of us who dabble in the nebulous area of precious metal finances - as well as collecting the real stuff, if we can.

Currency Converter:- http://www.xe.com/ucc/

Australian Gold Price:- http://goldprice.com.au/

 

Raw Gold Nuggets (average 3 grams ea.)

These have more than doubled in $value since originally obtained.

(Author's pic.)

 

In Oz, besides the local Adelaide Gold Pounds (dated 1852) and a range of Sovereign and Half Sovereign coins minted in Australia back in the mid-1800's through to 1931, we have our old hoards of various quality and face value foreign Gold coins; and we also have some modern non-circulating Gold 'Nuggets' and 'Koalas' etc. - official coins that contain .9999 pure precious metal of a standardized weight - issued as numismatic collectables.

This most recent influx of premium-added boutique Gold coins from the Royal Australian Mint - has been especially targeted at the investment market - and is growing at such a great rate that many average collectors can no longer afford to keep pace with it - and many of us are now forced into being selective instead of trying to maintain a 'full' collection of intrinsic value coinage.

The current torrent of 'commemorative' - or fancy types - of precious metal coins is reminiscent of the plethora of postage stamps that now plagues international philatelists. It is not to say the productions are of poor quality nor unattractive - they are extremely fine examples, in the main - but, sometimes, a gluttonous - and increasingly expensive - feast can be worse than a famine - and it could, eventually, saturate and drown an already over-stretched amateur hobby market that has limited finances available these days.

 

Adelaide Gold Pound - 22 Carat (Library scan - enlarged for clarity.)

The original mintage of these items is unknown precisely - but it is assumed that fewer than 200 still exist.

The design was produced by Joshua Payne in 1852.

The size is 23mm. and the composition is 91.67% Gold - 8.33% Silver (AGW is 0.4421 oz.)

Australian minted Gold Sovereigns and a Half Sovereign - various monarchs.

  1855 -1866 = 91.67% Gold - 8.33% Silver.

      1871 -1931 = 91.67% Gold - 8.33% Copper.

 Pure Gold Content:-  Sovereign .2354 oz. (6.67g) -  Half Sovereign .1177 oz. (3.34g)

 

The face values are usually just token amounts - and, if they were banked or used to purchase - that is the amount that would be credited to your account.

However - under contemporary normal conditions - precious metal coins will not be seeing a resurgence in normal day-to-day trading use.

That idea was killed off years ago!

The bullion market value of these intrinsic value coins is constantly under 'hourly' revue, based on the current bullion prices, and -  whilst the Gold pricing system caters mainly for a precious metal speculators gambling instincts - it is still the aim of every small 'n' numismatist to have, at least ,one Gold coin in their collection - so the hunt for a bargain, that can be numismatically and commercially appreciated in value, always goes on nevertheless..

 

It was interesting to read about the large value US banknotes that had been withdrawn, some years ago, because of organized crime - and the suggestion that the new Euro high value notes may also need to be watched as they are also a potential aid to criminal activity - but, these day, the slim little plastic credit/debit card rules supreme in the pocket of 'Joe Citizen' and honest financial deals are no longer carried out with huge wads of value-added paper.

Banknotes are now perceived, by some collectors, to be in definite danger of heading towards some type of relegation  - or even gradual extinction - as technology takes a firmer hand on the steering-wheel of international finance.

As a 'magpie' numismatist who likes to accumulate pretty things, I thought to myself - "Wouldn't it be nice to see US Gold (and Silver) Certificates in circulation again!" - or would it?

 

Of course, it could have pitfalls that law enforcement would dread - illegality thrives in any money markets, just as a few weeds grow in the nicest gardens. 

Whilst physical banknotes of the old style are no longer necessary to take space in our wallets, many moons ago, I predicted that a plastic card 'Gold Dollar' equivalent would appear in the future.. It was just a matter of time until someone worked out a way to do it - and make a 'dollar' out of it! 

That has happened with the 'Gold (virtually no limit) Cards' that are being used by the super- corporations' top executives.

However, we should, even now,  be thinking of an acceptable name - and the where, when and how - that the daily value of Gold can be established in a more stable manner and by whom - and, preferably, at a standard unit of mass more acceptable than it is designated at present.

The 'why' is already with us I believe.

Our banking system is an evolving thing - but, occasionally, it does need to go back over the same ground and rebuild on a good basic idea.

It may mean that there would be no cash note equivalent - just the electronically adjusted actual credit that is current at the time of any transaction.

The idea of 'clock-watching' to get the best price on deals done in Gold Units  is one danger of having set periods of adjustment.

Still thinking this one through - as you can see - lots of loop-holes - but any sensible suggestions will be welcome as this scenario develops..

It might also mean that something - with a more internationally acceptable generic name - teamed with modern super-fast technology -  could be utilized in the computerized plastic card money area for bigger financial transactions than the circulating currency range caters for. 

I have noticed, that - on some of the more prestigious metal market sites - the prices of the noble metals - gold, silver and copper - are already appearing in kilograms and grams as well as the, awkward to calculate, old Imperial Pounds and ounces.

