7 Issue 11
INTERNET EDITION November
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
BBQ CANCELLATION APOLOGY!
To those T.N.S. members and their guests who were looking forward to the BBQ-Meeting on Sunday 13th. October, Robert and Marianna offer their sincere apologies for the cancellation of the event at relatively short notice.
Unfortunately, personal circumstances arose that could not be avoided and, as it was too late to make suitable alternative arrangements, a firm decision had to be made to save travel confusion with our southern and other intrastate members.
In fact, the cancellation may also have been somewhat fortuitous as the fine weather of the preceding week crashed on the Sunday and very heavy rain was the order for most of the day.
Notification was made at the beginning of October, via the Committee, and those members and guests who had submitted a RSVP or expressed a definite interest in attending were advised immediately - and those who might have just 'turned up' were also advised wherever possible. No doubt, another BBQ opportunity will arise again in the New Year and members will look forward to cashing in their 'rain-cheque' and enjoying the hospitality of Robert and Marianna at a later date.
The venue for our next BBQ-Meeting will be at the residence of T.N.S. President Chris Heath on Sunday 15th December.
As usual, it will be a BYO food and beverages event starting at 11.00 a.m. and all members and their guests are welcome to attend.
Tasmanian Tourist Trail Souvenir Tokens
A notification from 'OZMINT' (the token issuing division of 'TasMedals' of Hobart) has been received that will be of interest to those T.N.S. members (and other readers) who are putting together the range of Tasmanian Tourist Trail Souvenir Tokens.
'OZMINT' has just advised that several new items, in this most popular and economical series of Tasmanian Tourist Trail Souvenir Tokens, will be added to the range in the very near future.
The Tourist Trail participation is rapidly expanding due to the huge expectations in the industry created by the introduction of the two new 'Spirit of Tasmania' ferry vessels to sail between Devonport and Melbourne on a daily basis and, whilst 'OZMINT' are not at liberty to announce the newest ventures at this time, they say that any new tokens will be presented up to the same high quality design styles and manufacturing standards as the previous issues.
As collectors of these types of tourist souvenir tokens are well aware, designs and presentation are decided upon by the tourist venture entrepreneurs in consultation with the manufacturers - and that it is inevitable that various changes will occur at times to meet their commercial needs and take advantage of technological advancements.
Due to the on-going developments from the original concept, some of the earlier loose tokens are now making a re-appearance in an attractive, informative presentation pack for easier marketing at the point of interest.
With the new improved 'OZMINT' packaging, some tourist outlets are taking the opportunity to upgrade their designs or logos - and this should encourage collectors to keep an eye open when visiting these popular places for any 'second generation edition' that may be available.
For general or commercial inquiries, 'OZMINT' can be contacted at any of the following addresses:
Shop 2, 41-43 Victoria Street
Hobart, Tasmania, 7000
Phone: 03 6231 5281
8 Orana Place
Taroona, Tasmania, 7053
Phone: 03 6227 8825 Fax: 03 6227 9898
Email - Commercial inquiries and OZMINT orders can be directed to:
2003 EDITOR'S AWARD.
A special 'Editor's Award' was instigated some years ago - as a personal encouragement from the current Editor - in recognition of those T.N.S. members and other readers who make the effort to contribute numismatic based articles, or ideas, that are suitable for development and publication in the newsletter.
The selection of the winner(s) is at the total discretion of the Editor and is decided upon from the national and international submissions made for the 12month period, 1st December - 30th November - as this enables details to be published prior to the New Year break. This year, due to the changes of publication schedule of our hard-copy Tasmanian Edition we will now need to readjust the announcement to cater for the readers of both newsletters, hence this earlier announcement.
The Award can either be taken as an annual subscription to the Tasmanian Numismatic Society - or in the form of a numismatic prize arranged by the Editor if circumstances warrant it.
A suitable Editor's Certificate also accompanies the subscription award (or prize) but it should be noted that the Editor's Award is not intended to infringe on, or replace, any in the system of Tasmanian Numismatic Society official literary awards which are still open to all T.N.S. members.The Editor's International Award and Certificate winner for 2003 is:
You thoroughly deserve your Editor's Award and Certificate for your many literary contributions and ideas submitted to the 'Tasmanian Numismatist' during the Year 2002. Graeme Petterwood (Editor.)
Thanks are also due to those other international correspondents who have contributed ideas, comments and articles during 2002. Without your input we would be that much poorer in our presentation of this publication.
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.)
Regrettably, there will be no National Section Editor's Award made for 2003 due to lack of submissions.
Readers' Mailbag is a section of our newsletter that will focus on readers' requests for contacts or information as well as any relevant and constructive comments about numismatics or the contents of articles in this newsletter. This section is provided as a service only and our usual disclaimers, regarding dealings between parties, will continue to apply.
EMPIRE OF ATLANTIUM
For those readers who have a curious fascination with the numismatic (or philately) efforts of self-proclaimed or secessionist nations, the following site address will lead you on with some actual historical details and items that will appeal to you.
The following commercial request, for expressions of interest, concerns the 'municipal trade type token euros' that were issued in France prior to the introduction of the real thing. Like Canadian Municipal Trade Tokens these 'token euros' were used in specified areas for a limited time and were usually produced up to collectors' quality expectations.
Sir, Since the readers of the Tasmanian Numismatist dedicate themselves to
numismatic matters, we thought that we should let them know about our newly
launched web site: http://www.CollectEuros.com
which is dedicated to truly exceptional series of French semi-numismatic
The 'Live Euro' series coins, featured on the BDA Sarl of Paris site, have been historically supplied to participating retailers, and used as a valid and legitimate means of payment, in a specific French town over a limited period at the exchange rate of 6.5 French Francs to the Euro. Their moderate pricing makes them affordable for all collectors.
