Volume 9 Issue 11                                                   INTERNET EDITION                                  November  2004.

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



Anyone who wishes to apply for membership to the non-profit making organization, and who is prepared to abide by the rules of the Society and its aim of promoting the study and enjoyment of the hobby of numismatics, should contact the following address for an application form and details of subscriptions: 


Tasmanian Numismatic Society.

G. P. O. Box 884J

Hobart. 7001.



The ANDA - APTA Show 

Wrest Point Hotel Casino

Saturday and Sunday, October 9th - 10th. 2004.

With the nation called to the polls and due to cast its votes on the same day as the long-awaited ANDA - APTA Show, the expectation of a bumper turn-out was noticeably subdued at 7.30 a.m.on the Saturday morning as many of the dealers and exhibitors arrived to set up their stands in the Wrest Point Boardwalk Gallery. 

However, it was an absolutely glorious morning's start with Hobart's Derwent River like a mill-pond and the early-bird 'yatchies' and kids in dinghies, canoes and kayaks entertaining us from our ideal vantage point - and, soon, the sight of waiting people at the doors brightened everyone's spirits.

At 10.05 a.m. the Show was officially opened and we all got down to whatever our business was - and kept at it until late afternoon and, whilst there was an effect due to the public's electoral commitment, it was still gratifying to see family groups in considerable numbers who had made the effort to attend.

Many of the door-prizes, which were awarded each hour, went to kids who have now got something tangible to encourage their interest in our great hobby.

The Society provided members who manned the ticket area, handed out 'where to find who' pamphlets, and generally promoted our hobby and also our organisation.

We also answered many questions about the Show and the Tasmanian medallion and Tongan banknote displays provided by T.N.S. President Roger McNeice OAM.and member Mr. Charles Hunt.  Those T.N.S. members who volunteered and gave a much appreciated hand for the Show were:

Chris Heath; Kevin Hogue; Charles Hunt; Roger McNeice OAM; Phil Nicholls; Graeme and Ailsa Petterwood.


Willing helpers at the ANDA Show, Ailsa Petterwood & T.N.S. Vice-president Chris Heath


Day 2 was basically the same as Day 1 except we had the chance to rise a little later - and the time to try to do a little business with the other exhibitors.

The weather was still grand and the continual flow of attendees was maintained as the buying and selling business was steadily conducted into the second afternoon by the ANDA local and interstate dealers that many Tasmanian hobbyists have come to know and trust over the years.

T.N.S. members also had the opportunity to meet John Mulhall of the 'Australasian Coin & Banknote Magazine'.



John Mulhall from the Australasian Coin & Banknote Magazine

Local dealers, David & Kim Newell from The Stamp Place and Stephen Cole from Salamanca Rare Coins


John was seen throughout the event with digital camera in hand, and a few questions on his lips -  no doubt an interesting report will be forthcoming in due course on the glossy pages of the CAB. If any of our members or readers are interested in taking out an annual subscription to Australia's premier coin and banknote magazine why not email John for details at: bixlives@nsw.bigpond.net.au

Those ANDA dealers who attended this Show were:

Brisbane Coin Gallery; Capital Collectables; Downies Coin Auctions; International Auction Galleries; International Numismatics; John Pettit Rare Banknotes; JPW Coins; Monetarium (Adelaide) P/L; Monetarium (Australia) P/L; Kevin Morgan Stamps & Coins; Prospect Stamps & Coins; Salamanca Rare Coins; Sovereignty Coins & Banknotes; The Stamp Place; vpcoins.com

Like every Show such as this, there was the usual mixed response at the end of the event but, generally speaking, those dealers I spoke to enjoyed their trip and are now looking beyond the immediate results and towards the follow-up business that will have been generated by their attendance.

