Volume 5 Issue 3                                                                                             March 2000.

Index For This Month:


  • Anyone who wishes to apply for membership to our non-profit making organisation, and who is prepared to abide by the rules of the Society and its aim of promoting the study and enjoyment of the hobby of numismatics, should contact the following addresses for an application form and details of subscriptions :-
  • The Secretary,
    Tasmanian Numismatic Society, Inc.
    G.P.O. Box 884J.
    Hobart. Tasmania. 7001.
    Our members meet at 8.00 p.m. on the 2nd.Thursday of each month (except January), in our social rooms at the Masonic Club, 181 Macquarie St., Hobart. Tasmania. Visitors are always welcome!

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

    The Editor,
    Tasmanian Numismatist.
    P.O.Box 10,
    Ravenswood. 7250. Tasmania.
    Internet Page: http://www.vision.net.au/~pwood/tns.html
    Email: pwood@vision.net.au
    The ‘Tasmanian Numismatist’ is published and distributed FREE, on a monthly basis, to members of the Tasmanian Numismatic Society Inc. and selected associates and institutions. This publication is the only official newsletter of the ‘Tasmanian Numismatic Society Inc.’ and its aim is to promote the hobby of numismatics in an entertaining and enjoyable way, under the guidelines suggested by the executive committee of the T.N.S.
    All details of a commercial nature, organisations, items or individual arrangement to buy, sell or trade are provided as information only, and any consequent dealings are between the parties concerned.
    The ‘Tasmanian Numismatist’ takes no responsibility for disagreements between parties, and also reserves the right to only feature information that it considers suitable in promoting our hobby to our members under the guidelines suggested by the Society. Deadline for contributions or amendment to copy is 7 Days prior to the beginning of the month of publication.

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



    As the official AGM Minutes were not available in time for this publication, the following edited and unconfirmed highlights are supplied for members' information from the Editor's notes.

  • The Annual General Meeting of the Tasmanian Numismatic Society, Inc. was held on Thursday 10th February 2000 at our clubrooms located at the Hobart Masonic Club, 181 Macquarie St., Hobart. Tasmania.

  • The meeting started a few minutes later than scheduled due to a small group of members arriving late after lingering over a very delicious Chinese banquet meal and misjudging travelling time.
    The Vice-President, the Editor and his wife, and a prominent Committeeman were rudely referred to as a 'lot of old gannets' by those other members present! We stand suitably rebuked!
    The members were then formally (and warmly) welcomed and presented with the annual reports from our Secretary, Mr. Geoffrey Forrest, our Treasurer, Mr. Charles Hunt, and our President, Mr. Roger McNeice OAM.
    The main thrust of President Roger McNeice's Report was directed at three points he considered important.

    1. Firstly, even though it had been a relatively quiet year for Society events, it was pleasing to note that our membership had increased slightly and our monthly meetings had again been well attended and progressive.

    2. Secondly, the advent of email technology has not been lost upon the Society who realise that many new numismatists are now basically using the knowledge distributed on the Internet as their only contact with other hobbyists - coupled with the fact that the lack of sufficient professional dealers right across the state was a contributing factor in holding back the hobby to a big extent. At present many of our members, particularly those in more scattered areas, were having to refer to mainland sources for information and some supplies. In an effort to promote our State-wide membership drive - and to bring some of these unattached collectors into the more satisfying learning curve atmosphere that the Society can offer - he suggested that more meetings are undertaken in the North of the state and that a campaign be launched, in whatever economical manner possible, to educate the public about the Society and its aims.

    3. Thirdly, the Society Bookroom concept was starting to bear fruit. Several good commercial sources had been secured to enable our members to enjoy favourable price structuring for educational literature, accessories, catalogues etc. If members are finding that they have difficulty in securing supplies of basic accessories contact our Secretary, in the first instance, who can on-forward your request to our Bookroom for attention.
    In closing, the President thanked the executive members of the Committee for their excellent attendance throughout the year, and especially Chris Heath and Kevin Hogue for a job well done as Acting Chairmen during his absences in 1999.

    The Secretary, Geoffrey Forrest, reported that a small growth in new membership had occurred late in 1999 but that the names of several members had been deleted earlier due to non-renewal of their subscription by March 1999 for various reasons.
    It was gratifying to note however that, this year, the majority of subscriptions had all been paid on time or in advance.
    During the time that our President was overseas, on several occasions, our meetings had been chaired by Vice President Chris Heath and also by the very able Mr. Kevin Hogue.

    The Society Awards had been made at a semi-informal break during a very pleasant members' annual BBQ held at the home of the President on 12th December 1999. The T.N.S. Bronze Award went to our Treasurer, Charles Hunt for a fine year's work, whilst the President's Award made to Chris Heath reflected the valuable assistance that he has given to the President throughout the last 12 months. Dr. John Chapman had previously been presented with the prestigious 1999 Lockwood Award during the N.A.A. Conference in Victoria. (Refer 'Tasmanian Numismatist' - October 1999)

    Treasurer Charles Hunt presented the detail of our financial position - subject to final confirmation and auditing - that indicated we were in an even better situation than we were last year. By judiciously investing we have even increased our capital slightly.

