Links to Micro-national and Fantasy coins: Listings A1

Links To Micro-National and Fantasy Coins: Listings A1




This is a list (now 69.66% alphabetized!) of some of the more “unnoticed” coins, so I left out a pocketful of the more popular and recognizable ones like Benelux, Buck Island, Hutt River Province, League of Nations, Lundy, Republic of Minerva (a very brief summary is provided, however, in my Na-Griamel Federation listing), Free Commune of Moresnet (Neutral Moresnet), Mundinero/Universaro, Sovereign Nation of Poarch Creek Indians, Principality of Sealand, Principality of Seborga, Sovereign Nation of the Shawnee Tribe, Tarim (formerly Arabia), United Nations, and “Utopia” (Mundus Unum). I may have omitted/deleted these pertinent entries because I didn't feel I could contribute a sufficient quantity of worthwhile details or enough exclusive knowledge about them so as to significantly complement what is already abundantly available elsewhere. I don't know the exact date when I started this Web-site, but the earliest mention I could find of it was from October 2003. Prior to that, I had composed a “bare-bones” version of these write-ups (only 18 entries), which began to take shape in the spring (definitely by May) of 2003. I started the listings in order to share my discoveries with other numismatists and to generate interest in coins from obscure pseudo-states and unofficial realms (most of the information I was compiling was not to be found in any of the reference books or on the World-Wide Web). The stripped-down, unembellished write-ups existed simply as a word-processing document that I would gladly e-mail to anyone who asked (my Nichtsburg & Zilchstadt site already existed and the L'île d'Héliopolis site was on its way, so it was possible for cybernauts to find me on the Internet; plus, I had also posted the list online at least one or two numismatic and/or micro-national forums). But it was not until the Unrecognised States Numismatic Society (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/UnrecognisedStatesNumismaticSociety/) was founded at Yahoo Groups (in June of the same year) that I would be able to communicate with a growing number of aficionados of “unusual” coins. I soon began wondering to myself whether I should upload the list onto my Web-site. I then sought the opinion (through e-mails) of a couple of the members of the USNS, and they did indeed encourage me to begin this rewarding endeavor. Thanks, guys!


NICHTSBURG AND ZILCHSTADT,
L’ÎLE d’HÉLIOPOLIS:
These are my own coins, which are a linguistic/poetic homage to the places and “places” enumerated in the multi-page, A-Z listings you are currently viewing. Their corresponding homes are:
http://www.oocities.org/erik_mccrea/zilchstadt.html (2003 1 Miden, 2005 11 Midenika, 2007 1 Miden)
http://www.oocities.org/erik_mccrea/heliopolis.html (2004 5 Çoles, 2006 3 Çoles Isleños, 2008 Medio Çol)
For availability and purchasing information, please check their respective Web-sites.

ADVENTURE CLUB: Thanks to Mr. William D. Payne (of Suwanee, GA), I was introduced to some unusual coins about which I’d been previously unaware: “I was a founding member of a club in Athens, GA that produced its own coins and currency from 1971-1989.” This was the Adventure Club (“we referred to it as the AC and hardly ever used the full name. Most coins bear the name AC.”). Though it isn’t readily apparent from the appellation they selected, the club was indeed a numismatic one. The AC was founded by Bill Payne, Jeff Jowdy, and Randy Harr on August 23, 1971 (“the last constitution dates from September 2, 1971. This date is on all of the coins and is considered the actual founding date.”). “Most of the members of the club during its active phase were 9 to 13 years old in 1971.” During the clique’s active existence, its maximum number of members was 22, in 1973. “The club was inactive after August, 1975 but coins were still produced” (even though very few of them circulated). The AC’s official currency was the Cab, which was equal to 100 Centavos. “One cab was worth $0.16 in trade.” Mr. Payne provided some detailed information about the types of coins produced by him and the other two co-founders. From 1971-75 this creatively adventuresome trio made several incuse, hand-engraved pieces (steel, lead, tin, copper, and aluminum). From 1974-89 they utilized hand-engraved dies and struck the coins with a large vise. These die-struck types “are the commonest with mintages ranging from 10-200 coins per year.” They consist of:
25 centavos (made of lead) from 1974 (267 pieces), 1975 (485 pieces), 1976, 1977 (25 pieces), 1978, 1979, and 1980 (40 pieces total). These were also made in pure tin (approximately 30 pieces made from 1974-78). “The 1977 issue was also minted in copper, aluminum, zinc and silver as trial strikes — all are unique except for copper and silver.”
50 Centavos from 1975-78 (made of lead/tin, 20 pieces total) and 1989 (made of aluminum, 15 pieces).
1 Cab (made of aluminum) from 1989 (18 pieces, “made on a 10 ton press”); “this was the most well made of all of the issues.”
“The total mintage is around 800-1000 pieces of all types and circulated examples are known since the coins were actually used by the 20 or so members. Many pieces are missing from the archives (I still have some of the coins) — these are likely to end up in a dealer junkbox someday.” Mr. Payne provided numerous details regarding the production of these tokens: “The dies were created using a steel disk and a vibrating engraver. We engraved the design backwards to create the positive image. It takes much practice to do this process well. Many of these dies still exist. The steel used was not tool quality steel so these dies wore quickly…The planchets for the lead issues were readily available — we used a .22 caliber air rifle pellet that was squeezed flat with a vise. This results in a rather small, thin coin with a consistent weight. The tin and other metal planchets were made by melting metal and making individual ‘drops’. These were flattened before the strike. Striking the coins was accomplished using the same small vise used to flatten the blanks. Larger coins such as the 50 centavos were struck in sections. The 1977 issue was made with a sledgehammer instead of the vise. The later, better made 1989 issue was made on a 10 ton lab press so we were able to use harder metals. However, we used the same die making process. Engraved coins were produced just like the dies — each was made separately.” Mr. Payne adds that “We also issued stamps and paper money but they are much more crude since they were hand-drawn.”
From Mr. Payne, I received a some examples (‘74, ‘75, ‘77) of the struck issues. Stylistically, these pieces are somewhat rough-hewn (they are reminiscent of some of the tokens produced by the Society for Creative Anachronism — for this coin-issuing entity, see my separate listing). Mr. Payne indicated that “They are crude even to me (when looking at them now) but you must remember that we were in our early teens when these were produced.”
