Volume 10 Issue 5 INTERNET EDITION May 2005.
The name 'Tasmanian Numismatist' is used with the permission of the Executive Committee of the 'Tasmanian Numismatic Society' however, any comments published in this privately produced newsletter do not necessarily reflect the views of the 'Tasmanian Numismatic Society', its Executive Committee or its members. Bearing in mind our public disclaimers, the Internet links selected by the authors of this newsletter are usually provided as a complimentary source of reference to the featured article in regard to: (1) Illustrations and, (2) to provide additional important information.
Any notices of concern to 'Tasmanian Numismatic Society' members will be included in the 'Society Snippets' section.
We trust that this issue of the 'Tasmanian Numismatist' (Internet Edition) newsletter will continue to provide interesting reading.
TASMANIAN NUMISMATIC SOCIETY.
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
The 'Tasmanian Numismatist' (Internet Edition) newsletter welcomes all 'Tasmanian Numismatic Society' members and hopes to bring you a broad range of numismatic entertainment, as well as a little education - and answer a few questions along the way. If you like the Internet Edition or have any positive comments about a particular subject we are always glad to hear from you!
We always encourage T.N.S. members to contribute medium-sized numismatically based articles that may be suitable for publishing - so if you think that you may have something that fits this broad ranging category, please don't be hesitant in bringing it to our notice. Whilst we cannot promise publication in all instances, we will certainly give it our sincere consideration and, if required, we can smooth off any rough edges and undertake editing on your behalf.
Tasmanian Numismatic Society - Correspondence & Subscriptions
All official correspondence for the 'Tasmanian Numismatic Society' - including membership applications, subscriptions and donations etc. - should be in writing and forwarded directly to the Secretary of the T.N.S. (postal address above) and not to the 'Tasmanian Numismatist - Internet Edition' newsletter's postal address which is reserved solely for newsletter correspondence and literary contributions. The organizational H.Q. of the Tasmanian Numismatic Society is located in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia. The home office of the privately produced 'Tasmanian Numismatist - Internet Edition' newsletter, is located in Launceston, 123 miles away from the Society's H.Q., and, whilst we can pass on e-mail requests, we have no system in place to handle the Society's financial arrangements.
Rotterdam 'Porter' Token
The Netherlands city of Rotterdam was founded in 1340 and, in 1990, a commemorative C.N. token called a 'Porter' (translates as 'door') - was issued to signify the importance of the city as an entryway into Holland. The token depicts the famous Erasmusbridge as the obverse (?) and the reverse (?) shows the bird's-eye map view of the port area. The 30mm x 9grm "porter ' token is designed with a slight convex shape with a flat-centre so that it can be easily picked up. It was suggested to the E.C.C. that the Euro coins also be made in this fashion but the idea was not acted upon. Pity, because it does work very well and may be an idea worth keeping in mind by Australian token and even coin producers.
The Erasmusbridge is one of the spectacular 'A' frame designs - similar to the bridge over the Tamar River here in Tasmania, Australia. The 'Porter' sample was kindly provided to the Editor of the 'Tasmanian Numismatist - Internet Edition' by Gerben Postma from the Netherlands and for the members of the Tasmanian Numismatic Society to view.
Gerben also mentioned a numismatic site that may also be of some interest to world coin and banknote collectors. Many interesting leads and links.
Simply click on the English version icon if the Dutch version pages appear. Refer: http://www.numismania.cyberforce.nl/english.htm
Rotterdam 30mm. Copper-Nickel Commemorative 'Porter' Token 1340 - 1990
Birds-eye Map view of the Port of Rotterdam and the Erasmusbridge
Port of Rotterdam showing the 'A' frame Erasmusbridge
Casual Pre-paid Advertising
In March 2000, the Society advised that they were soliciting pre-paid advertising of a numismatic nature from T.N.S. members, or interested parties, to assist in the cost of preparing the hard-copy version of the 'Tasmanian Numismatist'. The offer was not taken up with any enthusiasm - and, as it has been languishing for some time now despite several reminders of the service, it has been decided that the scheme is dead in the water and be should be finalised - effective immediately.