    The membership was then advised that nominations for the election of officers and committee would be called for and, after the suitable debate, we have pleasure in advising the results.
    Patron: Ms Patricia Sabine. (Subject to acceptance.)
    President: Roger McNeice. (Elected unopposed.)
    Vice President: Christopher Heath. (Elected unopposed.)
    Treasurer: Charles Hunt. (Elected unopposed.)
    Honorary Auditor: Richard Watson. (Subject to acceptance.)
    Secretary: Owing to personal commitments, our Secretary of the last few years, Geoffrey Forrest, did not re-nominate but offered his services for Committee duties. Nominations were then called, from members present, but as none were forthcoming immediately, Mr. Phil Nichols volunteered to temporarily shoulder the task on the understanding that there would be times during the year when he would need to be absent. His offer was accepted.
    Editor/Public Relations: Graeme Petterwood. (Elected unopposed.)
    General Committee: Geoffrey Forrest, Tom Williamson, Kevin Hogue - (Southern Tasmania).
                                        Paul Petterwood, Shane Matson - (Northern Tasmania). (All elected unopposed.)



  • It is with regret that we have recently learnt of the death of Mrs. Patricia Roberts. The beloved wife of Mr. M.R. 'Bob' Roberts - who has been a great friend of the 'Tasmanian Numismatic Society' for many years - Patricia passed away on December 7th 1999 following a long battle with cancer. An extremely gifted international woman in her own right, Patricia held amongst her other high achievements, Life membership of the Australian Trades and Labour Council as well as the American Numismatic Association. As a young talented dancer, artist, musician and singer, Patricia had toured USA and Canada with the world famous 'Ice Capades' before joining the banking industry in USA and Australia. She became the first female Vice President of the CBOA and had also served on the NSW Premier's Council for Women.

  • Many members of the T.N.S. have requested that the 'Tasmanian Numismatist' officially passes on their deepest sympathy to Bob for his irreplaceable loss - and we have no hesitation in conveying their messages of condolence with our own.



  • The following Internet News contains several Web addresses of international correspondents who have recently e-mailed the 'Tasmanian Numismatist' - some with requests for members and readers, who are interested in swapping, buying and/or selling, to contact them. As with all these matters, we again remind readers that the "Tasmanian Numismatist' supplies this information as a service only.

  • The 'Tasmanian Numismatist' will not accept any responsibility for disputes over any business dealings between private individuals or commercial parties - nor do we accept responsibility for content on correspondent's Internet home-pages or any advertisements supplied thereon.

    The following e-mail newsflash was received from Martin Peeters of the WBCC about their recent successful visit to the World Coin Fair held in Basel, Switzerland on January 21st. - 23rd.

    "I left the Netherlands with Frans Dubois and Jack Hepler on Friday 00.00 AM and arrived at Basel at 08.00 AM. We had driven through 6 countries! (Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Germany and Switzerland). Passing through all these borders was no problem at all. Arriving at Basel we went straight to the Basel Congress Centre were the World Money Fair was held and we set up the WBCC table. A nice picture of our table can be seen on the WBCC Homepage. http://www.geocities.com/RodeoDrive/7513/wbcc/wbcc.html
    The goal of the WBCC at the World Money Fair was to expose the WBCC to the numismatic world, and meet representatives of Mints and Minters and other WBCC members. Furthermore we had the specially made 2nd. Edition WBCC Bi-metallic token for the WMF. Michael Marotta, editor of Coin World visited our table and was interested in the WBCC CD ROM and the new WBCC Bi-metallic token. The second limited edition (300) WBCC Bi-metallic token had been specially minted for the World Money Fair at Basel. The obverse has the WBCC logo and the reverse has the text: - WORLDWIDE BI-METALLIC COLLECTORS CLUB -WORLD MONEY FAIR - SWITZERLAND - BASEL - JANUARY 21-23, 2000.
    A really great moment was on Saturday at 10.00 AM. when the president of the World Money Fair, Mr. Albert Beck, visited us. Because of his work for the event and helping the WBCC to attend the WMF, we presented him a new WBCC Bi-metallic token much to his surprise and delight."

    We have been invited to advise members and readers of a commercial site that may be of interest to medallion collectors.
    Kim Perrier is a sculptor and miniaturist who has designed and produced an innovative limited edition 74 mm. medallion depicting a topographic map of the planet from satellite data. Manufactured of cast Bronze and Huon Pine, commemorating the year 2000, the scale is an unbelievable 1: 365 million.
    For full information, visit the web-site at: http://millennium.mns.net.au
    International Phone or Fax: 011 61 8 97612 223
    P.O. Box 174,
    Bridgetown. WA.
    Australia. 6255.

    Serge Pelletier has issued a Press Release featuring a new Canadian Municipal Trade Dollar to celebrate the back-to-Eston (Saskatchewan) Homecoming later this year.

    ESTON, SK - The Eston Homecoming Committee is happy to announce that it will be issuing a 5-Dollar commemorative token to honour Eston's World Super Gopher Derby, an integral part of their Homecoming Celebrations to be held June 30 - July 2, 2000. The tokens will be issued in June and will have currency value, at participating merchants, until July 1.
    The profits from this operation will be used to finance other activities of the Homecoming.
    The token features on one side, a whimsical gopher running his little heart out, while the other side shows a grain elevator and wheat sheaf.