On account of this listing, I was contacted by Mr. Randolph “Randy” Harr, who is one of the co-founders mentioned by Mr. Payne (the two friends had lost track of one another, and I was able to get them back in touch with each other): “We actually started as the Athens Junior Coin Club. The Athens Coin Club was an older, well established organization with some great numismatist luminaries like [Andrew?] Bennett there. We created a pre-teen club for the new generation with Mr. Bennett as our guide.”

AFRO COIN MINT/“UNITED STATES OF AFRICA”: This Alberton, South Africa private mint struck a gilded-brass (brass-plated) 3-coin/pattern set (1, 5, 10 Afro) in the years 1998, 1999, and 2000. Only 200 sets were minted each of those years. “There were two reasons for the issue,” informs Mr. Edward J. Moschetti of the WPNA (from whom I obtained the 1998 set), “First was to benefit the underprivileged in the rural communities in southern Africa covering some six or seven African countries. The second reason for the issue was to try and change over the current denomination to the Afro denomination.” He adds that their attempt to create a uniform African currency has been a “quiet movement”, and that the Afro “is receiving acceptable comments from various high officials.” On the Internet, I was lucky enough to find an article, For An African Currency: The “Afro” (http://magazine.biafranigeriaworld.com/dwdikando/2002jun05.html), which seems to corroborate what Mr. Moschetti is saying. Its author, Dikando Wa Dikando, states that “The new armies of the economic war are composed of men and women motivated by individual enrichment...Thus, it is essential for Africa's economic survival to establish this new independence, to adopt a common African currency that could be called the ‘Afro’. This could help us face the worsening worldwide economic and financial crisis that may be upon us....And if the US dollar collapses, a lot of capital could find safety in Africa, thus ensuring its prosperity. For this to happen, the United States of Africa must become a fiscal heaven comparable to Switzerland...In any case, this is what the Moise Tshombe for Katanga Support Committee is aspiring to. Let us hope it will be within the USAF, free and independent, a fiscal heaven and a prosperous economy. It is feasible and it will happen.” The man he is referring to is perhaps the late Moise Tshombe, who was Premier/President of the breakaway province and secessionist state of Katanga (1960-63) and Prime Minister of the Congo Republic (1964-65; now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo).
Nowhere on these coins is “United States of Africa” actually written, but based on the above information, I have taken the liberty of attributing them to this as-yet mysterious Union. Images of some of the pieces from the Afro Coin Mint can be viewed at the site of Mr. Haseeb Naz’s private collection:
http://chiefacoins.com/Database/Micro-Nations/Afro.htm
And thanks to Mr. Chaim Dov Shiboleth, I was made aware of another proposed convergence of African economies/currencies. A group called the African Unification Front (based in Nairobi, Kenya), has announced that the Pan African Parliament “hereby establishes a Single African Currency for the purposes of replacing the currencies of AU Member States.” Furthermore, an organization called the African Currency Board shall be created to administer this new currency, which shall be known as the “AU Sheba”; fractional sub-units shall be designated as “Moneta”. You can read about these plans at:
http://www.africanfront.com/sheba.php
http://www.africanfront.com/parliament102.php
BROEDERLIJK DELEN: This is a well-known NGO (Non-Governmental Organization), founded in 1960/61 and based in Brussels, Belgium. According to their Web-site (http://www.broederlijkdelen.be/), “Broederlijk Delen is a Christian organisation that is conscious of what is happening in the world. Motivated by our Christian belief, we work towards a new world order in which there is a place for everyone…Broederlijk Delen is an open house where there is a place for all who share our dreams of solidarity, be they believers, seekers and non-believers. Through our open windows blow fresh winds of foreign influences, the liberation theology from Latin-America, Asian mystical traditions and the cosmic rhythms of Africa. They broaden our spiritual horizon and feed our Christian inspiration.” The humanitarian efforts of Broederlijk Delen, based on Christian principles of charity, are all about attaining “solidarity beyond national frontiers.” They are credited as being one of the first organizations which emphasized the link between environmental and social justice. The literal meaning of their name, “Brotherly Sharing”, accurately reflects their “Concrete, modest and stubborn” philosophy. Active throughout the world, Broederlijk Delen is described as a funding agency which sponsors some 250 projects in 30 countries (many of which are overseen by a specially appointed, on-the-spot deputy representative). Nevertheless, the majority of their work centers first and foremost around issues pertaining to the Southern Hemisphere. By assessing existing resources that are already in place, the organization “gives local groups in the South the opportunity to realise their own plans” and manage their own future. By “Starting with the opportunities that are present in situ, and by supporting initiatives that grow in the field, Broederlijk Delen assists people in the South to take control of their own situation...Community support is essential to the success of our activities. When people cooperate results are achieved, which is why Broederlijk Delen focuses on the social aspect of development i.e. sustainable development should take place in a community.” In their fight against poverty and inequality, they collaborate with local grass-roots groups who specialize in aiding small farmers, fishermen, peasants, indigenous peoples, women, children and youngsters. Most of their projects are in the field of non-formal education, awareness-raising and active protection of the environment and human rights. Urbanization processes are an especially important area of concern. Their main objectives are the development of rural economies, democratic structures and the establishment of other participant-led citizen organizations. “In agreement with its Third World partners, the organization wishes to be influential in the field of political decision making: the countries concerned…must be brought in a position to defend their agricultural productions against the excesses of economic globalization, using the regulations enforced by the World Trade Organization.” Broederlijk Delen’s “logo is accompanied by the slogan ‘because the South has plans’. These five words express our world view and reflect the essence or our approach. Broederlijk Delen doesn’t set up projects in the South. Our partners don’t realise our plans, but their own.” Apart from their international operations, they also engage in educational activities throughout Flanders (the Flemish part of Belgium) and are also involved in advocacy and lobbying in order to try to resolve the structural causes of injustice and oppression. In short, they aim to create a worldwide alliance based on their motto, “The earth belongs to everybody”.