 

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"The GOOD, the BAD and the UGLY!"

The undoubted acting talents of Clinton 'Clint' Eastwood Jnr., Eli Wallach and the late Lee Van Cleef (1925 - 1989) - are amongst the finest seen in this classic Western genre film - title as shown - which, ironically, was filmed in Spain and Italy under the direction of Sergio Leone .

A snippet of the distinctive Award-winning music of Ennio Morrocone may well be accompanying you as you read these lines - if you have followed the referrals - have your sound turned on - and, if all the on-links work.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Good,_the_Bad_and_the_Ugly_(soundtrack)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clint_eastwood

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lee_Van_Cleef

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eli_Wallach

 

However, in this instance, I am - of course - not referring to the most famous 'Spaghetti Western' - but to the various pieces of 'promissorary paper' that have filled a plethora of purses and wallets - or passed through a multitude of hands - during the last century or so. 

From time to time, we encounter something 'special' - something that catches our attention as accumulators of those small pieces of art that we loosely refer to as 'banknotes' - or printed 'paper currency'.

These are not the normal pieces of paper - or (more lately) poly-vinyl substrate plastic - that are to be treated just as a mundane means of exchange - but something that is just that little bit 'different'! 

The selection I have made is based on the premise that Beauty - or whatever - is based, solely, in the eye of the beholder!

The title of this article says it all!

 

The majority of banknotes that are produced, are designed to fulfil a purpose - primarily that of being used as a notification and authorization of a value that can be exchanged for 'Goods & Services'.  Without going too deeply into the origins of how notes became a method of financial exchange; it can be assumed that the more modern notes we are looking at in this article have evolved to the point that they all have very similar qualities.

Simply speaking - the note designs usually incorporate a meaningful historical, physical or allegorical, depiction of some description - structural, mechanical, animate or  not - on both sides of a conveniently-sized rectangular piece of paper that has a stipulated value - plus the promise of reimbursement from a Treasury or Authority of sorts

Perhaps, they also bears an official  signature or two, a serial number - and, occasionally, a date of issue and/or withdrawal and some built-in security features - usually some form of micro-printing, colour-shifting or watermark - to thwart those who would be tempted to made their own version of the notes.

 

THE GOOD.

Basically, the 'Good' are notes that incorporates all the main features that are listed above, and, that are truly worth - in exchange, at least - the value that is shown upon them. Most of the time, these are the notes of an ordered society - and, that they are also a 'joy to behold' due to their artistic contributions, is an added bonus. Most desirable as a basic and interesting collectible!

 

El Banco de Espana - 100 Pesetas - issued Madrid, 15th. August 1928.

This note sample carries all of the essential features - denomination, serial number, issuing authority, signatures - and is pleasing and dignified to the eye.

Commonwealth of Australia -  10 Pound Note - issued 1954 - withdrawn 1966.

Governor Arthur Phillip obverse  - Signs of Industry, Science and the Arts reverse.

Coombs/Wilson (Commonwealth Bank of Australia - 1954 issue). Actual size 18.1 x 8.0 cms

The model on the reverse of this well-circulated note was Mrs. Karina Nartiss (nee Sar) originally from Latvia (1925 - 1985)

Refer:- http://www.vision.net.au/~pwood/june09.htm

 

Banknotes - or any sort of printed currency - must also look the part and exude the quality of value - they must be well presented, on reasonably good quality paper - and have a dignified appearance to instil confidence in their use. However, a poor or mediocre design - or even an unpopular denomination - can ruin an otherwise good issue - and that can become a costly mistake if the people continue to reject it by non-use.

 

Occasionally, the visual qualities are missing altogether - or, are so vaguely portrayed that the note appears to be nothing more than a common piece of printed paper - or worse!

 

THE BAD.

Sometimes, we find that the value on these notes doesn't reach our expectation against the actual worth of an object - and that's 'Bad' - especially if the notes are part of the millions being churned out faster and faster - and getting more and more Zeros added. They might still look nice - but there is a certain amount of scruffiness appearing - these pieces of paper are often wearing 'off the rack' - or poor - design features, and, sometimes they are cosmetically overprinted to make them look younger and appealing. Occasionally, they are even strutting their stuff on the street because they need to satisfy their master's needs.

Sometimes a 'little bad' can be interesting - but ...... !

 

Banco Central do Brasil - 100 Cruzeiros - issued 1981

This sample carries all the basic requirements - but the novel design is poor - in my opinion.

It is from a series that I actually found physically nauseating to view for any length of time.

 

 

Netherlands Gulden notes - issued 1968 - '71 - '73'

These utilitarian notes fulfil the basic requirements - but the reverse geometric designs are meaningless to a general user.

With the piercing eyes of those famous Dutchmen staring directly out - it is not an entirely pleasant note to look at.

 

THE UGLY.

The last vestiges of gentility - and, sometimes, legality - have usually vanished with these 'trollops' amongst notes - they have usually become visually 'Ugly' -  values are dubious or temporary - to say the least!

