Links to Micro-national and Fantasy coins: Listings O

Links To Micro-National and Fantasy Coins: Listings O

SULTANATE OF OCCUSSI-AMBENO (a model country based on an actual enclave in what was Portuguese East Timor, in Indonesia): This imaginary state, which obtained “independence from Portugal in April 1968”, was masterminded by Mr. Bruce Henderson, a New Zealander who is a noted film buff and who was once heavily involved in sci-fi fandom. For this and other projects, he adopted the alias/nom d'artiste of Bruce Grenville (I shall respectfully refer to him by that name for the remainder of this write-up). Having perpetrated this ingenious “hoax”, he rose to notoriety in the 1970s and 80s. Today, the Internet almost invariably credits Mr. Henderson (not Mr. Grenville) as the visionary who devised the infamous Occussi-Ambeno postage stamps.
This oftentimes light-hearted venture was an opportunity for Mr. Grenville (he was already well-known in “anarchist” circles as a person who advocated freedom from “Statism”) to satirize the institution of the state and the trappings of its political apparatus. As part of what many critics would characterize as a “scam”, Mr. Grenville and his comrades fabricated an unique historical timeline and bureaucracy, including seven united provinces/tribes and a succession of rulers going back to 1848. Almost immediately, they began to print stamps, crests, letterheads, and other official-looking material. For publicity purposes, they also spawned countless press releases, many of which were published by the world's media. They have frequently made headlines; for example, The New Zealand Herald once carried a story about Occussi-Ambeno on its front page. Apparently, in 1973 it was the first and only state to establish full diplomatic relation with the Republic of Minerva, whose founders tried to seek recognition by sending letters to some 100 countries. Occussi-Ambeno itself once skillfully secured diplomacy with a number of other tiny states, including Monaco and Liechtenstein (part of this information appeared in The State Adversary, July 1987). They are professed to have been accidentally included in a list of countries compiled by the U.S. Dept. of State. Mr. Grenville's deliberate irreverence/flippancy probably alienated many influential people along the way, especially those who felt wrongly duped after the proverbial cat was out of the bag. Despite all the commotion he's caused, the melodic words “Occussi-Ambeno” simply would not be in our vocabulary if it were not for him.
The Sultan of Occussi-Ambeno was but one of Mr. Grenville's numerous alter-egos. He has become the artist-in-residence for over a dozen re-created/mythical countries, and an amazingly prolific originator of “cinderella” stamps. They are also known as artistamps, an artform which proffers a colorful alternate universe all its own. Mr. Grenville, as the Postmaster-General of the Okusi-Ambeno Philatelic Bureau/Post Office oversees their entire catalog of stamps. Plus, he is the current Secretary-General of the “International Council of Independent States” (ICIS, founded by Norwegian archaeologist Geir Sør-Reime on June 1st, 1984). It acts as a kind of “United Nations” for the fictional realms that belong to what he terms the “Fifth World”, and it brings together 20 or so other artistamp-issuing states (e.g. Sultanate of Upper Yafa, Kingdom of All the Sedang, Republic of Liegerland, Free Vinland Republic), many of which are Mr. Grenville's progeny. In one of the chapters for James Warren Felter's 216-page bilingual (Italian/English) paperback Artistamps, Mr. Grenville writes that some philatelists “feel that stamps must originate from a country to be considered relevant to collectors. Thus, the issuer is forced to make the decision to create a ‘virtual country’”. Occussi-Ambeno's “success has been because it really does have a geographical location” and hobbyists become more interested when they can find a detailed map of the pre-existing “stampiferous” country in an atlas and prove to themselves that it is unequivocally real. Their current Head of State is His Majesty the Sultan Gare (i.e. Gary Dean), though Mr. Grenville originally held that post before being deposed.
Though for a long spell it was unclear whether either of the Bruces (the real one or the invented persona) was the same promoter behind the Occussi-Ambeno coins, I can now report with confidence (based on personal correspondence) that the numismatic items bearing its name are not official concoctions, and were with certainty produced sans consent. The various pieces from 1996/97 (showing themes related to Taiwan) and the two from 1990 (showing paintings of the nude maja/Venus) were purportedly struck by the Valcambi Mint in Switzerland. It is extremely unclear, however, who actually authorized the issuance of these coins; but based on reports from a close colleague, I've learned that a numismatist from Spain may have been responsible for the '90 pair. In regards to the Swiss connection, the lone 1998 coin (Prins Maurits and Marilene van den Broek, of the Dutch Royal House) is the spurious exception. This hideous piece is theorized to be of Chinese origin, but compared to its very handsome predecessors, it was designed/engraved by much less capable hands. A fantasy based on a fantasy? A double fantasy, so to speak? Just as collectibly intriguing, at least to me. And to add food for a final bit of thought, here is an unexplainably peculiar tidbit I found at Google Groups (posted by a Mr. Brett McInnes): “The currency of Okusi-Ambeno is, of course, the Okusi-Ambeno Pataca, consisting of 100 avos. Coins circulate in denominations of 1,2,3,7,11,13,17,19,23,29 avos and 1, 2, and 3.14159265 patacas. The coins are struck on a patented planchet consisting of an alloy of mushrooms and another undisclosed substance also commonly found in connection with mushrooms.” Boy, this really adds another bizarre layer to the deepening mystery! We can infer, of course, that the author of this snippet was fully aware that apart from the revenues of its Philatelic Bureau, the Sultanate’s economy is completely dependent upon “exports of high quality hallucinogenic mushrooms manufactured in State-owned factories scattered throughout Okusi-Ambeno.” Though there is no page displaying the actual metallic coins, the official Web-site of the Kesultanan Okusi-Ambeno is
My 1990 “Velázquez” 100 Dollars and 1996 1 Dollar coins came from the WPNA. In regards to the former coin, this wasn't the first time I'd come to have one in my care. A couple of years earlier, when my interest in these types of coins was still in the initial stage, I had purchased one from Joel Anderson; I wasn't pleased with the coin (I found it a tad too bizarre), so I returned it.
In the summer of 2004, someone named “Xavier Carlos Maria di Occussi-Ambeno” posted a couple of eyebrow-raising messages at the Unrecognised States Numismatic Society ( newsgroup. Claiming to be “a member of the Royal Government of the Sultanate of Okusi-Ambeno” (no connection whatsoever to the regime of “the imaginative philatelist senhor Grenville” and Sultan Gare — both of whom he considers to be “pretenders” and “usurpers”), he stated that “We have been in exile since the Indonesian Army invaded our Sultanate in the 1970's. As of last year, the State of Timur-Leste has been re-enstated but, as of now, does not recognise our rights to the Sultanate. This means we are obliged to stay in exile until this can be rectified.” He furthermore asserted that there have been only 2 official patterns made by the sultanate-in-exile, both in 1998: a silver 1 Rupiyah, commemorating the 30th anniversary of autonomy (a very limited edition of 100 pieces was made), and a larger 5 Rupiyah silver pattern made for presentation purposes only. “These coins were not available to the public as the Javanese froze our assets within a few weeks after our minting of these, as they were scared by rumours (lies) of a revolt by our loyal subjects in Okusi.” Another reason to explain why those coins have never been distributed is because they “are as of now residing (ALL the coins as well as the dies) in a Luxemburg bank vault together with the rest of our frozen national assets. In 2003 we started a legal procedure at the European Court of Justice to get our assets unfrozen. As these were frozen by the order of the old Jakarta regime of Indonesia-Java (in 1999) there is now a distinct possibility they will be unfrozen shortly.” The latest update, based on personal correspondence from November of 2006, is that “I am still waiting with patience for the news from my sollicitors on the coins in Luxembourg. There is still no news.” Another major aim of his messages was to convince the USNSers that all other Occussi-Ambeno coins are fantasies, “UNAUTHORISED by the Royal Government.” Though the Prince presumes that some of those pieces — the ones featuring “a malformed and stylized version of the Okusi Fire Crown (which in turn was stolen from the Royal Treasury by the pretender Henderson and his followers in the early 70's)” — may have been minted with the consent of the New Zealand “fantast”, he was unable to confirm or deny this speculation. Finally, in order to support the reinstatement of the Royal Family, the “Royal Government in Exile” was planning to issue a new coin in 2005. Though this piece would’ve complemented the pair of inaccessible coins quite nicely, its production has been postponed indefinitely.