    "The token truly reflects our community's spirit" said Lynda Hunter, program coordinator, "the grain elevator and wheat shows the importance agriculture plays in our community while the running gopher shows we love to have fun!"

    The Lions Club initiated the Gopher Derby in 1972, and it is held annually, in conjunction with "Sportsarama Days", around 1st. July. The gophers are not "professionals", they are captured under the watchful eye of the Humane Society the week prior to the derby, and their participation must comply with Provincial regulations. Entries come from across Canada and the United States.
    From these entries 64 named gophers are drawn to start. There are eight heats run daily with winners advancing to finals. Once the Derby is over, the competitors are released back into the wild, some with more bragging rights than others.
    Part of the proceeds from the Derby are used by the Lions Club, for numerous charities they support in the area.

    Eston is located in southwestern Saskatchewan, 203 kilometres southwest of Saskatoon and 205 kilometres northwest of Swift Current. It is located at the junction of highways 44, which runs east to west, and 30, which runs north to south. Incorporated in 1916, the town counts about 1200 souls. In the heart of agriculture, being surrounded by the Rural Municipality of Snipe Lake #259, Eston has an established economic role. Cereal grains, as well as a wide variety of speciality crops are grown on some of the most productive farmland in the province. Visitors here are fascinated by the vast expanse of the prairie, the glorious sunsets and "twilight time". The fields of green in spring and early summer, later turning golden awaiting harvest, reach out to the horizons. To witness some of the interesting contrasts, one need only go some 24 kilometres southwest where rough benchland marks the division of the arable land and rough wilderness, a result of glacial rivers cutting through, centuries ago. A decided "gap" at an elevation of some 30 metres higher than the town, marks this division which is visible for kilometres.
    This is a landmark that served as a guide for the early settlers returning home from trips to Brock, some 50 kilometres away, where they travelled for provisions or to haul their grain. The range of hills continue east on either side of the South Saskatchewan River becoming somewhat less rugged, but interesting. There is evidence of old Red River cart trails as well as
    buffalo trails which may be seen on the slopes of the hills.
    Eston Homecoming 2000 will be a three-day event held June 30 - July 2. The activities include an Opening Reception, a Sports Day, a Beef Supper, a BBQ Lunch, the annual Gopher Derby and, of course, a fireworks display. More information can be obtained from Lynda Hunter: - (tel: (306) 962-3584 - fax: (306) 962-4224).

    Issuing Agency: Eston Homecoming Committee
    Designer: Marc Gourdreau
    Mint: Eligi Consultants Inc.
    Diameter: 38mm
    Edge: Plain
    Composition Mintage Price in US Dollars.
    Brass 1,000 - $6.00
    Nickel-Silver 150 - $12.00
    Commercial Bronze 150 - $12.00
    Gold Plated Enamelled 40 - $42.50
    The enamelled token shows the gopher in brown and white.

    Those interested in getting some of these tokens should contact the exclusive distributor:

    Taxes, shipping and handling are extra. Available from:
    Bonavita Ltd,
    Box 11447, Station H, Nepean, ON K2H 7V1. Canada.
    Tel: +1-613-823-3844 / Fax: +1-613-825-3092
    VISA and MASTERCARD accepted

    For more information please contact:
    Serge Pelletier.
    Tel: +1-613-542-1669
    E-Mail: info@eligi.ca

    Miguel from Spain is interested in swapping coins. He collects Spanish and bi-metallic world coins and can be contacted at:

    Kaska from Poland wants to trade coins and talk to Australian numismatists about the hobby. She has her own home-page at: http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/Bistro/5025 or Kaska can be contacted by email at: kaska@gmx.at

    Michele of Italy has a list of world coins and banknote doubles for trade/exchange for Australian ditto: micvit@infoservizi.it

    Make a note in your Internet address book!
    Jerry Adams has advised he has, at last, opened up his own homepage, as from 7th February 2000, which will still feature those great stories and information about US tokens that we have found fascinating over the last few years.
    Jerry also has some great links to other related token sites including some great commercial connections.
    The title of Jerry's new page is "TRADE TOKEN TALES" and it is at: http://www.members.home.net/tokenguy/
    For those serious collectors of US tokens, particularly of the West, who wish to contact Jerry, his email is: tokenguy@home.com
    (This is one of the Editor's most highly recommended sites!)

    U.S.A. (2).
    Another great site worth having a look at for all sorts of worldwide numismatic information has appeared and Rhonda been kind enough to grant us a link space. I will be adding it to the numismatic links available for readers' access at:

    We have had another request from César Costa of Portugal in regard to coin swapping. César is still interested in making contact with anyone who wants to correspond and to swap coins. Contact: cesar_costa@clix.pt



  • When T.N.S. Member # 343 - and Oz varieties aficionado - Ian McConnelly suggested I read a story in the 'Australasian Coin & Banknote Magazine' (1999 Year Book issue) I sat up and took notice.

