Speaking of the coinage of private nation-states, Rich Giedroyc of World Coin News published a great article on fantasy coinage issued by coin dealer Alan Berman. It's available on the Numismaster web site - here are some excerpts.
I have in previous Around the World columns made comments alluding to Bermania existing only in the mind of Fairfield, Connecticut coin dealer Allen G. Berman. I have also made remarks that numismatic emissions of Bermania are fantasy issues. Well, now it's time for Bermania to strike back! Alanus I, King of Bermania, submitted a clarification statement August 18 from the Royal Bermanian Embassy in Fairfield. Readers familiar with medieval European financial history will particularly appreciate his opening remarks.
According to the statement, "Bermania's coinage is a fully redeemable base silver based coinage. Bermania is the last country to follow the Edict of Pitres of Charles the Bald (864AD). One denarius argentum is still redeemable for 0.05247588 troy ounces of pure silver. As king, it is our obligation to honor this for the full duration of our life. Thus the Royal Wedding coin of 1998, with a face value of 5 denari plumbi (= 1 denarius argentum) will always be redeemed for roughly 1/20 of an ounce of silver. We have personally spent Bermanian coins and have been well pleased by the tendency of merchants, or at least those who accept them, to give a very favorable rate.
"It must be admitted that the recently rediscovered horse cart tokens can no longer be used, but that should come as no surprise. They were not issued by the royal government in the first place. They were issued by Schmuel the Carter to honor his horse's bat mitzvah in 1940. They were good for a ride anywhere in Bermania in their day. But no horse lives forever and who would expect a horse born in 1927 to be pulling carts if she were alive today anyway?"
I haven't been able to find Bermania on a map, nor can I find the royal family listed in the Almanach de Goethe. According to the statement from Bermania, "It is not the easiest country to get to. All the maps to it are erased on a daily basis by the Bermanian Society of Secret Cartographers for reasons of national security. But if you re destined to pay us a visit we know you will find a way."
In a separate correspondence Allen Berman added, "While it is quite possible that most of the coins issued by micro-nations are 'made by somebody simply to make a profit for themselves' as you said in your article, the coins of Bermania, the first example you cite do not fit into this category. Bermania was created as an inside joke in the 1970s but soon took on a life of its own.
Initially a method of honoring my friends through grants of arms and titles, it has become internationally recognized as a means of making the world smile via heraldry, parade appearances, acts of charity, wearing funny costumes, and via the country's quirky history delivered in the form of stand-up routines at [the] annual royal court, as well as at the New York International Numismatic Convention and Chicago International Coin Fair."
To read the complete article, see:
And Now, a Word from Alanus I, King of Bermania
Wayne Homren, Editor
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