After nearly 40 years of existence, Occussi-Ambeno has finally offered its “first official” numismatic issues. Mr. Grenville and the Sultan himself personally authorized the minting of a pair of coins. The first piece is a silver-plated Sepuluh (10) Ringgit, featuring the “Swiftair Zeppelin NT LZ-N07”, the jewel of “Occussi-Ambeno's Airship Express Service.” The “Swiftair Corporation uses modern, safe, and fast high-tech airships filled with helium, an inert gas that will not ignite. It is 100% safe for airship travel. Swiftair's fleet of five zeppelins operates regularly within Occussi-Ambeno and also runs less frequent international links. Airships are ideally suited to delivering mail, passengers, and supplies to isolated outposts, where the ships can hover to transfer cargo.” The second piece is a gold-plated Limapuluh (50) Ringgit, depicting a lengthy building: “It is the control room for the Lighthouse, which is situated on the coast of Occussi-Ambeno at Kuala Waals.” Mr. Grenville (I later sent him samples of my 2006 Héliopolis and 2007 Zilchstadt medallions) explained the specific reason why those 2 denominations were chosen: “$50 is the price for an all-day pass for inland zeppelin flights within Occussi-Ambeno…Single trips are $10”. Both pieces, dated 2006, were produced with the assistance of Mr. Jorge Fernández Vidal (see my listings for HADEF and Westarctica). Not only did I obtain the pair from Mr. Vidal, but he also mailed me a shiny, all-black $10 piece. I originally thought it had been deliberately coated with a layer of paint, but “It's actually a BLACK NICKEL coin. It's a new material that some Mints are promoting. Also, as you probably remember, we used the Black Nickel material for the first Repubblica di Monte Cristo [see my separate listing] coin in 2005.”
Images of many of the coins from Occussi-Ambeno can be viewed at the site of Mr. Haseeb Naz’s private collection:
Additional images can also be seen at the Web-site of Mr. Vidal:

PRINCIPALITY OF OUTER BALDONIA: This whimsical micro-nation was founded by Russell M. Arundel, on Outer Bald Tusket Island. Though the rocky, diminutive island (some 3 or 4 acres in extent) is located only 16 miles (8 nautical miles) off the coast (the southern tip) of Wedgeport (Nova Scotia), and just 3 miles from the shelter of Big Tusket Island, the transit is possible only under optimal conditions of wind, weather, and tide. The island is known to the locals in Yarmouth County as “Outer Baldy”. The Tusket Islands, by the way, are a number of islands located in the Atlantic Ocean, south of Yarmouth, NS. The islands stretch along the coast from Pinkney's Point to Wedgeport. Thanks to a fellow numismatist named Mr. Douglas B. Shand, I was provided with a copy of an article — The Kingdom of Outer Baldonia — penned by Jennifer Boudreau (in a 1993 publication by Yarmouth Consolidated Memorial High School entitled A Matter of Mayhem. She is probably related in some familial way to Blair Boudreau, the president of the Wedgeport Sport Tuna Fishing Museum. Another likely relative was Elson Boudreau, who was the boat's skipper on the day Mr. Arundel first set foot on the island, and who was named Chancellor of Outer Baldonia). According to Boudreau’s article, “Arundel was a Washington D.C. businessman, who worked for a Long Island, Pepsi Cola company and owned an estate, of respectable proportions, in the foxhunting section around Warrenton, Virginia. It was his great love of game fishing that brought him to Nova Scotia’s Soldier’s Rip, a famous bit of tuna water, which is located 13 miles south of Wedgeport. One day in 1949, when Arundel was with a fishing party on a boat on Soldier’s Rip, his boat got caught in a large squall. His party took shelter on a small island. The island consisted of three treeless acres which were covered with guano, and the only inhabitants, aside from the birds, were about 50 sheep. Arundel decided he wanted this island for a fishing club and he bought it from the unbelieving local owner for $750. Arundel returned to Washington with the deed in his pocket and began to create the Principality of Outer Baldonia. His first step was to unanimously elect himself Prince of Princes.” Arundel (Boudreau also refers to him as “Russell Rex I”) then bestowed a number lofty titles and positions (including a couple of dozen Princes) upon several of his “colleagues of regal quality”. Even his Washington secretary, Florence McGinniss, “was named Princess, although women were strictly banned from setting foot on Baldonia. A civil war was almost created over the issue of women in Baldonia. Chancellor Elson Boudreau suggested the repeal of the ‘No women to be allowed on the island’ law, but the law remained unchanged at the request of Arundel.” He also established the Outer Baldonia Navy, complete with 69 eight-star Admirals and one nine-star Admiral. “He made these appointments with letters bearing a coat of arms — that of a tuna and lobster flanking one of the Principality’s wild sheep — and he authenticated the letters with the Great Seal of Outer Baldonia.”
Now that the Principality was “populated”, Arundel and the closest members of his government “drew up a Constitution and a Declaration of Independence. They recognized the laws of Nova Scotia, but had certain iron-bound standards of their own. The Declaration of Independence states in part: ‘That fishermen are a race alone. That fishermen are endowed with the following inalienable rights: The right to lie and be believed. The right of freedom from question, nagging, shaving, interruption, women, taxes, politics, war, monologues, care [or cant, according to another source] and inhibitions. The right to applause, vanity, flattery, praise and self-inflation. The right to swear, lie, drink, gamble and silence. The right to be noisy, boisterous, quiet, pensive, expensive [or expansive, according to another source] and hilarious. The right to choose company and the right to be alone. The right to sleep all day and stay up all night.’ Baldonia soon had its own monetary system based on the ‘tunar’, stamps, a coat of arms, a flag, and passports. They refused to recognize the Gregorian Calendar. They substituted O.B. (Outer Baldonia) for A.D. and the founding year became O.B. 1.” By 1950, a “twenty by thirty foot beachstone ‘castle’ was finished at a cost of $3,000. It consisted of a royally stocked ‘Chemical Reception Center’ and a majestic hall. Atop the castle flew the official Baldonian National Colors — on a field of kelly green a white circle, manhole cover size, upon which was superimposed a tune, and a rod and reel. Through an eight foot square picture window, Baldonians were able to watch fishermen from all over the world fishing for tuna on Soldier’s Rip: a mere 75 yards away. Although Arundel’s description impressed a lot of people, the ‘castle’ was really only a small structure. To join, a would-be member or Prince had to land one of the great bluefins, and had to pay a nominal fee of $50.00. He also had to be acceptable to the International Tuna Club. Membership was limited to 100 persons.”