  • Many years ago, when I first started to put away a few coins, I had accumulated a modest collection of Oz pre-decimal varieties. However, interest gradually dried up and this area of numismatics - including the few reasonable catalogues covering varieties - apparently disappeared down the proverbial gurgler as far as dealers were concerned - so I regretfully relegated my few varieties and die-crack oddities to a back cupboard and forgot about them.
    A year or so ago my interest was re-awakened when Ian mentioned that he had managed to get a bargain or two from M.R. Roberts' Wynyard Coin Exchange while he was visiting Sydney ('Tasmanian Numismatist', June 1998 issue) and commented that, like me, he had nothing to compare them with except a very ancient Renniks catalogue c.1970's.
    After reading the 'CAB' article by M. A. Byrnes entitled, "Adventuring with Coin Varieties", Ian decided to contact the author for additional information - and came away smiling!
    It appears that Mr. Mos Byrnes of Cosmos Collectables has a small, but quite expansive, new book on the way regarding Australian varieties. It should hit the shelves later this year for about A$40.00 - so those of us that have those few 'odd' coins poked away had better bide our time a little longer until "A Search for Varieties on Australian Pre-Decimal Coins 1910 - 1964 ½d to 5/-" is released. If any of our members or readers are interested in securing a copy, the author requests, in his 'CAB' advertisement, that orders and cash payment should be forwarded direct to:
    Cosmos Collectables - Box 188, North Ryde, N.S.W. 1670. Australia.

    PS - Ian has already ordered his copy and has promised to provide us with a review, as soon as possible, after its release.



  • We have been requested by the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery to ask our members or readers for assistance in obtaining additional coins to upgrade and/or complete their Australian Numismatic Collection of basic circulating coinage dating from 1910. Coins do not have to be in the top brackets of conservation - but, obviously, 'the better - the better' would be preferable. The Museum will always acknowledge donations, so even one or two pieces will enable your name to go on their appreciation list.

  • Half-penny: 1930 1939 (Kangaroo) 1959.
    Penny: 1915H 1918 1925 1930 1940K.G
    Threepence: 1914 1915 1916 1920 1921M 1923 1924 1925 1928 1939 1942 1956 1962.
    Shilling: 1913 1914 1915 1916 1917 1921*(Star) 1922 1924 1926 1928 1931 1933 1934 1935 1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1943S 1944 1944S 1956 1957 1962
    Florin: 1913. 1914 1914H 1915 1915H 1916 1917 1918 1919 1921 1922 1923 1924 1925 1926 1928 1931 1932 1933 1934 1934-35 1939 1942S 1943 1943S 1944 1944S 1956 1959 1961
    Donations may be made care of:
    T.N.S. Secretary
    G.P.O. Box 884J.
    Hobart. Tas. 7001
    or directed to:
    Honorary Curator Numismatics,
    Tasmanian Museum,
    Davey St. Hobart. Tas. 7000.


  • It is always nice to get a 'Thank You!' for assistance provided, and The Evandale History Society. Inc. have recognised the time and expertise supplied during last year by Tasmanian Numismatist Society member Roger McNeice O.A.M., F.R.N.S. in helping them prepare and upgrade the display of replica medals for the Murray Memorial Room at Evandale. The correspondence from the E.H.S. reads in part: "The Murray Memorial Room has engendered much local and interstate interest since its opening in 1998, and your work has already greatly enhanced the displays in this room."

  • Who was 'Harry' Murray, VC?
    Born on 1st. December 1880, in a cottage at ‘Clareville’, where Launceston Airport now stands, Henry William Murray was the 8th. of nine children born to the wife of a farm labourer, the late Mr. E. K. Murray. The family eventually moved on to a property, ‘Northcote’, near the village of St. Leonards on the outskirts of Launceston. Harry did his early military training with the Launceston Artillery, which he said, in later years, had provided him with the most excellent training and the skills he needed to survive as a soldier. He served a total of 6 years as a Tasmanian member of the Australian Field Artillery, before moving to Western Australia to find work.

    Just after the onset of hostilities on September 30th. 1914, at Blackboy Hill in Western Australia, and giving his occupation and age as ‘Bushman -30 years old* - Harry Murray attested and was enlisted as an infantryman and he took part in the Gallipoli landing on April 25th. 1915. He survived the landing unscathed but, like hundreds of others at Anzac Cove, he was eventually wounded twice, once on June 18th. and again on August 8th. - but his actions, under fire, came to the notice of his superiors.
    For his gallantry and leadership he was awarded his D.C.M. (London Gazette Aug. 5th. 1915) and promoted to Sergeant.
    During this time he had also transferred from the 16th Battalion to the mainly New South Wales 13th. Battalion, 4th. Brigade, 4th. Division and, after recuperating in Egypt from his wounds, he returned to Gallipoli on December 7th. 1915, and may have been evacuated, with another wound, just prior to the famous withdrawal that occurred a few weeks later.

