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The Year in Sherlockian Numismatica – 2018

The Year in Sherlockian Numismatica – 2018

“… we have very properly laid in the new almanack …”

– The Valley of Fear (VALL)

With the release of the Baker Street Alamanac 2019 earlier this month, we though that now would be an appropriate time to reprint this adapataion of our article that appeared in the 2018 Alamanac.

When The Fourth Garrideb was organized in 2014, it was agreed bythose in attendance at the inaugural meeting that one of the club goals would be to catalog coins, tokens, medals, and related items that feature Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Watson, Arthur Conan Doyle, or have canonical relevance. In the four years since, we have come up with over 350 items. In the next several years, we anticipate publishing The Numismatic Sherlock Holmes, listing all of these items in a catalog format. This Almanac will allow us to document new issues in the interim and provide updates after the catalog is produced. We’ll provide some basic  commentary here but be sure to check out the links in this article  if you wish to learn more.

COINS

The African Republic of Ghana issued a bimetallic 2-cedis coin featuring a portrait of Sherlock Holmes (that looks remarkably like Basil Rathbone from some of his movie publicity photos) and the Hound of the Baskervilles. While dated 2017, the coins were not released until 2018. These coins also have one small mistake; the country is misspelled as GAHNA.

2018 was also the Year of the Dog in the Chinese lunar calendar and the African nation of Chad issued a .999 fine silver 5000-Francs coin that features a very fearful version of the Hound of the Baskervilles. Nowhere on the coin does it reference the Hound, nor does the tin holder that the coin can be stored in.  However, the fabric bag that you can place the tin inside does reference the Hound, Sherlock Holmes, and Arthur Conan Doyle.

In June of 2018, Queen Elizabeth II issued a proclamation announcing that a 50-pence coin would be issued in 2019 in the United Kingdom featuring Sherlock Holmes in at least four varieties. We’ll have details in next year’s edition.

CHALLENGE COINS

For those not familiar with the concept of a challenge coin, it works like this. Traditionally, groups issue these coins to their members as proof of belonging to the group and to increase morale within that group. When members of such a group gather together, usually in a drinking establishment, a member will display their coin and challenge the others to produce theirs.This is called a coin check. Those that cannot produce their challenge coin will then have to buy a round of drinks for the challenger and all those that produced their coins. If all members challenged can present their coins, then the challenger has to buy the round of drinks. However, these traditions can vary from group to group.

 

We are aware of three challenge coins being produced in 2018 that have Sherlockian themes. The Detective Bureau of Suffolk County (located in eastern Long Island in New York) issued a challenge coin that features Holmes on the obverse of the coin. Another challenge coin honors the detectives of the New York Police Department and features Mickey Mouse wearing an Inverness cape and deerstalker cap, complete with a NYPD badge. Rather than being round, this coin is shaped like Mickey’s character. Our last challenge coin is from the Diogenes Club of Washington, DC and is shaped like the group’s heraldic logo. The reverse features an illustration by Frederic Dorr Steele.

MEDALS

An Indianapolis-based scion — The 140 Varieties of Tobacco Ash — held their 20th annual meeting in the Spring. To commemorate the event, all 18 members were presented with a 2-inch medal that is suspended from a three-quarter-inch ribbon of blue and silver.

SOUVENIR CARDS

The Fourth Garrideb issued three 8.5” by 11” souvenir cards during the course of the year. The first, issued for the annual dinner of the Baker Street Irregulars and the Gaslight Gala, honored the artists who illustrated the earliest publications of “The Adventures of the Three Garridebs.” The next two cards were issued for the Numismatic Friends of Sherlock Holmes dinners held during the two annual events of the American Numismatic Association (ANA). In March, the  National Money Show was in Irving, Texas, and the card featured a Texas Centennial half-dollar in honor of our friends from the Crew of the Barque Lone Star. The final card was issued during the World’s Fair of Money, held in Philadelphia this past August and featured A. Carson Simpson, one of the founding members of the Sons of the Copper Beeches and himself a numismatist.

WOODEN MONEY

Attendees at the annual dinner of the Baker Street Irregulars or the annual  Gaslight Gala dinner receive goody bags of assorted souvenirs. In this year’s bag, diners received a wooden nickel, printed in black ink, courtesy of the Junior Sherlockian Society. The JSS is an effort, spearheaded by the Beacon Society, to inspire more young people to read the Sherlock Holmes stories.

During the World’s Fair of Money, a member of The Fourth Garrideb, Robert Fritsch, issued a wooden nickel featuring a Chinese cash coin (ala “The Red-Headed League”).

OTHER ITEMS

Attendees of the ANA’s banquet during the World’s Fair of Money received an elongated (or rolled) nickel honoring Edward C. Rochette — the recently deceased past President of the ANA — that featured a portrait of Rochette wearing a deerstalker. An avid Sherlockian, in addition to being a respected numismatist, Rochette had first suggested a Sherlockian coin club to this author in the early 1990s. Attendees at the World’s Fair of Money were also able to pick up an elongated cent with this design if they stopped by The Elongated Collectors (TEC) table. Examples are also known to have been rolled on dimes, quarter-dollars, and half-dollars.

For the fourth consecutive year, fantasy 10-pound banknotes of the Kingdom of Great Britain were produced by Franck Medina, a French recording and graphic artist. These highly colorful notes feature a portrait of Holmes and have images of a giant hound, dancing men figures, poison, and a hangman’s noose. Above Holmes’s portrait is the date 2018 to differentiate it from the previous three versions.

These are the new items that we are aware of that were produced in 2018. Who knows what 2019 will bring us? If you are aware of any new numismatic items with canonical themes, please drop the author a quick note at Greg@FourthGarrideb.com. We are also rediscovering many older items that were made in the recent (and not so recent) past, so check out the website of The Fourth Garrideb from time to time.

Many thanks!

The Baker Street Alamanac 2019 is edited by Garridebs Ross.E. Davies, Irad Brad Matetsky and Monica M. Schmidt and feature contributions by many others. You can view both the 2018 and 2019 versions (huge file sizes to dowload) or purchase the 2019 version HERE

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