Links to Micro-national and Fantasy coins: Listings D, E

Links To Micro-National and Fantasy Coins: Listings D, E




FEDERATION OF DAMANHUR: A spiritual commonwealth in the Torino province of Italy, which itself is within the Piedmont region. It was built in 1977 by Oberto Airaudi and his small group of supporters. Before they settled in the Valchiusella Valley, it started in 1975 as the Horus Centre in Turin; a place where Airaudi could share the results of his religious research with the public, and also where he could commence a new phase of experimentation. Initially, he offered courses and conferences on meditation, philosophy, and healing. “Today, as a result of its constant ethical and social commitment, Damanhur is recognized in Italy as an Association of Social Advancement.” It has evolved into an internationally renowned center, with approximately 1,000 residents/participants forming a growing Federation of communities and regions. In Damanhur, “smoking is forbidden out of respect for others, for Nature and all living beings.”
One of their most amazing achievements is the ongoing construction of an underground temple. It is a series of interconnected rooms/halls, on different levels, each carved out of solid rock in the heart of a small mountain. It is rich in artistically resplendent mosaics, windows, paintings, and sculpture; it also houses the largest Tiffany-style stained glass cupola in the world. The digging and tunnelling began in 1978, so more than 20 years of labor has been invested in the elaborate structure. Currently, Damanhur's main Web-site is http://www.damanhur.org.
Damanhur's “complementary currency”, which is considered by experts to be the most sustainable one of its kind, fuels their community-owned businesses/services; most of these companies and cooperatives are united under the umbrella of something called the Dh Crea Consortium. The Damanhurian coins are universally accepted by this network of producers and consumers (this includes many retail outlets in Valchiusella as well as centers linked to Damanhur in Italy and abroad). “On arrival in the Federation it is possible to convert currency at the Welcome office or by means of specially located change machines positioned around the territories. Unused Crediti can easily be re-converted to Euro when necessary”. They have proven that “it is possible to revitalize an area that has become depressed as a result of de-industrialization. Since the Olivetti Company factory closed its doors in Valchiusella some twenty-five years ago, the population has declined from 50,000 inhabitants to 5,000.” This remarkable “system of internal exchange” remains “in full compliance with Italian law” and its development is being carefully monitored by the Italian national bank. The Creditos are even taxed as if they were Euros.
These were tough coins to get. I e-mailed many, many people at Damanhur, until I was finally given the name of someone at the commune who might help me: Otaria Palma. I purchased coins from her on two separate occasions. These include: the 1986 (actually undated) white clay (yellow glazing) 10 Cali and 50 Cali; the 1986 silver 10 Crediti, 25 Crediti, and 50 Crediti; the XXIII (23rd year, 1998) red clay 20 Cali, 50 Cali, 1 Credito, and 2 Crediti (these are their 2nd emission of earthen/terra-cotta coins); a 1995 (actually undated) cupro-nickel 5 Crediti; the 1999/XXIV (24th year) aluminum 10 Cali, aluminum 50 Cali, and bronzital 1 Credito. Later, from Mr. Chaim Dov Shiboleth, I obtained a 1995 silver 50 Crediti. More recently, from Mr. Oded Paz, I purchased a gorgeous silver 50 Crediti piece dated 2006/XXXI. Many of the metallic Crediti coins “carry a phrase in Sacred Language, the ideogrammatic language that characterizes Damanhurian art. JPJAL ATENA TE TAAL AL MOAN NATE EJ PEJDA which means ‘Happiness and fortune to the person who owns this object, testimony of wealth.’ The phrase was chosen to express the ideal significance of the Credito.”
Unfortunately, Damanhur’s original numismatic page (http://www.damanhur.it/moneta/html/monete.htm) — it contained images of most of their coins (including the earliest pieces) — has been deleted. It's been replaced with another one (http://www.damanhur.it/credito/en/), and its incompleteness leaves much to be desired.
Images of Damanhur's coinage can currently be viewed at the site of Mr. Shiboleth's private collection (http://www.taedivm.org/damanhur1.html) and at the Web-site of Mr. Jorge Fernández Vidal (http://www.jfvcoins.com/Productos/micronations_english=catDK.html).

STATE OF DESERET: After the Mormon pioneers arrived in Utah's Great Salt Lake Valley (1847) and created a permanent settlement, there was considerable inclination toward independence. The Church leaders felt that either territorial status or statehood itself offered desirable alternatives, but they seemed to vacillate between those two viable options. Though they appreciated living practically without governmental interference, the earliest settlers in and around the unorganized territory were not certain as to which nation would eventually take formal control of their remote region, which was nominally part of the Mexican department of Alta California until the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo (1848) ceded the lands to the United States. With limitations on communication, they were unaware of accord-related decrees until some time after their official consummation. It is interesting to note that during this period of uncertainty residents of the “valley” referred to their location as Great Basin, North America.
The provisional, self-designated State of Deseret — its name is a Book of Mormon term (Ether 2:3) meaning “honeybee” — embodied the true elements of civil government by adopting a constitution, enacting legislation, and defining its limits of jurisdiction. Deseret, which functioned as an autonomous state, had vast boundaries, encompassing all of present Utah, most of Nevada and Arizona, more than one-third of California, large portions of Colorado, and smaller parts of New Mexico, Wyoming, Idaho, and Oregon. Church President Brigham Young was elected Governor and others in the Church hierarchy comprised its executive and judicial branches as well as much of its legislative branch. To establish control of this burgeoning domain, the State itself was preceded by a homespun government established to provide local laws/ordinances for its thriving religious communities. This original governing body was the High Council of Great Salt Lake City, established in 1847. It was followed by the Legislative Council of Great Salt Lake City, which took decisive steps to provide for an adequate civil government of a provisional nature over the entire Great Basin and which formed a basis for the future legislatures of the State of Deseret and the Territory of Utah. Concerned with increasing the coreligionist population, Young began a vigorous colonization program, which, before his death in 1877, founded nearly 400 settlements. The State of Deseret was the closest the Church ever came to realizing the theocratic model previously outlined by Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism.
As a result of the lack of federal provision for adequate government of any form in the “Territory of Upper California”, the industrious council of higher-ups formulated a memorial addressed to Congress on 12/13/1848, asking it to charter “a Territorial Government...to be known by the name Deseret.” Several thousand signatures were gathered over a period of months, and the document was dispatched eastward by Dr. John M. Bernhisel on 5/3/1849.
Concurrent with this attempt, Young and his advisers were apparently deciding that instead of pursuing territorial rule under the federal authorities, it would be even more preferable to seek the formation of a new state (as California and New Mexico were doing). To this end, they began to plan accordingly. A Constitutional Convention was organized by the “council” government on 3/5/1849. On the 10th, after much debate and consideration, they ended their indecision regarding which path to follow and adopted an ecclesiastically created “Constitution of the Provisional State of Deseret”. Shortly thereafter, the provisional de facto government was resolutely launched. The bicameral General Assembly (Senate and House of Representatives) of the State of Deseret met for the first time on 7/2/1849, at Great Salt Lake City. This body made another fruitless bid for recognition by adopting a formal memorialization to Congress, asking that the Constitution of Deseret accompanying the entreaty be ratified, and that the State of Deseret be admitted into the Union or that they be given “such other form of civil government as your wisdom and magnanimity may award to the people of Deseret.” The General Assembly sent an emissary of their own, Almon W. Babbitt, Esq., to join forces with Bernhisel and to represent them in Congress. While Deseret's first messenger repeatedly pleaded his ill-fated case with influentials in Washington, and the dignitaries of Capitol Hill took no action on the matter of Babbitt, the first true legislative session of the General Assembly began in December of 1849. Meetings resulted in the enactment of measures regulating the militia (patterned and named after the earlier Nauvoo Legion), and procedures providing for the organization of a judiciary, a revenue act, essential municipal services, irrigation projects and roads, a University of Deseret, and the location of the six original counties of Deseret. Unfortunately, their wishes would once again be rebuffed on 7/18/1850, when the House of Representatives finally concurred with the Committee on Territories' unanimous determination and declared it inexpedient to admit the delegate from “the alleged State of Deseret” to a seat.
