8 Issue 5
INTERNET EDITION May
Anyone who wishes to apply for membership to the non-profit making organization, and who is prepared to abide by the rules of the Society and its aim of promoting the study and enjoyment of the hobby of numismatics, should contact the following address for an application form and details of subscriptions:
Tasmanian Numismatic Society.
G. P. O. Box 884J
TASMEDALS - OZMINT REMINDER
Those readers, and T.N.S. members, who intend to visit the now famous annual AGFEST event at Quercus Rural Youth Park, Carrick from 1st - 3 rd May, 2003 are reminded that 'TASMEDALS - OZMINT' will be represented there for the entire AGFEST festival at a prime site on Main Street.
All aspects of the token producing process will be available to the public as well as representative ranges of the now extremely popular Tasmanian Tourist Trail medallions and other tokens and souvenir pieces produced by OZMINT.
Northern T.N.S. members, who have not had the chance to collect some of the Souvenir tokens, will be particularly pleased to see the range on offer from the major tourism centres and being marketed on their behalf by OZMINT.
We have heard that there may well be a working 'minting' machine on site to strike a limited edition dated commemorative AGFEST piece at a reasonable price - so, enjoy an affordable outing - and call in at the 'TASMEDALS - OZMINT' site for a lasting reminder of your 2003 visit. This will be a 'must visit' site for token enthusiasts!
AGFEST opens at 9.00 a.m. each day but visitors are advised to get there early because there is such a lot to see and it is estimated that over 70,000 visitors will visit the event this year.
Admittance is very reasonable: Adults - A$9.00; Children between 5 - 15 are A$2.00; and Children under 5 get in FREE!
By the time this newsletter is published, Anzac Day will have been and gone for another 12 months.
For those Australasian readers who have had members of their family or dear friends involved in military conflicts since the landing at Gallipoli on April 25th 1915, we offer our heartfelt thanks for the sacrifices that they made on our behalf.
Reference site:- http://www.anzacsite.gov.au/
Sometimes, these sacrifices were the ultimate and many Australians and New Zealand families only have memories to bring their loved ones back home to pay them the homage they deserve - even if it can only be for the one day in the year that has been especially set aside for the two nations to join that homage.
LEST WE FORGET!
Those old soldiers of Gallipoli, who could personally relate the events of their youth, are now gone in the flesh - but their spirit will proudly stride on throughout our history. Many Australians look back in quiet pride and sadness at the contributions, often made in blood, by members of their families in the conflicts that have strengthened our mettle as a nation.
One of my great-uncles, Thomas John Fox (Regimental No.6735, 12th. Battalion - Australian Infantry) from the New Town area near Hobart, fought from Gallipoli to France with the 12th Battalion 1st. A.I.F. and died from wounds aged 29, on September 20th. 1918, that he probably received at the Battle of Epehy, in the Tincourt -Bouclé area of the Somme during the German push from the infamous Hindenburg Line towards Amiens.
This was one of the bloodiest battles of the War with about 1/2 million, British, French and German casualties.
These fiercely fought battles are the ones that, tragically, claimed or maimed so many young lives from both sides of the conflict at a time when the absolute exhaustion of manpower, material and the will to fight were catalysts that were pushing the war towards a grinding halt after four years of carnage!
The entry of the U.S., and its thousands of fresh eager troops, into the battlefields of France and Belgium in 1917 was the final straw that tipped the balance to which side actually gave up first - it was that close a contest.
In the meanwhile, Australian soldiers continued to fight, suffer and die in places that were not shown on any map.
Tom Fox is buried in an 'honoured grave' in France - at the Tincourt New British Cemetery, Grave 446.
(Historical Reference: http://www.awm.gov.au/1918/battles/hindenburg.htm )
Another one of my many direct relatives Tom's first cousin, Frederick Robert Fox, another New Town boy, who had enlisted in the same Tasmanian dominated 12th. Battalion, survived after suffering two separate instances of gunshot wounding to the face and was awarded one of the 9,934 Military Medals that went to Australian troops and nurses, during the Great War, after the inception of the medal in March 1916. (I remember seeing Fred's gnarled face when I was a youngster but was too scared to ask anyone about it.)