The Collectors Euro series coins, made of silver, silver-gilt, gold, which also include piédfort, produced in scarce quantities, have been considered pure collectors items from the beginning, and are offered in pristine condition.
The web site: http://www.CollectEuros.com features this proud collection much in detail, coin by coin and shows both sides of each item. Moreover, our semi-numismatic Euro coins are now available to all international collectors, either through a secure online ordering process, or else a traditional paper order-form. Full contact details are available for any type of inquiry.
Our aim clearly is a commercial one : yet, if there is anyway whereby some cooperation could arise between The Tasmanian Numismatist readers and us, please kindly let us know.
Some Additional Details - Extracts from the Supplier's Website.
This website is proudly brought to you by BDA Sarl of Paris, France.
BDA Sarl's CollectEuros.com is dedicated to truly exceptional series of French semi-numismatic pre-launch Euros.
All production of the temporary Euro coins stopped by decision of the French Ministry of Finance on June 30, 1998.
are now made available to international collectors either through our secure
online ordering process or our traditional paper order-form.
Our Collectors Euro series coins have been produced in scarce quantities, have been considered pure collectors items from the beginning, and are offered in pristine condition. Please note that the original and highly scarce 50 cents coinage has been produced by traditional ways of hand stamping on site, and may occasionally feature a slight degree of dissymmetry, which is part of its charm. The Diameter of these polished edge Brass coins is 25mm. and the thickness is 1.5mm
Typical Collector 50 Euro Brass (limited issue) 'coin' from the French town of Touraine
Live Euro series coins have been historically supplied to
participating retailers, and used as a valid and legitimate means of payment, in
a specific French town over a limited period (30 days at most), at the exchange
rate of 6.5 French Francs to the Euro. As can be expected, their average state
is consistent to the light circulation in comparatively favourable conditions
over the short period. It is our belief that the Live Euros, which circulated no
more than 30 days, should be considered an original curiosity. All Live Euros
have been inspected for quality and no item of inferior or damaged quality shall
be dispatched to collectors. For further information:
Bernadette d'Aramon (CEO)
BDA Sarl - Paris - France
e-mail : email@example.com
International phone : 00 44 207 919 6076
International fax : 00 44 207 919 6078
Dear Collector. We are pleased to announce New Zealand's largest coin auction is being held in Auckland, on 15th Nov.
John Mowbray International, in association with P & M Eccles, are offering over 1,000 lots. A feature of the sale is the substantial collection of English Coins from the collection of Don McDougall, including many gold coins.
There is a strong section of Ancient Coins as well as NZ Banknotes and Tokens, and World material.
The catalogue can be viewed online at:
www.mowbraycollectables.co.nz - then click on John Mowbray International.
Bids can be placed through our website via the shopping cart and secure bidding form.
Alternatively, absentee bids can be made by post, telephone, fax, email or via our website.
JOHN MOWBRAY INTERNATIONAL
O Box 80, Wellington, New Zealand
Phone +64 6 364 8270, Fax +64 6 364 8252
a division of Mowbray Collectables Ltd
In association with
P & M ECCLES
P O Box 2937,
Auckland, New Zealand
Phone +64 9 373 2320 , Fax +64 9 303 1310, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
BONAVITA RELEASES ITS OFFER LIST # 8 (e-XONUMIA Vol. 2 No. 18)
OTTAWA, ONTARIO – Bonavita has just released its Offer List # 8 which will expire December 7, 2002.
"This list contains consignments from several long-time collectors" explained Ray Desjardins, President of Bonavita Ltd., "the majority of whom have been customers of ours since we started doing business in 1979."
The list contains Canadian and American municipal trade tokens and notes, medals and other exonumia.
As the name indicates, this is not an auction, interested parties are to make offers on the various lots listed. Bonavita has been granted the right to determine if the offers are reasonable and decides on whether or not to accept them on behalf of the consignors. The list will be posted on our website. Go to www.eligi.ca/bonavita and click on "Offer List # 8" under the "Past Issues" tab.
CRIMEAN WAR RESEARCH SOCIETY
For those of our readers who have an interest in the Crimean War and its place in numismatic history we have been invited to visit the Crimean War Research Society site: http://www.crimeanwar.org/ by Mike Hargreave Mawson.
As mentioned in our last newsletter, Mike alerted us to the fact that we had inadvertently omitted the attribution "Copyright © Michael Hargreave Mawson, 1997- as the source of an illustration and text about the Crimea War Medal in an article published in the 'Tasmanian Numismatist - Internet Edition', December 1999: http://www.vision.net.au/~pwood/dec99.htm#medals
Mike has kindly forgiven us for our lapse, and given us permission to quote his article - with due recognition - in future features.
Besides his involvement as Web Officer for the Crimean War Research Society, Michael Hargreave Mawson is also the compiler and editor of "Eyewitness in the Crimea" - a truly remarkable personalised account of the Crimean War as seen by his great-great grandfather, Lt. Col. George Frederick Dallas.
This book has received extremely high acclaim from military historians as well as those who are interested in this watershed period in modern warfare. For those readers who may wish to obtain a copy, details are available at the site mentioned.