The Territory of Utah was formally organized by Act of Congress on 9/9/1850 (Brigham Young was appointed its first governor by Millard Fillmore; he was also designated superintendent of Indian Affairs). In view of this, the General Assembly of the Provisional State of Deseret met in the spring of 1851, and initiated a formal dissolution of their tentative state. On March 28, the Provisional Government of the State of Deseret ceased to exist. After the quasi-state of Deseret was dissolved, a shadow government of the same name continued to operate because their territorial status did not provide the self-rule Latter-day Saints desired. Church elders and the territorial legislature continued unsuccessful efforts to obtain statehood. In 1856, delegates met to again draft a Constitution and propose anew the state of Deseret, an effort rejected by Congress. As a part of a third effort in 1862, Brigham Young called the General Assembly into session for the first time since '51. Thereafter it met each year until 1870, each session lasting only a few days and focusing on winning statehood on the basis of the proposed Constitution of 1849 with only minor changes (its boundaries amended to fit the shrinking limits of the Utah Territory). In the meantime, Brigham Young had been replaced as territorial governor by a series of outside appointees, who became progressively more hostile to the meetings of the General Assembly and complained about this persistent “ghost government”, as they called it. In 1872, a Constitutional Convention drew up a new constitution and dropped the name Deseret from the petition. This request also failed, and hope for the state of Deseret came to a disappointing halt. In 1896, Utah gained admission to the Union as the 34th state.
I purchased a 24-karat gold-plated $20 State of Deseret piece, dated 1860, on eBay. According to the seller from whom I bought it, “This is a copy of a work of art that has never been spent or seen.” The obverse shows a couple of actively occupied honeybees, which pertain to the symbol of industry chosen by Deseret. The reverse shows the all-seeing eye of Jehovah (an emblem of the priesthood) and the clasped hands of fellowship (symbolizing unity); there is also the motto “Holiness to the Lord”, written in the Deseret Alphabet (a type of phonetic system prepared by the Board of Regents of the University of Deseret; the idea behind this experimental method of writing English was to develop a sort of universal system, especially so that newcomers/converts who spoke foreign languages could learn to read English more easily. The final version of the written language utilized thirty-eight characters corresponding to distinct sounds of English. The Deseret Alphabet is currently used by the Republic of Molossia — my listing for this micro-nation can be found on the following page).
According to a numismatist named Mr. Charles M. Larson, this coin “is a purely mythical” concoction. He explains: “A few years back a local newspaper columnist from Salt Lake City named Robert Kirby wrote a short novel with the title Brigham's Bees, and the book had a picture on the cover similar to the example here. The text also described how these coins were supposed to have looked.” In Kirby's book, the master engraver responsible for the coins was a fictional character named Bishop Samuel Woodbury.
The elements on the reverse of this piece, however, do pay literal tribute to coinage made by what was once a small adobe building in Great Salt Lake City known as the Deseret Mint (1848-1851). The most notable emblem missing from the $20 piece is the three-pointed Phrygian crown/miter. Types churned out by the Mint include the 1849 “Pure Gold” 10 Dollars (its issuance actually began in 1848), the 1849 “G.S.L.C.P.G.” (Great Salt Lake City Pure Gold) 2½, 5, 20 Dollars, the 1850 “G.S.L.C.P.G.” 5 Dollars, and the 1860 “Deseret Assay Office Pure Gold” 5 Dollars. Because the early Mormons yearned for a convenient medium of exchange, these pioneers minted their own coins out of necessity. They did so under the auspices of the Church, from granulated gold deposited in their treasury as part of the tithes of congregation members, some of whom had taken part in the historic Gold Rush. The Mint/Assay Office was the first western enterprise to produce credible, private coinage from California gold-dust and they foreshadowed the Californian fractional coinage by more than five months.
After the initial 10 Dollars coin was made, the phrase “Pure Gold” was noticeably absent on the Mint's 4 next coins. Instead, they resorted to the abbreviation “G.S.L.C.P.G.”. Mr. Larson has heard that the “P.G.” portion of these ambiguous initials could have stood for “Provisional Government”, based on the suggestion that Mormon leaders became sensitive to charges that the purity of the precious metal contained in their coins was not up to snuff. It is true that in 1850, an assay was performed on a group of these “native gold” pieces at the Philadelphia branch of the U.S. Mint. The results of these tests revealed that the coins were seriously underweight and debased (they fell short by about 10-20%) and that their “Pure Gold” claim was fraudulent. Customarily, the bullion intended for circulating coinage required the admixture of a small touch of a lesser metal in order to give the soft Au some minimal durability, but the Mormons were willfully overgenerous with those impurities whilst preparing their alloys. When it became public knowledge that there was a problem with the fineness faithfully promised by the coins, they were heavily discounted by bankers and merchants. Following a severe smear campaign, there was widespread melting of the lightweight pieces, which accounts for their rarity today. Mr. Larson thinks that the story of “P.G.” being a shortened form of “Provisional Government” is highly unlikely, because the new dies were already in use for some months before the first assay reports challenging their purported/stated value would be circulated.
According to the 1/28/1850 edition of The Adams Sentinel (Pennsylvania) and the 2/2/1850 edition of the Defiance Democrat (Ohio), “The monetary notions of the Mormons at their Great Salt Lake settlement are no less peculiar, it appears, than their ideas of society and religion. We have a very curious coin in our possession, which is manufactured and exclusively circulated among that remarkable people, and quite to the disparagement, travellers tell us, of every other species of gold currency. Of all the fanciful forms into which our golden wealth is wrought, this sainted shape excels in singularity...It is clumsy, and in execution without merit.” Mr. Larson's opinion seems to corroborate this: “The genius Young possessed for administration and colonization did not, alas, extend to coin design, for though well made, these earliest Mormon gold pieces are generally recognized by numismatists as being among the homeliest coins ever produced.” He elaborates: “The poorly designed, crude devices that first appeared on the 1849 series of Mormon gold coins were so enigmatic that most people who encountered them had very little idea what they were supposed to represent.” The symbolism of the handshake was fairly evident, “but the big, puffy whatever-it-was (meant to symbolize a Phrygian ‘crown’, rather than the Phrygian [Liberty] Cap) made no sense whatsoever.” Most people thought this image was somewhat odd, and it was a hard one for them to figure out, “especially when it looked equally like a cactus, an anvil, a loaf of bread, a baker's hat, or any number of imaginative (and equally nonsensical) things.” Though Young had envisioned it “as a majestic representation of the issuing authority”, the outcome was “anything but impressive”; it inadvertantly stymied virtually everyone who happened to visually examine the pieces. “In the end, about the only thing most people could agree on was that the peculiar ‘critter’ on the front of the coins, with the ‘big eye on one end, a fat pointy tail on the other, and two little wings on either side’ was probably supposed to be a bee. A badly drawn bee, to be sure — but the Mormons were known to be fond of bees, so what else could it be?” It was precisely because of these poorly rendered insects that the coins were universally dubbed “Brigham's Bees” at the time by people outside of Utah (it was rumored that Young was actually appalled by the nickname, but was powerless to do anything about it). “That's where the name originated; and Robert Kirby picked up on the term and actually composed a coin that the early Mormons would have been quite pleased with — had they had the talent available to have ever produced it.” The author must have done a fairly convincing job of making the book's coinage sound believable to his readers, because Mr. Larson is amazed at “how many people have approached me when I've been demonstrating the Deseret Mint at some public function or event, and spoken of the Brigham's Bees as though they were an actual historic reality.”