    By January 20th. 1916, Murray had already achieved a full lieutenancy and, by March 1st. he gained further promotion to Captain. Shortly after his arrival in France, during mid-September 1916, it was reported in the ‘London Gazette’ that Captain Murray was again wounded twice, this time in the thigh and back. In all, he was wounded 5 times and on his Casualty Form - Active Service B.103 - a notation is said to have declared - ‘Unfit for further service’ - but it didn’t stop Harry, who just ignored it and went back into action.
    He had actually turned 36 years old when he won the Victoria Cross, on 4/5th. February 1917, at Stormy Trench which was north-east of the village of Gueudecourt in France, and the following citation gives an insight to this gallant man’s actions. When he retired, Harry Murray not only held the V.C., but the C.M.G., D.S.O. and Bar, as well as the D.C.M. He was mentioned in despatches on 4 occasions -and he also held the high French award, the Croix de Guerre.

    CITATION: For most conspicuous bravery when in command of the right flank company in attack. He led his company to the assault with great skill and courage, and the position was quickly captured. Fighting of a very severe nature followed, and three heavy counter-attacks were beaten back, these successes being due to Captain Murray's wonderful work. Throughout the night his company suffered heavy casualties through concentrated enemy shellfire, and on one occasion gave ground for a short way. This gallant officer rallied his command and saved the situation by sheer valour. He made his presence felt throughout the line, encouraging his men, heading bombing parties, leading bayonet charges, and carrying wounded to places of safety. His magnificent example inspired his men throughout. (London Gazette: 10th March 1917.)
    Main Reference.
    Tasmanian Numismatist - The Story Behind the Story. (Vol.4 Issue 2) Feb.1999. Compiled by Graeme Petterwood.


  • The Evandale Tourist Centre, which contains the Harry Murray V.C. display, is open daily and I believe that there are still some stock there of the famous Evandale Penny Farthing Race medallions available from previous years at $20.00 plus $1.00 postage.

  • This year's race will have already been run and won (on the 26th February) by the time you receive this newsletter - but for further details, regarding any balance of the limited edition of the new design (Year 2000) medal - if you are lucky - contact organiser Di Sullivan:
    Ph (03) 6391 8223 - Int. Ph: 61 3 6391 8223 - or Email: the.sullivans@microtech.com.au


    R - STANDS FOR ROMANS. by Graeme Petterwood.

    I first became vaguely interested in Roman coins quite a few years ago when I bought a handful of battered 'cheapies' from M.R. Roberts' Wynyard Coin Centre in Sydney. I then struggled through the devilish process of trying to identify them with the aid of an old MCMXLVIII edition of Seaby's Catalogue of Roman Coins - found in a market box of assorted books - and a very large magnifying glass.

    As promised in our January issue of the 'Tasmanian Numismatist', I will endeavour to give a simple history of this second great part of Ancient coinage. Again, I will need to draw heavily on works that have already been published - so forgive me if my interpretation of events sounds a little familiar. I have also endeavoured to give details of the original birth names of the emperors and the other figures in brackets after the name are the years that the emperor actually reigned.
    Like Greek coins, the names and terms used are quite daunting to the beginner so I will start by giving a brief run-down of the most common types before we get to the nitty-gritty - and just a few of the juicy bits!
    If your collecting habits include Roman coins you will already know that all the ingredients that create Adults Only 'R' restrictions also encompass your hobby - in abundance!
    Violence, Murder, Sex and other Adult Themes are all part of the story of Roman Coins.

  • Like other early civilisations the Romans' first currency consisted of crude lumps of cast metal, mainly bronze and of various weights based on the libra (lb.) that were designed to facilitate the Italian tribes' trade with their near neighbours. Today, these lumps of metal are known as 'Aes Rude' and a larger cast oblong block of bronze with different types of relief is known as 'Aes Signatum'. Some 'Aes Signatum' were cut into smaller ingots, if required, and it is from these early attempts, dating from c.500 B.C. - 311 B.C. there emerged the more familiar round shape, with recognisable designs, now known as 'Aes Grave' and which are the first official Roman coins. The letters Æ often used to signify bronze or copper, come from the Latin word 'Aes'.

  • The Italian tribes were also quick to notice that their neighbours, the Etruscans, had followed the Greek innovation of producing silver (often shown as AR - for Argentum ) and gold (shown as AU or sometimes AV - for Aurum) coinage as well as bronze (Æ) and of marking their coinage with values.
    The 'Aes Grave' or As was divided into 12 units known as 'unica'. A brief description of the common types and obverse design is included for collectors who just may run across this very early bronze coinage. The reverse is always the prow of a galley.

    As.                   Head of Janus                 mark of value,             I                      12 uncia
    Semis.              Head of Jupiter                         "                          S                       6     "
    Triens.             Head of Minerva                      "                          4 pellets           4     "
    Quadrans.       Head of Hercules                      "                          3 pellets           3     "
    Sextans.           Head of Mercury                      "                          2 pellets            2    "
    Uncia.              Head of Roma or Bellona         "                          1 pellet

    As trade with the more sophisticated Greek settlements became more frequent the need for a silver coinage that was acceptable elsewhere in the Mediterranean became imperative and, in the 3rd century B.C., various imitations of the Greek didrachms started to appear bearing the name ROMA or ROMANO.

