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All Tristan da Cunha coins are fantasies?

Started by eurocoin, May 01, 2016, 11:30:01 AM

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eurocoin

In a recent court case between The Royal Mint and The Commonwealth Mint concerning a trademark application from The Royal Mint on the word "Sovereign", some interesting things were said by the lawyers of The Royal Mint on the coins of Tristan da Cunha. They stated that no coins from Tristan da Cunha are legal tender as the issuance of these coins has never been published in The Gazette, which is mandatory. Furthermore they found out that the Administrator of Tristan da Cunha was unable to provide the approvals from the British government to issue Sovereign coins. Furthermore by law Tristan da Cunha is only allowed to issue coins on occasions that are important to the island, quite a few coins that they have issued til date have no direct connection with the island. The Commonwealth Mint replied that the possibility that the coins are not legal tender isn't their problem.

For the people who are interested, The Commonwealth Mint won the court case as the Trade Mark Tribunal found that "Sovereign" is the denomination, rather than the name of a coin. The Royal Mint had to pay 2,750 GBP to The Commonwealth Mint. The Royal Mint still has numerous other trademark applications on names of (ancient) coins that were minted at RM, including: Crown, Farthing, Shilling and Florin.

FosseWay

Far be it for me to defend issuers of tawdry pseudonumismatic tat, but the Commonwealth Mint has a point regarding legal tender. Now it has been clarified that the Royal Mint's "legal tender" collector issues cannot actually be paid into a bank or redeemed for circulation notes/coins, the whole concept of legal tender as applied to non-circulating "coins" is worthless. In fact I think the RM should be held to account for misleading buyers by using the words "legal tender" on its "NCLT" merchandise.

If you can't be confident of being able to use a given coin in a shop to buy something, it should not be sold in a way that implies that you can. The precise legal definition of "legal tender" is irrelevant - using it in this context is a clear attempt to mislead, especially given that the legal definition and basic linguistic logic are also at variance with one another.

Figleaf

The population of Tristan da Cunha is 267. Not 267 million or even thousand, 267. The Administrator and Island Council work from the Government Building, which is the only two-storey building on the island: the lower floor houses the Saint Helena Police Service (source: Wikipedia). This is not a state, it is a minor part of a dwarf state, smaller than the average village in the average country.

By the very wildest imagination, it has no need whatsoever of its own coins. You cannot make an economic case for even one type. Whether the pieces issued are fantasies or pseudo coins is a purely semantic issue only: "it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." (an appropriate quote this year)

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

<k>

Quote from: FosseWay on May 01, 2016, 12:53:52 PM
Far be it for me to defend issuers of tawdry pseudonumismatic tat

Now that the Royal Mint has issued a "coin" with a plastic appliqué of Peter Rabbit, I wasn't sure who you were referring to at first.

Quote from: Figleaf on May 01, 2016, 02:58:24 PM
The population of Tristan da Cunha is 267. This is not a state, it is a minor part of a dwarf state, smaller than the average village in the average country.

No. It's a British overseas territory, if a very tiny one. But I take your point.

Quote from: Figleaf on May 01, 2016, 02:58:24 PM
Whether the pieces issued are fantasies or pseudo coins is a purely semantic issue only: "it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." (an appropriate quote this year)

That is an English quotation, in the English language, by the English poet and playwright William Shakespeare. You have no right to use it, and I am suing you for 2,750 GBP.

The real question is, why did the Royal Mint take a sledge hammer to crack a nut? Everybody knows that the TDC pieces are not coins as we know them. Why pick on a tiny territory that is trying to make a little money? If we attacked and banned everything that is of poor taste, the world economy would collapse overnight. That is why the Queen puts vanity aside and signs these things off, as she has to, when something carries her portrait.
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

Alan71

Out of interest, what are the states/territories to have the smallest populations but still have their own currencies?