Mr. Larson is also a coinsmith who, since 1998, strikes the only museum-quality replicas “of this rare and fascinating series that have ever been made available by anyone, anywhere.” His “reproductions are painstakingly struck exactly the same way as the pioneer coinage was — by hand, from hand-cut dies...using historically accurate methods and tooling”. From him, I obtained the finely crafted 1849 $10 and $20 keepsakes. The story of the Deseret Mint, and Mr. Larson's facsimiles, can be found at his site:
http://www.coinsmith.com/books/dmint.htm
http://www.coinsmith.com/gallery/mormon/mormon_g.htm
Great Web-sites containing detailed information about Deseret are:
http://dmla.clan.lib.nv.us/docs/nsla/archives/political/historical/hist03.htm
http://www.lightplanet.com/mormons/daily/history/1844_1877/index.htm

DIXIE DOLLAR: The maker of these coins is Mr. Joshua Deatherage. He apparently has close ties to the alternative currency developed by Mr. Bernard von NotHaus (for more information, please refer to my separate listing for NORFED/Liberty Dollar) because he heads Liberty Dollar of the Ozarks (the Regional Currency Office in Cabool, Missouri). Mr. Deatherage refers to the Dixie Dollar as “A Private Currency for the South”. According to his Web-site (http://www.dixiedollar.org/), the Dixie Dollar is a privately-minted fine/pure silver currency. Its purpose is “To provide a sound monetary system for the south” thereby “enabling the southern people to establish a sound monetary system free of the international banking cartels. The Dixie Dollar is Liberty Dollar compatible and may be spent at many Liberty Dollar merchants nationwide. It is also meant to [be] spent in this current economy so take some along on [your] next trip to town and help the South build a sound monetary system one dollar at a time.” An older version of the Web-site announced: “Now for the first time since 1865, a southern currency is readily available to the public. The Dixie Dollar ($DD) is real, private currency that you can spend instead of US dollars.” I noticed that this older version had some specific dates appearing next to portions of the text. These dates supposedly indicated exactly when the composition/updating had taken place. A tiny bit of the text (“Written by Administrator”) suggests that the Dixie Dollar Web-site may have existed since at least July of 2004. It is extremely doubtful, however, that the Dixie Dollar — in bullion form — has actually been around since that time. The only piece I’ve seen thus far is a silver (1 Troy ounce) “50 Private Issued Dixie Dollars” piece. Though undated, it seems to have been issued in 2008. The reverse features Jefferson Davis along with the phrase “God Save the South”. I purchased a specimen from Mr. Philip N. Deatherage (Joshua is his older brother). He states that “Some people do use it at certain merchants in the south still.” The Web-site does indeed provide a list of businesses that accept the Dixie Dollar.
Dixie is a nickname for the Southern United States. Few (if any) references to Dixie as a region have been dated before 1860. As a definite geographic location within the United States, “Dixie” is usually defined as the 11 Southern states that seceded to form the Confederate States of America (see my separate listing for this coin-issuing entity). They are (in order of secession): South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina, and Tennessee. This definition is strongly correlated with history and, in the minds of many Southerners, remains the traditional and emotional South. In other ways however, the “location” and boundaries of Dixie have become, over time, more limited, vernacular, and/or mercurial. In popular mindset today, it is most often associated with those parts of the Southern United States where Old South traditions and legacies of the Confederacy live most strongly, and are most widely celebrated and remembered. In this particular contemporary realm, there are no hard and fast lines. Roughly however, it might be an area which begins in southern Virginia, maybe a county or two north of Richmond (and perhaps the southern parts of West Virginia), then extends south into North Central Florida. On the northern boundary it sweeps west to take in Tennessee and southern parts of Kentucky, then continues through most of Arkansas, possibly taking in a small part of southern Missouri. On the southern end it would run through the Gulf states until the northern and southern boundary lines connect to include East Texas.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the origins of this nickname in connection with the American South remain obscure. There seem to be at least four major theories which most commonly attempt to explain the term “Dixie”. The first theory is also one of the first to be debunked by many historians. Some sources claim that in the days of the state banking system, certain banks in Louisiana produced currency bearing both English and French denominations. The ten-dollar notes were informally called “Dixs” or “Dixies”, based on the French word for “ten”. As this privately issued currency began to circulate throughout the South, the holders became known collectively as “Dixies”. Purportedly, the area around New Orleans and the Cajun-speaking parts of Louisiana came to be known as “Dixieland” and eventually, usage of the term broadened to refer to most of the Southern States. Skeptics claim that while these “dixie bills” did exist, there is little evidence that their nickname actually became associated with an entire region. The most well-known bank to have issued this type of banknote was the New Orleans-based “Banque des Citoyens de la Louisiane”/“Citizens’ Bank of Louisiana” (the reverse of the note is in Français and the obverse is in English). These ten-dollar notes are labeled “Dix” on the reverse side and they were indeed known as “Dixies” by English-speaking southerners. The second theory connecting Dixie with the Southern United States concerns a very real border called the Mason-Dixon Line; originally ordered by the British colonial government, the Mason-Dixon Line delineated the boundary between Pennsylvania, Maryland and parts of Delaware and western Virginia; eventually this line would also mark the division between free and slave states; some sources claim that “Dixie” is an informal corruption of surveyor Jeremiah Dixon's last name, and was adopted by the Confederacy to represent the entire region south of that Pennsylvania/Maryland border. Although this theory appears to have the most historical basis, many historians and mapmakers now discount the Dixon/Dixie connection. The Mason-Dixon Line was in existence for many years before the first known references to the South as Dixie. While many residents of the region may have used the Mason-Dixon Line as an unofficial political or philosophical boundary, there have been no documented uses of Dixie in contemporary newspapers or literature until the publication of the songs I Ain't Got Time to Tarry, Johnny Roach and I Wish I Was in Dixie in 1858/59. All three pieces were composed by Daniel Decatur Emmett, an Ohioan songwriter/entertainer. He, a well-known blackface minstrel and an imaginative composer and writer for the minstrel stage, joined Bryant’s Minstrels (a blackface minstrel troupe) in New York City in the fall of 1858. I Ain't Got Time to Tarry was his very first song. Catering to public sentiment, which was deeply involved in the question of Southern slavery, Emmett chose as the protagonist of these songs an African-American who longs for his Southern home. This type of scenario — a Negro pining for the Southern plantation — was common to minstrelsy since the early 1850s, but in Emmett’s tunes the political implications were considerably more outspoken than before. Johnny Roach is notable for being the first printed reference to the South as “Dixie’s Land” (I’ve read that I Ain't Got Time to Tarry may also have mentioned the phrase “Dixie’s Land”, but I could not find the complete lyrics in order to verify this). Its lyrics are similar to those of I Ain't Got Time to Tarry. They tell of an ex-slave who has escaped to the Northern United States. He laments his lost plantation home and realizes that he really belongs in the South. I Wish I Was in Dixie offered a similar message. The song's protagonist implies that despite his freedom, he is homesick for the plantation of his birth. The chorus of I Wish I Was in Dixie, which was debuted in 1859 by Bryant's Minstrels, follows portions of Johnny Roach. And because the song makes numerous references to “Dixie” and “Dixie Land”, this brings us to the third popular theory about the true origins of the nickname: that it was all due to Emmett. As was often the case with other minstrel show numbers, I Wish I Was in Dixie was written in a crude/exaggerated/comical form of black dialect, mimicking the Black English vernacular of slaves. Emmett himself told a biographer that the composition was inspired by Northern-based circus troupes who looked forward to performing in the warmer Southern climate during winter months. These performers often referred to the South as “Dixie's Land”, for reasons of their own. There are records indicating several black or white minstrel performers using the name Dixie before Emmett composed the song in 1859. I Wish I Was in Dixie proved extremely popular and became widely known simply as Dixie. The song has also been published as Dixie's Land. The song became the unofficial/informal anthem of the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War. The song was actually performed at the inauguration of Jefferson Davis, the Confederacy's first and only president. This and the tune's minstrel-show origins have created a strong association of “Dixie” with the Old South. As a result, some today view the song as offensive and racist while others see it as a legitimate part of Southern heritage. The fourth theory suggests that the word “Dixie” preserves the name of a real slave-owner named Johan Dixy, who was noted for his benevolent treatment of slaves on his idyllic Manhattan Island plantation called “Dixy's Land”. The kind man’s farm became famed far and wide as an “Elysium” abounding in material comforts. The problem with this theory is that no records of such a Northern slave-owner on Manhattan Island actually exist.