Meanwhile, “The Prince Regent notified Her Majesty’s Government in Ottawa that Baldonia recognized Canada and pledged its support in the event of dire disaster. They decided not to extend recognition to the United States, not having room on the island for the bags of money and delegates the United States would insist on sending. They did, however, place an embassy listing in the Washington telephone directory (the embassy was actually Arundel’s own law office). Prince Arundel commanded Rand McNally, the map publishers, the National Geographic Society and the American Board of Geographic Names to acknowledge the Principality of Outer Baldonia on all future maps of North America. To this day, on oil company road maps, Outer Baldonia remains as Outer Baldonia. From that point on, the joke began to get out of hand. Bureaucrats within the United States State Department kept phoning Arundel’s secretary during their routine telephone rounds of Washington embassies. One wanted a list of Baldonia’s principal exports. Princess McGinniss, not wanting to tell them that the only thing that Baldonia had plenty of was guano, listed instead sheep, seal, lobster and beer as the island kingdom’s exports. The Nova Scotia government, with tongue deep in cheek, solemly announced it was undecided about recognition of the new state and potential neighbouring kingdom. The Halifax chapter of Alcoholics Anonymous granted complimentary memberships to all Outer Baldonians, an honour the Baldonians appreciated but believed they did not merit.”
Arundel succeeded in festooning his micronational “gag” with many of the convincing trappings (documentation, paraphernalia, ephemera, proclamations) of statehood. The well-heeled executive caused quite a stir, and his creative campaign created fodder for publicity. “Canadian newspapers began to play around with hot news flashes from Outer Baldonia, and the foreign press picked up some Baldonian yarns as well. But somewhere in translation, Outer Baldonia stopped being an inside joke and joined the Cold War between the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.” The “wealthy Washington lawyer…touched off what was to become an international incident.” He drew worldwide attention. “The story of Baldonia appeared in a German publication ‘Industrikier’ [actually Industriekurier] in 1952. ‘Industrikier’ had readers in Moscow. One day the Moscow Literary Gazette [the Literaturnaya Gazeta newspaper] — which was not known for its appreciation of North American humour — launched a furious attack on Russell Arundel as ‘a typical imperialist businessman’ and ‘the future Fuhrer of Baldonia’. The Moscow Literary Gazette wondered seriously if Prince Arundel had not reached ‘the completest degree of savagery’. The Moscow Literary Gazette’s Baldonian authority was L. Charnaya, believed to be a woman. What really upset her about Outer Baldonia was its [hedonistic] Declaration of Independence. ‘From time immemorial,’ L. Charnaya reported, ‘the peaceful Baldonian fishermen had lived out their simple honest lives and thank God their tuna was not a strategic material and their homeland was too small to serve as a United States military base. Then the hateful Arundel arrived and set himself the aim of turning his subjects into savages…The master of Baldonia granted his subjects the unrestricted right to tell lies, to be rude, the right not to answer questions, the freedom to go unshaved…in a word, the right not to adhere to the ethical and moral laws which been established by mankind…’ Baldonia launched stern protests with the Soviet Union and made no secret of its alliance with the powerful naval forces of the Armdale Yacht Club in Halifax. It then invited L. Charnaya to attend its next tuna tournament, and thereby agreed to violate its own constituted ban against women. ‘Getting out of Russia will be her own problem!’ Baldonia announced. But the Soviet Union ignored Baldonia’s protest and L. Charnaya ignored its invitation.”
Unfortunately, “Over the next few years, there was not as much tuna off Soldier’s Rip as had been the case in the early 1950s. Fewer and fewer fishermen came into the area. During the late 1950s and early 1960s, the Kingdom of Outer Baldonia was no longer the ‘darling of the media’. Arundel was no longer an annual visitor. He made irregular visits to the area. The novelty of Outer Baldonia had worn off. In December 1973, Russell Arundel sold Outer Bald Tusket Island to the Nature Conservancy, a non-profit organization. A short time later, the island was sold again, this time to Nova Scotia owners. The Principality of Outer Baldonia is now for the birds — literally. The island now belongs to the Nova Scotia Bird Society.” It is a tranquil sanctuary for some rare and common species of birds. “The ‘castle’ still stands today. It is now a cold weather shelter for the island’s native inhabitants, the sheep. The windows are gone, as are the doors and furnishings. The beach stone still holds together in spite of the harsh winds so common in the area of Soldier’s Rip.”
I later encountered some additional anecdotal information about Outer Baldonia in one of the shorter chapters (Only Fishermen Need Apply) in Cyril Robinson’s Men Against the Sea: High Drama in the Atlantic (a collection of Robinson’s sea stories from the Atlantic provinces — the region of Canada comprising of 4 provinces located on the Atlantic coast — that first appeared in Weekend Magazine, a national periodical which circulated as an insert in the Saturday edition of local newspapers across Canada). This article was clearly written during the early days (1949-50) of Outer Baldonia, but the original date of its publication is not indicated anywhere in the book. The author describes the “windswept, storm-lashed” island (“a three acre blot on the Atlantic seascape”) as a “treeless mound of grass-topped gravel”. It is evident that Robinson was providing his readers with breaking news: “A few months ago, Russell Arundel, a wealthy Washington, DC, big game sportsman, approached the group of Wedgeport tuna and lobster fishermen who owned Outer Baldy and startled them by announcing: ‘I’d like to buy your island.’ Before the owners had recovered from their surprise, Arundel put $750 on the line and Outer Baldy was his. ‘Why,’ asked a mystified Wedgeport villager, ‘would anyone pay real money for a place like that? I’d look twice at a nickel before I’d swap it for Baldy.” Arundel swiftly cleared up this mystery. He proposed, he said, to set up the Principality of Outer Baldonia on his pint-sized island. Basically it would outlaw taxes, inhibitions, double talk and women. The new principality would recognize the laws of Nova Scotia but would have certain ironbound laws of its own. These were set out by ‘Prince of Princes’ Arundel in a Declaration of Independence. He also announced that official seals, stamps, flags, passports, and legal forms were being prepared in London.” Robinson then provides the same snippet from Baldonia’s Declaration of Independence, plus another small segment that immediately follows its list of the fishermen’s privileges/immunities: “KNOW YE! That these rights, being inalienable and self-evident and contrary to social customs of the world, make fishermen a race separate and apart from all other races…” Robinson continues: “Although some of his contemporary rulers would be perfectly happy if all of their subjects were sheep, Prince Arundel wanted citizenry of the highest intelligence, namely men. He welcomed to the principality all red-blooded males who had proved their vitality by fighting or boating a tuna. Each of the Wedgeport guides would be an admiral and each member a prince. Provided they are acceptable to the newly-formed International Tuna Club, designated as the owner of the principality, and qualify under the rules, outsiders can join on payment of anything from $50 to $100. Membership is limited to 100 persons. Arundel soon cleared up speculation about the future of the sheep. ‘Your Prince,’ he pronounced, ‘has granted to certain of his Liegemen the right to graze sheep on the uplands of Outer Baldonia for the remainder of their natural lives. But,’ he added, ‘we do not wish these creatures to become too familiar with the visiting Princes, or such action might well disturb the utter peace and tranquility of Baldonia.’”
According to Robinson, “Housing and monetary problems were among the first considerations of Prince Arundel for his principality. He solved the first by commissioning the Wedgeport guides to build a 20-by-30-foot beachstone ‘castle’ atop the island. In one wall of this $3,000 structure, which the guides completed this year, is a huge eight-foot square window overlooking the famous Soldier’s Rip, a mere 75 yards away. The Rip is the scene of the annual International Tuna Tournament where sports fishermen from many parts of the world catch giant bluefins with rod and line. According to Kip Farrington, tourney official and noted big game fisherman, it’s ‘the greatest fishing hole in the world.’ Through this big window the Outer Baldonians may derive a vicarious thrill from the fight to land 700-and-800-pound bluefins between sips of their Baldonia Bombshells (rum with a rum base). Over this temporary capital will be flown the Royal Banner of Outer Baldonia — a blue tuna in white circular crest set in a sea-green field. ‘Our flags,’ reported Prince Arundel to Ronald Wallace, of Halifax, his ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary to Canada ‘have been authenticated and the first has flown over our Legation in the United States.’ In the midst of wrestling with Outer Baldonia’s monetary situation, the Prince was mildly critical of Britain’s action in devaluating the pound. ‘Your government was not consulted,’ he wrote his plenipotentiary. ‘Obviously, our consent was taken for granted by Sir Stafford Cripps because of the fact that we recognize no currency other than our own. The Outer Baldonia tunar is the most valuable money in the world, because it can never be redeemed for taxes — this odious practice having been forever out-lawed on our beloved island.’”
