Volume 13 Issue 9           Formerly published as the 'Tasmanian Numismatist' - Internet Edition' (Est. 1996)                 September 2008


Remember - be astute when you are handed change - not all the wonders of numismatics have been discovered yet - and they don't have to be shiny and new! This edition again features an assortment of  'trivia' that I think is of interest and I trust it will prove educational and entertaining to you as well. 

All or any prices quoted in articles in this newsletter, unless stipulated, are estimates only and they should not be considered to be an offer to sell or purchase the items mentioned or used as illustrations. Please note that the photoscans of numismatic items are usually not to size or scale, but - wherever possible - they are from the authors' own collection or the extensive picture library of the 'Numisnet World' - Internet Edition.

Any comments published in this privately produced newsletter do not necessarily reflect the views of the 'Numisnet World' (Internet Edition) nor its Editor.

Bearing in mind our public disclaimers, the Internet links selected by the authors of this newsletter are usually provided as a complimentary source of reference to the featured article in regard to: (1) Illustrations and, (2) to provide additional important information. These items may be subject to copyright.

We trust that this issue of the 'Numisnet World' (Internet Edition) newsletter will continue to provide interesting reading.

PLEASE NOTE - RE-STATED DISCLAIMER: Where on-line web-site addressess are supplied, they are done so in good faith after we have checked them ourselves - however, our readers are advised that if a personal decision to access them is made - it is at your own risk.





Edited by Graeme Petterwood. © 2008.


Please accept my invitation to make a contribution if you feel you have something numismatically themed that may appeal to a general level of interest and fulfills our stated editorial guidelines. I am always prepared to look at it - and if need be - assist in presentation.

However, not every submission will be automatically accepted for publication if common courtesy and acceptable moral standards are not upheld or the subject matter is not considered 'generic' enough for this type of newsletter, nor if the subject has already been covered in depth in earlier editions.

This is, obviously,  not a scientific-style journal - our object is to educate, certainly - but in an entertaining way for the average hobbiest collector. - G.E.P.



A great and worthwhile collecting theme

Originally suggested by T. W. 'Bill' Holmes O.A.M.

..... continued by Graeme E. Petterwood.

Recently, I was asked - rather innocently - by a friend, "How many silver coins are in your collection?" - and, of course, I couldn't tell him exactly.

Just as innocently I replied "Well ....I suppose - a few hundred of all shapes and sizes - from all over the world!" - and, as I spoke, I couldn't help but  remember an old friend of mine from the 'Tasmanian Numismatic Society', Mr. Bill Holmes O.A.M., who collected 'large' silver coins with strict parameters for size and silver content.  Bill retired a few years ago and decided to dispose of his beautiful collection back into the collector's market for the enjoyment of others. Unfortunately, one of Bill's reasons for selling-up was that he was also loosing the keen-ness of his eyesight and he could no longer appreciate the most important aspect of his hobby - that of looking at it's finer secrets.

Bill had allowed me to republish one of his early articles some years ago, and it is still worthy of a read by aspiring collectors of large silver coins - all the opinions stated in the article are Bill's.  Silver Crowns of the World - reprinted from 1998.  Refer: http://www.vision.net.au/~pwood/sept06.htm


However, the friend's query sparked a thought, the thought created an action - I checked my computer lists to see how many silver coins I actually did have.

Without spares, tokens or medals and medallions. I seem to have about  500 small face-value silver coins - give or take a few,  with silver contents ranging from very small percentages, such as  .100 Fine -  up to almost Pure Silver .999 Fine - and sized from tiny to 'pretty big'.

Just so that those who do care to read Bill's article (link above) can also relate to some other silver coins worth saving - I have included scans of some of my own bits and pieces. You will note that I have refrained from 'silver-dipping' my coins - I believe that the chemicals in some dips may be detrimental to the original patina on the coins and, with such a variance of Silver content - and coin condition -  I am loathe to experiment without expert advice.

These coins are no-where near as grand as Bill's original collection - but I had to start building at a point somewhere that my wallet could also support.



Spain (Mexico City Mint) .903 Silver 8 Reales dated 1804. Weight 27.07g - ASW ).7859 troy oz. - diameter 39.5mm.

United States of Mexico (Mexico City Mint) .100 Silver One Peso dated 1962. Weight 16.00g - ASW 0.0514 troy oz. - diameter 35.5mm.  


One of the first large Silver coins I deliberately bought, after talking with Bill Holmes, was a Spanish 8 Reales that was minted in Mexico in 1804.

These Spanish coins, often refered to as 'Spanish Dollars', had major connections with our early Australian numismatic history when thousands were converted into the famous 'Holey Dollar' to help overcome the shortage of English coinage in the early New South Wales colony in Australia.

It is also of note that the Spanish 'Dollars' had also been treated in a similar cavalier manner in several other British controlled colonies - e.g. Canada and Tobago - have a look at the list further down in the article - and it was not only the English who took the 8 Reales and made small change of it.


New South Wales 1813 'Holey Dollar' and the centre 'Dump' - now two coins - made from a host Mexico Mint Spanish 8 Reales coin


My 1804 8 Reales sample is not a Holey Dollar, and, I cannot even guarantee whether it was actually part of Australia's earliest non-English circulating coinage or not.- but it certainly could have! 