A good deal of information about the Dixie banknotes (now highly sought-after for their numismatic value) can be found in the January 1915 edition of The Magazine of History with Notes and Queries (Volume xx, No. 1), which contains an article by William Beer entitled The “Dixie Bill”: “The history of the origin of the word Dixie as applied to the extreme Southern states, is filled with uncertainties. The following statement presents the arguments for one of the possible origins of the word. It is believed by many that the term originated in the popular use of the bank bill…which was issued by the Citizens’ Bank of New Orleans. The original charter of this Bank was granted in April, 1833, under the administration of Governor A.B. Roman, with a capital of twelve million dollars. In 1836, the credit of the bank stood so high throughout the world that it was able to negotiate a sale of $3,000,000 of its bonds with the great banking firm of Hope & Co., Amsterdam, Holland. The monetary condition of our country from 1837 to 1843 brought about general financial disaster, and the Citizens' Bank went into the hands of Commissioners of Liquidation by virtue of a decree of forfeiture rendered by Court on October 18, 1842. The act of March 10, 1852, restored to the Bank its former rights and privileges, and on April 28, 1853, the Legislature passed an act creating the Cash or Banking Department. The entire stock was taken and the bank commenced business in February, 1854, and continued with uninterrupted success until the war of 1861-65, and later until the expiration of its charter on January 30, 1911, when it was started again and is prospering under the name of the Citizens' Bank & Trust Company of Louisiana.”
It is the author’s contention that the arguments suggesting “That it was this bank that gave rise to the very name of Dixie…are both conclusive and convincing. They leave no room for reasonable doubt that the term ‘Dixie Land’ sprang from the $10 note, Dix, issued by the Citizens' Bank of Louisiana, which had such an unprecedented circulation for a number of years previous to the war. The manner in which these bank notes were brought into almost National circulation was by inviting the steamboat men to bring their freight bill checks to the Citizens’ Bank for payment. In this way, as was foreseen by Mr. Cammack, the steamboat men became of great service to the bank, as the major part of the sum of their collections was carried out of the city to be disbursed throughout the Mississippi Valley, in payment for fuel, wharf boat dues, stores, wages, port charges, etc. Thousands upon thousands of dollars were taken out of the city every week by packets bound for points on the Mississippi, Missouri and Ohio rivers and their tributaries, the Wabash, Tennessee, Arkansas and Red. In this manner, throughout the wide territory extending from Pittsburgh to St. Paul, and from St. Louis to the Gulf these notes were kept in constant circulation, until they became better known than those of any other bank in the South, or in the Union, and the circulation of the bank rose to four or five millions of dollars — then an unprecedented sum. During the panic of 1857 the bank withstood a two days' run upon it and came out with flying colors, while others fell about it. This established its credit so firmly that one of its notes was as good as a National bank note is to-day.”
Beer continues: “The bank was known both as the Citizens' Bank of Louisiana and La Banque des Citoyens de la Louisiane. The ‘de’ and English; five, cinq; ten, dix; twenty, vingt; fifty, cinquante; one hundred, cent; one thousand, mille. It will be readily seen that the French names of any denomination but ten were unpronounceable, by English-speaking people, and no one attempted it; but the ten, ‘dix’, seemed to attract the eye and to meet a public demand, always existing for something unique, unusual. As a result, the $10 notes of the Citizens' were seldom, if ever, referred to in any other way than as ‘dixies.’ And besides, it was the most natural way in the world to identify this particular note. The denomination, too, was a convenient size for the steamboat men to meet their obligations with, not too large or too small; and of the many thousands of dollars taken out of the city every week by the river boats a very large proportion was in ‘dixies.’ In consequence these notes had a much larger circulation than any other notes issued by the bank, and ere long the expression, ‘A dixie note,’ or a note from the ‘Dixie Bank’ was very common among the large number of people everywhere who were familiar with the currency. This was the most natural thing in the world, for the word ‘Dix’ is prominent on the front of the note, and so much so on the back that the observer, in a hasty glance, would see nothing else. A common, almost universal expression used by the steamboat men, when leaving from the ‘up-river’ country for New Orleans, in answer to inquiries as to their destination was: ‘We're going South after dixes,’ or going to ‘Dixie Land.’ Gradually, the Southern country began to be known along the river ports as ‘Dixie land,’ because so much money came from it.”
The author also provides some information about the previously mentioned Daniel Emmett’s I Wish I Was in Dixie. Though Beer refers to the song as “Dixie Land”, he states that it was composed “as a ‘walk-around’ for Bryant's minstrels, then performing in Mechanics' Hall, New York. Mr. Emmet's experiences were varied, and part of his life had been spent with the circus. He had frequently heard the performers make the remark, ‘I wish I was in Dixie,’ as soon as the Northern climate began to be too severe for the tent life which they followed. This expression suggested the song ‘Dixie’s Land.’ It made a hit at once with the playgoing public of New York, and was speedily spread to all parts of the Union by numerous bands of wandering minstrels, who sang and danced to it. In the fall of 1860 Mrs. John Wood sang it in New Orleans, in John Brougham's burlesque of Pocahontas and ere a week had passed the whole city had taken it up, and the [Afro-American] on the street corner and the banker in his office were both humming it contentedly. A New Orleans publisher saw possibilities in the music, and without the authority of the composer had the air harmonized and rearranged, issuing it with words embodying the strong Southern feeling then existing in the chief city in Louisiana.”
Jed Stevenson, in an article from The New York Times (April 23, 1989), provides a nice description of the banknotes: “Good gamblers are a cautious bunch. They figure the odds to two or three-decimal places and know the payback to the exact penny. Nothing irks them more than to be paid in spurious or devalued currency — it throws off their calculations. In the mid-1800's gamblers were faced with a slight problem. Most people paid their debts in bank notes. The notes were printed by private chartered banks in both large cities and small towns. Each bank note was backed by the assets and good faith of the particular bank of issue. A bank note could be worth its face value or, more likely, a fraction less. These discounted notes were wonderful instruments as long as everyone in the town knew the redemption rates. But woe be to the unwary who might foolishly think a $10 bank note was worth $10 in silver or gold. But one bank had a reputation of solidity that flowed up the Mississippi River and along the banks of the Ohio and Missouri. The notes of New Orleans' Citizens Bank of Louisiana, organized in 1833, were respectable and accepted almost anywhere. If a foolish card player might try drawing to an inside straight and then fell prey to the laws of probability, he could pay the happy winner with the notes of the Citizens Bank of Louisiana. In fact the Citizens Bank was so solid that in 1861 it was fined almost a quarter million dollars by the occupying Union forces for giving aid and comfort to the enemy. Although the Union said the bank could pay the fine in quarterly installments, the Citizens Bank paid the next day, in full, in gold. The Citizens Bank had one other attribute — it catered to both English and French speakers and was also known as the Banque des Citoyens de la Louisiane. It was this bi-lingualism that makes them fascinating today. On the back of the $10 notes, printed from 1845 to 1862, was the French word for ten, ‘DIX’, and pronounced to rhyme with six by the English-speaking Americans of the time. When the gamblers on the riverboats and in saloons found themselves flush with winnings and heavy with the New Orleans notes, they would talk of floating down to the land of the Dixes or to Dixieland to cash their notes at the Citizens Bank of New Orleans. Later, the songwriter Daniel Emmett combined the tunes of the Cajuns and southern blacks with the tale of the gamblers and their Dixie notes. Returning to New York he wrote ‘Dixie’ which was first performed by Bryants' Minstrels in New York City in 1859. The song became an instant hit in New Orleans, and a military rendition was adopted by the soldiers of the Confederacy.”
