THE MOST SERENE REPUBLIC OF EXCELSIOR COINS
Denomination Year Remarks Mintage
100 Mill 2007 Fired Clay >500
100 Mill 2007 Wood 1” Square >500
200 Mill 2007 Fired Clay >500
200 Mill 2007 Wood 1 ½ x 1” >500
Half Quart 2007 Fired Clay >500
1 Quart 2007 Fired Clay >500
2 Quart 2007 Fired Clay >500
5 Quart 2007 Fired Clay >500
100 Mill 2008 Titanium 15 mm. 500
200 Mill 2008 Copper 17 mm. 500
Half Quart 2008 Brass 20 mm. 500
Clay versions are sold out. 1 or 2 wood versions remain. A few metal trials may still available by sending a message via CONTACT US. Please click WEB STORE at right.
THE MOST SERENE REPUBLIC OF EXCELSIOR NOTES
Denomination Year Remarks
50 Mill 1970s Green Paper
100 Mill 1970s Green Paper
150 Mill 1970s Green Paper
Half Quart 1970s - Current Green Paper
1 Quart 1970s - Current Green Paper
2 Quarts 1970s - Current Green Paper
2 1/2 Quarts 1970s - Current Green Paper
3 Quarts 1970s - Current Green Paper
5 Quarts 1970s - Current Green Paper
7 ½ Quarts 1970s - Current Green Paper
10 Quarts 1970s - Current Green Paper
15 Quarts 1970s - Current Green Paper
20 Quarts 1970s - Current Green Paper
30 Quarts 1970s - Current Green Paper
35 Quarts 1970s - Current Green Paper 1 Quart 1980s Thin Crown Printers paper
100 Quarts 2000 Hand numbered 20-25 made
1 Quart 2008 Souvenir denominated in honey
5 Quarts 2008 Souvenir denominated in honey
10 Quart 2008 Souvenir denominated in honey
50 Quarts 2008 Souvenir denominated in honey
NOTES: Green Paper versions estimated up to 21,700 over the two decades in lower denominations and about 1,000 in the larger denominations. The thin Crown Printers 1 Crown was expected to be about 30,000 total. Fewer than 100 Souvenir notes were made.
SEE WEB STORE FOR AVAILABILITY
These notes are printed on Crown Printers 2 Pound Manifold Bond paper that was available only to British Commonwealth Governments. When this paper was offered, Crown Printers was operated by the British Crown, mandated to operate the printing and paper needs of the Governments under or in association with the British Crown. Seeing how Excelsior is not a British Commonwealth nation, this is rather odd.
(click image for larger view)
ABOUT THE MOST SERENE REPUBLIC OF EXCELSIOR
Note on Excelsior coins: Excelsior reports in June 2014 that 10,312.4 Quarts in coins are in circulation. To demonstrate the chronic coin shortage, the 2013 gross earnings of the nation was 29,191,364 Quarts. The new 'coin standard' is: 100 Mill in Aluminum at .9 gram; 200 Mill in Bronze at 1.8 grams and the 1/2 Quart at 1.8 grams in Copper Nickel.
The Republic of Excelsior is an island nation located off the coast of Chile at the southern tip of South America. Located at Latitude 52 degrees, 31 minutes South and 72 degrees, 55 minutes West, Excelsior is about 220 kilometers West to Southwest of Punta Arenas. Excelsior is but one of thousands of islands off the coast of Chile. Some have never been explored. In recent years aerial pictures taken from aircraft have been made of all Chilean islands.
Excelsior covers 104.25 square kilometers. The terrain is mountainous with steep coastline. Waters around Excelsior are dotted with submerged rock that is a danger to shipping. Only one small protected bay allows smaller boats access to the island. Most cargo must placed on smaller boats to be brought to shore.
The island itself is a series of mountain peaks and valleys. Numerous ponds dot the countryside and exposed boulders are seen in every direction. Protected valleys provide micro-climates suitable for growing foods not normally grown in the area. Some valleys have lush vegetation and numerous springs, including some with warm to hot water.
Excelsior's population is 404 as of 1 January 2012. The population is divided in to 16 small villages, each occupying their own valley.
The people subscribe to the creed "A People dedicated to God, Community, Charity and Integrity create a Society where Freedom, Justice, Harmony and Prosperity flourish".
Valleys are laced with stone fences. Cattle grazing is reserved for specific areas and the mountainsides during summer months. Gardens and crops are grown within the stone fences.
Homes are made of stone and now have metal roofs. Homes have several rooms and always have a cellar primarily for food storage. Small mountain cabins made of stone are typically a small room. These cabins are used for summer grazing. They lack the more modern features. Homes in the villages now have generators, running water and indoor plumbing, however, summer cabins do not. There are 191 homes and cabins on Excelsior.
