Author Topic: Good for what?  (Read 6354 times)

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Offline <k>

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Good for what?
« on: December 19, 2014, 11:31:24 AM »
This coin references the French Chambers of Commerce, yet it is listed in all coin catalogues as a coin and not a token.  The legend translates as “Good for 50 centimes”.  It’s a 50 centimes coin, so you think it IS 50 centimes – but it’s not: it’s only GOOD FOR 50 centimes. So what is the 50 centimes it’s good for? Another 50 centimes coin? No, the coin is only good for 50 centimes. So it’s a deep, never-ending, self-referential, philosophical conundrum. How many people went mad just thinking about this conundrum, before they even got round to spending the coin?

The coin also comes in a 1 franc and 2 francs version. But they are not 1 franc or2 francs – they are only good for that. In truth, this phrase “Good for” should appear only on tokens and coupons. Surely these coins are a fraud. No wonder they weren’t issued for very long.
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Offline <k>

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Re: Good for what?
« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2014, 11:33:14 AM »
The Belgians of the 1920s were the sort of people who liked to imitate the French, so they duly issued their own “good for” coins. Since the country was/is split into two peoples, they issued coins with French text and coins with Dutch text. “Goed voor” is how those Dutchies spell “Good for”. It’s an international disgrace: proof, it were needed, that Greater Dutchland is a terrorist state.
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Offline <k>

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Re: Good for what?
« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2014, 11:34:24 AM »
Looking through a coin catalogue, I noticed these Romanian coins that read “BUN PENTRU”. “Pentru” reminded me of “pentagon”, so I thought it must mean “five”, but since neither of the denominations was a five of any sort, I looked the word up. Apparently “pentru” means “for”. I’d learnt my first Romanian word! Its meaning reverberated through my very being, and I became delirious with a sense of fluency. I resolved there and then to read every Romanian sentence with the word “pentru” in it.

Looking through the catalogue, I noticed another Romanian coin. This one was dated 1940 and had an edge inscription that read “TOTUL PENTRU TARA”: “Everything for the country”.  That word “pentru” again. Occasionally British newspapers run articles asking how many famous Belgians you can name. Actually, I can name quite a few, but it occurred to me that I knew of only one historical Romanian: Vlad Tepes, that brutal blood-drinker on whom the fictional character Count Dracula is based. I therefore decided to expand my horizons and research the meaning of the phrase, “TOTUL PENTRU TARA”. Before long, this led me to the Iron Guard, a.k.a. The Legion of the Archangel Michael. It turns out that its members were a whole bunch of brutal blood-drinkers. Centuries had passed, and still those Romanians were drinking blood. Is that what they call progress? Anyway, it inspired me to write a whole topic based on my findings:

Romanian fascists left brief traces on the coinage
« Last Edit: December 20, 2014, 07:10:30 PM by <k> »
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Offline chrisild

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Re: Good for what?
« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2014, 12:41:16 PM »
Back in the days when circulation coins were made of gold or silver, it was common to find, on paper money, the phrase "XYZ promises to pay the bearer of this note" followed by the amount. (On some notes you can still find it these days.) In a way, that was also "good for" :) even though the underlying reasons were different.

As for the French chamber of commerce issues, well, they were exactly that. The government had authorized the CoC's to issue those pieces, and they were even minted by the French Mint. But legally they were not gubmint issued money. Also, the metals used for them were different from what the French were used to.

Other issues ... the Italian "Buono da L.1" piece (early 1920s-mid 1930s) comes to mind. Not sure, but maybe the term also had something to do with the metals used? Let us assume that some law says "all lire denominations must be silver" but the government wants to issue a nickel or Cu-Ni piece instead. What to do? You say, nah, this is not an actual coin, but "good for" a coin ...

Christian

Offline <k>

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Re: Good for what?
« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2014, 02:04:15 PM »
Not sure, but maybe the term also had something to do with the metals used? Let us assume that some law says "all lire denominations must be silver" but the government wants to issue a nickel or Cu-Ni piece instead. What to do? You say, nah, this is not an actual coin, but "good for" a coin ...

But then what happens if they haven't got a coin that it is good for, only another "good for" piece? You see my never-ending point.  ;)
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Offline <k>

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Re: Good for what?
« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2014, 02:14:38 PM »


Italy, 1 lira, 1928.

« Last Edit: December 20, 2014, 02:14:17 PM by <k> »
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Online Figleaf

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Re: Good for what?
« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2014, 03:11:40 PM »
Don't know about Italy and Romania, but the French and Belgian case is quite clear. After the first world war, these governments went into deep denial. They demanded that Germany pay war reparations ("Les boches payeront") Once that was done, the clock could be set back to 1913, the old coins would be issued again at their old rate and buy the same quantity of goods as in 1913. I am not joking. That was official policy.