Thomas John Fox - died of wounds 20/9/1918 Frederick Robert Fox just after enlistment Sept. 1914
Uncle Fred enlisted in the A.I.F. (Regimental No. 1010, 12th. Battalion- Australian Infantry), on 13/9/1914 at age 19-11/12 years (as shown on his Attestment Forms) and left Australia on 20/10/1914 on H.M.T. 'Revanha' to join the M.E.F.
It is also recorded in family documents that he was on Gallipoli in 1915 for his 18th birthday. After returning to Alexandria on 6/1/1916 aboard the H.M.T. 'Lake Michigan' after dodging bullets on the Gallipoli Peninsula, he ended up in the Heliopolis hospital with severe appendicitis and subsequently 'embarked for o/seas' on board the 'Arcadian' on 29/7/1916.
A very short stay in England followed by a trip across the Channel aboard the 'Perham' saw him rejoin his unit on 20/9/1916.
On 23/9/1917, while in Belgium, he received his first gunshot wound to the face, and spent a few weeks being shuttled around several field hospitals at Boulogne and Buchy (near Rouen) in France.
Fred went on to win his Military Medal at Polygon Wood, near Ypres on September 31st. 1917 and was wounded again on 27/4/1918 just before being promoted to Lance Corporal on 11/5/1918. By this time his overall health was deteriorating and, during mid 1918, his records show he was spending short periods of time in the hospitals at Rouen and Le Havre. Like thousands of other Australian soldiers he had returned to duty after each episode of illness caused by the atrocious conditions and after effects of his wounds, but it was only a matter of time after the Armistice that he was repatriated home to Australia on board H.M.T. 'Port Hacking'. He had been sent across the Channel from Le Havre on sick leave and furlough from 9/11/1918 and remained in England until 3/12/1918.
Fred arrived back in Australia on 27/1/1919 and remained on medical leave until his discharge on 29/3/1919.
On the official copies of his military records, I noted that after '4 years and 198 days' in the Army, his Certificate of Discharge stated his age as 21-11/12 years at that time. He returned to the north of Tasmania for a while then went south to his old home in New Town. He eventually married, had a large family, and lived until he was 73.
(Time must have passed very slowly in the trenches during the '4 years 100 days' he was away from Tasmania).
Also in the 12th Battalion was another great-uncle, Albert George Peterwood (Regimental No. 266, 12th. Battalion - Australian Infantry). Bert was actually 34- 2/12 years old when he enlisted on 20/8/1914 just a few days after the 12th. Battalion had been formed - it is said in the family that Bert had shaved a few years off his age to join up and qualify for active front-line infantry service. He returned to Australia on 11/4/1916 suffering from gassing and wounds but lived until he was over 70.
Bert's cousin, another great-uncle, James Henry Petterwood *, age 21-10/12 years, served overseas from 22/7/1915 until 20/3/1919 as a Driver in the 5th Division - Australian Infantry (Regimental No. 1395A - Division Ammunitions Column) and saw the results of the war in France from a different, but just as terrible, perspective. (* Different spelling, same family, same war!)
He returned and lived in Burnie, Tasmania until he was just over 80.
Driver James Henry Petterwood
"Out for a ride and fell in the road of the Glass"
The 12th Battalion was formed at Pontville, Tasmania on Aug 15th, 1914. Its first 4 Companies were from Tasmania proper with Company A from Hobart and the south of the island, Company B from Launceston and the N.E. Coast, Company C from N.W. Coast, and Company D from the West Coast.
They were later joined by Companies E - F mainly from Port Pirie, South Australia and Companies G - H from Western Australia.
On January 1st, 1915 the A.I.F. adopted the double company system used by the British Army. The companies were combined as following: new Company A was formed from the old Companies A and C, new Company B from Companies B and D, new Company C from E and F, and the new Company D from G and H.