A quick check of Wikipedia for crown dependencies and overseas territories of the UK using either the pound sterling or a version of it are as follows:

2,932 - Falkland Islands

4,255 - Saint Helena
880 - Ascension
267 - Tristan da Cunha (pound sterling)
(Something is amiss here as Wikipedia also gives a separate population figure for the three islands combined as 7,729)

32,194 - Gibraltar
65,849 - Bailiwick of Guernsey (includes Alderney*, Sark and Herm)
84,497 - Isle of Man
99,500 - Bailiwick of Jersey

*Alderney's individual population is 2,020.  Like Tristan da Cunha, it does issue some non-circulating commemorative coins.  It uses Bailiwick of Guernsey circulation coinage (plus UK pound sterling).

<k>

Tristan da Cunha does not have its own circulation coinage. It uses UK coinage only, with the exception of the odd commemorative TDC five pound coin escaping into circulation.

St Helena and Ascension use a joint coinage.

Alderney is an autonomous dependency of Guernsey. It uses GBP, Guernsey notes and coins, and Jersey coins and notes also circulate there.
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

Alan71

^^ Yes, I know all of that.  That wasn't what I was asking.

<k>

But your post suggests that Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha each have their own coinage. You changed your Alderney bit as I was posting.  ;)
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

eurocoin

Quote from: <k> on May 01, 2016, 06:41:20 PM
The real question is, why did the Royal Mint take a sledge hammer to crack a nut? Everybody knows that the TDC pieces are not coins as we know them. Why pick on a tiny territory that is trying to make a little money? If we attacked and banned everything that is of poor taste, the world economy would collapse overnight. That is why the Queen puts vanity aside and signs these things off, as she has to, when something carries her portrait.

The Commonwealth Mint opposed to the trade mark application of The Royal Mint. The things that were said by The Royal Mint about TdC coins being legal tender or not weren't to any importance in this case. The law says the following about the Tristan da Cunha coins: 

QuoteThe Governor of Tristan da Cunha may, with the prior approval of the Secretary of State, cause coins to be made and issued to
commemorate notable events of importance to Tristan da Cunha. The specification of the coins must be specified by the Governor, approved by the Secretary of State and published in the official Gazette. Coins made and issued under the Ordinance are legal tender in Tristan da Cunha.

I think it is shameful that the islanders don't follow the law, because if they would have done so, that would mean that all of their coins would have a direct connection to TdC, instead of these (bovine excrement) themes.

<k>

"Secretary of State" - which one? TDC, UK?
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

<k>

Quote from: Alan71 on May 01, 2016, 06:48:04 PM
Out of interest, what are the states/territories to have the smallest populations but still have their own currencies?

The answer is in fact the Falkland Islands (population 2563). Once upon a time it would have been Vatican City, with a population of 839, but now its coinage is part of the single currency.
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

eurocoin

Quote from: <k> on May 01, 2016, 07:42:19 PM
"Secretary of State" - which one? TDC, UK?

The British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs.

<k>

Quote from: Niels on May 01, 2016, 07:10:58 PM
I think it is shameful that the islanders don't follow the law, because if they would have done so, that would mean that all of their coins would have a direct connection to TdC, instead of these (bovine excrement) themes.

Well, there are worse things in history. At least they don't make their "fantasies" out of cluster bomb material. There isn't even one Tristanian for each day of the year, so I don't know how they get everything done anyway.
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

<k>

Here is my earlier overview, which deals with some of these questions:

Tristan da Cunha: Collector pieces.
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

<k>

So, TDC intended to authorise its collector coins but did not go through the correct legal processes. Therefore, they cannot truly be considered coins of any sort. But does that make them fantasies? A fantasy is not a coin - it is just a piece of metal that aims to look like a coin. Beyond that, it has no purpose. Above all, it is not officially authorised by any country or territory - if it were, it would presumably be a token at least. What is the minimum requirement for something to be a token? Are all tokens spendable? Do they all function as money, in whatever limited arena?
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.