Numisnotes is the place for Updates, Observations, Notes and More
JANUARY 6, 2019

For those of you that know me, my radio work has taken priority the past couple of years.  Coupled with changes and operating capital, things changed.

My go to guy for coin production, I am very happy to say, saw his passion become a full time income and then some. It couldn't happen to a nicer guy. Even if that created an issue with what sort of coins I could mint and the of production, I refuse to even wish he could work my coins too. 

Frankly there are other mints but the cost would increase 50% to 100% and I want the coins to be more affordable. Other mints mean less advice and ways to save. Plainly put, my go to mint looked at each coin as a piece of art. They knew the best metal, historical coin knowledge and design patterns. My go to mint helped to create a coin backed up with knowledge and sensitive to cost. Any other mint sees an order doing by my dictates, all for more money spent.

For costs, consider this: you open a store and pay $1,000 for rent monthly. If only 100 customers buy each month, you need to make $10 off each customer. If you have 1,000, you only need $1 from each one. Coin designs are like rent. It affects the cost of the coin and for my coins with mintages of 100 to 250, the design is a big part of the cost. Mints I pric
September 10, 2017

Much has happened over the past few months. There has been little time to devote to coins. Everything in the store is still available and I welcome you to click contact us for special pricing on multiple coin/note orders. Please include the item number you see as you browse.

Recently I have looked at currency backing. In earlier times, currencies were backed by gold or silver but in more recent times the backing has been what is called 'fiat' but for many they think that is not backing whatsoever. In reality it means backing is based on the economy of a country. The more you produce, the more money at a certain conversion rate there can be. The drops in value of currency is related more on the value of goods and raw materials produced.

This is where it gets interesting. How about backing in water? Can a currency be backed by something like amber? Sure it can. A tropical island might value it's currency by the output of it's pearl farms, for example. Obviously all these items have a certain value. 

Putting this in perspective, a water source generating 1,000,000 gallons of water with 256 million gallons a year going up for sale annually has a certain value. Part of that value is in perpetual supply. This water source is considered a 1,400 year supply. While the specific water might retail for $2 a liter bottle, it might be valued in it's raw form at 4 cents a gallon determined by a third party contract for 100 million gallons at that price point.

For amber, that might be more elusive. The amount of amber found underground or washing ashore might be a somewhat unknown quantity. In such instances, the quality of the amber and amount sold in recent years to create an average grade and quantity of which one can base the value of money not only in number of units created and circulated but the fluctuating value of the unit of money. Certainly for stability, there has to be concessions for bad years. You don't want big increases and decreases in the buying value of the currency. Did you know mid grade Baltic Amber is worth about 50 cents to $1 US per gram while high grade amber is in the $1 to $2 per gram value. Keep in mind amber is lightweight, so a gram is pretty good size.

A small tropical island might have a population that fishes for consumption and grows crops for consumption but also operates pearl farms in the lagoon. Running a pearl farm is not cheap. You have to have the oysters, keep them safe and disease-free, then hire an expert to work their magic to cause pearls to form. And that doesn't happen overnight. You are looking at a few years of incredible costs to get the first harvest and even then 30% won't create a pearl. The quality of the pearl is never guaranteed. In fact, the round pearl is ultra rare. Pearls come in all kinds of shapes, sizes and with imperfections as well as shades of colors. You'd think a pearl is big bucks but because there are so many variations, a Tahitian black pearl might fetch $25 to $35 for a half inch or about 12.5 millimeter pearl. A black pearl is a premium pearl. Another species might fetch $4 to $8 for the same sized pearl and a freshwater pearl might even be less. In fact, one small island of just under 400 started a pearl farm, spending about $250,000 before the first harvest that grossed $45,000. They figured they might reach break even by about the 7th harvest. It is not as risky as growing crops, for example, because those oysters will produce and if you are running that pearl farm by the book you will hit the numbers predicted or be slightly off one way or the other. So, an island that values their money in pearls is quite stable and predictable.

I was impressed with a small town in Greenland that harvests iceberg water by hand. It is among the very purest water on earth. In fact, it is so exclusive, it is bottled by order. In other words the water you buy has your name on the bottle as you order it and then receive it. We're talking $50 a liter in glass bottles. The small community's economy is in good shape and the output, as you could imagine, is not huge but very manageable with plenty of unused 'iceberg' untapped.

Three of the locations you'll see here value their money based on such commodities..

October 27, 2016

It has been a while since the last update.  I have taken more of an approach of leaning more toward paper notes and non-metalic coins although the Mermaid coin is still on the table.  

Recently I have been studying Notgeld.  As you already know, Notgeld became a thing because there was a small denomination coin shortage.  Paper notes became the way to fill the void of coins.  It became a profit center for cash-strapped municipal governments.  If they could create a design that was 'collectible', then they could turn a profit as well.  Generally speaking the Notgeld was backed by actual currency and print runs matched that reserve set aside.  This was all well and good except the currency was not stable.  In the end, the paper Notgeld notes were not as valuable as the paper they were printed on.

If you are like me, you want details.  How many were printed, for example.  It is not easy to find but many of the more unusual releases are known.  On rare instances, the municipality stated on the note itself the total in circulation or should I say printed.

I really could care less for the Notgeld created to sell to collectors.  Granted I am the odd man out and most Notgeld served that purpose by hiring printers and artists to create a certain theme or personality for their small change paper money.  The true Notgeld in my book was created to supplement the coin shortage.  In other words, the thought collectors would buy some was not the reason to create the notes.

There is some interesting stuff out there, printed on almost anything available at the moment be it wood, aluminum foil, cotton fabric, leather, ledger paper, parchment and so on.  Lots of what I call 'recycled' paper that was printed on one side became Notgeld.  The fact notes were printed on anything available is an indication it was true emergency money designed to meet the need for small change.

Interesting to me were notes printed on postcards, for example.  Mauerkirchen had notes on hand torn slips of paper, some recycled.  Some notes were handwritten.  Some just rubber stamped.  Others were typed with the indentation of the paper evident.  Some look mimeographed.  Almost all lack artistic design.  These are the true Notgeld releases.  The beautiful multi-color artist renderings were less for actual usage and more for the new collector's market where a community government might add to the town's financial holdings.  In fact there are towns that have stated it cost 14,000 Krone to create an issue of 187,500 notes totaling 50,000 Krone and produced a profit of 12,000 Krone or more.  In fact, a few towns sold bonds to fund a printing!.

Small towns usually had the more crude and smaller runs.  Towns of maybe 250 to a couple of thousand might do a run of 100 sets, some 300 sets or maybe as many as 6,000 sets but rarely would the full value of the notes exceed a few thousand Krone.