It has been recorded that only 712 of the original 'other ranks' of the Tasmanian - Western Australian composite Companies A and D survived their first major direct onslaught by the Turks in Gallipoli, but the Battalion was brought up to full strength again after the evacuation back to Egypt and prior to its departure to France where it again suffered continual heavy casualties.
12th Battalion Anzac Website: http://www.henrick.com/ww1/index.htm
Australian War Memorial - Biographical databases: http://www.awm.gov.au/index_flash.asp
Copies of various military archival documents and personal material held by the editor.
First A.I.F. Order of Battle: http://www.adfa.edu.au/~rmallett/noframes.html
(Additional Reference: http://www.geocities.com/~worldwar1/aussies.html )
The tragedy is that so many others - impossible to list here - from the older and larger extended Tasmanian families like my own, perished or suffered physically - or psychologically - when they volunteered to serve their country, some for a second time under fire from the same enemy, during 1939 - 1945.
The Second World War claimed another great-uncle, Clyde 'Colin' Fox, (Regimental No. VX12804 2/5th Aust. Inf. Bn.) who was killed on 10th July, 1941, age 34, near the strategic wireless mast at the town of Khalde, just outside of Beirut, fighting against the determined Vichy French defenders. He is buried in Beirut War Cemetery, Lebanese Republic - Grave 2G3.
Other family members paid the price of good health in conflicts in the jungle of New Guinea and, most lately, Vietnam.
Our servicemen and women may routinely grizzle and even defy authority at times but, when the chips are down, they square their shoulders and step forward to do what they have always done for our country.
A Brief History of the Military Medal.
This British and Commonwealth medal was instigated on 25th March 1916 to recognise acts of bravery by non-commissioned officers and other ranks in the Army. A few were awarded to Royal Navy and Royal Air Force personnel.
Later in 1916, the criteria for the award was later extended to include women who show bravery under fire - this extension was in response to the acts of two civilian women during the Dublin Easter Uprising of that year.
Whilst it may appear to be a common award, as over 115,600 along with 5796 first bars, 180 second bars and one third, were given during WWI, it was an indication of the hundreds of individual acts of bravery carried out each day in the most trying of circumstances in that conflict.
The award is subordinate to the DCM, although some recipients who won the MM could easily have qualified for a DCM or VC for their outstanding acts of bravery in the field had the appropriate evidence and verification been available.
As previously mentioned in the article, 9,934 Military Medals went to Australians and, considering the percentages of troops from Great Britain and the other Commonwealth countries involved in the Great War, our share was very high.
The awarding of a Military Medal is noted in the 'London Gazette' but full details have to be sought from regimental records.
As with the D.C.M's. all Military Medals are named, most with impressed lettering but some are etched. Six different obverses are in keeping with the changes in the effigies of the monarchs who have ruled since the inception of the medal. Since the First World War, many recipients of M.M.'s have earned bars, several with two and at least one with 8.
The ribbon suspending the medal with its scroll type holder, has navy-blue edges with alternate white (3) and crimson (2) vertical centre stripes and it is often colloquially referred to as the 'duckboard' ribbon.
The wording and design on the reverse is enclosed in an open wreath under a crown and the ruling monarch's cypher.
In 1993, the Military Medal was discontinued and the Military Cross has been made available to all ranks as well as officers.
Medals - a compilation of major international medals first published by Wordsworth Editions Ltd. (1993)
British & Commonwealth Gallantry Decorations of the Great War.
‘YOU DESERVE A MEDAL!’
During the Editor's recent stay in the Royal Hobart Hospital, I was again struck by the well-known dedication of the nursing staff.
Whilst the title of nurse is now shared by some dedicated young men as well as the traditional angels of mercy, there are still more of those very young women, virtually straight out of school, who have chosen to shoulder the workload and it’s inherent responsibility that, at times, must be very daunting. They all deserve a medal for bravery in facing those tasks - and those irritable older male patients that they occasionally encounter - that would earn them that right in time of conflict.
After returning home to convalesce, I recollected seeing an article compiled and written by Noel Harper on 13th.April 1973 and published in the former Journal of the Tasmanian Numismatic Society - Newsletter (Vol.3) which described such a military medal provided for nurses.