Robinson then sheds some light on the topic of the internal disputes mentioned in Jennifer Boudreau’s article: “Recently, rumors of pending civil war on Outer Baldonia have sprung from the suggestion of Elson Boudreau, (secretary manager of the Wedgeport Tuna Guides Association) the bald-headed island’s chancellor and ‘lord guide,’ that the ‘no women’ law be repealed. ‘I think we should let them join’ said Boudreau in announcing the proposed amendment to the charter. ‘We get quite a lot of them down here tuna fishing and they may not like being kept out.’ Prince Arundel moved quickly to snuff out this spark of rebellion. ‘I would say that visas for that sex must be the sole and dire responsibility of a Prince of the Realm, who, of course, must know that all other Princes are bound by oath to shed their inhibitions when they step ashore. Who, then, would risk his fair companions under such circumstances?’ Should war, or the threat of war, come to Outer Baldonia’s shores, Prince Arundel stands ready to stamp it out. His Canadian plenipotentiary is an official of the Armdale Yacht Club, of Halifax, whose 101 ships and 400 men form a powerful wing of the Outer Baldonian Navy.” The author also touches upon Baldonia’s unique method of reckoning time: “Unlike its neighbors, Mossy Bald, Half Bald, and Inner Bald, the Island of Outer Baldonia refuses to recognize the Gregorian calendar. Its rulers have substituted OB for AD, so that on the Baldonian calendar the present year is OB 1. The island’s seven-man Board of Governors warns that transposition of these letters is an offence against the realm. ‘BO,’ announced an official spokesman, ‘is something else entirely.’ This error may well have originated from the perfume emanating from Outer Baldonia’s sheep, which bears no similarity to the bottled variety on the cosmetic counters.”
A fuller account of Arundel’s micro-state can be found in Scams, Scandals, and Skulduggery: A Selection of the World’s Most Outrageous Frauds, by Andreas Schroeder. In a chapter entitled The Flea that Roared: The Grand Principality of Outer Baldonia, the author describes Arundel as “a mild-mannered, bespectacled Washington lawyer whose two favourite pastimes were tuna fishing and riding to hounds.” He provides an account very similar to Jennifer Boudreau’s. Arundel purchased the “barren, unpopulated (save for a few wild sheep), four-acre mass or rock jutting out of the open Atlantic” in 1949. Strategically, the island is “located in some of the world’s finest tuna-fishing waters”. The principality “was born a year later, in Arundel’s fishboat on the high seas, on an afternoon when the tuna weren’t running but the whisky was. Demonstrating the bold and fearless vision that would set Outer Baldonian politics apart from those of its more-tentative North American neighbours, Arundel and his friends roughed out a Declaration of Independence”. The author then paraphrases some of the contents (which we already saw in Boudreau’s article) of this humorous document. Arundel’s tuna-fishing colleagues soon became the sole citizens of Outer Baldonia. As we know, Outer Baldonia was verboten for women. But since there apparently “was some doubt that gender restrictions alone would ensure” that the Principality’s “utopian ideals” would be achieved, “it was decided to limit Outer Baldonian citizenship to fishermen only — on further reflection, to tuna fishermen only; in fact, only to tuna fishermen who were princes or six-star admirals — though this was acknowledged to be something of a tautology, since all tuna fishermen are by definition princes and admirals. It was decided, nevertheless, to establish all this formally, and so, for its pantheon of Founding Fathers, it was agreed that all sixty-nine members of the Wedgeport Tuna Guides’ Association would be issued Outer Baldonian commissions as six-star admirals, their boats becoming units of an instant Outer Baldonian Navy.” Schroeder mentions that “when Arundel arrived back in Washington he commissioned the Great Seal of Outer Baldonia”. Not only did it figure “prominently on Outer Baldonia’s official letterhead,” but it also “lent a certain grandeur to the washroom door in Arundel’s office, behind which all official Outer Baldonian functions were performed. Its stateliness convinced a Foreign Services clerk to accept the new country’s request for a listing in Washington’s Diplomatic Telephone Book, and removed any difficulties in getting it added to the ground-floor directory of Arundel’s own building, Washington’s World Centre Complex, where many foreign consulates and diplomatic missions were located. It wasn’t long before the phone started ringing. Arundel began to receive routine U.S. State Department calls ‘to all diplomatic missions,’ extending invitations to hundreds of public functions and requesting endless transmissions of statistical fodder. Then Outer Baldonia began to get mail — increasing amounts of mail — so much mail that a twenty-five-gallon garbage pail had to be acquired to handle it all. Within a short time, Arundel found it necessary to appoint Outer Baldonia ambassadors to both the United States and Canada, and an Ambassador Extraordinaire to the United Nations. But it was the UNESCO request for a copy of Outer Baldonia’s constitution that made Arundel realize he’d been shirking his regal responsibilities. He quickly arranged a constitutional conference with himself, proposed an official Constitution of the Principality of Outer Baldonia, voted unanimously for its acceptance, and registered it — festooned with all the seals, ribbons, signatures, and blobs of wax that any constitutional dictatorship could possibly require — with the U.S. Department of Foreign Affairs. This constitution vested all legislative powers in himself, King Russell Arundel of Outer Baldonia, but established as well a supporting hierarchy of Knights of the Order of the Blue Fin and a pride of Tunic Princes of the Realm. As a final measure, King Arundel ordered a supply of Outer Baldonian passports ‘valid forever and a day,’ and authorized the printing of Outer Baldonian currency [surely he means the minting of coinage — there is no Baldonian paper money], the basic unit of which was the ‘tunar.’ Now a fullfledged country, the Grand Principality of Outer Baldonia issued a formal request to the U.S. Interior Department’s Board on Geographic Names, and to the Canadian Cartographic Commission, to have its name added to all future North American charts and maps. It also forwarded its official latitudinal and longitudinal position to the Rand McNally Cartographic Division for inclusion in all future publications and reference works. As any self-respecting country should, the Grand Principality of Outer Baldonia then began to exert its political influence by announcing its official position, via press releases to the United Nations press corps, concerning matters of international import: East-West relations, McCarthyism, the Korean invasion, and the like. Translations of these releases, and stories about Outer Baldonia in general, began finding their way into Europe and the U.S.S.R.”