But the denomination "Krone" begs to be described in value against other currencies at the point of release.  In other words, I am still researching.  Significant was why most towns released 10, 20 and 50 Heller notes in Austria.  Why so few of other denominations?  I will try to chart values over time, paying attention to the release date.  Not only do I want to clearly understand what a note would buy, but of a town did 32,000 Krone of notes in October 1920, how many US Dollars is that?  

New designs and such are now being started.  I expect to be placing orders for stamps and maybe a few wood cuts in the coming couple of weeks and I might write up some new places for some of the notes..

August 23, 2016

While I will be out of pocket until September 1, I am working on some new fantasy notes.

I have updated the Manumiro story at right as well as Kerduka.  Some updates on Ville de Colima as well.  

There's no way to figure what will be popular and what will not be both in coins and banknotes.  I have to admit, some places I have researched and researched, creating a detailed depiction of the place the coins or notes represent is not a factor.  In fact, likely the most popular of the notes has been the multi-note set from Kerduka.

Kerduka was the name of a place I renamed after getting a linguist to do some translating for me.  At that point much of the original Kerduka became a place known by another name.  In Kerduka's place I created a story without much depth nor detail.  Why Kerduka and the notes for the places were so popular is beyond me.

Then the mother of pearl shell coins for Abemana, not to be confused with Abemama, an island in Kiribati that has plenty written about its past and even it's present.  I'll be able to try more of these soon.

I'll be getting with Arion The Wanderer on the mermaid coin and some new ideas for coins in silver and gold perhaps. As I will have more time on my hands, I hope to hunker down on coins once more.

For those that might not be aware, about 3 years ago four of us formed a non-profit organization and applied for a radio station.  A couple of weeks before the station was to begin, after purchasing the equipment, my board got cold feet.  We were trying to launch on an extreme budget.  The studio, a computer, would be at the 'studio' in a board member's man cave.  My plan was to spend a weekday each week there selling and a day working on all the things my board members needed, including sleeping on an air mattress at their home.  When they got cold feet, the studio and a salesperson vanished. Using all my savings I would have had under a year to get a new board, get the station afloat and make enough to pay me a salary after the remaining board hires me to manage it.  A typical station takes about 2 years to go from square one to being able to do that.  Unless I was just extremely exceptional, I would be living under a bridge before a station could produce a paycheck.

I'm helping another broadcaster get started.  He is buying the equipment on payments and, truthfully, I need it.  After about 5.5 years our client at my day job left us.  It took almost 7 months of zero income before we got another client.  5 months in my boss said I'd get no paycheck until we go a new client, so I went 2 months with no pay and then a 40% reduction in pay (our new client is paying a much lower rate per month, a concession you make for a start up company to help them get their feet firmly planted.  That left me losing money each month.  I have now recovered almost $800 a month I was once spending.  I still need to make more.  So that equipment payment will almost get me there...within $100 a month.  

Now that my station will not happen and I have found a way to reduce my expenses to adjust to me new lower income, I'm ready to do much more with Blue Waters Mint.  I'm more than willing to pull some dollars from savings to get some new stuff out there.  

The beauty of my job, even at a lower pay, is the ability to watch the station at home.  That gives me plenty of time to work on other projects while I do that.

August 14, 2016

IT'S A FLUKE I TELL YOU!  No matter how much planning you do, something always comes along.  The ideas for 'places' that issue coins is the first process on the road to a coin.  Naming the place usually comes later.  A favorite source of names is the Constructed Language.

Some folks create languages as a hobby.  Almost always it is based on a mix of several real languages to create their distinct tongue.  Some of these language creators offer word lists you can browse.  I look at those lists for words I think might look nice on a coin.  The English word doesn't matter.  If the word in the created language means corkscrew but is an attractive word I'll use it but not the meaning of the word in English.

So, I had an idea of a displaced Polynesian community in the Indian Ocean.  I knew Peruvians raided islands and took folks but might it have happened from folks in the Middle East or Asia?  Maybe but I don't know.  Maybe a group of Polynesians were blown off course and wound up there.  I don't know.  So I built a story of a lost Polynesian island in the Indian Ocean.  I had been inspired by an offshore island in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Searching constructed language word lists I saw Palaliku.  Cool name I thought and wrote it down.  I think it meant Orange Juice.  I assigned the name to my displaced Polynesian island story.

Move forward about a year.  Talking coin ideas with Greg Franck-Weiby, I mentioned the place and described it.  He felt sure it would be near the Maldives.  He suggested I read up on Minicoy in Lakshadweep, the group of islands above the Maldives, belonging to India.  I admitted I had no certain denomination or coin in mind.

Doing so, I learned Minicoy had been part of the Maldives but supposedly about 1600 a typhoon destroyed Minicoy so some folks went to the Sultan of the Maldives to ask for money to rebuild.  They got none.  So, they sought a Sultan on the coast of the Indian mainland for help.  This Sultan gave them money in exchange for their loyalty to him.

Because of the devastation it might have been some went with fishermen to the Andaman and Nicobar islands to harvest food to take back to Minicoy. The long tradition of fishing these waters began before the typhoon. In fact most went to the Nicobar islands but it was known both the Andaman and Nicobar islands had tribes that were cannibals.  For safety Minicoy fishermen would set up camp on outer islands.

Now, this Sultan's heirs made a deal with the British to assume their lands. That included Minicoy.  A British colonial government official asked a returning fisherman what they called their island.  The fisherman thinking the fellow asked where he had come from, he replied Cannibal, the name they gave the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.  That name, cannibal, is Minicoy in their language.  The true name of Minicoy is Maliku.

So after learning all of this, I figured Palaliku needed to be a place related to Maliku or Minicoy.  The displaced Polynesians could be somewhere else.  In retrospect, all I changed of the story was the ethnic makeup of the population.

Naturally we did a Larin coin.  Everything else was a fluke.  Somehow the name I selected shared 'liku' at the end.  It was highly possible a group from Minicoy (really named Maliku) would set up camp on an outer island like this to either gather food after the typhoon (or others that destroyed crops in later years) or at least were used as a fishing base camp.  The Palaliku story is historically sound in reality as if I had somehow peered into the future unaware of the research I would eventually do.

That's not all.  In the very beginning I created a fantasy note for the Republic of Excelsior.  I intentionally placed it at the southern tip of South America. I had a book on uninhabited islands that noted many islands were not named and most had never been 'discovered' beyond being flown over by government planes to know what was there.  It seemed likely a shipwrecked group could have landed there, established life on the island and had never been detected.