Handy eMail References:

Capital Collectables: elm29@tpg.com.au

Downies (Melbourne): block@downies.com or auctions@downies.com

Edlins: edlins@tpgi.com.au

International Auction Galleries: iagmail@optusnet.com.au

International Numismatics: intnumis@bigpond.com.au

John Pettit Rare Banknotes: jpettit@accsoft.com.au

JPW Coins: j.p.w.coins@bigpond.com

Kevin Morgan Stamps and Coins: kmorgan@centurynova.com.au

Monetarium (Adelaide): monetarium_sa@bigpond.com

Monetarium (Australia): info@monetarium.com.au

Prospect Stamps & Coins: michael@prospectstampsandcoins.com.au

Sovereignty Coins & Banknotes: Website:  http://www.sovcoins.com.au

The Stamp Place: theden@tazitiger.com

vpcoins.com: sales@vpcoins.com



The 'Editor's Award' was originally made available for a suitable published article, received prior to November of the current year, that the editor judged to be worthy of special recognition. The actual Award consisted of a Certificate of Recognition and a single appropriate annual subscription (or a numismatic prize to that value) to the 'Tasmanian Numismatic Society' for the following 12 months and  winners would be entitled to full membership rights and privileges.

All articles, or an idea that could be developed into an article, had a simple criteria for the 'Editor's Award' consideration - they were to be entertaining and educational - but not over technical nor too long - and may have been subjected to some editing, if needed, as our original hard copy newsletter has space restrictions

The Award scheme, which was instigated in 1998 and first presented in 1999, was made at the perogative of the current editor and was not classed as an official 'Tasmanian Numismatic Society' award - even though it was, initially, offered as a form of encouragement and inducement for T.N.S. members' participation in the newsletter's Articles Section, and to take some of the pressure from the Editor's own literary workload.

Unfortunately, it didn't happen and I decided to curtail the idea until things improved.

During the following year, however, in a renewed effort to broaden the newsletter's content and to take advantage of the Internet, the scheme was re-introduced and expanded to encompass all 'Tasmanian Numismatist - Internet Edition' readers who also cared to get productively involved - and it was decided to have both National (local) and International sections.

At present, even though only the Internet readers' Editor's Award is being offered, this can still cover both sections when warranted.

There were several outstanding articles submitted during 2004 for inclusion in the 'Internet Edition'  that do need to be recognised, so it is with pleasure I would advise that the Editor's Awards for 2005 are:-

The Editor’s National Award for 2005

T.N.S. Associate Member #368, Ian Hartshorn

For a thought-provoking article about the definitions of Australian coin variations and errors.

The Editor’s International Award for 2005

T.N.S Member #363, Gerald ‘Jerry’ Adams

For his continuing series of outstanding articles about U.S. tokens and medallions.



Ian Hartshorn and grandson Bryce, after his epic tricycle ride from Perth, West Australia to Melbourne, Victoria

U.S. member Jerry Adams - a computerised pencil effect study October 2004


A sincere "Thank You!" goes to those members and other contributors who did have a go and who made this newsletter a far more interesting publication with their articles and their ideas.


Previous Winners.

1998 - 1999:    Jérôme 'Jerry' Remick (Canada)

1999 - 2000:    Jérôme 'Jerry' Remick (Canada)- Dominic Labbé (Canada)

2000 - 2001:    Jérôme 'Jerry' Remick (Canada) - T.W. 'Bill' Holmes (Tasmania)

2001 - 2002:    Gerald 'Jerry' Adams (U.S.A.)

2002 - 2003:    Gerald ‘Jerry’ Adams (U.S.A.)

2003 - 2004:    Gerald 'Jerry' Adams (U.S.A.)

2004 - 2005:    Gerald 'Jerry' Adams (U.S.A.) - Ian Hartshorn (Victoria)




Jérôme 'Jerry' Remick (Canada) - Dominic Labbé (Canada) - T.W. 'Bill' Holmes (Tasmania) - Gerald 'Jerry' Adams (U.S.A.)





by Graeme Petterwood ©

This edition again features an assortment of  'trivia' that I think are of interest and I trust they will prove educational and entertaining to you  as well. 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!  Please note that all prices quoted in articles in this newsletter 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.  Note - the photoscans are not to size.



Each time we pick up a coin we recognise it for what it represents with buying power - but what else do we see?

A piece of metal with some sort of portrait, plus a bit of writing - a building or a national symbol or icon, perhaps? We tend to take coins for granted, don't we?

In fact, there is a lot more to a coin than that!  Every nations' coinage presents a lot more than meets the eye!

Take out a coin - any coin - and this time, take a closer look at it and think what the symbolism of a coin represents.

As an example of what information trail can be ventured upon when we take the time to look more closely, I thought that an ordinary everyday circulating one chosen at random from my spare world coin box might tell us a story.