Since Noel wrote his article in 1973, several amendments have been made to the requirements for the award so they have been incorporated into the basic text which is re-produced below.
THE ROYAL RED CROSS
The Royal Red Cross was the first British military order which (originally) could only be won by women.
(However, in 1976 the rules were relaxed to cater for male nurses of the Navy and Royal Air Force.)
It was instituted by Queen Victoria on 27th April, 1883. It was usually conferred upon women engaged in nursing duties within the Nursing Services irrespective of rank. However, the order may be awarded to other persons engaged in nursing duties, whether British or foreign, who have been recommended for their competency in nursing and special devotion to their duties. The duties would be while in service with the Army in the field, military or naval hospitals or hospital ships. In addition any lady (or gentleman) may be recommended for having voluntarily untaken duties involved in setting up and establishing hospitals, or for having assisted in hospitals for sick and wounded servicemen, or for having rendered valuable services in organisations such as Red Cross, either at home or abroad, or for having performed outstanding services of a similar type.
(During World War I some honorary awards were made to foreign males.)
This order was divided into two classes in November 1915. The first class are ‘Members’ and have the right to use the letters RRC after their names. the second class are ‘Associates’, and recipients are entitled to use the letters ARRC after their names.
This particular award has a similar proviso attaching to it as the Victoria Cross.The provision lays down that if a recipient shows by her conduct that she is no longer worthy, then her name may be erased from the register of recipients.
The First Class badge is a 38mm. gold cross pattée. It is enamelled red, edged in gold. On the arms of the cross are the words, ‘FAITH, HOPE, CHARITY’, and the date on which the order was instituted -1883. In the centre of the cross is a rondel featuring the head of the reigning sovereign. Originally the centre contained a symbolic female figure.
The reverse of the badge depicts the Royal Crown and Cypher.
The badge of the Second Class is manufactured in silver. The arms are enamelled red. The reverse shows the Royal Crown and Cypher in the centre and the words, 'FAITH, HOPE, CHARITY’, and the date 1883 on the four arms. It should be especially noted that these words, similarly placed as the First Class division are on the reverse of the Second Class medal.
First Class division (Gold) Second Class division (Silver)
Both First and Second Class division badges hang from a ring and are worn on the left shoulder, hanging from a ribbon bow or alternatively with other decorations or medals to which the recipient is entitled. (Male recipients wear their award on the left breast and positioned in accordance with the Order of Precedence for Royal medals.)
The ribbon on both classes is red with a central blue stripe.
(A rosette signifies that the wearer had earned a Bar to the original award. Since inception almost 10,000 awards have been made, and all are gazetted. The last RRC awarded to an Australian was in 1982.).
During the First World War the Tasmanian recipients were:-
Sister F.M. Dodery (who enlisted outside Tasmania)
A. Hall (Hall may have been a civilian)
Sister E.V. Hutt.
Senior Nurse E. Mosey.
E. Tucker (Tucker may have also been a civilian)
A Wordsworth Colour Guide - Medals - Wordsworth Editions Ltd. 1993.
AROUND THE TRAPS.
of our members who do not know of its existence, the Royal Hobart Hospital
Graduate Nurses’ Museum is located at 24 Campbell St., Hobart and
has on display many fine examples of nurses badges, medals and other
‘numismatic related’ items amongst its treasures.
The Graduate Nurses’ Museum, was granted $1600 towards the establishment of the facility in 1975, following the Centenary of Nursing at the Royal Hobart Hospital, but it took another nine years of hard work convincing the Board of Management before the necessary space at the Nurse’s Home was made available and a small display was opened to the public in 1984. However, because of unsatisfactory security factors at that time, the Museum was closed in 1992 and only viewing by appointment was permitted.
On 2nd. November 1996, the Museum re-opened - after more very hard lobbying by the Association to ensure it was incorporated in the Hospital’s 5 year development plan and that it would be relocated to its present site.