Women generally tend to the animals while the men work the garden and grow the crops. Typically young women are sent with the cattle to graze the mountains during the summer months.
Islanders lead a simplistic lifestyle primarily based on religious teachings. Both the Quaker and Apostolic Lutheran faiths subscribe to a simple lifestyle without overt materialism.
Religion plays an important part in the daily lives of the citizens. While wine is consumed, typically with a meal, drunkenness is abhorred.
Impromptu community gatherings are frequent in each village. Every village has a community building where items for sale are offered. People show up during the day and evening. Any meetings of groups are held here. In addition, a small library occupies a part of the building. Frequently friends gather for coffee, conversation and perhaps a game of cards.
In recent decades, the close-knit group has established cottage businesses. Some 36 odd such businesses are found on the island. Sixteen businesses are considered fulltime and serve all the villages with needed services.
The business community varies with local needs. In one village, one lady bakes bread by order. A man with a relationship with a seed company sells seed to locals so there can be a price break and he, a profit. Another lady serves lunch. There is a seamstress who makes clothing and mends. Another man delivers milk and butter to customers.
Excelsior may not appear wealthy, but the economy says different. Excelsior’s income was valued at $10,413,819.28 in 2011 representing about a 1% increase over the previous year. .
Each village has a community market where neighbors take items they have to ‘sell’ to other neighbors. Neighbors bring their items, display them and suggest a price and what items the owner desires. The typical transaction might work in this manner. A neighbor comes to the market to get eggs. This neighbor has several jars of honey to ‘sell’. As the neighbor who owns the eggs wants honey, the neighbor owning the honey will exchange a dozen eggs for a jar of honey. To assist in ‘fair’ trades, sellers set a suggested price for the items. As long as the prices are pretty close, the trade without money is made. At the end of the day neighbors come back to the market to collect their money and or items. Frequently last minute trades take place.
Excelsior in the past 50 years has moved from an almost all barter system to using currency. Barter is still preferred in most local transactions. Many have claimed the barter system was complicated and detailed.
Business in Excelsior has changed over the years. In the early days, products were traded for products. When a service or product required a wait to claim, a note was exchanged. In the intricate system of barter, it was not unusual for the note to be used to extend credit via another note. For example, a year of milk and cheese from a neighbor might be exchanged for a percentage of another neighbor's crop of potatoes that are not ready for harvest. When the dairy farmer needs a sack of flour, he may trade some of the potatoes from his neighbor. As you can see, the barter system could become very complicated.
Once the barter system became more intricate, village leaders (from each household) would appoint one elder to oversee exchanges. The elder would act as a third party witnessing agreements and nailing down a specific value. This led to village issued notes that eventually began circulating village to village. Once this happened, the quarterly gathering of elders decided it was time for Excelsior as a nation to issue currency.
Agriculture and animal husbandry is very important to life on Excelsior. Each family has a garden where fresh fruits and vegetables are grown. Usually several fruit trees are on each property. It is typical for at least one family in each village to own several cows. Local cheese, butter, milk and beef is always available. Some families raise chickens or pigs. Several years ago the National Council voted to disallow imported cattle because of the threat of mad cow disease and last year voted to disallow imported fowl because of the threat of the bird flu.
A financial success for Excelsior has been it’s production of dwarf citrus and grape growing. Dairy farming is a big contributor to the economy.
The first inhabitants understood the importance of citrus fruit to prevent scurvy. As a result, the people began to raise citrus indoors to meet their nutritional needs. When the islanders discovered their protected valleys allowed for greenhouse farming, the citrus industry began in earnest. Likewise for grapes. Wild grapes had already been found on Excelsior, but popular varieties required certain growing conditions. The rich soil of the valleys matched with the shelter from wind, proximity to water and use of greenhouses to trap heat, grapes flourished. The result has been profitable for Excelsior as it provides the region with citrus and grapes. Apples and peaches are also profitable, although cold years severely affect the peach crop.
In recent years “ice wine” has been produced on Excelsior. This rare wine is made from grapes that are picked while frozen and immediate crushed for wine before thawing. Ice wine is very popular for its intense flavor and commands a high price worldwide.
Dairy products make up the exports with several varieties of cheese produced for the region. Excelsior dairy products are known for their richness, purity and flavor.
Although a national currency is in use throughout the nations, there is still a tendency to barter among neighbors and for the 12 stores to invoice customers monthly for their purchases. The result is in the 'numbers'. On paper, the per capita income is actually about 50% of actual earnings. It is very common for a jar of honey to be traded for a quart of milk or a dozen eggs traded for a loaf of bread. Generally speaking, cash is used for imported items. Locally produced items are usually bartered.