INTERNET EDITION by Graeme
Petterwood © 2005
by Graeme Petterwood © 2005
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 my estimates only and they should not be considered to be an offer to sell or purchase the items mentioned or used as illustrations. Please note that the photoscans of numismatic items are not to size or scale and - wherever possible - are from the editor's own collection.
THE STAR THAT NEVER SHONE
THE GALLIPOLI STAR MEDAL.
We have been asked by one of our readers if there was a special Anzac Medal for those Australians who served at Gallipoli in 1915. The short answer is that there was not an official Australian medal struck. However, we do know that in 1990 a private striking was done and the medals were presented to the surviving Australian Gallipoli veterans alive at that time. The following brief notes will give our inquirer some relevant information.
This article with reference acknowledgements was originally published in full - Vol.7 Issue 5 (May 2002) Refer: http://www.vision.net.au/~pwood/May2002.htm
Ross E. Smith OAM
Born at Dalby
Queensland in 1945 and following the death of both parents, Ross E Smith,
enlisted in the Australian Army in 1963. As an infantry soldier he saw service
in New Guinea and Vietnam, and is a veteran of the Battle of Long Tan, South
Vietnam 18 August 1966. In 1990, he retired from the army and is now employed by
the Defence Housing Authority as a Property Officer. However, as a keen military
historian, in his limited spare time he manufactures military orientated
memorabilia. Some of the items Ross has designed and produced include:
Gallipoli Star Medal
In 1918, His Majesty King George V approved the design by Mr R.K. Peacock of Melbourne for the Gallipoli Star medal. It was to be awarded to the Australian and New Zealand soldiers who landed on the peninsular. Serious difficulties arose after the award of the medal had been announced because of strong opposition from some British Members of Parliament and the British press because the medal could not be conferred on the British personnel who fought on Gallipoli. The award of the medal was then abandoned. However in 1990, Ross Smith manufactured the medal and presented it, as a personal gift to the remaining two hundred ANZAC's of both Australia and New Zealand. A very proud moment in his life was to actually meet some of the ANZAC veterans and present them with this belated and forgotten Gallipoli Star medal.
The Gallipoli Star
Privately produced and presented to Australian Gallipoli survivors in 1990 by Ross E. Smith
WORLD WAR I939 - 1945
REMEMBERING THE PEACE
COMMEMORATIVE CIRCULATION COINAGE - 2005
After 6 years of unimaginable and bitter conflict between the Allied Forces and the Axis powers, from 1939 - 1945, the time came when the Peace was won.
It is now nearly 60 years since the second of our world wars drew to a close. It came too late and at a terrible price for some, but the sense of relief and exhilaration felt by our nation as the news of Peace was confirmed, was like a millstone had been lifted from the shoulders of those who had kept the home-fires burning.
The memories of the eventual return of thousands of sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, husbands and fathers - and the thousands who did not return from those fields of conflict - is forever with us. This year, 2005, saw the release of 3 commemorative coins, amongst our normal circulation issue, that highlight both the sacrifices and the joys as we, who are old enough, remember those tumultuous times. These 3 new coins are a re-inforcement of ideals for those who are living in this era, if they care to look deeper into the history of that time, and they are iconic to all Australians. The designs were adapted from actual photographic records of the time.
The most famous is the 'Dancing Man' Dollar which, according to the R.A.M., features the pose and likeness of Mr. Ern Hill, although the person involved in the 'dancing man' sequence most usually associated with the event, and filmed by Cinesound News, is now claimed by witnesses to be that of Mr Frank McAlary who later became a noted barrister and QC. Whover the 'dancer' was, he - and also several others who have now staked a claim to be the 'dancer' - would have been dancing for joy in Elizabeth St., Sydney, on VJ (Victory over Japan) Day, 15th August 1945.
The 20 Cent 'Coming Home' coin features a representation from a photo taken on 29th July 1945, of the heart-felt re-union of a returned Prisoner-of-War, Private William Leslie Darcy (b. 11th.Sept 1901) with his wife and daughter Jacqueline. Private Darcy had been captured by the Germans on or about 1st June 1941 during the Battle of Crete.
