Speaking of nation-building, Tom Kays submitted this great discussion of
micronations, their coinage, and how to start your own micronation. -Editor
Seen at the October 2014 Nummis Nova dinner was a short set of three gold Celestons, currency of
the Nation of Celestial Space. Be it known, Celestia encompasses all hitherto unclaimed territory
(by humanity) including the known universe, less the Earth itself.
Declared on January 1, 1949 (Earth Calendar) by the far seeing "First Representative"
James T. Mangan, formerly of Evergreen Park, Illinois, United States, Earth; at its inception,
nineteen humans claimed to belong to the new nation through primogeniture, including Mangan’s
daughter Ruth (Stump), Princess of the Nation of Celestial Space, who later bore three sons, all
Dukes as it turned out, including Todd Stump, Duke of the Milky Way.
The Nation of Celestia is still remembered through stamps, coins, videos, and its flag, a white
"hashtag" on blue disk in a field of white that frankly reminds me of South American
Spanish colonial coins that read "Plus Vltra" along the center tic-tac-toe line, meaning
James T. Mangan claimed something for which "Ne Plus Vltra" really does apply, and he
did so at an auspicious time when the United Nations was new. Showing up in New York with a snazzy
flag and asking for diplomatic credentials, he got them, along with a solemn (and televised) flag
raising ceremony at the U.N. in 1958 at the dawn of the "Space Age."
Now when it came time to collect tariffs from, and issue passports to the first Russian
Cosmonauts who ignored his demands, and the first American Astronauts in 1961, diplomatic relations
with Celestia hit a rocky patch among the increasingly surly Earth-bound (I should say "space
It would have been a good move to provide the cosmonauts and astronauts with Celestia passports
free of charge, with the traveler’s picture and requiring their signatures, under the stipulation
that passports be carried at all times when in Celestia, and that they would be subject to
surrender to the First Representative upon expiration for reissue.
Imagine if the Mercury Seven Astronauts had autographed and carried Celestia Passports into
space and back. "Godspeed John Glenn, and please remit $10 for a Celestia visa stamp for each
orbit." Just an idea if this ever crops up again. In fact common mistakes in micronation
statecraft like this, really need a "How-to" manual or "Micronation Statecraft for
Dummies?" to be written.
You may be surprised to learn there is such a
tome, entitled "How to Start Your Own Country - How You Can Profit from the Coming Decline of
the Nation State" written by Erwin S. Strauss a resident of Fairfax County, Virginia in 1983.
From the flyleaf: Mr. Strauss
"was born in Washington D.C. and grew up along Embassy Row. He lived in Europe and Asia
with his German-born father, a consul and First Secretary in the Diplomatic service of the United
States who served in American missions in Paris and Bangkok. After being expelled from the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology for a book importing operation that undercut the campus
bookstore and publishers owned by M.I.T. and its faculty members, he returned there and received a
Bachelors of Science degree in 1967…He occasionally serves in a consulting capacity to new country
We learn that there are at least five basic approaches to nation building including
1) traditional sovereignty with its requirements for a population, defined location, shared
vision, membership in the U.N., ambassadors and passports and all. You can probably name a few
countries like that.
2) Most profitable are "ships under flag of convenience" which are basically allowed
to fly their own flag, in international waters, but often only after tribute is paid to the nearest
friendly, safe harbor nation that sanctions pirate-like operations, which in modern times we think
of pirate radio stations and duty free shopping.
3) By means of litigation, one may simply declare independence, but it takes ages and much
understanding (and legal fees) within the emancipator nation, and is not recommended for
run-of-the-mill founding fathers.
4) "Vonu" (pardon my Esperanto) means "out of sight – out of mind," and
refers to groups of likeminded citizens who drop from sight to found their own Utopias in
uncongested parts of the world. Homesteaders in Antarctica, Pitcairn Islanders (after the Mutiny on
the Bounty), and Mormons of Salt Lake City who issued gold coins thru 1860, and other groups of
whom you are not aware, are good examples.
Lastly, 5) Model Countries which Mr. Strauss likens to running model railroads, but instead of
track and rolling stock, the nation-building hobbyist designs their own stamps, coins, issues their
own currency, prints their own money.
Now I’ve got your attention. The trick is to get other nations to accept your new stamps and
coins, and especially for tourists to buy them for more than face value. Making them from one troy
ounce of silver, for instance, as did H.R.H. Prince Leonard of the Principality of the Hutt River
Province, in the vicinity of Australia, who discovered his coins circulating in Hong Kong, may be
counted a success for the Model Nation Builder. Theoretically, the first issue of coins from every
country started from such humble beginnings.
The International Micropatrological Society tracks the status of various nation building
projects and may act as a clearinghouse for those who collect "One From Each Country"
(OFEC), when they are ready to go for the gusto of typically rare, micronation issues.
Celestia for example, issued gold "Celestons" of Princess Ruth in 1959, 1960 and 1961
in uncirculated and proof, (one variety with a small "R"), in 0.900 fineness, at 2.2
grams, and with an emission of about 450 pieces.
Each Celeston equals ten silver "Joules" of 4.15 grams Sterling. A Joule equals ten
"ergs." Some influential micronation coin issuers whom we applaud, include one of the
many Atlantis attempts termed "Operation Atlantis" which issued the "Deca," the
Island of Lundy which issued "Puffins," the Conch Republic (Key West), the Cocos Islands,
the Republic of Minerva, Sealand, being a WWII era anti-aircraft platform seven miles from the
mouth of the River Orwell, off the Essex Coast of England, the Sultanate of Occussi-Ambeno, under
Sultan Sir Wallis Abdullah I, in the vicinity of Timor, Indonesia, but with a post office box in
New Zealand, and the Independent Republic of Granbia, located in a semi-detached house in
Liverpool, England under King Andrew I (formerly known as Andrew Richardson, a postman). Bravo!
Besides minting coins, micro nations may do well in bestowing noble titles, such as those sold
(I mean bestowed for an honorarium) by King Richard, of the Kingdom of Hay, whose royal treasure
house consists of a used book emporium in a small village in Wales. Knighthoods, Earldoms,
Dukedoms, Baronetcies, and regal posts including Herald Extraordinary, Poet Laureate, Royal
Forrester, and Admiral of the Fleet await, perhaps as a surprise for your hard-to-buy-for friends
who have everything already.
Where is all this micronation statecraft advice leading? Micronations traditionally require a
defined territory to qualify, yet after the dawn of the Space Age came the dawn of the Age of
Virtual Reality. A few examples of emerging virtual micronations such as the Society for Creative
Anachronism were mentioned in Mr. Strauss’ book, but today entire virtual communities, cloud
computing consortiums, and virtual worlds (think Minecraft), come with virtual coins (some offered
in exchange for Bitcoins, PayPal credits, or iTunes Gift Cards, worth real money). They do exist in
cyberspace, no longer needing a physical place to plant their flag.
Virtual Micronation Statecraft for Dummies, anyone?
To read the complete article, see:
How to Start Your Own Country
Wayne Homren, Editor
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