    These silver 'Romano-Campaniam didrachms', as they are commonly called, were superseded by a more uniform coin we now call a 'quadrigati' during the later part of the 3rd century B.C. and these, in turn, were replaced by the 'victoriate' which first appeared during the Second Punic War. The next major change was c.211 B.C. when the silver 'denarius' was introduced.
    In the meantime, the bronze As coinage still lingered on, but it had been radically reduced in size and weight with 10 asses to a denarius. In a sign of loyalty to their old coinage the Roman denarius was very frequently marked with the Latin symbol X for the 10 asses it now represented.

    The denarius was the main silver coin issued during the early Roman Republican period, although a silver quinarius (5 asses) and a silver sestertius , marked IIS (2½ asses) were produced at infrequent intervals. Gold denarius sized coins such as the 'aureus' were also produced - not as part of the normal coinage issues - but at times of civil strife or emergency when military usage was required and mercenaries or foreign allies needed something more universally acceptable than bronze or silver.

    During the remainder of the Republican period and from about c 80 B.C. no further copper coinage was issued except for a brief emission in 45 - 44B.C. by Caius Julius Caesar just prior to his assassination on the Ides (15th.) of March 44 B.C.

    Under the control of Caius Octavius Caepias, later known as Caius Julius Caesar Octavianus, the era of Emperor was firmly established. Proclaimed Emperor and then Augustus between 29 - 27 B.C. he re-organised the coinage by keeping the gold and silver issues under his control but, after 23 B.C., he was allowing the Senate to issue other coins with the inscription S.C. (Senatus Consulto) and, up until 4 B.C., the responsible moneyers' names were also included in the legends.
    Gold also became part of the regular issue as the Empire prospered under Augustus Caesar and values were set at:

    Gold.                              Aureus                         25 silver denarii
                                            Quinarius                     12½ "
    Silver.                             Denarius                       16 asses
                                            Quinarius                       8 "
    Orichalcum*                  Sestertius                      4 asses
                                            Dupondius                    2 asses
    Copper.                          As                                   4 quadrantes
                                            Quadrans                       ¼ as

    The sestertii of this time are very well executed, as are the smaller dupondii and asses, and are considered amongst the most attractive and desirable of Roman coins.
    *Orichalcum was a yellow bronze that differentiated the dupondius from the copper as, but, during the reign of the artistic and decidedly murderous Emperor Nero (Nero Claudius Caesar Drusus Germanicus) (54 - 68 A.D.), a short series of As, Semis and Quadrans were designed and issued by him in both copper and orichalcum.

    Nero was also responsible for the introduction of a new coin, the silver antoninianus, which had a nominated value of 2 denarii but, in fact, only weighed the equivalent of 1½ denarii.
    As well as 'fiddling as Rome burned', Nero also fiddled the Roman coinage by lowering the weight of gold and silver and, in doing so, started the trend by subsequent emperors of debasing the latter metal until, eventually, the circulating money was nearly completely replaced by bronze. Gordian III (238 - 244 A.D.) produced the last of the better quality silver denarii of the times.
    During the reign of the soldier emperor, Aurelian (270 - 275 A.D.), a serious attempt was made to reform domestic affairs including the basic coinage, but like others before him, the emperor ignored the silver coinage and the few denarii he issued had, by then, deteriorated to pure bronze. The silver antoninianus coin had also been gradually debased until it was basically a bronze or copper coin with a silver wash but, even so, it drove the bronze denarii out of circulation and became the main circulating coin by the rule of Tacitus (275 - 276 A.D.).
    As the fortunes of the Roman Empire expanded and fluctuated throughout the Mediterranean area and Asia it spawned a number of unofficial mints. With the seat of government so far away, many of the areas under Roman control started to churn out poor, and usually smaller copies, of the antoninianus to meet their coinage needs.
    These rough, sometimes even hideous, copies of antoniniani are normally referred to as 'barbarous radiates' and normally depict a caricature of a face, with the radiated crown of the emperor, as the only indication of purpose.

    In major provincial and colonial centres such as Alexandria, tetradrachms produced in silver-washed Billon (a low-grade mixture of copper and silver) were quite common. A hang-over from the Greek settlement days, coins such as (debased) silver drachms and other associated silver coin denominations, plus various small-sized bronze coins, had been in circulation for generations and would continue to do so until the western Roman Empire crumbled. (Apparently, little is known about the denominations that these small bronze coins - which vary from 15 - 25 mm. in diameter- represented.)
    The amount of gold coins issued became very limited but, because of their strategic importance in time of emergency, the quality remained fine

    The reign of certain emperors brought innovations - some as short lived as their innovators - but several are worth the mention because of their interest to numismatists.
    Trajan Decius (C. Messius Quintas Traianus Decius) (249 - 251 A.D.) introduced a bronze double sestertius - which in fact was only a little heavier than the sestertius of previous emperors - but it died when he was killed at a battle with the Goths.

    In 284 A.D. the coinage was regularised by the very astute Emperor Diocletian (C. Valerius Diocletianus) (284 - 304 A.D.) who, though he was a capable military commander, was also a very good statesman - and managed to live to retirement and old age.
    Diocletian issued reasonably good quality silver coins - similar to Nero's denarii in size and weight - and also introduced the follis, a largish thin bronze coin with a silver wash. He also continued with the antoninianus which was similar to the new coin - the comparison of values is still not certain between these two coins - but, before long, the follis declined in size and weight but it appears that this may have been done to save user confusion.