The 50 Cent 'Remembrance' coin features a scattered group of military figures standing in sombre reflection at a gravesite with the realisation that, whilst the momentuous victory at El Alamein in November 1942 signalled a significant turning point in the Africa campaign, it came too late for many of their comrades-in-arms no matter what rank they held. The coin design was adapted from a section of a photo, held by the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, taken at El Alamein Military Cemetery on 5th November 1942 and shows the burial of Brigadier A.H.L. Godfrey, DSO, MC, ED, who had been commanding the 24th Australian Infantry Brigade prior to his death, on 4th November 1942, when his Command post received a direct hit from an enemy shell. Lest We Forget!
Coin designs were prepared by Royal Australian Mint designers, Wojciech Pietranik and Vladimir Gottwald, and were adapted from contemporary photographs.
2005 'Dancing Man 1945' Dollar - celebrating Peace in 1945
2005 'Remembrance 1942' 50 Cents
2005 'Coming Home 1945' 20 Cents
The identity of the 'Dancing Man' may still be somewhat controversial - but his obvious joy is not - 15th August 1945.
The burial of Brigadier A. H. L. Godfrey, DSO, MC, ED - 5th November 1942.
NX29147 Private William Leslie Darcy being welcomed home - 29th July 1945.
Photos and additional information
The Australian War Memorial, Canberra - Collection Database Website: http://www.awm.gov.au/database/collection.asp
Wikipedia Free Encyclopedia - URL: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Crete
THE MEDALS OF IMPERIAL GERMANY
THE “BLUE MAX”
“ORDEN POUR LE MERITE” 1914 - 18
Probably, like a lot of our readers, I would not have recognised the official name of this famous Imperial German Central Powers WWI medal except for a movie produced in 1966 called “The Blue Max”, starring the late George Peppard, who played the part of an imaginary German Imperial Airforce fighter pilot ace, Bruno Stachel.
The ‘Orden Pour le Merite’ is far better known as the “Blue Max” and many people are under the impression that it was solely awarded to German aviators who achieved ‘ace’ standard i.e. the ‘Red Baron’– Leutnant Manfred Freiherr von Richthofen with 80 victories – when, in fact, this high award or its predecessor was available to all arms of the German military, and eligible civilians, from the mid 1600’s onwards.
The Orden Pour le Merite which has a blue enamel background with gold text and decorations – hence the nickname ‘Blue Max’
The ‘Blue Max’ started life as the ‘Ordere de Generosité’ over three hundred years ago, in the Germanic principality of Brandenburg. The Ordre de la Generosité was founded by the electoral prince, Friedrich Wilhelm. This was a secular military and civil order that was created for the purpose of rewarding loyal subjects for their outstanding service. The original Maltese Cross design, and accompanying ribbon, was revised in 1740 with the establishment of the Orden Pour le Mérite which ran in conjunction with the earlier life-time Order, however, if the awardee earned both Orders the earlier medal had to be surrendered.
A common question about these Orders and the medals is why would "Germanic" knight orders in the kingdoms of Prussia and Brandenburg have French names. The answer to that question is that, during the conceptions of both the Ordre de la Generosité and the later version, the Orden Pour le Mérite, the
favored court language was French.
On May 31, 1842 a separate civilian division of the Order was created by Kaiser Friedrich Wilhelm IV to honor prominent artists and scientists. This division of the Order is still active despite a short break in activities due to World War II.
During WWI, the ‘Pour le Merite’ - the ‘Blue Max’ - was awarded on 687 occasions.
Initially, it appears that it was reserved for high-ranking staff officers (214 awards) but as the War dragged on it was presented more frequently to lower ranks – mainly for morale boosting and propaganda purposes. It became common practice for items, such as postcards and souvenir cards, to be published bearing pictures of Pour le Merite and Iron Cross awardees.
From 1914 -18, members of the German Imperial Army won 533, the Navy won 49, the Airforce won 80 and another 25 were awarded to foreign and other personnel. The addition of Oakleaves was the equivalent of a Bar to the Order.