As both the holed and unholed Spanish Dollars were in circulation during those coin-hungry years, I like to think it was..

The story has been told elsewhere recently.  Refer: http://www.vision.net.au/~pwood/mar08.htm

I suppose I could say I opened my eyes ans fell in love with large Silver coins rather late in my collecting life - but better late than never!

As one of the inexperienced collectors whom Bill Holmes mentored over the last 18 years or so, I can now appreciate his interest and passion for the size and quality of larger silver coins - but, from neccessity, I had to start at the low end of the financial scale and bought quantity - not quality - before I was 'educated' -  to wait, save - and buy better! 

It was easier said than done, and I fell to temptation many times over the years - but, actually, I didn't regret it too much as I'm too much of a 'magpie'!

Bill told me of their beauty and warmth - yes warmth!  

"Hold a good old silver coin and a copper-nickel coin in your hands ...and  compare the feeling!"

He was right! Try it for yourself!


The circulated coins shown below are just a few of the large silver coins that I have managed to accumulate - and warm in my hands - over that 18 year period. In the scheme of things, I have not many of the extremely large coins to show, admittedly - but, to me, those I do have are a reminder of the lessons Bill taught me - and I know that those lessons are worthy of being passed on to you, our newer generation of silver coin collectors.

Resist temptation, and buy quality if you can - however, don't fill your collection with too many of those nice pretty 'silver trinket' coins that are now pouring out of our mints like overpriced excuses.  Yes! they are great to look at and nice to have - if you can afford to hang on to them and pass them on as potential heirlooms one day, that is also fine! 

However, for now, do your homework and use a bit of common sense on your selections. That was my justification when temptation beckoned!

Save some of your money for the existing quality silver coins with a real life and a real story - just like these oldies shown here - before they disappear forever! (The illustrations are not quite to scale - but you can get an idea of size etc. from the text.)


Australian .925 Silver Commemorative Crown (value 5 Shillings) dated 1937 weight 28.28g - ASW 0.8411 troy oz. -  diameter 38.5mm.

Bahama Islands .925 Sterling Silver 5 Dollars dated 1966.. Weight 42.12g - ASW 1.2527 troy oz. - approx. diameter 44.5mm

Mexico .999 Silver Libertad (Bullion value coin) dated 1991. Weight 31.100g - ASW 1.000 troy oz. - approx. diameter 36.5mm

Portugal .500 Silver Commemorative 1000 Escudos dated 1997. Weight 28.00g - ASW 0.4501 troy oz. - approx. diameter 39.0mm.


In 1938, another Australian Crown was produced as a circulation issue, but it proved unpopular and the coin was withdrawn shortly after release.

The amount actually issued in 1938 was relatively small - only 101,000 pieces - and, obviously, that coin is now far scarcer and more valuable than the 1937 commemorative coin which had 1,008,000 pieces issued to celebrate the coronation of King George VI.


Australian .925 Sterling Silver Crown dated 1938.

More valuable than its 1937 original issue.


Australian Proof Crown coins from 1937 and, particularly, 1938 are in such small numbers (250 and 100 only) that the price asked for them is usually extraordinary - between AUD$30,000 - $60,000 at least -  when they appear in the market-place.

Due to their large surface area, many of the basic circulation coins in this short Crown series are usually marked on their fields or edges in some way, by heavy clashes, when the 28.28g Sterling Silver coins came into contact with each other during the production process.

This is a problem often seen in other large coin issues, as well, whether it be .925 Sterling or .999 Pure Silver - or other less desireable, but harder, alloys.




Left: Chinese (Copper-Nickel) 7 Mace 2 Candareens (Dollar) 'fantasy' coin. Weight 28.4g - which is approx. 1.4g heavier than the genuine coin

Right: The genuine Kiang -nan Province Silver coin was originally minted in .900 Silver. Weight 27.0g - ASW 0.7814 troy oz. - diameter 40.0mm.

There are small intentional design faults on the cheap shiny 'fantasy' so that the Chinese makers can claim that it is not a counterfeit coin.

This item was retailed (cheaply) by a local dealer who was not aware it was not a genuine issued coin until it's discepencies were pointed out.


At this point, I will remind readers than some of these large fantasy Chinese coins are very well prepared indeed - and, supposedly, with all good intentions.

There are many famous coins manufactured as 'fantasies' in the Orient or Middle East for the tourist trade - and most are easibly identifiable by experienced collectors.  Some may even have a very small percentage of silver in the metal composition or as plating - BUT there are others which are carefully constructed replicas of rare date coins and they, ultimately, find their way into legitimate markets and are deliberately meant to fool the collecting public - and even some expert dealers.. We have discussed this very serious problem on several previous occasions, so - be aware!  CAVEAT EMPTOR!

Refer: http://www.vision.net.au/~pwood/july06.htm  - and -   http://www.vision.net.au/~pwood/aug06.htm


Great Britain 'Kingdom' - .900 Silver Trade Dollar dated 1899 specifically produced for use in the Orient - minted in Bombay, Calcutta and London - Weight 26.9568g - ASW 0.7800 troy oz. - diameter 39.0mm.