Schroeder then focuses on the memorable episode involving the Literaturnaya Gazeta. For some unknown reason, this Russian state publication was outraged by Outer Baldonia. “Whatever the cause, the Gazette saw fit, in October 25, 1952, to publish a vicious and lengthy denunciation of Outer Baldonia’s politics and policies, quoting excerpts from the Baldonian Constitution as textbook proof of depravity and turpitude to which capitalism invariably leads.” The article “urged the rest of the world to turn its back on, and disassociate itself from, this vile little nation. The article was distributed throughout the Soviet Union, but it wasn’t long before a German translation appeared in Europe, resulting in an English translation that was published in several magazines in North America, and then as a reprint in several Canadian and American newspapers. King Russell Arundel was shocked. In fact, he was offended and insulted. No monarch worth his salt, no defender of traditional manly virtues, could let such a slur pass unnoticed. At the very least, it had to be challenged. King Arundel took pen in hand and, in appropriately ornate and considered language, delivered a formal protest to the Soviet Consulate in New York. He felt it incumbent upon himself to call the Gazette to task for this lamentable breach of diplomatic etiquette. Furthermore, he felt himself obliged, if satisfaction was not forthcoming, to formally sever all diplomatic relations between the Grand Principality of Outer Baldonia and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. And worse might follow. It was no secret that the Outer Baldonian Navy, based primarily in Wedgeport and a powerhouse in its own right, was also allied with the formidable naval forces of the Armdale Yacht Club of Halifax. A wink, under these circumstances, should have been as good as a nudge. The missive was signed with his seal, ‘Arundel Rex.’ Naturally, he sent copies to all the major newspapers in the English-speaking world. The Russians rudely ignored the complaint. The newspapers, however, didn’t. Inquiries began to arrive by mail, diplomatic pouch, and telephone. What where Outer Baldonia’s primary exports? What had been the impact of the British atomic-bomb tests in the South Pacific on Outer Baldonia’s sheep? What percentage of Outer Baldonia’s GDP was spent on military installations? How many left-handed children had been born to Outer Baldonian mothers since 1934? King Arundel had to hastily install a special Secretary for Outer Baldonian Affairs, a separate Outer Baldonian telephone line, and another desk. Running the Grand Principality of Outer Baldonia was suddenly becoming a full-time job. The New York Times, the London Daily News, the Atlantic Monthly, the Toronto Globe and Mail, even the Halifax Chronicle Herald wanted interviews. Canada’s Maclean’s magazine made room for a special feature. The provincial government of Nova Scotia, pressed for its position, announced that it was considering formal recognition of this spunky little country. But the Russians refused to pick up the gauntlet. Finally, after a more-than-reasonable interval, and after due and lengthy consultations with his Knights of the Order of the Blue Fin and his Tunic Princes of the Realm, King Arundel was left with no other honourable option. He closed Outer Baldonia’s borders to all international traffic” and he also “ordered the Outer Baldonian Navy to full alert”. Schroeder tells us that “There are still a few old salts around who remember that glorious day of March 9, 1953 when their plucky little country…decided to take no more [goshdarn] guff. It declared formal and unilateral war on the U.S.S.R. ‘Yes, those were the days when men were still men, and fish were fish,’ Ron Wallace remembered fondly. ‘And there were plenty of both around.’ Wallace, erstwhile Minister Plenipotentiary of Outer Baldonia Tourism, had been promoted to Outer Baldonia’s Ambassador Extraordinaire to Canada that year. ‘No kidding; the Outer Baldonian Navy stayed on red alert for four straight months,’ he recalled. ‘Right until the day the Tuna Tournament started.’ It was an act entirely in keeping with the principality’s manly and uncompromising past.” We can tell by now that Schroeder (and Wallace) is over-dramatizing this entire “martial” episode (Boudreau, let’s remember, simply alluded to the “strong protests” of Baldonia). “Anxious and politically dangerous days followed. It was the height of the Cold War, and East-West relations were at an all-time low. There were fears that this altercation might draw in other nations. Another worldwide outbreak of hostilities was not out of the question. Letters and telephone calls flashed back and forth between Moscow and its diplomatic missions. Everyone waited breathlessly for the next Russian move. When it came, it came with Machiavellian simplicity. Longtime experts in the military tactic of total denial, the Russians decided to act as if nothing had happened. They did not reply to Outer Baldonia’s declaration. They feigned ignorance when questioned by the press. They blocked the story entirely from Russia’s airwaves and newspapers. They even managed to keep the issue off the agenda of the United States Security Council. Undeceived, the Outer Baldonian Navy remained on full alert for four entire months. Its sixty-nine trawlers, schooners, doggers, yawls, drifters, dories, and rowboats stood ready to slip their moorings at a moment’s notice. Its admirals patrolled the pubs and marinas of Yarmouth, Wedgeport, Lunenburg, and Halifax with relentless diligence.” Schroeder has been trying very hard to amuse us, but his sarcasm is not clever enough and it borders on ridicule: “The strategy proved an incontestable success. No Soviet naval vessel dared approach within two hundred miles of Outer Baldonia’s shores. No point on Outer Baldonia’s coastline was ever torpedoed or bombed. All KGB efforts to infiltrate Outer Baldonia’s government bureaucracy failed. As later events would prove, the Soviets did begin delivering secret shiploads of arms and rocketry to Cuba under cover of night, but, by the time they were eventually ready to deploy them against Outer Baldonia, the operation was sidetracked by the U.S. invasion of the Bay of Pigs. Years after the initial crisis, Baldonian Ambassador Extraordinaire Ron Wallace admitted that the frenzied adulation of the Outer Baldonian citizenry at this unprecedented victory may have gone to Arundel’s head, and even contributed to ‘Old Baldy’s’ (as it became known) eventual demise. ‘The country peaked too soon,’ he sighed. ‘It was hard for Arundel to come up with an encore.’”
During the subsequent decade, “internal strife often distracted Outer Baldonia from its political responsibilities as commentator on world events. A constitutional crisis developed when Arundel, without consulting his knights and princes, caused a large sign to be erected on Outer Baldonia’s eastern shoreline reading: FISHERMEN ARE NOT TO PET THE SHEEP! ‘We were all shocked at the brazen authoritarianism of it,’ Wallace recalled, shaking his head. ‘It was in blatant violation of Clause 4A of the Constitution — freedom from nagging, interruptions, politics — not to mention inhibitions!’ Other scandals followed. At one point Arundel stood accused of having shamelessly squandered Outer Baldonia’s hard-won international prestige by misusing his regal influence to convince (‘force,’ his accusers insisted) the flight crew of Air Canada’s flight 622 from Halifax to New York to permit him to carry a 150-pound tuna on board as cabin baggage. The incident, alleged to have taken place on the last day of Outer Baldonia’s Sixth Annual Tuna Tournament, reportedly resulted in several crisp exchanges between the Canadian High Commission and Outer Baldonia’s Foreign Affairs Department. But the most disastrous blow to Outer Baldonia’s international reputation for masculine integrity occurred when one of the country’s own six-star admirals, Jean-Luc McGillicutty of Liverpool, Nova Scotia, reported upon his return from a three-day tuna-fishing expedition off the grand banks of Outer Baldonia that he had sighted King Arundel’s fishing sloop at anchor less than a mile off Outer Baldonia’s south-facing cliffs, and, on the foredeck, clearly visible to anyone with a set of 7 x 50 binoculars, had been a person of the female persuasion — in gross and flagrant contravention of Outer Baldonia’s constitutional guarantee to all its citizens of ‘freedom eternal from nagging spouses and women’ (Clause 5C). This holed Outer Baldonia’s ship of state below the waterline. It began to take on serious water. Though King Arundel protested that his spouse hadn’t been nagging, indeed had never nagged — a claim so absurd he promptly had to invoke his right, according to constitutional guarantee 7A, ‘to lie and be believed’ — the damage was irreparable. Civil unrest ensued. Half the Outer Baldonian Navy mutinied and flew their flags at half-mast; the other half opened their hatches and gangplanks to a wave of female boarders, who, to the horror of Outer Baldonia’s older veterans, sometimes caught more fish than the men. Whether or not even this disaster might have been survived became a moot point when the tuna began to dwindle in the 1960s. Fewer and fewer princes and admirals called in at Old Baldy to pet the sheep. The country’s coffers emptied and were not refilled. Ron Wallace finally saw no other alternative but to resign his commission as Outer Baldonia’s exalted Ambassador Extraordinaire to Canada and accept the lowly job of Lord Mayor of Halifax, Nova Scotia. Finally, in 1975, a swan-song press release from King Russell Arundel himself sealed the Grand Principality of Outer Baldonia’s fate. Having concluded that his country was now for the birds, King Arundel generously deeded Outer Baldonia to the Nova Scotia Bird Society for the royal sum of one tunar. The NSBS promptly proclaimed Old Baldy an official bird sanctuary.”
