Author Topic: Cocos (Keeling) Islands - Official Tokens of 2004  (Read 6439 times)

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Galapagos

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Cocos (Keeling) Islands - Official Tokens of 2004
« on: October 04, 2008, 09:11:48 AM »
Though I mainly collect modern official world circulation sets, I occasionally go for the odd token or fantasy if I think they're attractive designs. A few years back I bought a set of tokens of the Cocos Islands from Joel Anderson of the U.S.A. When I emailed him to ask whether he knew who designed them, he told me that and a whole lot more. Here is the reply he sent me:-

"Here is a rundown on Keeling-Cocos or Cocos (Keeling) coins. Though I have not been directly involved in the project, I do know the principles involved so can fill you in with some of the details.

The issue was authorised by the Cocos (Keeling) Shire council in 2000 and the council signed a contract with a firm in the United States to produce and distribute the coins. That firm was subsequently acquired by a German firm, which then went through some management upheavals. One of the two principals left the firm as did the person that was originally responsible for negotiating the contract. After sitting on the back burner, the project finally went forward in 2004 and the coins were made. A substantial portion of the mintage was purchased by an Australian firm.

Like previous Keeling-Cocos issues, the coins are technically tokens. They are for use on the islands, and are not considered legal tender issues. This is to avoid problems with the Australian government, which now owns the Islands.

The circulation issues include the 5, 10, 20, 50 cents, $1, $2 and $5 coins. There was also a commemorative silver $10 coin and commemorative $100 gold coin issued to honour Charles Darwin's visit to the Islands in 1836. The silver and gold coins are sold out. The circulation coins are approximately the same diameter as their respective Australian coins.

The circulation issues were struck at the Roger Williams Mint in Massachusetts. The fish side (reverse) were designed by Laurel Rogers. Her initials LR appear in the design. The tree side (obverse) was designed by Joseph Lang.

The 5 cent is struck in nickel-plated brass and depicts the Thorny Seahorse, Hippocampus histrix. The Thorny Seahorse is a large but delicate species with long, sharp, highly developed spines. This species has a distinctive long snout which often has several bands around it. Their colour ranges from pastel pink to brown. Pale splotches along the body are common, as are small dark spots. They often live amongst sponges and soft corals and are usually found along the external edges of Western Pacific reefs, between 5 and 30 meters in depth.

The 10 cent, also struck in nickel-plated brass shows one of the world's most poisonous snakes, the Yellow-bellied Sea Snake, Pelamus platurus. The Yellow-bellied Sea Snake is found all over the Indian and Pacific oceans from eastern Africa to Australia and across the Pacific all the way to the Americas in subtropical waters. They prefer shallow inshore waters were they feed during the day and spend nights on the ocean bottom, occasionally rising to the surface to breath. They can dive to maximum depths of 15 meters and can stay submerged for up to 3.5 hours. These snakes are poorly suited for land and are relatively helpless when washed ashore. These fairly mild-mannered carnivorous creatures can occur in huge aggregations with varying male to female ratios, and numbering in the thousands.

The 20 Cents is again struck in nickel-plated brass and portrays the Lion Fish, Pterois lunulata. The Lion Fish, also known as the Turkey Fish, or Fire Fish (Pterois), is any of several species of striped Indo-Pacific fish of the scorpion fish family, Scorpaenidae. Lion Fish are noted for their
venomous fin spines, which are capable of producing painful, though rarely fatal, puncture wounds. The fishes have enlarged pectoral fins and elongated dorsal fin spines, and each species bears a particular pattern of  bold, zebra like stripes. When disturbed, the fish spread and display their fins and, if further pressed, will present and attack with the dorsal spines.

The twelve-sided 50 Cents is again struck in nickel-plated brass has shows the Ornate Butterflyfish, Chaetodon ornatissimus, swimming over a coral reef. The Ornate Butterflyfish is easily recognised by its colour pattern. It usually has six oblique orange stripes on the body, and black and yellow bars on the head. Between the eyes is a greyish triangular mark. The tail has two black bars. This species can grow to 18cm in length. It feeds on coral polyps. The Ornate Butterflyfish is found in tropical marine waters throughout the Indo-Pacific.

The dollar is struck in brass and shows the Black-crowned Night-Heron, Nycticorax Nycticorax. The Black-Crowned Night heron is an aptly named bird. They are inactive by day, spending their time in the rookery, roosting in trees. But as night falls, the Black-Crowned Night Heron
emerges and can be heard making its loud, croak-like call. The Black-Crowned Night Heron's scientific name, Nycticorax- "Night Raven" stems from its croaking cry. They often make their nests high in the trees, yet their nests are haphazardly built by piling sticks and twigs on a
supporting branch. Because the nests are not secured, it is common to see many eggs, young and whole nests blown out of the trees by a mild storm.

The 2 Dollars is also struck in brass and depicts a Wedge-tailed Shearwater, Puffinus pacificus flying over Open Ocean. The Wedge-tailed Shearwater is found throughout the Indian and Pacific Oceans. They are Dark brown to brownish-grey above with white under parts and dark wing margins with a wedge-shaped tail and a slender, slate-grey hooked bill. They have a wingspan of 97-104cm and normally live 10-11 years in the wild. Due to the loud groans and wails the birds make, island residents refer to them as the "moaning bird". They feed on the larval forms of goat fish, mackerel, and flying squid. Wedge-tails nest in shallow burrows, one to two meters in length and the female lays a single, large, white egg at the end of burrow during the breeding season.