United States of America Administration - Philippines .800 Silver Peso dated 1908. Weight 20.000g - ASW 0.5144 troy oz. - diameter 38.1mm.


Egypt  .833 Silver 20 Qirsh dated AH1293 (year 33 = 1909 AD). Weight 28.00g - ASW 0.7499 troy oz. - approx. diameter 40.5mm.

France .900 Silver 10 Francs dated 1970. Weight 25.00g - ASW 0.7234 troy oz. - approx. diameter 37.5mm.


U.S. .900 Silver Dollar.  Weight 26.73g - ASW 0.7736 troy oz. - diameter 38.1mm.

 Top row (l. to r.) - 'Morgan' dollar examples dated 1903 and 1898. (Designed by George T. Morgan )

Bottom row (l. to r.) - 'Peace' dollar examples dated 1921 and 1922. (Designed by Anthony DeFrancisci)


Great Britain Crown (Value 5 Shillings) Double Florin (Value 4 Shillings)

and Half Crown (Value 2 Shillings & 6 Pence)

Top row (l. to. r.):  Crown .925 Silver dated 1899.  Weight 28.2759g - ASW 0.8409 troy oz. - approx. diameter 39.5mm.

Double Florin .925 Silver dated 1889. Weight 22.6207g - ASW 0.6727 troy oz. - approx. diameter 36.5mm.

Half Crown - .925 Silver dated 1898. Weight 14. 1380g - ASW 0.4205 troy oz. - approx. diameter 32.5mm.

Bottom row (L. to r.) Half Crown - .500 Silver dated 1928. Weight 14.1380g - ASW 0.2273 troy oz. - approx. diameter 32.5mm.

Crown - .500 Silver dated 1935. Weight 28.2759g - ASW 0.4546 troy oz. - - approx. diameter 39.5mm.



Austria .833 Silver Thaler dated 1780 - Weight 28.0668g - ASW 0.7517 troy oz. - approx. diameter 40 - 42.0mm. Vienna Mint.

This coin was restruck many times - up until 1975 -  in various European mints as a bullion Trade coin mainly for Afro-Asia use.

Refer: http://www.vision.net.au/~pwood/April2004.htm


The Half Crowns, or any other Silver coin under .500 Silver (or 20.0g weight) with a diameter less than 30.0mm., are not normally deemed as suitable in a 'large silver coin' grouping. Stringent adherence to the requirements, as laid down by dedicated  'purists', like Bill Holmes, will not suit everyone - as we must already realize. However, there are many big attractive silvery coins that are going to catch our eye and will, ultimately, find their way into our hoards - and hearts as well - as we seek the reason for their existence.


Some of the newer large Australian decimal  silver coins, a small selection shown below, are gaining some numismatic historical interest that will make them very desireable in time to come - and, as illustrations were already available amongst my previous scans - here they are once more with a few details..



1966 - the only circulation issue to date -  .800 Silver 50 Cent - Weight  13.28g - ASW 0.3416 troy oz. - diameter 31.5mm.


1988 non-circulating legal tender (NCLT) .925 Silver Dollar - Weight 20.0g - ASW 0.5353 troy oz. - diameter 34.0mm.


1990 - 1992 - 1993 - 1996 encased NCLT .999 Fine Silver Kookaburra Specimen coins - Silver Weight 1.0 troy oz. - approx. diameter 37.0mm.

Specimen coins nominal values. 1990 = $5.00; 1992 - 93 - 96 = $1.00


1996 encased and boxed NCLT 30th Anniversary Decimal Currency .999 Pure Silver Proof Dollar.

1997 encased and boxed NCLT 70th Anniversary Old Parliament House .999 Pure Silver Proof Dollar.

1998 encased and boxed NCLT 10th Anniversary Opening (new) Parliament House .999 Pure Silver Proof Dollar.

 Weight: 31.6g - ASW 1.0 troy oz. - diameter 40.6mm.


1997 - 1998 - 1999 - 2000 encased and carded NCLT .999 Pure Silver Kangaroo $1.00 series (1993 - ongoing) - Silver Weight 1.0 troy oz.

Diameter: 40.6mm.




 2000 & 2001 encapsulated (and metal cased) NCLT .999 Pure Silver Millennium Dollar Proofs - Silver Weight 1.0 troy oz. - diameter 40.6mm.

2001 (within flag-shaped wooden case) NCLT .999 Pure Silver State Tribute Series $1.00 Proof - Silver Weight 1.0 troy oz. - diameter 40.6mm.


In 2000, the Royal Australian Mint produced the first of two Millennium One Dollar Silver Proof coins - due to the confusion over whether the timing of the anniversary was actually 2000 or 2001. The second 'Millennium' coin was made in 2001. Both coins were 'pad-printed' in colour to highlight certain areas.

The first coin depicted the Sun, Earth and the Moon in conjunction - while the second was of an Egyptian obelisk - from which 'rays of learning and humanity' were emanating all over the world - both were encapsulated and housed in silver grey rounded-edged metal cases. Gold was also used as a coin highlight.

Mintage limits were set at 30,000 for each coin, but it is not known whether these amounts were actually issued.