THE IRON CROSS & BAVARIAN MILITARY MERIT CROSS
The Iron Cross (German: Eisernes Kreuz) is a military decoration of Germany which was established by King Friedrich Wilhelm III of Prussia and first awarded on 10 March 1813. The Iron Cross is only awarded in wartime: in addition to the Napoleonic Wars, awards were made during the Franco-Prussian War, and the First and Second World Wars. In contrast to many other medals, the Iron Cross has a very simple design, unadorned, and is made from relatively cheap and common materials. It was traditionally cast in iron (although, in later years, the decoration was cast in zinc and aluminium). The 1813, 1870 and 1914 Iron Crosses had three grades: Iron Cross 2nd Class; Iron Cross 1st Class; Grand Cross of the Iron Cross
The Iron Cross was awarded for bravery in battle as well as other military contributions to a battlefield environment. The Iron Cross Second Class was worn as a black and white chest ribbon with the cross suspended from the ribbon. The Iron Cross First Class was a pin-on metal worn centered on a uniform breast pocket. The Iron Cross was a progressive award, with second class having to be earned before the first class and so on for the higher degrees.
In the First World War, approximately 5 millions Iron Crosses of the lower grade (second class) were issued, as well as a around 218,000 of the higher grade (first class). Exact numbers of awards are not known, since the Prussian archives were destroyed during the Second World War.
Reference: Wikipedia Free Encyclopedia : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_Cross
Most people are familiar with the Iron Cross but may not recognise the Bavarian Military Merit Cross with Swords that is also shown on the postcard shown above the Iron Cross. It came in three grades from Class 3 up to Class1. My scans of the card and the medal are not that good but they will give the general idea . The Class 3 shown (I am almost sure it is Class 3 on this old sepia-toned postcard) has no enamel centre or highlights just plain bronze - other higher grades were often silvered and had enamelled centres etc. - and was it equivalent to similar grades in the Iron Cross. Additional research seems to point towards the fact that the military gentleman on the card may have been an N.C.O. in an Bavarian Infantry Regiment.
A co-incidental record of an award document has recently been brought to my attention - but it is a big stretch of the imagination - even if some of the facts 'nearly' almost fit the person shown in the picture. Even if it is not so, the propaganda of the time would have been quite liable to have featured such a soldier.
"The award document is dated 5 April 1917 and 17 April 1917. The recipient (at that time) was a Gefreiter (Lance Corporal) Johann Pfleger, who served in Infantry Regiment Nr 23. The document has been folded and there is a bit of foxing at its bottom. Also included is the same man’s 1914 Iron Cross 2nd Class and its award document while he was still serving in the same regiment (Bavarian Infantry Regiment Nr 23). The Iron Cross document is dated 10 April 1916. The document bears the regimental stamp for Infantry Regiment Nr 23. It is interesting that a Bavarian received the Iron Cross 2nd Class a full year before he received the Military Merit Cross 3rd Class with Swords from his native state."
However, the style of headwear is definitely not that of a Gefreiter although there may have been a promotion, at the time the photo was taken, to suit a new status.
From 1915, senior Feldwebel (Sergeant) and above were entitled to wear a peaked cap, continuous lace trim to collars and a sword with a knotted braid. A bayonet with knotted braid was allowed for some lower rank N.C.O's but they wore the round cap called a Feldmütze (Field cap)
A typical 1917 propaganda post card with an un-named recipient of an Iron Cross 2nd. Class and what appears to be a Bavarian Military Merit Cross 3rd Class
The postcard, part of which is shown above, was dated by the German Feld Post on 30/7/1917 and addressed to a soldier - probably with the rank of Fusilier (Private) - in a Bavarian Infantry regiment that was known to be in the Ypres area in October 1917. The reverse of the card shows signs of a substance stain that is probably not water.
It was among the effects of one of the Editor’s great-uncles who also served in the Ypres area during the conflict. Unfortunately, the factual history of the card died with the last of the great-uncles in 1968 before I had a chance to ask about it.
Of course, it may have been swapped with someone - as the practice often happened with souvenirs that were found at that time, but the most likely uncle to have actually retrieved it, was at Polygon Wood and other nearby battle-sites in Sept – October 1917..
It is a mystery that may never be solved - and the fate of the original owner can only be guessed at..
IDENTIFYING CHINESE & JAPANESE NUMERALS
In response to the several recent enquiries regarding foreign script banknotes, I have now included a very brief table of the character numbers which are used on both Chinese and Japanese banknotes. The Formal style is always used to signify denominations on Chinese and Japanese notes rather than issue dates which often utilise the simple characters. In regard to coins, the simple characters are now being more frequently used.