They were rarely issued or tolerated by an official authority - or even a bank.- but they served a primitive, or insistent, need in  times of emergency.

 

(Unauthorised) Ukranian  - 50 Karbowanez - issued 1918

 Serial No. AO 217 - not dated.

This serial number (and others over AO 210) indicates that it was unofficially issued by General Denikin of the White Russian Army.

 The printing-plates were seized in Odessa (O) during the Revolution.

 

Except for their integral part in the numismatic history of a national series - most serious banknote collectors would prefer to shun these poor sinners amongst the poorest of paper-notes. Perhaps, they may even need a numismatic inoculation - and a very kind heart - before taking any of these under his/her wing and ensconcing them in the 'backroom' of an accumulation!

These are still very interesting, however, for the wide-ranging 'bower-bird' accumulator - such as myself.

 

Commonwealth of the Philippines - One Philippine Peso - issued 1944

Notes issued under the Negros Emergency Currency Board authorisation during the Japanese invasion.

Printed on heavy brown Manila paper that had been originally purchased for use as bulk sugar bags.

 

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BLASTS FROM THE PAST!

As many of our readers may recollect - the 'Tasmanian Numismatic Society' enjoyed meeting each month and, at one stage during the late 1990's, regularly used the facilities of the Masonic Club of Tasmania (which was located at 181 Macquarie St. in Tasmania's capital city, Hobart), for this purpose.

The Masonic Club of Tasmania - which was established in May 1923 after some initial meetings in June and July 1922 - eventually approached the Tasmanian Numismatic Society's Executive Committee and offered the T.N.S. the opportunity of marketing, on their behalf, the few remainders of the Club's pre-decimal token sets and various single tokens and chits most of which are now on the Rarity Scale between 5 (Very Scarce) - 8 (Very Rare).

These tokens only occasionally came on to the market at that time - so these final offerings were obviously snapped up quickly. The 2/6 token is now extremely difficult to obtain and unfortunately, there were none of the scarce 3d or the very rare 5/- tokens available at all at the time of the clearance. 

The current T.N.S. President, Mr. Roger V. McNeice O.A.M., F.R.N.S., was appointed as sole vendor on behalf of the Masonic Club.  Selling prices were set by the Masonic Club of Tasmania and were firm, with postage and insurance additional.  It is believed a total clearance was made within a few days.

The following short history was intended to provide a sense of background to accompany this unique offer.

 

"A UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY FOR SOME UNIQUE BARGAINS!"

An amended note from the 'Tasmanian Numismatist' - dated June 2001.

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

 

It is believed that the Masonic Club introduced the token system sometime after April 1926 to pay for wins or bonuses (jackpots) on at least one poker machine that had been installed at the Club - then located at 121 Macquarie St., Hobart - sometime in February 1923. 

The PACE and PUCK  types of early gaming and poker machines were usually obtained from U.S. sources - and operated with locally produced brass  'blank or uniface'  discs (known as a 'chits').

Eventually, most 'chits' were labelled with initials or a design, at least, as some canny patrons were using them in other venues to operate machines.

If breaches were discovered, the offending 'chits' would be returned for re-imbursement at any of the strategic committee meetings that clubs held each year.

These 'chits' had to be purchased from the club bar and used in the club machines only - they were produced by a die-sinker along with the club tokens that were used to honour any pay-outs.

It should be noted that 'chit' sizes were usually in approximation to U.S. small change coinage of that era so as to fit the machines..

At this time in history, Gambling and Liquor was prohibited in many 'blue' states in the U.S. - and, whilst Australia was teetering on the edge of Prohibition, the laws here were still open to more liberal interpretation  - in some places.

Money needed to be seen changing hands to constitute an illegal bet - the use of tokens bent the law a little.

The U.S. Dime 17.9mm; Nickel 21.2mm; Quarter Dollar 24.3mm; Half Dollar 30.6mm.- were diameters that resembled some of our own small change denomination size specifications - Sixpence 19mm; Shilling 23.5mm; Florin 28.5mm. - so only  some minor adaptations were necessary to take advantage of cheap slot machines being off-loaded from America.

Winnings, or bonuses, shown by the machines were calculated and paid in the Aluminium or Brass club tokens (shown above) which could be used 'in house' to cover bar or accommodation expenses. A profit margin between the cost of tokens and actual cash would have been significant in those days.

Initially, from 1923 - 1926, these Poker or Fruit machine winnings were completely redeemable in cash - but, in December 1926, the decision was made to no longer redeem winnings in cash - and no small change was to be given for tokens offered to cover odd amounts for club services.

 

As the Club grew the token system grew with it, until the legality of the additional machines that had been installed came under scrutiny in November 1942. The Masonic Club Committee decided that the machines were to be de-activated for one month to ascertain their effect on revenue but they were never restarted due to continuing uncertainty regarding their legal status.

On 29 August 1947, the machines were sold  to a Mr. H. Crouch for £120 and removed from the premises.