Broederlijk Delen has issued a 1 Afro token (not to be confused with the coinage of the Afro Coin Mint, which I described in the anterior listing). The piece, which I obtained from Mr. Peter Geelen, bears the Dutch text “Broederlijk Delen Investeert in Afrika” (Brotherly Sharing Invests in Africa). According to Mr. Rhoddy Petit, Broederlijk Delen’s Regioverantwoordelijke (region leader) for the Cameroon, “The coin ‘Afro’ has been minted as a symbol during our Lenten campaign of '99 in which ‘debt’ was the focal point. The campaign posters were entitled: ‘Sorry Sawa, your government has to pay off debt’, as an obvious result Sawa could not go to school. The Afro served as well as a fundraising gadget. Since no other coins have been minted.”
Images of the Broederlijk Delen coin can be viewed at the site of Mr. Geelen’s private collection:
http://www.jezuss.nl/africa.htm
Coincidentally, there was a type of local currency — in the United States — known as the African-American Face Reserve Obligation (A.F.R.O. and/or A.A.F.R.O.). It was issued in the late 1980s by a 32-year-old investment banker (businessman) named Mr. Derric Price in Chicago, Illinois. The purpose of this colorful “scrip” was to stimulate economic activity in the African-American neighborhoods of Chicago and to promote entrepreneurship within the less prosperous areas of Chicago. These A.F.R.O. Dollars are said to have been accepted by stores and banks just like our Federal Reserve notes. Mr. Price hoped that merchants would be motivated to accept the A.F.R.O. Dollars because the notes would attract a greater number of customers into their establishments. Additionally, the A.F.R.O. notes would assist in providing venture capital for new black businesses, which would in turn fuel the economic growth of the African-American communities. Price also hoped to establish a trust fund to finance housing and educational scholarships. Eventually, the banks stopped accepting the notes and the entire program was discontinued. However, according to one of the engravers who helped produce the plates for these notes, the bills were printed circa 1989-90 “but the plan was never carried out.” Each bill has a different serial number. I have seen images of the $20 denomination. On the front of the note, there is a portrait of the renowned 19th century black leader, Frederick Douglass; there is also the phrase “The face amount denomination is redeemable in U.S. Dollars at participating banks”. On the back of the note, the “Douglass home, Washington, D.C.” is depicted, along with the phrase “This Certificate is redeemable for all trade, merchandise or services for businesses under agreement with African-American Face Reserve Obligation, or those displaying this logo.” The $20 was the only certificate ever printed. According to an article by Richard Roeper from the Chicago Sun-Times (November 28, 1990), Booker T. Washington was to have been featured on the $1, Louis Armstrong on the $5, and George Washington Carver on the $10. “The AFRO dollar is actually a merchandise trade certificate, sort of like a coupon or a travelers check. Here's how it works: Let's say you go into a bank with $100, and exchange that for 100 AFRO dollars. You then take the AFRO dollars to a store that accepts them and purchase merchandise. The store takes the AFRO dollars back to the bank and exchanges them for U.S. dollars. According to Price, this chain has been set up in such a way that everyone profits, including Price. Seeing as how I'm the kind of guy who balances his checkbook by calling the bank and saying, ‘So how much do I have in there, anyway?’ I'm not going to try to explain it here. Besides, it's Price and not Roeper who stands to profit from this endeavor. He will receive a small percentage from the merchants, much as credit card companies do. Let him explain the details to the consumers, merchants and banks. As a matter of fact, that's just what Price has been doing. Over the last several weeks, he has been running ads for the AFRO dollar on cable television's ESPN, CNN and TNT, and his ‘six-figure’ ad campaign soon will expand to include local broadcast television. He's also been flooding area businesses and merchants with mailers introducing the AFRO dollar, and talking to banks about participating in the AFRO dollar program. ‘Everybody wins with the AFRO dollar,’ said Price. ‘In the next few weeks, it will be available all over the Chicago area.’” Unfortunately, because design on the front of the note was so reminiscent of U.S. currency, “Price had to gain the approval of federal authorities before the Northern Bank Note Co. of Countryside could begin printing the AFRO dough. In a secret meeting held at a secret time in a secret place, U.S. Secret Service Special Agent William Tebbe told me there were ‘some problems’ with the original design of the AFRO dollar. ‘It said “United States of America” across the top in a typeface too similar to U.S. currency, so that will be changed,’ said Tebbe. ‘And some other, minor, changes also were suggested, in accordance with Section 474, Title 18, of the Counterfeiting Statute, which states there cannot be similitude to genuine currency, in part or in whole. We see no problems with the AFRO dollar if they make the changes we suggested. The fact that Mr. Price is associated with such a large and reputable company as Northern Bank Note speaks well for him.’ Although Tebbe said he can't recall ever coming across a similar type of specialized currency, his office inspects a multitude of coupons, merchandise bonds, etc., that might in any way resemble U.S. currency.” Mr. Price said that he was “getting a ‘tremendous’ response from his television ads, and he expects to go nationwide with the AFRO dollar next year.” In fact, by the end of 1991, he planned “to have billions of AFRO dollars in circulation” all over the country. According to a numismatist named Mr. Phil Barnhart, “these notes were ready just about the time the project collapsed…Northern Bank Note was stuck with these now worthless certificates until the company was bought out. Most of the notes were then destroyed. A few escaped into the wild.” Additionally, there was an article which included some information about the A.F.R.O. certificates in the July 12, 2004 issue of Coin World magazine.

