Sunday, August 14, 2016

Emergency Money - B 1914 - 1920 - 01 Belgium - Bruges 3

When Belgium - and Europe - was at the dawn of war in 1914, a rush on metal cash and paper money was inevitable. National institutions already knew what was going to happen, and only limited amounts of money could be redrawn from the bank.
Meanwhile a large amount of the remaining stock of banknotes, as well as the printing plates were removed from the National Bank in Brussels, first to Antwerp, and later out of the country to the Bank of London.
Some of the notes, printed in Antwerp, are quite rare - but that's another topic.

Due to this lack of papermoney, and the need to pay out millions of people in Belgium, several cities started locally to emit notes.
In my previous posts I wrote about the smaller denominations issued in Bruges, now we'll have a closer look at the 'franc values'.
Front side of 1 frank Bruges 1914
Back side of 1 frank Bruges 1914
Two 1 Frank-notes were issued in 1914. Both notes have a different 'experiation day', the day they could be exchanged for 'real' money.
On the first note it is January 15, 1915 - on the second issue, the dte is July 15, 1915.
refunable January 15, 1915

refundable July 15, 1915
Once exchanged, the notes were perforated with a starshaped perforation.
star perforation
Both 1 Frank notes were issued in the same colours. Depending on the quality, they have a catalogue value of € 15 to € 50.
Both notes were issued by the city of Bruges, and were refunable at the city as well.

More notes to follow...

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Microstates : 20 b Republic of Molossia (bogus)

Except for a territory clamed in the Pacific Ocean (Neptune Deep), and  Vesperia (claimed on Venus), the microstate 'republic of Molossia' is completely surrounded by the USA.

Among the laws in Molossia, same-sex marriage was adopted in 2002, and there is a restriction in importing tobacco into the country. Hereby Molossia is more progressive then many states in the neighbouring USA.

Border of Molossia with the USA

At the border of Molossia, USD can be exchanged for Molossian Valoras.
The coins are posted in my previous post, the banknotes (currently 4 notes in circulation) are 1, 5, 10 and 20 valoras.
The language on the notes is both English and Esperanto.

1 valora banknote
1 valora banknote - back
The Molossian notes are very nice notes. They come with an embossed seal, serial number and signature of the Minister of Finance, Miss Adrianne Baugh.

Embossed seal of Molossia

Signature of Mrs. A. Baugh

 The other notes :

5 (Kvin) Valora - President K. Baugh
5 (Kvin) Valora - back
10 (Dek) Valora - Emperor Norton I
10 (Dek) Valora - back
20 (Dudek) Valora - First Lady A. Baugh
20 (Dudek) Valora - back
Except for use within the Republic of Molossia itself - those notes can not be used elsewhere.

Besides the very limited usage of the currency above, my respect to the very fine design of the notes, and the effort that was done to create something nice.
The use of Esperanto on these notes is unique and much appreciated.
More info on :

to be continued...

Microstates : 20 a Republic of Molossia (bogus)

I had to look it up, but the republic of Molossia is a micronation within the state of Nevada (USA).
Flag of Molossia
The effort of his excellency Kevin Baugh to create an independent state, started in 1999.
It was based upon a childhood idea to create the "grand republic of Vuldstein"
The micro state uses English as national language, but as a tribute to world peace and equality, Esperanto is accepted as national language too.
The self-declared country has issued stamps, coins and banknotes.
I was more then excited when I saw the series of banknotes that were issued in Esperanto.

It took some diplomatic skills to contact the Ministry of Finance of Molossia, to obtain the current notes and coins.
His excellency, President Baugh, contacted me personally and sent me from the government house itself.
President Kevin Baugh
Cover from the Republic of Molossia
The coins :
Coins come in 1, 5 and 10 Valora (1 Valora is 0.75 USD)
 1 valora coin
1 valora coin - back - coat of arms
5 valora coin
5 valora coin - back - president
10 valora coin
10 valora coin - back - Emperor Norton I

There is a commemorative coin on the presidential wedding (sold out) and one commemorating the Grand Republic of Vuldstein (1977).
commemorative coin
commemorative coin - back
The coins are legal tender in the Republic of Molossia only.

More to follow

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Emergency Money - B 1914 - 1920 - 01 Belgium - Bruges 2

In the previous post on Belgian Emergency notes from Bruges, I mentionned 4 bodies were responsible for issuing emergency currency.
3 of them were local committees, the fourth one, the most important one, was the city of Bruges itself. In 1914 they issued a set of two notes with centimes denomination, and 6 notes with higher values (starting from 1 frank).