The money circulating in Excelsior is the Quart. Originally “Quart” was the local term for one-fourth of a Real. Additionally, a quart of honey, milk or some other product was a medium of exchange. The quart equals 1,000 Mill. The quarter Real was divided in to mills or one-thousand.
Early money was handwritten on whatever paper was available and duly signed. These notes were in different denominations. In 1972 the first national currency appeared. This was denominated in 50, 100, 150 and 500 Mill, 1, 2, 2 1/2, 3, 5, 7 1/2 and 10 quarts. Shortly after, notes in 15, 20, 30 and 35 Quarts were added, but few were made. A special commemorative 100 Quart note was issued for collectors but only 20 to 25 were made. Notes are made on handmade paper and contain the national seal on issues since 1973. The only note that has been seen in circulation recently is a 1 Quart note.
Then clay coins were made in 100, 200 Mill, 1/2 Quart, 1, 2 and 5 Quart denominations. These are no longer circulated.
In 2008 Excelsior issued its first metal coins: the 1/2 Quart in Brass, the 200 Mill in Copper and the 100 Mill in pure titanium. At the same time a very limited run of Quart banknotes (in quarts of honey) were issued for overseas distribution. The first postage stamps appeared as well. The stamped and postmarked envelope, banknote and coins were sold as a package. The limited run sold out in ten days.
There are frequent coin shortages in Excelsior. Metal coins tend to go very quickly, resulting in the Council ordering paper notes or wooden and clay tokens to supplement the supply. The Council has stated the cost of minting thousands of coins seems unneeded when temporary issues can fill the void. This writer hopes they will choose to mint coins ample for their need. There has been some talk of doing so, following the success of overseas sales of the 2008 issue.
As of 01/01/2012, the Quart has a value of $0.67 US.
The island is currently working toward a coin release of significant quantity to allow for their coins to be had by coin collectors although the release will be deemed small by international standards.
Excelsior has an extensive road system. There are 94 kilometers of gravel roads and 57.5 kilometers of dirt tracks. All roads are one lane. With few vehicles, roads are mostly vacant. In recent years NEV (Neighborhood Electric Vehicles) have become popular for fast transport about the nation, although they are few in number. Such vehicles have a top speed of 40 kilometers an hour. Aside from a horse and wagon for moving large quantities of supplies, two old pick up trucks provide the means of hauling, frequently driving most roads each day.
There is a small landing on the southeast side of the island. Smaller boats can enter the protected bay. Two boat owners take products from Excelsior and bring supplies to Excelsior on a bi-weekly basis.
A grass airstrip is maintained. There is no scheduled air service. The air strip is used for emergencies only. The owner of a six seat plane will serve the island as needed.
Education is a top priority for Excelsior. Students attend school 35 hours a week, 39 weeks per year for 12 years. Forty part-time teachers offer a variety of subjects to students with hands on experience in the fields of the student's choice. In upper years, 4 week special interest projects immerse students in the basics of various occupations.
Unique to Excelsior, the rite of citizenship comes after graduation and a two year period of service to the nation. Commonly stated as repayment for their education, students must work for the government on various projects to improve the quality of life for 96 weeks before being granted full citizenship. Some students in upper grades work during times school is not in session to ‘get a head start’ on the requirement. Islanders believe this ritual is a good exercise in teaching students a love of their country, social responsibility and a sense of value to citizenship. Excelsior believes this work creates better citizens.
Typically students work in their fields of interest but some time must be spent in common work projects which might include improving roads. The Council has in recent years expanded the role of the Youth Corps, making them responsible for more duties. The result is the annual government budget has been cut in half.
Excelsior is officially named The Most Serene Republic of Excelsior. From our research, it is fairly safe to say Excelsior is the most democratic nation on earth. The nation's motto: "A People dedicated to God, Community, Charity and Integrity creates a society where Freedom, Justice, Harmony and Prosperity flourish.”
Every adult has a voice in Government. At the local level, the elder male of each home is to speak for the members of his household. The elder male of each household or the person of the household’s choice is on the community council. The Elder is expected to work for the greater good of the family and community without prejudice toward the family’s desires. Each Elder from each family serves on the local board with one of the Elders elected or appointed by each community council to represent the community on a national basis.
The local council must meet quarterly to conduct business but frequently informal gatherings conduct business as needed such as tending to the needs of the village. The elders might meet to organize work, for example.