A complete set and a range of individual tokens has been retained by the Masonic Club for their own historical archives, so these few genuine 'spare' items will be the first and final lot offered on a 'first in - first served' basis. 

 

Samples of 28mm. 1/6 (One Shilling & Sixpence) value Masonic Club (Aluminium) tokens.

Showing holed and un-holed versions and the generic-MC on Tasmania obverse, and the reverse 'dimple' value design style.

(Author's collection.)

 

We have been advised that the re-constructed Sets of the available tokens are as follows.

NH (Noel Harper) Item Numbers are used as references.

 

A 23mm. Brass 'chit' - introduced in 1923 - featuring the initials MC (with no map) was produced in uniface.

These chits were purchased from the club bar and used to actually operate the 'Fruit' and 'Poker' Machines. They had no indicated value - this was set by the club as the contemporary purchase price - and continually re-used, just as some metallic Casino slot tokens are used today.

 

Set #1 = (x 5 tokens).  

2/6 Brass Token NH60 (rare), 1/6 Aluminium Token  NH59, 1/- Aluminium Token NH58-NH65 ( in two types - holed and un-holed), and Brass MC Chit NH67. 

10 Sets only @ Price $180 Set.

 

Set #2 Masonic Club of Tasmania tokens.

Author's collection.

Set #2 = (x 8 tokens).  

2/6 Brass Token NH60, 1/6 Aluminium Token NH59-NH66 (the two types), 1/- Aluminium Token NH58-NH65 (the two types), 6d Aluminium Token NH57-NH63 (the two types), Brass MC Chit NH67 (No indicated value).              

2 Sets only @ Price $240 Set

 

Set 3 = (x 4 tokens). 2/6 Brass token NH60, 1/- Aluminium Token NH58-NH65 (the two types) and Brass MC Chit NH67   

3 Sets only @ Price $130 Set.

 

Individual Tokens.  

1/- Un-holed Aluminium Tokens (NH58)    (Limited number) @    Price $25 each. 

Brass MC Chits (NH67)                             (Limited number) @    Price $22 each. 

6 of each only 

 

"Tokens of Tasmania' written and published by Roger V. McNeice O.A.M; F.R.N.S. in 1984 confirms the desirability of these tokens and a fine write up of the Masonic Club's general history - and particularly the tokens and chits - can be found in the illustrated 78 page 'Tasmanian Passes, Checks & Club Tokens'  by Noel G. Harper, Dip.Pub. Admin. published in 1985.

I believe that both of these reference books regarding Tasmanian tokens are now out of print and relatively hard to obtain but, at that time, they showed the contemporary 1985 market values of each un-holed aluminium token including the 21mm  6d; 23mm 1/-; 28mm 1/6 all at about $20 each - with the 28mm brass 2/6 and copper 5/- items at about $50 each. 

The centre-holed versions 18mm 3d: 21mm 6d (2 size holes); 23mm 1/-; were all about $20 - and 28mm 1/6 at about $30 each.

These are all in aluminium, but both types are desirable and would have obviously appreciated somewhat since then.

Each obverse featured a small centralised solid map of Tasmania with the entwined ornate initials MC overlaid. The sizes are as quoted in the publication.

The reverse featured the denomination in large 'dimpled' figures e.g - 3d;  6d;  1/-; 1/6 and 2/6.

 

A certain amount of seignorage (non-redemption) occurred with these uncashed tokens as they gradually became 'shrapnel'  languishing in home drawers after a night out at the club.

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IT'S ALL GREEK TO ME!'

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

Re-edited from Jan. 2000 'Tasmanian Numismatist' by permission.

In deference to those more established members of the Tasmanian Numismatic Society who have more than a passing interest in Ancient Greek coins, I decided to do some homework on this fascinating area of numismatics. However, I soon found out that I was biting off more than I could chew comfortably in one mouthful so, please, forgive me if this report, to our other uninitiated comrades, is a 'potted' version that draws heavily on established research.
It may, at least, germinate the seeds of imagination or, perhaps even graft another few branches on to a numismatic tree that has roots that are over 2500 years old. I trust I have not pruned too heavily or made too many glaring errors for a very new and amateur Greek numismatic scholar, and I hope I have caught a little of the essence of the flowering of numismatic history. For a more comprehensive detail of the time periods connected with the different rulers, conquerors, and the many Greek colonies that issued coinage, plus the gods and all those other famous items featured, you will need to go to one of the many excellent books on the subject as I will - as I learn.

Numismatics can be dated back into antiquity if we consider the countless methods of exchange and barter as legitimate items within our scope.

However, the advent of coinage, as we have come to recognise it, only occurred relatively recently in historical terms and it is at this important turning point I will start our journey.

The precise moment that someone decided to make a piece of precious metal into the roundish lump that we can describe as a coin is unknown, but scholars estimate that it was between 650 - 625 BC.

The event occurred somewhere in western Asia Minor (Asiatic Turkey) when, either Greek settlers in Ionia, or their neighbours, the Lydians, decided to knock up a few coins Those first coins were a mixture of gold and silver- which is known as electrum - and, as this alloy was found naturally in Lydia, it lends weight to the theory that the initial batches of this new invention were produced there.