Both coins are stunning - in my opinion - and, if financially possible, they should be obligitory items in any Australian collection - even though they are now becoming quite expensive on the secondary market.. The original Mint prices were (2000) AUD$59.00 and (2001) AUD$60.00 each.

The accepted retail prices - according to major cataloguer, Greg McDonald - earlier this year, were (2000) $250.00 and (2001) $125.00 respectively.

A fair return on our investment I would think!

As collectors, we must always be prepared to relax and  'stretch the edges' at times and be like a 'magpie' who picks up a few attractive things that are totally irrelevant - in our case - to our collecting specialities. It certainly makes life interesting - keeps us observant - and, sometimes, can also make us a nice profit!


Main References:

'Standard Catalog of World Coins' - published by Krause Publications.

'The Pocket Guide to Australian Coins and Banknotes' - by Greg McDonald.




We have discussed in some depth the fate of the 40,000  Spanish 8 Reales coins, usually known as Spanish dollars (with a value of 5 Shillings),  that arrived in Australia in 1812 and were seized and multilated to form two coins.

Under the orders of Governor Lachlan Macquarie in 1813, a former convict forger, William Henshall, was hired and authorized to 'professionally' produce the new coinage, which  was done in an effort to alleviate a chronic shortage of small change in the colony. The large .903 silver coin eventually ended up as an outer ring called the 'Colonial '(or Holey) Dollar - still valued at  5 Shillings - and a cut center plug (known as a Dump) was valued at 15 Pence in the colony - a total of 6 Shillings and 3 Pence - but only as 5 Shillings total bullion value elsewhere. It was a case of instant inflation - but it did provide the badly needed extra unofficial coinage that would not be so attractive to passing merchant ships which had started to call in at Sydney.

Without knowing all the facts, most newer or younger  Australian numismatists would think - "how ingenious!" - as they looked at the huge price tags on the historical Oz products in today's numismatic market. Why are they so valuable as a numismatic item?

Nearly all the original Holey Dollars and many of the Dumps were gathered up and remelted for their silver, in the mid -1800's, when these coins were officially demonetized as a quasi- trade coinage by the Government.

However, a near complete analysis of Monarchs and Mints (as known) of the remaining coins  is available, and full details can be obtained from Greg McDonald's book "Collecting and Investing in Australian Coins and Banknotes" (2nd Edition).

The estimates puts the number of Holey Dollars at approx. 280 and the 'Dumps' at approx. 1000  - a mere handful out of the 40,000 that were cut..

P.S. - There could still be others out there in family 'goodie-boxes' - so check if your grandparents or older rellies have any strange coins tucked away!


Collectors, even amateurs, may  be aware that most of the coins came from various mints in the Spanish colonial empire of the late 1700's and early 1800's.

Those currently identified as still in existence are: - Mexico (211), Lima (31), Potosi(28),. Guatemala (10, Madrid (4), Seville (20) and, unknown - due to wear, (1). The monarchs, whose busts or cyphers are known are: - Carolus (Charles) III (32), Carolus (Charles) IIII (212), Carolus (Charles) IV (11), Ferd. (Ferdinand)VI (1), Ferd (Ferdinand) VII (21) and, unknown - due to wear, (1).

The dates range from:  1757 - 1773 (2) and 1777 - 1810 (267), with an extra 9 that cannot be read due to wear or damage - a grand total of 278.


However, we should also know that the habit of chopping up Spanish coinage into smaller bits, or counter-stamping it, to show values established in other countries that previously had ready access to the coins,  had preceded  the Australian effort by some years, and, Governor Macquarie was only adapting an existing scenario, that he had seen or heard about, to our local need and conditions.

The following list is probably not all encompassing and it only concerns places, mainly in the South America and the West Indies areas (there are a few other exceptions), that normally wouldn't be a minting source of the proper circulating Real coinage - but it will give readers an idea of how widespread the Silver Real coins were being used at that era of unusual circumstances which we now refer to as being in the Old World.

Not only was the 8 Real coin obtained and abused, but also smaller denominations - mainly 2R & 4R and, sometines, even the 1 Real - were made into 'Bits', 'Quarters' or 'Half' Dollars (or their equivalent in the coinage of the area).

The British and French also often cut or holed silver coinage when needs arose and used Spanish coins, if available, at re-valued inflated rates as Macquarie had done.  Rates varied from place to place after coins were cut.

The illustrations (to the left) show a few ways how the coins could be holed or divided -  but often the process was 'rough' - and sizes did vary and often a bit of extra trimming or filing was done - unofficially, of course. The cost of the cutting was often offset by the profit from the re-valued silver.


1. - Various sized plugs would be removed and stamped to be used as secondary coins and the outer rings would be either given a new value or retain the value of the original coin. Often these outer rings were also countermarked with the official value. Occasionally the outer rings would also be cut into 4 or more equal pieces as well and valued according to current silver bullion rate.

2 - The complete coins would be cut into segments and each would be given a value according to size so that, Half Dollars, Quarter Dollars and 1/8 Dollars were available. The 1/8 Dollar pieces were often refered to as 'Bits' with 8 Bits to an 8 Real coin (the host coin was also often refered to as a Piece of 8) - 2 Bits equalled 1/4 Dollar and by varying the cutting it was also possible to have equivalent to 2 x 3 Bit pieces and 2 x 1 Bits (Quarter) from the single 8 Real coin.  These would be also valued at the current bullion rate and stamped as such. Smaller host coins were also cut and revalued based on their intrinsic silver weight.