Each quarter, a formal meeting to conduct the nation’s business is held. Comprised of the representative of each village, the group’s first business every 6 months (or every other meeting) is to appoint one of the representatives to act as the Administrator. The Administrator oversees the work of the nation, seeing to its proper execution.
An interesting point in the actions of Government comes from the religious beliefs of the citizens. The Quaker belief is that all people have an equal vote. To come to a decision, all people must agree to the decision. While this might seem to insure little is done because of disagreement, in Excelsior plans are presented with all input taken in to account from the council. The Council then works on finding a solution every council member can find agreement with. While such a philosophy might cause great distress elsewhere, Excelsior citizens are acutely aware that they need one another to make the nation work, so in a desire for harmony and positive relationships, all work toward a mutual decision all can agree with.
While no elections are held, Excelsior Government is indeed represented in every home on the island.
The Government levies no taxes. A landing fee of 5% of the value of imported items is charged. This is the only tax. All council members serve without pay. The Administrator or overseer is offered a salary. The hospital operation, school and media is funded by Government. Most funds come from donations from citizens and through the sale of media advertising.
The Administrator expects help from other elders in his village while he attends to national business. The salary for the Administrator is 37.5% of the per capita annual income.
Teachers are paid likewise with families expected to ‘pitch in’ to assist teachers as needed. In each case, this help is considered an obligation to ‘pick up the slack’ for lost time while the teacher instructs children.
The Government budget is about $667,840 US with revenue at $658,250 US. The Government borrowed $9,590.00 from the 2010 budget.
Government expenditures are now much lower than in previous years. The Council has paid off improvements that were financed and some responsibilities are now run by the Youth Corps (each school student must complete two years of national service or 4,000 hours). The Council is now encouraging private investment for projects and many of the services handled by the Youth Corps. The learning is toward more volunteerism in Government. The annual budget has be cut in half in the past two years.
Excelsior was an uninhabited island before being settled by the ancestors of the present population in 1862. Excelsior represents a very unique blend of cultures, beliefs and languages.
A small group of Finns seeking religious freedom with dreams of the South Pacific isles managed to make it to the shores of the Shetland Islands where a small group of Quakers sought religious freedom. Finding a Captain willing to take the groups closer to their destination, a small group from the nearby Orkneys and a few converts in England joined this small band of people.
Months of heavy labour resulted in the funds capable of hiring a crew and ship to take the group, numbering 78. The concept was for both groups to sail together to the South Pacific with each group wanting to settle on an uninhabited tropical isle.
The journey went well until the group met with heavy weather while coming about Cape Horn. For hours the crew fought the terrible storm. With waves crashing over the deck, all hands worked in vain to prevent the demise of the ship. Blown off course, the vessel snagged underwater rocks near what appeared to be an inaccessible island. During the early hours the ship took on water and began to break up in the storm. Only a couple of hours before sunrise, the crew and passengers were forced in to the cold waters as the storm raged on. About sunrise the first of the group made it to shore.
While the number who perished in the storm is not noted specifically, many of the crew heroically lost their lives saving the passengers.
The group, now forced together on an uninhabited island, quickly worked to secure themselves against a relentless mother nature. A fresh wind, hard rain and chilly temperatures are normally not life threatening, the physically exhausted and injured group was especially vulnerable without shelter and without food.
Within the first year the number of survivors was only 35. The population was malnourished, unhealthy and not far from death, but they struggled onward. From living in hand-dug caves and eating anything thought to be life-giving, the hapless population managed to survive, making improvements along the way.
It was quite some years before the settlers were found by another ship. This began a trade with the outside world. The islanders most wanted citrus seed and seed of other vegetables and fruits. Some bartering for a few cows came later. Tools to utilize the work at hand offered a better life.
It was in the late-1800s when the first stone houses were built. Gardens were flourishing and life had greatly improved. Even prior, the islanders had chosen not to be rescued. It was the bond and sense of community the hardest years had cultivated that made Excelsior's inhabitants believe they needed each other to survive. Rescue would mean they would all go separate ways. They could not stand the thought. Also, the belief religious oppression would make them social outcasts, the group decided to stay put.
Excelsior was settled by inhabitants of Finland, Ireland, Scotland and England. The Finns subscribed to the Apostolic Lutheran beliefs while those from the British Isles were of the Quaker sect.
While both groups suffered from a language barrier early on, religious teachings did also. While Quakers quietly wait on the Lord for inspiration, the Apostolic Lutherans utilize Bible teaching in their services.
With inner-marriage and time, both sets of beliefs have come together. Neither name is used for Churches and both belief systems have molded in to one. Churches typically meet in homes, although one small Church has been built. A typical service now includes both a silent period and a Bible Study based on the belief the speaker will be inspired by the Holy Spirit to find that section of the Bible for the day’s instruction. Each service includes communion in most Churches.
