Author Topic: The coinage of German New Guinea  (Read 739 times)

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Offline <k>

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The coinage of German New Guinea
« on: August 19, 2018, 11:09:28 PM »


Australasia and the Pacific Islands.



First let's locate ourselves in the correct part of the world: Australasia, as well as Oceania - or the Pacific Islands, if you prefer.

Look at Papua New Guinea on the map. This country occupies the eastern half of the island of New Guinea.

Now I will show you a few more maps and take you back in time.

Offline <k>

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Re: The coinage of German New Guinea
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2018, 11:13:06 PM »
Now let's home in on Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.

Part of Indonesia occupies the western half of the island of New Guinea.

Offline <k>

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Re: The coinage of German New Guinea
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2018, 11:25:35 PM »
Here is a map of the island of New Guinea, which forms part of Indonesia and part of Papua New Guinea. The Indonesians call their half of the island West Papua. In years past, they called it Irian Jaya.

The people of West Papua and Papua New Guinea are ethnically and culturally very different from the Indonesians of further west. New Guinea consists of harsh terrain, which includes mountains and rain forest.
« Last Edit: August 19, 2018, 11:49:02 PM by <k> »

Offline <k>

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Re: The coinage of German New Guinea
« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2018, 11:30:09 PM »
Let's travel back in time to the days before the First World War. In those days, Indonesia was part of the Dutch Empire, and it was known in English as the Dutch East Indies. Dutch New Guinea, known nowadays as West Papua, was part of the Dutch East Indies.

Look at the map and you will see that the eastern half of the island of New Guinea was divided (politically) into two parts - notice the border between the north and south.

Offline <k>

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Re: The coinage of German New Guinea
« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2018, 11:38:08 PM »
Look at the map to see how New Guinea was divided, in the last part of the nineteenth century.

The western half belonged to the Dutch East Indies. The northern half of the eastern territory belonged to Germany. It was called Kaiserwilhelmsland, in honour of Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany. Confusingly, Kaiserwilhelmsland was just one part of German New Guinea. I will explain that in a while.

The southern half of the eastern territory belonged to Britain. At first it was known as British New Guinea. Later, it became the Territory of Papua.

Offline <k>

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Re: The coinage of German New Guinea
« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2018, 11:48:26 PM »
From Wikipedia:

The Territory of Papua comprised the southeastern quarter of the island of New Guinea from 1883 to 1975. In 1883, the Government of Queensland annexed this territory for the British Empire. The United Kingdom government refused to ratify the annexation, but in 1884 a Protectorate was proclaimed over the territory, then called "British New Guinea".

In 1883 Sir Thomas McIlwraith, the Premier of Queensland, ordered Henry Chester, the Police Magistrate on Thursday Island, to proceed to Port Moresby and annex New Guinea and adjacent islands in the name of the British government. Chester made the proclamation on 4 April 1883, but the British government repudiated the action.

On 6 November 1884, after the Australian colonies had promised financial support, the territory became a British protectorate. On 4 September 1888 it was annexed, together with some adjacent islands, by Britain, as British New Guinea.

The northern part of modern Papua New Guinea was under German commercial control from 1884 and under direct rule by the German government in 1899, as the larger part of the colony of German New Guinea, then known as Kaiser-Wilhelmsland.

In 1902, Papua was effectively transferred to the authority of the new British dominion of Australia. With the passage of the Papua Act of 1905, the area was officially renamed the Territory of Papua, and Australian administration became formal in 1906.




Australia then governed the Territory of Papua as an external Australian territory.

Below you see the flag of the Territory of Papua, which was in use between September 1, 1906 and November 6, 1949.

Offline <k>

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Re: The coinage of German New Guinea
« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2018, 12:07:12 AM »
In the late 1870s and early 1880s, an active minority had organised various colonial societies all over Germany to persuade Chancellor Bismarck to embark on a colonial policy. Bismarck did not like the idea, because he thought that Germany was in a tricky enough position, located between the two great powers of France and Russia, without diverting his energies to colonisation overseas.

However, the necessity of protecting German South-West Africa from the attentions of the British led Bismarck to change his mind about colonisation.