My boss at my day job said I should put it up on eBay and ask folks where it was or for details on the place.  He said I could incorporate their responses in the 'story'.  So, I put up the listing for the out of the blue name I picked called The Most Serene Republic of Excelsior.  Within hours I started getting responses.  A few were to a link where a map indicated an entity on an island about the same size I made Excelsior.  The entity name was Excelsior.  It was a couple of years later I figured out it was a glacier or stream by that name. The fact it was where I had indicated it would be and there was indeed a geographic feature in that area by that name, well, it's a fluke.

In the world of building fantasy countries and islands where the only reality is indeed the paper note or coin, how is it there is some part of history or some geographic feature totally unknown to me when I created the story of a fictional place.  I tell you it's a fluke.  It really is.  I am always amazed when this happens but it sure is more common than not.  Best of all it jives with my thinking:

A good fantasy is a place that is set in real history and real culture that seems plausible enough to be even though it is all a fantasy.  In movies, I really liked Close Encounters of the Third King and The Shining.  While both flicks had some unreal twists, they seemed plausible enough with enough reality to feel it could happen.  Maybe there will be more flukes ahead and I'll be much more surprised than you because I never had a clue.

MERMAIDS!  Today I talked about the Mermaid coin for Nuikviss Aoi.  It will be later this year.  Too many jobs ahead of me at this point.

I want your opinion.  I am thinking a larger size coin.  Should it be pure silver?  If so, how much?  Remember, the die costs are much more per coin than the silver would ever be, maybe double or triple if a larger coin (as it needs more detail).  If I use $10 in silver, we might be talking $40 as my cost on the higher end.  Dies are made by hand exclusively for the coin.  To be able to sell to dealers, I have to get them some profit. The hardest part of this is if I use a cheap metal, the coin is still costly. I'm usually happy making a dollar or two per coin but dealers want more for carrying the inventory and I can't under price them.   The price must be something you think is fair and affordable.  Your suggestions will sure help.  Just click Contact Us and let me know your thoughts.

August 11, 2016

Coins that inspire.  Discovery of coins is so much fun.  For me, it is a detailed process.  Seeing a coin I like means not just obtaining it, assuming I can afford to do so, but also to know what the coin meant to the person when it was circulating.  What would it buy?  How did it relate to, say, a day's pay? How did it convert to better known currencies that were 'rock solid' at the time?  

The Tang, for example, was meant to be a copper version of the Larin.  In other words, it's shape and weight was to look like a Larin except the metal is copper versus silver for the Larin.  It takes little thought to understand why this coin failed and is long lost to history without a single surviving coin as evidence.  Surely the merchant, having been presented a Tang coin might have easily figured the consumer had created a counterfeit to try to con the merchant out of 4.8 grams of silver in merchandise for a lowly copper lookalike.  It was a colonial government 'con job' on the public that was met not so kindly by the savvy merchant, I suspect.  No wonder it failed.

The Tang was real and it had a real conversion.  With simple luck, I stumbled upon that actual conversion.  All coins, like today, are easily converted to respected and known currencies where the value was constant.  For example, the Spanish Pieces of Eight.  The Tang at about 4.8 grams of copper was equal to a colonial coin issued by the very same government, a Duit or Quarter Stuiver.  

You might have noticed big copper slab coins that look more like a dog bone made of copper.  One of the denominations is 4.75 Stuivers.  There's a reason for that strange value.  4.75 Stuivers is equal to a silver Larin.  There are 60 Stuivers to a silver Pieces of Eight.  Knowing this, a Tang, being 1/4th of a Stuiver is then 240 Tangs to a Pieces of Eight.  That puts a Tang being worth almost 1.65 grains of .999 silver, a true conversion.

This makes the Tang a small change coin.  Even if we took the purchase power then and related it to today's cost of living, perhaps it would likely be under $1 US in buying power.  Quite frankly, I haven't found a good conversion except a comparison between British and USA cost of living stats from about 1600 forward.  It's a cool little calculator where you type in the desired year in the past and the current year to equate the value of a coin or any monetary amount to today's purchasing power.

You might be saying, Why do this?  A valid question. It enriches the enjoyment of the coin in my book.  I want to feel it in my hand, know how it was used, the value it carried when issued and how it related to other coins. It is a foreign entity today when coins are not the value they carry as a denomination.  Back in the day, a coin was valued only on the actual metal value.  The country issuing the coin carried some weight.  By this, I mean if the country was stable and authentic in its coin's metal value versus denomination (ie: a Pieces of Eight was a constant...not varying in silver weight).  So, such a coin was more trusted.

For fun, let's look at some coins:  In Gibraltar there was the 1/2, 1 and 2 Quart coins.  A Quart was actually worth about 1.8122 grains of silver then (480 grains to a troy ounce).  The unusual "Double" coin of Guernsey was worth about 0.8681 grain of silver, maybe about .9061 by another conversion.  So, about 434-435 Doubles, give or take, would equal a Pieces of Eight.  80 Doubles was a French Franc then and there was always trouble converting it to the British Pound which is why there were several rates of exchange over the years.  

Now that we know that, what was the coin worth to the person at the time. Running the calculator, 12 Doubles would get you $1 US in buying power today.  A Quart would get you slightly less than 10 cents US in buying power.

Then there are nations that issued coins in valued metals no matter how small that coin might be.  The  Romans had tiny coins and the Greeks introduced the Tetartemorion or Quarter Obol, as small as 4 millimeters and weights as low as .1 gram but normally around 5 millimeters and about .2 gram coin in silver.  Then there's the Nepalese Dam.  It varied from about .04 gram to half a grain of silver and was generally about 6 millimeters.  Keep in mind being hammer struck and depending on the way the silver was weighed, sizes and weights varied but in reality at that tiny weight, it really didn't matter too much.

Such tiny coins have been around for centuries.  There's the gold 1/32nd Massa at anywhere from .075 to about 1.15 grains of gold and typically 6 millimeters that circulated centuries ago.

It has been a novelty item, the smallest gold coin in the world, issued in what is now India.  It's not much bigger or weighing more than a grain of sand. This reinforces the way money was perceived back then.  There could be no inscription visible to the naked eye, but rather the weight of the metal that validated the value.  Today it is what the coin says it is...a fiat currency where the coin is a symbol of the value, not it's true value in metal.

Tiny coins have always fascinated me although the above coin is a bit too small.  I just feel like a coin has to have an identity or stated value.  That needs not to be in written language but at least in symbols.  And that has me thinking.  Might some of my future releases mimic true values in actual conversion metals (ie: silver) even when it is a tiny amount?  Might a symbol be okay as an identifier?  Would it need a number?  Perhaps.