The 5 Dollars is bimetallic with a brass center surrounded by a stainless steel ring. The Great White Shark, Charcharadon charcharias is seen on this issue. White sharks are predatory animals that begin life by feeding on fish, rays, and other sharks, and as they grow, switch to feeding on
marine mammals and scavenging on large animal carcasses. Their first mammalian prey is usually the small harbour seal, but as the sharks increase in size, they become large enough to eat sea lions, elephant seals, and small toothed whales. Attack strategy consists of a swift, surprise attack from below, inflicting a large, potentially fatal bite. Large white sharks will also scavenge on the carcasses of whale sharks, and on the fat-rich blubber layer of dead whales. They will occasionally feed on sea turtles and sea otters, and are known to attack humans.

Authorised mintages of the coins:-

5c 60,000
10c 60,000
20c 30,000
50c 25,000
$1 20,000
$2 20,000
$5 23,000

Of these, 5000 of each have been reserved for use in packaged mint sets. There have been authorised 500 Proof sets. These have not yet been released. I do not know even if they have been struck

Joel"
« Last Edit: June 11, 2019, 07:32:04 AM by <k> »

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Cocos (Keeling) Islands - Official Tokens of 2004
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2008, 06:47:06 PM »
The Cocos Islands were first visited by Europeans in 1609. In 1827, John Clunies-Ross established the first permanent settlement. The islands became a British possession in 1857 and attached to Ceylon in 1878. In 1882, they were attached to the Straits Settlements and in 1903 to Singapore. Since November 3, 1955 they are under Australian administration. It follows that the only pieces that could credibly be called coins would have to be struck before 1857. Between 1857 and 1955, striking coins would probably have been high treason. From 1955 it would have been illegal. However, the first issue was in 1887. There are therefore no Cocos-Keeling coins.

The status of the 1887 tokens is unclear, but they could have been circulating on the islands. The 1913 tokens were used on the islands, as they were demonetized when Australian money was introduced in 1956. However, they were valid only in Clunies-Ross' store. In fact, their main purpose was not to add to the coins in circulation, but to force Clunies-Ross' workers to spend their wages in the shop. Several members of the Clunies-Ross family have been repeatedly accused of abuse of the Malay population (these people have bad mojo) and these tokens, part of a trucking system forbidden long ago elsewhere, are prime evidence. Their status may be described as "plantation tokens". The only use the 1968 series saw on the islands was in the Clunies-Ross household, where they were used for "internal accounting". They are probably optimistically described as counters. Later series are fantasies. There is of course nothing "official" about them, since no Clunies-Ross is holding any office.

While successive heads of the Clunies-Ross family were styled "kings" by the press, they obviously had no such rights. I hear these nouveau rich had trouble being accredited on Andes island because of their abusive ways. ;)

As always, it is up to yourself to decide what you want to collect, but it is important that you are aware of the status of what you collect.

Peter
« Last Edit: October 04, 2008, 06:53:57 PM by Figleaf »
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline Bimat

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Cocos (Keeling) Islands - Official Tokens of 2004
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2013, 04:24:21 PM »
Received today the bimetallic $5 token. Couldn't resist getting it when I was offered one. :)

28.5 mm, 6.75g, KM no.: X# 17. (Does anyone know difference between X# 17 and X# 17a? The description looks exactly identical?)



Aditya
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Offline ghipszky

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Re: Cocos (Keeling) Islands - Official Tokens of 2004
« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2013, 01:37:07 AM »
Love the shark with 2 types of metals. You get the coolest coins Aditya.
Ginger

Offline Bimat

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Cocos (Keeling) Islands - Official Tokens of 2004
« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2013, 03:53:56 PM »
Thanks Ginger, glad you liked it. :) Strictly speaking, it's not a coin but an officially issued token. It is equivalent to AUD 5 but you can not use it on Islands as the only legal currency on the Islands is the Australian currency.

I don't intend to get the entire set of 7 tokens though. ;)

Aditya
It is our choices...that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities. -J. K. Rowling.

Offline Ukrainii Pyat

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Re: Cocos (Keeling) Islands - Official Tokens of 2004
« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2013, 07:09:55 PM »
It would appear not so much as a token but rather a NCNLT - non circulating non legal tender coin along the lines of the Andorra issues.
Донецк Украина Donets'k Ukraine

Offline natko

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Re: Cocos (Keeling) Islands - Official Tokens of 2004
« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2014, 12:09:27 PM »
http://www.australianstamp.com/coin-web/keeling/decimal/decimal.htm

This rather valuable source says that 1977 coins were actually made more or less for circulation to postpone Australian introduction of their dollar to the islands. I'm wondering about that...

Offline malj1

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Re: Cocos (Keeling) Islands - Official Tokens of 2004
« Reply #7 on: June 27, 2014, 12:45:10 PM »
See also another recent discussion on these tokens/coins Keeling-Cocos set 1977
Malcolm
Have a look at  my tokens and my banknotes.