AMERICAN OPEN CURRENCY STANDARD: The AOCS “is a group of complimentary competing alternative private currencies that are accepted at thousands of merchants across the country.” This concept is the brainchild of Mr. Rob Gray, who is “a ‘Regional Currency Officer’ in Dallas for the Liberty Dollar [see my separate listing for NORFED]. I've been with the Liberty Dollar for a while, and although I love the idea, LD needs a few improvements. After trying without success to improve the organization, I decided to set out on my own. Upon doing so, I discovered that quite a few other people came to similar conclusions and are also ‘going it alone’. It became clear that our group of alternative currencies needs some alignment, and so I started the American Open Currency Standard (AOCS — http://www.opencurrency.com).” Their motto is “Giving Central Banks A Run For Their Money”. Several questions are raised at that Web-site: “Think you have what it takes to bring integrity, vitality, and strength to your community? Like the idea of ‘becoming the bank’? Do you believe our nation should use a hard-backed, transparent and accountable monetary system? Want to protect your savings from inflation? Are you ready to motivate people to ‘vote with their wallets’?” Answering “yes” to any of these questions suggests that one should “Join the growing network of competing complementary private currencies! By participating in the AOCS, you have immediate access to both the thousands of participating merchants across the country, as well as the approved Mints that will craft your private currency. AOCS Merchants are enrolled to accept any AOCS-approved currency. Sign up and turn some of your depreciating FRN's or bullion into a usable SILVER private currency!” Why should we make such a radical decision? What’s wrong with continuing to use the U.S. dollar? “Let's face it: since the beginning of time, every paper FIAT currency has failed. The Federal Reserve Note, once regarded as the world's ‘reserve’ currency, is dying. While on it's death bed, it robs We The People of our wealth through inflation. No one is going to fix this for you: it's time for you to do something about it. America's Founding Fathers regarded economic independence as the root cause of the revolutionary war. America was a chance to start new, and our country was founded on the constitutional law that no state shall ‘...make any Thing but gold and silver coin a Tender in Payment of Debts...’. After that clever notion was dismissed, and when Congress out-sourced the production and management of Legal Tender to the Federal Reserve Bank in 1913, our fate was sealed. Paper money was now to be the accepted form of monetary exchange, subject to whatever inflation or deflation the Federal Reserve deemed necessary to ensure the country's banking and economic success. Now, almost 100 years later, a dollar buys less than $0.03 of what it did when the Federal Reserve came into power. Further, it's becoming well known that the Federal Reserve is a Private bank, owned by a collection of the world's wealthy elite. It's now painfully obvious as to why our country is losing our global ‘super-power’ status: we have become a nation of credit. Our financial system is based entirely on debt. Our government is growing at an exponential rate, and the national debt grows right along with it. We spend more than we make; we consume far more than we produce. And the Federal Reserve prints money any time it wants it. There is no accountability; there is no transparency. And for a long time, there was nothing you could do about it.” That was the situation until 1998, when “a brave free-market entrepreneur decided to address the problem. The Liberty Dollar, created by Monetary Architect Bernard von NotHaus, was the first silver-based alternative to the US Dollar. Liberty Dollar produced silver Libertys and certificates, and based the value of 1 troy ounce of silver on a scale that evolved over time to take into account the devaluation of the US Dollar. This system allowed the value of silver to fluctuate while not affecting day-to-day transactions. The system was so ingenious, in fact, that in 10 short years it increased in value 500%. While the Liberty Dollar solution wasn't perfect, it did offer a practical solution and alternative to our diseased Federal Reserve system. When Rob Gray joined the Liberty Dollar alternative currency, he quickly noticed a few flaws with the Liberty Dollar system, most notably the problem that there was no concentrated effort to develop a national database of participating merchants. So before long, he set out to solve this challenge and develop an alternative currency of his own. During the search for a top-quality mint, Gray uncovered that he was not the first person to ‘go it alone’. He discovered several other copy-cat alternative currencies, all of which followed at least some of the initial Liberty Dollar formulas. While the designs and strategies were different, the underlying formula used to determine the value of the currency was the same. It quickly became apparent that, even though these groups compete with each other, the effort and success of each currency helps the entire organization. The true mission of these alternative currencies is to establish silver as a common medium of exchange. Therefore, if one of the competing currencies succeeds and is able to spread the message successfully in a region, then any other currency that follows the same model can trade with these merchants as well. The term ‘Complimentary Competing Currencies’ was created to label the groups that constructively compete with each other to further the mission.” Mr. Gray (the National Currency Director) then discusses the commercial value of the medallions that fall within his organization: “At the present moment, the AOCS trade group exchanges a 1oz .999 fine silver piece at a value of ‘fifty’. This means a merchant is willing to exchange fifty dollars of goods or services for a 1oz AOCS round. Many people ask why merchants would do this, when the ‘market’ price of silver is not that amount. A good way to understand this is to think about the US fiat currency. Imagine a $50 US Federal Reserve Note. Think about what it is ‘worth’. Most people will quickly answer ‘$50’. However, the note is merely paper with ink on it, worth plainly no more than a few cents. The currency is worth ‘$50’ only because a merchant is willing to give you $50 worth of value in exchange for it. Also, the courts have decreed Federal Reserve Notes ‘legal tender’, meaning that the can be used in payment of taxes and to satisfy a debt obligation. So a paper currency is worth something only when someone is willing to give you something in exchange for it. An AOCS silver currency, however, is valuable whether it is traded or saved. When you exchange silver with a merchant, you are trading value for value. It has two ‘values’: an intrinsic value and a face value. When you exchange an AOCS currency at a participating merchant, you receive ‘face value’. If you ever need to melt and sell the currency (which we do not recommend), you will receive ‘bullion’ value. Either way, the currency can not be artificially inflated and will never be ‘worthless’. When you exchange in trade with an AOCS Merchant you trade Value for Value, instead of paying for goods and services with worthless fiat Debt Money.” He then solicits our help: “The strength of any private barter network is in the quantity and quality of the participating Merchants. A fiat currency is only valuable when it is exchanged for something of value; before that, it is simply paper or symbols in a ledger. AOCS Currencies have value whether you exchange them or not, as they are minted from pure silver and gold. However, to achieve maximum value and get the best rate of exchange, AOCS Currencies are to be used as private money: for food, goods and services. If there are no participating Merchants, AOCS Currencies become more collectible than practical. While they will always be worth something, our project instead is to see gold and silver used once again as