Inspections of the Museum can still be arranged by appointment if you prefer - or you can now visit on Thursday between 11.00 a.m. and 3.00 p.m. or on the first Saturday of the month. (Phone : 03 6222 8520 or 03 6222 8423 ).
CAN YOU ACTUALLY 'DEFINE' A NUMISMATIST?
It is amazing how people persist in trying to put a defining border around the term 'numismatist'.
I suppose we are all guilty, at some time or other, of trying to protect our own ideas of what the hobby should mean!
(My own negative idea about 'phonecards - considered by some as numismatic items - is well known and firmly entrenched.)
However, broadly speaking, it would appear that even our Country Club Casino in Launceston and Hobart's Wrest Point Casino patrons qualify as a bunch of numismatists! - Does that surprise you!?
Country Club Casino - Launceston. Wrest Point Casino at night - Hobart.
You may well ask how I can reconcile that with the perceived concept of what the Casinos' patrons are.
The accepted definition of the term numismatist is that of a person who enjoys collecting or exchanging coins, banknotes or tokens for pleasure or as a potential investment.
It seems that both terms 'gamblers' and 'numismatists' are tarred somewhat with the same brush - again broadly speaking!
Most numismatists also like to participate in their hobby in a secure atmosphere with people who have like interests - and so do those punters who frequent our two Tasmanian casinos.
As most Tasmanian numismatists already know, Wrest Point Hotel-Casino was the first legal casino in Australia.
For as long as mankind has existed, we have collected things - be it shells, pieces of sparkling stone or soft metal that we could make into adornments for ourselves - and when the first rough coinage first appeared thousands of years ago, it quickly joined the ranks of collectibles.
Numismatics is now recognised as the first serious hobby that was taken up by kings and men of affluence, but the nature of numismatics has changed over the years to encompass all sorts of things that represent money and is now a hobby that the every-day man can enjoy.
With the introduction of banknotes, and then the various forms of token money during the last few hundred years, numismatists are always on the look out for items that fall within the scope of their hobby - and even Casino table chips (and 'phonecards!) are not immune.
In fact, there are numismatic clubs all over the world who have members who specialise in collecting logo branded or dated table chips from operating or even defunct casinos.Books have been written about them by imminent numismatic authors.
Logo of the Casino Chips & Gaming Tokens Collectors Club. (Refer:- http://www.ccgtcc.com/)
Gaming chips are a fascinating area of the hobby and even non-specialising collectors would feel that their range would not be representative unless it contained at least a couple of table chips with a little history to go with them.
I would advise our members and readers, that, if you choose to visit any casino gaming rooms, firstly - check out the coins that pour out of the machines when you have a lucky streak, secondly - look a little more closely at the notes when you get a good pay-out - and, last but not least - check out the different types of table chips that are being used.
All may contain potential collectibles!
Coins, banknotes and these types of gaming tokens can be more than just a commodity - they can evoke memories or anticipation of wonderful times of high excitement, and, if we care to look a little closer they can even educate us by imparting lessons in geography and history.
I consider that we are all numismatists - at various levels - so, those who also like the challenge of the occasional 'flutter', why not enjoy participating in our numismatic hobby for a few hours in the presence of friends and the comfort and security at either of our two Tasmanian Casinos or consider this collecting area as a different sort of challenge by going international.
Interesting casino chips commercial site:- http://www.directordercenter.com/casino_chips.htm - Viva Las Vegas!
IN MEMORY OF THE GOOD OLD DAYS!
A recent inquiry from Israel prompted me to look amongst my own accumulation of oddments for a couple of brass 'Card or Game Counters' I knew I had tucked away - a gift from 'Australian Coins and Banknotes' publisher, internationally known author and numismatist Greg McDonald in 1993 during one of his trips to Tasmania.
Our non-numismatic correspondent had found a mysterious coin in Canada while on holiday and had been told by a collector in Israel that it was gold and very rare - but the description was rather less than supportive.
From time to time we get similar emails from international readers who are led to believe that they may be holding a rare gold coin and then, after getting a few details, we have to break the news gently that the item is most likely a common brass 'card-counter' or a fantasy coin or medallion of some description. My search confirmed what I already had suspected.