I ran the formula on the Uvelikiel coins.  It might work.  I think I might see if a hammer struck silver coin might work.  Maybe I should explore some of the many currencies that circulated in the part of the world that inspired Uvelikiel to find that little known denomination lost to time except for a few hardcore coin collectors.  

That brings up the other thing about Blue Waters Mint coins:  creating a place, such as Uvelikiel, involves hours of roaming the internet seeking something that inspires me.  I take my notes, look at real history and culture and start to write of the fantasy country that will have a coin.  It is not just the coin that, while a fantasy, has a real world inspiration and a real world conversion from a place inspired by the real world, but the history and culture of the region.  

I admit it is a no rules mish-mash of data.  Uvelikiel is a translation provided by a gentleman that constructed a language.  There are folks who love the evolution of language so much they create a language from scratch and devise words based on rules of the language families that inspired them.  The place that inspired Uvelikiel is a hamlet in France on the border with Spain.  The currency is inspired by an actual currency introduced about 165 years ago but will be named for a much older currency to match the time frame. The actual and older currency conversions needn't matter any more than it would today. There are several currencies with 'cents' as a denomination, but their values are not uniform when compared with other currencies also using the denomination of 'cents'.  A Belize Dollar is not equal to an US Dollar but carries the same denominational name, for example.

For now, the fun continues....

July 12, 2016

I spent much of the day on research on currencies.  Sure our coins are fantasy coins but I like to reflect a very real value to the fantasy.  I will explain.

When I find a coin I like such as the tiny 10.7 millimeter .64 gram copper Travancore Cash Coin, I want to truly understand what the coin was and what it represented in actual use.  When I can understand this and apply it to a current currency to compare it to, I have reached my goal.

For example, the Cash Coin described took 6,840 to make a British Pound Sterling.  Finding out what it's true value was is rather tricky.  You can compare it to gold or silver.  You can compare it to wages or what it would buy compared to today.  I like the what it can buy formula because that is a constant versus a constant.  The reality is people earn much more for each hour of work even compared to 50 years ago.  Silver and gold changes many times a day.

The 1898 Travancore Cash coin would be worth just 1.976 US cents.  In other words if you went to the grocery store today and bought an item worth a dollar, you'd need about 51 Cash Coins to make the purchase.

Comparing the Gibraltar Quart of 1842 to today's purchase power, you'd have about 18.716 cents US in your pocket.  

The amazing coin denomination to me was the Guernsey Double.  The coins came in 1, 2, 4 and 8 Doubles.  Using an average of conversion rates, by today's dollar, the One Double coins would be 8.4658 US cents in 2016.  That would make the 8 Doubles around 68 cents in value today.

Back in 1919 and 1920 there were stamps commonly called Chainbreakers that were denominated in Vinar.  This was during a bad inflationary period. So, the stamp values in today's dollars are simply not worth the ink and paper nor the glue to affix the stamp.  A Vinar was equal to a Heller.  The Heller was 1/100th of an Austrian Krone.  By comparison it took 4 Krone to equal one Denar in what would become Yugoslavia.  Today it would take 2,136 Vinar to equal a US dollar.  Imagine that.  I have adjusted for inflation over the period of 1920 to 2016.  It takes about 23 dollars today to make a dollar in 1920.  So, in the day you needed close to 50,000 Vinar to make a 1920 dollar.

Jumping back to the last decade of the 1600s and the year 1700, those little German States Pfennig coins would be about like walking around with 7.2261431 US cents in your pocket or around 14 to a dollar in today's money.

In short lived North Ingria in what is now the Republic of Karelia, the Finnish government helped the tiny Republic of about 400 people by printing stamps in denominations from 5 Pennia to 10 Markka.  In you fast forward the value of the Markka to 2016, those 1 Markka stamps would be 37.8 US cents, well below the price of a first class mail stamp today.

What might be even more alarming is the value of the German Notgeld issued in 1920.  If you take a look at inflation, that was really yet to get going.  The 1920 releases were more about a coin shortage and less so by 1921.  A 10 Pfennig Note would be around 1.27826 US cents.

Remember these values are based on this:  the coin buys what amount in goods, products and services based on today's prices.  In other words, if you went shopping today, this is what it would buy and likewise, based on buying power, this is what it would buy when it was minted.  Thus, it is inflation adjusted based on cost of food, products and services.

As an interesting couple of side notes:  the smallest weight silver coin that circulated is the Dam weighing in at .71 grain of silver.  

We know Salt was used as a currency in many places but what was it's value? I finally found a comparison from a journal of a trade ship.  Salt, boiled to evaporate some moisture so it could be fashioned as a paste into blocks and then cooled, was exchanged at 120 salt cake bars per 1 UK Pound Sterling.  At the same time, 480 Salt Cake Bars was equal to an ounce of gold.  I admit I have not figured out the point when a British Pound was actually valued at 1/4 ounce of gold.  Maybe I'll tackle that tomorrow.

The result of this commentary is to demonstrate just how a coin I issue has an authenticity based on historical coins and then adjusted to real world values in today's world.  In essence, what it would buy today is what it would buy when the historic coin was minted.  While my coins are valued by today's values, they compare to these values.  It really helps me in writing the brochure about the place the coin represents..

March 19, 2016

I just opened a package of leather scraps I purchased.  My thinking was some leather banknotes.  I should clarify that this includes goatskin as well. I always found 'money' made of unusual materials interesting.

Even more interesting is what money was backed by.  There was one island I would have to spend time going through notes to name, that valued their money not in gold or strong foreign currency but rather in water, the most plentiful commodity the island had.  It was more as if they stumbled across this in prior centuries when ships would come to the island to trade for fresh foods and water.  Water was more important to them than anything else.

I have some quite rare German Notgeld notes from a town that valued their money in timber.  Notes were not valued in Marks but in a fraction of a common unit of board feet of lumber.  It seems wood was the wealth of the town, so they fared quite well, considering, putting their trust in this natural resource.

There is another very good reason for money to be valued in something other than the traditional gold and/or other currencies.  In fact, it might even be a good idea to use common metal, if metal at all.  Some wise rulers opted for non-traditional materials for money or valued it in commodities.  Why?  It helps keep the bad side of the society under control as they would use any monies recognized as such by traders to buy what they need to, well, do bad stuff.  Trading something like wood or water for a gun in a place filled with timber or plentiful water is not a trade a merchant makes but a few silver coins or piece of gold and you might get that gun.

This might sound strange to those of us who live by a fiat currency but in reality, commodities weigh heavily in the value of that fiat currency.  Saudi Arabia, for example, attributes much of it's monetary wealth to oil.  