After eons of using bullion as the major financial trading tool, it was evident that, by establishing smallish ingots of a guaranteed weight and fineness, many problems would be overcome - like that of not having anything to jingle in your pockets when you went to the market.
To facilitate trade - and also control the finances of their states - the cities of Ionia, and the kings of Lydia, had started the coinage revolution that soon spread to Greece itself and the islands of the Aegean.

The designs of these early Greek coins was usually very simple, with various animals and insect totems that signified their place of origin, and then, circa 600 BC the caricature of a human head first appeared on the obverse of the uniface flans. The reverse normally only featured the marks of the minter's punch and it took another 50 years or so before the idea of using both sides of the coin was implemented by the Greeks. However, from then on, the designs were only restricted by imagination or technical experience and, as some of the early Greek silver coins are the most beautiful ever produced, they obviously lacked neither.

As silver was in reasonably plentiful supply in northern Greece, - Macedonia and Thrace - it was obvious that it would be utilised as the metal of choice in those areas. One problem that did arise, of course, is that these silver coins were originally made by many different Greek cities all around the Mediterranean and, in the early days, their weights tended to vary. As value was still based on actual bullion weight and not a stipulated denomination as modern coinage is, it became essential that some strict sort of standard was set - particularly in the area of precious metal coinages. The Greek bronze coinage, of that time, was - as most coinage is today - only a token of value and was compared to the intrinsic value of a greater value coin. Coins from the north were often remelted and restruck, in their own images, by southern cities and island states that had little in the way of the precious metal.
(Pic.) Ruins of a Silver mine at Mt. Laurion near Athens. (circa 5th Century BC.)

 

The introduction of bronze was a secondary, but necessary, choice in more isolated places like the north Aegean, Sicily and southern Italy and this would eventually promote the popular use of that metal into the Roman coinage.
As silver supplies began to become scarcer from the traditional areas, small value bronze coins based on the silver Obol were acceptable. (More modern scholars have decided that the silver Obol (weight 0.73g) was generally used as a base unit in the major Greek cities and colonies.
By the mid 500's BC the coiners were becoming even more imaginative and each important city had its own distinctive major design - Aigina, an island off the coast of Attica, had issued a silver stater, that featured a sea turtle, in circa 600 BC.
Soon after that, the cities of Corinth had its Pegasus, Thebes had its distinctive Boeotian Shield and the coins from the city of Chalkis featured the front view of a four-horse chariot. (see below).

(Library scans)

In circa 525 BC Athens' famous bust of Athena and the traditional Owl made their first appearances and elaborate types featuring a variety of gods, goddesses, temples and other public buildings, fierce animals, struggling wenches, naked satyrs etc. began to follow quickly on their heels. (below).

 

(Library scans)

The variety of denominations in respect to the coin weights that were available is still a bit of a mystery even today, but the following table does give a rough idea of how it all worked in most places. Although there are exceptions with coins produced in Sicily for example, (which I will endeavour to explain later), the confusion of denomination terms boggles the mind and I will quote a passage from David Sears ' Collecting Greek Coins' to illustrate the point.
''The term 'stater' will often be encountered by the collector of Greek coins and they will wonder why it does not appear in tables of denominations. The reason is simple: 'stater' means the main denomination of a coinage and can, therefore, be a Tetradrachm, a Didrachm, or even a drachm. More often than not it applied to the Didrachm denomination which was the principal silver coin struck by the Greek colonies in Southern Italy…"

With this type of confusion we should be thankful for our simple dollars and cents, but the table I have compiled may go a long way in simplifying the problem that most of us find when we are trying to put some sort of perspective on the different Greek silver coin names. Bear in mind that the Obol (or Obolos) was also divided into various minute fractions. To complicate matters even further is the fact that different weight standards were used in different areas around the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas. The average weight of a circulation issue Greek tetradrachm coin, for instance, was only 17g, so the table indicates ideal weights per coin - but these were rarely reached as the government of the day literally got in for their tax 'chop' before the actual coins were put out for the public use.
 

Hemitetartemorion  0.09g  1/48 Drachm
Tetartemorion  0.18g 1/24 Drachm
Trihemitetartemorion 0.27g 1/16 Drachm
Hemiobolion  0.36g 1/12 Drachm
Tritemorion  (or Tritartemorion) 0.54g  1/8 Drachm
Obol (os)  0.73g  1/6 Drachm
Trihemiobol (ion) 1.10g  1/4 Drachm      (1½ Obols)
Diobol (on)  1.46g  1/3 Drachm      (2 Obols) 
Triobol (on) (or Hemidrachm) 2.19g  1/2 Drachm      (3 Obols) 
Tetrobol (on) 2.92g 2/3 Drachm      (4 Obols)
Pentobol (on)  3.63g  5/6 Drachm      (5 Obols)
Drachm  4.37g  1 Drachm         (6 Obols) 
Didrachm  8.75g 2 Drachms       (12 Obols)
Tetradrachm  17.50g  4 Drachms       (24 Obols) 
Dekadrachm 43.75g  10 Drachms     (60 Obols) 

