Author Topic: Troubles propaganda banknotes  (Read 467 times)

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Offline brandm24

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Troubles propaganda banknotes
« on: May 03, 2019, 04:45:31 PM »
These are directly related to the coins posted in Peter's thread "Troubled Coins", but since they're banknotes I thought I'd start a new thread. If a moderator wants to move it, please do.

Rubber stamped or hand marked banknotes...by pencil, pen, marker, etc... relating to the Irish Troubles era are extremely rare. Given the short life life span of paper currency and the concerted effort of the British and Irish governments to remove and destroy them, very few survived. Other than the five pieces posted, I've only seen two others. Both were marked in pencil, and since I didn't know the seller I didn't feel comfortable buying them. The counterstamped coins of the times were treated similarly, but because of the huge numbers put into circulation it was a monumental task that was doomed to failure.

In evaluating the legitimacy of these pieces I had to be very cautious, as it's much more difficult to separate fakes from the real thing. Coins not so much.

What it all comes down to is your source. Three of mine were acquired from a friend in Belfast, a man who grew up during the Troubles and taught me a lot about the military and political events of the time. Many years ago he sold me a small collection of counterstamped coins that his late father had collected from various sources. I had and still have implicit trust in him. These three notes were ones he acquired himself.

The unusual American Dollar bill was given to me several years ago by a long time coin dealer / friend who acquired it in a collection of coins and paper money he had bought. Although it may seem odd to see American money stamped with an Irish Nationalist slogan, it really isn't. There was strong support for the Nationalist cause in many US cities, particularly those with a large Irish American and Catholic communities. Boston and New York immediately come to mind.

The fifth note, the Irish Pound, I bought from a man in the UK who I had previously acquired coins from. He seemed an honest enough man who sold me legitimate coins, so I believe the note is as well. This is an unusual note as the slogan seems to be embossed or punch stamped on the paper in some manner. It appears that someone had traced some of it with a pencil to highlight it. My picture of this is too large a file, so I'll post it once it's resized.

The "Figt Back / Join the RA" banknote was deciphered by my Belfast source. Apparently, the stamper misspelled "fight" or simply abbreviated it. "RA" is a shortened form of IRA... I've seen this abbreviation on several coins before. Someone named Marty would likely be the issuer. "TL" stands for Turf Lodge, a heavily Nationalist area of Belfast, The 7(2?) may be the year it was stamped.
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Offline brandm24

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Re: Troubles propaganda banknotes
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2019, 06:01:05 PM »
I was able to resize the Irish Pound note. so here it is.

Bruce
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Offline Figleaf

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Re: Troubles propaganda banknotes
« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2019, 11:29:24 AM »
Fascinating stuff, brandm. Thank you! The ones in your second post seem so clumsy they could have been made anywhere and at any time. The ones in your first post look much better. Stamping on her madge's face is in line with the hatred of the makers.

My preference is for the dollar note, though. At the time, IRA reps were scouring Irish bars in the US to collect money from the not too sober patrons so they could buy and ship more arms. The profound stupidity of their victims can be gauged by the use of the word ENGLAND. They were paying for murder, living in the past at best, understanding nothing at worst, being taken advantage of and thinking of themselves as righteous.

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

Offline brandm24

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Re: Troubles propaganda banknotes
« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2019, 12:28:06 PM »
Yes, Peter, the authenticity of defaced banknotes are difficult to verify. That's why the source for them is so important. I have no doubts about the first four, but some concern for the Irish note simply because I didn't know the source as well. I believe it's authentic, but can't be sure of course.

I hadn't thought about the use of the word England, but using it would be typical of someone who has limited knowledge of the conflict not to mention the political structure. To many Americans the UK is simply England because they don't understand the difference. Ireland and Northern Ireland are the same in their world too.

If I'm not mistaken, there were some prominent families in the US who quietly supported Nationalist objectives too. Any contributions to terrorism from anyone is criminal in my mind.

Bruce
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Offline EWC

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Re: Troubles propaganda banknotes
« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2019, 02:53:39 PM »
It occurs to me that NI had its own banknotes, as did England, and both were/are (to some extent) legal tender throughout the UK.  Perhaps this is relevant?

I have little knowledge of the situation in NI, but quite a lot of experience of situations concerning acceptance/rejection of Scots notes in England, and English notes in Scotland.

My evidence is anecdotal - but is there any other evidence to be had?