A selection of the reviews - plus an invitation to read selected extracts from the letters- is available at: http://www.greenhillbooks.com/booksheets/eyewitness_in_the_crimea.html
The Crimean War Letters
(1854-1856) of Lieutenant Colonel George Frederick Dallas
Edited by Michael Hargreave Mawson
"George Frederick 'Fred' Dallas wrote 137 letters to his family and friends whilst on active service in the Crimea. A company commander in the 46th Regiment of Foot, his very first letters reflect a soldier's enthusiasm for the 'brilliant affair' that awaits the British Army overseas. Within weeks of arriving, excitement has turned to open disbelief at the continual misjudgement of their leaders........"
Copyright © Michael Hargreave Mawson, 2001.
THE MONEY, MEDALS AND MINIÉS OF 'DIXIE'!
Compiled and edited by Graeme Petterwood - from an original idea suggested by Jerry Adams.
(This article contains several highly recommended Internet links.)
All collectors have a great interest in the associated history and geography that is involved in the study of their hobby - but I wouldn't think that many - outside of dedicated militaria collectors - would know what a 'Minié' (pronounced 'Minnie') consisted of.
How the Minié' contributed to a more serious side of the reason some numismatists collect certain things, such as bravery medals classified as numismatic militaria, is a story within a story.
In fact, the full term was Minié ball bullet - and it was a revolutionary development in bullets that enabled the firepower of the opposing forces in the American Civil War to reach towards the first level, of many to follow, that would create devastation of a scale previously unknown. Refer: http://haislip.org/cwbullet/html/bullets_history_minie.html
The relatively slow reloading process of musketry and the inaccuracy of the old round shot over longer distances meant that events, although bloody, progressed at a commensurate rate. However, following technological advances made by European armaments manufacturers during the Crimean War it was just a matter of time before those new ideas reached the weapons factories in America.
At the outbreak of hostilities between the Union and Confederate States of America these ideas were quickly tried out on the battlefield and, as time went on, the large calibre .577 Minié ball bullet (that's .577 of an inch or 14.7mm in diameter and weighs a little over an ounce) was a common cause of maiming and the death of many a brave man. It is known that a .58 calibre version was also common amongst the Union troops, for their Springfield rifles, as well as a huge .69 calibre (about 17.5mm diameter and weighs in at about 1.5 ounces), but it appears that the .577 size was the most common used by the Confederate infantry with the British designed Pattern 1853 Enfield rifle musket.
Various other manufacturers' bullets in the same calibres and somewhat similar designs were available to the Union armies, in particular, the Williams bullets. Refer: http://www.civilwarguns.com/enfld11.html
The cylindrical-cone shaped lead Minié ball, named after its European developer Capt. Claude-Etienne Minié in 1849, contained a hollowed out base that contained an iron 'cup' that caused the softer outer casing to expand in the barrel thus improving the force of the explosive gases in the gunpowder and giving longer range to the projectile. To further increase this sealing effect, three rings incorporated into the Minié ball also weakened the sides enough to allow for easier spreading.
Minié ball bullet.
Civil War bullets from the collection of T.N.S. member Jerry Adams of Texas.
*Top row, from left to right:
1. A regular .58 calibre Minié ball likely "dropped" not fired.
2. A dropped Minié ball, with either a casting or swage (mechanical pressing) seam showing in upper portion.
3. A Confederate CSA ball acquired in Virginia.
4. A .69 calibre Minié ball, flattened by something, perhaps by a soldiers foot, or wagon?
5. A pistol ball, shaped like current day bullets, likely a .44 calibre or so.
*Row two, left to right:
1. A "worm" pulled Minié ball. (A worm was a device than could be screwed into the soft lead of the bullet to assist in its removal from the barrel if not fired).
2. A pulled Minié ball, but not wormed.
3. A Williams bullet . (These were extensively used but amounted to only about 10% of total bullets fired.)
4. A "star base" Minié ball, believed to have been professionally made in an armoury.
5. A "nipple protector" made from a Minié ball.
*Row three, left to right:
1. A fired smashed Williams bullet with zinc washer at base.
2. A lead ball, likely either a "musket ball" or part of a "buck and ball" set - 2 small and 1 large lead ball.
3. Several percussion caps, probably from a Union Spencer rifle.
4. Two different size lead balls, most likely from either a pistol, or buck and ball sets.
Ball on the left is a "regular" Minié ball, with conical concave base.
Second from left is the "star base" Minié ball shown in Illustration 1, which has a five point star in the top of the cone, which is very rare, and supposedly means it was professionally manufactured in an armoury in comparison to those made in situ from molten lead and a mould.
Third from left is the top of the worm pulled bullet shown in Illustration 1. It is possible to see the imprint of the screw threads of the "worm' the soldier used to pull the bullet from the barrel.
The speed that this bullet could be loaded was increased due to the fact the each action of loading did not need to be punched home with the ram-rod or a patch added to stop the ball dislodging during a running battle.
The beeswax and tallow lubricated ball and its own powder charge were enclosed together in a double paper case, which had originally been patented in England in 1847 by George Arrowsmith and designed to hold a predecessor of the Minié ball.
It just took a moment to tear off the outer paper, usually with the teeth because the rifleman's hands were usually busy, drop the powder - followed by the pre-packed bullet - into the barrel, one ram, and the musket was almost ready to fire.
A salts of mercury concoction known as fulminate and inserted in a percussion cap that was first patented in Paris in 1820, was placed on the hollow iron nipple leading into the powder in the breech. Often, if the original protector that was supplied with the weapon was lost, to protect the nipple from the weather or accidental fouling, a Minié ball was opened out and fashioned to fit over it and was removed prior to firing. (Refer above Illustration 1).