A coin most people would have heard of, and which has been around since 1938 - nearly as long as I have - is the current basic U.S. 5 Cent Nickel. Any coin from any nation would have done - but, after thinking about it myself, I considered that the U.S. Nickel coin that I picked up was a good enough example to start with even if it was not from my own country. Some Americans - who tend to take their own coins for granted - might learn a lesson in values far beyond the 5 Cent Nickel's buying power


As numismatists, we tend to talk about obverses and reverses (heads or tails) and we apply those definitions to cover the important side of the coin against the less important side. In Australian, for instance, we would denote the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II as the obverse - while the U.S. would do the same with their past Presidents. Some countries feature living rulers, important contemporary or historical personalities, representative or allorgorical figures, iconic animals and coats-of-arms as the obverse on their coins. The reverses can also feature exactly the same sort of representations - but usually in a style that denotes that this is the minor side of the coin.

The United States of America 75% Copper - 25% nickel coin that is now commonly called the 'Nickel' is valued at Five Cents - but did you know that once there was a nickel Three Cent denomination as well between 1865 - 1889.  However, what do you see on the obverse of the usual nickel U.S.Five Cent coin?

A man with longish hair pulled back and tied........ Then the words LIBERTY and a date which sometimes has a very small single capital letter after it... and finally IN GOD WE TRUST scattered around the edge.

On the reverse is a stately domed building with the word MONTICELLO and then the denomination FIVE CENTS is curved underneath that.

At the top of the reverse are a few strange Latin words E PLURIBUS UNUM and, tucked away at the base, is the logo UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

Well, what have we got? 

Who is the man and why is he so important that he warrants the important obverse spot on the coin.

Why is the word 'Liberty' featured on the obverse along with "In God We Trust" and what relevance has the reverse with its building, the name underneath and the Latin quote which translates as "Out of Many, One".

The only thing that is plain is the date, the denomination and the country - until you think about it and do the homework.



2001 Denver Mint -75% Copper 25% Nickel - 5 Cents United States of America coin. (Actual size 21.2mm)


Firstly, the man on the nickel was the third President of the United States of America - his name was Thomas Jefferson, and he proved than the pen was mightier than the sword in many ways because, in 1776 when he was 33 y.o., he was the drafter of the Declaration of Independence - a quarter of a century  before he became President in 1801. A brief, authoritive biography can be found on the Internet at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/history/presidents/tj3.html

In fact, Jefferson's story also explains the importance of the word LIBERTY - a word he lived by - and his home 'MONTICELLO' is the building shown on the coin.

Like many homes of historically important people, Monticello has been preserved in trust for the nation. Refer: http://www.monticello.org/


"Monticello' Charlottesville, Virginia.

West Facade photo © 2002 Mary Ann Sullivan.



The sentiment "IN GOD WE TRUST" was added, in its brief terse form, to most of the coins of the United States of America in 1864 due to the belief that the Almighty was being forgotten in wake of the terrible slaughter and conflicts that were occuring during the Civil War - but for some reason it was not placed on the Three Cent nickel that appeared after the War from 1865 - 1889. It was not until the Jefferson Nickel - that most of us recognise - came into being in 1938 that the prayer came to stay on the Five Cent denomination. Refer: http://www.ustreas.gov/education/fact-sheets/currency/in-god-we-trust.html

On the 4th July 1776, a decision was made by America's Founding Fathers to prepare a Great Seal to illustrate, in symbolism, the formation of the nation.

The final draft of the Great Seal was not confirmed until 20th June 1782 (refer: http://www.greatseal.com/index.html)  and, along with the most obvious symbols, this seal also had a banner that contained the Latin motto E PLURIBUS UNUM as suggested by Consultant and artist Pierre Du Simitière

Refer: http://www.greatseal.com/mottoes/unum.html 

All these diverse symbols lead back further into history and espouse the future hopes of freedom and unity and the ultimate trust in God. 

So, with just one humble coin we can tell the founding story of the United States of America.

.... and the letter 'D' after the date? It stands for Denver- if the letter had been 'P' it would have represented Philadelphia, and an  'S' stands for San Francisco.