In fact that brings up an interesting historical perspective.  The U.A.E. is made up of several rulers that have states, if you will, and operate a nation. Before oil was a factor, these folks were poor, not dirt poor, try sand poor. The people tried to survive off limited resources but sometimes were forced to do some pirating in order to survive.  Pearl diving was a prized occupation then.  Now, not so much.  In a matter of decades they went from nothing to riches thanks to oil.  Dubai is a strong financial center today.  It wasn't silver and gold that made it happen but a commodity, oil.  

Thus, in the scheme of things, it might be a good idea to trade for what is plentiful.  I'm quite familiar with Edwards County, Texas and Rocksprings, the one true town in the county where the population is not quite a person per square mile.  The county is the top mohair producing place on earth.  The land isn't good for much else except hunting.  You might not get much for a bundle of mohair on the streets of Rocksprings but to the rest of the world it might fetch a pretty penny.  If Edwards County was a nation, they could achieve a good deal of wealth with money valued in mohair.

I haven't written much here for good reason.  Back in November plans were underway to get a radio station going, one with my name in the President's position.  Just before the proposed launch my fellow board members backed out.  That left me hustling, trying to find new board members and determining if the logistics would work with the new scenario. To pour salt in the wound, the station I manage lost its client and is still trying to replace them with a new one.  My owners are perplexed on the next direction.  I would be too.  So, as it stands at the moment, that new radio station and the station I manage are in a state of flux.  Needless to say, that has taken a front seat to something I enjoy, making coins and banknotes.  So in summary, Blue Waters Mint is alive and well.  It is other obligations that are consuming my time as I hunt for solutions.

November 10, 2015

Blue Waters Mint is alive and well.

As I write, plans are being worked out on a new coin.  Other new projects are being planned.  Paper notes, as I like to call them, are being planned.  Other projects are being looked at.

For so long, so much attention was given the radio station and that coupled with a mint that did many releases becoming so busy they really could not get to my work, Blue Waters Mint sort of sat on the back burner.

The coin ideas and paper note ideas and page after page of notes and research created a mound of paper that made finding a starting place difficult as so many ideas made it hard to decide on one.  

First on the list of coins will be for Nuikviss Aoi.  I have always been excited about this project but kept running in to dead ends.  These were to be glass coins, those with little air bubbles in them, called seeds.  There were to be 7 different releases with each release in two different colors of glass.  The hope was for a visual where the glass might look like water with the design of an etched mermaid.  I found the glass and even found a company that might do the etching but never found a company to cut the glass.  It seems those that do that stuff like to do big orders because the equipment is not cheap,  think industrial versus retail.  And there's not much demand for little round circles!

So, we will have a Mermaid coin for Nuikviss Aoi!  

Then there are the paper notes (some might say banknotes or currency but I think these terms can be misinterpreted).  I have all I need on hand to proceed, mostly.

I have tried making 'coins' in materials other than metal.  I still have plenty of Mother of Pearl Shell, wood pieces and a nice wad of clay.  To be honest, these were so difficult to get right, it was frustrating.  When, at best, 1 in 4 attempts is okay, that's lots of work that goes in the trash and plenty of cost in materials.  But, it is here and I might as well use it!

So, watch for updates and new product.
October 15-22, 2015


Learning is a big part of coin making and I'm not just talking the logistics of it all.  I am talking actual currencies too.  Sure this might not seem to directly related but when I create a place, I like it to have a 'real life' formula to it.

You can look up any country's "M0 Money Supply" (sometimes M1).  Part of my exercise to reflect real life is to take various factors and create a set of figures that I use as a guide when creating a new denomination and coin.  I go get the Population, the Per Capita Income, the exchange rate and the money supply in real US dollars.

So, when the Soviet Union broke up and the Ruble tumbled, many of the new countries opted for the Ruble, but to stop the bleeding, Russia made these countries come up with their own money.  That makes sense.  You sure don't want your currency going lower thanks to a bunch of countries you no longer can exercise control over when your currency is doing a crash and burn.

Enter Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.  Kazakhstan is a big country, something like the 8th largest on earth.  In fact, it is doing much better than it was in those early days.  But, when you look at things it must be at some point in time, so I chose the date the currency was introduced.

Kazakhstan introduced the Tenga and the day it was issued it took 75.6 to make a US Dollar.  The country's per capita income was only $1,376.89.  Only paper notes appeared in the first issue ranging from .001 to 100 Tenga.  It is interesting to note the amount of money in circulation per capita.  That was $15.33.  So you can imagine that money had to turn pretty quickly...about every 3 days.

It might surprise you to know a very poor country, Kyrgyzstan with a per capita income of $449.07...less than 1/3rd of Kazakhstan, introduced the Som.  A US Dollar bought 189 Som when the currency was introduced.  Paper bills in .001 to 20 Som were issued.  That literally means it took almost 9.5 of the highest denomination note to make a US Dollar.  Even though per capita income is so low, the amount of Som in circulation per person/per capita is $40.18.  That would mean the currency turns (per capita) about every 33 days.  And that means you'd carry much more paper around in your wallet.

From what I have found, money supply is not easy to predict.  One country might be at under a dollar per capita and the next country at $100.  It seems more often than not the highest numbers are in places with low incomes. And it has to do with currency turnover.  Some countries had what I call a hand to mouth economy.  A waiter or waitress understands what I mean.  In other words, you work a day, get paid, spend the money on daily needs and go back to work tomorrow to repeat the process.

I guess the big thing to understand is that while a currency might be seemingly worthless compared to the US Dollar, it might buy a bunch.  In the Republic of Georgia at one point a US Penny would get you 3 kilo loafs of bread.  Then again, a worker might make $2.38 a month.  But on some items that is not the case.  In Georgia, you couldn't pay for some things with the local currency.  Plainly put if it was brought in to the country, it needed a hard currency to purchase not the local nation's currenncy.


I emailed the Bank of Abkhazia this evening.  I'm trying to learn if I can buy coins from them.  7 years ago they began issuing coins.  Call me late to the party, having only exploring the details of their coins minted at Moscow Mint, obviously for collectors not for circulation.  UPDATE:  My email came back undelivered but I noticed a 2014 coin in copper nickel from a coin dealer I know overseas.

Some see little value in such coins.  I personally like them.  I could care less if I could  spend it at a shop there.  I bought it to hang on to it.  

So, haven't heard of Abkhazia?  I had but couldn't place it.  Let's start with the Soviet Union.  After the breakup, Georgia became an independent nation. But what many don't realize, governments are not all like the USA.  Many countries have regions or groups where they have little, if any control.  They might claim the area but that is more in claim than reality.  In Georgia, for example, South Ossetia and Abkhazia both separated from Georgia and declared themselves independent nations.  