Anyhow, am interested to hear thoughts - here or in a new thread

Rob T

Offline brandm24

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Re: Troubles propaganda banknotes
« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2019, 12:50:57 PM »
The whole monetary system of the UK and the Irish Republic is very confusing to me. The details of decimal,and pre-decimal coinage plus introduction of the Euro...for Ireland at least...is hard for me to grasp. Who accepts what as legal tender is something I don't understand either because I don't live there. .

I know from anecdotal evidence as well that Irish coinage...and I assume banknotes as well...circulated freely in Northern Ireland during the Troubles years. Though some merchants and private citizens refused to accept them on political grounds, they did in fact commonly circulate. The appearance of political slogans on Irish coins and banknotes then wouldn't be unusual.

I appreciate your comments, Rob T

Bruce
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Offline EWC

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Re: Troubles propaganda banknotes
« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2019, 01:29:48 PM »
All I recall regarding NI is that Irish and UK money was at parity for a long time, and was frequently used rather indiscriminately each side of the border, until they drifted apart.  I forget when that was.

I know a little more about the England Scotland matter.  I recall trying to explain the basic political sentiments to a couple of French hitch hikers I picked up once, probably about 1990.  Dislike of English rule in Scots politics, and associated prejudices,  is a big theme in Scotland, always has been.  But the opposite sort of prejudice was not so true – because for most purposes - the English just forgot Scotland existed – since its population is tiny in comparison.

So you got the same sort of attitudes with the banknotes.  It seemed to me Scots would often be quite indignant of anyone preferring English notes, whereas there was no reciprocal feeling in England regarding Scots notes

Then that changed.  I forget exactly when  - but it seemed to be to do with Scots football fans loudly supporting foreign teams against England in one of the world cups – (probably that made headlines in the Sun newspaper).  All of a sudden small shops in England seemed to refuse to accept Scots notes.

As I say – this just draws on a few anecdotes – am not sure how general it was.

Rob T

Offline brandm24

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Re: Troubles propaganda banknotes
« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2019, 03:32:48 PM »
The few comparisons I can make in the history of US currency include the acceptance of some foreign coins in commerce early in our history. Especially Spanish silver coins of any denomination. Surprisingly, or maybe not, with the exception of our colonial period before official coinage was produced starting on a small scale in 1793 / 1794, British coins rarely circulated here. As a matter of fact, it's very rare to see an American counterstamp struck on a British coin. I've probably seen less than a half dozen in my many years of collecting.

The only other circumstance I can think of is the acceptance of Canadian money in the US and likewise US money in Canada. Though it was seen at least as early as the mid 19th century, and in more modern times, the give and take was confined to a very narrow strip of territory on either side of the border. The huge number of Counterstamped coins struck by Devins & Bolton in Montreal exhibit many examples on American coins.

The information in your post is most interesting and much appreciated, Rob T. Many thanks.

Bruce
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Offline Figleaf

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Re: Troubles propaganda banknotes
« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2019, 03:40:06 PM »
The Irish punt/pound was kept at par with the British pound from 1826 to March 1979, due to Ireland becoming a member of the EMS, while the UK was outside. Therefore, during the troubles, the Punt was on par with the pound only until 1979. Before that time, coins and banknotes from both parts of the island were used in both parts of the island. Most of the counterstamped coins are British Irish, so you may assume that most of it was done in the Republic Northern Ireland, as a form of private economic warfare - damaged coins were supposed to be withdrawn and destroyed. It seems like a reasonable conclusion that the same goes for pre 1979 banknotes.

Peter
« Last Edit: May 05, 2019, 10:15:45 PM by Figleaf »
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline brandm24

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Re: Troubles propaganda banknotes
« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2019, 05:33:43 PM »
The counterstamping of coins was a form of economic warfare, as you say. Just as there was an effort to boycott goods from Ireland was also economic warfare. I don't think it was particularly effective, but it surely made for hard times for some.

In my census statistics I've found about two-thirds of ALL counterstamps were struck on Irish coins, the rest on British coins. Since Loyalist issues outnumber Nationalist by about the same ratio, it would make sense that that would be the case. Loyalists rarely stamped British coins, but there are more examples out there than one would think.

Also the fact that many coins were struck by several large NI companies who had predominantly Protestant work forces attest to larger number of Loyalist issues. The three that I know off were Harland & Wolff, Shorts Aircraft, and Mackies Machine Works. Between them they probably produced many thousands of pieces, perhaps tens of thousands.

Thanks for the information, Peter.

Bruce
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