These single letters are abbreviation to signify where the coin was actually minted - but the story of the various U.S. Mints is another thing again!


No doubt, there are other coins, other nations, who also can tell their stories by means of the coinage in the public's purse.

In Australia, our own 50 Cent coin has a great story to tell that stretches from pre-history until Federation and beyond. Look at it - carefully....! What do you see?

A couple of uniquely Australian animals supporting a shield that is covered in symbolic coats-of-arms under a 7 pointed star.

The animals, the Kangaroo and Emu, are known to date back into the pre-history of the Aboriginal 'Dream-time', the shield contains the coats-of-arms of all the states that make up the Commonwealth of Australia, the star with its 7 points symbolically encompassed with a plaited rope represents the act of Federation that finally bound the 7 colonies together in 1901. Each piece of the design opens another book in our own history - if  we care to look.


The original 1966 Canberra Mint - 80% Silver - Round 50 Cents Australian coin. (Actual size 31.5mm)

Superceded by the current 12 sided (dodecagonal) 75% Copper 25% Nickel version in 1969


Many governments are now isuing commemorative coins to reinforce those stories and honour individuals but, usually, the basic coinage will provide enough incentive to explore the background of any nation and its achievements - if you "Take out a coin - any coin - take a close look at it and, then, do the homework!"



2003 Louisina Purchase commemorative U.S.A. Nickel 5 Cents

1788 - 1988 European settlement of the Australian continent - Australian 50 Cent C.N. coin.

1901 - 2001 Federation - Australian 50 Cent coin (Tasmanian Coat-of-Arms)

(From a nine coin set featuring all Australian States and Territories).


Main References:

"A Guide Book of United States Coins" - by R.S. Yeoman, edited by Kenneth Bressett, 2001. (The Official Red Book)

"Renniks Australian Coin and Banknote Guide" 13th. Edition - by Dion H. Skinner, 1981.

"Renniks Australian Coin and Banknote Values" 20th Edition - edited by Ian W. Pitt, 2004



From time to time, we have featured the medals that had been manufactured by local Tasmanian medal-maker OZMINT - the production side of TASMEDALS - of Hobart. This month, we revisit the 200th anniversary of the circumnavigation of Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) by Matthew Flinders and Surgeon Dr. George Bass - and the small series of medallions that were produced to celebrate the event.  Many historical references can be found at : http://www.gutenberg.net/dirs/etext05/flind10h.htm#ch-04


The original concept for the anniversary was only to provide sufficient numbered pieces for interested parties (120) and it was decided to use pewter as the casting  metal as it carried the design well on the 80mm medallion. Small runs of (10) gold-plated pewter and (10) silver-plated pewter medallions were also to be especially prepared for those 'Tasmanian Numismatic Society' members who requested them. These 'specials' were to be un-numbered and not available to the general public.

A re-enactment of Bass and Flinders voyage had been undertaken during 1998 in a replica of the 27 ton, 10.7 metre long sloop "Norfolk" by a selected crew of volunteers led by veteran yachtsman, Bern Cuthbertson.


Bern Cuthbertson 

The plan was to closely follow the course of the original voyage and to arrive in Hobart by Christmas day morning 1998.

A crew member, playing the role of Dr. George Bass, would then undertake to ascend Mt. Wellington as was the case when the original expedition arrived exactly 200 years ago to the day. The role-player, at least, had a road leading to the summit - but it still would be an arduous ascent and it was to be run and walked by selected members of the public in company with the esteemed 'Dr. Bass'.

Prior to the "Norfolk" leaving Georgetown at the head of the Tamar River, which was an area also partly investigated during the voyage, I had a chance to contact a cousin of mine, Tom O'Byrne, who was on board as a crew member and, during our family catch-up chat, I discovered that it was he who was playing the Dr. George Bass role when the replica "Norfolk" arrived in Hobart after the hazardous West Coast of Tasmania leg of the trip.

As luck had it, I knew that Roger McNeice, the director of Tasmedals, was also in Georgetown on a promotional visit so it was a short walk, a quick introduction and an interesting conversation about the limited anniversary medallion release and Tom let us know about his role in the re-enactment plans for Hobart's Mt. Wellington.


Roger McNeice, Graeme Petterwood and Tom O'Byrne

H.M. Sloop 'Norfolk' - Georgetown 8th November 1998.