The table shows Chinese numerals from left to right: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 , 9 , 10, 20, 100, 1000 and 10,000
The reason there are two rows of numbers is because the Chinese, in their wisdom, decided to simplify the Formal numbers used in official documents into a style which could be written rapidly in a commercial application. The top row is the elaborate style that is still used when circumstances warrant a certain amount of ceremonial politeness.
Some of the Simple numbers exhibit traces of the characteristics carried down from the Formal numbers.
To write a combination of numbers certain rules are applied i.e. 25 = 二十五 and for 4,715 we would need to write 四千七百一十五.
However, it starts to get a bit more complicated when huge numbers are being used but that is beyond the scope of this brief article.
An excellent site that you should bookmark for future reference if you are accumulating Chinese (or Japanese) banknotes is:
11980 Chinese 5 Jiaio and 1930 Japanese 10 Yen showing Formal numerics in their written denominations
Due to the threat of computer viruses that were forecast to hit the Internet system on January 1st. 2000, the 'Tasmanian Numismatist - Internet Edition' felt obliged to purge its archives from 1996 and placed them on disc for safe-keeping prior to the arrival of the 'Millennium Bug'.
Whilst we felt that the decision was a very wise one, the information contained in that 4 years of newsletter issues became inaccessible to readers, except by request. Even though Internet links are still directed to the old newsletter pages from various external Search Engines they will turn up blank..
In an effort to satisfy those readers and new collectors who have requested that some of the articles be made available for research again, we have decided to update a selection of the most popular stories and re-publish them and get them back into the current system.
This Encore features the story of 'A Truth is Hard to Cook!' and the 'Story behind the Story' of the Lewis and Clark expedition.
'Tasmanian Numismatist - Internet Edition' Vol 3 - Issue 9 (September 1998)
Spotted in the April 1997 issue of ‘les monnaies’, a leading French-Canadian magazine kindly supplied to me by it’s Chief Editor, Serge Pelletier, was a report of what had happened to a young Frenchman convicted of currency offences in January 1486.
I trust our readers will give my very rough translation from the French, a little more compassion than the rough justice that was meted out to the poor young man in the story which was originally published in France in 1977 from information gained from the examination of the old court records.
The French law-makers of the 1400’s had no hesitation in dealing very harshly with counterfeiters of the King’s coin, with the penalties ranging from long terms of imprisonment up to death for those found guilty. They also still believed in trial by ordeal where God would protect the innocent!
Not many innocents were ever found!
UN VRAI DUR À CUIRE (A Truth is Hard to Cook!)
"Married with two very young children, silversmith Louis Secrétain, age 26, was found in possession of certain tools and moulds essential for making the false coins that were freely circulating in the town of Loches in January 1486.
Protesting his innocence, Secrétain was tried in the court at Touraine and convicted of counterfeiting and eventually, after losing his appeal to the Parliament of Paris, he was sentenced to be ‘boiled’ in an enormous cauldron, at the Place de la Foire-au-Roi, in the town of Tours, as a terrible example of what would happen to any prospective imitators of his crime.The public were invited to bring along their families to watch the event.
However, the decision was not accepted kindly by a large number of the populace, who considered it to be inhuman to submit the "poor sinner" to this horrible and ultimate torment, and to leave his wife and young family in such pitiful circumstances.
Their protests were ignored by the judiciary and officials who had imposed the sentence, and the execution was scheduled to go ahead on the morning of February 10th. 1487.
The condemned man arrived under escort, attended by a friar with crucifix, trembling and crying out for mercy to his patron saint, Barbara, but to no avail - he was led up onto the 2 metre high platform, tightly bound hand and foot ‘like a sausage’ by the black hooded executioner and then, without further ado, was violently thrown head-first into the cauldron. The executioner’s assistant had stoked up a large fire and the steaming, scalding-hot water was simmering up to the boil.
The large crowd, who had been very vocal in their prayers and condemnations, fell silent!
But then Secrétain surfaced and cried out in anguish, before sinking into the water once more.
Then again, his head broke the swirling water - this time the watchers saw that the victim’s skin had turned bright red with the heat of the water and his exertions.