money...If you have a savings account, chances are that you're losing money. It may not appear that you're losing anything, especially if your account bears interest. The trouble is that inflation is increasing at a rate higher than banks can/will pay to depositors. Simply stated, while the value of your money grows slowly, the cost of food, gasoline, and other commodities rise exponentially faster. If you're one of the lucky few that holds gold or silver bars, you still have trouble. When the fiat system finally fails, and the only thing worth ‘money’ is gold and silver, it still won't be any easier to buy a loaf of bread with a 100oz silver bar than with a pile of paper. An AOCS Currency can be exchanged more easily than bricks of metal. To that end, joining the AOCS will help you to transform your silver bullion into minted pieces already acceptable by Merchants across the globe!” He then discusses the “Valuation Formula” used by the AOCS: “The Liberty Dollar was more than just a clever design on a piece of silver. The Liberty Dollar established a formula that sets the trade value of a 1oz piece of silver, and all fractional amounts thereof. Any time you tie a currency with a commodity, you run the risk of your commodity value exceding that of your currency. When the commodity value excedes the face value of your currency, the currency is rendered ‘useless’. After all, no one would spend a five-dollar silver piece when silver is ‘worth’ ten. AOCS Currencies are designed to increase in value proportional to inflation and the Federal Reserve Note. Therefore, when inflation sets in, and the price of silver increases, the value of an AOCS Currency increases to protect your purchasing power. This is called a ‘Move Up’.” The AOCS’ formula (loosely based on the Liberty Dollar’s formula) ranges from the “$10 Silver Base” to the “$200 Silver Base”. The AOCS is currently operating on the “$50 Silver Base” level. “Please keep in mind this move-up system is only practical so long as the price of silver is quoted in USD. When the US Dollar finally fails completely, either a new system will be established to allow AOCS Currencies to trade one-to-one with the primary currency (can you say ‘AMERO’? [for more information about this currency, please see my separate listing for the Union of North America]), or the AOCS system WILL BE the primary Currency!” He then explains the Mission of the AOCS: “The AOCS exists to expedite the implementation of silver as money. We actively prospect, train, and support the 3 groups that comprise the AOCS: Merchants that accept AOCS Approved Currencies, Currency Issuers that conceptualize & requisition new minted pieces, and Currency Officers that exchange the Currencies with the general public. The AOCS promotes local enterprise, rebuilds local community wealth and creates a profit for you...Whether you're bringing new silver to the market or turning your existing bullion into minted rounds, the AOCS will help you establish your brand identity. We'll introduce you to the participating approved Mints that will complete your final product. The AOCS will help build marketing material so that you can put your best foot forward as you attract Currency Officers and participating Merchants to your system.” The Web-site offers a “Merchant Directory”.
The site provides a list of participating AOCS-approved silver currencies (http://www.opencurrency.com/currencies.php). Here are some examples:
NEOCOINS: This “Private Voluntary Barter Currency” was developed by Mr. Gray himself. “The NeoCoins” are “designed to pay tribute to some of our present administration's MVP's, and I call the first set the ‘Allies of Evil’.” According to their Web-site (http://www.theneocoins.com/), “We wage preemptive wars. We sanctioned torture. We conduct illegal searches and wiretaps on law-abiding American Citizens. We ARE the Neocons! And we're proud to be the starting line-up with our group's new NeoCoins: commemorative collectible private money!” The medallions in this series feature President George W. Bush, [Dick] Cheney, Donald H. Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, Juan “Songbird” McCain, and Ben Bernanke. All these pieces are denominated “Fifty”. They bear the phrases “Private Voluntary Currency” and “AOCS Approved — ©2008 RJG”. They are all dated 2008. I obtained one of the Cheney pieces directly from Mr. Gray. Future series will include: “The Police State”, “Corporate Sponsors”, “New World Order”, and “Founding Fathers”.
FREE LAKOTA BANK: According to their Web-site (http://www.freelakotabank.com/index.php), “The Free Lakota Bank is the world's first non-reserve, non-fractional bank that issues, accepts for deposit, and circulates REAL money...silver and gold. All of our deposits are liquid, meaning they can be withdrawn at any time in minted rounds. Some may confuse our economic structure with isolationism...which it is not. Since we currently produce much more than we consume, we have the right to decide what medium of exchange to accept for our effort. And so, we accept only value for value. Across our great land, over thousands of tribes and merchants participate in our system of trade. We invite others to trade with us and bring value back into our transactions.” They are attempting to introduce “A New System of Banking” and “A New Standard of value” to the American public. “At the Free Lakota Bank, we issue, circulate and accept for deposit only AOCS-Approved silver and gold currencies. Silver & gold are a store of value, an equivalent of wealth produced. Paper is a mortgage on wealth that does not exist, backed by a gun aimed at those who are expected to produce it. Since we deal only in real money, we do not participate in any central bank looting schemes. Money is made possible only by those who produce. Paper is not money, instead merely a promise to pay. We hope that some day the rest of the world will awaken from the American Dream: the dream that a person can sustain life by consuming more than producing. We call it the American Dream because you must be asleep to believe it. Well, that dream now has a silver lining; as people discover the dream is really a nightmare, the only solution is a return to value: value that comes from production and honest trade.” Therefore, “Our first priority at the Free Lakota Bank is to help America convert from paper to silver. As awareness grows regarding the fraud that is paper debt money, so does the demand for silver. Thus, silver is increasingly hard to find, and the price gap between paper and physical markets grows wider each day...There are 2 distinct advantages to Lakota silver: first, lead time is one of the shortest in the industry, and second, Lakota silver can be circulated in the AOCS private Merchant barter network. When you buy Lakota silver, you directly support our ability to take back control of our future. Value for Value! However, what matters more than the brand of silver you choose, is that you do in fact choose to become FREE of the fiat paper system by converting to silver today!” By participating in the Free Lakota Bank, people will be contributing to Lakota prosperity: “The Free & Independent Nation of Lakota is growing at an exceptional rate. We welcome you to be a part of our success while you help yourself at the same time. We DO NOT need or want your donations and charity. We have great respect for money, and we expect to earn our wealth by creating value for you. When you bank with Lakota, you can expect us to safeguard your property with our lives. We will defend it from theft by looting or force. We will charge you a fee for this service. At the same time, however, by banking with the Free Lakota Bank, you become entitled to access our lucrative General Investment Fund. When depositing, you may choose to specify a portion of your deposit to be used in the bank's General Investment Fund, the Fund we use to develop profitable free-market enterprise and make standard and micro-loans to free people. The GIF is how you can directly contribute to our success while simultaneously earning a return on your investment.”