One other article worth noting is from the September 18, 1967 issue of Sports Illustrated. In an article entitled Outer Baldonia Struggles For Its Fishy Place As A Somewhat Emergent Nation, Nancy C. Coe writes: “Nations have been founded for a number of reasons, but the Principality of Outer Baldonia may be the only one that owes its existence to the spirit of pure spoof.” Arundel, “despite his prosaic occupation,” was “a man with a pronounced romantic streak.” She claims that the “ardent fisherman” spotted the “bleak eight-acre mass of rock shaped vaguely like a torpedo…while attending the International Tuna Cup Match in 1949”. After becoming the sole proprietor of the “unprepossessing chunk of Atlantic rock”, he started “making proclamations of a varying nature and unvarying solemnity.” The author states that Arundel’s attempts to issue postage stamps on behalf of his “independent principality of sport fishermen” ended in “failure”. She then touches upon the mounting tensions in Russo-Baldonian relations: “In a confidential letter in 1951 he revealed that all representatives of the Soviet Union and Red China had been fed to the tuna. Although probably unaware of this correspondence, the Russians sensed a new menace in the North Atlantic and in 1952 the otherwise staid Moscow Literary Gazette attacked Outer Baldonia as an imperialislic stronghold promoted by Wall Street. Actually, the island's only residents for the past century have been a herd of wild sheep and some seals. The Russians' vicious attack was noted widely in the Canadian newspapers”. She incorrectly states, however, that it was “the Royal Yacht Club of Halifax” that “offered to contribute all its vessels to Outer Baldonia. One of the members of the club was with the Nova Scotia legislature. He made a speech excoriating Russia and moved that the government legally recognize the independence of the island principality, and it did. Its only condition: the Baldonians must continue to pay the equivalent of their real-estate taxes into the Nova Scotia treasury each year. At this point, the governments of the United States and Canada got into the act, each issuing a White Paper ‘with its tongue embedded deeply in its cheek.’ The United States ridiculed Russia for attacking seriously and publicly an institution created in pure fun. Not that any of this impressed the Prince. ‘We didn't ask the United States to recognize our independence. We haven't recognized their independence.’ Probably the best feature of Outer Baldonia is that no one ever has to live there. The only building on the island is the Royal Palace, actually a humble cottage. The Prince himself has spent only one night in it, which he reports was ‘windy, cold and miserable.’ The citizens, when they gather for a fishing party, usually rent hotel rooms in Wedgeport, which they rarely use. ‘You don't get up,’ says the Prince. ‘You stay up. You find some convenient bar or table to collapse on. By 5:30 in the morning you're out fishing. You have breakfast on the way out, usually lobster stew, cooked on the boat, and masses of coffee. You sit in the rip tide, and some of you hope you get a tuna, and some hope you don't.’ Each year the Baldonians conduct their own spoof of the International Tuna Cup Match, with prizes for the ugliest fish, the most beautiful, the smallest and even the most intelligent-looking. ‘We get letters from all over the world,’ says the Prince, ‘from people wanting to belong. One English fellow even has great plans for populating the island — he wants to emigrate. Vice-President Barkley, under Truman, wanted to be Secretary of the Outer Baldonia Treasury. He wanted to handle a treasury with no money, no assets, no debits, just a blank piece of paper and a few speeches.’ Eventually even one honorary princess was added, Arundel's former secretary, Florence McGinnis, because, she says, ‘I was doing all the paperwork.’ She has never been to the island because of the law against women, but the Prince says that none of the wives ever wanted to go to a place as uninviting as Outer Baldonia anyway.”
Baldonia was mentioned in an article by Philip J. Hilts for the Potomac Magazine (Sunday supplement to The Washington Post), which was printed on January 21, 1973. Years ago, while conducting my initial research for this write-up, I managed to read an excerpt from it on the Internet, but I can no longer find it. According to this source, or a different source altogether, I found corroboration that Arundel’s princedom was inadvertently placed on a government list from the U.S. Department of State, prompting young diplomats to pay respectful visits to Baldonia’s embassy. The source furthermore stated that the fledgling state was indeed recognized by the legislature of Nova Scotia. According to current sources on the Internet, I was able to learn a little bit more about Outer Baldonia. To begin with, the self-proclaimed “Prince of Princes” supposedly founded Outer Baldonia in 1948, which does not correspond to the date indicated by Boudreau.
According to Mr. Vernon Doucette, “Outer Baldonia is definitely windswept and sheep there are plenty…It's a four acre, cobble, drumlin of an island, and its proximity to what was one of the best sport fishing areas in the world is key to my tale. In the 1940s, Wedgeport, Nova Scotia was proud to boast that it was the ‘Tuna Capital’ of the world. A series of tidal rips off the south end of the nearby Tusket islands were teeming with tuna. This abundance drew rich sportsmen and women from around the world, eager to test themselves against the huge fish.” Arundel, one of the avid sports fishermen who visited the area, “was out fishing one day when a squall forced a retreat to the lee of Outer Bald, a nearby island. Struck by the thought that a shelter could be created that would allow passing such moments in relative comfort, he soon arranged to buy the island. A year later, ensconced in their island clubhouse, Arundel and his friends initiated a joke that led to the birth of a nation.” Elsewhere, Arundel’s castle has also been described as “a stone fishing shack” and a “stone fishing lodge”. A period of nation-building ensued, and most of the accomplishments (constitution, declaration of independence, great seal, crest, stationery, currency, etc…) of Arundel and his colleagues “were no doubt helped along by frequent visits to the ‘chemical reception chamber’ to further the export of one of Baldonia's major products, empty rum and beer bottles. Upon returning to his home in the states, Arundel placed a listing for the Baldonian consulate in the Washington D.C. phone book. This led to his being invited to attend the season's diplomatic functions. Not the least of those invitations was to one held in New York City for countries seeking membership in the then newly founded United Nations.” It’s reported that the “Prince of Princes” attended at least one cocktail party dressed “in a royal uniform decorated with a sash of beer bottle tops and medals made of sardine cans.” As we have seen, Arundel’s elaborate efforts led to an exceedingly well-executed hoax on the State Department as well as on the domestic and international diplomatic corps. Of course, not every member of the United Nations was entertained by Arundel’s humorous doings. One example being The Literary Gazette (an official state publication of the U.S.S.R.), which denounced Outer Baldonia, sharply criticized the Principality’s Declaration of Independence (I’ve also seen it referred to as a “Bill of Rights”), and slandered Prince Russell Arundel. Eventually, “After a long run, Arundel's cover was blown. Newspaper and magazine articles splashed the ‘truth’ of the matter across their pages. The phoenix-like rise of Baldonia came to its end. The tuna are gone, and all that remains of the once great Baldonian empire is a sadly neglected stone hut and a few precious notes and articles. Those are enclosed in a box and kept in the back closet of the Yarmouth County Museum. But for all those who have ever dipped their paddles toward a distant shore and when upon landing felt gripped by a desire to claim it for their own, let the memory of Outer Baldonia be alive in your hearts. Let its spirits free your mind and raise your voices in a cry…‘Hail Baldonia!’”