Azores - Countermarked coinage of 1887 included 8 Reales coins with other colonial host coins.

British Honduras (now Belize) - Countermarked coinage between 1810 -1818 included 8 Reales coins

Brazil  (Various states) - Countermarked 8 Reales were stamped in values of 960 Reis in Mato Grosso Province from 1818, Cuiaba Province from 1820 and Minas Gerais Province in 1808 - 10.

British Virgin Islands (Tortala Province) - 1/4 or 1/2 cut 8 Reales with values of 2 Shillings and 4 Shillings and 1 1/2pence -  plus other small cut pieces from lower value Real coins. The half of a 2 Reales was known as One Bit (9 Pence). small rectangular pieces from unknown Spanish  or French silver coins were called 'Black Dogs' and usually stamped with the name 'Tortola' and others issued by a private plantation (Hodge) were stamped as 'Tirtila' - the value was 1 1/2 Pence.

Chile (and Royalist Chiloe enclave after independence) - Cast silver copies of the 8 Reales coin - various issues 1818 - 25.

Columbia (and Royalist Santa Marta after independence) - Countermarked 8 Reales coins 1809.

Costa Rica - Countermarked (and holed) coinage during 1841 - 45  included most denominations of Real coinage from 1/2R up to 8R. (The circular plug that was taken from all coins was used to pay for the work on the hosts.)

Cuba - Countermarked old  2 and 4 Reales were used between 1808 - 41 when they were recalled and new Spanish Reales were introduced.

Dominica - Countermarked, cut or holed (circular and crenated - notched or scalloped - edged plugs) 2, 4 and  8 Reales coins circulated until 1862 - all renamed as various denominations of  'Bits'.

Dominican Republic - Countermarked coinage of One Real and 8 Reales was available in Santo Domingo Province between 1804 - 1822

El Salvador - Countermarked 1, 2 and 4 Reales as well as other national silver coinages were circulated in the early volatile days of the provisional era of the Republic, between 1828 - 1839, due to a shortage of  new coinage.

Grenada - Various off-cuts of 2 and 8 Silver Real coinage circulated in denominations of 1, 2, 4, 6 Bits during the late 1700's and early 1800's during the Spanish withdrawal from the area.

Guadeloupe - Countermarked, cut and holed Spanish 8 Reales, plus French and English Silver coinage, was used between 1759 - 1816.

Guatemala - Rough silver 'cobs' with values of  2, 4 and 8 Reales circulated alongside full unaltered new silver coins during 1838 - 41 - and show traces that  they may have been cut from older colonial  8 Real coins

Guyana (Essequibo & Demerary) - A holed 8 Reales - revalued as 3 Guilders - and a serrated-edge dump - valued as 3 Bits - was produced in 1808.

Indonesia (Madura Island) - Various Silver coins were countermarked or cut into rough 'cobs' during the late 1700's - early 1800's -  including 8 reales.

Mexico (various states) - Cast Silver Reales and countermarked coins were widely used in Mexican states during times of unrest throughout the 1800's.

Philippines - Countermarked 8 Reales and other European coinage was in use in the Philippines during the colonial times but holed coins were invalid.

Portugal -  Countermarked Spanish  and colonial  8 Reales of various mints and dates circulated, at a value of 870 Reis, in Portugal during 1834.

Puerto Rico - In 1884, Puerto Rico countermarked and revalued a large amount of foreign silver coinage for use on the islands - redeemed in 1894.

Saint Kitts & Nevis -  A few 1/4 and 1/2 Dollars and Bits were cut and countermarked for these islands at the rate of 12 Bits to the Dollar (which had a value of 9 shillings or 108 Pence or 72 Silver or Billon 'Black Dogs'.)

St. Lucia -  Cut pieces of Spanish Real coins were known as 'Black Dogs', 'Stampees', 'Escalins' and various Livres & Sous denominations

St. Vincent - Countermarked and holed 8 Reales plus 'Black Dogs' and 'Stampess' were made from various colonial Spanish silver coins.


During this era, the value of the so-called Spanish Dollar (8 Reales) was still volatile and the number of Bits per Dollar varied as well, if not in size or quantity, at least in value as a 'coin' by all the European colonies around the world.

In 1812, just prior to when the Spanish Dollars were converted for the New South Wales colony in Australia, they were valued by Governor Macquarie at 5 English .925 Sterling Silver Shillings each.  Between 1798 - 1813, it appears that the host 8 Reales coin was then worth about 8 shillings and 3 Pence each  - which equalled 11 Bits in English sterling silver coinage -   in the West Indies areas that used the cut pieces. 

However, by 1813, the inflated value of the 8 Reales had risen to the equivalent of 12 English Shillings and that was equal to 16 Bits.

No doubt there were other places closer to home that dabbled with whole or pieces of the Spanish Reales - a big  .903 fine silver coin is intrinsic after all.

To get the full details and further illustrations, a diligent  study of a good world coin catalogue is required.