People are encouraged to actually open a Free Lakota Bank account. “Depositing with the Free Lakota Bank: for a limited time, you can convert USD to Lakota and deposit directly with the Free Lakota Bank. Simply sign up for an account and you will receive instructions on how to fund your new account. After our initial currency offering completes, deposits will only be accepted in the form of AOCS-Approved currencies. After this time, depositors will need to contact a local AOCS Officer to convert USD to Lakota, at which point the Officer will be able to accept the deposit on our behalf. Withdrawing funds from the Free Lakota Bank: any and all withdraws from the Free Lakota Bank will be issued in AOCS-Approved currency. The currency can be shipped direct from the bank or can be issued by an AOCS Officer. What you do with the currency and the rate of exchange you receive when converting to a different currency is beyond our control. Be aware of the heavy government manipulation in the value of gold and silver.”
I found additional information about the Free Lakota Bank in a press release dated 11/24/2008: “In a stunning development, the Free & Independent People of Lakota announced today the introduction of the world's first non-reserve, non-fractional bank that accepts only silver and gold currencies for deposit. ‘Today is a great day for us, a day that we begin to exercise our rights as a sovereign people with strength and pride,’ comments Canupa Gluha Mani, Tetuwan Council Judicial Member of the Cante Tenza ‘Strong Heart’ Warrior Society. Mani's 2500 member warrior society has contracted to provide private security services for the Free Lakota Bank. ‘We invite people of any creed, faith or heritage to unite in an effort to reclaim control of wealth. It is our hope that other tribal nations and American citizens recognize the importance of silver and gold as currency and decide to mirror our system of honest trade.’ Mani, also known as Duane Martin Sr, is a member of the delegation that declared Lakota independence on December 17th, 2007. The launch of the Free Lakota Bank is also an incredible victory for StrikeForce Technologies, the access control experts providing depositor Out-of-Band Authentication. As the Free Lakota Bank does not require a name, photo identification or social security number to transact, StrikeForce's technology met the challenge of limiting fraud without requiring controversial biometric technology. The People of Lakota invite depositors to establish accounts and invest in the Free Lakota Bank's General Investment Fund, the fund it uses to develop profitable free-market enterprise inside Lakota territory. Mani comments that the nation despises donations and charity, and instead insists instead on ‘earning our wealth by creating value for those that place their faith and trust in our system.’”
The Lakota, by the way, are part of a confederation of seven related Sioux tribes (the Oceti Sakowin or seven council fires) and speak Lakota, one of the three major dialects of the Sioux language. The Lakota are the western-most of the three Sioux groups, occupying lands in both North and South Dakota. The seven branches or “sub-tribes” of the Lakota are Sicangu, Oglala, Itazipco, Hunkpapa, Miniconjou, Sihasapa, and Ooinunpa. I cannot fail to mention that a Lakota group actually seceded from the United States. The Lakotah Freedom Delegation, a group of Native American activists, declared on December 19, 2007 the Lakotah (same as Lakota) were withdrawing from all treaties signed with the United States to regain sovereignty over their nation. One of the activists, Russell Means, claims that the action is legal and cites Natural, International and U.S. law. The group considers Lakotah to be a sovereign nation, although as yet the state is generally unrecognized. This proposed country, often referred to as the Republic of Lakota, would serve as a homeland for the Lakota. The proposed borders reclaim thousands of square miles of North and South Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska and Montana. I found a nice summary of these events in an article (12/20/2007) penned by Bill Harlan in the Rapid City Journal: “Political activist Russell Means, a founder of the American Indian Movement, says he and other members of Lakota tribes have renounced treaties and are withdrawing from the United States. ‘We are now a free country and independent of the United States of America,’ Means said in a telephone interview. ‘This is all completely legal.’ Means said a Lakota delegation on Monday delivered a statement of ‘unilateral withdrawal’ from the United States to the U.S. State Department in Washington. The State Department did not respond. ‘That'll take some time,’ Means said. Meanwhile, the delegation has delivered copies of the letter to the embassies of Bolivia, Venezuela, Chile and South Africa. ‘We're asking for recognition,’ Means said, adding that Ireland and East Timor are ‘very interested’ in the declaration. Other countries will get copies of the same declaration, which Means said also would be delivered to the United Nations and to state and county governments covered by treaties, including treaties signed in 1851 and 1868. ‘We're willing to negotiate with any American political entity,’ Means said. The United States could face international pressure if it doesn't agree to negotiate, Means said. ‘The United State of America is an outlaw nation, we now know. We've understood that as a people for 155 years.’ Means also said his group would file liens on property in parts of South Dakota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming that were illegally homesteaded. The Web site for the declaration, ‘Lakota Freedom,’ [http://www.lakotafreedom.com is now http://www.republicoflakotah.com/] briefly crashed Thursday as wire services picked up the story and the server was overwhelmed, Means said.” Another one of the delegation members (there were four in all) was Phyllis Young. She “said in an online statement: ‘We are not trying to embarrass the United States. We are here to continue the struggle for our children and grandchildren.’ Young was an organizer of Women of All Red Nations. Other members of the delegation include Rapid City-area activist Duane Martin Sr. and Gary Rowland, a leader of the Chief Big Foot Riders. Means said anyone could live in the Lakota Nation, tax free, as long as they renounced their U.S. citizenship. The nation would issue drivers licenses and passports, but each community would be independent. ‘It will be the epitome of individual liberty, with community control,’ Means said. To make his case, Means cited several articles of the U.S. Constitution, the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties and a recent nonbinding U.N. resolution on the rights of indigenous people. He thinks there will be international pressure. ‘If the U.S. violates the law, the whole world will know it,’ Means said. Means' group is based in Porcupine on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. It is not an agency or branch of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. Means ran unsuccessfully for president of the tribe in 2006. Lakota tribes have long claimed that the U.S. government stole land guaranteed by treaties — especially in western South Dakota. ‘The Missouri River is ours, and so are the Black Hills,’ Means said. A U.S. Supreme Court