According to Mr. Thomas E. Havelka, fellow numismatist and member of the Unrecognised States Numismatic Society (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/UnrecognisedStatesNumismaticSociety/ and http://www.usns.info/), “the composer, Emmett...was born about 40 miles from where I live now. The town (Mt. Vernon, OH) has a music celebration in his honor every August, and he is buried there. There are claims that the song was originally written by Ben and Lew Snowden, sons of freed slaves, and the song was performed by their family, who taught it to Emmett. The 2 boys are buried about 3 miles from Emmett, and on their tombstone it reads ‘They taught “Dixie” to Dan Emmett’.”
COMMUNITY DOLLAR: This is another type of medallion issued by Mr. Deatherage. According to its Web-site (http://www.communitydollar.net/), the Community Dollar is a fine silver currency. It was “designed to give your local community a customized currency that can be used in town and nationwide!” Elsewhere at the site, he writes: “Now more than ever is the time for your community to start using real ‘money’ instead of the inflation-prone US fiat Federal Reserve Notes. This helps your community develop a strong local economy.” The Web-site shows a silver (1 Troy ounce) “50 Private Issued Community Dollars” piece. Its obverse is nearly identical to that of the Dixie Dollar. Its reverse features a large tree, along with the words “Faith — Family — Freedom” along the top and “Community Currency” along the bottom. “The Oak Tree is a symbol of strength and freedom. The words ‘Faith, Family & Freedom’ have been chosen for the general issue piece.” Though undated, the piece seems to have been issued in 2009. I was told by Mr. Deatherage that a “20 Private Issued Community Dollars” piece (2/5 oz.) is in the works.
Interestingly, the Web-site invites the enterprising visitor to design/order “your own currency” — in other words, a unique “community piece” that emulates the purpose/spirit of the “general issue pieces” produced by Mr. Deatherage: “You may chose for your community what you value for community pride. Show your community spirit on the face of your Community Currency. The reverse of each customized community currency will be the same as the general issue, which features the currency value and weight.”
It should be mentioned that both the Dixie Dollar and the Community Dollar are participants in the American Open Currency Standard (see my separate listing for this coin-issuing entity), “a group of complimentary competing alternative private currencies that are accepted at thousands of merchants across the country.” Because both of them are AOCS-approved, they are “compatible with…other AOCS Approved silver and gold currencies.”

REPUBLIC OF THE EARTH: In 1994, Rodolfo Marusi Guareschi introduced their Constitution, which was the initial hypothetical proposal for this type of government system; the Repubblica per se, which is based in the Italian province of Reggio Emilia (inside the Emilia-Romagna region), was founded on January 1st, 2001. “The Republic of the Earth isn't a state. Its government does not have to administrate any part of the territory of the planet or provide public services. It only has to guarantee freedom, justice, democracy, development, solidarity and first of all peace and safety to everyone”. Guareschi believes that “Today, whilst one section of humanity manages to fulfil all of its needs and nearly all of its desires, the most conspicuous part of it still struggles to survive.” The Repubblica della Terra arose because each pre-existing form of government hasn't “been able to solve the fundamental problems of humanity. With their choices, determined by the dominating groups, they have caused wars, public debts, poverty and hunger. The states have abused of some of their powers and haven't used the ones they had been instituted and accepted for. It is not the case to abolish the states, but it is necessary to modify their functions and supplement them with those of other entities that will be assigned the power of doing what the states haven't.” To transform “the relations between dominated and dominants, one has to adopt a form of government that is not an evolution of the previous ones but completely new and original.” Guareschi's institution seeks to honor “the sovereignty of every People” and to become a “universal republic, with a worldwide government expressing the will of all the inhabitants of the planet.” It strives to autonomously address the inherent unfairness of our society's present-day hierarchical structure, which consists of “the two classes”: the superior, strong people “standing on the higher levels,” and the weaker “people standing on the lower ones.” This juxtaposition creates a discriminatory “double valence”, which in turn “is the main cause” for economic and civil injustice in our cities. Guareschi would like to achieve a process of fusion between the two levels, “moved by a union spirit and based on common objectives”. He envisions that this utopian enterprise “shall start from the grassroots and represent the interests and the aspirations of the great majority of the people. It shall influence all peoples and states and affect people's reality everywhere.” The overall goal “is to solve material problems by enhancing democracy, increasing overall well-being and introducing fair solidarity.” He, along with his subscribers, have committed themselves to uphold these principles and to combat the limited availability of resources, misdistribution of wealth, indigence, inequalities of our social order, disparities, etc…“The Republic will take all the necessary steps to guarantee the maximum level of material and spiritual freedom to every inhabitant of the Earth, changing the causes of malaise which are the result of rules and history.” Its members are “obtained through the ‘three-for-one’ method, whereby each participant finds three other participants. Anybody asking to be part of the Republic of the Earth will have to find three or more participants.” As a political initiative, their “plan provides that all the inhabitants of the Earth take part in the formation of a planetary democratic government through a representative International Assembly directly elected by them by one, free vote.” For the time being, however, most of their activities and decision-making are governed by a 200-person “Committee of the Representatives of the Republic of the Earth”.