While there are only two Church buildings in Excelsior, most meet in homes or the community building. Typically, most villages have a Church that holds services every 2 or 3 weeks with a neighboring village or two attending. Only those Churches meeting in dedicated buildings meet weekly. In the country, there are 8 or 9 worship services held each Sunday among the various villages.
There is little outside contact. Mail is sporadic and communication is generally by radio. On the island there are no telephones. A number of channels is set aside for two way radio. Every home and now most citizens have a two way radio to maintain local contact. The country adopted the same Family Radio Service (FRS) channels in lieu of a telephone system. Community to community communication is possible from the appointed elder in the community. In this case, the community to community communications occur when someone wanting to contact someone in another village goes to the appointed elder’s home to use the radio.
Many times, communication is handled via the newspapers and by radio. It is not unusual to hear an announcement saying someone will be in a certain village at a certain time and would like to visit with a specific person.
The Excelsior Miscellany is published weekly featuring news items from all the 16 villages, reading more like a diary, including government news and is supported by advertising. The Miscellany’s income for 2009 was 34,242 Quarts. Two small books were printed in 2009.
A radio station broadcasts 24 hours a day. The station began with mostly news and announcements, broadcasting about 19.5 hours a week. At that time the station was funded by the government. As computers began to be utilized, the station increased the hours of operation. The station is now broadcasting live 15 hours a day on weekdays and run by computer when unmanned. The station offers news, announcements, frequent weather reports, a variety of music and DJ programs. Local music is included in the broadcast day, featuring local Excelsior recordings of traditional favorites. According to a survey of the population over 12 years of age, radio listening averages 50 hours and 24 minutes a week. The station is now directed by a board responsible for its funding. In 2009 advertising sales totaled 120,720 Quarts. At present, 98.7 FM operates at 100 watts from a 60 foot tower.
Broadcast and satellite delivered television is unknown in Excelsior. Videos of school lessons on DVD are common, however.
The internet is now available throughout the villages. It has already become an important tool in the schools.
Excelsior is a healthy place to live. Because of isolation, Excelsior citizens have little resistance to common illnesses. Severe illness is rare.
A small hospital is staffed by 4 nurses, 2 doctors and 1 dentist. Care is offered at no cost to islanders and survives on donations from citizens. All staff is provided housing and a salary. Common surgery and basic medical care is available as is general dentistry. The most severe cases require air evacuation to Punta Arenas, Chile.
Excelsior’s population size and length of inhabitation has not created health concerns from inner-marriage as in some isolated peoples. The island is careful in this respect.
Most recently, Excelsior avoided the H1N1 Influenza outbreak. Once news of the illness surfaced, the government ordered the island quarantined during the outbreak. No cases were reported in Excelsior.
Excelsior is greatly affected by the Pacific Ocean currents and the Antarctic. The climate is noted for windy conditions with ample moisture. The temperature varies little between summer and winter. Snow falls only a few times a year. Winter temperatures average 2 degrees C. and summer temperatures average 14 degrees C.. Precipitation falls fairly equally throughout the year. Cloudy days occur just over 40% of the days with some precipitation falling just over 30% of days.
Periods of cloudy and rainy weather can extend 7 to 12 days at a time and clear, mild days can last 2 or 3 weeks at a stretch. Winds can reach 130 kilometers an hour. Average wind speed is about 32 kilometers an hour. Seas are typically rough with supplies sometimes delayed for weeks.
Music is important in the life of Excelsior residents. Most songs are only a verse or two and typically short. Until recent times there was no accompaniment to songs. The count of 6,368 ditties have been written, handed down or improvised by the islanders over the years. These include religious songs, holiday songs, children’s songs, wisdom songs, festival songs, wedding songs and many other activities or topics. The songs, many times, are used as teaching tools for children to impart wisdom. For over 15 years the islanders have documented the songs in audio and print.
Most recently classical and instrumental music has been explored. Some of the recent works have included the 2 hour in length “Calendar” work in 52 segments, one for each week of the year.
Another 80 minute piece centers on summer grazing with herding songs represented. An acoustic guitar piece features 24 movements in a 60 minute piece. A 37 minute solo flute piece composed by a teenage girl features a musical tour of the vineyard in 5 movements. One musician is working on a choral work of groupings of songs reworked for several themes. This extensive work has resulted in a CD of seasonal songs for each season of the year, a CD of harvest songs and one of love songs. The choral works are still being composed.
Compiled from various sources by Bill Turner, 2010, 2011, 2012