When the trigger was pulled, the hammer fell onto the explosive fulminate percussion cap, the resulting flash was directed through the hollow nipple to ignite the gunpowder charge in the barrel and the Minié ball was on its way.
The three grooves imparted a spin on the bullet and the weapon could fire farther with much more muzzle velocity.
It didn't improve the shooter's accuracy however, and many reports tell of miraculous escapes when under heavy fire in the heat of battle. A careful aim on a target range was one thing, but it was different when sheets of the enemy's lead were coming from the other direction.
Compared to the speed of loading the early types of metal cartridges - some rim-fire types were already available prior to the Civil War but usually for made for pistols or custom-made rifles- it still was a slow process but, with practise, these small improvements meant that it took a man a fraction of the time to load and discharge his musket than it had in the past.
The big lead bullet, with its internal iron cup, tended to spread even further as it hit an object and the wounds created by it were horrendous as many contemporary reports highlight. A bullet this big could easily tear off an arm or leg or create a shattering wound that usually meant amputation - minor gunshot wounds caused by Minié balls were relatively non-existent.
Some reports give a figure of 90% of small arms casualties, estimated to be at least 234,000 men, died from the wounds inflicted by a Minié ball bullet that hit them. A detailed and graphic description of the consequences of a Minié ball strike can be found at: http://www.rootsweb.com/~momonroe/minieball.htm
The following extract is from an article in the 'Tasmanian Numismatist' March 1999 and was compiled from archival reports of the Battle of Chancellorsville. The bullets that struck down the Confederacy's finest soldier were believed to be Minié balls.
retreating Union force had been pursued by Lt. General ‘Stonewall’
Jackson and his troops during the late afternoon and, as they were returning to
their lines in the darkness, they were fired upon by their own nervous
Several of Jackson’s officers were killed outright, and the General received a wound in his right hand and several in his left wrist and arm that left it so severely damaged that it required amputation early the next morning.
Jackson seemed to be recuperating well from the wound, when he unexpectedly took a turn for the worse and pneumonia set in. He started to seriously deteriorate and his wife was called to his side, to learn that he was dying and would not last out the day. When she told him - he smiled, and his last words to his wife and his family doctor were, "It’s Sunday - it’s a good day to die", then he lay quietly for a while before starting to mumble some incoherent orders to his sub-ordinate Lt.- General A .P. Hill. Shortly afterwards he quietened down again before smiling, and saying in a clear loud voice, "Let us cross over the river and rest under the shade of the trees!"
He then fell silent.
‘The South has lost a fine soldier and a pious gentleman.’ said a devastated Lee on learning of Jackson’s death."
The following extract is from an article in the 'Tasmanian Numismatist' September 1999 and was compiled from research of various archival sources. It recounts a little more of the life, times and death of Lt. General 'Stonewall' Jackson.
"Thomas Jonathan ‘Stonewall’ Jackson (1824- 1863) was born in Clarksburg, Virginia, January 21st., 1824. Orphaned at age 7, Jackson went on to graduate at West Point (17th. out of 59 in his class) in 1846.
He took up a position as Professor of Natural History and instructed artillery at the Virginia Military Institute and married Miss Elenor Junkin in 1853, who, unfortunately, died early in their marriage. He remarried again in 1857 to Mary Anna Morrison and built his only home at 8 East Washington St; Lexington where he joined the Lexington Presbyterian Church and became very religious and was nicknamed ‘Deacon Jackson’.
When war was declared Jackson was immediately available and, in 1861, he rode away and never returned home alive again.
He used to ride into battle with one arm raised to offset what he declared was an ‘off-balance of his body’ and ate standing to ‘aid digestion and straighten his digestive tract’ and it is reported that he nearly always carried a Bible with him.
Highly regarded as a gentleman and a competent officer, Jackson’s stand against superior Union strength was regarded as the reason why the Confederate Army won the 1st. Battle of Manassas - also known as the 1st. Battle of Bull Run - on July 21st. 1861.
Affectionately known as ‘Stonewall’ Jackson by his troops and other officers, including famous Confederate Army commander, General Robert E. Lee, he died in the presence of his wife in the bedroom of a Chancellorsville farmhouse on Sunday, May 10th. 1863 from pneumonia that had unexpectedly set in while he was recuperating after suffering his severe arm wounds. On the evening of 4th. May, he and several other officers were fired upon accidentally by their own infantry piquet, just after the successful conclusion of the Battle of Chancellorsville, as they were returning to their own lines in darkness.
His body (minus his left arm which was amputated after the shooting) is buried at Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery in Lexington, Virginia - the arm is buried at Ellwood Family Cemetery, Spotsylvania, Virginia.
Thomas J. ‘Stonewall’ Jackson was posthumously honoured on only one C.S.A. note and that was the $500.00 issued in 1864."
One disadvantage with the concave base design of the Minié ball was that occasionally the iron cup was blown clean through the bullet and shattered pieces could go in any direction - including into the backs of any friendly troops immediately in front of the shooter. To stand up when the Minié balls were whistling through the air took a brave man and, unfortunately, both the Union and the Confederacy had tens of thousands of brave men.
On June 3 1864, in a battle at Cold Harbor, just southeast of Richmond, Virginia, over 7000 Union soldiers died in 8 minutes.
In the weeks leading up to the Cold Harbor horror, 29,000 from both sides were slaughtered in three or four days of actual fighting around Spotsylvania and an are known as the Wilderness.
These were relatively small battles in the overall scheme of things.
The combination of artillery - and troops with Minié ball loaded muskets - was devastating to both sides, and brave men died just as easily when struck by a poorly aimed .577 calibre bullet or an impersonal piece of jagged shrapnel.