(Photos - Author's collection)


The upshot was that another very limited issue of the medallion was organised with a new reverse showing a depiction of the native tree covered foothills with Mt. Wellington, or Table Mountain - as it was known then -  rising in the background. These would be numbered and only available to the crew, local dignitaries and those runners and walkers who had been officially invited to accompany Tom O'Byrne - 'Dr. Bass' - to the summit. The official quantity of only 80 Mt. Wellington medallions was fully allocated for presentation - although many members of the public joined in, on Christmas Day morning 1998, to swell the numbers on the ascent run to a considerable number.

In total, a quantity of only 220 medallions were cast by Tasmedals and most were committed for presentation, or to cater for pre-orders and institutions, prior to the anniversaty event. The "Norfolk" medallions were available in Burgundy-coloured velvet presentation pouches with a Certificate of Authenticity showing the engraved edge number. Tasmedals' market price, at that time, for the "Norfolk" general issue medallion was A$55.00 incl. postage - Limit One only.

(All styles are shown below.)


200th Anniversary of Circumnavigation of Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) Medallions (actual size 80mm)

Common Obverse - Matthew Flinders and George Bass dated 1798/99 - 1998/99


The Medallions - from Author's Collection.

(a) Limited special presentation edition of 80 Cast Pewter - First Ascent of Mt. Wellington by George Bass 25/11/1798

(b) Limited edition of 120 Cast Pewter (General issue) - HM Colonial Sloop "Norfolk"

(c) Limited special edition of 10 only Silver-Plated Cast Pewter - not numbered.

(d) Limited special edition of 10 only Gold-Plated Cast Pewter - not numbered.



It is interesting to note that Matthew Flinders was born in Donington, Lincolnshire, England on 16th March 1774 and died in London on 19th July 1814 - aged only 40.

During his relatively short lifetime, he circumnavigated the globe twice, circumnavigated Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) with his friend, George Bass, in 1798/99 - and a few years later, in 1801, he sailed around the continent of Terra Australis to survey the coastline. It was during this latter time his fortunes took a downward plunge.

By the time the survey was completed, the rotting old  "Investigator" had encountered sea-worthiness difficulties that forced the explorer to ask Governor King to permit him to transfer his crew, botanists, et al, to the "Porpoise" for the return voyage. Unfortunately, the ship, and another two in company, ran aground on an uncharted coral reef near Hervey Bay,and a series of remarkable mishaps, hardship, perseverance and adventures followed before safety was achieved and Flinders arrived back in Sydney with the survivors. Eventually, Flinders was able to take command of a 29 ton schooner, the "Cumberland" and re-commence his return trip.

The overloaded schooner "Cumberland" was soon found to be leaking, the pumps were not coping and she could not carry enough fresh water or provisions to continue on to Cape Town so Flinders had no option but to change course. With France and England declaring war on each other while Flinders was at sea in transit back to England he, unwittingly, sailed into Cape Bay in French Mauritius to re-provision on December 15th, 1803.

The ship and crew were held pending investigation, the ship was searched and its log and other ship's papers were seized.

In those days research vessels of European nations were issued with a passport  to allow them to proceed without hinderance as they were not considered to be military vessels. Flinders passport was for the "Investigator" and not the "Cumberland" but it still would have had some validity - however, the French Governor, Captain-General Charles Mathieu Isadore Decaen (a friend of Napoleon) and Flinders (who was suffering from painful leg ulcers at the time) took a petty dislike to each other that turned serious almost immediately.

Due to some perceived irregularities in  the contents of Flinder's written orders from the British Admiralty, plus the fact that Flinders was taking military dispatches back to England for Governor King, and, as he was a Royal Navy captain with a great eye for detail, his passport was dishonored by the French and he was treated as a naval combatant and possibly a spy. It was only when he gave his personal parole not to escape, that the ship' crew - without Flinders - were allowed to be repatriated in prisoner exchanges in 1805 as they were deemed to have been involved in research. By 1806, Flinders was the lone prisoner still being held.