    A radical change occurred in 312 A.D. when Constantine I (Flavius Valerius Constantinus) (306 - 337 A.D.) instituted a new coinage system based upon the gold solidus and the silver siliqua as well as bronzes of various weights and sizes - some very small - and with denominations we are still guessing at.
    It took another 36 years or so before the three heirs of Constantine I (The Great) - Constantine II (Flavius Claudius Julius Constantinus) (317 - 340 A.D.), Constantius II (Flavius Julius Constantius) (323 - 361 A.D.) and his youngest brother Constans (Flavius Julius Constans) (333 - 350 A.D.) - issued a few more substantial sized coins. Before the eldest and youngest brothers argued, and met dire fates within 10 years of each other, the older brother was responsible for a bronze 18 mm coin whilst Constans introduced the larger bronze centenionales which was carried on by the survivor, Constantius. It was also about this time that a silver double siliqua coin known as miliarense made its appearance.
    As with other Roman coins the centenionales was destined to shrink in size as time went on and even the efforts by a usurper, Magnentius (Flavuis Magnus Magnentius) (350 - 353 A.D.) - who rebelled and killed his benefactor, Constans, and then unsuccessfully led an army against Constantius II - to bring back a large 30 mm fine bronze follis style coin (thought to be called pecunia maiorina) was not very well received. He also issued a silver argenteus of 20mm.
    Another attempt to introduce the larger bronze coin was made by Julian II (Flavius Claudius Julianus) (355 - 363 A.D.) who was a nephew of Constantine the Great and who inherited the divided empire after the timely death of his cousin, Constantius II in 361A.D.

    During all this time nepotism was alive and well, and the proof is in the number of Roman coins that feature the wives, sons and daughters of the rulers of the day - but the empire was also starting to crumble away as rebellions against Roman rule erupted in various far away provinces. Gold was still being used to pay the armies and for use by the hierarchy, but the basic bronzes had been reduced to wafer thin or hard-to-handle little coins and silver money such as the seliqua were in short supply and always of dubious quality.

    By the start of the end of the Western Roman Empire - with the deposition of the infant emperor Romulus Augustus, (nicknamed Augustulus) (475 - 476 A.D.) by supporters of Odovacar who in turn surrendered the empire to Emperor Zeno of Constantinople - the main coins being used were the solidus and its divisions, semisses and tremisses, very little silver and large quantities of various weight bronzes.
    As with Greek coinage, the number of gods, celebrations of victories, animals, architecture and other associated designs - including blatant propaganda featured by the Roman emperors - warrants a greater amount of space than we have available. We thoroughly recommend that interested readers go out and buy any of the newer specialised books that give so much more intimate detail of the lives, the times and the coinage of the Romans - you will find them fascinating.

    For the record I have decided to include a very short list, stretching over 160 years or so, of the most prominent of the early coin issuing Emperors - plus a few usurpers - and their fate which, in many cases, was ultimately shared by their families and friends.

    Pompey the Great.                     Murdered in Egypt 48B.C. after splitting with Julius Caesar
    Julius Caesar.                             Assassinated in Rome 44 B.C.
    Brutus.                                         Suicided at Philippi 42 B.C. after his army was defeated.
    Sextus Pompey.                         Taken prisoner and put to death by orders from Octavianus (Augustus) 35 B.C.
    Mark Antony.                             Suicided in Alexandria 30 B.C. after defeat by Octavianus.
    Lepidus.                                       Became power hungry and was stripped of most titles and exiled. Died 13 B.C.
    Augustus.                                   Died peacefully in 14 A.D.
    Drusus Junior.                            Son of Tiberius - poisoned by his wife, Livilla 23 A.D.
    Tiberius.                                       Murdered while in retirement 37 A.D. - probably under orders from Caligula.
    Antonia.                                       Daughter of Mark Antony and Octavia. Poisoned by her grandson, Caligula 38 A.D.
    Caligula.                                       Assassinated 41 A.D. with his wife Caesonia, after years of personal depravity
    Claudius.                                      Poisoned by his wife, Agrippina Junior (Caligula's sister and mother of Nero) 54 A.D.
    Britannicus.                                 Son and heir apparent of Claudius, poisoned by Agrippina and Nero's orders 55 A.D.
    Agrippina Junior.                       Murdered by the orders of her son, Nero, 59 A.D.
    Nero.                                             Killed off all his relatives, including his wives, Octavia and Poppaea, he suicided 68 A.D.
    Galba.                                           A strict disciplinarian, he became unpopular and was assassinated 69 A.D. by Otho.
    Otho.                                             Suicided after defeat by Vitellius 69 A.D.
    Vitellius.                                        Killed by a mob in the streets of Rome after defeat by the army of Vespasian. 69 A.D.
    Vespasian.                                    Of humble origin and an industrious ruler, he died peacefully in 79 A.D.
    Titus.                                              Son of Vespasian, he took Jerusalem and subjugated the Jews. Died 81 A.D.
    Domitian.                                       Oppressive, younger son of Vespasian. Murdered - with the aid of his wife, Domitia. 96 A.D.
    Nerva.                                            Appointed as emperor he was a just ruler making many improvements. Died 98 A.D.
    Trajan.                                           Adopted by Nerva and made his heir, Trajan was another good ruler and died in 117 A.D.