From Wikipedia:

The first Germans in the South Pacific were probably sailors on the crew of ships of the Dutch East India Company. Hanseatic League merchant houses were the first to establish footholds in the South Pacific: Johann Cesar Godeffroy & Sohn of Hamburg, headquartered at Samoa from 1857, operated a South Seas network of trading stations especially dominating the copra trade and carrying German immigrants to various South Pacific settlements.

In 1877 another Hamburg firm, Hernsheim and Robertson, established a German community on Matupi Island, in Blanche Bay (the north-east coast of New Britain) from which it traded in New Britain, the Caroline, and the Marshall Islands. By the end of 1875, one German trader reported: "German trade and German ships are encountered everywhere, almost at the exclusion of any other nation".

On his return to Germany from his 1879–1882 Pacific expedition, Otto Finsch joined a small, informal group interested in German colonial expansion into the South Seas led by the banker, Adolph von Hansemann. Finsch encouraged them to pursue the founding of a colony on the north-east coast of New Guinea and the New Britain Archipelago. On 3 November 1884, under the auspices of the Deutsche Neuguinea-Compagnie (New Guinea Company), the German flag was flown over Kaiser-Wilhelmsland, the Bismarck Archipelago and the German Solomon Islands.

By the German–Spanish Treaty of 1899, Germany bought from Spain the Caroline Islands and the Mariana Islands (excluding Guam, which had been ceded to the US after the 1898 Spanish–American War) for 25 million pesetas (equivalent to 16,600,000 goldmarks). These islands became a protectorate and were administered from German New Guinea. The Marshall Islands were added in 1906.

Offline <k>

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Re: The coinage of German New Guinea
« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2018, 12:24:49 AM »
On the map below, you can see the extent of the German Empire in the Pacific.

Brown = German New Guinea
Orange = North Solomons (Sold to Britain)
Pink = German Samoa (in the centre of the map)
Yellow = All other German colonies.

Offline <k>

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Re: The coinage of German New Guinea
« Reply #8 on: August 20, 2018, 12:31:25 AM »
Below you see a map of German New Guinea. The part of the colony of the mainland of New Guinea was called Kaiserwilhelmsland, as already mentioned. Offshore were the smaller islands of New Pomerania (now New Britain) and New Mecklenburg (now New Ireland).

I have used a map from the excellent site StampWorldHistory. It includes the much later invasion by the Japanese, but that is not relevant to this topic.

Offline <k>

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Re: The coinage of German New Guinea
« Reply #9 on: August 20, 2018, 12:35:15 AM »
From Wikipedia:

The Mark was the currency of the colony of German New Guinea between 1884 and 1911. It was equal to the German Mark, which was also legal tender in the colony.

Initially, only German currency circulated. This was supplemented in 1894 by coins issued specifically for New Guinea. These coins were demonetized on April 15, 1911, in exchange for the German Mark, the only legal tender after that date.

In 1894, the Neu-Guinea Companie issued bronze 1, 2 and 10 Pfennig and silver ˝, 1, 2 and 5 Mark coins. These were followed by gold 10 and 20 Mark pieces in 1895.

Offline <k>

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Re: The coinage of German New Guinea
« Reply #10 on: August 20, 2018, 12:38:56 AM »
Here you see the 1 Pfennig coin of 1894. The obverse and reverse designs are very plain.

Offline <k>

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Re: The coinage of German New Guinea
« Reply #11 on: August 20, 2018, 12:39:50 AM »
The design of the 2 Pfennig coin is very similar.

Offline <k>

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Re: The coinage of German New Guinea
« Reply #12 on: August 20, 2018, 12:43:32 AM »
Below, courtesy of Heritage Auctions, you see the obverse design of the 10 Pfennig coin. It features a Bird of Paradise. This beautiful design also graces all the remaining higher denominations of the set.

Offline <k>

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Re: The coinage of German New Guinea
« Reply #13 on: August 20, 2018, 12:45:04 AM »
Below is the reverse of the coin, with a simple design of two palm branches.

Offline <k>

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Re: The coinage of German New Guinea
« Reply #14 on: August 20, 2018, 12:48:38 AM »
The remaining coins of the set are all silver. Here you see the obverse of the 5 Mark coin. The same beautiful design appears on all the other denominations, so after this I shall show only the reverse designs of the silver coins.

The image is once again courtesy of Heritage Auctions.