Main References:

'Standard Catalog of World Coins'  - Krause Publication by Chester Krause, Clifford Mishler and Colin R Bruce II (Editor)

'Monedas Y Billetes Español, 1833 - 1998' - by Carlos Fuster. (1999 Edicion).


 "Gutschein und Notgeld"

Austria and Germany 1916 - 1923

 The few items I am showing, in this brief article, are from my own collection. They were originally from Austria and Germany and were issued during, or just a few years after, the First World War when unprecedented inflation gripped the former Central European powers. These generally smallish  pieces of paper form an interesting subject in numismatic history and the ingenuity of people, and their local communities and organisations - who were faced with a financially-based dilemma not of their making - and who had to cope and make the best of a poor situation.

The scans shown below are not to scale - but the measurements are indicated in the text.


These interesting paper relics are known - and are usually classified in specialised catalogues -  as Notgeld and/or Gutschein - meaning that they are not official banknotes but authorised 'emergency' monies from either towns, cities or states , and they were printed to meet a severe shortage of coinage or currency during this financial turbulent era during, and after, the first war that would be called a 'world war'.

Many are typical pieces of  'numismatic art' - but there are others that were hurriedly knocked up to fill the need as quickly as possible.

The people - including the usual business retailers and traders -  had to survive as best they could, with what they had - or whatever they could improvise. That included something that would pass as money while real, intrinsic value, silver or gold coinage was virtually unavailable except at black-market bullion rates - and paper currency was suffering from super to hyper inflation - and its face value was changing daily -  sometimes more than once.

There were very deliberate political overtones mixed in with the reason for the hyper-inflation that occurred in Germany, in particular, and we have told the story of the rise of Nazi Germany and Adolf Hitler on several occasions, and the blackmarket and currency speculators who made - and lost - fortunes.

The victorious allies - particularly France - had imposed a crippling reparation bill on the conquered German-Austro-Hungarian empires - a sum estimated in April 1922 at US$33 billion - and it would come back to haunt them in the late 1930's - and again when Hitler rubbed the French noses in it when his 'blitzkreig' conquered France in 6 weeks in 1940.

This brief article is only presented to remind readers of the scope of the unofficial currency at that time - not the crisis that created the problem.


It should be noted that few records exist on the actual quantities of notgeld or gutschein that may have been printed - but, bearing in mind that some notes were numbered and the numbers are relatively high - the amounts may have been ernormous.

Many of the early issues had been 'covered' by official assets of some description - but later, it was obvious that many were not worth the paper they were printed on - and that reflected the same situation with official German and Austrian currency.

According to some research done years later, it appears that during the period between 1916 - 1922, a record  3658 places issued 36,000 different designs/value notes - quantities of each  are unknown - all under One Mark -  as small change notes..

Notes of over One Mark issued during the same period - from 579 places - were about 5,000 different designs/values (quantity unknown).

By 1922, as hyper inflation was starting to bite into the German economy, the number of different design/value notes with face values of between 100 - 1000 Mark,, and issued from over 800 places, was over 4,000 (quantity unknown).

When the hyper-inflation was in full swing during 1923,  the records indicate that 5849 places issued 70,000 different design/value notes (quantities unknown) and in 1924, as things were slowing down, the known listings indicate that at least 562 places issued approximately 3,660 different designs/values (quantities unknown)


The pieces shown below are only representative of the type of paper notes being issued - however, we do also know something about the issuing authorities and the types of items that they were responsible for.  For instance, not all early notgeld or gutschein was paper - in fact - quantities of metal 'token coinage' in cheap, readily available metals or alloys were also manufactured for more affluent groups.  However, the first issues of the metal tokens were not made until 1916 and many of those were made by the company of L.Christian Lauer - and they were usually sold by weight not by the number of pieces - but that is another story!



 Stadt Kõln (Koeln) Gutschein for 5 Mark - serial numberA1/ 081406 - issued 18 October, 1918 - valid for one month. (Size 125 x 80 mm.)

 Stadt Ahlen (Westfalen) Notgeld for 20 Mark - serial number 02117 - issued 10 October, 1918 - valid until Feb.1st., 1919. (Size 140 x 90 mm.)


The German state of Kõln - sometimes written as Koeln without the 'umflag' stress-marks over the õ when a keyboard doesn't have them included -  issued municipal paper money, authorised private issues, private metal token coinage, gas meter tokens, food and beer tokens, streetcar tokens - as well as a few porcelain tokens and used encased stamps as small change when metal became scarce. During WWI a series of POW notes were also issued by this region. The state of Westfalen, in contrast, limited its issues to municipal paper money and coinage.



Stadt Rothenburg Kreigsgeld (War Money) of 50 Pfennig - serial number 13383 - issued 31st. October 1918 - valid for one month.

(Size 95 x 60mm.)


When I first obtained the rather fanciful Stadt Rothenburg Kreigsgeld (War Money) 50 Pfennig note which is printed in black, white, yellow and red on thick beige paper - I thought it may have been a fantasy issue due to its amateurish finish.  It was cheap so I wasn't worried all that much, but, I wanted to identify it.