    For 70 years or so - a long period by Roman standards - the emperors died reasonably peacefully until the megalomaniac, Commodus (L. Aelius Aurelius Commodus) (180 - 192 A.D.), came to power and the rot set in again.
    From then on the position was virtually a death sentence as, over the next two hundred and eighty years, events such as murder, execution, accidents, 'killed in battle', deposition and intrigue quickly claimed most of the Roman emperors.
    The Western Empire finally unravelled in violent fragmentation and the era of the Byzantine rulers commenced - but that is another story!

    Main References.
    Greek and Roman Coins.                                         By J.G. Milne.                            Published by Methuen & Co. Ltd. 1939.
    Seaby's Catalogue of Roman Coins.                    Compiled by Gilbert Askew.   Published by B.A. Seaby Ltd. 1948.
    Roman Coins and their values. (4th. Edition)      By David R. Sear.                     Published by Seaby Publications Ltd. 1988.



  • We have been alerted by one of our N.W. Coast members, Mr. John McCullagh, that he has recently acquired several commercially produced imitations of Tasmanian tokens. These consist of a few I. Friedman Halfpennies and a W.D. Woods Penny - which are apparently made from a bronze dipped silver coloured cast alloy.  John says that they are lighter than normal and definitely sound 'wrong' when rattled.  A quick investigation by the 'Tasmanian Numismatist' has turned up the facts!

  •  These imitation Tasmanian tokens were produced for and marketed, in a boxed presentation pack, by the Hobart based firm of Trophy Traders some 4 years ago as a limited issue promotional ploy.
     However, after T.N.S. members and other token collectors raised genuine concerns, further production ceased and all unsold packs were withdrawn from the market by the promoters.
     Obviously there are some still out there - as are the well known Reader's Digest Ducats and the Kool Pops Banknotes - and don't forget the very deceptive copies of the (Half-penny and Penny) Thomas White & Son of Westbury tokens, which were NOT withdrawn on request. (The last few of the White's Penny tokens, which were produced for the tourist market quite some years ago, were still available at the venue prior to Christmas 1999.)
     Readers should be aware that even these relatively cheap items, innocently produced as 'gimmicks', can be deceptive to a beginner in the great hobby of numismatics - so if you are unsure - don't buy until you are!



  • Owing to the costs involved in producing our hard-copy newsletter the Society offers casual advertising space to cater for selected advertisements, of a suitable numismatic nature, to our members and readers in an effort to offset some of these imposts.

  • Our current A4 format allows us to divide our pages into 12 (60 x 60 mm) squares - 3 across x 4 down, and by combining squares we can arrive at the following price structure with special discounts applying for larger* or multiple adverts.

    Commercial Application.
    First 60 x 60 square                          = $10.00. (Each additional square up to 6 squares = $5.00 extra.)
    1/4 page across (3 squares)           = $20.00
    1/2 page across (6 squares)           = $35.00
    3/4 page across (9 squares)           = $45.00*
    Full page (12 squares)                    = $50.00*
    1/3 page down (4 squares)             = $25.00
    2/3 page down (8 squares)             = $40.00*

    Single insertions in 3 or more consecutive issues - Advert. rate less 5%
    Multiple insertions (2 or more adverts.) in one issue - Advert. rate less 10%
    Multiple insertions in 3 or more consecutive issues - Advert. rate less 20%

    If an advertiser requests an advertisement to coincide with a particular event, that advert. would be given priority, whenever possible, bearing in mind our publishing deadline and conditions. It is preferable that advertisements be presented in text form only - which we can stylise with our computer applications -and bear in mind the fact that we are only a voluntary newsletter, not a magazine, and do not have facilities to reproduce items to magazine quality.
    Advertisements would be clearly marked ‘Advertisement’.
    The advert. will also appear in the Internet edition at no additional cost. Any items received too late for a current hard-copy issue - or in the event of space restrictions - would be held over until the next available issue if they are still relevant,
    The ‘Tasmanian Numismatist’ reserves the right to reject any advertisement that does not comply with the normal expectations commonly accepted by the ‘Tasmanian Numismatic Society Inc.’, the ‘Tasmanian Numismatist’ and by law.

    Members’ discount.

  • The Society has decided that T.N.S. members should be given a special deal for ‘Wanted to Buy/Sell/Swap adverts.

  • Maximum limit 2 squares per issue and this would include one ‘First’ square free per year - subsequent squares at $5.00 each.
    e.g. One ‘first ad.’ square FREE - two squares = $5.00. All later issues, members rate is $5.00 for one square or $10.00 for two.
    Members' inquiries/requests regarding adverts. should be forwarded with all necessary details and pre-payment to:
    The Secretary,
    Tasmanian Numismatic Society, Inc.
    G.P.O. Box 884J.
    Hobart. Tasmania. 7001.


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