The Dhana (“money” in Sanskrit) is the universal currency unit of the Repubblica della Terra. This economic development “is one of the thirty initiatives of the Holos Global System Program” and is the instrument conceived by President Guareschi to face the problem caused by the monetary systems of the world. He, inspired by the American economist/mathematician Irving Fisher, aims “To redistribute the wealth among the inhabitants of the planet by assigning one hundred Dhana to each person aged at least 16.” Thus far, the “monetary resources” at the Republic's disposal for it to carry out its program amounts to over 11 billion U.S. Dollars. “The first six billion Dhana where issued on the 14th of June 2001”. These were authorized by the “Dhura” organization (Dhana Monetary System Authority), and financed with assets from “Avatar S.p.A.” (an Italian joint-stock company, founded in 1989 in the municipality of Sant’Ilario d’Enza) and guaranteed by the “Holos Holding S.A.” (a similar society based in Luxembourg, launched in 2000). “Until now 150 billions of Dhana have been emitted,” and all of this has aroused the ire of the National Commission for Corporations and the Stock Exchange (CONSOB, Italy's stock market regulator/watchdog agency). Their currency, which attempts to free men and women from the hegemony of banks and which will never “suffer devaluation,” is backed not by precious metals, but “by the value of bonds representing capital shares beginning from its emission”. Dhana is issued in physical money (paper tickets in various denominations of Dhana and Kana-Dhana) and electronic or “telematic”/computerized (data-transmission) money. “Dhana works like other currencies but it will never have forced circulation, that is it will never be compulsory” for people from any country in the world to accept it as compensation. “Dhana doesn't and will never have legal tender” and its usage will remain a matter of free choice amongst individuals according to each one's personal needs. “As a value measure, Dhana is equal to one hour of normal work...As an exchange mean, the value of Dhana is par to 25 Euro.” There is also a 2002 1 Dhana coin, made of either ormolu or a metallic alloy plated with gold, which I obtained from an official representative (their “English Referent”) of the Republic named Mr. Leonardo Bellini. “People belonging to the Republic of the Earth accept payments in dhana. The people asking to participate in the Republic of the Earth are credited 100 dhana, which is made available as soon as the new participant has involved other three people in the Republic of the Earth.” Mr. Bellini states that technically, a person “can't ‘buy’ Dhana. To receive Dhana you will have to join its monetary system by applying to the Republic of the Earth.” The cost of enrollment depends “on the per capita GDP of the Country you work and live in.” At the time of this writing, the fee for a U.S. citizen was $913.12. With these rates, I wonder if they will succeed in recruiting folks from all walks of life - especially the disadvantaged masses they've sworn to champion. On the Internet, there is a dizzyingly complex, wordy array of interconnected pages related to the Republic of the Earth, all emanating from the main Web-sites:
http://www.unigov.org/
http://holos.wgov.org/asmad.org/
The most succinct overview of the Republic and the purpose of Dhana can be found at:
http://www.unigov.org/d/RDT-DHX-RMG-en.htm
More details about the Dhana itself can be viewed at:
http://holos.wgov.org/asmad.org/en/home8.html

KINGDOM OF ELLEORE: This is a small island (roughly triangular in shape, each side being approximately 400 meters in length) located deep in Denmark's Roskilde Fjord. The Kingdom was born on August 27, 1944, after a group of professors/schoolteachers, under the leadership of Hans Neerbek, purchased the island. In 1962, a form of Neo-Latin called Interlingua became their official tongue (Neerbek had founded the Danish Interlingua Union in 1960). The island's only permanent residents are birds; it is uninhabited by people for 51 weeks of the year, but during seven days in July, citizens are permitted to visit and go camping there. I obtained a set of their coins from fellow numismatist, Mr. Chaim Dov Shiboleth, who in turn obtained them directly from Elleore's Prime Minister. Their first coin seems to have been a “Regno de Elloria” 11 Disser piece dated 1969. In addition, there's a 1979 1 Leo d'Or, a 1983 2 Leo d'Or, a 1984 3 Leo d'Or. There was also a 2003 2 Leo d'Or, which I've since traded to another colleague. Elleore's Web-sites are:
http://www.elleore.dk/ and http://babel.ruc.dk/~elleore/
Images of Elleore's coinage can be viewed at the Coin Library of the USNS:
http://www.usns.info/coin-elleore.html
Elleore, which once claimed to be the “world's smallest Kingdom”, has also issued many postage stamps over the decades.

EUSKAL HERRIA (BASQUE COUNTRY): This designation refers to an area of the Iberian Peninsula which is historically, ethnically, and culturally Basque. This includes the four Spanish provinces of Vizcaya, Guipúzcoa, Álava, and Navarra, as well as the three former French provinces of Labourd/Lapurdi, Basse-Navarre/Nafarroa Beherea, and Soule/Zuberoa (now officially incorporated into the French department of Pyrénées-Atlantique). Upon closer inspection, the reality of Euskal Herria is more complicated, though. There is no clear-cut homogeneity to the region. A good part of the population living in the seven “historic territories” does not want to be included in a so-called Basque Country. That is the case of most of the Basques living in France and, above all, the people of Navarre. But Basque nationalists are convinced, on linguistic and anthropological grounds, that Nafarroa is the heartland of their unmistakably unique nation. The Vascons of Navarre are viewed as the ancestors of the Basque people (who are the only remaining pre-Aryan race in Europe), as the mountainous north of Nafarroa is still partly Basque-speaking. And the semi-autonomous Kingdom of Navarre is the only entity to have exercised political authority over the entire landscape to which the Basques now lay claim. The great majority of Navarrese, however, consider their domain to be quite distinct from the Baskongadak (Bizkaia and Gipuzkoa, and Araba), which between 1200 and 1332 had left Nafarroa and were incorporated into the Crown of Castile, although without giving up their traditional institutions. Navarre, in turn, was invaded and occupied by Castile in 1512. Whatever its boundaries, the País Vasco has experienced many momentous ups and downs. Throughout the Middle Ages, the Basque provinces, north and south, were largely self-governing and they had a vigorous tradition of local democracy. Over time, Basque autonomy was gradually stymied by the powers-that-be, but the Basques have continuously fought to preserve their own forms of government. In the north zone (Iparralde), Basque rights were abruptly swept away by the French Revolution. In the south zone (Hegoalde), self-determination lasted longer, but in the 19th century it came under attack from centralist governments in Madrid, culminating in a series of major civil insurrections known as the Carlist Wars (1833-39, 1846-49, 1872-1876). When these rebellions erupted, they took place in Cataluña, Navarra, and the País Vasco. The Basques, siding with the more conservative faction of King Carlos V and/or his descendants, battled against the superior forces of Spain with unsuccessful results. As a consequence of the Carlist defeats, the age-old provincial fueros were abolished. The fueros of the feudal era were a collection of special rights — a set of local laws — which regulated their political system and protected their independence. These compilations, which included privileges and exemptions specific to an identified class, were habitual practices which influenced their customs of law and governance. This ancestral scheme had allowed the Basque Country to retain a separate constitutional identity and a separate legal/financial administration under a regional aristocratic oligarchy. The foral rights of each province were not identical, however, and the Spanish Crown had never treated the País Vasco as a single political unit.
The Basques, by the way, call their language Euskara (Euskera and Eskuara being dialect variants). It is the linchpin of Basque national identity. The word Euskaldun (literally, “one who has Basque”) means “Basque-speaker”; the plural is Euskaldunak, and this is what the Basques commonly call themselves. Linguistically, Basque (including its ancestral form, the ancient pre-Indo-European Aquitanian tongue) has no relatives and absolutely cannot be shown to be related to any other language anywhere in the world.
Though there has clearly been a Basque culture and language for many centuries, some historians suggest that the concept of the ‘Basque nation’ was a creation of the 1890s. Seen in this light, the “invention” of Basque nationalism and cultural-linguistic revival was a prerequisite in the expanding struggle for the retrieval of lost sovereignty. The essence of Basque nationalism was to safeguard their time-honored conventions and to defend their ethnicity against contamination by the Spanish. The movement appealed most strongly to those displaced or still embedded in a traditional economy, such as agriculturalists and artisans; it attracted members of the pre-industrial Vizcayan society, all threatened by liberalism, who were being marginalized by processes of modernization and who were faced with the corruption of their values and the collapse of their cherished socio-cultural order. Industrialization and urbanization encouraged immigration to the Basque Country, causing the villagers and peasants to become bitterly resentful towards capitalism, which would only dilute the regional homogeneousness they'd envisioned. From the late 1800s, the Spanish Basques, fearing for their language and their culture, began pressing for reforms and for greater self-rule. These were strictly peaceful campaigns, which in their lack of clear-cut leadership were oftentimes beset by internal differences of opinion regarding which ideological path (autonomy versus independence) would be the best one to take.
The Basque Nationalist Party, founded in 1895 by Sabino de Arana y Goiri, remains the largest and most dominant political party in the País Vasco. In Basque it is called Eusko Alderdi Jeltzalea (EAJ), and in Castilian it is called the Partido Nacionalista Vasco (PNV); in Spain it is commonly referred to as EAJ-PNV. Arana, though his movement initially drew little support and was known as Vizcayanism, is considered by many to be the father of Basque nationalism. He also coined the neologism Euzkadi (“Basque State”); the term, which refers to the 3 provinces of the Baskongadak, is still used today.