The Mayor of Bruges at that time, was Duke Amedeus Karel Lodewijk Visart de Bocaré.
Duke A. Visart (1) and King Leopold II (2) - 1907
He was mayor til 1916, when he was deposed by the Germans, in favour of baron Ernest Marie Joseph Martin Michel van Caloen.
Baron van Caloen was member of the committee of honour of the Bruges' Esperanto Association.
The picture below was taken on the occasion of the second Esperanto Congress, held in Bruges in 1910.
Baron E. van Caloen, 1910
Both mayors (the real mayor and the mayor-ad-interim) have their signatures on the emergency notes of 1914 (although the van Caloen's signature dated from 1916).

The two emergency banknotes, issued by the Bruges' city board are 5 centimes and 25 centimes.

First of all, the 5 centimes note. (VIJF CENTIEMEN : as Bruges is a Dutch speaking city)
City of Bruges : 5 Centimes "BR193"
City of Bruges : 5 Centimes (back) "BR193"
The 'Visart' signature, appears on both notes, the 'van Caloen' signature can only be found on the 25 centimes' note.
5 centimes 'de Visart'
25 centimes 'de Visart'
The second note is a 25 centimes note.
Here there are 2 versions of the note. One is similar to the 5 centimes note. (not in my collection (yet)).
The second version is with the symbol of Bruges (a bear) on the left hand side of the note.
City of Bruges : 25 Centimes "BR196"
City of Bruges : 25 Centimes (back) "BR196"
Again the text is in Dutch, as that is the local language in Bruges.
25 centimes 'van Caloen'
The catalogue mentions a signature : E. van Calve - where it has to be E. van Caloen.
Both notes have a catalogue value of more or less € 10 - depending on the quality of the note, it can be less too. The 25 centimes (as in the picture) is slightly worth more.

to be continued ...

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Emergency Money - B 1914 - 1920 - 01 Belgium - Bruges 1

Let's start at the very beginning, a very good place to start.
When you read you begin with A, B, C, when you sing you begin with do, re, mi, ...
and when you talk about banknotes... you start with what you have.

Since I was born in Belgium, in the beautiful city of Bruges (yes from the movie "In Bruges"), I start my articles on Emergency Currency in that city.
Map of Belgium - Bruges in the North West
Belgium has now 10 provinces, (9 during the 1st WW) and Bruges is the capital city of West-Flanders. It is now the world most visited place, compared to the number of its citizens. For each citizen, there are 15 (!) tourists.
Just in case you wonder why Bruges is so popular...
As Bruges is a larger city in Belgium, a lot of people - also in 1914 - were living in the city or were related to the city. A lot of people from the surrounding areas were also depending on the welfare of the supporting organisations in Bruges.

3 Organisations and the city board of Bruges, issued emergency money in 1914.
1) National Committee for aid and nutrition - through a local committee in Bruges
2) Support of the distressed - through a local committee in Bruges
3) Support of the distressed - through helping the unemployed
4) city board of Bruges

The first 3 committees, emitted only values replacing coins (up to 1 franc) - the city board issued two centimes notes (5 and 25) - and 6 franc notes (1 - 2 - 5 - 20 - 50 and 100).
The higher values were not used as 'support for those who needed', but were also used as payments for staff, military, ...

In general we can say that the smaller the city, the more valuable the notes are.
High value notes are less used, so they hit higher prices in the catalogues too.
And finally the quality of the notes (as they are 100 years old) will be of influence of the value too.
Distribution of 'Notgeld' to families
more to follow ...

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Emergency Money - B 1914 - 1920 - 01 Belgium - Introduction 2

In order to have an idea of the value of some emergency notes, and of currency in 1914 in general, we need to know what the average costs of basic products were, as well as the income of a henchman, a factory worker, an independent worker ...

In 1914, a henchmen who could eat at work, earned about 1 belgian frank a day.
If food was not included, he gained 2 franks a day. A worker in a factory earned about 3 franks a day, and if you were an independent worker, you could earn up to 4 franks a day.

1 belgian franc (french version) 1914
To give an estimation of the value: in 1914, 1 franc equals 3 euro (3.2 USD) - in 1919 the same franc is only worth 1.9 euro (2 USD).

Secondly it's important to know the prices of most articles.

Shortly before the start of the First World War, sole (fish) was sold around 180-200 francs per lot. Turbot (fish) was sold at 3,50 francs a kilogam.
On the day the first World War started in Belgium, sole went down to 36 franks per lot, turbot to 0.20 franks a kilogram... This resulted in tons of rotting fish in the belgian harbour of Ostend.
On the other hand, that same day, potatoes went from 1 franc per 10 kg in the morning, to 1.6 francs in the evening.