It is regretable, but facts are facts - and one emerges strongly - there were many abuses committed on the public, who were duped on occasion, by all sorts of issues from mythical towns, absolute fakes, out-of-date notes, retailers who devalued notes (which 'magically' regained value as soon as they were passed on as change) - name one way of fleecing the public and there would be a dozen varieties already out there!

It was nearly one of those notes that joined the heap of non-attributed paper scrip - except that, after careful perusal, it appears to be legitimate and was issued by the Rothenburg State Treasury and signed by the State Magistrate.  Unfortunately, his signature is unreadable but it may be on record elsewhere.

Just above the serial number, is the name 'Rothenburg a/T - and right at the end, partly undecipherable due to the creasing - and also at the end of  "Kriegsgeld der Stadt Rothenburg" are the same letters.

Rothenburg/Tauber in Bavaria (Bayern), issued municipal paper and metal token coinage so, I believe that this rather poorly preserved piece is from that region.  It is known that some private paper issues were also authorized by the state of Rothenburg.

(There is also a Rothenburg/Neisse in Schlesein - but they apparently only authorised private issues of paper and token coinage.)



500,000 Mark 'Bill of Exchange' authorized by 'Die Gewerbe - und Landweitschafts Bank' in August 1923. (Series A.) Serial No. 000445

(Size 170 x 100 mm.)

Stadt Krumbach 500,000 Mark Gutschein issued on August 11 - and valid until September 1, 1923. (Series A.) Serial No. 0517.

(Size 145 x 95 mm.)


During the early 1920's, as hyper inflation started reaching for incredible heights within the German official money markets, the demand on things like paper - and even printing presses and operators - also spiked dramatically. Local printers were also busy churning out issues of notgeld or gutschein for use within their municipalities - and, eventually, the quality of some of the notes produced began to reflect the situation. The notes shown above are printed on tissue-thin paper and show wear and tear - and even a hole - on the edges. Both notes have had additional ink stamps applied as authorization.

Highly inflated, very basic design,  authorized paper notes were issued by an 'industrial, (traders) and agricultural' private bank,  'Die Gewerbe - und Landweitschafts Bank' - at Landau/ Isor in Bavaria - the 500,000 Mark shown above was issued in August 1923 as a 'payment bill of exchange'.

The local state authorities also issued muncipal paper money and metal token coinage and service tokens as well.

The Bavarian state of Krumbach, which issued paper note like the  500,000 Mark in September 1923, also issued metal token coinage during this period...



Austrian Municipal Gutschein

 10 Heller Gainfarn Municipality (in northern Austria) - issued 26 May 1920 - valid until December 31st 1920. (Size 110 x 70 mm.)

80 Heller Grünbach bei Freistadt Municipality (in northern Austria) - issued 16 May 1920 - valid until January 31st. 1921. (Size 80 x 55 mm.)

10 Heller Pernau Municipality (in eastern Austria) - issued 15 October 1921 (2nd. Print) - valid only until 31st. October 1921. (Size 85 x 55 mm.)


Most of the Austrian municipalties only issued their own paper notes but there were exceptions, and, it is recorded that private notes and beer and food tokens were authorized.

As you can see, the factual information is scarce - it is almost impossible for a 100% accurate picture to be presented to collectors - regarding the quantities in print-runs, in particular. The situation with metal tokens is just as confused - they were made by the weight and, as planchet sizes were not standard, it would be virtually impossible to estimate with any degree of accuracy how many were made even if details of the weight were known.

Over the years, it is now possible to ascertain, with some sort of 'educated guess', the denominations of the various ranges of notes issued and the issuing authorities (or otherwise) - but the numbers will never be known - and this is one reason that this sort of item is usually down at the cheaper end of the market.  Most of these paper notes can be purchased for a few cents or dollars - on average - but some of the more official-looking pieces can hide behing the screen of a regular banknote and the asking-price is commensurate with a state issue. However, it is an historical aspect of numismatics that every collector should be aware of - and I hope this extremely brief 'poke at the edges' article might be enough to stir an interest.


Main Reference:

"A Guide and Checklist of World Notgeld 1914 - 1947"  - by Courtney L. Coffing. (Krause Publication - Second Edition 1988).








http://www.vision.net.au/~pwood/aug03.htm  - 1995 - 1997 (Volumes 1 and 2)

http://www.vision.net.au/~pwood/ept2003.htm  - 1998 - 2000 (Volumes 3, 4 and 5)

http://www.vision.net.au/~pwood/Oct2003.htm  - 2001 - 2002 (Volumes 6 and 7)

http://www.vision.net.au/~pwood/Nov03.htm  - 2003 - to date Nov. (Volume 8 to date Nov,)

http://www.vision.net.au/~pwood/dec2003.htm  - Final 2003 Dec. (Volume 8 final Dec.)

http://www.vision.net.au/~pwood/jan07.htm - 2004 (Volume 9)

http://www.vision.net.au/~pwood/feb07.htm  - 2005 (Volume 10)

http://www.vision.net.au/~pwood/mar07.html - 2006 (Volume 11)

The final Index of the 'Tasmanian Numismatist - Internet Edition' (Volume 12 - Issues 1 - 6) and;

The first Index ( Volume 12 - Issues 7 - 12) of the 'Numisnet World - Internet Edition' are shown at:

http://www.vision.net.au/~pwood/dec07.htm - 2007 (Volume 12)


'NUMISNET WORLD - INTERNET EDITION' Volume 13, January - June 2008








Our on-line Archives from 2000 to date can also be accessed (by subject matter) by using the Search Engine on our Internet page.