By the early 20th century, “regional micronationalism” had begun to develop in Catalonia and the Basque provinces. From 1923-30, during the military dictatorship of Miguel Primo de Rivera, the Basque community endured severe repression and their chronically weakened nationalist movement was outlawed and forced underground; it then flourished briefly when the ban was lifted after the proclamation of the Second Republic in April 1931. When autonomy was granted to Cataluña, the Basque nationalists, inspired by Arana and led by PNV chief José Antonio de Aguirre, began a large-scale, well-planned campaign for Basque autonomy. Three out of four the Basque provinces' assemblies of local councilors voted in favor of forming an autonomous Basque region within the Spanish state, while the delegates from Navarra voted narrowly against the proposal. But a military coup in 1936 led to the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War (July '36-April '39). The Nationalist generals who were involved in the insurgency appointed General Francisco Franco, one of the leaders of the uprising, as Commander-in-Chief and Head of State. Meanwhile, the Republican Government in Madrid had already approved the Statute which finally granted the Baskongadak its official autonomy. However, it was only applied to Guipuzcoa and Vizcaya because by then a rift among Basques had developed. In October 1936, Aguirre was sworn in as first Lehendakari (president) of the short-lived Government of Euskadi. His first actions were to pronounce the Ikurriña (the Basque flag that was designed in 1894 by Sabino Arana and his brother Luis) as official and to create the Basque army and University. But in 1937, the Nationalist Army mounted a great offensive against Bizkaia. They entered and seized Bilbao, the Basque capital, which finally collapsed at the hands of Franco's troops by September. Although Aguirre was forced to flee the country shortly thereafter, he established a government-in-exile and maintained the position of Lehendadari until his death in 1960. During this timeframe, Basque alienation and radicalization grew. The Basques suffered terribly in their fight against Franco's brutally oppressive personal dictatorship. Since they had sided with the Republican government during the Civil War, the Basques found themselves particularly singled out for persecution and revenge by the Fascist regime. Franco suppressed or restricted virtually all expressions of Basque culture and forbade all outward signs of their identity. This included exhibiting the nationalist flag, and partaking of any nationalist celebrations. The very speaking of Basque in public and teaching it in classrooms were prohibited; even baptizing children with non-Spanish names was illegal. Basque separationists who had not managed to hide or flee into exile were imprisoned, tormented, condemned to forced labor, and even shot. Thus, the protracted dictatorship had the counterproductive effect of re-awakening intensely independentist feelings and of sparking a more ardent nationalist identity in the Basque provinces. Permitted no legal voice, the Basques gradually began to congregate clandestinely to discuss possible options. Their sovereignty movement, contemplating more active resistance, began to evolve in the 1950s. Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (Basque Fatherland and Liberty), a well-known, radical group which even today still seeks to create an independent state, was founded by a band of student activists who were dissatisfied with the moderate opposition of the traditional Basque party. Originally called EKIN (from the Basque for “get busy”) since its inception in 1953, this nationalist group re-named/reconstituted itself as ETA in 1959. Their split from the PNV apparently took place because its restless young founders felt that the older organization, characterized by a non-confrontational style, was not acting energetically enough to advance the Basque cause. ETA, which was one of several groups that formed a part of the Movimiento de Liberación Nacional Vasco (MLNV), was the only militant faction to emerge in Spain during the Franco era. Throughout this period, they had accrued considerable popular support from even beyond the Basque populace. On their home turf, many countrymen joined ETA's secessionist stance, and the roots of this heightened sympathy arose from the authoritarian state's unending attempts to ruthlessly destroy the nationalistic aspirations of the Basque. At first, ETA's tactics were deliberately non-violent, but the sustained ferocity of the Spanish police and courts (domestic searches, arbitrary arrests, routine beatings, interrogations accompanied by torture, lengthy jail sentences, widespread abuse) eventually pushed ETA perilously into the realm of armed resistance (naturally, there are numerous other left-wing Basque nationalist groups, who valiantly disapprove of such methods). In this tumultuous and riotous climate, ETA's soldiers retaliated with intensified bloodshed and vowed to passionately fight for a fully independent homeland. Though their military actions were initially directed towards known torturers and murderers from amongst the Spanish authorities, the ensuing warfare gradually escalated into increasingly indiscriminate shootings and bombings. The Francoist system responded with ever greater combative cruelty of its own; all of its security forces (National Police, Civil Guard, secret police) assaulted and murdered Basques with total impunity. In December of 1973, ETA's “freedom fighters” managed to assassinate the Spanish Prime Minister, Admiral Luis Carrero Blanco, who was most likely the intended successor of the aging Generalísimo. This event, which actually was received positively in many Basque circles, may have significantly hastened the end of Spanish fascism. The dictator's long rule finally came to an end in 1975. Franco's death elevated Don Juan Carlos de Borbón to the monarchy. Once in power as King Juan Carlos I, he facilitated the transition toward the current democratic state. Elections were once again held in post-Franco Spain, leading to the establishment in 1979 of the Euskal Autonomia Erkidegoa (Comunidad Autónoma del País Vasco, Basque Autonomous Community); this was the name adopted by the 3 provinces of the Baskongadak, which, prior to the Spanish constitution of 1978, were still known by the antiquated term Provincias Vascongadas. The Basque districts were now able to wield considerably wide-ranging powers. They were given their own police force, their own parliament, and they were granted a broad degree of control over issues such as taxation and education. An innovative policy of region-specific bilingualism meant that the distinctive Basque language and culture could once again be promoted in Basque-run schools. Many exiles returned from abroad. This outcome satisfied most of the people in Euskal Herria, and many supporters of ETA quietly left the separatist organization to resume normal lives. However, for a minority in the ETA committed to armed struggle, this partial autonomy was not enough. The modest number of remaining hard-core members tenaciously believed that Basques should secure complete freedom from Spain, and to this non-negotiable end the urban guerillas have continued a chaotic program of destructiveness all over Spain. They fear that anything less than full liberation would spell the end of their cultural, linguistic, and national identity within a very short time (adding urgency to their demands has been the weakness of Euskera — which many of them feel is on the verge of annihilation — as a regional language). Grupos Antiterroristas de Liberación (GAL), illegally directed and financed by officials in the Ministry of Interior, were active from 1984-86. These paramilitary groups and death squads were composed of undisciplined, off-duty members of the security forces (as were their predecessors, ATE and BVE); its mercenaries, many of whom would later be accused of war crimes and other heinous atrocities, carried out further killings and waged a “dirty war” against Basque activists and their property. In recent years, though security forces and politicians have become the main targets of the fervent hardliners, countless innocent lives (prominent Basques and civilian bystanders) have been lost. ETA has also engaged in bank robberies, kidnappings, intimidation, graffiti, and extortion (collecting a “revolutionary tax” from businesses in Basqueland). What distinguishes the Basque conflict is its intractability despite significant concessions granted by the 1978 Spanish constitution and in subsequent legislation. While Catalonia has worked within the framework of these delegated powers to strengthen its regional language, culture, and economy, violence continues to fester in the even more autonomous País Vasco. Another province that has made a smoother, less troublesome changeover is the Comunidad Foral de Navarra (Free Community of Navarre), which was formed in 1982.