In this table, a short overview of the prices (in Belgian francs) during the First World War:
evolution of prices during WWI in belgian francs
It is clear that the income of most people in Belgium - and most countries affected by the First World War, was insufficient to survive.
Thanks to the different commitees, and social organisations, this income was raised thanks to the emergency notes (coupons) that were distributed.
One of those committees at a certain moment gave support to people as follows :
3 francs for an adult man - 1.50 francs for an adult woman and 0.50 francs per child.
I could not find out if this was per week or per month.

To give at least one meal per day to its citizens, many cities organised free soup distribution among their citizens.  This was for many the one and only meal they had per day.

free soup distribution WWI
to be continued ....

Friday, July 22, 2016

Emergency Money - B 1914 - 1920 - 01 Belgium - Introduction 1

When talking about 'Notgeld' or 'Emergency Money', you might think that this is a typical phenomenon for Germany. When googling "Notgeld", you will encounter the fancy German notes first.
It wouldn't be me, if I wouldn't start with another country of course.
Belgian Notgeld Catalogue (cover)
During the first World War, Belgian lacked coins for daily use. The war industry needed metals in all kind of ways. Around 600 cities and city boards, as well as hundreds of welfare organisations, agreed on producing 'emergency currency'. Paper or cardboard was used, and in some cases also (cheap) metals.
In the beginning this 'money' was ment to pay out soldiers, to pay loans of city workers, suppliers of the city... But later on, it was accepted to cope with the lack of coins for daily use. Often, those coins or paper coins/tokens, were restricted in use. One could buy clothes, or coal, but not food... or the other way around.
Along with city boards, a lot of social organisations, like the "national committee for aid and nutrition", issued similar coupons.
Even some factories issued coupons to pay out their employees. Many of those coupons were to be exchanged in stores owned by the same factory...

In much cases, the coupons or emergency currency was only valid within the city that issued the notes. Often there was a date printed on the notes, which told the owner on what day the note could be exchanged for "real" money again, or in some cases, to be exchanged for another coupon.

As a guideline to the Belgian 'emergency issues', a highly recommended catalogue is available.
Prices varie between € 40 and € 90.

Belgian Notgeld catalogue - details 1

Belgian Notgeld catalogue - details 2
A - basic - online catalogue (without prices) can be found on : (french version) (dutch version)

to be continued ...

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Emergency money - A Introducion 02

There is so much to say about Emergency Money - and in extention about replacement coupons - that a bit of a guidline might be useful.

To make a difference with 'banknotes', let's state that banknotes are issued by the National Bank of a country (or a group of countries), notes that are issued by the National Mint of a certain country, or by a government ruling a certain area on a certain moment.
In this set of articles on Emergency (and replacement money), we talk about notes/coins and coupons that are issued by private organisations, non-profit organisations, cities, towns, ... in order
a) to replace coins or notes because there's a shortage of official coins/notes
b) to support the poorest - victims of war, to enable them to buy specific goods (coupons)
c) to replace national currency because of heavy inflation
d) to replace national currency to avoid national currency leaving the country (tourist currency)

e) to replace national currency to give a number of people access to other products (like for military, foreigners, ....)

f) to pay employees in a way that they were forced to use their 'money' to spend in shops owned by the company that issued the 'money' - Nazi concentration camp 'money' is a similar type of money.

I might have forgotten some categories, but at least we're more or less clear about the difference with bank notes.

Not in this category are the French, British, Russian 'assignats' - although they were replacing silver and gold coins as well. They were a stage between the use of gold/silver towards the use of banknotes as a general way of making payments.
Besides that, they are in all 'banknote' catalogues, so they can be considered as 'banknotes'.
Tokens issued on fancy fair, casinos and in certain theme parks (Disneyland) are other types of 'replacement money' and are left out of this list too.

In what follows, I will try to pay attention to the following themes :

A (was introduction)
B : for Emergency Money issued at the beginning of WWI
C : "Grossgeld" - emergency money for higher values than the usual circulation coins
D : "Serienscheine" - the 'fancy' Notgeld issues of (mainly) Germany in the 1920's
E : Inflation money
F : Inflation-proof money
G : Military money - Prisoners money - War Occupation money
H : Coupons other then the WWI coupons
I : Tourist money

check previous items and more to follow ....
contributions are welcome