Three times he surfaced, screaming out for holy deliverance and forgiveness. The executioner, who was furious by this time, then started to thwack Secrétain on the head, with his assistant’s large iron poker, in a frenzied effort to finally silence him.
The large sympathetic crowd, who had been praying loudly for the poor man’s deliverance from his awful torment, had now seen and heard enough of the condemned man’s lamentable cries and became very angry with this additional cruel treatment which now seemed to be trying to flout God’s will!
It was then that a man named Perrigault, who was in the front row of the greatly agitated crowd, scrambled up onto the scaffold, seized the poker from the executioner and knocked him down whilst roaring out, "Traitor! You have greatly dishonoured the town of Tours!"
The large crowd, spurred on by this action surged forward, first a hundred, then a thousands voices calling out, "Death to the executioner!"
Seeing the furious mob ascending the platform, the executioner’s assistant decided that ‘discretion was the better part of valour’ and deserted his post at a very smart pace, as the main tormentor was being soundly thrashed by Perrigault.
Now unattended, the fire under the cauldron died down, and some of the rioting crowd pulled the half-cooked Secrétain out of the water, wrapped him in sheets, and carried him to the nearby Jacobean church and demanded religious sanctuary for him.
By a miracle, Secrétain - badly scalded as he was - had survived his traumatic ordeal!
The subsequent inquiry held just a few hours later, when things had ‘cooled down’ a little, censured the court officials who had imposed the ‘terrible sentence’, and, in a further action to placate the crowd - the murderous executioner, Pierre Bonneau, and his assistant, Pierre Rochard, were arrested.
The public were appeased, the officials squirmed, and God’s will had been perceived to have been done - how could anyone argue with that!
At their trial, the villainous duo asked for, and were granted clemency, as they were adjudged to have been appointed to carry out the order of the same court - although they were seen to be somewhat overzealous with the application of certain aspects of their task.
With public opinion firmly in his favour, Secrétain eventually received a ‘lettre de remission’ (a pardon) from King Charles VIII of France, and, when he had healed sufficiently to leave the sanctuary of the church, he was re-united with his wife. Not only did Secrétain recover and live to an old age - he had another 5 children.
Perrigault, the man who had started the riot at the ‘Place de la Foire-au-Roi’, decided it was more prudent to leave Tours and leave all the credit to the Higher Being - apparently, he never returned."
At the time this story reminded me of a few good old clichés which I was tempted to mention in the article, such as :-
‘a watched pot never boils’.... ‘you can’t keep a good man down’.... ‘ seen but not heard"... ‘too many cooks spoil the broth’....., but I didn’t - because ‘truth is stranger than fiction!’
THE STORY BEHIND THE LEWIS and CLARK STORY.
In our Internet News story about the 2000 U.S. Dollar coin, was the brief mention of the invaluable help supplied by Sacagawea (Sacajawea), the female Shoshoni guide, who accompanied the Lewis and Clark expedition of 1804 - 6.
An excellent T.V. documentary, recently screened in Australia, has more than adequately shown us the grandeur and strength of the country over which these intrepid explorers had made their way- and the difference in cultures and attitudes that was so marked that they were perceived to be incompatible to ‘civilised’ and greedy European eyes after Lewis and Clark had returned and made their reports public. The expedition, magnificent as it was - as an example of hard-won achievement against the odds - virtually assured the demise of the Native Americans as caretakers of the huge American West.
However, these few brief facts about Sacagawea, a truly remarkable Native American woman, are designed only as a reminder of why she was the inspiration to represent ‘LIBERTY’ , and the strengths of women, on the new US dollar coin.
Sacagawea was born c.1787 and in 1800, still at about 12 years of age, she was captured by the Hidatsa Crow Indian tribe, who were camped near another tribe, called the Mandan, near the mouth of the Knife River in North Dakota.
A French Canadian trapper and fur trader, Toussaint Charbonneau, who was living with the Mandan at that time, saw Sacagawea, bought her and married her - in Indian custom- to be his chattel.
When Lewis and Clark eventually arrived at the Knife River, at the icy start of the plains winter, and built Fort Mandan as a cold -weather quarters, they used Charbonneau as an interpreter and asked him to accompany them and their 26 men, in their two pirogues and six dug-out canoes, on their trip into the unknown, when the weather permitted in early April.