Earlier articles or subjects, where available, may be obtained - by written or email request  - from our off-line records.


'NUMISNET WORLD' - Internet Edition.

Volume 13 – July - to date 2008


Issue 7. July 2008:- http://www.vision.net.au/~pwood/july08.htm

Monetary Mementos of the Motherland - The First Fleet and early settlement. The earliest monetary problems arose when the motherland, in this case England, held the purse-strings too tight.- and how those problems were overcome with ingenuity - and a fair bit of graft - until the 'penny dropped'!

Tradesmen's Tokens - One of the alternatives to 'coin of the realm' were circulating bronze penny-sized tokens, normally privately produced as 'advertising pieces' - so it was said.They were not legal tender but who cared - they helped address a woeful shortage of small change for many years.

United States Presidential Dollar coins - the new series started in 2007 is planned through until 2016 - but it could go on forever......!


Issue 8. August 2008:- http://www.vision.net.au/~pwood/aug08.htm

Transport Tokens - 'Fares! Please! - the system of tokens that, while still relevant to some places in the modern world, is fast being overtaken by techology.

Banknotes at a Touch - the need for user-friendly banknotes for the blind has been on the U.S. agenda for years - but it's been left in the 'too hard basket'.

Bits from the Bottom of the Bin - the title says it all. Forgotten items that really do deserve another perusal - as well as some other interesting older stuff.


Issue 9. September 2008:-

'Cross my Palm with Silver!' - mainly a pictorial study of some large silver coins that have appeal to the 'magpie' who is always on the the Editor's shoulder.

'Bruised and Battered' - The Much Travelled Spanish Real Coinage. - a quick run-round of where the Old World's most popular coinage ended its journies.

Gutschein und Notgeld  - Austrian and German Emergency paper money 1916 - 1923. - An extremely tiny sampling of a hugely interesting subject..






The 'NumisNet World'’ (Internet Edition) newsletter has been provided with space on this privately maintained Internet site and is currently presented free on a monthly basis with the aim of promoting the hobby of numismatics. 

The ''NumisNet World'' (Internet Edition) newsletter abides by the same basic guidelines suggested for the official 'Tasmanian Numismatist' newsletter.

The ‘Tasmanian Numismatist’ newsletter is the only official newsletter of the ‘Tasmanian Numismatic Society’ and it is published periodically and distributed by post, or hand delivered, directly to members of the Tasmanian Numismatic Society and selected associates and institutions. All matters pertaining to the T.N.S. are re-published with the permission of the current Executive Committee of the ‘Tasmanian Numismatic Society.

Any literary contributions or relevant and constructive comments regarding numismatics are always welcome.

Please note that all opinions expressed in material published in the ''NumisNet World'' (Internet Edition) newsletter are those of the authors, and not necessarily those of the Editor. 

ALL comments in linked articles are the responsibility of the original authors.



The 'NumisNet World' (Internet Edition) newsletter complies with the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act.

Under this act, information about individuals can be stored and published only if: the information is already contained in a publicly available document or if personal information has been provided by the individual to whom the information relates, and if that individual is aware of the purposes for which the information is being collected.

All information published by the''NumisNet World'' (Internet Edition) newsletter is either publicly available, or has been voluntarily provided by writers, on request from the Editor of the ''NumisNet World'  (Internet Edition) newsletter.

While the ''NumisNet World' (Internet Edition) newsletter may hold writers' addresses and other details for the purposes of communication and copyright protection, it will never make such addresses or details available to any member of the public without the permission of those involved.

The 'NumisNet World''(Internet Edition) newsletter also respects the privacy of our readers. When you write to us with comments, queries or suggestions, you may provide us with personal information including your contact address or other relevant information. Your personal information will never be made available to a third party without permission.


All details of a commercial nature, organisations, items or individual arrangement to buy, sell or trade are provided in good faith as information only, and any consequent dealings are between the parties concerned. 

The 'NumisNet World' (Internet Edition) newsletter takes no responsibility for disagreements between parties, and also reserves the right to only feature information that it considers suitable in promoting the hobby to our readers. Deadline for any literary contributions or amendment to copy is 7 Days prior to the beginning of the month of publication.


The contents of this Internet newsletter, and all prior issues - included the 'Tasmanian Numismatist - Internet Edition' - are copyrighted ©, but anything herein can be fairly used to promote the great hobby of numismatics; however, we do like to be asked by commercial interests if they wish to use any of our copy. 

This permission, however, does not extend to any article specifically marked as copyrighted © by the author of the article. Explicit permission from the author or the Editor of the  NumisNet World' '(Internet Edition) newsletter is required prior to use of that material.


The Editor,

Numisnet World - (Internet Edition). 

P.O. Box 10,

Ravenswood. 7250. Tasmania.


Internet Page: http://www.vision.net.au/~pwood/tns.html

Email: pwood@vision.net.au