During the conflict the Union Army had fielded 2,128,948 men - out of this 359,258 are known to have died.
Most of the records of the Confederacy were destroyed when Richmond was destroyed by fires that ravaged the city after it was taken by the Union army, but educated estimates of the Southern strength suggest it was a little over a million men - out of this, over 200,000 died.
The following extract is from an article in the 'Tasmanian Numismatist' March 1999 and was compiled from archival reports from the Battle of Gettysburg.
"They were standing - rifle barrel to rifle barrel - firing straight at each other, such was the ferocity of the battle.
The Confederate lines appeared to slowly melt away as they fell one atop of another under the withering fire of the defenders. The toll was terrible, in one area alone over 2,900 were killed out of the 5,000 that had marched down that section of Seminary Ridge with Pettigrew and Trimble, and up the gentle rise towards Meade’s headquarters which was in a farmhouse on the opposite Cemetery Ridge.
The overall losses around Cemetery Hill were so great that field hospitals set up by both sides could not cope, and the dead and wounded were left where they fell in great bloody swathes as the afternoon drew to a close.
The Union General, George Gordon Meade lost over 23,000 men and the Confederate General, Robert E. Lee lost 27,500 men in this one battle - 10,000 had fallen in Pickett’s Charge alone -can you imagine what the carnage must have been like! Lee was devastated as he rode through the battle lines and saw the heaps of bodies of ‘his’ Virginians. It is reported that he wept and said, "I am to blame for this"
One rebel soldier said it all, "We gained nothing but the glory!"
General Robert E. Lee Gettysburg casualties at Seminary Ridge Major-General George Pickett
The war has
been simplified as being a conflict to free the slaves - and no doubt this was a
major moral issue that was used as a rallying call by the Federal Union
government - but the issue from those states that had seceded from the United
States, was the point of view that their rights, as sovereign nations who had
voluntary joined the Union, were being usurped by the northern based Federal
government for political and economic reasons.
Many average Southerners did not own slaves, or even believe in slavery, but considered they were fighting for their state and its individual sovereignty and rights, and expressed the opinion that it was a similar set of circumstances that had occurred to create the break-away from England in the 1777 American revolution.
During the war, outstanding bravery was displayed daily and it is surprising to learn that the Congress of the Confederate States of America did not actually officially award a single medal to its fighting men even though a bravery medal had been designed and approved by an Act of the Confederate Congress on October 13th. 1862. It is believed only 4 or 5 patterns were made.
It appears that the cash-strapped Congress never got around to producing any for distribution.
"The Congress of the Confederate States of America do enact, That the President be, and he is hereby, authorized to bestow medals with proper devices upon such officers of the armies of the Confederate States as shall be conspicuous for courage and good conduct on the field of battle; and also to confer a badge of distinction upon one private or non-commissioned officer of each company after every signal victory it shall have assisted to achieve. The non-commissioned officers and privates of the company who may be present on the first dress parade thereafter may choose, by a majority of their votes, the soldier best entitled to receive such distinction, whose name shall be communicated to the President by commanding officers of the company; and if the award fall upon a deceased soldier, the badge thus awarded him shall be delivered to his widow, or, if there be no widow, to any relative the President may adjudge entitled to receive it."
In this war that divided the American nation, it was not uncommon to find that small towns and rural districts, both in the Union and the Confederate States, created their own militia and raised units that were made up entirely of friends, neighbours and family members - and, in the early part of the conflict, they fought under their own commanders, supplied their own uniforms and accoutrements, and had their own local and state banners as well as the Stars and Stripes, or the Stars and Bars.
More on the Confederate flags of the Civil War: http://home.att.net/~dcannon.tenn/fotc.html
The following extract is from an article in the 'Tasmanian Numismatist' September 1999 and was compiled from research of various archival sources.
"Mrs. Lucy Petway Holcombe Pickens designed, made and presented a battle flag to South Carolina’s Holcombe’s Legion - which was originally intended as a South Carolina home guard unit - and which had been named in her honour by her husband.
At the start of hostilities Holcombe’s Legion was expanded to have 5 Cavalry companies and 10 Infantry companies and most of these companies saw action. The Legion fought in 16 of the most violent major battles of the war as it tried to ‘hold the line’ and it had a total of only 175 men left when it surrendered, with General Robert E. Lee, at Appomattox Courthouse, on April 9th. 1865.
Mrs. Lucy Holcombe Pickens featured on C.S.A. $1.00 notes in 1862 on two emissions, and also on $100.00 notes in 1862, 1863 and 1864 with George Wythe Randolph."
As time went on, and the war swung the Union way, it was not unusual to learn that whole Confederate units had been wiped out in battle or decimated by disease and malnutrition.
The small Southern communities, which were basically rural, rallied behind the survivors as best they could, but they were woefully under resourced and would be eventually overwhelmed by the economic power that the industrialised North could bring to bear. Due to lack of hard currency reserves and many basic resources, the Confederate States of America made do with whatever they could and, as supplies diminished ever further during the period of conflict, any available silver or gold coin disappeared and inflated value banknotes were issued with no substantial backing whatsoever. Towards the end of the period even suitable paper on which to print these valueless notes became scarce and anything with a blank side was used.
Many notes issued by the individual Southern states, as well as those presented by the C.S.A. government to pay for imported armaments, were promissory interest bearing notes against future cotton crops but, with the successful Union blockade of Southern ports, the baled cotton eventually rotted on the wharves.