At that time Sacagawea was heavily pregnant and Lewis recorded the birth of Sacagawea’s baby on February 11th.1805 in his diary :-
"Sacajawea gave birth to a boy with the aid of a rattlesnake’s rattle - two rings of it (administered) to the woman... broken into small pieces...she had not taken it more than ten minutes before she brought forth."
On April 7th.1805, the troublesome Charbonneau (who was reportedly lazy and always complaining), and Sacagawea, with their baby strapped to her back, set off westwards towards the Pacific Ocean on one of the greatest overland expeditions ever, and it soon became obvious to Lewis and Clark that it was not Charbonneau - but his wife -who was going to be invaluable..
The knowledge that Sacagawea had accumulated - her language skills, her ability to tell them about landmarks and eventually her diplomacy, when she reached her Shoshoni homeland, was that little edge that made the difference when she managed to secure some packhorses, in exchange for fire-arms and powder, from her reluctant brother, who was now a chief and waging war with the Blackfeet.
For the nearly exhausted expedition, to be able to make the hazardous Rocky Mountain crossing with the aid of packhorses, it would mean hard-won success and not dismal failure so close to their goal.
They had expected to find a great river running westwards to the Pacific and, at that point, they now faced the mountains of the great Continental Divide, and the trek over the Rockies 7,500 foot ridges could not have been done carrying their supplies on their own backs.
As it was, it took 10 days of incredible hardship to make the mountain crossing and to meet up with the friendly Flathead tribe who guided them to the Clearwater River which flowed into the rapid-strewn Snake River.
After another 9 days of Snake River madness, where they had to carry their canoes passed huge rapids nearly as much as they paddled them, they reached the junction of the Columbia River that would take them to Clark’s ‘the Ocian, the great Pacific Octean which we been so long anxious to See’ just 300 miles further west. It would still take another three weeks of hard-going before that dream was realised, but the journey was now assured of success.
For all the confrontations with potentially hostile natives and the actual perils of the journey, only one man, a sergeant, was lost - from natural causes (appendicitis), and most of this good fortune can be attributed to Sacagawea’s presence and guidance through the area she knew best - her own country!
It was also interesting to note that Lieutenant William Clark was accompanied on the expedition by his Negro slave, York, who was taken along to assist with the camp chores but who, like Sacajawea, proved to be a greater asset than first thought.
Besides being able to amaze the Indians with his feats of strength and agility, York was of great interest to them as they had never seen a black man with such short, tight curly hair - and this often meant the difference between a hostile reception or a friendly one.
Clark freed York, after his triumphal return to St Louis on Sept. 26th.1806, and the ex-slave is reported to have died during a cholera epidemic in Tennessee some time later.
Clark was made Superintendent of Indian Affairs in St. Louis in 1807 and in 1813 he became Governor of Missouri Territory. He died in 1838 in his 68th. year.
It always happens and nobody knows why it does - when people go on journeys they take along some incongruous things. There was one such item that Captain Meriwether Lewis had packed with him that proved useful - but not for the obvious reason.
It was a novelty - a man’s toy really - and why Lewis took it with him is a little mystery in itself.
It was a .28 calibre compressed air-gun which Lewis had found to be only effective up to 50 yards, not even good enough to bring down small game, because it lacked striking power. Perhaps, Lewis’ friendship with inventor and scholar, President Thomas Jefferson had rubbed off and it’s mechanics intrigued him!
Although it might kill or wound a man within a short distance, the secret of it’s success was that it could fire 15 or 16 shots when its removable globular chamber was fully pumped up (300 strokes of a hand pump), and as it did not use powder, the Indians thought the gun was magical, a belief that Lewis did not discourage!
On his return, Lewis, who had been President Jefferson’s private secretary prior to the expedition, was rewarded by being appointed Governor of Louisiana Territory - but his mysterious death by murder or suicide in 1809, at age 35, cut short a potentially illustrious career in politics.
Little is known of Sacagawea once she disappeared from the recorded pages of the expedition’s history, but it is believed, by most historians, that she died in 1812 from childbirth fever at Fort Manuel on the Missouri River.