According to the Otago Polytechnic Students' Association, “There’s not much left of the Principality of Outer Baldonia, that brave little nation that gained citizens, framed a Constitutional Charter and declared war on the Soviet Union. The Prince’s Palace still stands but is little more than a shell. So fall empires, kingdoms and micronations…It was during a night’s rum drinking (so the legend goes) that the Declaration of Independence of Outer Baldonia was thought up and written down.” This document is also referred to as “a fisherman’s Charter”. Naturally, fishing was “the main industry of Outer Baldonia but the production and export of empty rum and beer bottles was also important. The Charter was published to the world, and Prince Russell listed his phone number as that of the Consulate of Outer Baldonia in the Washington DC phone book — this was an excellent move which brought many invitations to official functions and even one to join the United Nations. But war clouds were gathering just over the horizon. A Soviet writer, somehow immune to the effects of irony, thought the Prince and his Charter were serious and denounced him as a ‘savage Western Imperialist’ in the Literary Gazette. This insult was intolerable and the Soviet government [was] invited to inspect the Principality so they could see for themselves that its citizens were not ‘decivilized and dehumanized.’ The USSR declined the invitation, refused to publish a retraction and a declaration of war was issued.” Another overstatement, perhaps. “Aware of the need for alliances when taking on large nations, Outer Baldonia secured the aid of the nearby Armdale Yacht Club. The combined fleets put to sea on a war footing and there was much catching and interrogation of local fish. The Soviet Navy failed to put in an appearance and the combined Outer Baldonian forces declared victory. Sadly, the publicity gained by their successful conflict exposed the place for the half-joke it was and invitations to diplomatic events ceased.” The only remaining evidence of the house's former owner and its erstwhile glory as the capital of the nation of Outer Baldonia is the letter “A” (Arundel’s initial) carved into the mantel of the stone fireplace of the roofless, floorless “castle”.
I was also able to find out a little bit more about the professional life of Russell M. Arundel. Apparently, he was a Washington lobbyist for Pepsi Cola. He was also president/chairman of the Pepsi-Cola Bottling Co. of Long Island, Inc. According to an article from Time magazine (January 12, 1953), “For 17 months, the Senate subcommittee on Privileges and Elections fitfully investigated Wisconsin's Republican Senator Joe McCarthy and Connecticut's Democratic Senator William Benton. Reasons for the investigation were 1) Benton's resolution to expel McCarthy from the Senate on the ground of unfitness, and 2) McCarthy's resolution to dispose of Benton in like manner. Last week, the subcommittee turned in its report.” The article mentions an important connection between McCarthy and Arundel: “In 1947, McCarthy got Russell M. Arundel, a Washington representative for the Pepsi-Cola Co., to endorse a $20,000 note for him. That year, both Pepsi-Cola and McCarthy were urging the Federal Government to end sugar controls. Asked the subcommittee: Did McCarthy follow the ‘Pepsi-Cola line’ for financial gain?” Another source states that Arundel was questioned by the Senate panel in 1952: “The questioning was about a $20,000 note Arundel had endorsed for the senator in 1947. Arundel said the endorsement was a minor financial transaction for a friend.” Ralph Morris, in his book The Future Catches Up: Selected Writings of Ralph M. Goldman states that McCarthy had began opposing sugar rationing in 1947. “At about this same time, McCarthy became an intimate of Walter Mack, then president of Pepsi-Cola Company, a firm with an intense interest in sugar rationing matters.” McCarthy achieved the distinction of being the Senate spokesman for the soft-drink giant. “In fact, [he] came to be known, for a brief period, as ‘the Pepsi-Cola Kid.’ In January 1948, the Appleton State Bank loaned McCarthy $20000 against McCarthy's note (which was endorsed by Russell Arundel, Washington representative of Pepsi-Cola).” Ultimately, McCarthy and Republican Senator John W. Bricker of Ohio were successful in bringing enough pressure in Congress resulting in the end of sugar rationing.
I was also able to ascertain that the Nova Scotia Bird Society (which owns a few other Tusket Islands) obtained Outer Bald Tusket Island from Russell Arundel and the Nature Conservancy of Canada on December 28, 1973. The price was one Canadian dollar. The Society then erected a sign which states: “Earle E. Arundel Breeding Bird Sanctuary Conveyed to The Nova Scotia Bird Society by Nature Conservancy of Canada. Hunting permitted in Season”. According to Prof. David Currie, “The stone building is still there and as of the last survey in 1987, by Ted D'Eon, was in pretty good shape, but the wood parts were extensively rotted. There was no need to restore or maintain the building from a Bird Sanctuary point of view. Ted's grandfather was one of the mason's who worked on the building when or just before The Prince of Baldonia stayed there. One of the conditions of the ownership transfer was that the island continue to be used by specific people named in the deed for pasture land for sheep as long as those specific people lived. It also stated that there would never be interference of the tern colony that was once there.”
It seems that the Principality continued to exist even after Outer Bald Tusket Island was sold to the Nova Scotia Bird Society. On the Internet, I found mention of someone who worked at the studios of WAVA-AM “in a skyrise building on…N. Moore Street” in Rosslyn, VA (separated from the Georgetown section of Washington, D.C. by the Potomac River). This radio station was owned by broadcasting pioneer, Arthur Windsor “Nick”/“Nicky” Arundel, who had bought the bankrupt country music radio station circa 1960/61 and turned it into the first all-news radio station in the country (WAVA-AM and WAVA-FM are currently based in Arlington, VA and they serve the Washington D.C. metropolitan area). “In 1974, I toiled daily on the building's fifth floor in a non-broadcast job, so I knew from reading the directory in the lobby that the station's penthouse quarters also housed the ‘Embassy of Outer Baldonia’. One fine day, I happened to share an elevator ride with WAVA's big enchilada, Arthur W. Arundel. As I was a cocky young lad of 22, I boldly inquired, ‘How are things in Outer Baldonia?.’ Thirty-three years later, I can still remember Arundel's icy, silent stare as if that incident had happened yesterday.” The author, after researching “Outer Baldonia” online, learned about Russell M. Arundel. This leads him to ask: “Does anybody know if the two Arundels were related?” After some additional investigation, I was able to ascertain that Arthur Arundel was indeed the son of Russell Arundel. He is a fascinating and controversial figure in his own right. A Harvard graduate, he became a decorated U.S. Marine Corps combat officer (1951-1955) in both Korea and Vietnam. He was the recipient of at least one Purple Heart. I found helpful details about his murky military/CIA career (he is listed as an employee of the Central Intelligence Agency in the Pentagon Papers), thanks to a fascinating article (Hunt Country crowd’s minister of propaganda) authored by L. Wolfe, in the December 15, 1995 issue of the Executive Intelligence Review: “Nicky, a Marine paratroop officer, [was] tasked to the CIA during service in Korea and Vietnam in the early 1950s”. This was achieved with the help of Harold Jefferson Coolidge, Jr. (more about this individual below). “Operating as part of the ‘secret team’ operations of Col. Edwin Lansdale, Nicky Arundel was taught, and practiced, the art of ‘black propaganda’ in ‘civil affairs’ operations, becoming a specialist in ‘psywar ops.’ He was involved, for example, in destroying the largest printing facility in what was then the northern section of Vietnam; later, he helped run a ‘psywar’ campaign aimed at setting up a counterinsurgency among northern tribes in Vietnam, causing their migration to the south and laying the ground for that country's partition; this, in turn, helped set the stage for the Vietnam War.” Arthur Arundel also had a strong background in journalism. After he returned home, he worked in the Washington bureau of CBS and also served as a correspondent (wire service reporter) for United Press International. He also did a stint (arranged by his father and Coolidge) in the U.S. Commerce Department. But first and foremost, he was a newspaper publisher. He founded ArCom Publishing, Inc., which traces its roots to the time when Arundel purchased WAVA (the company was then known as Arundel Communications). In 1963, his business expanded from radio and television into print journalism with the purchase of the 165-year-old Loudoun Times-Mirror in Leesburg, VA. As he acquired more and more newspapers (Reston Times, the Loudoun Times-Mirror, the Fauquier Times-Democrat, Rappahannock News, etc…), he became Chairman, CEO, and Publisher of the Times Community Newspapers (ArCom Publishing remains the parent company). This suburban newspaper chain, which now includes a group of about 21 local publications in Northern Virginia, is the largest one in the region. Arthur Arundel sold WAVA and five other stations in the 1970s. He has been inducted into the Hall of Fame of Virginia Communications. The family-owned newspaper company is run today by Peter Arundel, the founder's son, successful in his own right as a career broadcast and print journalist (he became CEO in February of 2005). Peter’s brother, John Arundel, is also a newsman: he became the Executive Editor and Publisher of the Alexandria Times in 2005.