Many European companies, who covertly supported the Confederacy, accepted the notes and, ultimately, paid the crippling financial price when the war was lost and the C.S.A. notes were totally and permanently invalidated by the United States.
The following extract is from an article in the 'Tasmanian Numismatist' September 1999 and was compiled from research of various archival sources. It concerns some of the known facts of the Confederate Secretary of the Treasury and his problems.
"Christopher Gustavus Memminger, (1803-1888) was born at Wurttemberg in Germany, January 9, 1803 and was the adopted son of Thomas Bennett, a former Governor of South Carolina.
Little information is available on Memminger’s early days except from edited extracts from diaries and papers published late in his life - his memoirs were basically directed to his involvement with the Confederate States of America. As a career politician, Memminger had been elected as the Member of South Carolina state legislature during 1836-1852 and again during 1854-1860 and was an obvious choice for President Jefferson Davis to appoint as Secretary of the Confederate Treasury in 1861. It is known he had, at least, one son who became a doctor with the Confederate forces during the war. His eventual appointments included: Delegate to South Carolina secession convention, 1861; Delegate from South Carolina to the Confederate Provisional Congress, 1861-1862; and the Confederate Secretary of the Treasury, 1861-1864.
Memminger had little in the way of tangible finances to work with except taxation and bond sales during the early days of the war - and things only got worse as time went on.
With an obvious lack of support from the C.S.A. Congress he was always short of funds essential for the cost of running the breakaway states and the war effort, and he was eventually forced into authorising the printing of more paper currency backed by the promise of redemption at the cessation of hostilities and against future cotton exports to European markets.
Rampant inflation was the result as the war dragged on, and all sources of international credit dried up when the powerful Union shipping blockade eventually isolated the South - and the cotton exports to Europe rotted on the wharves. Memminger was made the scape-goat and forced to resign in 1864 when it became evident that the paper currency had become virtually worthless as the fortunes of war went against the Confederacy.
He died in Flat Rock, North Carolina on March 7th. 1888, and was buried at St. John’s of the Wilderness Cemetery, Flat Rock.
Memminger was featured on C.S.A. $5.00 notes in 1861on three emissions and also in 1862, 1863 and 1864; as well as on $10.00 notes with R. M. T. Hunter in 1861 on two emissions."
The following extract has been reprinted with permission from the - '2020site' - and contains details of coinage made in the early days of the Confederacy. The letters were written, years after the war had ended, by two gentlemen with impeccable credentials. Refer: http://www.2020site.org/coins/confederacy.html
"It has been said and repeated as a historical fact that the Southern Confederacy had no metallic currency. After a lapse of eighteen years the following official document from the Confederate archives explains itself, and substantiates the fact that silver to a limited extent was coined at the New Orleans Mint by order of the Confederate Government, in the early days of the rebellion, and only suspended operations on account of the difficulty in obtaining bullion for coinage."
1861 Confederate States half-Dollar
ADJUTANT GENERAL'S OFFICE,
WASHINGTON, March 27, 1879.
DR. B.F. TAYLOR,
New Orleans, La.
DEAR SIR:--The enclosed circular will explain to you the nature of the duties upon which I am now engaged; I would like to have from you, from file with confederate archives, a letter stating when you were appointed Chief Coiner of the Confederate States Mint, instructions received copies of the originals of any official papers, sketches, descriptions, etc.' of all the coins made, etc. This will make a valuable addition to Confederate history, and I know no one but you can give it.
Very truly yours,
MARCUS J. WRIGHT.
NEW ORLEANS, LA, April 7, 1879.
To HON. MARCUS J. WRIGHT.
DEAR SIR:--Your favor requesting a statement of the history of the New Orleans Mint, in reference to the coinage under the Confederate Government, is received. That institution was turned over by the State of Louisiana, the last of February, 1861, to the Confederate States of America, the old officers being retained and confirmed by the government, viz.: Wm. A. Elmore, Superintendent; A. J. Guyrot, Treasurer; M. F. Bonzano, M. D., Melter and Refiner; and Howard Millspaugh, Assayer. In the month of April, orders were issued by Mr. Memminger, Secretary of the Treasury, to the effect that designs for half-dollars should be submitted to him for approval. Among several sent, the one approved bore on the obverse of the coin a representation of the Goddess of Liberty, surrounded by thirteen stars, denoting the thirteen States from whence the Confederacy sprung, and on the lower rim the figures, 1861. On the reverse there is a shield with seven stars, representing the seceding States; above the shield is a liberty-cap, and entwined around it stalks of sugar cane and cotton, "Confederate State of America." The dies were engraved by A. H. M. Peterson, Engraver and Die Sinker, who is now living in Commercial Place. They were prepared for the coining press by Conrad Schmidt, foreman of the coining room (who is still living), from which four pieces only were struck. About this period an order came from the secretary suspending operations on account of the difficulty of obtaining bullion, and the Mint was closed April 30, 1861.Of the four pieces mentioned, one was sent to the Government, one presented to Prof. Biddle, of the University of Louisiana, one sent to Dr. E Ames of New Orleans, the remaining one being retained by myself Upon diligent inquiry I am unable to find but one piece besides my own that being in the possession of a Confederate officer of this city, who transmitted it to his son as a souvenir of his father's in the Confederate cause.
So soon as copies are made I will take pleasure in sending you a specimen for the archives you represent.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
B. F. TAYLOR, M. D.
Formerly Chief Coiner C.S.A.
Modern fantasy versions of the Confederate Half-Dollar are readily available.
The two 32mm. examples I have in my own collection are in polished Cupro-Nickel (silver and gold), but were manufactured as souvenir pieces for a few U.S. dollars each and have little value beyond that except as interesting tokens.