Another report puts her date of death, on a reservation in Wyoming, as 1884 - but, whatever the case - she will now live on as one of the few famous women depicted on the circulating coinage of the U.S.A.
As no actual image had been handed down of Sacagawea, an idealised portrait had to be chosen for the new $1.00 coin, to represent the attributes of the young Indian woman who contributed so much to the opening up of a huge part of the North American continent by Lewis and Clark in their search for the way to the Pacific.
The 2000 dollar coin with Native American model, Randy'l Teton, who was chosen to represent Sacagawea.
We must remember that, if the wasn't for this diminutive Native American woman, Lewis and Clark may not have been the explorers who put their names on this great overland adventure - and the new Nickel coins of 2005 (Refer:- http://www.vision.net.au/~pwood/april05.htm) may not have been quite as relevant if the continent had been explored piece-meal from the coast inwards.
Story of the Great American West. compiled by Reader’s Digest. 1977.
The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of the Old West. compiled by Peter Newark. 1980.
A BLAST FROM THE PAST
It's funny how memories can be sparked by reading articles in copies of the Society's old periodical newsletters prior to the establishment of the 'Tasmanian Numismist'. This one was written in the November 1993 issue and the Editor of the time, Karl Shea, made these comments:
"The article has captured the first moments of a budding coin collector and should evoke the memories of readers as to what their first numismatic experience was like."
An Introduction to Numismatics.
My two year old grandson, Jak, who sees and hears everything but rarely says anything, was loudly whispering in my ear as I dozed in front of the fire.
"Mun! Mun!" - again, with more insistence.
Seizing me by the finger, with a grip designed to break bones unless I complied with the unspoken demand to move, Jak led me to my coin cupboard and tried to insert a tiny finger under the door.
On the bottom shelf I keep an old money-box into which I throw any odd coinage that occasionally turns up in my change. Shaped like one of the 'Little Pigs' in a sailor's suit, this old money-box has been a plaything of nearly thirty years for my children and grand-children. It normally gets to the heavy stage before I sort it out and, for a two-year old, it is quite an armful!
Like 'Scrooge McDuck', Jak has become fascinated by these coins and he loves to wallow in them when he has liberally scattered them on the floor.
This time, however, he raced, as only a two-year old can race, to a bureau-drawer and extracted my largest magnifying-glass and then, like an old experienced numismatist, he began to intently examine each coin before putting it back in the box....................................
Every coin had to be examined on both sides and it was remarkable how Jak's vocabulary improved as he saw the animals on the 'Mun!'............................
I am now in the process of providing a 'junior' version of my coin cupboard for Jak - as he insists that his coins are locked up like mine.
A quick rub of his hands, a satisfied smile and that's that ... for now!
I suppose I should have mentioned that this article - only reprined in part - was one of the first I wrote for the Society and that Jak is now in high school.
I still have the 'Little Pig (although he is definitely showing his 40 years) - he was even kidnapped years ago, stabbed and robbed, but he made his way home and another younger grandson now aged 7 - and even more inquisitive - claimed it for his coins about 5 years ago. Sweet memories are these.
We have received a form letter from Sergey Zavedeev of Polotsk in Belarus, dated 24th March 2005, requesting banknotes swaps - note for note - starting with a quantity of e.g. assortment of 5 - 10 Imperial Russian, U.S.S.R., C.I.S and Belarus notes from his region for exchange with 5 - 10 regional notes that any reader may care to send by post. The correspondent suggests sending the exchange notes - plus another 5 - 10 notes for further exchange to expand the arrangement.
I can pass on the postal address to any reader who may be interested in contacting Sergey - bearing in mind our disclaimers.
Following our comment in our last newsletter about commercial sized lists of 'doubles' etc. we have received an email from a regular correspondent, Senor Higinio J. Escaso, with details of his site "Coleccionismo Web" - which is mostly in Spanish, but easily understandable in content - that may be of interest to some readers.
A brief note from John, The Duke of Avram mentioned the revamped pages for The Royal Bank of Avram showing new items some readers and collectors of micro nation and Imperial collections may care to view. Refer: http://www.heraldic.org/rba/html/coins.htm and also http://www.heraldic.org/rba/download/invite.pdf
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