There is some very strong evidence to support a theory that the French explorer, Nicolas Thomas Baudin, had a part to play in keeping Flinders confined until he had the chance to return to France and make good his claims that it was he who had discovered areas of previously uncharted South Australia - which he had done, in fact. It was unfortunate that Baudin died from dysentry in 1803 - ironically, at Ile-de-France, Mauritius - before he finished his journey, but his geographers, Francois Peron and Captain Henri de Freycinet, published a large manifesto, 'Voyage de de'couvertes aux Terres Australes' ('Voyage of Discovery to the Terra Australis') on their own voyages that was widely acclaimed in Europe in 1807 and, in it, they had renamed all places with French names. With Baudin dead and unable to back up his own discoveries, the authors of the book could be a little loose with the facts. Refer: http://www.abc.net.au/navigators/captains/baudin.htm

The "Investigator" had been repaired and arrived back in England in October 1805 with the small remnants of the original collection of artefacts - most of which were lost with the "Porpoise". There was now confirmation of Flinders exploits - but -  without Flinders, his notes and maps it was virtually impossible to dispute the French claims when they arose two years later. All efforts to get Flinders released fell on deaf ears. The French Government was not interested in British requests and on Mauritius, Governor Decaen still was un-movable although he had given  the ailing Flinders a little more freedom to work on his papers and maps.

An American sea captain, Matthew Ward, made Flinders an offer to smuggle him away 1806, but Flinders had given his parole promise and declined.

Flinders spent about 6 1/2 years as a house-arrest prisoner of the French before he was released to return to England on 24th October 1810.

After 10 years away from his family he was totally worn out and a very ill man from his deprivations as a prisoner on that disease-ridden island.

Flinders was determined to record his exploits and he struggled ceaselessly, for nearly 4 years, to put his lifetime of exploration into book form - only to collapse and fall into a final coma just before the completed book  'A Voyage to Terra Australis'  was back from the publisher. On the day the first copy of his book was delivered to his wife Annette, he was deeply unconscious - she placed it in his hands but he did not awake and he succumbed to his debilitating illness the next day.

I supposed it could be said that he didn't really need to read the contents - because he had lived them!



Capt. Matthew Flinders R.N.  - Birthplace in Donington, Lincolnshire (Photo - South Australian archives)



Lincoln Cathedral memorial plaque.

(Photo- Lincoln City Libraries Museum & Art Gallery)



Born on 3rd. February, 1771, to the farming family of George and Sarah Bass of Aswarby, Lincolnshire  the ultimate fate of their only son, explorer George Bass remains a tantalising mystery. Many suppositions and rumours abound, but the fact remains he disappeared in early 1803 and was never seen again.

He had returned to England in 1799, after his famous exploits with Matthew Flinders, and then eloped on 8th October 1800 with Miss Elizabeth Waterhouse - the sister of Henry Waterhouse, a friend  who was also the captain of the "Reliance" - but he was quickly forgiven and fully accepted by her family even though he was hard pressed financially to set up house.

'Bess' was three years his senior but it was a succesful love match. Their time together, unfortunately, was destined to be brief - just three months.

Restless, and in need of cash to support his wife and their forthcoming child as well, he went to sea again on December 21st 1800, and sailed to Sydney on the "Venus", a commercial armed cargo ship that he had purchased prior to his marriage with assistance from his brother-in-law, Henry Waterhouse, and a Scottish merchant as his business partners, with the intention of starting a private commercial venture.

The ship was crammed with merchandise, supplied by a syndicate of English businessmen, for sale in the colonies - but, when Bass arrived in Port Jackson he found a glut of goods already in the Government Stores and he would have had great difficulty in selling his cargo even at a 50% reduction.

In some desperation, he temporarily engaged in shipping pork from Tahiti to New South Wales on the "Venus".

This trade was profitable enough to keep him slightly in front of his English creditors - but he still had an unwanted cargo that he needed to find a market for.

Several other ships were making trips across the Pacific to Chili and Peru to trade with the Spanish and, even though the threat of war was in the air, they continued to trade with the potential enemy. Bass weighed up the prospects, he had a good fast ship, a cargo that could be sold in South America - and he had the gumption, plus some desperation to prosper, and plenty of reason to clear his debts.

Bass' finances were always somewhat parlous, so the commercial cargo scenario tends to lend some credence to this explanation.

A strongly substantiated tale recounts that Bass set off in the "Venus" and had sailed for Chile, South America from Port Jackson on February 5th. 1803. 