Wolfe’s article contains some additional tidbits about Russell Arundel (including the topics of Pepsi and sweeteners) and his son: “Russell Arundel, once administrative aide to Sen. Jesse Metcalfe (R-R.L), was active in GOP circles working subversion against the Franklin Roosevelt administration. Those circles were dominated by the Morgan interests, one of the most notorious London-controlled private banking nexuses. As was the case with several picked-up operatives, the Morgans made sure that Russell Arundel had sufficient wealth and connections to be of use to them; it was they who inserted him into” their Fauquier County (he had moved to the area of Northern Virginia known as the Hunt Country in the 1930s) fox-hunting parties. Arundel “became a master of the hunt. The Arundel estate was located on Wildcat Mountain; the other side of the mountain was owned by Lawrence Morgan Hamilton, the grandson of J. P. Morgan. Sources in London and in Loudoun County, Virginia indicate that the key controller of Russell Arundel, and later the sponsor of his son, Nicky, was Harold Jefferson Coolidge, Jr., a member of one of Boston's dirtiest Anglophile families and one of the creators of the British crown's far-flung private intelligence networks operating under ‘environmental cover.’ The Coolidge family were, by the middle of the last century, the leading opium traders in the United States, linked directly to the British East India Company and Jardine Matheson Company, the Crown's leading opium traders. The Coolidges parlayed this ‘dope money’ into control of the Bank of Boston and the United Fruit Company, both of which have been used as funding conduits and, in the case of United Fruit (now United Brands), cover for British-allied intelligence operations. The Coolidges intermarried into the Virginia ‘aristocracy,’ through the family of Thomas Jefferson. Coolidge, who later played an important role in promoting British-linked operative Allen Dulles's organization of American intelligence, picked up Russell Arundel in the mid-1930s, and put him into the leadership of the National Wildlife Management Institute, a position which Arundel held for most of the rest of his life. An intelligence community source in London describes the institute, which was created with funds from the Morgan-controlled du Pont interests, through sections of the arms industry (Remington Firearms), as fully integrated with British intelligence operations, dating back to the 1930s; it later functioned in parallel with Prince Philip's World Wildlife Fund (WWF, now World Wide Fund for Nature), of which Coolidge was a founding member, and Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands' International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). (Coolidge, a mammologist, was closely associated with the British intelligence operative and biologist Julian Huxley. He was head of the IUCN and its president emeritus until his death in 1985.) Sources in Loudoun County report that Coolidge helped put Russell Arundel in touch with Pepsi Cola Company. Arundel was given the assignment of arranging, through his legislative connections, for an exemption for Pepsi to import corn syrup from the Caribbean at a time when sugar imports were prohibited. Under the direction of Pepsi chairman Wallace Groves (who in 1941 was convicted of mail fraud and sent to prison, and whose links to organized crime were later exposed), Arundel shuttled back and forth to Cuba, whose sugar and syrup production was effectively controlled by the Meyer Lansky ‘Murder, Inc.’ mob, which ran the unions and many of the production facilities, with overlapping connections into Coolidge's United Fruit. Russell Arundel got his fingers more than dirty in negotiating contracts for Pepsi. But he was well rewarded for his efforts, receiving in 1943 the Pepsi bottling franchise for New York. He later parlayed this into Pepcom, which held the franchise for the entire East Coast and is the source of the Arundel family fortune that provided Nicky with the seed money for his publishing empire.” Arthur “inherited a considerable sum from his father.” In another part of the article, Wolfe writes: “The [Arundel] family's involvement with Africa policy dates back to the 1930s, when Nicky Arundel's father, Russell, became involved with a British-linked network of intelligence specialists who established the National Wildlife Management Institute (NWMI), at the instigation of Harold Coolidge; this organization was directly linked to the International Nature Office, which was already at that time running projects nominally involved with the tracking and cataloging of various wildlife species in Africa…A London-based intelligence specialist in these matters reports that such projects were used by the British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) as ‘covers’ for the placement of agents and for spying on various nationalist and other insurgencies. After the war, the NWMI played a role in helping establish the ‘need’ for large game preserves. The Oct.28, 1994 EIR Special Report, ‘The Coming Fall of the House of Windsor,’ documents how these preserves are used as bases of subversive activity, and a means to ‘lock up’ vast mineral reserves in Africa, under British control. In 1956, Russell Arundel, as director of NWMI, sponsored one of the first ‘invasions’ of Africa by American zoologists. The mission was led by Lee Tolbert, who was later to become a top consultant for the WWF, the director of the royal family-created International Union for the Conservation of Nature, and a top assistant to Russell Train at the Environmental Protection Agency. The mission was focused on the ‘white rhino’ and ‘mountain gorilla’ populations. During this period, Nicky Arundel went on several safaris to Africa on behalf of the National Zoo, including some with his father. It is not known whether he went on the 1956 mission…In 1961, Nicky Arundel was tapped by Coolidge, CIA operative Kermit Roosevelt, and Russell Train (reported to be a protégé of Coolidge) to found the African Wildlife Leadership Foundation, now known as the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF). This is an ‘off line,’ privatized intelligence operation which recruits and trains operatives to run the game parks. All its members can be described as highly trained Anglo-American intelligence assets. The AWF, which Arundel formerly headed, has been implicated in the genocide in Rwanda through its sponsorship of a mountain gorilla protection project in the Virunga game park on the Uganda-Rwanda border; this area, under the virtual supervision of AWF operatives, is the key transmission belt for British-backed forces which instigated the Rwandan civil war. Our London source says that the AWF and Nicky Arundel play a continuing important role in British Africa policy, through the mountain gorilla and other projects. Arundel's family foundation, as well Arundel personally, provide funding for these projects, as does the WWF and the Ohrstrom family foundations. Arundel is also reported to have influence over U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.), whose Tenth District includes the Hunt Country of Loudoun and parts of Fauquier counties. Wolf has played a major role in the destabilization of Sudan, in accordance with British policy objectives. Wolf and his office have been in direct contact with British Overseas Development Minister Baroness Lynda Chalker on these and other matters pertaining to Africa policy.”
Outer Baldonia’s sole numismatic issue is a 10 Tunar piece, dated “O.B. 1948” (which makes one wonder if Boudreau made an error in declaring, twice, that Arundel landed on Outer Bald Tusket Island in 1949). Two varieties exist: one minted in “STERLING SILVER” and one minted in “.826 FINE GOLD”. I’ve even seen a pair of 14-karat gold earrings for sale that feature two of the gold coins! According to the seller: “My mom got them from a very elderly well to do lady along with many other pieces of jewelry. My mom still has a bracelet with I think 3 or 4 more of these coins on it.” It just makes me wonder if Russell Arundel at some point had these jewelry items made as gifts for VIPs! I purchased a silver piece from a fellow collector, the Rev. Norman Winter, whom I met via eBay (he was the original bidder on the very first Zilchstadt coin I listed on that site). It is truly a well-designed, official-looking little artifact.

Return to the Main Index