These governments were just smart enough to realise that if they issued coins right away, they would be melted as fast as they would be put in circulation. The simple solution: don't issue any coins until the Germans have paid. I am not joking. This is what they actually did.

Tokens and chaos appeared, stamps, tramway tickets, even the promise of a beer from a local barkeeper served as money. The local chambers of commerce often stepped in with perfectly good emergency coins, begging the perfectly logical question why the government couldn't provide the same. The Belgians fell for that argument, but the French got the national chamber of commerce to stand in for them. Both maintained that the bon pour coins were just emergency tokens that - wait for it - would be exchanged for pre-war type coins as soon as the Germans had paid up. So there's the answer to your question what they were good for.

Germany could not come up with the money demanded. The French and Belgians had to admit as much, under heavy pressure from the Americans and British, so the good for coins were never redeemed as intended, but the road to coin issues was open again.

Since France and Belgium were both off the gold standard, in an economic sense, the good for coins are the same as other coins: fiduciary tokens, circulating by trust. It does not matter if they were issued by the government or another institution. Their metallic content is irrelevant also. The whole episode should count as the largest attack of massive, self-destructive stupidity in Europe since forcing "black death" sufferers to travel from one place to another.

(And you may see the link between pentru in Romanian and pour in French, per in Italian and por in Spanish. If memory serves, the u at the end of a word is not pronounced in Romanian)

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Online Afrasi

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Re: Good for what?
« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2014, 06:59:59 PM »
There are also "buono da"-coins of the Governo Generale Africa Orientale Italiana from the Gondar mint in Ethiopia.

Am I allowed to show foreign pictures? (unknown source)

Offline <k>

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Re: Good for what?
« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2014, 07:41:03 PM »
Of course. Don't ask, just post.  :-X
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Offline bgriff99

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Re: Good for what?
« Reply #9 on: December 20, 2014, 05:36:15 AM »
Don't know about Italy and Romania, but the French and Belgian case is quite clear. After the first world war, these governments went into deep denial. They demanded that Germany pay war reparations ("Les boches payeront") Once that was done, the clock could be set back to 1913, the old coins would be issued again at their old rate and buy the same quantity of goods as in 1913. I am not joking. That was official policy.

Tokens and chaos appeared, stamps, tramway tickets, even the promise of a beer from a local barkeeper served as money. The local chambers of commerce often stepped in with perfectly good emergency coins, begging the perfectly logical question why the government couldn't provide the same. The Belgians fell for that argument, but the French got the national chamber of commerce to stand in for them. Both maintained that the bon pour coins were just emergency tokens that - wait for it - would be exchanged for pre-war type coins as soon as the Germans had paid up. So there's the answer to your question what they were good for.


Peter
Peter, you are a well of knowledge, always filling in gaps in things I thought I understood.    We all know about Germany's hyperinflation, but France got a dose of that too.    George Orwell, in 'Down and Out in Paris and London' lived in Paris as a tramp for a while between wars.   The book was published in 1933, but the experience was a couple years prior:

"Luckily, he did not find the money that was in my pockets, so I was not left penniless.   I was left with just forty-seven francs-- that is, seven and tenpence."

Thus the prewar franc, about at par with a shilling, had fallen to exactly two pence.   Worse was to come.

When I was a child my father worked in the international tax division of a multi-national corporation.   Documents were sent from around the world by mail, with high denomination postage stamps which he brought home for my stamp collection.   I was mystified when familiar French stamps customarily denominated "200 Fr" started showing up instead "2 Fr".    A one hundred-fold revaluation got the franc back to about 24 cents US, exactly where it was in 1914.

But what goes around comes around.   Three years later the silver vanished from our coins, which became tokens as surely as if they had written on them "good for".... or more honestly what was put on Civil War era tokens:  "not".

Offline chrisild

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Re: Good for what?
« Reply #10 on: December 20, 2014, 09:19:09 AM »
Don't know about Italy and Romania, but the French and Belgian case is quite clear

Interesting info, Peter - thanks! :)

Christian

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Re: Good for what?
« Reply #11 on: December 20, 2014, 09:27:19 AM »
Here the "Ethiopian" pieces (not my coins or pictures, unknown source):
« Last Edit: December 22, 2014, 01:52:56 AM by <k> »

Offline <k>

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Re: Good for what?
« Reply #12 on: December 20, 2014, 02:00:47 PM »
So what is the story behind these pieces? Or are they just fantasies? I can't find any info online.
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Offline chrisild

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Re: Good for what?
« Reply #13 on: December 20, 2014, 03:38:07 PM »
Short version: Nobody really knows. ;)

Christian

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Re: Good for what?
« Reply #14 on: December 20, 2014, 04:45:21 PM »
There is some information at the Italian forum, but I have problems to find anything there.

These pieces are patterns and should have been struck at Gondar. But then the British forces arrived earlier ...