October 23rd 2017.
Monday 6th November.
(A change from the scheduled talk, Derek Aldred is unwell)
· Victorian Errors and Varieties By Michael Gouby.
Monday 4th December.
Monday 8th January.
Meetings are held at the Abbey Baptist Church, Abbey Square, commencing at 7.00 p.m.
· There has been an increase in ‘noises off’ - private conversations and rustling papers etc. during the course of talks by our speakers. Please note this is VERY disrespectful and we would ask members to ensure they behave properly at the meetings in future.
· The Xmas dinner is booked for 18.45 on Sat 9 December 2017 at The Cunning Man. The cost will be £25 per person. Please let us know if you want to come by phone, e-mail or at the very latest, at the November meeting.
· Please continue thinking about Short Talks for January, and Auction lots for March!
Reading Coin Club welcomed Gerry Buddle to give a talk on Latin American mining tokens. He began collecting tokens after first finding them when on holiday in Chile. He started by saying that for British collectors, central and South America remains a “dark continent”. This is unsurprising as British involvement in the region has been minimal, but for the token collector, there is a vast range of material to study.
Gerry stated why many tokens were used in the region, one reason for which was the lack of transport infrastructure. This led to many businesses or estates remaining comparatively isolated. Many of the Chilean mining tokens date from after the War of the Pacific. This was fought between Chile and a Peruvian and Bolivian alliance opposition. The purpose of this war was mainly territorial, for example for control of the Atacama Desert. The Atacama Desert extends for hundreds of miles north of Antofagasta. This region is rich in various minerals, copper, silver and gold, but more significantly sodium nitrate which led to the movement of companies into this region.
The first token Gerry showed us was 5 pesos issued by the Compania Alemania (or German Nitrate Co.). This token was formed in brass and weighed 58g. This example is for the Oficinas Salintas, with the legend on the reverse “vale para la pulperia” meaning “valid for the store”. Many tokens issued were only valid within company stores.
Tokens did not always mention the name of the company, but that of the mine. An example of this is the Oficina Euginia, a 5 pesos piece formed of blue and red vulcanite. The reverse legend on this piece states that it is only changeable by workers of the firm.
The company Agus Caleta Buena supplied water to these regions. This token was very specific to its use, with the legend “worth 20c water”. An additional token from Minas Coronel worth “a kilo of meat”, also shows how specific these tokens can be.
Tokens were used to pay slaves working within the gold mines. Gold mining also features in the issues of the Darien Gold mining company. This was a British company based in Manchester and first registered on the stock exchange in 1887. It went into liquidation 1906. Gerry did not have an example of this token.
Gerry next went on to talk about tokens and the opportunity for forgery. Although Gerry has not seen a forgery, he has seen an implement used for this. A crude pair of tongs made in copper, with a token design embossed into each head created by squeezing a genuine cupro-nickel coin between the soft copper heads.
He then went on to discuss Aguas Blances painted tokens. This may have been intended to act as a part-cancellation, representing modified values from the 1 peso host coin. This was a way of generating small change.
As a series, there are many tokens still to discover. Gerry finished his talk by mentioning USA mining tokens. The USA had a thriving coal industry, and these companies could see the advantages to be gained by paying the miners in tokens.
Our thanks go to Gerry for a fascinating and well researched talk.
Be reminded that subscriptions are now due. It would be most appreciated if members yet to renew their subscription would please do so at the next meeting. Please see our treasurer Peter Hall. For anyone who does not pay their subs, this issue of the newsletter will be the last they receive.
Ten years ago in 2007, Barbara Mears of Spink spoke on The Coinage of Southern India post 1500
Twenty years ago Alistair McKay spoke on “Roman Reverses and their Meaning”.
Thirty years ago David Pottinger gave an impromptu talk on “Canal History on Tokens” after the scheduled speaker was unable to turn up.
Forty years ago S.R.D. Leggett spoke on “Contemporary World Coinage”