In Australia, and some other former English dominated countries, we quite often see the Game Counter styled, crudely, on the George III Gold 'Spade' Guinea and Half Guinea. These virtually worthless tokens are often mistaken for genuine coins by those collectors or readers who are unfamiliar with the concept of card-counters. Like casino chips, the 'Spade' Half Guinea card-counters, as in this instance, were used as a substitute for cash on the gambling tables of England many years ago.
The coins were known as the 'Spade' variety owing to the spade-shape of the regnal shield on the reverse.
The George III Half Guinea coin series were actually produced, over a period of time (1762 - 1813) with 7 different obverses - by 4 different designers - and 3 different reverses.
The Spade design reverse, used from 1787 - 1800, was designed by Chief Engraver, Lewis Pingo (1743 - 1830), who inherited the position after the death of his father in December 1799. Pingo was officially appointed in January 1780 - but only because of the death of Richard Yeo (? - 1799) the original Chief Engraver which also occurred in 1799.
Lewis Pingo's father, Thomas (? - 1799) had been the Chief Engraver of the coins from 1774 - 1786 after taking over the position from Richard Yeo who was responsible for engraving the first of the series from 1761 - 1773. The Royal shield was far more ornate on the earlier issues. The original 1761 obverse was designed by Johann Sigismund Tanner (c.1706 - 1775)
(An interesting piece of trivia is that Tanner was also believed to be involved in the designing of the reverses of the George II sixpence - and that Imperial sixpences were later referred to as 'Tanners' by the general population even in Australia.)
The card counter - if it had been a genuine coin - could be classified as a 'mule' because of the apparent mixture of designs.
The counter which is most commonly encountered in Australia features the #1 obverse variety and, whilst this obverse is a relatively crude copy of the real thing - including the proper legend - the reverse legend surrounding the #2 spade design reads, 'In Memory of the Good Old Days' ,instead of the genuine legend:
M. B. F. ET. H. REX. F. D. B. ET. L. D. S. R. I. A. T. ET. E.
(The accepted translation for this abbreviated Latin legend is: King of Great Britain, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, Duke of Brunswick and Lueneburg, Arch-Treasurer and Elector of the Holy Roman Empire).
Genuine George III Gold 1788 Spade design.
Brass 1788 'In Memory of the Good Old Days' Card Counter.
The genuine combinations of obverses and Spade reverses were minted between 1787 - 1800 but the counter (which is dated 1788) and its fantasy text would be a replica probably produced some time after the reign of George III to avoid legal problems.Even so, it has since created sufficient problems, that all amateur collectors should be aware of its likeness to the genuine article at first glance and not be taken in when told it is gold and rare! Hopefully this article will highlight that fact!
Just to differentiate between the George III Half Guinea, which seems to be the most problematical of the Card Counters that we may encounter, a few details are listed herewith:
Specifications of the Half Guinea.
Diameter: 20.5 millimetres (about same size as the genuine coin)
Weight: 1.8 grams (a half guinea weighs 4.1750 grams)
Alloy: Brass (compared to .917 Gold)
Recent valuations of a genuine George III Spade Half Guinea would be about A$320.00 (US$197.00) in Very Good condition and up to A$2558.00 (US$1574.00) in Uncirculated condition.
The card counter replica would be hard pressed to be worth US$2.00 - $3.00 in E.F. condition at local markets.
The U.S. also introduced similar items in brass and copper during the 19th century -- some are known as 'Spiel Marke' counters and were manufactured in Germany for the American market.
There is also an English-made brass and copper issue that copies 1801 - 1805 U.S. gold coins. The die-sinker's name was Kettle and his signature is located on these counters which are known as Kettle counters. The Kettles vary from US$10.00 - US$20.00 each but values for Spiel Markes and other locally produced counters vary in the U.S. token market, seem to be in the vicinity of US$3.00 - $6.00.