One of the things a nation does is release coins, paper notes and stamps.  

Abkhazia is not a big place, about 3,334 square miles and home to about 243,000 people in a place where the climate and soil work to allow the region to have some success.  The area is about 60% Christian.

The coin denomination is the Aspar, loosely translated may mean swords. The bank really did something smart when the first coins were minted.  The 10 Aspar coin has an actual silver weight of about 1 troy ounce.  By today's market that is about $16.09, at least a few minutes ago.  10 Aspars is only worth 100 Rubles.  The Ruble's official exchange rate at the Bank of Abkhazia is 62.24 Rubles to the US Dollar.  This means the face value is $1.6067 USD. You see what I mean?  The silver content is 10 times the actual denominational value.  As such a coin sells at a tidy premium, I'm guessing, since I have coins minted, this makes real economic sense for raising hard currencies.

Nagorno Karabakh was smart with their low denomination coins and bank notes.  As it is on par with the Armenian Dram, the Nagorno Karabakh 10 Dram note, the highest value, only has a true exchange value of less than 2.5 US  Cents.  Considering the lowest value coin is a 1/2 Dram, it woulds take at least 8 to make a penny.  The retail value is hundreds of times the real value.

Sure, we are not talking fantasy coins here, but this is the sort of thing I look at when I plan a release.  In my mind, fantasy should mirror reality.  

Now, as a coin collector myself, I'm itching to make a buy or two.  Why?  It inspires future coins and I like it too.  A coin will serve a dual purpose.  I like it and I obtain inspiration for the business.  For example, I paid for a nice sample of a Quarter Farthing so I could experience the real feel of the coin.  I bought a Lindau and a Buchhorn Pfennig coins to inspire the Valemaa and Pampas Island coins..  The old British hammer struck Half Penny inspired the Varhus coin.  The list goes on.  I maintain the feel of the coin and its visual qualities really helps far beyond a mere picture.

If I hear back from the Bank of Abkhazia, after writing them in Russian and English (I thought Georgian might be somewhat insulting) and coins are available, I'll post details here.

October 10, 2015

I do not usually talk about books but many coin collectors highly prize their Cocos Keeling Islands coins.  I purchased a book written by the last reigning Clunies-Ross leader of the islands from either his daughter or daughter-in-law.  It has to be my favorite read.  And it simply was not a book designed to make the ruling family look good.  It is way more complicated than that.

What I was fascinated with was the 'economy' of things and how you had to lead to keep that delicate balance.

Human Rights groups yelled and screamed 'slavery'.  But I have a different opinion.  As explained, the male head of the family ruled.  They married women from the worker community and the family became an ethnic blend. That alone creates a different scenario.

First, the ruler had to grow up equal to the workers, mastering the work they did while understanding the life and society of the workers from the inside. To command respect, you must earn it.  The workers needed to like you and respect your ability to do the same work they did.  

To rule in peace you needed happy and fulfilled workers meaning they had to have an equal or better life than they would elsewhere.  And this is where it gets really interesting.

Workers were paid in non-metallic coins mostly.  Ships were always dropping by and if they had silver or gold, they might buy guns or more.  There was nobody to call if the workers revolted.  Simply put, you were dead if you were a tyrant.  

Wages were about 5% of what workers made elsewhere.  Why?  Simply put, to keep good workers.  They could buy everything they needed for about 5% of the price elsewhere, subsidized by the ruling family.  This way, if a worker left, they would have to have some support elsewhere to get on their feet.  The good worker had it good and the option of being broke and homeless elsewhere was not too appealing.  Anyway, if you left you could not come back to the islands except in certain individual cases.  Why?  This is where trouble started.  By seeing the outside world and comparing it only led to unrest and the importation of goods that could hurt the delicate balance of power.  People can change when tossed in a different environment and that different environment usually means they will be discontent when returning to the islands.  I was asked to compare it to something and I used the microwave oven to demonstrate.  If you wanted a baked potato prior to the microwave, it took a conventional oven and at least an hour.  With the microwave, it was minutes.  Literally once you used that microwave, nothing would be the same again.  It was not that the conventional oven was bad but the microwave changed actions and thinking in cooking and you could not rewind to the point before the microwave.

Island workers had their own community, own religious institutions, their own police and their own government that was respected and upheld by the ruling family.  The ruling family funded local celebrations, hosted weddings and funded funerals.  Worker homes were provided.  Healthcare was provided.  Schooling was provided, all by the ruling family.  If someone showed a talent for a needed service, the ruling family made sure they got the education and degree off the island so they could return to enhance the local quality of life.  Workers spent about 25 to 30 hours a week working and then at retirement, they got the regular pay until they died.  If someone was injured or died prematurely, the survivors were financially supported by the ruling family.  In other words, it was a plan to keep the working community happy and content.

Cocos-Keeling Islands was an independent country by all means.  You say that is not so, but in reality they were.  You see, without any protection from the criminals/pirates, you needed the illusion of protection.  As the Clunies-Ross family hailed from the UK, they sought to be under British rule.  This was not always the case in early years.  Simply put when you took your ship out to sea to buy supplies for the island, depending on the flag you flew, the criminals/pirates knew they could either raid your ship without consequence or not.  When the flag flew at the island, potential raiders determined if the consequences of raiding your island would go unpunished.  And if you paid your workers in silver or gold, well there was a big temptation for the bad guys.  I think you can see, the association with the British was to earn the right to fly the flag, not to submit to the British.  Literally, flying the right flag meant you lowered the possibility of invasion and the British were indeed feared by the underworld.  They knew the British would find them and make them pay for their actions.

And the ruling family, the law of the land undisputed, was seen more as a parent that took care of everyone on the island.  If they hadn't, you would be reading of revolution and deposition of the rulers, likely by death.  So, the ruling family ruled in fear for their lives, knowing hundreds of workers could force their desires if they chose to do so.  I found this reality vastly different than the word slavery.  It was seasoned liberally with compassion and respect.  But make no mistake, they demanded respect.  It was the  custom of the time that if one was on a bicycle, they would get off the bicycle and walk past the ruler.  One person didn't and was knocked to the ground, an action fully supported by the workers because the ruler watched after them and created a decent life for them.  Likewise, it was an honor for your child to become a servant at the ruler's home because they were given special attention and taught proper social standards of the day.  Thus, the delicate thread between ruler and father figure.

So, if you collect coins or notes from such places as the Cocos Keeling Islands I hope this detail gleaned from The Clunies-Ross Cocos Chronicles compiled by the last ruler of the island, John C. Clunies-Ross enriches your experience.