 

In the Greek Sicilian colony, the use of bronze coinage was based on the Litra, a small silver coin of about 0.85g. This was also produced as a large sized bronze coin which was intended to equal the intrinsic value of the silver version but, for ease of handling, it became lighter in weight and virtually became a token which, in turn, was divided into 12 onkia (ounces). Each onkia could also be divided, or multiplied, into smaller or larger denominations - for instance, the pentonkion equalled 5 onkion. The silver drachm of Attica, which was based on a slightly different weight standard to Greece, was also related to the litra at the rate of 5 litra to the drachm, compared to 6 obol to the Greek drachm.

The value of Greek coinage is very rarely shown on the individual coin, but Greek numbers and the Greek alphabet, in upper and, occasionally, lower case, are linked so if you do get a number it will often be in this sort of alphabetical form.
eg. A PP = 1+80+100, or I H = 10+8, or Z K P =7+20+100, or M B = 40+2, or X D =60+4, or G P P = 3+80+100 = 183.
 

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A B G D V Z H Q I K L M N X O P J R S
a b d e v z h q k m n x o p j r s

Main References.
Collecting Greek Coins. by David Sear (Stanley Gibbons Guides - 1977)
Greek Coinage. by N.K. Rutter (Shire Archaeology - 1983)
Greek and Roman Coins. by J.G. Milne (Methuen & Co.Ltd. - 1939)

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THE STAMP PLACE

(Established 1979)

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Tasmanian Antiques Fair
Albert Hall, Launceston

June Long Weekend

Friday, 10 June 2011:  7pm - 10pm
Saturday to Monday, 11-13 June:  10am - 5pm

Entry fee applies to venue (approximately $6)

 

We will be providing valuations, buying and selling coins, stamps, banknotes and other collectables.  

We are also able to provide collecting accessories such as albums, pages, catalogues and more. 
If there is anything you would like us to bring, or if you would like further information, please contact us!

 

email -  info@thestampplace.com

or phone (03) 6224 3536 

David and Kim Newell

 

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GENERAL INDEX UPDATE.

'TASMANIAN NUMISMATIST - INTERNET EDITION' 1996 - June 2007

'NUMISNET WORLD' July 2007 - June 2011.

The detail of contents of the 'Tasmanian Numismatist - Internet Edition' and 'Numisnet World' can be seen at the following links. Copies of articles are usually available by email, upon request from the Editor or the original author - or, if directly accessed, subject to those copyright provisions laid down in our current terms of use.  Articles will not be posted by mail services.

Early issues of the 'Tasmanian Numismatist - Internet Edition', from 1995 - 1999. were permanently archived in 2000 and articles are not linked directly.

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

http://www.vision.net.au/~pwood/Sept2003.htm  - 1998 - 1999 (Volumes 3 and 4) Archived. Content detail only.

 

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

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.

http://www.vision.net.au/~pwood/mar07.htm  - 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' - incorporating 'Tasmanian Numismatist'  (2007)

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

For full details of 'Numisnet World' (2008)

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

For full details of 'Numisnet World' (2009)

http://www.vision.net.au/~pwood/dec09.htm  - (Volume 14 - Issues 1 - 12)

For full details of 'Numisnet World' (2010)

http://www.vision.net.au/~pwood/dec10.htm  - (Volume 15 - Issues 1 - 12)

 

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'NUMISNET WORLD' - INDEX - January to June 2011.

VOLUME 16, 2011

Issue 1. January 2011:-  http://www.vision.net.au/~pwood/jan11.htm

HAPPY NEW YEAR - 2011 - Note Montage - Every one of our previous New Year newsletter header montages had a story to tell - and this one, the first for 2011, was also selected to create a moment of interest about international currency, the old and the more recent. This is a small essay of homework to start off a new year and, perhaps, a lifetime of searching and understanding the fascinating and intricate world of banknotes et al..

HOLIDAY READING - We have re-presented three articles from 2003 that have snippets of information that may prove to be useful to our new collectors - or a reminder to our older friends about forgotten aspects of our hobby, Numismatics is always growing and exploring a whole spectrum of knowledge.

(a) - Hi Ho! Silver! -  A review of the impact that Silver has had on our Australian coinage.

(b) - and ... at the other end of the scale! - We must remember, that these days, the intrinsic value of coinage has virtually disappeared - and more common metals - such as Aluminium - are more likely to be used with a stated value to signify purchasing worth in our commercial world.

(c) - Unofficial Orders, Decorations & Medals - A preponderance of facsimiles and fantasy items, in the personal decorations area of our hobby, are lurking in cupboards all around the world just awaiting future generations to stumble upon them and to ask the questions-  What are these - and what are they worth?"  They are well-made - even crafted from noble metals in some instances - and obviously have value - they even look official - BUT - they are not! 