However, some rarer Californian counters, based on copies of high denomination silver and gold coins, are listed up in the US$40.00 - $300.00 ranges. The subject matter is also very varied with personalities, animals and occupations all featured on the U.S. versions. Most counters approximate actual coin dimensions but lack the weight of the genuine item.
Many counters are used as advertising purposes and some have a few wise words e.g. 'Keep Your Temper'.
Unfortunately, I do not have an example of a U.S. game counter or a Spiel Marke in my collection at this time, but, in the first edition of 'Tokens and Medals - A Guide to Identification and Values of United States Exonumia.' by Stephen Alpert & Lawrence E. Elman (1992) - a whole illustrated chapter (Chapter 28) is devoted to the various designs available to the U.S. collector and an estimate of prices at time of publication.
CHARD. Internet address: http://www.24carat.co.uk/index.html
Tokens and Medals - A Guide to Identification and Values of United States Exonumia.' by Stephen Alpert & Lawrence E. Elman (1992). Internet address: http://home.pacbell.net/quadra/
Coincraft's Standard Catalogue of English Coins 1066 - to Date (1998) - Krause Publications.
POLYMER BANKNOTE GRADING.
Grading is again raising its head in our most popular collectibles magazine, the Australasian Coin and Banknote Magazine, in the most recent instance it is again coins that are being discussed - but it did remind me of an article I had written a few years ago about the grading of polymer banknotes. At this time, no apparent effort that I know of has been made to address the subject of the difference between paper and polymer notes by any of the major cataloguers.
"The May 2000 edition of the Australasian Coin
and Banknote Magazine featured a tour de force in regard to the
growth industry and high interest in Banknote collecting, particular emphasis being made on the discovery and marketing of the Excelsior Bank remainders and the results from the Noble's auction of that year which also included some very expensive pre-decimal notes. Several other excellent articles about banknotes, in general, made this a great 'CAB' edition for banknote collectors such as yours truly and no doubt will cause a flurry as we drag out our bits and pieces to check again if we had tucked away an artistic banknote masterpiece or a potential treasure.
One thing, however, that has puzzled me is that - with the steady progress that N.P.A. have made in marketing their polymer note technology - is why no one, not even the major catalogue issuers, have apparently gone to the effort of preparing a grading scale similar to the much used scale for the paper banknote product as discussed by expert Tony James in his article:
'Grading! A Much Misunderstood Science'
The majority of the standard circulating polymer notes are standing the test of time quite well, but it is noticeable that several similar wear patterns are developing on the oldest notes - the $10.00 for instance - which was released in 1993.
Whilst we don't get the same sort of 'rounded corners' - 'tears into the design' - 'raggy, floppy or limp paper' - as mentioned by Tony, we are getting definite signs of wear and tear on the central portrait ink-work where polymer notes are normally folded in most men's wallets. On viewing any handful of polymer notes of various denominations and age it would appear that the current banknote grading system does need to be expanded to cater for the 'fantastic plastics' that are now slowly - but surely - spreading around the world. The basic definitions are fine, but they may need to take into consideration the properties of the polymer substrate that, because of its relative springiness and rigidity compared to paper, a note made from this material should be stored flat and vertical - but rarely is.
Several illustrations from the Evans - Fraser series (1993 - 1996) are provided below to show the various stages of wear that polymer notes are subject to.
The Editor's suggested definitions were as follows:
Uncirculated - A perfect note as far as a collector is concerned. No evidence of handling whatsoever.
About Uncirculated - A mere suggestion of use - it may have a minute ripple or indentation on the top and bottom edges where banding may have flawed an otherwise perfect note.
Very Fine - An attractive note, but with more evidence of handling and wear. May have several strong springy folds or light creases that are quite noticeable but do not detract from the overall appearance of the note. Good corners.
Fine - A note that shows many permanent creases and may have a small fold on one of the corners that is impossible to straighten efficiently. May show some signs of light ink wear from the main designs but it is still a desirable note.
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.
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Any literary contributions or relevant and constructive comments regarding numismatics are always welcome.
Tasmanian Numismatist (Internet Edition).
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