As a footnote, Mr. Clunies-Ross was residing in an apartment in Australia living on what we call in the USA, a monthly social security check when I purchased the book.  Simply put, an ordinary man with the same struggles of you and me but a man of an extraordinary past and likely a deeper understanding of the human condition than the average guy.  His son still lives on the islands and sells giant clams to various clients worldwide.  His daughter (maybe daughter in law), a very kind lady, runs a gift shop in the same city with Mr. Clunies-Ross.  Their day to day lives are in no way 'royal' but that of the average person scraping out a survival by holding a job.  The days of ruling over the islands but a distant memory.

In fact, many of the old timers on the islands feel they had it better back when the family was in charge.  I didn't get the impression they had any negative feelings toward the folks that owned and ruled the islands and I might note those accounts are not in the book but from several other sources.

October 6, 2015

We are working on some new paper notes as I type.  As some of you know, this gets backed up by lots of research.  

One of the things I like to do to get a full understanding is research just what that currency name relates to against real money.  There is tons of interesting information but it is rather frustrating gathering it, especially when you have a bunch of dots, once drawn out, does not clearly show the picture.  The big problem is in times of inflation.  

For example, if a town issued 10 and 20 Heller notes on a specific date, what was the real value against stable currencies?  There can be a very great difference in exchange rates in just a month.  But I keep looking and getting closer.  Then there are oddball currencies like the Vinar, a local name for Heller, making it equal in value.  It's just like the words penny and cent in the USA.  These both describe  1/100th of a dollar.  Many such notes were issued because of a lack of local coins.  But some were as small in value to be worth only 1/10 of a US Penny meaning it would take 1,000 to make a US Dollar.

There are relatively unknown conversions.  The Tang, an attempt to pass off a copper coin looking like a Larin, was so unsuccessful none are known to exist today. These Larin shaped coins were an obvious attempt to defraud by the 'government' since some Larins had at least some copper content by then. The Larin shape is a narrow strip of metal folded over.  Sometimes called fish hook because ends are sometimes twisted up to resemble a fish hook, more often the Larin looks more like a bobby pin in shape.  Look at the the Palaliku page to see what I mean.  As the Larin is the denomination of the Maldives, it quickly became a round coin.  The weight was similar to the Larin.  But the Tang did have value, just not the value of the mostly silver Larin.  To determine that, one has to look at other coins. Sometimes called bonks, the copper bars issued for Ceylon, for example, in unusual denominations of Stuiver.  There's a 4 3/4 amd a 9 1/2 Stuiver version.  A Stuiver is 13.35 grams of copper.  How do I know that?  I had to look at the exchange of Stuivers per Pieces of Eight which is 394.56 grains of silver.  Knowing this I can now convert.  As it turns out, the Tang was worth 1/4 of a Stuiver but was made to look like a silver Larin worth 9.5 Stuivers or 38 Tangs which means 240 Tangs to a Pieces of Eight.  

You might be asking yourself, why do all of this?  I figure if I release a coin or paper note in a historical denomination I should understand the value the coin had in its day and its exchange rate against known currencies at the time the coin circulated.  To relate it to US Currency, should it be a penny or a half dollar?  I want to know what the metal was and how much it weighed.  This way when I have a coin made, it can be historically accurate or fairly close.  It is really difficult to be exact in weight depending on design and depending on how close to the target you can get when rolling out metal, but it's always in the ballpark.  It is important to me that the coin denomination have the feel of authenticity although it is a fantasy coin.  So, while all this might not matter to you, it does to me.

In addition, the actual value against other coins is not always comparable to the cost of living.  That Heller being devalued to the point of 1,000 to a dollar was still very much a penny locally.  In other words, if a penny could buy a dozen eggs the Heller might have also bought a dozen eggs even though the value is 1/10th of a penny.  We have to remember there are a few places where a dollar a day will feed and house a family of five comfortably but that same dollar is lucky to cover a small cup of coffee in the USA.  The Chain Breaker stamps denominated in Vinar had some low values for mailing a letter when it took well over 3,000 to make a US Dollar.  For example, a 3 Vinar stamp.  The highest value was 60 Vinar or about 2 cents, US.

The cost of living gets a bit crazy in hyperinflation.  By the time the Macedonian notes were ready for circulation, the value was a fraction of the value when they went to press.  In Georgia the Coupons were so crazy that a kilo loaf of bread was 1/3rd of a US Penny and wages averaged about $2.38 a month US.  Considering $2.38 would buy you about 700+ kilos of bread, you see how crazy it gets.  Even more insane is when your money cannot be used for certain essentials like electrical power for your home or business that required payment in a more stable currency.

Keep watching for some new stuff..  


"You guys are a bunch of con artists.  You sell fake coins and currency.  These places are not real places" the email said.  Allow me to respond:  First, we are not con artists.  You stated you learned about me from buying coins from a place that does not exist either, yet you feel they are not con artists.  Indeed like me, they are not.  This is why we label these as Fantasy Coins.  The coins and currency are very real, which you would know had you purchased any.  At any rate, I must have done a good job since you are so upset.  

Fantasy Coins and Currency are very real notes and coins for places that do not exist in our reality.  In just the same way game tokens and coins made for books and movies do not represent any government issuing authority, they are equally as fun.  The fact it bothered you so much to write and make your comments says I did my job right.  I want the places to seem realistic because it makes it easier to appreciate the coin or banknote.

My favorite movies are Close Encounters of the Third Kind and The Shining. Why?  I feel like I don't have to take a giant leap from reality to fantasy.  The movies seem like they could happen.  I really liked the Star Wars movie too. Funny, I don't call those writers cons for making movies about places that are not real.  

I watched a movie on TV that was based on a real event.  I was familiar with the event and the movie certainly took some liberties but I don't think the writers are cons.  They used fact and fiction to make an interesting movie.  

These coins and currency do not have any exchange rate if you take them to a bank because they are not a real currency.  They are real collectibles.  They do have a real value.  In fact, some of my releases have doubled or tripled in price among collectors.  In fact, I want that to happen.  There's a reason I try to keep profits slim, to help the buyer see a better return.  I figure if I do that they might buy other offerings.

So, if you had any question, now you know.  These are fantasy coins and currency, many of whom are listed in Unusual World Coins published by Krause and some coins are sold by folks like Joel Anderson, a highly respected coin dealer as well as a few folks overseas.  Collect them because you like them and want them in your collection.