decision in 1980 awarded the tribes $122 million as compensation, but the court did not award land. The Lakota have refused the settlement. (As interest accrues, the unclaimed award is approaching $1 billion.) In the late 1980s, then-Sen. Bill Bradley of New Jersey introduced legislation to return federal land to the tribes, and California millionaire Phil Stevens also tried to win support for a proposal to return the Black Hills to the Lakota.” I also found additional information in a report (published on Thursday, 12/20/07) by the Agence France-Presse (the largest French news agency and the oldest such organization of journalists in the world): “The Lakota Indians, who gave the world legendary warriors Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, have withdrawn from treaties with the United States, leaders said Wednesday. ‘We are no longer citizens of the United States of America and all those who live in the five-state area that encompasses our country are free to join us,’ long-time Indian rights activist Russell Means told a handful of reporters and a delegation from the Bolivian embassy, gathered in a church in a run-down neighborhood of Washington for a news conference. A delegation of Lakota leaders delivered a message to the State Department on Monday, announcing they were unilaterally withdrawing from treaties they signed with the federal government of the United States, some of them more than 150 years old...The treaties signed with the United States are merely ‘worthless words on worthless paper,’ the Lakota freedom activists say on their website. The treaties have been ‘repeatedly violated in order to steal our culture, our land and our ability to maintain our way of life,’ the reborn freedom movement says. Withdrawing from the treaties was entirely legal, Means said. ‘This is according to the laws of the United States, specifically article six of the constitution,’ which states that treaties are the supreme law of the land, he said. ‘It is also within the laws on treaties passed at the Vienna Convention and put into effect by the US and the rest of the international community in 1980. We are legally within our rights to be free and independent,’ said Means. The Lakota relaunched their journey to freedom in 1974, when they drafted a declaration of continuing independence — an overt play on the title of the United States' Declaration of Independence from England. Thirty-three years have elapsed since then because ‘it takes critical mass to combat colonialism and we wanted to make sure that all our ducks were in a row,’ Means said. One duck moved into place in September, when the United Nations adopted a non-binding declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples — despite opposition from the United States, which said it clashed with its own laws. ‘We have 33 treaties with the United States that they have not lived by. They continue to take our land, our water, our children,’ Phyllis Young, who helped organize the first international conference on indigenous rights in Geneva in 1977, told the news conference. The US ‘annexation’ of native American land has resulted in once proud tribes such as the Lakota becoming mere ‘facsimiles of white people,’ said Means. Oppression at the hands of the US government has taken its toll on the Lakota, whose men have one of the shortest life expectancies — less than 44 years — in the world. Lakota teen suicides are 150 percent above the norm for the United States; infant mortality is five times higher than the US average; and unemployment is rife, according to the Lakota freedom movement's website. ‘Our people want to live, not just survive or crawl and be mascots,’ said Young. ‘We are not trying to embarrass the United States. We are here to continue the struggle for our children and grandchildren,’ she said, predicting that the battle would not be won in her lifetime.”
Additional information about the secessionists can be found at the Web-site of Lakota Oyate (http://www.lakotaoyate.net/), “the people's freedom movement emerging from the Lakota Freedom Delegation's action in Washington D.C.”.
Design-wise, the coin minted by the Free Lakota Bank (I purchased one from Mr. Gray) is similar to the NeoCoins. Its obverse, dated 2008, shows Crazy Horse. Its reverse, also denominated “Fifty”, bears the phrases “Currency of the Free and Independent Nation” and “AOCS Approved — ©2008 RJG”; there is also an image of a bison. The Free Lakota Bank has also issued a gold “Sitting Bull” piece (half ounce), dated 2009. Not only does it feature the likeness of this revered Lakota Holy Man and Chief, but it also features the words “Hunkpapa Lakota” (this name, mentioned two paragraphs above, refers to one of the seven branches of the Lakota). The AOCS face value of this coin — its barter value within the AOCS merchant network — is [one] “Thousand”.
To be honest, I have no idea if the Free Lakota Bank is associated (formally or even informally) with any of the people who were/are championing sovereignty.
LIBRECOINS: The initial piece produced by this coin-issuing entity bears the words “John Galt” on its obverse. Dated 2009, it also features Atlas supporting the globe on his shoulders (reminds me of the statue at Rockefeller Center, in New York City). The reverse bears the phrases “Money: The Root of All Good”, “Private Voluntary Currency” and “AOCS Approved — ©2009 RJG”; there is also a depiction of a rounded stylized dollar-sign symbol (the official logo of the AOCS). Unfortunately, there is currently no information about this piece at its official Web-site (http://www.librecoins.com/). But whilst the coin was being produced, Mr. Rob Gray did post this message at a couple of Internet sites: “Some of you may wonder ‘Who is John Galt?’ If that’s you, get your hands on a copy of Ayn Rand’s ‘Atlas Shrugged’ for a stunningly accurate glimpse of what happens when government interferes with the invisible hand of the marketplace.” A few months later, I encountered additional information about these mysterious bullion coins: “They commemorate the heroic main character in Ayn Rand's novel ‘Atlas Shrugged’…Although John Galt is absent from much of the text, he is the subject of the novel's oft repeated question, ‘Who is John Galt?’, and the quest to discover the answer. As the plot unfolds, Galt is acknowledged to be a creator and inventor who embodies the power of the individual. He serves as a counterpoint to the social and economic structure depicted in the novel. The depiction portrays a society based on oppressive bureaucratic functionaries and a culture that embraces the stifling mediocrity and egalitarianism of socialistic idealism. He is a metaphorical Atlas of Greek mythology, holding up the world.” LibreCoins has also issued a gold “Ludwig von Mises” piece (half ounce), dated 2009. It “features the likeness of famed Austrian Economist with this quote that captures the essence of the Mises Institute: ‘Tu Ne Cede Malis’.” This is a shortened version of the Institute’s official motto (which comes from Virgil's Aeneid, Book VI): “Tu ne cede malis sed contra audentior ito” (Yield not to misfortunes, but advance all the more boldly against them; Do not give in to evil but proceed ever more boldly against it). Early in his career, von Mises chose this sentence to be his guiding principle in life. The AOCS face value (barter value) of this coin is [one] “Thousand”.