Instead of the Goddess of Liberty, the thirteen stars and the 1861 date as shown on the original, the un-dated obverse is a totally fantasy depicting a Confederate flag, shield and other motifs, a ribbon banner under the shield reads: Nulla Patria Amictæ Fidei. - with the wording 'Confederate States of America' around the bottom half of the field.
The reverse design, however, bears a 'spidery- thin' resemblance to the real thing.
The following extract is from an article in the 'Tasmanian Numismatist' September 1999 and was compiled from research of various archival sources. It concerns how the littlest things - like the lack of shoes - can change the course of history.
The old saying 'An army marches on its stomach' didn't mean much to those ever-hungry Confederate troops that had long since worn out their boots and their clothing and had little way of replacing them even if the did have hard cash money.
"Newly- appointed Lt.- General A. P. Hill, a pugnacious red-bearded soldier, who had acquired a record as a good divisional officer under ‘Stonewall’ Jackson, was approached by one of his leading divisional commanders, General Harry Heth (pronounced Heath), and asked that he be allowed to march some of his poorly equipped infantry troops into the nearby town of Gettysburg to obtain stocks of shoes that were believed to be stored there.
The local intelligence reports had mentioned that only a few Union militia and cavalry were in residence and should prove to be no real trouble to Heth’s infantry, so Hill gave his permission.
The township, with its Lutheran seminary located on a gentle ridge overlooking a shallow valley on its outskirts, was not considered to be of any great military importance. In fact, unknown to the Confederates, there were two brigades of Union Major-General John Bulford’s 1st. Cavalry Division stationed there.
The awful Battle of Gettysburg was about to start................................
The series of fateful
events at Gettysburg in July 1863, which turned the tables ever so slightly in
the Union’s favour, became a compounding effect that eventually became too
much for the resource-short Southern states to bear, and it was the beginning of
the end for the Confederacy.
Robert E. Lee continued to fight until he was forced to surrender on April 9th. 1865 at Appomattox, but, like the Confederacy, his heart was broken and all he wanted was peace. When he died in 1870 at age 63, he was acknowledged as a great general by both sides - his name became immortalised and his place in world history was assured."
So we see that Gallantry alone doesn't always win wars - but the endeavours of gallant men in this conflict should not go unsung whether they were the Union victors or the down-trodden Confederate 'Johnny Rebs'.
One way the common Southern people, of the day, chose to show recognition of the efforts made by their ragged local soldier heroes, was to present them with their own bravery medals - even if the Confederate Congress could not. There are several instances recorded of small quantities of medals being struck by local communities and presented during the War - and other instances are known of medals being struck by organisations some time after the event to commemorate the ultimate sacrifices that were made by too many brave men who happened to be on the losing side.
The following extract has been reprinted with permission from the - '2020site' - and contains details of one of the few belated medals produced to honour a particular event of bravery shown by Confederate 'soldiers'. Refer: http://www.2020site.org/medals/
New Market Cross of Honor
A twelve pointed variation of the cross pattee resting on a wreath, in the center a circular medallion bearing the seal of the State of Virginia. The four arms of the cross inscribed V.M.I. CADET BATTALION NEW MARKET MAY 15, 1864. The reverse is a smooth surface on which is stamped V.M.I. ALUMNI ASS'N. TO - leaving blank space for the name of the recipient. The cross is suspended by two chains, of three links each, from an ornamental clasp, inscribed FOR VALOR. Bronze. Size 40mm. exclusive of clasp.
of the oldest and most famous institutions of learning in the Southern states is
the Virginia Military Institute, at Lexington, Virginia, which was founded in
1839. At the beginning of the Civil War the distinguished Confederate
"Stonewall" Jackson was a member of the faculty. Among its graduates
were five major generals, nineteen brigadier generals and over five hundred
officers who served in the Confederate Army.
To carry out a scheme of cooperation with the Army of the Potomac, Union General Franz Sigel, with about eight thousand troops, started up the Shenandoah Valley, on the first of May, 1864, intending to march to Staunton, at the head of the valley, cross the Blue Ridge from there to Charlottesville, and continue further operations as circumstances might direct.
At New Market, about fifty miles from Winchester, he was met on May 15th by the Confederate General John C. Breckinridge, with a somewhat smaller force, and was decisively defeated, being driven back about thirty miles, with a loss of seven hundred men, six guns and considerable other supplies.
General Breckenridge's force had been hastily gathered, and, with the permission of the Governor of Virginia, the Cadet Battalion of the Virginia Military Institute, consisting of two hundred and ninety-four boys, from fifteen to eighteen years of age, volunteered. The services of two hundred and fifty were accepted, the remainder being either left on guard at the Institute or sick in the hospital. They behaved with great courage during the battle, about one-quarter of their number being killed or wounded.
Forty years later, the Alumni Association of the Virginia Military Institute, presented a bronze cross to each survivor of the two hundred and ninety-four Cadets, and to the families of those no longer living."
Main References/Highly Recommended* Internet sites:-
The '20 20 Site' * (Medals/Coins of the Confederacy). Homepage:
CWbullet.com * (The Minie ball bullet). Homepage:
Civil War Guns * (Tony Beck and Tom Kelly pages):
'Tasmanian Numismatist' - Internet Edition (Various articles):
The Story Behind the Story :- http://www.vision.net.au/~pwood/march99.htm
The Faces of the Other America :- http://www.vision.net.au/~pwood/Sept99.htm
Photographs/texts from the Jerry Adams' Militaria Collection - supplied by Jerry Adams. Homepage:
The Observer's Book of Firearms. by Nicholas du Quesne Bird - Published by Frederick Warne Publishers. 1982.