Some prior confidential correspondence to his brother-in-law, Henry Waterhouse, tends to suggest that even though Bass may have been en route to South America with his load of commercial cargo he was somewhat concerned he may be considered a carrier of contraband and therefore a traitor.

To offset this possibility, he received a trading 'License' from Governor King to show that the cargo had been inspected and he had permission to make the trip.

He planned to dispose of the goods and then to continue back to England, collect his wife Elizabeth and to return to settle permanently at Dusky Bay, New Zealand and help establish a new Fishery that had been authorised by the Colonial Government in that country.

The ship and all aboard were never seen again. 

It was thought, most likely, that the ship was lost at sea, although it was rumoured that it was captured in the eastern Pacific by the Spaniards. The situation between England and Spain had deteriorated extremely, and any ship out of an English colony was suspect and, like Flinder's French passport , the Licence would not have been honoured if it didn't suit the Spanish - who were then on the brink of war.

The persistent report that stated that the 6 ft. tall, physically strong, George Bass was captured by the Spanish off Lima, and forced to work as a slave in the silver mines of Peru, was never verified - although the captain of the brig "Harrington", another 'contraband' runner, said he had had heard vague tales about Bass' apprehension.

Other rumours, that Bass had deserted his beloved wife and chose to live in South America because his 'contraband' dealings had been uncovered by the English authorities - or that his creditors were after him - where also not verified. A man of Bass' fortitude and character would not have shirked his responsibilities in this way. Nothing was ever heard from him again - and that was ominous.

George Bass' mother, Sarah,  mourned him as dead - but, Elizabeth Bass, left in financial distress, never re-married in the hope that George would return and, after a lonely lifetime, as her own Waterhouse family had all died between 1812 - 1822, she passed away on June 23rd. 1824.

The Bass' only son, who was supposedly born in 1801 after George had already left to return to Australia, is believed to have died at age 9 or 10 - without knowing his father. A great, and daring, individual such as the 32 y.o. George Bass deserved a better final hand from Fate.



 Ship's Surgeon, Dr. George Bass M.C.S. - Statue located in the Dept. Land and Water Conservation Building, Sydney



"The Voyages of Matthew Flinders" - by Max Colwell  (Paul Hamlyn Pty.Ltd.Press) 1970

"The Unabridged Adventures of Mr. George Bass, M.C.S." - prepared by Abigail Collins BA Hons, MA  (Refer: http://www.stickyplanet.com.au/basstext.html)



Qu'est-ce que c'est?

One of my areas of interest in European-based international numismatics is the languages, numerals and the scripts that are used. 

These days, the biggest majority of banknotes and coins now use what we refer to as 'Arabic' numbering, and English is used as the first or second language - but there are several 'Romance' languages that are close behind in the popularity stakes.

The commercially minded Dutch also gave international language a considerable influence in their time of intense world exploration and, it is of interest, that the Australian state of Tasmania is now named after a very serious sailor, named Abel Jansoon Tasman, who sailed past in 1642 on board a very small ship.

Tasman and his crew were very superstitious and thought the land was inhabited by giants and cannibals. Tasman originally called his landfall "Van Diemen's Land" after the Dutch Governor of Batavia and he had no idea that it was an island because he just kept going once he had survived the rigors of the west coast. He  turned north to sail up the east coast, which he thought was a promontary, then west across the Tasman Sea towards New Zealand - so we missed out on being Dutch.

Spanish and Portuguese are very high on the list of languages carried around the known world by sea-faring explorers, and the other major tongue is French - and the latter is the one I will concentrate on in this brief article - as it is the one that Australians may well have been speaking had the historical explorers' races ended just a little differently.

"Qu'est-ce que c'est?" - broadly means "What is this?" and it is the thought that sometimes goes through our minds when we pick up a French language numismatic item. Whilst I can dabble with my schoolboy French, I must admit that it leaves a lot to be desired at a full conversational level - but it usually surfices in translating the terms and legends on coins and banknotes and to read the occasional email I receive in that language. Many international collectors tend to shy away from items that are not easily recognised because they are in a language foreign to their own but, if they do, they are missing a great learning experience. It works both ways!

If you are reading this it is probably because you have Internet access - and that makes it easy because you can use the FREE translator listed here.