I purchased 2 different Euskal Herria coins from Mrs. Joan Piñol Bastidas. First, there is a 25 Nabarro piece. Its reverse shows the Arrano Beltza (“Black Eagle”), a modern Basque nationalist version of the ancient arms of the Kingdom of Nafarroa, which signify its unity; more specifically, the aquiline image is found on the seals of King Santxo VII “the Strong” of Navarre. It is used by the leftist Basque patriotic groups as a symbol of unified Euskalerria (another spelling for Euskal Herria). The second coin is a 100 (Ehun) Nabarro piece. Its reverse shows the Casa de Juntas/Assembly House (not only is this building the headquarters of the highest institutional body in Biscay, but it is also the meeting point for all the territories in the Basque Country) and the Árbol de Gernika (the revered oak tree). Both pieces feature the same obverse, which depicts the Euskal Herria coat-of-arms; it contains 6 shields, representing its 7 historical herrialdes (provinces) — Nafarroa Beherea (also known as Behenafarroa, Behenabarra, Benabarre) and Nafarroa still share the same emblem. Underneath the heraldic device, there is an unfurled banner which says “ABERRI EGUNA”; this, the “Day of the Fatherland”, is the Basque national holiday which has been held since 1932 and which is always celebrated in conjunction with Easter. The decorative streamer also contains the date of the pieces, 1990.
From “Lejona”, the nickname of a collector whom I met via an online Spanish numismatic forum, I learned that there are two additional types: a 1 Nabarro (showcasing a map of the Basque-speaking territory) and a 5 Nabarro (displaying the Ikurriña). The 4-coin set was produced by Herri Batasuna (Popular Unity), which was founded in April 1978, by a coalition of leftist/nationalist groups and individuals who had voted against the Spanish constitution. Considered to be the most militant of all the Basque political parties, its constituent elements had originally been called together in 1977 by senior Basque nationalist Telesforo de Monzón. They backed the aims/goals of ETA so fully, that HB was alleged to be the political arm/wing of ETA. HB spokesperson Arnaldo Otegi was once quoted as saying “You could say we are the last indigenous people in Europe. We are very deeply attached to our land.” From 1998-2001, Herri Batasuna assumed the name Euskal Herritarrok (Basque Citizens). In '01, HB then dissolved to join Batasuna, a partnership formed to unite all the leftist pro-independence groups in the entire Basque territory. Batasuna is also a principal part of the MLNV, and its officials deny that they are linked to ETA. Though it has been banned in Spain since 2003, the faction is not illegal in France. According to the text which accompanied the coins, “Today more than ever the desire of our people to regain their sovereignty is patently clear, proof of this being the important occurrences and public demonstrations which to that effect are taking place in recent days.” Therefore, for the Aberri Eguna of 1990, “Herri Batasuna wanted to offer a sample of what had been the complete sovereignty of the Kingdom of Navarre,” so they decided to issue their own coins, just like the bygone monarchy had done. As it were, one of the final pieces made by Navarre was known as the “navarro de oro”. Therefore, the denomination chosen by HB “is the same as that of yesteryear, namely, ‘Nabarro’, but we made the design suitable to the present-day sentiment of the group of inhabitants of Euskal Herria.” Herri Batasuna intended their tokens “to serve as a reminder of our history” and to act as a memento of that year's celebration. They also hoped the coins would spur all Basques to continue striving towards nationhood, and serve as incentive for everyone to keep contributing his or her own “small grain of sand”, each one so very necessary “in the construction of this new free and supreme Euskal Herria for which we fight.”
These coins, “Lejona” stated, were sold at rustic bars, known as Herriko Tabernas (people's taverns), that were affiliated with HB. The use of these modest establishments, commonly found in all the villages and small towns, came about from the need of the political parties to have places where they could assemble and conduct meetings. Their partisans began financing these social businesses (where their compatriots would often work for no pay), and there eventually arose a network of “txoko-tabernas” (corner-taverns) throughout the Basque territory, where the political parties could be directly connected to the people. The first ones belonged to PNV-EAJ, and were dubbed “Batzokis” by Arana. These were followed by the Herriko Tabernas and several other similar types collectively run by their respective parties, such as the “casas del pueblo” of the Partido Socialista de Euskadi-Euskadiko Ezkerra (PSE-EE), the “Elkar-tokis” of the Eusko Alcartasuna (EA), and the “Esker-tokis” of the Euskal Batasuna (EB).
Images of the Euskal Herria coinage can be viewed at the site of Mr. Chaim Dov Shiboleth's private collection:
http://www.taedivm.org/coin-euskalherria.html

EVRUGO MENTAL STATE: In the days of Spain's authoritarian regime, when elements of the anti-establishment were widely persecuted by the Franco government, Alberto Porta was charged with possessing an illegal substance (supposedly) and causing “disturbios anticulturales”. He was convicted under the infamous “Ley de Vagos y Maleantes” (Law of Vagabonds and Criminals, an anti-vagrancy act which permitted the detention of people — even street vendors and itinerant workers — who could not prove that they had legal means of supporting themselves; it was used by the Generalísimo to “clean up the streets” of any and all conduct they deemed to be of a countercultural or delinquent nature). The alleged “loafer” was then sent to a psychiatric hospital in his native town of Barcelona. There, on the prompting of a schizophrenic patient named Armando, Porta decided to change his name to Zush (the fellow inmate apparently baptized him as such) and to create his own state of Evrugo in September of 1968. Armando is considered to be its co-founder. “Like a child who's decided that he doesn't like reality,” writes Pablo Llorca in the January 2001 edition of ArtForum, “Zush submerges himself in a reality strictly his own.” He “decided to break with the quotidian realm, creating a parallel world...a fictitious state...an all-encompassing environment that displaces the real one.” The best description of this hallucinatory creation comes from Porta's own Web-site (http://www.evru.org/): Evrugo's “origin is inspiration. It is a contradictory, imaginary yet real, autocratic and universal state. Its constitution is random. Everything is possible, the concrete and the immaterial. It uses symbols common to all states: language, alphabet, flag, anthem, currency and passport. Its territory is mental, physical, artistic, scientific and mystic...Its heritage is ideas. Its strategy is creative self-healing. Its ideal is to attain happiness. A place for secluction [sic] and expansion.” Evru's “scientific findings are expressed in Asura, his personal alphabet.” Through the invention of this private Evrugan language, the renowned conjurer is better able to put his esoteric visual vocabulary into focus. In the new millennium, Zush was extinguished and replaced by Evru. The new nom de pinceau, which Porta decided to adopt on February 23rd of 2001, became the second incarnation of this well-known, self-taught Catalan artist, scientist, and philosopher. “I eliminated Zush because it is a type of liberation from a figure that had accompanied me since 1968.” Also, “the mental hospital where he was born has disappeared.” But Zush could someday make a comeback because he didn't really die; he was toned down, and in that blurriness, “only faded away”. One source on the Internet professes that in 1999 he issued a series of coins ranging from 5 to 1,000 “Tucares”, but I later learned that this is incorrect; there are only 2 pieces: a 10 Tucares made of nickel, and a 1,000 Tucares made of gold. He has also produced two banknotes: a 9 Tucares and a 100 Tucares. Many prestigious international museums, institutions, galleries and art spaces (Belgium, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain, Sweden, the U.S.) have held individual exhibitions of Evru's sculptures, mixed-media drawings, portraits, and installations; his work is also represented in several distinguished collections.
I obtained one of the 10 Tucares pieces, dated “00” (2000), from Débora Llauradó, Evru's assistant. “This coin is really special,” she commented, “because it was one of the last and Evru used to carry it in his pocket...The coin has a mintage of 15, but they are polished one by one. The idea for their production arose together with Evru's dentist, who is an art collector. They adapted one of the dentist's molds and designed the coins.” The artist's former name, Zush, is written in Asura on the obverse of the piece. On the reverse, superimposed in relief upon a textured web of enlarged, dilated blood vessels, there is an open, king-sized eye; this is the same emblematic motif which appears on Evrugo's national flag. The coin is a well-made “relic”, which truly has the feel and appearance of an archaeological artifact from a seemingly unreachable “altered state” located galaxies away, on a secluded alien shore.


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