In years to come it may be hard to find out the 'raison d'etre' of these fantasies - so if any do come into your possession. make sure that any product information is passed along with the item to maintain its provenance and resale value

Editor's Personal Note - The ANS (Anniversary of National Service 1951 - 1972) Medal. - It took 50 years for the Australian Government to be forced to acknowledge the part that underage National Servicemen played in our more recent military history. Politicians are still in a state of denial about some aspects of the old National Service scheme but, at least, we have a medal  to commemorative the sacrifices made between 1951 - 1972 - including some of which are still ongoing for some 'Nashos'.

The issuance, in 2008, of the ADM (Australian Defence Medal) also took up some of the slack in the area of neglect suffered by those Regular and Reserve force personnel who had nothing to show for years of service to our nation

 

Issue 2. February 2011:-  http://www.vision.net.au/~pwood/feb11.htm

'TIS MUNNY IN MY PURSE!' - The story of Charles Earl Bowles (aka Bolles/Boles/Bolton and T.Z. Spalding) - better known to those who like to study Old Western history as 'Black Bart''. This is another fascinating tale of retribution for a perceived abuse perpetrated by Wells Fargo against a man who had a long memory and a desire to get even. A retribution that caused him to rob, at least, 28 of Wells Fargo's Concord stage-coaches over a period of 8 years.

Some reports indicate that  the polite 'Gentleman Bandit' may never have even loaded his shotgun before a robbery. 

His mysterious disappearance a month after his release from San Quentin Prison still has us baffled - and a Wells Fargo reward that went unclaimed.

THE GREY FOX - an observation. - Bill Miner was another stage-coach robber who never killed or used profanity - another character who visited San Quentin Prison..

THE FRANKLINS! - A retrospective look at a Tasmanian Numismatic Society commemorative medallion which was issued to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the arrival of Sir John Franklin and his wife, Jane, Lady Franklin to Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) in 1837, to assume the Governorship of the island.

NORTHERN TASMANIAN NUMISMATIC & PHILATELIC EVENTS 2011 - A schedule of forthcoming events in Northern Tasmania has been kindly supplied by our good friends from Hobart, David & Kim Newell of "The Stamp Place". See you there!

 

Issue 3. March 2011:-  http://www.vision.net.au/~pwood/mar11.htm

WARNING! REPLICAS - The plethora of replicas, counterfeits etc. coming out of China at commercial rates of production are sounding alarm bells right across the numismatic community. A look back at some items that were early precursors of the high quality fakes  -  'made to deceive' - pieces is again timely.

BLAST FROM THE PAST! - "SHOULD YOU SAVE THOSE 'SAC' DOLLARS?”  - a reprise of an interesting article written a decade ago by Mike Nourse of the 'Anchorage Coin Club'.  Ten years on, we take another look at the revival of an economically sensible numismatic idea that had nearly died, due to the apathetic negativity of an unimaginative and money lazy U.S. public, at that time. How things have changed!

WHO WAS SACAGAWEA? - an updated reprise, that is still continuing on - with the story of the Native American woman who inspired the U.S. 'Golden Dollar' coin.

The story of Sacagawea is a tale with more questions than definite answers. It is woven mainly from rumour and legend - with a few pieces of written evidence thrown in to give it some credence.

NEW LITERARY OFFERING! - a further, highly informative, literary offering from leading numismatist and author, Roger V. McNeice OAM, covering issues of Cheques and Paper Money of the National Bank of Tasmania Limited during the period 1885 - 1918. Available both in book or CD format from the author's agents.

 

Issue 4. April 2011:-  http://www.vision.net.au/~pwood/april11.htm

ANZAC DAY -  25th. APRIL, 2011 -  For family reasons, this time of remembrance is an important time to me. The few minutes silence I observe each Anzac Day does have significant memories attached to it as I honour several relatives lost to combat - and many more now lost to time after serving their country.

OFF - ON A TANGENT! - Investigations always have a tendency to send the searchers off - on a tangent - at times - and, when the writer has a family history that also hovers in areas where my numismatic hobby overlaps - the temptation to meld the two interests becomes irresistible.

WHO SIGNED THE CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA TREASURY NOTES? - In fact, this reprised article from our archives has still not answered the question precisely - but it does supply information about the system during a terrible time in U.S. history - when brother fought brother - and their widows had to survive.

THE FACES OF THE OTHER AMERICA - A handful of thin, pink paper CSA Treasury notes - demonetized and deemed worthless nearly 146 years ago - has held a fascination for many numismatists, including this collector. The faces on the notes - with the exception of two - were not well known outside of the U.S.

Some time ago, an effort was made to put names to the faces - plus a little bit of information - for local readers. It proved to be just a little more difficult than originally expected - but the learning process was well worth the effort.

 

Issue 5. May 2011:-  http://www.vision.net.au/~pwood/may11.htm

BROTHER AGAINST BROTHER - 'My kingdom for some Boots.' - the entry to the bloody Battle of Gettysburg was prompted by the need to replace worn-out boots - what followed was a ghastly case of 'wrong place - wrong time!'  - and it spelt the beginning of the end for the Confederate States of America.