Epic Land Battles. by Richard Holmes. - Published by Peerage Books. (Originally published by Octopus Books 1976)
The Civil War. (10 Part T.V. Documentary Series). - Produced by Time-Life.
My Brother’s Face by Charles Phillips & Alan Axelrod. - Published by Chronicle Books. 1993.
World Paper Money. by Albert Pick and Neil Shafer. - Published by Krause Publications. 1998.
MISCELLANEOUS Q & A's
This is not an offer to professionally evaluate items or an offer to purchase or become directly involved in commercial dealings. The most interesting or most frequently asked questions will be answered - to the best of our ability - through these columns in a general manner as well as immediately and directly to the questioner if possible. All names and direct contact addresses that may be supplied will be kept anonymous unless advised to the contrary.
Recent Search Report Queries.
Recently an inquiry was made regarding British Trade Dollars - what were they used for - and why aren't they listed in some of the most popular English coin catalogues. The first question is easy - but the second question can only be guessed at.
The large U.S. silver dollars, Mexican Pesos, Maria Theresa Thalers and other silver coins such as the British Trade Dollar, were highly sought after for their constant standard high bullion value in years gone by. For trade purposes, their use was widespread during the 1800's and early 1900's in areas of the Orient and Africa where paper currency was not used and coinage was usually made of base metals or non-existent. The silver coin held intrinsic value and, whilst it could be retained for use with other traders or even adapted for personal jewellery as a form of carry around 'bank' or 'investment'.
Most modern numismatists would put a value of between US$20.00 - $50.00 on the British Trade Dollar coin for a Fine example of a common date with a big mintage, and double that for something in Extra Fine.
This is a nice large coin with an interesting history!
Silver coins, in particular, were a commodity that could also be smelted or beaten and used for other more practical reasons. Amongst my own militaria collectibles, I have a damaged ivory-handled Turkish dagger, (c.1915 from Gallipoli), with a small flat oval centre-holed metal guard, made of polished silver and cut to the size of the base of the handle, and another piece of flattened and dome-shaped polished silver over the top to hold the blade shank locking nut. They were designed to hold the blade shank firmly within the hollowed handle at both ends and also to act as a decorative addition to an otherwise plain dagger.
The top decoration, at least, was apparently made from a beaten Ottoman silver coin of unknown value - when the lock-nut is unscrewed and the handle dismantled it is possible to see faint traces of an inscription on the unpolished hidden side.
Although the British Trade Dollar issued between 1895 - 1935 was, in the main, minted in Bombay and Calcutta, over 17,000,000 of the 26.9568 g. coins were also struck in London in 1925 and 1930 and, because of this, some international numismatists consider that it should be possibly listed as an issued British coin even though its use was clearly intended to be in the Orient.
With a total mintage of well over 267,200,000 plus a handful of re-strikes, it appears odd that these quite attractive coins are tucked away like poor relations and, as the only Trade coinage issue authorised by the British Government, it seems a little pedantic to have these interesting Trade Dollar coins placed too away from the mainstream in major British numismatic publications. Mintages are not included in the British India coin catalogues that I have seen, so where do they fit in?
Whilst Trade Dollars are not part of the regnal issues bearing the reigning monarch's effigy, they do bear a symbol of Britannia carrying a shield that clearly shows the Union flag motif. What could be more British than that! - Am I missing a point?
Those who argue, that coins that are not manufactured for specific use in the country of minting should not be counted as coins of issue, should perhaps bear in mind that Sovereigns and Half Sovereigns were produced in England for Ottawa Mint - Canada (C), Pretoria Mint - South Africa (SA), Bombay - India (I) as well as Perth (P), Melbourne (M) and Sydney (S) Mints in Australia and are usually listed in British catalogues along with the same denomination English gold coins.
The rather large 39mm. Crown-sized .900 silver Trade Dollar coins are listed in the Krause publication, 'STANDARD CATALOG OF WORLD COINS' in the Great Britain section, as part of the 'Kingdom - Britannia Series'. (Item KM #T5)
In another Krause publication, 'UNUSUAL WORLD COINS' by Colin R Bruce II, an unusual variety dated 1908 (Item #XTC1) with the replacement text 'FOR JEWELLERY' on the obverse instead of 'ONE DOLLAR', is listed in an entry under Unusual Coins of Great Britain. Some references, found in other U.S. publications and catalogues that have been written about coins of the former British Empire, place the Trade Dollar amongst the Colonial coinage of Great Britain - for want of a better place.
However, leading English publications - such as Seaby's 'COINS OF ENGLAND and the UNITED KINGDOM' and Coincraft's 'Standard Catalogue of ENGLISH & UK COINS 1066 to Date' - do not acknowledge them because of the restricted terms of reference in these publications.
British Trade Dollar with reverse inscriptions in Chinese and Malay
STANDARD CATALOG OF WORLD COINS' by Chester L. Krause & Clifford Mishler - Krause Publications
'UNUSUAL WORLD COINS' by Colin R Bruce II - Krause Publications
Seaby's 'COINS OF ENGLAND and the UNITED KINGDOM'
Coincraft's 'Standard Catalogue of ENGLISH & UK COINS 1066 to Date'
'COINS of the BRITISH WORLD' by Robert Friedberg - The Coin and Currency Institute, Inc. N.Y. Publishers
'MODERN WORLD COINS' by R.S. Yeoman - Whitman Publishing Company.
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