Always read thecomputer translations carefully as they are usually very literate and they occasionally misunderstand a common word - this can be rather amusing at times - but you will usually get the general idea of the text. Translator site: http://babel.altavista.com/tr

Amongst the countries whose banknotes I currently have in my own small collection that have, or still do use, phrases in French are Belgium, Cambodia, Canada, France - of course, Laos, Lebanon, Luxembourg, New Caledonia (Noumea), Russia (1919), Tahiti (Papeete), Switzerland and Vanuatu. (Scans not to size)



Banque de France - 100 Francs issued December 1941 while France was under German military-rule.

Banque du Canada - 5 Dollars issued Ottawa 1954 (Modified hairstyle for Queen Elizabeth II)


Often it may be no more than the name of the issuing authority or as the second language in the text - but it gives an indication that theFrench influence is, or once was, an important part of the commercial and historical scene.

Obviously there are a lot more countries than I have listed - but the ones I have listed are mine to ponder and enjoy as far as banknotes are concerned.

In some French Pacific and Asian colonies the notes were identical in design except for an 'overstamp' to define the location - so keep your eyes open in this regard as you may pass over a note because you think you already have an example. The 'Insituit d'Emission d'outre Mer' notes (printed in Australia) issued in the late 1960's - early 1970's are  good examples of the same note being utilised for several different French colonies - and there are others.



Banque De L'Indochine 5 Francs (marked Noumea) - original design of this note was printed in 1926 for use in French Indo-China.

 Noumea and Papeete 5 Francs and other denominations in the series issued in 1942 - 1944 (were printed in Australia).

Identical Papeete (Tahiti) and Noumea (New Caledonia) 100 Francs issued 1969 - 1972 (along with a New Hebrides version).


It also surprised me a little to find a French phrase on the 1919 dated Russian banknotes - until I remembered that the Revolution occured in 1917 and the catch-phrase was "Workers of the World Unite" - "Proletaires de tous les pays, unissez-vous!" - so I suppose the Bolsheviks wanted the French to join the cause as well.


1919 Russian 500 Ruble (with 7 language text) "Workers of the World Unite!"


In the last few years there has been a revival, in French speaking numismatic circles, to promote the language and quite a few clubs have been formed in the major French speaking countries to this end. Whilst most of their  written information and links are to other French-speaking numismatic organisations, it appears that English is still their second choice from necessity - so, if you wish to check out the Internet sites I have listed at the end of this article, I think that you will find some that do have alternate translators 'built-in' or the Links lead to other more easily readable sites.


Some interesting sites









From the time when Canada started to issue notes under the heading Dominion of Canada until the present with releases bearing the Bank of Canada authority, there has been a practise that has left me somewhat puzzled. The early Dominion issues of 1870 - 1896 were printed by the British American Bank Note Co. (BABNC) but from 1897 - 1918 the printer was the American Bank Note Co. (ABNC) The next series to be issued was in 1923 - 1925 and that was produced by the Canadian Bank Note Co (CBNC). At its inception in 1935, the new Bank of Canada also used CBNC. but, in 1937, it produced a range of denominations ranging from C$1 - C$100 that - for some reason - used both CBNC and BABNC printers. Again in 1954, when the 'infamous' Devil's Head hairdo on Queen Elizabeth II was put into circulation for a short while, the denominations C$1 - C$1000 were printed by both the companies previously mentioned. The modified design was also shared in its production although the majority from C$20 - C$1000 was again done by CBNC. Any comments? 


Top: 1954 Canadian One Dollar printed by Canadian Bank Note Company Limited

Below: 1954 Canadian One Dollar printed by the British American Bank Note Company Limited

Identical signatures.



On occasion, I have been approached by readers requesting substantial amounts of additional in-depth information about individuals mentioned in previous articles in this newsletter. However, whilst I am often as fascinated as they are to know more, I regret that I am unable to spare the time to do any additional research into subjects - and in some cases families and friends of the individual - that goes far beyond the scope of the numismatic article.

If I do have any extra information to hand that may be of assistance, I will gladly pass it on but, in most instances, I have already quoted the references I have used and recommend for further reading - and, as half the enjoyment is in the search, please do what I have done - enjoy yourself! Good Hunting!




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