THE FIELD OF LOST SHOES - A final postscript dated May 15th. 1864 always brings a lump to my throat when I think about the story of 250 Virginia Military Institute cadets - aged between 15 - 18 - marching out in full institute dress uniform to join the worn-out and under-manned ragged Confederate Army which was about to face a seasoned Union force. Over 60 boys died that day and many more were wounded in a 'gallant fight' - and the unsanctioned  'New Market Cross of Honor' (May 15th 1864) - was struck years later after the War by those who wished to commemorate the boy cadets' sacrifice.

THE MONEY, MEDALS AND MINIÉS OF 'DIXIE'! - a compilation of information about the lack of official CSA coinage, the dearth of official medals for acts of bravery - and the awesome devastation caused by the introduction of a new type of rifle projectile

'Collecting CONFEDERATE PAPER MONEY.' -  BOOK REVIEW - Another reprise from 2006 - from NTCA & TNS member, Jerry Adams as he reviews this fine book by  Pierre Fricke, edited by Stephen Goldsmith, with contributions by Richie Self, that ties up a lot of lose ends about CSA paper money. Consider for your library!

 

Issue 6. June 2011:-

THE RANDOM 'GOLDEN' THOUGHT OF THE DAY! - The Gold Standard may be in abeyance - but, the presence of a strong Gold metal value, that is currently affecting our economy, proves that the lure of precious metals is still alive and well. In the monetary scheme of things it isn't that long ago that we had the opportunity of handling national coinages and banknotes that were based on, or actually made of, this ancient noble metal.

THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY! - Over the decades that I have collected money as a numismatist -  I have had all sorts of interesting encounters with the artistic merit - or otherwise - of the pieces of paper (or plastic) that we broadly refer to as 'banknotes'! The title of this article probably explains how I have come to view the folding-money that makes up a central pillar in our hobby.

BLASTS FROM THE PAST! -   An occasional segment drawn from our archives and brought up-to-date for the benefit of new rcollectors.

1. In June 2001, a buying opportunity  was presented to TNS members, and other newsletter readers, when scarce Masonic Club of Tasmania (Hobart Branch) tokens were offered for sale at fixed prices - first in got the prizes!. Quickly snapped up - these reminders of the past are now in the Rarity basket - and command commensurately high prices from collectors of this type of exonumia.

2. The origins of European coinage started in Lydia and soon spread throughout the Greek Empire - a short history has been reprised for newcomers to numismatics.

 

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'NUMISNET WORLD'

(INTERNET EDITION)

 

The 'NumisNet World'’ (Internet Edition) newsletter has been provided with space on this privately maintained Internet site and is currently presented free on a monthly basis with the aim of promoting the hobby of numismatics. 

The ''NumisNet World'' (Internet Edition) newsletter abides by the same basic guidelines suggested for the official 'Tasmanian Numismatist' newsletter.

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. 

ALL comments in linked articles are the responsibility of the original authors.

 

PRIVACY PROTECTION

The 'NumisNet World' (Internet Edition) newsletter complies with the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act.

Under this act, information about individuals can be stored and published only if: the information is already contained in a publicly available document or if personal information has been provided by the individual to whom the information relates, and if that individual is aware of the purposes for which the information is being collected.

All information published by the ''NumisNet World'' (Internet Edition) newsletter is either publicly available, or has been voluntarily provided by writers, on request from the Editor of the ''NumisNet World'  (Internet Edition) newsletter.

While the ''NumisNet World' (Internet Edition) newsletter may hold writers' addresses and other details for the purposes of communication and copyright protection, it will never make such addresses or details available to any member of the public without the permission of those involved.

The 'NumisNet World'' (Internet Edition) newsletter also respects the privacy of our readers. When you write to us with comments, queries or suggestions, you may provide us with personal information including your contact address or other relevant information. Your personal information will never be made available to a third party without permission.

 

DISCLAIMER

All details of a commercial nature, organisations, items or individual arrangement to buy, sell or trade are provided in good faith as information only, and any consequent dealings are between the parties concerned. 

The 'NumisNet World' (Internet Edition) newsletter takes no responsibility for disagreements between parties, and also reserves the right to only feature information that it considers suitable in promoting the hobby to our readers. Deadline for any literary contributions or amendment to copy is 7 Days prior to the beginning of the month of publication.

 

COPYRIGHT

The contents of this Internet newsletter, and all prior issues - included the 'Tasmanian Numismatist - Internet Edition' - are copyrighted ©, but anything herein can be fairly used to promote the great hobby of numismatics; however, we do like to be asked by commercial interests if they wish to use any of our copy. 

This permission, however, does not extend to any article specifically marked as copyrighted © by the author of the article. Explicit permission from the author or the Editor of the  NumisNet World' '(Internet Edition) newsletter is required prior to use of that material.

 

The Editor,

Numisnet World - (Internet Edition). 

P.O. Box 10,

Ravenswood. 7250. Tasmania.

Australia.

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

Email: pwood@vision.net.au

 

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