Two other participating AOCS-approved silver currencies are the Dixie Dollar and the Community Dollar (see my separate Dixie Dollar listing for information about this pair of coins). Both of these are similar in appearance to the other AOCS pieces listed above, but they are denominated, respectively, “50 Private Issued Dixie Dollars” and “50 Private Issued Community Dollars” instead of the standard “Fifty”; also, they do not bear any of the other seemingly agreed-upon AOCS terminology (“Private Voluntary Currency”, and “AOCS Approved”, as well as the RJG copyright). According to Mr. Joshua Deatherage, the issuer of both medallions, “The Dixie Dollar and the Community Dollar were made before there was AOCS. Rob invited me to become a member when he started AOCS.”

ANDOR ORAND: In 1966, the German-born Andor Carius adopted the name Andor Orand as his nom de plume. Orand was taken as a symbol of the mathematical logic functions “and”/“or”, which organize the ones and zeros that make up computer bits — the core elements of digital technology. Throughout his career of over 30 years, Andor has been a multi-media artist/philosopher/experimenter, writer, composer/musician, and event-maker.
In the context of “artist as money maker”, he has generated many special performance events built around his money art/currencies. In one of them, “Leerungsreform” (The Emptying Reform, a MoneyART event held on 11/29/01 at a Munich gallery), bills and coins are “emptied” and rendered valueless — though not worthless. They are signed by the artist and counterstamped “empty, null and void”; thus, they are transformed into limited edition, timeless objects of art.
Numismatically, Andor is a singular figure; even though there aren't too many daring people in this field who are “making money by making money”, he is still in a class all by himself, due to his unparalleled creation of square coins. How did this artistic concern come about? The notion first occurred to him in 1972, while exploring the relationship between time and money. He began to surmise their analogous connection to the circle (the abstract/infinite/immaterial) and the square (the concrete/finite/material). This led him to a rudimentary prototype of the “Squared Quarter”, made of rubber and plastic. At one point, he realized that the few existing square coins from modern countries all have strongly rounded corners. To have a coin with sharp corners and a serrated/reeded edge, which would be too expensive and problematic to be mass produced, special tooling and dies would need to be developed. Without them, “the stress accumulates at the corners. The dies are more likely to break and won't last.” And “since square coins don't roll through the machines, the production process cannot be fully automated, and several manual steps are necessary.” They have one advantage, however: “like square tomatoes or square watermelons, they stack much better and can be packaged more efficiently.”
Always a pioneer in exploring and mapping the digital world, starting in 1980 he employed cutting-edge technology (aided by Manfred Mohr and Bill Kinsinger) to design the 1984 “Squared Quarter”, a computer-assisted circle-to-square projection of a U.S. 25¢ piece. This involved several technically tough and puzzling steps, in which the initial metamorphosis appeared “as if the coin consisted of rubber and was stretched to a square.” The artificial image then became flexible and fluid, and different possibilities of distortion emerged, depending on the directions in which the image was pulled. Finally, the design was then transferred and engraved onto a brass model from which the dies were produced. This paranumismatic piece was minted by the Medallic Art Company (Danbury, CT) in 1982-83 and immediately attracted widespread, nationwide attention after the story was picked up by the Associated Press. Articles about it were printed in The New York Times, The Dallas Morning News, The Houston Post, Coin World, COINage, Numismatic News, The Numismatist, and several other newspapers and magazines. The press referred to it as a pop-art novelty piece, a coined cartoon, an Orwellian souvenir, sci-fi funny money, etc... The coin represents the predicament of Reaganomics and its outrageously absurd “marriage of supply-side and monetarist schools of thought” (one policy stimulating growth and one stifling it), which many liberal and conservative political commentators characterized as incompatible. For example, William F. Buckley, Jr. wrote about this fiscal dilemma as “a circle-squaring expedition. It's a square or it's a circle. It cannot be both.” The coin is dated 1984 partly because that was the year in which President Reagan once pledged he would balance the federal budget. It also has a satirical significance, along the lines of the Hard Times Tokens (which were popular during a period of economic chaos) and Bryan Money. It was issued and sold in two versions, a 1/4 oz. pure silver piece in an edition of 1300, and a 1/2 oz. piece (bigger and heavier, therefore more medal-like) in an edition of 600. 150 pieces were also made in nickel-silver. In 1985, sale of the bullion piece ceased, and the dies were disabled and donated to the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington. Afterwards, Andor minted a 2001 Squared Mark (Quadrat-Mark; by the Münz-prägstatt GmbH München, in an edition of 10,000 silver and 2,500 gold. It was launched in the Fall of 2001 during the “Leerungsreform” mentioned above) and a 2003 Square Yen (Shikakui En; made available in the Summer of 2003 in an edition of 1,000 by B.H. Mayermint). Each one could be described as a faithful, albeit flat-edged, “doppelgänger” of the iconic monies they mirror. There are also some trial-strikes of the cubed coins in assorted other metals.
To Andor, “exchanging the immaterial for the material, means actually selling nothing for something,” not vice-versa. Trying to resolve this essential paradox provides impetus for his methodical work. “That's why I also accept nothing as something and take it in exchange for my no-things.” (It was precisely for this reason — the very poignantly unique way Andor phrased his philosophy by repeatedly using the word “nothing” — that I became so eager to present him with one of my Zilchstadt coins, which nominally attempts to epitomize nullity. Only a true geistverwandtschaft/kindred spirit would have expressed it the way he did!) With his coins, he has succeeded in “squaring the circle”, a difficult accomplishment which crystallizes the existential conundrums/polarities/contradictions which fuel his imagination and which he feels must be creatively and harmoniously reconciled/balanced even if we are convinced it will be a futile attempt. After all, “Why do something simple, when we can make it difficult? Don't cut corners, add corners!”
I obtained the triad of quadrangular (Ag) replicas, as well as a (Cu) version of the Squared Mark, directly from Andor Orand (andor@qrv.com) in a partial trade for my 2003 Zilchstadt and 2004 Héliopolis coins. All of Andor's Square Coins can be seen at: http://www.sqrdl.com/
His other Web-site is: http://www.andor.tv/test7.htm


Return to the Main Index