I'm guessing some folks just either don't comprehend what they read as well as others or are bent on trying to be mean rather than nice.  I think I have done a decent enough job to indicate these are fantasy releases, maybe not.  If my emailer learned toward the nice side, he might have asked why he couldn't find these places on the map.  My impression would have been different that it is now, thinking I certainly don't want to sell to they guy, assuming he's trouble..
October 1, 2015

I have been looking at historic coins, values and currency in recent days. I am always amazed by emergency money and the outlying regions where the wealthier areas do no affect the region.  

When it comes to Notgeld, there are generally two types:  One is the more common Notgeld designed by artists and printed by printers for the purpose of selling to collectors in a bid to gain some foreign currency that really had some stability.  The real emergency money in my book was issued by municipalities and companies as a substitute for money.  Considering a coin shortage due to World War I and an unstable currency led those needing, especially small change, to create notes as a substitute.  

Many of these notes are very crude.  Some might be about the size of a larger postage  stamp with little more than a handwritten amount and the business or city rubber stamped seal.  Others were mimeographed, typed and handwritten in many cases.  Others utilized any available paper that could be utilized and simply created notes by means available to the issuer.  

One town issued a card, on the back of a postcard.  It was perforated, divided to pull apart notes in various denominations.  They printed 2,500 of these backs of postcards.  One town printed notes on the reverse of a calendar, one of those calendars with the 365 or 366 sheets where you remove a sheet each day.  Needless to say these notes are not cheap like the more common Notgeld, likely because these notes were in use, many damaged or tossed and mostly had much smaller printing runs than the Notgeld made for collectors.

I am truly amazed at local money supplies and how insulated some locales can be.  When you think about it, prices can be pretty localized.  If you are a small fertile nation, you can get away with prices well below international prices.  The government does not have to intervene.  If you can grow and sell for an ultra low price and still make a living, so to speak, then you will do so. I read about Georgia where a kilo of bread sold for a third of a US Penny.  In some places, a family can live easily on a dollar a day and even in rare locations pennies a day per person.  So, it is possible for people to live on so little money we in the USA might have trouble stretching what they make in a year last more than a day.  Naturally, imported goods is another story.

Needless to say, all of this is very inspiring and I am having fun reviewing my locations and assigning certain qualities to the local monetary system.  For one, a value per gram of amber.  And you ask what that is?  About $0.56 US.


What is money and how is it valued?  Today we live in a fiat currency world. Simply put, it has always been somewhat that way with the lowest value coins.  Many times a small denomination was just not a reasonable coin if it was made of silver or gold so copper or other metals were used.  Many times the amount of copper was not equal in value to the coin value (think Sweden's copper coins that weighed so much).

Some countries or rulers were not so lucky to value their money in silver and gold.  They had to be creative.  One island valued fresh water as so many ships called on the island for fresh water.  In other such tropical locales, the local produce was used, especially citrus was of value to ships that were trying to ward off scurvy.

Some locations used natural resources like timber to value their money.  Amber was another valuable resource.  Even one Caribbean island used salt as a currency and you could pay your taxes with it.  That might sound odd but Roman soldiers were paid in salt.  In fact it could easily be traded for food or cash as salt was a precious commodity essential to health.  Then notes valued in wine have circulated and in times of war, coins from bread, milk, cheese, flour and other essentials were issued usually when currencies were in flux.

Even places where money was valued in a non-traditional way, the demand set a gold or silver value for it.  Both gold and silver were exchanged universally and it did not matter if it was a coin or not.  On the Cocos Keeling Islands workers were paid in sheep skin notes and later in plastic coin or paper notes because the family ruling the islands did not want workers to buy guns from passing ships.  Even a private issuer achieved some success in a fiat currency valued in coconuts. Don't forget the Cowrie Shell that enjoyed almost worldwide circulation.  They might have been 12,000 to a 4.8 gram Maldives Larin on Male' but a handful would buy a person in parts of Africa at a time tribes tended to fight over food supply and needed to get their prisoners relocated.  Even some countries had to issue money looking like a cowrie made of other materials.  Counterfeiters made fake cowrie shells.

I am especially fascinated by monetary systems not based on common coin metals. But in reality we hold a value for everything typically denominated in a local currency.  We value gasoline, food, transportation, housing and everything else.  The difference is a new car is $30,000, but it might as well be X thousands of gallons of gasoline or X gross of bottled spring water, a certain number of apples at current prices, a certain size piece of land or X troy ounces of gold.  It just seems odd to think this way but money need not be backed in metal but some other commodity. It is those places without gold or silver that have to deal with gold and silver based economies that really intrigue.  They bring something different to the negotiation table and are taken seriously.

Another thing I am amazed by is currencies of so little value.  Holes in coins were needed because you needed so many to buy something, putting the coins on a string worked much better than loose.  Governments sometimes subsidized prices.  In Georgia's hyperinflation a monthly wage might have been about $2.40 yet that would buy you 720 kilograms of bread.  On the Cocos and Keeling Islands, wages might have been 5% of wages in the region yet prices at the company store were about 5% of the actual cost so as far as the cost of living, getting $50 a month was equal to $1,000 a month elsewhere.  It was simply a way to keep good workers happy and discourage them from leaving.

Many rulers issued only low value coins.  At one point a royal family member from Europe was kidnapped.  The ransom negotiated, the mint spent 3 months making enough coins to pay the ransom after emptying the coffers.  So, many entities only made a really low value coin that could be used for a purchase requiring one or a wheelbarrow.  The single low value coin meant no counterfeiting and no trouble keeping track of different denominations. After all, the wealthy dealt in internationally respected currencies, not the local coin.

Some values:  Picis:  4,867.42 to a troy ounce of silver.  The 10 and 20 Vinar notes of Ljublana and Malibor, Slovenia in October 1919 were worth 1/3rd and 2/3rds of a US Penny.  The Lebanon Piastre coin was worth less than half a penny US.  A Stuiver was only worth half a gram of silver.  The Guernsey Double was nearly 429 to a dollar.  About 1.4 grains of silver was the worth of a Lindau or Buchhorn Pfennig.  You needed 192 Gibraltar Quarts made a US Dollar and the highest Quart denomination was 2 Quarts.  Even those Chainbreaker Stamps denominated in Vinar which was equal to a Heller, was exchanging at 2,300 to a US dollar.  Denominations went 2 through 60 Vinar meaning the 60 Vinar was only 2.6 US cents.  These are not inflationary conversions but 'at issue' values or constant values (constant means a gram of silver is a gram of silver if silver is $1 or $100 an ounce:  4,000 Picis to a Pieces of Eight).  These are not the smallest values as there are coins worth less but rather, many times were the local official currency.  Wages were low when these were in circulation but you still earned about 30 some odd coins or more per day.  In today's economy such a coin might be worth a quarter or 25 cents, US.

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